Category Archives: Sects and Cults

The Russian Orthodox Church: Yesterday and Tomorrow

The Emperor and the Empress thought that they were dying for their homeland. But in fact they died for all mankind.

Pierre Gilliard, Swiss tutor to the Tsar’s children.

Foreword

Ten years ago, in 2005, debate raged in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) about our relations with the Church inside Russia. Was it at last free and so could we enter into canonical communion and work together, building the future? Such was the debate that a Pan-Diaspora Church Council was called in San Francisco in 2006 in order to answer the questions posed. At that time we had to counter some very false arguments which were advanced in favour of sectarian self-isolation, arguments that were shaped by the impurity of politics and psychology, and not by the purity of theology. Below are examples.

Yesterday

The human weakness of Metropolitan (later Patriarch) Sergius (+ 1944) and his followers, as revealed in compromises with the atheist persecutor Stalin, known as ‘sergianism’, was erected by some into a ‘theological’ heresy. In fact, it was just another form of erastianism, of placing the State above the Church, of which there had already been so many examples in other forms in the Old Testament and in 1900 years of Church history. There was nothing theological in this, for it was only human weakness on the part of one who had found himself under huge pressure from a militant atheist State. No-one is to judge him for his weakness, there is no place for phariseeism here, for God is the Judge of all.

Though there was nothing of a dogmatic or theological nature in such compromises, certain individuals, partly under the influence of North American political puritanism, even concluded that the present-day sacraments of the Church inside Russia had somehow mysteriously ‘lost grace’ on account of this compromise of three generations before. As a ROCOR priest, I first came across this astonishing piece of politics masquerading as theology in 1992 from someone who was under the influence of this North American error. In fact, of course, sergianism is not a heresy, whereas puritanism, with its inherent impurity of Novatianism, Donatism and Eustathianism, as seen in the light of the canons of the Council of Gangra of 340, most certainly is.

The political and diplomatic support which a few in the Church inside Russia sought from Roman Catholics and Protestants, and called ecumenism, was also condemned. However, it was a very curious idea that the opinions or actions of a handful of individuals could be held up as a sign that the whole of the Church inside Russia, 160,000,000 people, was therefore somehow tainted by the heresy of ecumenism! In reality, most of the faithful inside Russia had never heard of ecumenism and those who had were utterly opposed to it. This was all the stranger, in that by 2005 ecumenism had in any case come to mean something very different from in its political heyday between the 60s and 80s. Instead of concerning itself with politically-enforced syncretistic compromise, in fact heresy, it had turned to having good-neighbourly relations with heterodox, something that ROCOR, with the many mixed marriages among parishioners and regular need to use heterodox premises for services, had always cultivated.

The strangest argument heard at that time was that we could not associate ourselves with the Church inside Russia in any way because of the compromises of a few individuals in it. This was an appalling error, for it would have meant that we could not associate ourselves with the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors. True, we, in freedom, had canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors first, in 1981, 19 years before the Church inside Russia had been able to do so by freeing itself. However, many, including myself, had wondered why we in the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), living in freedom, had so scandalously not canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors long before, from the 1920s on. We felt shame for ourselves.

The sad reason for the delay had been because elements in ROCOR were themselves contaminated with politics. Indeed, I well remember how in 1981 certain parishioners at the ROCOR Cathedral in London, as also elsewhere, had actually been opposed to the canonization. And in any case, the ROCOR canonization had only ever been a first step, a beginning. As I wrote at the time: What has begun in New York must come to completion in Moscow. Moreover, for lack of trustworthy information we had canonized only some 8,000; the Church inside Russia, with greater access to archives, has canonized well over 30,000 and that number is increasing.

Others said that we in ROCOR could have nothing to do with a Church whose bishops belonged to the KGB. I would have agreed with this – if any had belonged to the KGB, such as, we suspect, the defrocked schismatic Filaret Denisenko, now the darling of the CIA. In fact, they did not. The senior bishops inside Russia merely had KGB code names – in the same way as Western secular leaders, whom we prayed for in our services as civil leaders, had KGB code-names. The Church inside Russia could just as well have said: ‘We will have nothing to do with ROCOR because you pray for individuals who have KGB code-names’. It would have been just as false an argument.

Some in ROCOR admitted that there were members of our Church, in good standing, who worked or had worked for the CIA and other Western spy services. They countered this by saying that there were members of the KGB in churches inside Russia. This was totally false: the only KGB members who attended churches there were those who went there to spy, to note down names of priests or young people and create problems for them.

Sectarian elements in ROCOR objected that if we entered into canonical communion with the Church inside Russia, we would then be in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church! I first heard this incredible argument, I think, in about 1999, when a ROCOR priest from London concelebrated with a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This had raised an objection from a sectarian priest trained in North America. In the Western European Diocese of ROCOR, where I had been ordained and celebrated until 1997, such concelebrations were perfectly normal and happened regularly. As a ROCOR priest, I was amazed at this sectarian spirit, which I had hardly met before. The logic of this argument would be that we in ROCOR were no longer in communion with Mt Athos, which is in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Absolutely unthinkable! (Naturally, such sectarians later left ROCOR).

On a much more serious and practical level, there were those who pointed out that among representatives of the Church inside Russia in the Diaspora there were still corrupt and renovationist clergy at even the highest level, even though several had by then died out. This was a problem. Although these renovationists called us slanderers for telling the Truth and so shaming their false idols (as renovationists elsewhere still do), the problem was largely overcome in 2006, when most such clergy in England and France left the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia in a schism which they created; since then, two or three other such individuals have simply been removed, so they can no longer cause scandal and can at last learn the basics of the Faith.

Finally, there were those who said that we could not work together with the Church inside Russia because the situation in Russia was not as it had been before the Revolution. Soviet practices had infiltrated Russian society, alcoholism, abortion, corruption and divorce were rife, the mummy of the Russophobic murderer Lenin still lay on Red Square, and the squares and streets of Russia were littered with his statues or named after his henchmen. They demandingly demanded in fact that the post-Soviet Russian State (in charge of such matters) behave as though it were part of the Russian Church! In the face of this argument we pointed out that pre-Revolutionary Russia had not been ideal either (otherwise there would never have been a Revolution), we asked for compassion for a people deprived for three generations of a free Church, asked for patience and said that with time the Church will influence the State, since repentance, which we too are in need of, changes people.

Victory

The above arguments were rejected, with repentance for ever having entertained them, by well over 95% of ROCOR, dismissed as the arguments of schismatic impurity, of a tiny, sectarian, inward-looking and politicized minority, which had been trying to take over ROCOR, holding us back and impeding us from fulfilling our universal calling together with the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church, the great majority. As we know, in 2007 the vast majority of the hierarchy, clergy and people of our little ROCOR were happy to enter at last into canonical communion with the vast majority of the rest of the Church, of which we had always spiritually been a part. The separation, caused purely by political events exterior to the Church, was over. We were sure that the Church inside Russia had freed itself, as had already been made evident by the Jubilee Council of 2000. At long last, our inward unity could become outwardly apparent and, impediments removed, we could progress together towards our common destiny and ever more urgent mission.

Tomorrow

A generation after the fall of State atheism in the Russian Federation, we see in Russia today most interesting developments, promising for the future. After the awful period of ‘law of the jungle’ capitalism in the 1990s, with its rule of seven bankers, ‘Wild East’ bandit privatizations and the appearance of pro-Western criminal oligarchs and liberals, Russia has largely seen through that alternative to Communism that was offered it by the consumerist Western world, which we too, living in the Western world itself, had already seen through.

Thanks largely to the chaos and misery that the Western Powers have been causing in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, Syria and above all in the Ukraine, Russian society has seen through Eurosodom and Gomorrhica. If the CIA-installed Poroshenko junta, set up in Kiev, the Mother of Russian cities, wants the suicide of ‘European values’, it can have them. We will remain faithful to the values of St Vladimir and St Olga of Holy Kiev. Believing in Christ, Who trampled down death by death, we choose life. Believing in satan who tramples down life by death, they choose death. That is the difference between us.

Providentially, through the Western attacks on Holy Rus, Russian society has for the most part now come to understand that the West is not the solution. Russia must follow its own, historic, God-given way, the way that our saints and other lucid elements in ROCOR have always preached. As for Russia, it must heal itself and restore Holy Rus. Outside Russia, we can only pray and encourage, learning as we go, for our main task is to spread Orthodoxy outside the Russian Lands in faithfulness to Holy Rus. We are only humble disciples who follow the precepts of Holy Rus.

Interestingly, voices have been saying that Russian society today resembles 1917 Russia. However, unlike in 1917 the direction of today’s Russia is not 1918, but 1916. In other words, although the situation is delicate, Russia is not heading towards catastrophe as it was in 1917, but is heading back from it. Here is the difference. If, God willing, we continue on this God-given path, the Church of Russia will lead us to our destiny. What is this?

On account of the utter failure of imposed Western ideas there, we can say that Russia has seen the future and knows from bitter experience that it does not work. Today it is struggling its way back up from the pit, at the same time as the Western world, led by the United States, is hurtling headlong into it. Today, some of the more aware Western politicians and thinkers are going to Russia or following events in Russia in order to learn. Gerhard Schroeder, Nicolas Sarkozy, Phillippe de Villiers, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, Franklin Graham and others all follow events in Russia closely or visit.

Russia’s mystical and historic role now is to act as an intermediary between East and West, between China and Western Europe. For the spiritual destiny of China is to enter the authentic Orthodox Christian world, becoming the Eastern provinces of Holy Rus, just as the spiritual destiny of Western Europe, with its roots in Orthodox Christianity, is to return to it, with the help of its ancient saints, by becoming the Western provinces of Holy Rus. True, the towering national pride of Europeans largely prevents this, for where there is no humility, there is no salvation. Indeed, Russia’s task is now not to save Europe from the USA, as some have put it, but to save Europe from itself. Just as Russia, and not the West, was to blame for choosing the Western ideology that created the Russian Revolution in February 1917, we do not blame others for the present misfortune that Europeans have chosen for themselves.

The key to universal salvation in these last times is atonement, in the restoration of Holy Rus and in Holy Rus becoming universal. Following the Holy Trinity, we are called on not only to be Guardians and Gatherers of Holy Rus, following the Father and the Son, but also Spreaders of Holy Rus, following the Holy Spirit. Those, in East and West, who want to work with the Russian Orthodox Church and so, by following the Tradition, build up new Local Churches are welcome to do so. If some do not wish to do so and set themselves against the prophetic and mystical Church Tradition in tired, old, secularist and humanist neo-renovationism, then God be with them. We shall do God’s Will without them. We force no-one to follow the Church; the Church sails ahead without those who reject Her.

In 1917 the last Christian Emperor, the Tsar, did not abdicate. In 1917 Russia and the whole world abdicated from him, from the Christian Emperor and Christian Empire, and so from Christ. Since then there has been no peace on earth so that we have all had to atone, each receiving our penance in order to learn humility. Inside Russia the people faced the penances of persecution and Nazi invasion, outside Russia those in the emigration faced the penances of exile and isolation. As for Europe, like today’s USA also, it has faced the penance of war and humiliating loss of power and greatness. As for the rest of the world, it has faced constant strife and war, ever since ‘he who restrains’ (2 Thess 2, 7) was in 1917 removed. All the suffering of the world since 1917 has been the opportunity of all to learn humility.

Our destiny, mystical and prophetical, is to preach Holy Rus, the message of the last Christian Emperor, to the whole world for repentance before the end. The time is coming when the world will at last be ready to hear of Holy Rus, of the universality of the Incarnate Christ, authentic Christianity, and not the two diluted isms shaped by Western heathenism, pagan Romanism and northern barbarianism, that is, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Afterword

My great-grandfather was born in the same year as Nicholas II, the last Christian Emperor who was martyred in Ekaterinburg in 1918. One hundred years after the Emperor’s birth and fifty years after his martyrdom, I, born on the anniversary of the day when the remains of the Imperial family were finally destroyed, received the message from the east that I was to learn and then go and speak of Holy Rus, Christ Incarnate, to those whom I met. This is not only my personal destiny, but also that of many others, as described so well in the poem ‘The Apostles’, written in exile in 1928 by the bard of the Tsar, Sergey Bekhteev:

Amid the darkness of the slavish world
We bear the spirit’s torch in victory
And we call loud to those chosen by God
To enter the hall where the Orthodox feast.

We walk along a road of thorns,
We soar above worldly vanity,
We are the apostles of Christ’s Faith,
We are the heralds of holy truth.

We call the races and the peoples,
Made scarlet with their brothers’ blood,
To the kingdom of true, eternal freedom,
To the kingdom of goodness, light and love.

The hopes and prayers for the future turn to Ekaterinburg, to restoration and coronation.

Questions and Answers from Recent Correspondence (October 2015)

Q: What is happening in the Serbian Orthodox Church at present?

A: As far as I can see, the Western neocon elite, which has been trying to manipulate the Serbian government ever since it bombed Serbia, is continuing the same old Communist policy of divide and rule. Just as the Communists separated Macedonia and set up an ‘Orthodox’ nationalist sect there in the 1960s, so Washington and its allies have since separated Montenegro and Kosovo from Serbia and are trying to set up nationalist sects there through their local puppets. Opposition is coming from the people. In Montenegro the people do not want to become another NATO base and in Macedonia they do not want to become another Muslim republic like Kosovo. This political opposition creates opposition to the nationalist and schismatic sects, as people realize that is what they are.

This is the very policy that the US is trying to implement in the Ukraine also. There, three different small, foreign, politically-concocted sects, one of which has a very aggressive leader, Denisenko, who has visited the State Department in Washington as an honoured guest, are trying to undermine the vast majority. They belong to the only Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is led by Metropolitan Onuphry.

Q: Isn’t it strange that the Yugoslav Communists fifty years ago under the Croat Tito and today’s neocons follow the same policy?

A: Not at all. The Yugoslav Communists were put into place by the Western Powers during World War II, with Churchill switching sides to them from the Orthodox Serbs and supporting them. The Communists and the neocons share the same basic materialistic ideology. The only difference is that the Communists promoted the materialistic concept of amassing State wealth, the neocons of amassing personal wealth. State Capitalism or individualist Capitalism, Mammon is the same everywhere.

Q: What can be done?

A: I am an outsider, so it is difficult for me to say anything about the Serbian Church. That is an internal matter. However, it does seem vital to me that in general all of us, whatever Local Church we belong to, must keep to Orthodox canonical principles and resist US/EU, or any other, political interference and, at the same time, we must advance non-nationalist, confederal structures. This is what the Russian Church did over 20 years ago, granting extensive autonomy to its local parts, for example to the Ukrainian Church, the Moldovan Church, the Latvian Church and the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). If this is not done, there will be new schisms or else old schisms will continue.

Q: On the subject of schisms, who were the small groups of dissidents who went into schism from the two parts of the Russian Church at their reconciliation in 2007?

A: As I have said before, there were two groups. The first left English and French communities officially dependent on the Church inside Russia. Their leaders (and their naïve followers who knew no better) were renovationists, who had been poisoning Church life in the Diaspora for decades, in obedience to their by then mainly dead Paris-School ideologues. They left for the US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople, where freemasons, semi-Uniats and anti-Russian political or nationalist dissidents seem to be made welcome. The second group left ROCOR and were a strange mixture of operatives of the CIA and other Western spy services, right-wingers of the Peronista type in South America and ideologically-minded old calendarist converts who did not love the Russian Church and persecuted those of us who do.

Q: Looking back on your own life in the Church, do you regret the things that happened to you in the 70s and 80s?

A: If the things that happened to me had not happened, I would not know now what I have learned from bitter experience, however painful. So, in a sense how can I regret anything? Everything was necessary to learn a little wisdom and see through the myths of the ‘Orthodox’ Establishment. However, if we are to daydream (!) and I had known then what I know now, I would in 1971 have joined the London ROCOR parish. Then, having finished studies at University in London in 1977, I would have asked to go to Jordanville in 1977.

