Category Archives: The Church

The Main Problem of the Contemporary Orthodox World

Introduction

From time to time over the decades I have heard conversations among Orthodox about ‘What the problem with the Orthodox world is’. Some I have heard say: ‘The episcopate’. Others say: ‘Lack of leadership’. Others: ‘Lack of pastors’. Others: ‘Uneducated clergy’. Others: ‘Infrequent communion’. Others: ‘There are not enough churches’. Others: ‘Politics’. Others: ‘There’s not enough money’. Others: ‘Too much money’. Others: ‘Ecumenism’ (how old-fashioned that word sounds now). Listening to such conversations among those older than myself, many years ago I came to my own much more radical, but perhaps also much more obvious, conclusion which I present below. Let me give some examples.

The Problem of the Episcopate

Here one of the great problems is that, with very weak monastic life, Orthodox bishops are drawn from a very small pool of candidates. Here we must also recall that, even if there were strong monastic life, most monks are in any case not at all suitable to become bishops: the very ‘monastic’ monk makes a disastrous bishop, as he has no concept of family life and the general realities of life in the world. If they do become bishops they make the most crass decisions out of naivety, ordaining bandits and perverts and not ordaining the suitable.

Indeed, real monks flee even the possibility of the episcopate and have to be taken kicking and screaming for consecration. In some Local Churches, the situation is so dire that just any celibate can become a bishop, especially if he belongs to the right local wealthy family (one of four?). His faith is not very important, but being celibate and being from the right local wealthy family are. As a result, there are a lot of bishops who are bureaucrats, diplomats or just academics. Faith in Christ really does not count very much with them at all.

The main aim of the bishop-bureaucrat, ‘administrator’ or ‘effective manager’ (the Russian jargon) is to collect money and property, so gathering power into his hands. After all, marble, gold and flashy vestments, flats and cars need hard cash. How else can you show off how prestigious and powerful you are? A few years ago we saw one who had been appointed to another diocese. His first act was to buy himself a very fancy car.

That was him finished. Half the flock turned away at once and never returned. And frankly, why should they have? The previous bishop had travelled by public transport and had been respected for that, though admittedly he had travelled very little. The new bishop still could not understand how he had alienated half his flock in his first week (he only realised this about a year afterwards). Some years later he was removed after a large amount of money had disappeared……Another failure in a long line in that particular diocese, which appears to have a suicide wish, ordaining the incompetent and banishing the competent.

But why does a bishop need a chauffeur or a cook or a chancellery and to issue decrees (which are usually ignored anyway)? Ordinary people do not have a chauffeur or a cook or a chancellery and does not issue decrees. If they did, they too would soon find themselves as despised and ignored as their bishops.

Bishops are given power, which some of them think means suspending, depriving of living and home or defrocking righteous priests (and others) and ordaining their corrupt yes-men favourites in their place. Some cultivate this power into a kind of feudal arbitrary rule, the ability to strike terror and intimidate. It is impossible to pray with such bishops because they are bullies who simply traumatise. Little wonder that in one Local Church there is actually a trade-union for priests to defend themselves against such bullies.

The fear of some Synods of bishops to stand up to such bullies whom they themselves appointed discredits the episcopate because there are whole Synods which fall into cowardice and let the corrupt go on for years. There has to be another way, the way of justice. Let us make clear that we are not talking about those who deserve suspension and defrocking according to the canons. The very real fear of priests of being utterly unjustly suspended and defrocked is not their fault. It is the fault of tyrannical and unChristian bishops, who do not know the word Love. Trauma reigns. As for trust, that went out of the window decades ago.

Then there are the bishops who are mere diplomats or book-lovers, who hide in their cathedrals, never visiting their crumbling dioceses, and remain unknown to their flocks. They prefer speaking at conferences for intellectuals.

We have witnessed the disgraceful conduct of certain bishops in the last year in relation to covid. Terrorised by the vague possibility of death with covid, they have closed themselves down and closed down their dioceses, threatening their priests with suspension and defrocking, if they so much as serve the liturgy or visit the sick, as in one group in one Diaspora country.  These conformists are those who, wishing to swim with the atheist State tide, go over and above even the demands of the atheist State in closing down their churches. The concept of churches in the catacombs is totally alien to such bishops, as they are totally integrated into the local Establishment (and local masonic lodge). I have had people asking if such bishops have any faith at all. In answer, I shrug my shoulders and look to the heavens. The fact is, I just don’t know.