I greatly regret not only that in those pre-internet days I was given no facts, no guidance, but instead was given active misinformation and misdirection. Such was the spiritual corruption and prejudice against the Russian Church at that time. The scribes and pharisees of the Establishment did not want a Church outside its control, a free, uncompromised and spiritually independent Russian Orthodox Church, free of both left-wing renovationism and right-wing politicking. They wanted an impure, spiritually degutted and compromised Establishment organization. This is why they did their best to undermine us from both outside and, through their agents of both left and right, from inside.

Q: How do you see the future for the Russian Church in the East of England?

A: In recent years we have encouraged the establishment of both what became the little rural mission with Fr Anthony in Mettingham in Suffolk and of St Panteleimon’s skete outside Clacton in Essex. This latter is under Fr Sergei, whose simplicity is an example to us all. Now, with God’s help and that of many kind and generous benefactors, we are buying property for a church in the city of Norwich and hope to have a man ordained for the new parish in God’s good time. Perhaps this is all we can do; certainly we need more clergy in order to expand. One or two candidates now seem to be appearing at last, but we need more.

We can dream of parishes in the county centres elsewhere in the east: a church building for Suffolk in the county centre of Bury St Edmunds, a church dedicated to Sts Peter and Paul in Peterborough for Cambridgeshire, a church of the Resurrection in Bedford for Bedfordshire, a church dedicated to St Alban in St Albans for Hertfordshire, a church dedicated to St Nicholas in east London, a church dedicated to Sts Constantine and Helen in York for Yorkshire and a church dedicated to All the Saints in Canterbury as the centre for Kent. However, realistically, if that is not God’s will, none of this will happen.

Q: Why is it important to have property in central and populated places?

A: Because if we do not, the communities will die out as property promotes continuity. This is a law. When you have your own property, then you also have spiritual freedom. I have seen dozens of parishes closing in England and France over the last forty years. Why? Because they had no property. It is just a fact of life. And communities must always be in centres, in cities and large towns, where the people are. You do not open a church where no-one lives. Church buildings follow the people, for they are the Church. It is not the other way round. That is common sense.

Q: Some people fear the coming Pan-Orthodox Council in 2016, calling it the ‘Eighth Oecumenical Council’ that was denounced in the prophecies. What would you say?

A: There is a certain hysteria and paranoia among some who seem to know very little of Church history with respect to this meeting, which is most certainly not the ‘Eighth Oecumenical Council’. It is pure fantasy to call it that. The Inter-Orthodox meeting next year is not a Council, but a meeting of a minority of Orthodox bishops, about 25% of the total. It will discuss administrative and canonical issues; all the dogmatic issues have already been decided for all time by the Seven Universal (‘Oecumenical’ is a misleading translation) Councils.

No meeting can become a Council if its resolutions are not received by the faithful, but sadly we the faithful have never been consulted about the discussions leading to this present meeting. The whole thing is happening behind closed doors in Calvinist Geneva (of all places), a situation unheard of in Orthodox practice, and I think this is why a certain hysteria and paranoia is growing up in some circles. They are inevitable, given the near-total lack of transparency.

The faithful are the guardians of the Faith, which is why a meeting can only become a Council if its decisions are received by the faithful. If a meeting is a Council, then it means that the Holy Spirit is present there, as He is among the faithful. At present it seems that some of the 1960s-style liberal Protestant agenda being promoted by the Phanariots and which frightened us in the 1970s, has already had to be dropped at the preparatory meetings. That is good. We do not need any more old-fashioned modernism. However, there is no agreement among representatives of the Local Churches who are preparing this meeting on several important issues. Moreover, with the latest condemnation by Constantinople of Metr Rostislav of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, this meeting may never even take place, for it cannot if one of the fourteen Local Churches is absent. So Greek nationalism may yet put an end to the meeting altogether.

More generally, the situation is so highly politicized that one wonders if anything meaningful can take place even if these bishops do meet. Let us recall that no fewer than three patriarchs of Local Churches are now US appointees (against the canons of the Church) and they repeat the policies of the State Department, that is, of Obama, who may be an atheist or may be a Muslim (no-one is sure), of the abortionist Biden and of the warmonger Kerry. Parts of the Church are simply not free to meet. Just as St Justin of Chelije called for a boycott of any such Inter-Orthodox meeting in the 1970s because so many Local Churches, notably the Russian, were then enslaved by the atheist SU, so today other Local Churches are enslaved by the atheist US.

Q: So can any meaningful meeting take place?

A: I think that in the longer term it may be irrelevant whether a meeting takes place or not. I see a different outcome. As the number of bishops in the Russian Church climbs inexorably to 400 and more, and the total will soon exceed 50% of the total number of Orthodox bishops, the meeting in Constantinople is becoming irrelevant. It may be that the Russian Orthodox Church, as the one and only obvious Centre of Orthodox Civilization, may soon hold an episcopal meeting together with the other free Local Churches, Antioch, Georgia, Poland, Czechoslovakia etc.

Such a meeting of over 500 bishops would be far more representative that that the Geneva-prepared one in the Phanar, and would be more likely to become a Council. It could take place at the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow, which is now nearly fully restored. This is what the Russian Church intended the Monastery for in the seventeenth century, as a centre of World Orthodoxy, but was prevented from becoming by the interference of the Russian State both then and since. Such a Council could speak freely, without reserve ‘for fear of the Jews’, that is, unintimidated by the Soviet-style censorship of political correctness.

Such a situation would reflect the reality of the Church today, not the situation of a thousand years ago when Greek ruled the roost. It is time to catch up with reality. The Greek-ruled Churches, mostly with flocks of scarcely a million and nationalist outlooks, are simply unable to cope with the reality of today’s global world. In order to respond, the Church today must also be global. Only the Russian Church is that.

Q: Some would call that ‘Russian Imperialism’.

A: Imperialism of any sort is to be condemned because it is nationalism. What we are talking about is an Imperial Church, the Church of the Christian Empire. Imperial means multinational unity in diversity, with new autocephalous Local Churches being born through missionary activity, whereas Imperialism means nationalism, central control and the ‘one size fits all’ mentality of the papist model, which, sadly, now exists in Istanbul.

Q: What is the situation after the latest round of episcopal consecrations announced by the Russian Church on 23 October?

A: The news that Fr Tikhon (Shevkunov) is now a bishop is most welcome, and the news that Italy now has for the first time ever a resident Russian Orthodox bishop in Bishop Antony (Sevryuk) is historic. It seems that we are at last seeing the appearance of a young generation of bishops, all at least trilingual (the local language, English and Russian), resident in the country, with an understanding of the local culture and politically free. We also noted that Fr Gennady Andreyev of the Sourozh Diocese in Manchester has been nominated bishop.

But there are other welcome events. Despite vigorous French political opposition which much delayed the project, the cupolas are now on the new Russian Cathedral in Paris and all should be finished within twelve months. We are moving ahead at last.

And as regards the veneration of the local Western saints, 60 years after St John, we are now moving forward to their inclusion in the Russian calendar inside Russia and perhaps even elsewhere. It is not just a case of better late than never, this represents real repentance on the part of those who resisted, reproached and actively persecuted us for venerating them for over 40 years. It is sad that several of the persecutors are now dead and therefore cannot repent, so we will have to pray for them, for Christ calls us to pray for our enemies, regardless of whether they are dead or alive. It is the same situation as with those who refused to venerate the New Martyrs and Confessors and put icons of them in their churches. They have all been proved wrong as well.

Q: Many people are very pessimistic about the situation in Russia and criticize it. What would you answer them?

A: There is a huge amount to criticize in post-Soviet Russia, the old classic of ABC – Alcoholism (nearly as high as in Finland), ‘Bortion (abortion) (near Asian levels) and Corruption (about the same as in Italy), to which could be added D for both Divorce (nearly as high as in the USA) and Drug-taking (not yet at the levels of Western Europe). However, the Russophobes and their propaganda deliberately omit the vital fact: the direction Russia is going in is right, whereas the direction that the West is going in is wrong. It is a huge historical irony that in proportion as Russia is deSovietized (a process well under way despite the propaganda, opposition and fear of the West), the West is being Sovietized.

Q: Who are these Russophobes who criticize?

A: There are two groups. Firstly, there are the neo-colonial Western ideologues who, still living in the imperialist arrogance of the nineteenth century, are convinced that ‘West is best’ and as for ‘the rest’, they can go to hell. These people are in reality mere primitive racists and extremists, like the Russophobe Senator John McCain who has now been photographed at a meeting with Islamic State, so anxious is he to be anti-Russian! (Here is the proof that the Westernists are at one with Islamists, whose movement they founded in Afghanistan in the 1980s and who have always supported the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia with its beheadings, crucifixions and massive bombings, with US warplanes and British bombs, of civilians in the Yemen. The extremes always meet, in the same way that the British imperialist and Jewish convert Disraeli backed the Ottoman massacres of Bulgarian Christians in the 19th century).

Secondly, there are the Russian Westernizers, many of them oligarchs, Jews or homosexuals. They are often to be seen at the US embassy in Moscow. They represent the same aristocratic, military and industrialist class (senior Romanovs among them), and also renovationist career clergy in the Church, that betrayed Russia in 1917 (when they were to be seen at the British Embassy in Saint Petersburg), overthrowing the Tsar because they wanted power (and even more money) for themselves.

They have their exact parallel in the Ukraine today, where the legitimate and democratically elected Yanukovich government (whatever its many shortcomings) was overthrown by the nationalist Galician Uniat minority, led by oligarchs like the Jewish Poroshenko and other billionaire industrialists who sold their souls to the CIA in exchange for its backing. Elected by 25% of the people, and that was only achieved with harsh Secret Police repression and US PR propaganda, these people are ruthless because they are completely without principle. That is why they hate the Ukrainian people and Orthodoxy. Unlike them, we Christians have principles.

In fact, it would be more exact to call such individuals Orthodoxophobes than Russophobes and Ukrainophobes, because that is the essence of their hatred, hatred for Christ, however deludedly they may claim that they are for Christ. As with the Bolsheviks in Alexander Blok’s revolutionary poem, ‘The Twelve’, they think that they are following Christ, but in reality they are following Antichrist. And he will lead them to the perdition of their souls in Gehenna. That is how serious their situation is.

Q: What is happening to the ‘British Orthodox Church’?

A: The so-called ‘British Orthodox Church’, in fact neither British, nor Orthodox, was a tiny group of vagantes and other eccentric Anglo-Catholics, whose leader used to call himself ‘the Patriarch of Glastonbury’(!). However, they were received and ordained by the Coptic Church some 20 years ago. In 1999 they had one bishop, 18 vicars (clergy) and 72 faithful! In early October this year they left the Miaphysite Church and, apparently, have now gone back to being vagantes. The problem was that the ex-Anglicans in question could not accept the inherent anti-Chalcedonianism which is now once more coming to the fore among the Copts in what I think is an outburst of nationalism. (Anti-Chalcedonianism goes hand in hand with local nationalism, which to a great extent caused it).

I am told that the group now has one bishop, 2 priests and about 100 faithful, mainly Establishment ex-Anglicans, mainly, I am told, elderly, though I am not sure if that is true. What the group will do now is unclear. Sadly, I doubt that they will wish to join the Orthodox Church because that would mean accepting catechism and being received as laypeople. I very much hope that I am wrong in this pessimistic view of their clericalism. There is one ex-Anglican group which they might join; it ordains ex-Anglican vicars almost immediately and virtually without training. Who knows? I think it will make little difference because it is such a tiny group, not even one normal parish.

Q: Given its critical situation, it has been suggested that the Rue Daru jurisdiction be directly governed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and join the local Constantinople dioceses, like that of Metropolitan Emmanuel in Paris. What do you think of that?

A: I agree. I think that this is so logical that it is inevitable. Once all those who love the Russian Tradition have left Rue Daru, as they have been doing over the last thirty and more years since the repose of the saintly Archbishop George (Tarasov) and the fall into decadence after him, what will be left? Freemasons and naïve converts, new calendarist modernists and ecumenists. Obviously, they should all be together in Constantinople’s local diocesan structures and lodges. On the other hand, they should first have the honesty to hand back Russian Church property, which they are effectively occupying.

Q: What do you make of the recent Roman Catholic Synod in Rome?

A: Catholicism is now at a turning point. Will it keep the remnants of Catholicism (which date back in one form or another to Orthodoxy), or will it become completely Protestantized, a process that was initiated by wealthy US, German and other liberal cardinals over fifty years ago at the Second Vatican Council. With the present Jesuit Pope, for whom the means seem to justify the ends and who seems to agree with everyone and no-one, it is impossible to say what will happen, but that is what is at stake. This is important because Roman Catholicism is the very last Western European institution with an Orthodox past to survive. However, today Roman Catholicism, Uniatism included, looks so weak, so Americanized, that is, so Protestantized, that there seems little hope for it. I have always believed that only Orthodoxy can fill the spiritual abyss left by it.

Its situation is symbolic of Western Europe in general, whose cities now seem to be on the verge of disappearing beneath the tidal wave of the Muslim invasion. This was brought about by Western interference in the Middle East and North Africa, the notorious CIA-orchestrated ‘Arab spring’, which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. Will Western Europe survive at all? That is now the question. However, I would like to disagree with the Western xenophobes, who blame ‘Arabs’ or ‘Muslims’. These wretched people are not the cause of the problem. The cause of the problem is Western apostasy, the fact that Western people have abandoned Christ. As nature abhors a vacuum, so it is being filled – and by Islam. If Western people had not abandoned Christ and Christian culture, there would be no spiritual vacuum and no Muslims here to fill it.

Q: How should we look at the situation in Syria?

A: We live in times when the prophecies are being accomplished before our very eyes – in Iraq, in Syria and in Turkey. The present catastrophe began in 1991 with the beginning of the fall of Babylon (Iraq) in the first Gulf War. This was accomplished in 2003. In 2000 Iraq had nearly 2,000,000 Christians, now there are fewer than 200,000. Even someone as obtuse and deluded as Blair is just now beginning to admit that he is partly responsible. As for Syria, it is next to Armageddon. The third player is Turkey, whose fall is also prophesied. Then will come the drying up of the Euphrates. Before that I think we shall also see changes in the Ukraine next year.

Following Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya have all called for Russian help. It is difficult to know whether Russia will be able to put out all the conflagrations started by incredible Western hubris, but we shall see. It is not easy to be the world’s fireman when you face American arsonists.

Q: What lies behind this hubris which is inherent in the West?

A: Historically, it is a mixture of the imperialist superiority of the pagan Romans mixed with the ruthless plundering of the barbarian Germanic peoples being harnessed by Satanic powers. Thus, what is at the origin of the British Establishment? It is the Norman mentality, in other words, the mentality of a Viking warband, which is what the Normans were. When they came to England in 1066, having already destroyed the older Christian traditions of pre-Norman Normandy, they came to plunder the gold and riches of a Christian kingdom and destroy its half-millennial Church.

The gleam in Norman eyes then was the same as that in the eyes of the gold-hungry Spanish conquistadors five centuries later, and the same as that in the eyes of Texan oilmen when they got their greedy hands on Iraqi oil five centuries after that. Even modern Western science fiction talks of asset-stripping and strip-mining other planets in exactly the same way. Exploit the mineral resources of a country until they are exhausted and then move on to the next country, or planet, and strip it bare too, plunder and pillage ruthlessly – all under the pretext of freedom and democracy. As the imperialist British Prime Minister Palmerston said 150 years ago, Britain has ‘no friends and no enemies, only interests’. In other words, the Western Establishment is nothing but a Viking warband intent on plunder and pillage, intent on its own interests, and without any principles whatsoever.

Q: What would you say of the general situation? Doesn’t it make you despair?

A: No. The world, as ever, is divided into three groups: God’s, Satan’s and the undecided. This means: the real Orthodox (those who are willing to die for Orthodoxy); Satan’s people (including so-called ‘Orthodox’ apostates); and the rest, including many nominal Orthodox, who have not made up their mind whose they are. Some among the rest are two-faced and agree with everyone, but among the rest there are also those who one day will be willing to die for Orthodoxy. It is in the hope of the repentance of all that the world continues through the mercy of God.

I think in dealing with the things of the world (political events etc), we have to be in the know, but not despair. Be as gentle as doves and wise as serpents, says Christ. We must always remember that though man proposes, God disposes. Satan’s forces do what they want, but it does not mean that they will win. They will not. We know that for a fact. The scheme of the prince of this world and his over-educated minions is obvious – their great plan is to restore the Temple in Jerusalem so that they can enthrone Antichrist there. But it may be hundreds of years till they achieve that, even though there are days when it seems that it is going to happen within just a few years.

God, not man, disposes. Do not despair. We have already seen one miracle – the fall of militant atheism in the old Soviet Unionand the beginning of the restoration of the Christian Empire there. Other miracles are possible. Never underestimate either the wisdom of God or the foolishness of man. Never doubt God’s power.

Afterword: The Euro-Orthodox Alternative to an Orthodox Europe

Following the recent trilogy of articles on gathering together Russian Orthodox of all nationalities and languages in Western Europe into a Metropolia, the first of which was posted on 25 July and the last, the article ’The Path to Unity’, on 5 August, a member of the Paris Exarchate (Patriarchate of Constantinople) has written to reject this vision for an Orthodox Europe, or a ‘Russian Europe’ as he strangely calls it. Since he is not Russian Orthodox and, according to his very undiplomatic words, never will be, his rejection of something which does not concern him seems not relevant. However, if he is interested in one day seeing a Local Church of Europe, we must recall that the only Local Church which is proposing an Orthodox Metropolia in Europe, precisely the basis for a future Local Church of Europe, is the Russian Orthodox Church. In other words, the offer by Patriarch Alexis II over ten years ago is the only offer on the table.

The only purely theoretical alternative consists of a now very old-fashioned, autocephalist, that is, nationalist, ideology. This was once again put forward by the Greek Orthodox ‘Fraternite Orthodoxe in Western Europe’ at its Fifteenth Congress in Bordeaux in Spring 2015. With absolutely no offer of autocephaly (canonical independence) made at any point over the fifty years of its existence to this small, mainly French group by the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople (to which virtually all its members belong), doubts were long ago raised about its practicality. No autocephaly can ever be given to this small group because it is on a shared canonical territory.

No-one would want to repeat the error that the Soviet-epoch Patriarchate of Moscow made in the USA nearly fifty years ago, giving a canonically disputed autocephaly to a small and rather nationalistic American group, led by Parisian intellectuals, now called the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). One does have the impression of leaders blinded by their autocephalist ideology misleading sincere and idealistic but also blind converts, who have no concept of the practical problems and realities of the Local Orthodox Churches and Diasporas outside their own narrow, intellectual horizons.

A French TV film of their recent Congress shows members of the Paris-based Brotherhood singing in French at a meeting or service (it was unclear what it was) in a modern conference hall in Bordeaux. There were virtually no icons, no iconostasis, no candles and no-one at the meeting or service, standing in lines in front of rows of chairs, appeared to make the sign of the cross. The atmosphere presented was that of a ‘charismatic’ event, common to Catholic modernism (or Protestant modernism – it is the same thing). Present were two Greek bishops, one of them the controversial leader of the schismatic ‘Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church’, and a Catholic bishop. The impression was that many of those present were either Catholics or else ex-Catholics. The meeting was certainly highly ecumenical and also political.

The atmosphere of exaltation, of a lack of sobriety and prayer, and the absence of any Orthodox dress code indeed gave the impression of a political meeting, rather than of a Church service. Most of those shown in the film looked to be middle class people, mostly of the same older generation, aged between 60 and 75. Could this be because they joined the Fraternite in its heyday in the late 60s, 70s and 80s, after the French social revolt of 1968? Enclosed and isolated in the same intellectual ghetto for so many years, without exposure to the realities of the contemporary Diasporas of the Local Orthodox Churches in Europe or in their homelands, members have had no opportunity to evolve. In this way they have not adapted to reality and the generation which has grown up in the Orthodox Churches since the fall of Communism and the liberation of the Local Churches in former Communist countries. Could this be why ‘passeiste’ (living in the past) members still insist that ‘nothing has changed’ in Russia and Eastern Europe and still appear to be living in the Cold War?

Of course, a film can give a false impression. Unfortunately, it is exactly the same impression that was given to us by Fraternite members in the 70s and 80s and also that given to Orthodox from other Local Churches who have visited their Congresses in recent years. They have all said the same thing: that this is a divisive group driven not by spiritual concerns but by political concerns. Its spirit, different and alien to that in the vast majority of Orthodox monasteries and parish churches in Western Europe, gives the impression of a New Age cult or sect. There is a ‘pick and mix’ mentality, for example, you fast and confess only if you really want to, taking communion freely, as in modern Catholicism. It takes what it likes from the Russian Church and the Greek Church, but rejects the disciplines of both the Russian Church, both inside Russia and outside Russia, and of the Greek Church in Greece. (It should be noted that this group is quite outside the discipline of the diocesan jurisdictions of Greek bishops in Europe).

A great many contemporary Protestants will tell you that the empty moralism of their ahistorical and now dying denominations has been suicidal for them. A great many contemporary Catholics will tell you that they do not believe in the Pope and think that compulsory clerical celibacy is wrong. In other words they agree with us. And some look to the Orthodox Church for sustenance. The one thing that the Orthodox Church can offer those who live in the contemporary spiritual desert of the desacralized Western world, whether of Catholic or Protestant origin, is spiritual food. This is the food of faithfulness to the discipline of the Church Tradition that alone unlocks the door to the Holy Spirit, that alone gives spiritual beauty, spiritual nobility and spiritual elegance, the food that feeds the soul. This means not transmitting our little selves, but transmitting that which is far greater than ourselves, that which is both collective (cat-holic) and eternal. This is that which only the Church can give and provide the sense of the sacred, a sacralized faith that brings heaven down to earth and so makes the earthly spiritual.

The impression given, and not only by this film, is the opposite. What appears to be on offer here is a desacralized cult, worship made comfortable for the Western consumer, a castrated and rationalized piece of theatre that makes the spiritual earthly. Nowhere was there any mention of the glorious European heritage of the saints, those who had been earthly but became spiritual, neither of the ancient saints of Europe, like St Irinaeus of Lyon, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Martin of Tours, St John Cassian and others who combated heresies and died for the Faith, or of the new saints of Europe, like the Russian New Martyrs, St Nicholas of Zhicha, St Justin of Chelije and St Paisius the Athonite. This is the result of doing away with the ‘sanctoral’ and applying the other decrees of the Second Vatican Council to the Orthodox Church, as was the heartfelt desire of Fraternite lovers like Fr Elie Melia, the teacher of Pastoral Theology at the St Sergius Institute of Theology in Paris in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The overall impression of the Fraternite is of a disincarnate form of faith invented in the past, of a rather late and old-fashioned monogenerational offshoot of the ‘charismatic movement’ of the late twentieth century, unknown to the Orthodox Church. Theirs appears to be a phyletistic or nationalistic ideology, a Euro-Orthodoxy, that puts modern Europe first and Orthodoxy second, exactly the opposite to what the Russian Orthodox Church is proposing in its forward-looking vision of an ‘Orthodox Europe’. New Local Churches have always been built on strict adherence to the Church Tradition and had a heavily ascetic, monastic and episcopal foundation, for example among all the Slavs, the Alaskans and the Japanese. Unlike their examples, the intellectuals of the Fraternite, stuck in the 1960s, seem to be proposing building a Church on the basis of an ideology that is anti-ascetic, anti-monastic, anti-episcopal, anti-Tradition and therefore in effect anti-Orthodox. Needless to say, this cannot succeed.

The Path to Unity

The Path to Unity

Woe unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord…And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Jeremiah 23, 1 and 3

The Path to Disunity

Since 1917 and the Western-organized fall of the Christian Empire, the Third Rome, the forces of this world have contrived to divide the Confederation of Local Churches which forms the Orthodox Church. This they have done in three stages.

Their first aim was to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide those in the key Church, by far the biggest, the most multinational and missionary-minded and that on which the others largely depended, the Russian Orthodox Church. If extremists of any sort, whether modernists, nationalists or sectarians, could be brought to divide this Church, its territory being one sixth of the planet, then its influence there and all over the world could be destroyed. Thus, the forces of this world provoked Protestant-minded, renovationist modernists, both inside Russia (the Communist-sponsored Vvedensky and those with him, including the present neo-renovationists) and outside Russia (the Protestant-sponsored YMCA Paris Schism), nationalist groups (Ukrainians – Galician autocephalists and the present careerist Philaretists, Belarussians – autocephalists, misled Carpatho-Russian Americans – autocephalists) and tiny right-wing sects (Suzdalites, Agathangelites, Tikhonites (from Tikhon Paseka), Diomidites etc). It did not matter to them what ism they used in order to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide, whether Marxist Communism, Hitlerite Fascism or liberal-consumerist Capitalism. More directly they also used other isms, Catholicism and Protestantism, sending in the 1920s Catholics (D’Herbigny) and in the 1990s more Uniats and US Protestant sectarians to try and divide the Russian Church.

Although the struggle continues, against all that the forces of this world planned, the Russian Church and so Orthodox Russia are gradually being restored. The forces of this world have largely failed and will fail, as long as the blood and seed of the New Martyrs and the tears and sweat of the Confessors who are rebuilding the Russian Church oppose them.

The forces of this world then set out on the second part of their campaign. This was to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide those in the other, smaller Local Churches by introducing modernism and its symbol, the Catholic-Protestant calendar. They started in the weakest link in the chain, Turkish-occupied Constantinople, and began replacing its Patriarchs with Western puppets. This of course created schism. The forces of this world expanded their activities, interfering in the other four Greek Churches (the Church of Greece, its autocephalous offshoot in Greek Albania, the Church of Cyprus and the Patriarchate of Alexandria) as well as in the Latin Church (Romania, where they have yet again recently meddled in the appointment of a Patriarch), in the weakest of the Slav Churches (Bulgaria) and in the Arab Patriarchate of Antioch (where they have created a terrorist war), as well as trying to subjugate the Czechoslovak and Polish Churches. Everywhere they tried to introduce the Catholic-Protestant calendar and other modernist practices. Thus, altogether 20% of the Church was contaminated.

They have succeeded only in part and only temporarily.

The 20% contamination by modernism left the other 80% of the Church, in the Russian Lands, Serbia, Georgia and Jerusalem, all but uncontaminated. As they could not be allowed to remain intact, the forces of this world proceeded to the third and most recent part of their campaign. They have attacked the Serbian Church (dividing its territory, handing over some to Catholic control, some to Muslim control, some to Macedonian and Montenegrin nationalist schismatic control, and then trying to divide its episcopate), the Georgian Church (supporting a pro-modernist and anti-patriotic coup d’etat, calling it ‘regime change’ and trying to introduce consumerist sodomy), the Patriarchate of Jerusalem (where the previous Patriarch strangely languishes in prison and a schism has been established via the former US ambassador in Qatar, who allowed US premises to be used for services outside the canonical territory of Jerusalem on that of the Patriarchate of Antioch) and again in Russia (a coup d’etat by Western-backed Catholic nationalists from Galicia who have started massacring the Ukrainian Orthodox people. Everywhere they have also used the tiny, US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople to sow discord and division against the Russian Church, whether in Finland and Estonia (age-old territories of the Russian Church), using dissidents in the Russian emigration in France, North America and England, or more recently in Czechoslovakia (refusing to recognize its autocephaly and dividing its episcopate) and the Ukraine (where the Patriarchate’s US masters are tempting it to recognize politically-backed, uncanonical schismatics, as they have already done in Estonia)).

Here too, in this still continuing third part of their campaign, what the forces of this world have forgotten is that though they propose, God disposes. For only He lives in eternity and shows His loving and visionful Providence, whereas they live in their visionless spiral of infernal hatred, which they are trying to establish as an earthly kingdom.

The Path to Unity?

We do not know the future, how God will dispose. That is in His hands. But we can already see where the forces of this world may lose their way:

In Syria, as a result of the US-fomented war, contrary to what was proposed, the Patriarchate of Antioch has recognized who its friends are. Recognizing that it has no support from Constantinople, which is in the hands of the US-backed, anti-Syrian Turks, the Patriarchate of Antioch is now looking to the Russian Church.

In Africa, the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, once run as a colonial department of the Greek Foreign Ministry, is too poor to expand very much. It needs Russian help and such help would inevitably be anti-phyletist. In such a case the Patriarchate could be taken over, as would only be just, by native African bishops, just as the once-Greek colony of Antioch was taken over by native Arab bishops with anti-phyletist Russian help.

In another Greek colony, Jerusalem (as also in Constantinople), most of the faithful are now Russian. And in Jerusalem Russians support, as is only just, native Arab candidates as future bishops.

Many in the Churches of Greece (and so also in the Church of Greek Albania) and Cyprus (here the US-backed Turks were allowed to invade and occupy the island, which made anti-US feeling even stronger), their economies brought low and their peoples impoverished by joining the neo-feudal EU vassal of the US, are now looking to Russia for help.

The Church of Serbia still looks to Russia and adheres to the Orthodox calendar despite EU-backed political interference in its internal affairs and the now US-owned media.

The Churches of Romania and Bulgaria, in difficulty as the old generation of monastic elders has died out and members of the spiritually impoverished and so pro-Uniat middle generation, which grew up in the simoniac Communist period, has come to power, still have spiritual power in the monasteries and among many in the younger generation.

The Church of Georgia still has excellent relations with the Russian Church, despite US attempts to destroy them by encouraging the 2008 Georgian invasion of Russia-protected territory, where the US-run regime slaughtered 2,000 civilians in half an hour in an unprovoked and compassionless attack by its puppet government.

The Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia are allied to Russia, the latter all the more so after recent US-backed Greek meddling there.

The Church of Constantinople looks ever weaker, as the rest of the world begins to recognize that it has since 1453, quite literally, been wearing the Emperor’s (new) clothes, that the real leader of the Orthodox world is the Russian Patriarch and that they have to talk to him if they want to talk about serious problems. More and more members of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and not only on Mt Athos, can see this themselves. The illusion of the absurd but vanity-consoling US interpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon is transparent to nearly all. Even some in the US are wondering whether it is worth spending more money that they do not have in Istanbul in order to maintain the vain illusion.

In the Diaspora, the Russian Church, recovering from paralysis, has begun to take responsibility and bring unity. And in the Ukraine itself, where the forces of this world thought they could destroy the Russian Church, their plans are backfiring. Most are now talking about the disintegration and dissolution of the purely artificial Ukrainian ‘State’, a conglomerate creation of four imperialist tyrannies, the Habsburg, the Leninist, the Stalinist and that of Washington. Its collapse is for many now just a question of time (according to some, months, though others reckon a few years). 84% of the Ukrainian people are now publically asking for their country to be run by President Putin – far better than continuing under the tyranny and poverty of the corrupt and unrepresentative Kiev puppet junta. This is completely reliant on US subsidies for survival, at great expense to the EU, whose members are suffering bitterly from its anti-Russian, or rather anti-European, sanctions.

Some 55% of the Ukraine, the east and the south, together with Transdnestria, may well return after nearly 95 years to Russia (some of it, the Crimea, already has done so by democratic referendum). 25% of it, centred around Kiev, may become once more the ancient Malorossiya, a southern variant of Belarus. The only part, some 15%, that is really Ukrainian and where the various dialects of Ukrainian are spoken, the largely Catholic Galician borderland, which is what the word ‘Ukraine’ means, may mostly return to Poland. It was from here that the Georgian tyrant Stalin tore it away in 1939, earning the undying and understandable hatred of its people. The two small remaining parts of the present Ukraine, some 5%, may return to Romania (the Orthodox calendar intact, so again helping the Romanian Church to return to the Tradition) and Hungary. And the part that may return to Hungary, that which the Kiev bureaucrats still call ‘Transcarpathia’, even though they are the only Transcarpathians, as they are the ones who live across the Carpathians, could become the kernel of a fifteenth Local Church, a Hungarian Orthodox Church.