On ordination 36 years ago I was told by an elderly Russian priest that ‘whatever you do, don’t contact the bishop unless it’s an emergency, you will annoy him’. Indeed, there are bishops I have heard of who actually forbid their clergy to contact them or make contact impossible because they refuse to answer any form of communication. They don’t want problems, and yet they are happy to interfere in the details of pastoral life and upset clergy and people alike, thus creating problems. Their heavy-handedness defies definition. One new and power-crazy bishop we know managed to alienate his whole diocese in just nine months. A quite remarkable feat. Surely a record? Unless you know better….

The Problem of the Priesthood

There are priest-careerists. You can tell them a mile off. Even the most unchurched person knows them. It is as though they carry an odour about them. And the odour is not that of eau-de-cologne, but the foul stench of money.

On the other hand, if you allow a married priesthood, as Christ did, it is only natural that the priest should earn enough money to look after his family. There are Orthodox bishops who condemn the cash-saving Roman Catholic solution, that is, imposing celibates only (sometimes homosexuals, sometimes worse). And that is exactly what some bishops do: ordain a 22-year-old, make him archimandrite and there you have it: a cheap parish priest.

Only, as happens quite often (I have known many examples), by the time they are 30 they want to get married. And they do. Not so far from here, we know a married archimandrite with two children, though his bishop left him priest. And actually I don’t blame him for doing so, but the bishop who ordained the married archimandrite at an uncanonical age. Another bishop we met, in the then Rue Daru group, would only ordain priests with two children or fewer. Those who did not use contraception could not be ordained: they were too expensive. The hypocrisy.

The problem is that such events do nothing to create respect for the clergy and parish life. The simple solution: in a small parish with 100 wage-earners, ask them to contribute 1% of their salary to the priest’s salary. This would mean that the priest would earn exactly the average salary of all his parishioners. If it is a medium-sized parish with 200 wage-earners, they will contribute 0.5% of their salary. Etc.

This brings us to the next and massive problem.

That is the lack of parishes. There are quite a few (though probably only a fifth of the number required) church buildings, but a parish is a different matter. A church is a building you ‘go to’ as often or as rarely as you want, for five minutes once a year (like the thousands who, I am told, ‘go to…’ (a church where there are never more than 200 present at any one time). There are others who attend a church at least three times a week and come before the start and leave after the end. Only they are parishioners. A parish is a community to which you belong, of which you are a member. And parishioners are people who socialise and help each other outside Sundays.

In Russia and most of ex-Communist Eastern Europe, parish life was almost completely destroyed by the Communists. Though, in truth, often parish life was very often very weak even before the Communists came. Which is precisely why the Communists came…..

To create a Church family, which is what a parish is, is not easy. It takes years. There are different nationalities, different ages, people live in different places, often far apart. And this brings us to our next section.

The Problem of the People

Most Orthodox Christians the world over are only nominal. This nominalism is the ‘hatch, match, dispatch’ variety. In other words, they go (at best) to church three times in a lifetime, for baptism, wedding and funeral. They are not Churched Orthodox, who belonged to the Church, whose priority is the Church. Some people ask why a Revolution in ‘Orthodox Russia’ took place. It was because of nominalism. When there is an attack on the Faith, the first people to lapse and even overnight become enemies of the Church are the nominal. Thus, in Soviet Russia, most of the militant Communists, from Stalin downwards, were baptised Orthodox. They were obviously not Churched Orthodox. Thus, we can see the fragility of ‘Orthodox countries’, where the majority are only nominal Orthodox. We can see the same fragility today in Greece and Romania, where the clergy are State-paid. A fragility which worries. Those countries hang by a thread.