Given the excellent relations between Hungary, which has a democratically-elected anti-EU government, and the Russian Federation, which supports all National Resistance and Sovereignist movements against the tyrannical EU, this could happen. Only a few years ago the Russian Church won its legal battle for control of the Budapest Orthodox Cathedral – all is set for a new Local Church to be born. Thus the 500 parishes of ‘Transcarpathians’, that is Carpatho-Russians (or Ruthenians = Latin for Russians), would be at the heart of another Local Church. For it is they who are at the heart of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, they who have contributed to the Polish Church, one of whose constituent peoples is the Lemkos (north-western Carpatho-Russians), and it is they who through their noble and illustrious son from Presov Rus, Metr Lavr (Skhkurla), contributed to Diaspora unity between the Russian Church and one of its constituent parts, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). The vast majority in the latter had only been waiting for freedom at the Centre of the Church to be reconciled with Her.

Of course, nothing is certain; the above are all possible scenarios, only some of which may actually happen. Nevertheless, they are possible, whereas only a few decades ago, when we lived oppressed and isolated by all the forces of this world, they seemed impossible. The visionless who thought short-term, unlike St John of Shanghai and those like him, whose world-view they should have been trying to live by instead of studying philosophy, failed to see that the world would change. Today, we live in a different world from the past. Now a small minority of countries that have stopped being Christian huddle together in a bankrupt union of less than a billion, a union of Eurosodom and Gomorrhica. And the three largest Christian countries, Brazil, Russia and China, are bound together in a union with others, covering half the world’s population.

What the forces of this world were proposing only three or four decades ago, and which made those who had no faith in the Holy Spirit despair, today seems ever less probable. Then the Establishment-compromised, who had in their youth taken the easy, Establishment-approved path and refused to take up the Cross of the Russian Church, mocked us, denounced us and despised us. Now, older, they have only to take up the Cross and they too will walk. Unlike the Donatists and Neo-Donatists, we will welcome them back with open arms, as the loving Father did the Prodigal Son of old.

Christ is Risen!

From Recent Correspondence (March-April 2015)

On the Destiny of the Church Outside Russia

Q: What was the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) supposed to do in the eighty-five years between its formation in the early 1920s and the reconciliation with the Church inside Russia in 2007?

A: Our first calling was to obey the Gospel by beginning the preaching of Orthodoxy worldwide before the end (Matt 24, 14), which we were providentially enabled to start by virtue of being scattered throughout the world. In other words, it was our calling to bring the serious (and not superficial hobbyists) into the Church, to contact all those who realize that the Church is higher than the spiritual impurity of any national establishment and local culture.

Our preaching was called to be the preaching of Orthodoxy without either of the compromises caused by spiritual impurity, that is, to be real Orthodox Christians free of both provincial and inward-looking Russian nationalism on the one hand, and of the modernist, Protestant-style illusions of disincarnate modernism on the other hand. This preaching was to lay the foundations of the preaching of the Gospel in the Orthodox context so that then, once the Church inside Russia was free and we were strengthened and reinforced from Russia, we could accomplish this great task together.

Our second calling was to canonize the New Martyrs and Confessors. This was the only way of conquering atheism inside Russia and so working for the restoration of the Tsar, the Orthodox Monarchy, the protector of all Orthodox peoples and all who know that beyond the veil of this secular world there is a world to come, the world of spiritual reality, the real world. Atheism inside Russia could not be conquered by military means. Both the White Movement after 1917 and the Vlasov Movement of the Second World War failed precisely because they tried to use military means to conquer atheism. You can only fight evil spirits with spiritual weapons, as the Apostle Paul wrote: ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6, 12).

This need for spiritual weapons is why it took until 1981 for the Church Outside Russia to canonize the New Martyrs and Confessors. It should have happened much earlier but, very sadly, political and nationalistic elements in ROCOR resisted. The True White Movement, which is the essence of the whole Russian Orthodox Church, is a spiritual movement, not a political movement and those political elements had to be overcome before their canonization was possible. I personally knew many parishioners in various ROCOR churches, not least in the London parish, who were opposed to the canonization. To the scandal of the faithful, they thought in secular and nationalistic categories and held back our part of the Russian Church from accomplishing her mission and so fulfilling her destiny.

Q: What is the calling of ROCOR today?

A: As soon as Russia was freed, we were called on to ally ourselves with Her as closely as possible, thus strengthening both parts of the Church. The earthly remains of Russian Orthodox heroes like Ivan Ilyin had already been returned to the Centre, we too were to return, although spiritually we had always been there. In order to return, we had to avoid the various nationalistic and political traps that had been set us by the world. It is sad that some political, that is secular-minded, elements fell into them. The destiny of the whole Russian Diaspora and her missions was to return to the liberated Centre, in order to stand together with her in solidarity. The alternative was to fall into a hopeless provincialism and parochialism, which is exactly what befell the marginal fringes who broke away from the Church in the Diaspora for various ghetto-like sects, whether renovationist and modernist on the left (Paris, North America) or old calendarist and nationalist (ROCOR dissidents) on the right.

Q: You say ‘as soon as Russia was freed’. So why did ROCOR not reunite as soon as 1992, after the fall of the atheist government there?

A: There were naïve, patriotic, nostalgic and very emotional individuals in ROCOR, often very elderly, who did reunite or wanted to do so immediately. I do not judge them. But since 1972 I had known the leaders of the old ‘Moscow Patriarchate’, as it was called, from inside and I knew how corrupt it was, especially in the Diaspora. The fall of atheist government was one thing, the spread of a Non-Soviet and fully Orthodox mentality to the top of the Church took time.

For example, there was no possibility of unity with it in England until the self-cleansing of 2006 when at long last Moscow appointed an Orthodox and not a renovationist bishop, the present Archbishop Elisey. It was one thing not to have an atheist government after 75 years, but it was another for the old Soviet-style reflexes to change and see the practical consequences of freedom in the Church hierarchy, with the deaths of the old school of Soviet appointees who did incalculable harm to the Church, rejecting the faithful and self-sacrificing and persecuting the zealous and God-loving.

There were so many appalling scandals from that time. ROCOR could never unite with such spiritual impurity which was working against the Church. Our hearts are still deeply wounded by what we went through at that time and we feel so sorry for those who died without repentance. Indeed, the real Orthodox inside the old Soviet-style Patriarchate, like Archbishop Anatoly in England, actually told us to have nothing to do with the Patriarchate until it was inwardly free. I can remember him saying that in 2003. And inward freedom only came to it in May 2006. It then took us in ROCOR one year to get ourselves ready for the inevitable.

Q: What about those elements in the Church inside Russia who are themselves still today modernist or otherwise sectarian?

A: There are a few rather absurd and very old-fashioned individuals on the fringes of the Church inside Russia, leftist dissident leftovers from the recent Soviet past, like Fr George Kochetkov (whom the modernists wanted to serve at the Patriarchal Cathedral in London), the hippyish and disgraced Deacon Andrei Kuraev or naïve admirers of the heretic Fr Sergiy Bulgakov and modernists and dreamers of the schools of Schmemann, Bloom and other strange émigré cults, or others who are simplistic, rightist Old Ritualist-type sectarians, but they are all irrelevant to the mainstream. In a Church of 164 million, you will inevitably find a few marginal types. In Russia they have no authority or role whatsoever and people generally mock them.

A few eccentric individuals hardly prevent us from our great task of resurrecting Christian Imperial Russia, which we are all engaged in together, inside and outside Russia, in total unity of purpose. Everywhere in Russia you will find icons of the Royal Family – that is key. we work very closely with all who venerate them because they are Churched Orthodox. If Christian Imperial Russia is resurrected, then the whole Orthodox world will be resurrected, and so we can protect all who have values and understand that the ultimate destiny of all humanity is in the life to come and not in primitive Darwinism and pagan Secularism. It is foolish to spend much time dwelling on such marginal individuals; we must not waste our time looking at eccentric, individual and irrelevant trees who are so easy to resist, we must speak with and move forward with the great and irresistible forest, ever onwards to what God is calling us to do. We are people of destiny.

Q: At the 2006 Diaspora Council in San Francisco at least one voice spoke with concern about the present Patriarch who was then a Metropolitan. Was that a reasonable concern?

A: Thee greatest miracle of God is that He changes people. Look at the apostles, Peter lied, the disciples fled from the Cross, Paul persecuted the Church. But they all repented – except for Judas who despaired and hanged himself. Repentance is always possible – only pharisees, like those who criticized Christ’s visit to Zacchaeus, do not understand that. I think that the Soviet-born Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad who twenty years ago opposed reconciliation with the Church Outside Russia was one person, our Patriarch Kyrill is another. And make no mistake, he is OUR Patriarch. He has been transfigured by the grace and international responsibility of becoming Patriarch and is now able to represent all Russian Orthodox all around the world, as no-one else. I have only met him twice, but I am convinced of this. He understands us and has a profound sense of the role of the restoration of Holy Rus, of the global mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and Her Tradition. This is a miracle.

On Non-Orthodox

Q: Can you explain in the simplest of terms and without mentioning the word filioque the difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy?

A: Catholicism came into existence some 1,000 years ago, theologically and then immediately structurally. Although it preserved the Revelation of the Old Testament, that there is only One God, and the Revelation of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God become man, it failed to preserve the Revelation of the Church, that Christ is with us and we are with Him by the Holy Spirit. This happened when at the defining moment of its foundation Catholicism replaced the Holy Spirit with the Pope of Rome. In this way Catholicism replaced the authority of the Church, which is holiness, whose source is the Holy Spirit, with a mere man. Here is the difference between Catholicism, which is essentially a Trinitarian heresy, and the Church: The Pope or the Holy Spirit. As St Seraphim of Sarov, whose resurrection we now await, said: ‘The goal of Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit’. It is not to obey a man who lives in Rome.

Q: Do Catholicism and Protestantism have sacraments?

A: There are no sacraments outside the Church, however, there are sacramental forms. These have been preserved as a heritage, as vestiges from the past. In other words, outside the Church there are wine-glasses (however deformed and defective they may be) but they contain no wine. Thus, Catholicism has seven sacramental forms and classical Protestantism (the sort that baptizes by water in the Name of the Holy Trinity) has one – baptism. Thus, in receiving people from what I call ‘Frankish religion’ (Catholicism/Protestantism) into Christianity, the Church does not absolutely need to repeat the sacramental form (though She can if She considers it better to do so in the specific circumstances). What is vital is to communicate the wine, not the wine-glass. For example, Uniats have a wine-glass which is almost identical in form to the Orthodox wine-glass, but it still contains no wine.

Q: Are you saying then that Catholics and Protestants have no grace at all? That seems harsh.

A: No, I am not saying that at all. That is old calendarist ‘light-switch’ black and white ideology – one moment you have grace, the next you do not. The truth is much more subtle.

According to Orthodox Christian theology, the Holy Spirit can come to us in two different ways. Firstly, He comes to us through the Body of Christ, the Church. This only works if we are real Orthodox, that is, practising members of the Church, living limbs (and not withered or nominal branches) of the Body of Christ. If we are outside the Church, we can receive no grace in this way. Secondly, however, the Holy Spirit can come to us directly. This is what happened to the prophets of the Old Testament, who were also outside the Church, and this is also what happens to those outside the Church who receive the calling of God to join the Church, whether they were first-century Jews and Greeks, third-century Latins, sixth-century English, tenth-century Kievans, nineteenth-century Alaskans, Chinese and Japanese, or twenty-first century Western European Catholics and Protestants.

Q: Speaking on the subject of married priests, a French Catholic bishop recently said that the life of Orthodox priests is ‘infernal’ because they have to combine family life and parish life, and therefore he is against married priests. What would you say?

A: The life of an Orthodox priest is certainly difficult. But who said that it would be easy to get into Paradise? I find it amazing that a Catholic bishop would think that it is easy to get into Paradise! This is the same spirit that asks why we Orthodox stand at services, whereas they sit down in comfort. They have no concept of the ascetic. As for Catholic priests – and I know many of them in various European countries – many (usually the best ones) have a mistress and children, many others – and I have met them – are homosexuals and pedophiles. Recently I was speaking to a Polish taxi-driver in Colchester. He comes from Krakow, which is the Polish Canterbury. He told me that he had made his living there ferrying priests, monks and seminarians to brothels. When I was in Portugal 20 years ago, I visited the Portuguese Canterbury, a city called Braga. Local people called it the city of the two Ps – priests and prostitutes. Now that is what I call infernal. What infernal hypocrisy on the part of that Catholic bishop…Has he met the pedophile former Catholic Bishop of Glasgow?

Q: How would you describe the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion?

A: Anglicanism is a Gothic shell, the shell of Catholicism, a kind of Protestant Uniatism, preserving an outward semblance, even a ritual imitation of a sort of Catholicism, but devoid of even Catholic content. The Church of England is State-founded and State-run, founded by a mass murderer and destroyer of monastic life, an English Lenin, who like him also died of syphilis. The Head of the real Church is no such murderous blasphemer, but Christ the Son of God.

Q: Do you think that the Church of England will one day have a female Archbishop of Canterbury?

A: It would be thoroughly logical. Since any secular institution can be headed by a man or a woman, why should the Church of England be any different? As a matter of fact it was a woman, Elizabeth I, who composed the doctrines of the Church of England and it is a woman, Elizabeth II, who heads it at present. Only misogynists can be against female heads of secular organizations.

Q: Do you think the Church of England will eventually introduce homosexual marriage?

A: It is highly likely. It always takes orders from the British Establishment, whether on its doctrines, the EU, fox-hunting or buggery, which is so widespread in that public-school Establishment. The Church of England has always followed the government of the day, ignoring the truism that the American writer Mark Twain expressed: ‘Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it’.

Q: Can those of what you call ‘Frankish religion’ help us in combating secularism, abortion, euthanasia etc?

A: Individually definitely, but sadly the institutions that such virtuous individuals belong to are actually part of the problem, not part of the solution. More and more of them are realizing this. For instance, I was talking to a group of anti-abortion Catholics last year and I saw that they were horrified by their own episcopate, whom they completely distrusted.

Q: Are any of the Orthodox jurisdictions in England close to the Church of England?

A: Virtually all the 300 or so English members of the Antiochian jurisdiction in this country are former clergy and laypeople of the Establishment Church of England. Many seem to be profoundly Anglican, using the Anglican calendar, church-buildings and vestments, so I am not sure why they made the change. They seem to be dedicated to converting other Establishment Anglicans to themselves, ordaining men within days of their reception into the Church in order to do so. This policy of Anglicans only seems very narrow to me, as it repels the vast majority. This is not the way of the Church – our mission is to the people, to the masses, to the whole country, to the 99% of people in England who have never had any real link with the Church of England.

Thus, I know of one ex-Anglican Antiochian priest who has banned the use of any language other than English in his chapel and sends away Romanians telling them that he has no time for them, yet spends hours with prospective Anglican converts, whom he receives very quickly and then very soon lapse. He rejects reality. The clergy are here to serve the people of God, not ourselves, not our personal fantasies. This is just Anglican clericalism. Another wealthy ex-Anglican (in another jurisdiction, it must be said) told me that he liked ‘small churches’ with select groups of English people only and did not want any ‘foreigners’ in his church. This is typical of Establishment racism, regardless of jurisdiction.

Q: But surely the mere existence of the Antiochian jurisdiction in the UK is because of Greek and Russian racism? The Anglicans in question asked to join both the Greek and Russian Churches first and were refused on racial grounds, so the Anglicans got into the Orthodox house ‘by the back window’, that is, through a special arrangement with Antioch.

A: I absolutely agree that the then Soviet-enslaved Moscow Patriarchate and the Church of Constantinople refused them, the latter because of racism and both because they were not politically free to receive them because of their ecumenist compromises. However, the Anglicans in question made one huge mistake on account of their Establishment mentality – they came with their own agenda and list of demands. In this way they refused the Cross, that is, they refused to ask to join ROCOR, the free Russian Church which had and has no ecumenist compromises. We would have received all sincere Anglicans happily, only we would have made sure that they became Orthodox first and would have trained their future clergy how to celebrate etc.

It is no good joining the Orthodox Church without first becoming Orthodox. Otherwise it is just the religion of the Establishment, Anglicanism, or Anglo-Catholicism, with icons. All Churched Orthodox reject that; we know in our guts that it is wrong. What has happened since their refusal to come to ROCOR is that the ex-Anglicans in question have become marginal, finding themselves on an isolated wing of the Church, outside the Orthodox mainstream. So much has been wasted in this way. Similarly Establishment Anglicans who joined the Church of Constantinople have had to undergo Hellenization, having to take on hyper-Greek names like Kallistos, Pankratios, Aristovoulos, Panteleimon etc., whereas the Greek clergy themselves anglicize their names and are called John, Gregory, Peter, Paul etc!

On the Contemporary Western World and the End of the World

Q: What would you say of the present spiritual state of Western Europe in general?

A: Western European countries are increasingly and paradoxically typified by Secularism on the one hand and Islamism on the other hand. For example, the name Mohammed in its various spellings last year became the most common boy’s name in London and there is a wave of mosque-building throughout Western Europe. However, at the same time the secularists who control Western governments and media are completely indifferent to the tens of thousands of Christian victims of Islamist fanaticism throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa and the tens of thousands of Christian victims of the Nazi junta in Kiev. Why? Because those being killed ‘are not Charlie’, in other words, not anti-Christian secularists like themselves. And who will say at the end of time: ‘Je suis Charlie’? It is Antichrist.
So in the West we have the perfect combination of Secularism and Islamism.

Q: Are there not aspects of Islam that we can appreciate?

A: Moderate or Traditional Islam, as opposed to Islamism, condemns violence and keeps certain universal practices like other traditional religions. Thus, Muslim women dress modestly, for instance, wearing a head covering, a universal practice except in the post-1914 secular West.

Q: More and more Western countries allow euthanasia. What do you think of this?

A: In his short story ‘The Veiled Lodger’, written over 100 years ago, a secular writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said: ‘If there is not some compensation hereafter, then the world is a cruel jest…The example of patient suffering is in itself the most precious of all lessons to an impatient world’. In other words, euthanasia, like any other form of suicide, is the result of an ideology that does not believe in the immortality of the soul and in life after death. All belief rejects euthanasia, but where there is no belief, there is suicide. In this sense euthanasia is symbolic of today’s Western world as a whole – as a suicidal world.

Q: What do you think of the experiment with the Large Hadron Collider on the French and Swiss borders? Some people say that it could lead to a catastrophe.

A: I am not a scientist and am simply not qualified to have an opinion and say whether it will lead to a catastrophe or whether it is perfectly safe. However, since it a vast and vastly expensive experiment concerning the nature of matter, I think we can say that it does represent the Western obsession with the material world as opposed to the spiritual world. In general, I am suspicious of such large experiments and operations. As someone said centuries ago: ‘The chief proof of man’s greatness lies in his perception of his smallness’. And as has been said more recently, ‘Small is Beautiful’. In other words, this is all a question of humility. But I am not able to say any more than that.

Q: How should we vote in the forthcoming elections in the UK?

A: Pray and then vote according to your conscience, voting for whomever you consider to be the lesser evil.

Q: Is there a change you would like to see in Great Britain?

A: I would like to see the concept of ‘Britain’ rejected once and for all. It would mean freedom for all of us from tyrannical ‘Britain’ and its Norman Establishment. As a dream, I would like to see four independent but friendly and co-operating nations, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Their representatives would gather in a round building, a ‘Council of the Isles’, on a high point on the Isle of Man, from where alone the four countries in question are all visible.

Q: Where is the Western world going?

A: The USA controls the Western countries through their elites which have been installed by US PR companies as feudal vassals. All that the Western elites do is in imitation of the USA, its clothes, its food, its television series, its media. Here are four recent statistics about the sex and violence of the USA, which God-fearing Americans know and for which they detest the White House:

85% of the world’s pornography comes from the USA.

Every day 24 former GIs who served in Iraq and Afghanistan commit suicide.

In March 2015 the American police killed twice as many people than the British police have killed since 1900.

In a recent global poll representatives from all the countries of the world, except for the USA, UK and France, declared that Public Enemy No 1 is the USA.

Should not such statistics make us think? It seems to me that either the Western world, especially the USA, is on the point of some great disaster, a hurricane, a tornado, a volcano, an earthquake, a tidal wave, or else it is on the point of repentance, of realizing its foolishness and turning back. It can go either way, but it cannot continue with impunity as now. It is not possible. Our actions always have consequences. It is called responsibility.

Q: Is Antichrist coming soon?

A: Nobody knows if he has even been born, let alone if he is coming to power. However there are clear signs that his coming is being PREPARED. Notably, there are these four signs: worldwide sodomy imposed by Washington and willingly promoted by the Western European elite; the genocide and expulsion of all Christians from of the Middle East; the war between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims, actively encouraged and financed by Zionism; the invasion of the western marches of Rus by the forces of Satan and their occupation of Kiev, the Mother of Russian Cities.

As yet, however, the Temple has not been rebuilt on Zion and, in general, we should not despair and certainly not fall into fatalism. I think that the coming of Antichrist has been delayed many times in history, not least last year, when the Ukrainian people rose up and fought the Satanic forces that the White House has put into power in Kiev. Despite the American threat of nuclear war, Russia did not rise to the bait and sweep away the junta within a fortnight, as it could have. That would have led to the end of the world with nuclear war started by the Nazi neocons in Washington and their paid allies: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Condoleeza Rice, Tony Blair, Carl Bildt and all those other satanists who have spoken directly of destroying the Church of God. As long as we fight and resist Satan, Antichrist cannot come. It all depends on us.

Q: ‘It all depends on us’. But what can we do?

A: At present we are resisting and fighting. There is no time to lose. Together all Orthodox who have an understanding of Orthodoxy have to work together. The visit of the new Greek Prime Minister to President Putin is a great sign of hope. President Putin gave the Greek leader, who says he is an atheist but in fact is just spiritually inexperienced, an icon which had been stolen by the Nazis from Greece. This was highly symbolic. The soul of Greece has indeed been stolen by the West. Now is the time of restoration. This is a personal message to the young Greek leader, but also a message to the whole Greek people. Restore your soul and give up on Nazism, both the old form and the new neocon form of the US/EU.

It is the same in Romania and Bulgaria. Satan is now trying to steal the souls of the Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, Georgia – everywhere the same processes. Even in Western Europe there are those of us who are also fighting – for the liberation of the Western Lands from the West, for the ‘de-Europeanization of Europe’ and the restoration of Orthodoxy here too. Together, as conscious Orthodox, as the Army of Christ, we can conquer the Satanic spirit of Mammon and its sinister and idolatrous forces.

When asked how Russia could defeat the far superior American armed forces (each year the USA spends eleven times more on arms than Russia), over twenty years ago now the great and newly-revealed St Paisios the Athonite replied: ‘The Russians will win because the angels will help them’. We see such huge solidarity between all the conscious Orthodox peoples, from Damascus to Nicosia, from Belgrade to Kiev, from Bucharest to Sofia, from Athens to Moscow.

The time will come when Constantinople will be freed. And make no mistake Constantinople will not be freed so much from the Turks as from the Americans. But first there will be a Tsar in Russia for all Orthodox and he will call a real and free Council of all the Orthodox, not a diplomatic nicety. And that Council will not waste time talking about the US-imposed secularist agenda of human rights, racial discrimination and gender equality, it will thunder out the truths of the Church, about the Nation and the Family, which the Western world has deliberately forgotten in the cold and dark tomb, where Satan has buried its soul.

And then there will be a new generation of bishops in Constantinople, not appointees of the US State Department, but taken from the monks of Mt Athos, who, never forget it, are in the jurisdiction of Constantinople and who so eagerly support and pray for the Risen Russia. The old decadence will be gone and those pseudo-bishops who parrot the politically correct doctrines taught them by the Zionist CIA, visit synagogues and change the services will be gone. Great difficulties, but also great days, lie ahead for us all. The time will come, as St John of Shanghai prophesied, when you will hear ‘Christ is Risen’ shouted all through the Orthodox world, with an intensity and faith and conviction and unity that you have never heard before.

On Easter Night, after the Gospels at the Liturgy, I heard an insistent voice in my head speaking in Russian. It said: ‘Budet Tsar v Rossii’ – ‘There will be a Tsar in Russia’. Do not ask me how or when or who. That was the voice. I wonder if others heard the same voice?

Christ is Risen!

Looking Back on Old Sourozh

These are four interview answers given to a student who is at present working on a Ph D concerning the History of the Sourozh Diocese.

Q1) The Sourozh troubles (as they have been called) are regarded as a crisis almost entirely precipitated by the arrival in the diocese of large numbers of ethnic Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. How far is this really the case or did this event merely act as catalyst to previously existing tensions in the diocese?

A1) Sourozh troubles? At the time His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II called them a ‘schism’ in public pronouncements, which I translated as the official translator. True, the crisis was precipitated by the arrival of Russian Orthodox from the ex-Soviet Union, but this was only a catalyst – its cause lay far, far deeper and had been festering for decades. The recent arrivals merely lanced the deep boil.

Essentially the whole problem was a problem of insularity, of being cut off from Russian Orthodox reality, a problem which had historical roots in the general captivity of the Church authorities in Moscow and their inability to control their own tiny Diaspora, let alone the majority of the Russian Orthodox Diaspora which belonged and belongs to a completely autonomous ROCOR. However, there was the specific case of island Britain, which was even more cut off than the rest for the usual geographical reasons, and where a personality cult had developed. So when reality struck the cloud cuckoo land of the largely exclusive, upper class Anglican-style clique/club which the rulers of the ‘Sourozh Diocese’ by the early 2000s largely were, this was a long overdue encounter with reality.

What had happened until then had resulted in the exiling (in a typically hypocritical, racist, backbiting and sending to Coventry way) of all ‘dissidents’, i. e. of all those who knew what Russian Orthodoxy was actually about and would have nothing to do with insular fantasy and the personality cult which was at the heart of the so-called Sourozh ‘Diocese’. The problem came to a head because the dissidents were no longer a small minority who could be got rid of by making them leave (and sometimes find refuge in ROCOR), but were the vast majority, composed of all the new arrivals from the ex-Soviet Union who knew what Russian Orthodoxy was actually about and rightly ‘wanted the Church back’.

In this way those who had ruled the roost in Sourozh for decades before, oppressing the faithful Russian Orthodox minority and forcing them out, suddenly themselves became the minority – and a very small one at that. Realizing that they were now cornered and had lost power, they left, as they had forced so many into doing before them. What goes round, comes round. In this way they proved the ‘big fish in a small pond syndrome’ – anyone can remain a big fish as long as they make their pond very small. And that is what they did, made a very small pond for themselves.

Of course, the trouble was that the by then free Patriarchate had allowed such a situation to develop. With many others, I too made public several articles in the early 2000s, warning and pleading with the Moscow authorities to do something about their own Church locally. They did not do anything until it was too late. I doubt whether that was deliberate policy (waiting until the troublemakers had left of their own accord), as conspiracy theorists would have it, more it was a result of inertia and above all a lack of suitable individuals in Moscow to take over (see the answer to Question 2 below). This was why the new Sourozh bishop had to be nominated by the ROCOR Archbishop Mark, who was possibly the only Russian Orthodox bishop who knew the reality of the situation.

The ultimate historical roots of the Sourozh schism lay in the Diaspora schism between the minority of Russophobic, liberal, politicized elements in the Diaspora (in Europe called Evlogians and based in Paris) and the majority of the Diaspora in ROCOR. This schism took place in London in the 1920s, as elsewhere in Europe. (Though the roots of this schism lay in turn in the liberalism, modernism and fringe Orthodoxy of pro-Revolutionary intellectuals and aristocrats in Saint Petersburg before the Revolution. It was these individuals who emigrated to Paris after 1917). After 1945 the London Evlogians returned to the Patriarchate, but mainly without enthusiasm.

The situation was then saved, from the Patriarchate’s viewpoint, by sending a young priest, precisely from Paris (the heart of the Evlogian/Saint Petersburg schism) after World War II, who would be acceptable to the London ex-Evlogians and secure the situation, so that the ex-Evlogians would not return to the Paris schism. This priest was Fr Antony Bloom, around whom, especially after his mother’s death, there grew up a unique and utterly insular personality cult. This would inevitably result in clearly predictable difficulties after his death, since the death of the subjects of personality cults always results in difficulties, as it shows that they are not immortal.

Personally, I became fully aware of this situation (I had already been disturbed by several things I had seen) only in 1976, when during a six-week study visit to Russia I saw Russian Orthodox reality. The last scales fell from my eyes and I saw how peculiar and eccentric the Sourozh Diocese was. This was reinforced after 1976 when I had contacts with ROCOR – far bigger in Britain than the Sourozh ‘Diocese’ in terms of numbers of Russians, but not in terms of English people, because Metr Antony Bloom had created a mini-diocese (‘Sourozh’) largely through some 1,000 English converts, mainly of Anglican background, to his personal and peculiar brand of Orthodoxy, and by ordaining men whom other bishops would not touch for canonical reasons – and then by living in Greece and studying at St Serge in Paris. I realized that the Russian Orthodox reality inside Russia and ROCOR were identical; it was Sourozh that was out of kilter, just like the Evlogian group based in Paris.

The last straw came in 1982 when I and my wife had personal contact with Metr Antony and we clearly realised that he was a morally compromised individual and that the whole thing was a personality cult. At the same time in 1982 the then Fr Basil Osborne, whom I had first met when he was a young deacon in 1972, told me that the clear intention of the ruling clique of liberal academics in Sourozh (mainly convert clergy) was to ‘go over to the Greeks’ as soon as Metr Antony was dead. It was at that point that I left the Sourozh diocese, as so many others before me and after me, long before 2006. It was only in 2012 that I received an apology for my treatment thirty years before from His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill in Moscow. What a disaster – the Russian Orthodox Church authorities in England had been chasing Russian Orthodox away from them!

Q2) Several priests have told me that the arrival of Metropolitan Hilarion in the diocese was the main reason that events came to a climax when they did as his short but intense sojourn in the parish polarised the debate. Is this a fair assessment?

A2) Entirely true, but again he was only a catalyst. If it had not been him, it would have been someone or something else. The polarization had always been there. And we should remember that Bp Hilarion was made bishop and sent by Moscow at the specific request of Metr Antony. However, that does not excuse Moscow. You do not send a newly-baked, very naïve, very young and very inexperienced bishop into a hornets’ nest – which is exactly what they did.

Q3) In all the documents and interviews I’ve conducted both sides accuse the other of the same methods – i. e. it is seen as a coup by small (or even miniscule, four or five people) but highly influential group who ‘masterminded’ the activities. Is this a fair assessment? It seems to me that both can’t be right?

A3) The schism was fomented by a small clique of individuals. Bp Basil as a very weak individual was as much a victim as anything else of that very small group. He had been under control for as long as his very practical wife, whom I knew well and respected, had been alive. Once widowed, he began going off the rails. Altogether 300 people left in the Sourozh schism (the other 700 or so individual whom Metr Antony had converted had very quickly lapsed, often after only a few months), but only a few, four or five, led them; most, converts and often elderly, were unconscious of the game being played with them and were deluded and therefore deserve compassion. They had been hoodwinked all along.

It is true that on the ground in London and England in general, the other side, the pro-Russian Orthodox, was also led by a very small group of individuals. However, the latter were massively supported by the whole of the Church inside Russia, all those in ROCOR in England who were conscious of the situation and above all, by the vast mass of recent arrivals from the ex-Soviet Union in England. Whether Churched or unchurched, they instinctively knew, as we had known for decades, what was right and what was wrong.

Q4) The influence from the Motherland: This spectre rides high in the belief of many of the ‘anti-Moscow’ people – e g. the Russian State (FSB) seeks to control the Russian Diaspora though the Church. It seems to me that this can’t be discounted as fantasy as the Russian State and Foreign Office does seem more interested in ‘consolidation’ of the Diaspora – and it could be argued, why shouldn’t it? Diasporas are increasingly important to every motherland these days and the Russian Diaspora punches below its weight in terms of numbers (at least in the political sphere).