Nominalism is precisely why confession and communion are infrequent. Confession and communion, though two separate sacraments, together form a statement that we are Christians, that we repent and that we partake of Christ, the Head of the Church. Both are equally important, which is why they are so frequent and so closely linked. Some common questions of the baptised but unChurched are: What is confession? What is communion? I have never had them. Why can’t you give communion to my (unbaptised) baby? We now have the extraordinary Roman Catholic practice in the Greek Churches of communion always, but confession never. And they actually justify that as normal! What is this world that we live in?

Many people like to blame ‘the Church’ for everything. This sounds like a blasphemy, as the Church is Christ’s, His Mother’s (Who is the Mother of the Church), His saints’ and His angels’. However, by ‘the Church’, they do not actually mean Christ (which is what ‘Church’ means), but the clergy.

Yes, we are aware of the faults of the clergy (see the extensive lists above), but what about the faults of the people? The people statistically make up 2,444 out of every 2,445 Orthodox (90,000 bishops, priests and deacons out of 220 million), 99.945% of the Church. Where is the responsibility for the Faith of the people, their consciousness of belonging to ‘the royal priesthood’? Why this passive, consumerist attitude? This is not the attitude of Church people.

Some people blame the clergy for the obvious lack of missionary work. But it is much more their responsibility, as they are the vast majority. If nothing is done inside parishes, in internal missionary work, nothing can be done outside parishes, in external missionary work. Why is that we have to wait for bishops and priests to set up parishes, buy church buildings, do missionary work? All should start at the grassroots. And where do the clergy come from? They come from the people. Clergy are not born clergy! Is there truth in the old and harsh saying that: ‘The people get the clergy they deserve?’ The lack of zeal among the people for upright bishops surely results in what we have. We should not complain about our situation when it is our own fault.

Conclusion

What is the main problem of the Orthodox world? In my view, it is undoubtedly its sheer lack of Orthodoxy. At all three levels, as described above. This means the lack of dogmatic understanding and the lack of works of love, in other words, the lack of love, which in fact are the result of each other. For if you do not love God, you will not love your neighbour or yourself. Put simply: No respect for God = no respect for others = no self-respect.

Whenever in Church history the faithful people, most parish priests and monastics and the freely-appointed bishops have combined to defend the Faith against tyrants and monsters, they have created an unstoppable force, a force which radically changes the course of history. Why? Because they realise that they, only together, are the Church.

 

The Battle for the Holy Spirit

All who are hostile to the Orthodox Christian Faith, whatever label they may carry, including a superficial label of ‘Orthodox’, are hostile to the Holy Trinity, though in different ways.

Thus, Pagans reject God the Father, preferring instead to make idols of mere creation, so worshipping itself. Like the Hindus, in a multitude of gods and goddesses, a sun-god, a moon-god, an earth-god, a king-god, a wind-god, a sea-god, a river-god etc. As animists, they worship spirits, including their own bodies and minds, like the Buddhists, not understanding that any such spirits are fallen human spirits or else, worse still, the fallen spirits of the demons. The only Spirit we can know and worship is the Holy Spirit.

Thus, Heretics reject God the Son, rejecting either His Divinity, like the Jews, the Arians, the Nestorians and the Muslims, or else His humanity, like the Monophysites.

Thus, Western Secularists reject God the Holy Spirit, preferring the values of this world. Therefore they replace the Holy Spirit, Who is the Authority and the Power and the Spirit of the Church, with a Pope in Rome, then with any white man, including Stalin or Hitler, and finally with any human-being who thinks himself equal to the Holy Spirit according to his ‘human rights’. So the world turns full circle and reverts to Paganism, under the humanist delusion of being clever, it narcissistically worships itself.

Thus, lapsed Orthodox replace Him with worldliness, disguised either as a flag-waving nationalism, or as a post-Soviet, get-rich-quick culture which in all practical terms is atheist, or as a spiritually feeble imitation of Western culture, or as a mere right-wing conservative ideology of dictatorial power. All these reject the Revelation of the Holy Spirit.

In order to battle for the Holy Spirit, for nearly 50 years we have called on Christ, the Mother of God and on the Saints of all ages and lands. For though not of this world, the voices of the Saints are the bearers of the Holy Spirit in this world, and in all ages and in all lands, thus witnessing against Pagans, Heretics, Western Secularists and lapsed Orthodox.