A4) This is without doubt paranoid fantasy and self-justification (‘we are leaving the Russian Church because it is not politically free’). Not in the sense that there must surely be Statist/nationalist, politically-minded individuals in the Russian State/FSB/Establishment who would like to control the Russian Diaspora, but it takes two to tango. They can fantasize, but if the Diaspora does not want to play ball, their fantasies are irrelevant. And the Russian Diaspora (as is proved by the history of ROCOR both before and since 2007) does not want to be embraced by such individuals. However, as I also know from contact as an official ROCOR representative in meetings with His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill, Metr Hilarion and Archbp Innokenty (formerly in Paris) in Moscow, the Patriarchate is equally independent and utterly resistant to attempted encroachments by nationalistic individuals – it remembers the State protestantization of the Church before 1917 and does not want a repeat of that. The Church inside Russia much enjoys the freedom She has from State interference.

The people who make such fantastic statements about a Russian State ‘takeover’ are thinking in Anglican terms, in other words in terms of a State Church, founded by the State and directed by erastians. They are the ones who are not politically free and not culturally free. They are talking about themselves and indeed, such people are often Anglicans, who have little concept of how the Orthodox Church actually works. Interestingly, the Sourozh schism was taken up at the time by the British Establishment press, with newspapers like The Times and the Telegraph defending the Russophobes and making the whole story into base, simplistic tabloid-style propaganda of the cowboy sort. ‘Greek = good; Russian = bad’.

This is in tune with the whole Anglican, US and generally Western view of the Orthodox Church. In the 19th century, the Victorians already saw the Russian as bad, as propaganda for their imperialistic ‘great game’ (unheard of in Russia), of which the Western invasion of the Crimea was part. Between the 1920s and 1948 the Patriarchate of Constantinople was largely under the Anglican thumb, since 1948 and the US deposition of the legitimate Patriarch Maximos (abducted into exile in Truman’s personal presidential plane to Switzerland) and replacement by the US candidate (what better example of Western, not Orthodox, erastianism?), it has been CIA controlled. And it is to the Rue Daru branch of Constantinople that the schismatics went. The Western problem has always been that it does not control the Russian Church, hence the remarks by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Tony Blair that the Russian Church is the greatest enemy of the West. Anyone showing independence is an enemy!

Sourozh was a political plaything for the British media, just another opportunity for the British Establishment to justify its politically-motivated Russophobia. It is in the light that we should ultimately see the Sourozh schism, as playing into the hands of the Russophobic British Establishment. And it was basically carried out precisely by individuals whose sympathies were wholly with the British Establishment, including one who, to my knowledge, had worked for MI5. (I exclude the Russian paranoid fantasy that Bp Basil, as an American citizen, was a CIA agent – though you can see how some could end up thinking like that).

Answers to Questions from Letters

Below are some answers to questions in recent correspondence.

Q: In your recent article ‘Truth and Mercy’, were you expressing prophecy or just wishful thinking?

A: As usual, I wanted to make people think outside the restrictive box that the secular media offer and also to comfort the weaker from the despair that is offered by those media. In both these respects from feedback it is clear that the article was successful. That article describes a possible and spiritual outcome of present world events.

Obviously, I am not a prophet, but it is clear that what is being played out in the world today, in Gaza, with massacres by US-armed Zionists, in Iraq and Syria, with massacres of Christians by Qatari-financed terrorists, and in the Ukraine, with massacres of Ukrainians by CIA-organized terrorists and mercenaries (all these events are very closely interconnected) is of vital importance. This year we are reaching another huge turning point in history, as great as that of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.

However, there is a prophetic element. That article, ‘Truth and Mercy’, was based on prophecies of several holy people, of St John of Shanghai, Schemamonk Aristocleus, Blessed Pelagia of Ryazan, Fr Paisios the Athonite, Elder Jonah of Odessa and others. However, we must remember that all prophecies, theirs too, are conditional on repentance – and repentance is not certain. What I am saying is that if we do not go in the direction of ‘Truth and Mercy’, then we will go in the direction of the end of the world. There is no middle way, no compromise, as people of fantastical Anglican culture always imagine that there is. Today, we are going either towards repentance, or else, to Sodom and Gomorrah and unspeakable catastrophes before Antichrist. I want to give people hope. Catastrophe is not inevitable.

Those who think with worldly criteria do not understand that article, they find it fantasy. This is because they think in secularist, political terms only, which by definition exclude Providence, the Divine and the miraculous, from their thought processes. This is because their thought processes are not Orthodox, not Christian, they are deceived, for processes in the real world are not directed by secular forces. In reality, human affairs are directed by spiritual forces, either Divine or else, as we can see around us and throughout the history of the last 100 years, Satanic. The Divine is possible, but the Satanic, what in the Old Testament is called ‘the wrath of God’, is also possible. It is our choice. Such is human freewill.

Q: You mentioned St John of Shanghai. Why does he stand out as THE saint of the emigration?

A: Firstly, because he was a saint. That in itself is exceptional, especially with all the pseudo-saints and pseudo-elders of the Russian emigration, with false claims and personality cults, developed by themselves and then, much worse, by their disciples after their deaths. Secondly, because he was universal. He affected all Continents and spoke to all nationalities, Eastern (Chinese, Japanese and Filippino) and Western (European and American). And thirdly, because he was a monarchist, a ‘Tsarist’ to the core.

Q: Why is that significant?

A: Because that is the litmus test for the understanding of Orthodoxy today. The restoration of the monarchy in Russia for the benefit of the whole Orthodox world and indeed for the benefit of the whole world is the only direction in which we can go. Those who have not understood this have not really become Orthodox. They are disincarnate, semi-Protestant, they do not understand that Orthodoxy is the religion of the Incarnation, of the last two fingers when we make the sign of the cross. They think that Orthodoxy, and religion in general, is just a private matter, a personal theory, without any practical and public ramifications. That is a heresy. I wonder if they know how to make the sign of the cross properly. They may be full of doctorates, but I am sure they do not hold the last two fingers, representing the Divine and human natures of Christ, together. They would do well to learn from the last illiterate village greybeard in Moldova, or for that matter in Galilee.

St John is the guide to this as he possessed the purity of Holy Orthodoxy. So many converts treat Orthodoxy as ‘comfort Orthodoxy’, a kind of part-time hobby or ego-trip. Christ, that is, Orthodoxy, is not that. A hobby or ego-trip is starters, comfort eating; what we have to do is to get to the main course, the meat dish, which is in the arena. Only when we have been in the arena with the wild beasts that attack us, as they do because they are our main course – can we get to the sweet, dessert, which is paradise. As they say, you cannot get to paradise in a Rolls-Royce.

Q: What is the situation among new Orthodox (those who have been baptized in the last 20 years or so) in the Church inside Russia? Have they come to what you have called ‘the arena’, ‘the main course’?

A: That is an interesting question and the answer varies. I can remember how in the 1990s, many newly-baptized in Russia (and they numbered tens of millions) read books by Metr Anthony of Sourozh and other Russian purely intellectual and theoretical writers who wrote for Non-Orthodox in the West. In other words, they read what was appropriate for outsiders and beginners, introductions. Fortunately, a great many in Russia now, especially because of the influence of authentic monasticism (that is so sorely and disastrously lacking in the West) have got past that stage. They are no longer outsiders, converts, but insiders, Orthodox. Now they read the lives of the saints and of elders like Fr Paisios, Fr John Krestiankin and Fr Nikolai Guryanov. In other words, they have indeed got to the main course. This is encouraging.

Q: A historical question regarding the Tsarism of St John: Why did the White Counter-movement fail after the Revolution?

A: It failed precisely because it was not White. It had no single and unitive leader (that could only have been a Romanov) and it was not even firmly monarchist behind Tsar Nicholas. Even individual Whites like Wrangel and Kolchak were compromised by people around them, who were not white. Few had a pure motivation and so the White movement failed. Archbishop Averky writes very clearly about this, as several other Church writers too.

Q: Some say that St John would have been against the Church inside Russia. What would you reply?

A: The Slavonic service book that I have always used is that published under Metr Anastasy, the second First Hierarch of ROCOR. According to it, in the great litany we pray for ‘all the Orthodox Patriarchs’ before we pray for our own ROCOR bishops. This was the real Church’s position before sectarianism started creeping in through US old calendarism in the 1960s (I strongly suspect that that old calendarism was financed by the CIA), which tried to surround, abduct and divert spiritually the noble and venerable Metr Philaret, before being partly rejected by Metr Vitaly (who was then surrounded, abducted and diverted literally by it), and then rejected completely by Metr Laurus.

This traditional ecclesiological position was also the position of St John. One whom I knew, Fr Vladimir Rodzianko (later Bishop Basil), recorded St John’s words: ‘Every day I pray for Patriarch Alexis at the proskomidia. He is the Patriarch. And our prayer is still the same. By force of circumstance we have been cut off from one another, but we are still one liturgically. The Russian Church, like the whole Orthodox Church, is united in the eucharist, we are with Her and in Her. Administratively, for the sake of our flock and well-known principles, we have to take the way that we have taken, but this in no way breaks the sacramental unity of the whole Church’.

You see pre-2007 ROCOR had two parts – the main patriotic part (those who loved Russia because she is called to be Orthodox and to save the world) and a smaller, but powerful political/ideological part (nationalists who always put their personal advantage and interests, financial or political) above the Church. Remember how it was that political wing that actually put St John of Shanghai on trial in San Francisco in the early 60s.

As a result of the actions of this political, ideological wing, many left ROCOR in England, for example, in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The sectarians tried to take over in London and elsewhere. We lost at least four priests at that time as a result of them – and that was just in one small diocese. The older generation were squeezed out; the situation by the mid-1980s was dire.

Q: Were you affected by that situation in England personally?

A: Very much so. We emigrated as a result of it. I came to ROCOR not through the situation in England, but through Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who had nothing to do with the old calendarist nonsense that had come over from America. He had remained faithful to the Tradition, to the ecclesiology of St John, who had preceded him in Western Europe. Like St John, he received by chrismation. Vladyka Anthony said that we must belong to a ROCOR that did not concelebrate with Moscow, but only as long as the Church inside Russia was not free. But he and his clergy concelebrated with everyone else, with all other Local Churches. Before he died 20 years ago, I know that one priest from inside Russia had already concelebrated with him, while remaining in the Patriarchate. Vladyka Antony, like St John, was a disciple of Metr Antony of Kiev, whom both had known in Belgrade. They are my spiritual lineage, my spiritual ancestry, that of Universal, and not sectarian, Orthodoxy. Metr Laurus belonged to the same spiritual family.

Such were the views too of hierarchs like Bp Alexander (Mileant) and Bishop Mitrofan (Znosko-Borovsky) of the generation before, whom I met. They were ardent patriots, not of Russia, but of Orthodox Russia. And that was the reason why we could not be under what was then called the Moscow Patriarchate, which outside Russia was dominated by individuals who displayed Soviet patriotism, which came from fear, and so was alien to us. All of us thought like Dostoyevsky – that a Russian who is not Orthodox is not a Russian. So there was no indiscriminate nationalism for us.

Q: What happened to the political wing?

A: It left the Church over a period of 20 years, from 1986 on, mainly leaving for various sects, including various old calendarist sects. I would remind all that both St John and Archbishop Antony had parishes under them on the new calendar (for the fixed feasts). In St John’s case, they were Western rite parishes.

Q: What about St John and the Western rite? Surely his support of Western rite means that we too should support Western rite today?

A: People who say such things have completely forgotten the historical context. St John’s Western rite worked with former Catholics (not with Anglicans and other Protestants) and he did this before the revolution of the Second Vatican Council, before, in other words, before the Protestantization or rather Americanization of Catholicism. At that time, in the 1950s, there still was a Western rite. That is the fundamental difference between then and now. St John was striying to save those who were at the end of a culture and bring them to Orthodoxy. Today that culture is all but dead – it only exists among a few upper class people or the very elderly and dying. There is no future to it, which is why the Western rite is also elderly and dying, where it is not actually dead.

For fifty years there has not been a living Western rite and you cannot renew and then modify a rite that is no more. This is why all Western rite experiments, though motivated by pastoral concerns, the best of intentions, have ended in failure. There is only one living rite today and that is the Orthodox rite. I know. I have seen the Western rite failure in France.

Q: How and why does the Russian Orthodox view of Catholics and Protestants inside Russia differ from that in the Church Outside Russia?

A: There is not a great deal of difference, but there is a difference. I would say that the view inside Russia is more pro-Catholic, but more anti-Protestant (indeed Protestants there are called ‘sectarians’). The reasons for this are as follows.

The Russian (not Ukrainian) experience of Catholicism is that of a pre-Vatican II, Eastern European confession which has a hierarchy, monastic life and sacraments, clergy who dress as clergy, believes in the Mother of God and the saints and even venerates icons. It therefore sees in Catholicism an admittedly provincialized and primitivized but still potentially Orthodox Church. It has no experience of the reality of the protestantized and infantilized Catholicism of the post-Vatican II world, as it is in Western Europe. When it discovers that, it is in a state of culture shock.

On the other hand, the Russian experience of Protestantism is that of sects which are rabidly anti-Orthodox and can hardly be recognized as Christian at all. This experience was much reinforced by aggressive American evangelical preachers who came to Russia in the 1990s and tried to bribe Orthodox into joining them. Clearly, the experience was entirely negative and hence in Russia Protestants are called sectarians.

Q: So who is right?

A: The Church inside Russia is right in Eastern Europe. The Church Outside Russia is right in its domain, in Western countries, among Western people. Catholicism and Protestantism are so variable, they are not monolithic; we have to look at the local realities of both before we decide on our attitude and the use of economy or akrivia.

Q: In various Local Churches you can find heterodox customs. How can we tolerate them?

A: We can tolerate them because we are not sectarian, but tolerant! However, that does not mean that we observe such provincial customs ourselves. We do not cultivate the fringes, but the broad mainstream of the Church. For example, I remember an ex-Anglican Antiochian priest (in England they are all ex-Anglicans, virtually without training), wanting to introduce little girls to serve in the altar because he had seen a bishop in Syria doing this! I told him that just because others had adopted Uniat customs out of pan-Arab nationalism, that did not mean that we have to. The same goes for so many customs, from certain Carpatho-Russian chants preserved in their emigration in the US and which are pure old-fashioned Catholic chants (which the Catholics have now lost), or Bulgarian icons, which are not iconography, but folk art, or beardless Ukrainian clergy as in the OCA (another Uniat hangover) etc. In other words, we do not prolong decadence, but let it die out by itself.

The lack of discrimination is typically Anglican. It is the inability to distinguish between the essential Tradition and eccentric local customs which may have nothing at all to do with Orthodoxy. Thus, in one community of the Rue Daru group in England an ex-Charismatic, ex-Anglican priest, also untrained, has his converts calling out names for commemoration during the service! It would be better if he joined the Pentecostals, especially since he maintains that he is better off without a bishop (who is in distant Paris), so that ‘I can do whatever I want’.

In general, Rue Daru claims to be of the ‘Russian Tradition’, but that was thrown out of the window there 26 years ago in 1988. If you are of the Russian Tradition, then you must be part of the Russian Church, observe the Orthodox calendar, have confession before communion, wear Russian vestments, have women wear headscarves, keep the canons and traditions of the Russian Church. As one correspondent in France wrote to me, the Russian Tradition never stayed a single night in the vast majority of the tiny convert Rue Daru communities, which Russians simply boycott because there is no Orthodox Tradition there. Once you have seen and above all experienced the real thing, you know what is false as soon as you see it.

On the Spiritual Disease of Guruism

The title of this article was suggested by a priest in Moscow who, when asked what he thought about the followers of a certain pseudo-monastic movement, replied: ‘They are all spiritually ill and with the same spiritual illness’. Here he referred to the fact that the archimandrite who had founded and then led the group had fallen into spiritual delusion (prelest/plani/illusio) and his weak-minded adepts had simply followed in the footsteps of their guru, conforming themselves to his illness of disincarnate ‘spiritualism’.