The Persecution of the Church after the Greek Schism at Christmas 2019

The foundation of a US-run fake Church in the Ukraine, in fact just another renovationist organism, by Greek bishops in Istanbul has created a global schism in the Orthodox Church, with a small minority of nationalist Greeks falling away from the Orthodox Church. The time of cleansing has come. Those who prefer their nation to Christ are falling away visibly, whether in the Ukraine, in Greece, in Romania, in Georgia, in Serbia and wherever it may be.

It all began with the attempted imposition by violence of ecumenism and then the secular calendar on us Christians 100 years ago. Then they introduced liturgical modernism and then pews and chairs into the churches (the weak in faith cannot even stand for Christ) and finally they began homosexualising the episcopate.

All must now ask themselves: Are you with the Church of God or against? Clearly those bishops and priests who prefer to obey their local atheist US ambassador, and not Christ, are against God and have now fallen away from communion with the Church. This schism is now worldwide, with up to 1% of the world’s 220 million Orthodox Christians falling away from the Church. What is the situation after a year of this Greek schism?

The Russian Church has now sent priests to Turkey to look after genuine Orthodox there. May the Patriarchate in Moscow have the courage to set up an Orthodox Exarchate for Turkey and begin missionary work there.

The Orthodox in the New World Diasporas (The Americas, Australia and Western Europe) are now splitting into Orthodox and schismatics, with all those under Constantinople falling away from communion into its nationalist, semi-Uniat LGBT heresy.

In Greece the persecution is now severe, with bishops and even priests visited by agents of the American Embassy in Athens and threatened with violence, destitution and suspension. One Russian bishop is receiving a letter every day from priests in various parts of Greece who wish to leave the apostate hierarchy in Athens, who are under the jackboot of the atheist US Embassy. Where is the hierarchy’s spirit of the martyrs? Most are now totally discredited, for a mess of US pottage they have sold their souls.

The Russian parishes in Africa have withdrawn from the irresponsible and schismatic Patriarch in Egypt, (whose claim to the whole of Africa only goes back to the 1920s). May the Patriarchate in Moscow have the courage to set up an Orthodox Exarchate for Africa and its native Orthodox and begin missionary work there.

The US Embassy in Montenegro has fomented a schism there through its puppet mafia regime. Montenegro is the Serbian Church’s Ukraine. The tactics of persecution and intimidation run by the US elite are the same everywhere. Not very intelligent, they have only a one-track mind for its operations. For the US State Department the whole world is just its banana republic and the Church of God is just another organization to be corrupted by local mafias. But God is not mocked, as that State Department will soon see.

The Evil Empire, called the USA, was already under its previous dictator Obama assassinating anyone anywhere in the world from its drones. The present regime in Washington is only continuing this murderous policy. No-one is safe and now a war could start with Iran.

Are we pessimistic? No! Not in the least! For God is with us!

From:

Orthodox Colchester

The Christian Christmas, 25 December 2019 / 7 January 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

Introduction

When we realize that we may not have much longer to live, it is time to set down for posterity the conclusions that we have reached from our experience of life about the Church, from which all else flows.

For us the Church means the Orthodox Church: there is no other. Outside the Church there are only breakaway fragments with their historic remains, either greater or lesser vestiges of the Church. Similarly, Christianity means Orthodox Christianity or, for short, Orthodoxy – it is the same thing. Outside Christianity there can only be vestiges of Christianity.

Russia

Ever since the fall of the Second Rome (New Rome or Constantinople) in 1453, Russia has been the Third Rome. Some little-believing Russians have interpreted this in a crude, nationalistic way. Such should keep their primitivism to themselves, with their wild ideas that the centralizing Ivan IV or even the odious atheist and executioner of millions, Stalin, might be saints. It is notable that such nationalism is always centralizing, as we saw in the case of the disastrous centralism of the Soviet Union, which was so detested by all its victims. There is no place for such nationalism in the Church, which confesses the unity in diversity of Trinitarian theology and culture.