For any ism is by definition a spiritual disease and guruism is no different (nor, for that matter, is anti-intellectualism). Guruism in the Church context is spiritually dangerous because it replaces the repentant heart with the blinded head (whereas anti-intellectualism gives complete priority to irrational emotions). What are the signs of the spiritual disease of guruism? They come in three stages and affect the fallen mind (and imagination), the fallen body and the fallen spirit, that is, all fallen human nature or ‘the flesh’. These stages are:

1. Blind certainty that the guru and therefore the adepts are right. This results in a blinkered attitude towards others, as well as an imagined superiority, pretentiousness and pompousness, producing an army of identical clones devoid of individual personalities, who are full of themselves in self-righteous priggishness. This entails contempt, condemnation and slander of others, with profound anger and hatred towards those who disagree with the ideology of their cult. This may take the form of racism or a number of other isms.

2. The lack of any spontaneous, heartfelt feeling because of the cold guruism which results from the lack of love, the love produced by a warm heart. This is itself the result of the confusion caused when the indoctrination of the head with the teachings of the guru replaces the cleansing of the heart as the focus of Christian life. This is in direct disobedience to St Silvanus the Athonite’s dictum that we are ‘to keep our minds in hell’, and so not to focus on our minds and our imaginations (fantasies), which produce so many delusions.

3. Depression which is the inevitable result of the realization of the disincarnate disconnect between the diseased conviction of rightness (in fact, of the escapist fantasy or daydreaming imagination) and the real world (fallen reality). This is accompanied by fanaticism, as can be seen in strangeness of dress (in fact a uniform) and demeanour, rigidity of pose and walk, and the refusal to be sociable or mix, including eating and drinking, with others who are not part of the clique and the refusal because of pride to talk to them about everyday life.

As can be seen, the overwhelming trait here is pride – absence of humility and simple humanity. It seems that the Epistle to the Colossians has been forgotten: ‘Let no-one beguile you of your reward, insisting on self-abasement and worshipping of angels, taking his stand on those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind…These things have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigour of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in satisfying the flesh’ (Col 2, 18 and 23).

The Tortuous Path of Western Religion in the Global World

This April’s canonization of two twentieth-century Popes of Rome has only served to underline the gulf between the Church and Roman Catholicism as regards the criteria for sainthood. The first pope to be canonized, a jocular Italian peasant, and the second, a highly politicised Polish nationalist philosopher, were both enemies of the Orthodox Church. The first took part in anti-Orthodox activities in Bulgaria, the second in Yugoslavia and the Ukraine. This is no surprise, since both have been canonized by a Jesuit pope, who is a form backer of Galician Uniats and last weekend received the self-appointed Premier of the Ukraine, the scientologist and promoter of anti-Ukrainian terrorism Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The present Pope’s support for the disintegration of the Ukraine probably comes under US orders, following President Obama’s recent visit to Rome, just as John Paul II made himself available to the US to help bring down the Soviet bloc in the 1980s. It was under the latter’s pontificate in particular that Catholicism was penetrated by pedophile priests, whose activities were camouflaged by Rome. Naturally, the double canonization in Rome was attended by a bishop from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who sat with the other Uniats, not with the Protestants (Lutherans and Anglicans). In this way that Patriarchate can see what its fate will be if it does entirely join Rome – it will become just another Roman Catholic colonial subculture.

These papal canonizations, like that to follow later this year, illustrate the confusion of the Vatican of the last fifty years. It is not exact to say that Catholicism has lost the way; rather it has found a multitude of false ways. As they say: when you stop believing in something, you will believe in anything. The gap between official Vatican proclamations and what ordinary Catholics actually believe has grown and grown. However, the overall trend of the last fifty years has been towards a Catholicism that is ever more secularized, protestantized, politicized, turned away from God, symbolized by their priests who now turn their backs to God during their services and face the world instead. The Catholic merger with the world is also symbolized by the ‘modern’ ‘design’ of its church buildings, furnishings and vestments. And the modern designs of the 60s and 70s look very old-fashioned in today’s post-modern world.

Overall, Catholicism has shown a loss of the sense of the sacred, of Divinity, of holiness, a movement towards protestantization and so secularization. In the face of that, many of the most devout Catholics – as well as many ordinary Catholics – have abandoned Catholicism, since they have felt abandoned by their own hierarchy. Catholicism has lost the Western world. Its reality today is in Latin America, Africa and Asia, though here too there are losses, for example Brazil, where 40% of the population is said to have joined Protestant sects. Of the future it is hard to speak. The sectarian Muslim world and Hindu India remain mysteries, though it is said that by 2030 China will be the largest Christian nation on earth. And there, as everywhere else, the spiritually sensitive and the historically-minded will see through Western mythology and find their way to the Orthodox Church.

As a result of the collapse of Catholicism in the Western world, over the last two generations right-wing Catholics have joined the Catholic traditionalists; as for the moderate and the younger generation, faced with the spiritual desert of the West, they have been drawn into any number of sects and cults. There they seek a sense of belonging. The degeneration of modern Catholic worship, characterised by infantilism, the entertainment mentality, and the lack of spiritual understanding are reflections. They are reflections of the modern consumer mentality. This has conditioned and shaped modern Catholicism, like modern Protestantism, making it into a ‘cafeteria religion’, a ‘pick and mix’ consumerist supermarket. Today Western religion faces a civilizational dead end; the thread of its manmade life has been unwound. If the West wants to continue as a spiritually-based entity, and so a morally-based entity, it will have to look outside its apostatic self for sustenance.

The Purity of Holy Orthodoxy

The title is an expression used in an inspiring conversation with the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus at the ROCOR Council of San Francisco in 2006. Below are a number of recent conversations, both actual and also from correspondence by e-mail, regarding current Church matters, all of which illustrate the search of all conscious Orthodox for the purity of Holy Orthodoxy in the Light of the Resurrection.

Q: What recent changes have marked the Church inside Russia?

A: A generation has now passed since the commemoration of the millennium of the Baptism of Rus in 1988 and the world-changing events that followed it, namely the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result of the passing of that generation, in the last few months there have been major changes, with the retirement in Kiev and St Petersburg of both Metropolitans Vladimir and in Minsk that of Metr Philaret. Thus, all three most senior Metropolitans in the Russian Church inside Russia have retired through age and ill health. This is the end of the old generation of those who were connected with the highly controversial and politically-minded Metr Nikodim (Rotov) of the Soviet period.

Those of his disciples who are still alive have all had to adapt since the Jubilee Council of 2000 with its rejection of sergianism and ecumenism and canonisation of the New Martyrs and Confessors, including the Royal Martyrs, and then the acceptance of the reconciliation between the Church inside Russia and the Church Outside Russia in 2007. In other words we are now entering the second generation since the collapse of secularist-atheist ideology in the Russian Lands and so the resurrection by the purity of Holy Orthodoxy of the crucified Church inside Russia. These three senior posts that have changed hands are symbolic of a more general generational change, as Lazarus’ grave-clothes have fallen off.

Q: What do you mean by ‘Lazarus’ grave-clothes’?

A: I liken the resurrection of the Church inside Russia to the resurrection of Lazarus. This was an incredible and astounding miracle, but we should not forget that Lazarus’ grave-clothes did not smell good because the decomposition of his body had already begun. These grave-clothes are represented by the deathly, Soviet and post-Soviet (not yet Russian), phenomena and problems that have accompanied the resurrection of the Church inside Russia.

Q: What phenomena?

A: For example, inside Russia in the 1990s they were so short of priests that they ordained very easily. There were several disasters here with clearly unworthy ordinations and subsequent defrockings, sometimes for sexual misdemeanours, sometimes for financial misdemeanours. I have met such priests – I know what I speak of. Then there was the confusion between Stalinism and the Church and the total misunderstanding or even rejection of the Royal Martyrs – all as a result of the brainwashing from old Soviet propaganda and lies. Then there have been the phenomena of pro-Catholic clergy (like the assassinated Fr Alexander Men, a suspected Uniat) and the events surrounding Paris-style Russophobes, including the modernist, pro-Protestant Fr George Kochetkov, suspended at one point by Patriarch Alexis as a ‘neo-renovationist’, and the recent scandals concerning Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev and Professor Zubov (a close friend of the late Olivier Clement), who both had to be sacked. These are all people who to some extent still live in the Soviet thought world. They have never managed to shake off the spiritual and intellectual impurity of the past and so make the transition from that old-style Soviet conditioning, paradoxically mixed with a superficial Orthodoxy, to the purity of Holy Orthodoxy.

The same thing happened outside Russia, where the Church inside Russia had several unworthy and scandalous representatives, uncanonically ordained, or other representatives who are now very elderly as they were appointed in Soviet times. Fortunately, the unworthy ones have mostly died out or been moved, some very recently. According to the 2007 agreement the Church inside Russia has to prepare its parishes outside Russia (except in China and Japan, which is part of its canonical territory) for their canonical handover to ROCOR. His Holiness understandably wants this process to go smoothly, without hurting anyone’s feelings, especially those of the elderly. Therefore it will take a generation before it is completed and all moves to the purity of Holy Orthodoxy.

Q: Surely there were impurities in ROCOR also?

A: ROCOR had from the start two wings. One was the political wing whose identity was nationalistic, cultural and anti-Communist rather than simply Orthodox; the other wing, which could be called the ‘Johannite wing’, as represented by St John of Shanghai, was the mainstream of ROCOR. Our view was and is Christian. I can remember how the political and nationalist wing dominated in certain parishes, for example at the former ROCOR chapel in Paris or at the old London Cathedral, as it used to be, when it had several members who worked for MI5. Significantly, those parishes have not survived, but died.

This was because the politically-minded elements refused reconciliation with the Church inside Russia in 2007 or even before. As one of our archbishops said before 2007, reconciliation with the repentant Church inside Russia, the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors, would lead to a ‘purification’ of ROCOR. That is exactly what happened. Spiritual impurities such as extremism, phariseeism, sectarianism and fanaticism could not bear reality and love others or the purity of Holy Orthodoxy, and so that political wing left the Church for various sects. Several of the small communities concerned in North America were dominated by individuals who worked for the CIA or the Canadian Secret Services.

Q: What do you make of current political changes in the Ukraine?

A: Two weeks ago the US removed the gold reserves of the Ukraine. Then the CIA took over a floor in the offices of the Ukrainian Secret Police in Kiev and the head of the CIA, John Brennan, went to Kiev on Lazarus Saturday. The head of the CIA does not visit a foreign country without a very good reason. It was no doubt with the intention of hoping to further destabilise the Ukraine and then run it, just as it did countless Latin America banana republics and Italy and Greece after the Second World War.

Sure enough, just after that, the CIA began issuing black propaganda, sheer lies, for example about alleged persecution of the Jews in the eastern Ukraine or that President Putin had tens of billions of dollars in private bank accounts in the West, implying that he was a thief. Naturally the Western-media were fed those lies and naturally reported them. The Times of London (part of the Murdoch tabloid empire) was especially keen to report these slanders and lies.

For instance, as regards the Jews, everybody knows that the Jews were massacred by the Uniat Ukrainian SS in Galicia, the western Ukraine, which welcomed Hitler and where earlier anti-Jewish pogroms had taken place. These are facts of history. Many members of the Ukrainian (= Galician) SS, with Polish nationality, came to live in the UK and especially the US, after World War II. I know; I met some of them 30-40 years ago; some of them were frightening and admitted to killing Jews.

Today, at least 150 US mercenaries, probably being paid for by the CIA, are active against the people of the Ukraine, given that most Ukrainian soldiers and police refuse to use violence against their own people – indeed 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers have already asked for Russian nationality. Other soldiers in the eastern Ukraine have simply joined the insurrection of the Ukrainian people against the junta. We cannot see this crucifixion of the Ukraine, orchestrated in Washington and Brussels and carried out by their paid puppets in Kiev, as being successful.

Q: Why not?

A: First of all, the Ukraine is bankrupt, which is why the bankrupt US called on the world to ‘save the Ukrainian economy’. But it is too late. Prices are doubling. The poor people of the Ukraine, exploited and impoverished for 23 years by corrupt oligarchs, are spontaneously rising up against the unrepresentative, US-installed, separatist Kiev junta and its terror tactics. That regime seized power from the democratically-elected government in Kiev by violence and murder; now it is facing opposition from the Ukrainian people, who are using the same techniques as it did, in order to seize back power from it in turn. As it is written, those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. But there is chaos.

Q: Does any of this have any significance in Orthodox terms? Is it not all political?

A: All of this is highly significant for us. Today’s Russia is at last just beginning to position itself as a spiritual power, opposing the secularist atheism of the Western elite. This was Russia’s traditional role – to protect Christian civilisation both from Western barbarians and from Eastern hordes. Thus, it repelled the Mongol-Tartar yoke, encouraged moderate Islam, repelled the Charleses, Napoleons and Hitlers, liberating both Paris and Berlin, and supported the Church in the Holy Land, the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioch. Outside Eurasia Russia has always helped the peoples of the developing world, aiding them to throw off the yoke of colonialism, as did Tsar Nicholas II during the Boer War in South Africa and also in Tibet, Thailand and Ethiopia. Even the Soviet Union merely continued these policies in Africa (the territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria), Asia and Latin America.

The Russian Orthodox civilisational model, the Christian one, is quite different from the Western Catholic/Protestant model, which calls itself ‘Judeo-Christian’. Thus, the ‘civilised’ Judeo-Christian West and ‘Western values’ destroyed the native peoples of the Americas and Africa, enslaving them, massacring them like wild animals, sending them into concentration camps (‘reservations’), as the British were still doing in Kenya and Malaysia in the 1950s. Christian Russia, on the other hand, spreading across Eurasia into Alaska, left the native peoples in peace, not enslaving them or systematically exploiting them, but making them into equal allies. Today Western ‘civilisation’, which has reached its final stage of degeneration in Europe and the USA, has come to a dead end by trying to subjugate the whole world to its ruling transnational atheist elite and its corrupt New World Order pseudo-democracy. That, in fact, only gives a false choice – between one atheist oligarch and another.

Only Russia can potentially deliver the world from this civilisational dead end by providing a Non-Western and spiritual alternative. This is a geopolitical challenge and a historic turning-point. The US military-industrial complex, to use Eisenhower’s terminology, has bankrupted itself with its lust for global hegemony and us finally meeting its match in the resurgent Russian Lands. The New World Order, the near-millennial and ever accelerating movement of the Western world to enthrone Antichrist in Jerusalem, has been stopped for the moment.

The Russian Lands (Rus) are, it seems, returning to fulfilling their destiny as the last restraining force in the world, the last bastion of True Christianity. The Ukraine is a litmus paper, an acid test of this. If the Ukraine were to fall, that is, to lose its Orthodoxy, that would lead to the enthronement of Antichrist. The situation is on a knife edge, which is why so many icons in Russia and the Ukraine are at this moment giving off myrrh. We have to understand that today’s division in the Ukraine exists as the result of two historic injustices, which have to be righted

Q: Which are these injustices?

A: These two historic injustices are the events of 1054 and 1917, which are interconnected. In 1054 semi-barbarian, provincial nationalists, filled with the pride, greed and ambition of Roman paganism, rose up in heresy against the Church of Christ, the Christian Roman Empire, and declared that they were the true Church! And persecution followed 1054, with 1204, the sack of New Rome by barbarian Catholics, which in turn led to 1453, the fall of New Rome, not to mention the Western Crusades against the Russian Lands (including today’s ‘Ukraine’), and all the anti-Church horrors that followed, including Uniatism.

The second historic injustice was in 1917 when the descendants of the same provincials performed a coup d’etat in St Petersburg, overthrowing the legitimate government of the Lord’s Anointed on behalf of traitors, cowards and deceivers from inside the country who had lost their Faith. This atheist coup resulted in the martyrdom of the Christian Emperor and the destruction of his Empire, which had been about to end the First European War and liberate Constantinople (so preventing the Armenian genocide), Vienna and Berlin.

The atheist coup of 1917 also culminated in 1991 in the destruction of the legacy of the Christian Empire which had been built up over centuries by the Tsars and their peoples. That 1991 collapse of the legacy of the former Orthodox Empire, the Soviet Union, was inevitable because its atheism had denied the Faith of a Faith-based Empire. Today, in 2014, we are merely seeing the attempt to deepen that geopolitical fall, again using provincial nationalists, this time from the far west of the Ukraine, as its pawns. All that is happening now was prophesied by Solzhenitsyn in 1998. Thus, as he said then, the US and its EU colony want to dismember and separate the Ukrainian part of the remains of the Orthodox Empire, the Empire’s weakest link.

Q: Why is the Ukraine the weakest link of the former Orthodox Empire?

A: The word Ukraine is composed of two ancient Slavonic words meaning ‘at the border’ – though interestingly it could also be translated as ‘on the edge’. It was first recorded in the 12th century in this sense of a narrow strip of borderland and there exists an interesting academic article on its origins and uses for many geographical areas, including the area near Kazan. However, in its modern and non-historical sense – and so a sense completely unknown to the greatest ‘Ukrainian’ writer Gogol – the word ‘Ukraine’ was invented only in the late 19th century by the Hapsburgs. Then it was reused by the Soviets and the Nazis, and today by the US and the EU – by five empires all thoroughly hostile to the Orthodox Church. Indeed, decades ago I met old Ukrainian emigres, adults before the Revolution, who told me that they had never heard the word ‘Ukraine’ until the 1920s, when the atheists brought it in.

The contemporary Ukraine is the weakest link because at present it includes and is now run by never denazified, ultra-nationalist, Uniat Galicia, which until 1939 was part of eastern Poland. This is a schismatic, Catholicised area, which lived under foreign and anti-Orthodox – Polish and Austrian – rule for centuries. The majority of its population, just like that of the rest of Western Europe, now has no concept of uncompromised, unsecularised, non-1054 Christianity, that is, of Orthodox values. Until that area returns to Poland, or else becomes independent, it will continue to create chaos in the rest of the ‘Ukraine’, the 85% of it which is known to history not as ‘the Ukraine’, but significantly, going from east to west, as New Russia, Little Russia and Carpatho-Russia.

Q: So does this mean we should support President Putin?

A: He is only a politician and, like all politicians, he makes mistakes. The Ukraine, in some form or other, has a right to exist as an independent state, just like Belarus. It is an integral part of threefold Rus – Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus are the primary territory of Rus, the three Russias. I suspect that President Putin thinks the same thing. The last thing he wants to have to do is to send in tanks. However, he has to defend his country and Russian people against extreme Western aggression – which is what he did when he restored the Crimea to Russia amid the jubilation of its people. Otherwise the Crimea would have been invaded and occupied by the US military and its ports would have become NATO naval bases, closing off the Black Sea to Russia.

Our objection is not to an independent ‘Ukraine’, but to its domination and division by an anti-Orthodox and unrepresentative, US-installed, puppet clique in Kiev, which would mean that the Ukraine would become just another bankrupt and pillaged Western colony, like Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya etc. Divide and rule is ever the Western policy. Our support should go to the martyred Tsar Nicholas II, as he was the last ruler of All Rus, and not to politicians. We support the saints – politicians only count inasmuch as they support the saints. Again we fight for the purity of Holy Orthodoxy, not for politicians.

Q: Why has the BBC been so incredibly biased in its reporting of events in the Ukraine?

A: Since the Second World War the UK Establishment elite has become the poodle or colony of the US ruling elite (a relationship that the UK Establishment has flattered itself into calling ‘the special relationship’!) and it has taken no account of the peoples of these islands. The BBC, even more than other Western media, is biased because it is an inherent part of that Establishment elite, in the pay of a secularist-atheist regime and its secret services. It is therefore hostile to Christianity, especially to uncompromised Christianity, that is, Orthodoxy, just as it is hostile to the people, from which it is ever more distant.

The BBC has become particularly subservient to the Establishment since it dared to criticise the Blair regime’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, for which the Blairites sacked the BBC Director General and intimidated BBC journalists. Now the BBC just seems to parrot whatever MI5 and MI6 tell it. I know two BBC journalists who have also worked for the secret services, which infiltrated the BBC from its inception in the 1920s; there must be many more of them.

Thus the BBC talks of the Neo-Nazi Uniat Galician terrorists in Kiev, who overthrew a democratically-elected government as ‘heroes’, but calls the Ukrainian citizens who are rising up against foreign oppression and US mercenaries in the south-west, south, east and north, ‘pro-Russian activists!’ Nor has the BBC reported on the wave of dissatisfaction in Kiev at the doubling of many prices and the very large anti-junta demonstrations in Kiev….

Q: Some would say that your views on the Ukraine are political and that Orthodoxy should be apolitical. What would you say to this?

A: Precisely by saying that they are ‘apolitical’, such people are making a political statement. For them Orthodoxy is, like Protestantism, just a personal belief, a private affair, a mere theory or hobby, which has no public and practical ramifications, no Incarnational consequences. This is a denial of the Incarnation of Christ. What they are saying is that Christianity should have no influence at all on society, including on economics and politics, and should just be a set of private opinions or personal fantasies for futile discussion and theoretical debate.

In the meantime, they say, we should just swim with the secularist-atheist tide of US/EU apostasy, to which such people, some of them nominally Orthodox, are spiritually enslaved. However, our Faith, if it is real, has practical consequences. This is what these secularists refuse. For those who are secular-minded, religion has no importance, but for us what counts is the purity of Holy Orthodoxy. The many icons now giving off myrrh in Russia and the Ukraine only prove the spiritual significance of these current events.

Q: With the events in the Ukraine and the new puritanism of political correctness, will there be a witch-hunt and persecution of Russian Orthodoxy in the West?

A: Not yet. We have not yet come to this point; that will come later. Then we may need Russian passports and in any case have to take refuge in Russia in order to get baptized and practise our Faith. But we are not there yet.

Q: So much for the contemporary situation of the Church inside Russia. What is the situation of the Church Outside Russia, ROCOR? Some say that it no longer has any reason to exist, since the Church inside Russia also has parishes outside Russia. What is the role of ROCOR in this new reality?

A: The Orthodox diaspora, whether in Europe, the Americas or Australia, and of all nationalities, has experienced two temptation or deviations in the last 100 years or so. The role of ROCOR is to avoid them. These are the deviations of the superiority complex and the inferiority complex.

The first deviation is that of the nationalist ghetto, of the superiority complex. This means that the Orthodox Faith is preserved as if in a museum, without any reference to the surrounding world (because of the superiority complex towards it), to the reality in which the children and grandchildren of the immigrants go to school and grow up. This ethos can be called the ‘three-generational syndrome’, since after three generations such a faith dies out, as it no longer even speaks in a language comprehensible to the descendants of the original immigrants. ‘Three generations and you are out’. I have seen countless Russian parishes in France and England disappear completely because of this mentality. It was the fate of the old London ROCOR Cathedral (but this will not at all be the case of the new parish that has risen phoenix-like from its ruins), exactly as was foreseen by many in the 1970s and 1980s, but also of many parishes abroad under the Church inside Russia, which are not independent of Russia, as is today’s ROCOR.

The second deviation is that of the conformist ghetto, of the inferiority complex. This means the ‘let’s swim with the tide’ mentality. Again I have seen countless examples in France and England. ‘Let’s give communion to Catholics, after all they are Christians’ (Paris jurisdiction). ‘Now we are in England, we baptize our children in the Church of England’ (as one well-known Russian academic in Cambridge did). ‘After all, we really do not want to be different from the others’. ‘The English do cremations, so we’ll do them as well’ (the old Sourozh jurisdiction). ‘The Protestants have pews in church, so shall we’ (Greeks and Antiochians). This is the deviation of those of weak faith, the ecumenists, liberals and modernists, who do not really believe in Orthodoxy, just like the Uniats. Indeed, the atmosphere in modernist churches (as sometimes in Finland, for example) is exactly that of Uniat churches.

It is to be noted, however, that, initially at least, both these deviations are psychological, and not at root theological, though in a second phase, they are then justified theologically, clearly by a false theology. ROCOR must avoid both these deviations.
Q: So what is the role of ROCOR? What is authentic Orthodoxy in the Western world?

A: Authenticity is faithfulness to the best, and not to the worst, in both attitudes. This means being both traditional and open, both strict and merciful, but without excesses and extremes, which would mean being unfaithful. We must be faithful to the incarnation and to the spiritual, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Our calling, the establishment of authentic European Orthodox culture, as also of authentic American and Australian Orthodox culture, means being both faithful and international = fruitful. ROCOR has an opportunity to do this, depending on the purity of Holy Orthodoxy, that is, inasmuch as we can be both faithful to the Russian Orthodox Church and also be incarnate, settled and permanent here (unlike most parishes dependent on the Church inside Russia). At least, this can be the case, for as long as our spiritual existence is tolerated in the increasingly intolerant West.

Q: Do you have examples of these deviations in the specific situation of Orthodoxy in the UK?

A: Here in the UK we have two ‘renewed’ jurisdictions, those of the Romanian and Russian Churches, which in recent years have increased in size from one parish or a few parishes to many parishes, simply by immigration. However, we also have the older jurisdictions like the Greek, which used to be the biggest but is now beginning to die out, just like the Russian in the 1970s and 1980s. The Russians immigrated in about 1920 and so after 50-60 years, in the third generation, began to die out. The Greeks (more precisely Cypriots) mainly immigrated here in the 1950s and 1960s – 50-60 years ago – and so too are now dying out. This is the ‘three generational syndrome’, which I mentioned above.

There are also two tiny ethnic English jurisdictions under the Patriarchate of Antioch (anti-Greek, anti-Russian, Antiochian’, as some Anglicans say) and the Paris Exarchate (the old Bloomite Sourozh jurisdiction). These are deaneries because they are both only a few hundred strong and mostly composed of ex-vicars and converts from Anglicanism. The Exarchate is particularly weak and small and is tending to die out. They failing to pass on their ‘Anglican-Orthodox’ Faith to children and grandchildren and so are dying. Their possible possible survival can only come from attracting Greeks, Romanians and others, not from attracting Anglicans.

Here I am much more optimistic about the future survival of the Antiochian Deanery, which is rapidly becoming Romanian. However, it still has to ordain clergy who are not ex-Anglican vicars. Here there is a very useful lesson to learn: all ethnic jurisdictions die out – including ethnic English jurisdictions. In other words, successful parishes – of all jurisdictions – are non-ethnic, that is, they live if they accept those whom God sends to them, without ethnic ghettoism, including Anglican or ex-Anglican clubbishness. In other words, they live only if they put the Faith above nationality, only if they put the Kingdom of God first.

Q: Does this mean that the convert movement in the UK has stopped?

A: The convert movement (I would prefer the word ‘trickle’) in the UK was only ever basically in England and it was always very small, concerning at most 2,000-3,000, many of whom were received by various jurisdictions without preparation and soon lapsed. There is still at least one ex-Anglican priest, like the late Metr Antony Bloom, who perhaps is his model, who receives within one week! You can imagine that his turnover is large. In 18 years he has not grown. It is true that the convert ‘movement’ has declined as the old generation of converts dies out, but it has not stopped. What it happening today is that Anglicans have largely stopped joining the Orthodox Church and trying to become Orthodox, which actually they often did not succeed in doing in any case.

Q: Why have they stopped?

Firstly, because Anglicanism is itself dying out, so there are even fewer Anglicans than before. Secondly, because those who are interested generally find Orthodoxy ‘too hard’ and either do not try to become Orthodox (if they try at all) or else give up very quickly, especially if they have been received prematurely by one of the ethnic English groups.

Q: So there are no more converts?

A: There are still converts, but they come more and more from the vast majority of English people who are not Anglicans. However, though there are fewer converts, they are now generally more serious. They are refreshing, blank sheets, without the cultural prejudices and baggage of Anglicanism. Here there is a future. English Orthodox culture could only be born when that prejudiced Establishment Anglican culture was dead. Authentic Orthodox culture could never be built on a compromised, semi-Orthodox, semi-Anglican faith.

Q: How are people being converted today?

A: There are two ways. One is through information about Orthodoxy which is today on the internet and then brings them to Church services. The other is through Orthodox wives whom they marry and who convert them. Orthodox wives are often very good missionaries.

Q: You have not mentioned those who did not support the reconciliation between the two parts of the Russian Church in 2007 and left to join various sects which existed already. How do they fit into the picture? Do they suffer from the superiority complex of the nationalist ghetto? Surely they do not suffer from the inferiority complex of the conformists?

A: They do not belong to nationalist ghettoes, as much as to ideological or psychological, sectarian, ghettoes, usually very Russophobic and very right-wing – such was the case even before they left ROCOR. In the USA, from what one of their bishops proudly writes and tells me, they seem to be linked to the CIA. There are among these people, and most are converts from Anglicanism or other forms of Protestantism, some very sincere and pious people, but also some with psychological problems. It is tragic. Sects are always based on hurt pride which then turns to hatred.

Such protest sects make themselves irrelevant, not only because they are tiny (often fewer than ten in number over the whole country), but also because they have played into the hands of this world by painting themselves into irrelevant corners. They have no influence because they focus so much on small and often ritualistic detail and individual opinions, with a negative, ‘anti-everything’ mentality. What they lack is a conscious, logically consistent and integral Orthodox world view, an overview. That is very important and all Orthodox need to develop such a world view.

Q: Do you think that the Inter-Orthodox Council will actually take place in 2016?

A: On paper, no, especially since the amazing, absurd and pretentious claims of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Ukraine, as described in the statement of Patriarch Bartholomew on Palm Sunday, which was surely written by the CIA. In the 1970s there could be no Council because the Russian Church inside Russia was controlled by the KGB; now we have Constantinople controlled by the CIA. That statement alone has surely set everything back until after the death of Patriarch Bartholomew.

However, everything is still possible – if the Greek Churches can overcome their vanity and inferiority complex, which the American State Department so plays on and exploits, and if they and the other Balkan Churches can overcome their phyletism (nationalism). Thus, at present three problems are outstanding and until they are solved they will stop this Council taking place.

Q: Which are?

A: Firstly, there is the territorial dispute between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem. Secondly, there is the dispute between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia and, thirdly, that between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).

These three problems all have to be solved before even a proper agenda (rather than the old, secularist, Protestant-style 1970s one) can be agreed. So 2016 is possible, but the Patriarchate of Constantinople will first have to liberate itself from outside political interference from the US government, which is forcing it to interfere in the Ukraine and Mt Athos, and from the Vatican. So Constantinople must demonstrate that it is free and independent and can actually speak with an Orthodox voice and not a Greek nationalist and Uniat voice. Metropolitans Andrew and Seraphim of the Church of Greece have already warned it about this quite clearly in their 89-page letter asking for the repentance of Pope Francis.

Q: Do you think in this context that the Church inside Russia could take back the autocephaly of the OCA in order to ease negotiations with Constantinople?

A: I think that for the Church inside Russia the OCA is a bargaining counter. We all know that there is a problem with the autocephaly of the OCA, the brainchild (not heartchild) of the highly controversial Fr Alexander Schmemann. Firstly, it was granted during the Cold War by the self-same, highly controversial Metr Nikodim (Rotov), whom we mentioned at the beginning of this conversation, and whom the Roman Catholics claim to have been one of their cardinals. So it was dubious from the start.

However, secondly and much more importantly, how can you give a jurisdiction autocephaly when it has been in schism from you for decades (as was the pre-OCA Metropolia) and, above all, when it only includes a minority of the Orthodox who live on the same geographical territory? However, the Church inside Russia will not cede these points if Constantinople does not first abandon its own anti-canonical errors elsewhere, for example on Mt Athos, in the Ukraine, Estonia, Finland and Paris, returning Russian Church property to the Russian Church.

Q: What could happen to the OCA, if Constantinople did stop such anti-canonical interventions?

That would be a miracle, so who knows? I suppose one solution would be to take back the OCA’s autocephaly and grant it autonomy instead. Alternatively, you could wait until the present generation of OCA bishops, many of them in difficult and compromised situations or retired, die out. Then, after that generational change, you could pick up the pieces and reincorporate the ex-OCA into the Russian Church in North America, though letting ultra-liberal, dissident pieces which are perhaps beyond redemption (St Vladimir’s Seminary?) join Constantinople or simply go back to the Episcopalians. The OCA too can only survive if it moves towards being a group based on the purity of Holy Orthodoxy.

Bright Monday 2014