Since the Apostasy of the Third and Last Rome in 1917, the world has been living on borrowed time, for a Fourth Rome there shall not be. This extra time has been loaned to us so that many new saints, mainly martyrs, could appear, that is, this extra time has been and is still for the sake of repentance. Only when there is no more repentance will there be no more saints, and only then will the world end. Moreover, through the Mercy of God, Who allowed the sacrifice of these saints, it is possible that the Third Rome may yet be restored.

As the Third Rome has not been restored as yet, this must be because the people have only half-repented. Thus, the revolting remains of the atheist monster Lenin lie in Moscow and his name and statues still pollute the whole of the Russian Federation. The areas around Saint Petersburg and Ekaterinburg are still called Leningrad and Sverdlovsk, named after those mass-murderers, just as very many other places and streets are named after other mass-murderers. And all this meets with acceptance by the masses of unrepentant.

Elder Nikolai (Guryanov) said: Russia will not be raised up until people realize who our Tsar Nicholas was’. Indeed, many of those who died for the Royal Martyrs have not yet been canonized and are still despised and denounced, including by so-called ‘theologians’. As mere rationalists, intellectually full but spiritually empty, they do not have the mystical sense of history which is vital to understand spiritual reality. And much else in the restoration of Christianity in Russia is, like such ‘theologians’, still very superficial and nominal. There is much gold in a few places with much corruption, superstition and careerism, and there is still very far to go elsewhere.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople

In 1917 the Tsar was betrayed by the Russian elite in 1917, which event the world calls in its way ‘the Russian Revolution’, though it was in fact nothing of the sort but rather a descent into hell on earth. After this, it was almost inevitable that the leadership of the tiny Patriarchate of Constantinople – and others allied to its worldly spirit – would take, as they saw it, advantage of the situation, so falling into temptation.

Thus, the temptation of its Greek nationalism, which had already led to the initial downfall of the Second Rome in 1453, meant that after the fall of Orthodox Russia the Second Rome would make an uncanonical bid to dominate the whole Church. This would mean once more compromising itself in syncretism, putting its racial pride above Christ, like the Jews of old.

This is what that Patriarchate had already done at the so-called Council of Florence almost 500 years before 1917, just as the Papacy of Rome had already done in the eleventh century. So New Rome tragically engineered its final downfall, just like Old Rome before it. Although the nationalism with which Constantinople is infected is only anti-Christian worldliness, that Patriarchate has fallen to this spiritual disease.

This disease broke out again nearly 100 years ago under the British-appointed Patriarch Meletios (at a cost of £100,000 in the money of that time) and, from 1948 on, under the US-appointed Patriarch Athenagoras and his successors, like the present one (at a cost today, it is said, of $25,000,000). We now see a Patriarchate of Constantinople (and its branch in the Ukraine) which advocates homosexuality – no surprise given that many of its representatives are more or less openly so and are friends with similar – and worse – circles in the Vatican. But we still hope for repentance.

The Western World and Europe

Creating itself 1,000 years ago on the ruins of Roman Imperialist paganism and Germanic barbarism, the Western world was from the start inherently built on racial pride. It claimed, through what it called its ‘theology’, in fact its self-justifying ideology, that God through the Holy Spirit had given it absolute authority over the whole world. Its leader, variously called pope, emperor, king and, today, president, had replaced God. God, apparently, has always whispered in their ears and told them what to do, ensuring that Western leaders have always been right, infallible.

In order to prove this spiritual delusion, ‘the West’ became the ruthless enemy of ‘the Rest’, and so the destroyer of all other world civilizations through organized violence with astonishing military technology, born of its aggressive and arrogant self-belief. It has always attempted to undermine the elites of other civilizations through its ideology and so sabotage the religious foundations of other civilizations (all civilizations are founded on religious belief) by secularizing them and so overthrowing them. This we can see very clearly in the history of Russia and, again today, in the classic case of the Westernization of the once glorious and famous, but now inglorious and shameless, Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Western ideology replaced God with man, for it is Anti-Trinitarian and therefore Anti-God, Anti-Patriotic and Anti-Family. It replaced God the Father with the idol of Money (Mammon), which is why the linchpin of its ideology is called ‘Capital-ism’. It replaced the Incarnation of the Son into social life with the ideology of Power and so created artificial Unions of countries where Power could be concentrated among the oligarchic few of the elite or ‘establishment’. And it replaced the Sanctification by the Holy Spirit of personal life with Sin, disguised with words like humanism, individualism, freedom and democracy. Thus, its idolization of the Anti-Trinity of Money, Power and Sin, which sum up its ideology. And it is precisely these idolatrous values, which began in Europe which will lead to the end of the world.

Europe is a purely artificial construct – it does not exist. In reality, Europe, meaning ‘the West’ is only the north-westernmost tip of the single Continent of Eurasia, meaning ‘the West-East’. Its Asian part is the foundation of all World Religions: Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Today’s European Union is thus an isolationist myth, a power-grab of its elite, and it will not survive. Having now abandoned both its Roman Catholic and its Protestant forms of Secularism, its remaining atheist form of Secularism is bringing it to suicide. Europe can now only survive if it becomes part of a Northern Eurasian Confederation, that is, if it repents for its thousand-year long apostasy and returns to being part of Orthodox Christian Civilization.

England and My Destiny

‘Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones’.

King John 4, 3. 10

England is my home. My home is not Britain, which is an artificial invention of foreign political elites and establishments, whether pagan Roman, barbarian Norman or atheist Hanoverian. As the political construct of a foreign elite, Britain as a political unit is destined to disappear.

The three countries of the British Isles, England, Scotland and Wales, soon all to gain independence from the British Establishment elite, together with a fourth, the still-to-be-reunited Ireland, may yet one day, after independence, form a loose and voluntary Confederation. This will perhaps be called ‘Iona’, ‘The Isles of the North Atlantic’, as its peoples learn to live together in peace, respecting one another.

I have had a destiny, I have had to follow the law of my being. I have had a very long way to go. The great-grandson of a Suffolk ploughman had to become a Russian Orthodox priest, against all the odds of all the elites.

In common with St John of Shanghai, I have been internationally-minded and have been put on trial by nationalists and secularists hiding inside the Church, who have continually frustrated my hopes.  I could have done so much more, but was not allowed to. A little like the island-Elder Nikolai (Guryanov), I have in my poor little way lived in isolation, as on an island.

Three Miracles

Nevertheless, as only the Truth sets free, I have always battled against injustices, even if I had had little hope of success either in my lifetime or ever. However, as God is great and many others have also fought against the same injustices, I have seen three extraordinary miracles worked in my lifetime.

After a near ninety-year wait, I have seen a Bishop at last appointed for our Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland, as the Church Outside Russia comes to be the Church of the English-speaking world. This I struggled for unceasingly.

After a near sixty-year wait, I have seen the English, Irish and all Western Saints accepted back into the Church. That was a tremendous battle in the pre-internet age against the bishops who were so hostile, even as recently as 2016. Now, with several of these saints included in the Russian Orthodox calendar, the dam has burst. Now others, in the USA, Switzerland and Russia, younger than me and with more time and means, have taken up the writing of their Lives and continue what we began.

After a near thirty-year wait, I have seen the miracle of unity, the reunion of all three parts of the Russian Church, for which, together with thousands of others, I battled. As a result, I have also at last seen a Russian Orthodox Exarchate formed in Western Europe (with another one in South-East Asia).

Conclusion

Everything comes to him who waits and persists, for patience is the mother of virtues. I thank God for these and many other, personal, miracles. What I have prayed for these fifty years, and what others before me have prayed for, has eventually come to pass, in ways and at times far beyond what I expected. God’s Providence is always far greater and far better than we expect. True, the historic injustice of the overthrow of England and its substitution by an alien Establishment, committed in 1066, and the historic injustice of the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas by the betrayal of the Russian elite in 1917, have not yet been righted through restorations, though even here I still have hope.

Today, against the deviations of nationalist and modernist Constantinople, we offer the White Russian and the Old English, the Imperial and the Fair, the Spiritual and the Free, the Noble and the Elegant, the Manly and the Womanly. Whatever they have done to me, it has not mattered, because I have always known that the last words in history will be Christ’s. And if we remain faithful to them, then all will be well.