Category Archives: The New Martyrs

On the Martyrdom of St Gregory the New

The wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand.

Daniel 12, 10

There exists over a century’s worth of ridiculous articles, books and films slandering the Orthodox elder, prophet and new martyr Gregory Rasputin. These hundreds of works are based on atrocious vilification and blatant lies, for the purposes of self-justification, which initially permitted the illegal seizure of power in Russia, and later of sexual titillation and lurid sensationalism in order to satisfy money-grubbing greed. As an example, one relatively recent work, claiming authority!, ‘The Last (sic) Word’, written by the Soviet playwright, Edvard Radzinsky and published in 2000 in this country, is just more pulp fiction mascarading as pseudo-scientific history. It too was duly translated into various Western languages to titillate those who want more salacious, tabloid-style stories and earn the publishers and author millions.

However, since 2000, serious works in Russian, the untranslated seven volumes by Sergey Fomin and the untranslated studies by Alexander Bokhanov, Yury Rassulin, Igor Evsin, Tatiana Mironova and Oleg Platonov, all serious historians and researchers, have disproved the conscious and unconscious slanders against Gregory Rasputin-Novy. The figure of St Gregory the New, venerated by the holy elder Nikolai (Guryanov), has now emerged and we are able to establish the details of his martyrdom. In this we have been helped, strangely enough, by two English writers, Andrew Cook (1), an investigative journalist, and Dr Richard Cullen, a former expert in forensics with the Metropolitan Police (2), who have both exposed the involvement of British spies in the torture and murder.

Although both non-Russian speakers and so both naively and ignorantly repeating the absurd background slanders against St Gregory, their interest has mainly been in official British involvement and the details of his appalling torture and murder, carried out by a ruthless British spy with the help of decadent Russian traitors. And that is new. Thanks to their investigations, we now know almost exactly how in the last hours of his life on earth Gregory Rasputin was tortured, who tortured and killed him and why. In reality, the first murder of the so-called ‘Russian Revolution’ was committed by a British secret agent. Let us sum up the still unchallenged and perhaps definitive findings of Cook and Cullen about Gregory’s last hours on earth in Petrograd, today’s Saint Petersburg.

According to eyewitnesses, Gregory was picked up from his flat at 64 Gorokhovaya Street in the then capital by the fabulously rich, Oxford-educated Prince Felix Yusupov around midnight on 16/29 – 17/30 December 1916. He left with him in a car driven by another plotter, the Polish Dr Stanislav Lazovert. He was taken to the Yusupov Moyka Place, having been enticed to a meeting in a basement dining room there, chosen as it was virtually soundproof and would muffle any noise. Apart from Prince Yusupov, a bisexual transvestite and occultist, also present were Grand Duke Dmitri Romanov, also a notorious and amoral loose liver (later known for a relationship with Coco Chanel), a vulgar, anti-Semitic politician called Vladimir Purishkevich, an army officer and friend of Yusupov called Sergey Sukhotin and a British spy called Oswald Rayner.

Rayner had been a close friend of Yusupov in Oxford in 1909. He had studied modern languages at Oriel College from 1907-10 and Yusupov had studied Fine Art for four years from 1909-1913 at nearby University College, where he had taken drugs. They may have been involved in a homosexual sex affair with each other, as is common in the British Establishment and is today the pride of its secret services (3). After Oxford Rayner was eventually to become one of four British spies working for the SIS (4) in Petrograd. The others were the head of the SIS in Petrograd, Samuel Hoare (later a discredited, Fascist-appeasing Conservative politician, who became known as Sir Samuel and Viscount Templewood), who was a friend of the equally unscrupulous Purishkevich, and two lesser British agents, John Scale and Stephen Alley, also involved in the plot to murder Gregory.

Once at the Yusupov Palace after midnight on Saturday 17/30 December, Gregory was given wine to drink and plied with cakes laced with tiny amounts of potassium cyanide. The dose was incompetently administered according to the study by Alexander Bokhanov and so weak that Gregory suffered at most a minor headache and stomach-ache. So he was tortured by the professional sadist Rayner, leading to ‘a slow, lingering and painful death’ (5) in the basement room. Firstly, he was attached with a garrotte around his neck, either seated or else spread-eagled against a wall (5). His face and body were then beaten with a cosh, with which his genitals were also crushed, which must have been agonizing. He was also knifed in the left side and at some point his right eyeball was gouged out, an injury probably caused by Yusupov’s shoe.

After these tortures, carried out at about 2.30 am and in any case not later than 4.00 am on Saturday 17/30 December, Gregory was shot three times. This was done at point blank range, from less than eight inches (20 cm). One shot went through his stomach and liver and the other was fired from behind the kidney. These were fired from two different weapons, possibly from a Browning by Yusupov and a Sauvage by Purishkevich (Grand Duke Dmitry swore an oath that he had not killed Gregory). These wounds did not stop Gregory from trying to make the sign of the cross (the fingers of his right hand were set in this pose) before a fatal third shot, from a .455 Webley, standard British issue, a smaller calibre weapon than those used for the first two shots, was fired at point blank range into his forehead. This killed the prophet Gregory outright. It was the feast day of the holy prophet Daniel, a quotation from whose book (Dan 5, 30) was later found in the house where the Tsar and his family and servants were martyred eighteen months later.

Gergory’s body was covered in a cloth, variously described as a curtain or a robe, the legs and arms tied with rope and then wrapped in Gregory’s beaver fur coat, which could not be disposed off otherwise. It was taken by the driver Lazovert, Rayner and probably other conspirators, either British spies or else Sukhotin, through the secluded rear entrance of the Palace and bundled into a car, no doubt the same one as before. This was driven to the nearby Bolshoy Petrovsky Bridge near Krestovsky island, where the body was thrown into a large ice hole, no doubt reconnoitred beforehand, in the Malaya Nevka river, which flows into the Gulf of Finland. On being thrown into the river, the body bounced off the fourth bridge support, which further injured the head, and an overshoe fell off onto the ice. The flow of the water should have carried the body away, ensuring that it disappeared for ever. It did not.

That it did not, that no weights were attached to the body and that human blood was found on the parapet of the bridge and an overshoe on the ice were all basic mistakes of the conspirators. In reality, thanks to the finding of the blood, the overshoe and the bad choice of site, the body was recovered by the river bank just two days later, on the morning of Monday 19 December 2016/1 January 2017, only some seventy yards from where it had been thrown in. In Western countries it was New Year’s Day 1917. Meanwhile, Purishkevich and Romanov stayed in the Palace, toasting one another, and cleared up the mess, also shooting a Palace dog. This was done so that the corpse of the dog would explain away the noise of the first three shots that had killed Gregory, in case they had been heard and any possible traces of blood. All the above is a reconstruction from the Russian autopsy and modern forensic investigation of evidence and photographs of the corpse.

All of this had been a carefully and cynically planned conspiracy, with everything being prepared beforehand over several weeks, if not months. After the murder, Yusupov and Purishkevich both lied about what had happened in their conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Both of them had prepared fictionalized and dramatized stories in self-justification. These fabrications were related soon after the events, carefully concealing any British involvement, which would have ruined relations between Great Britain and Russia. So why was Gregory murdered? The classic excuse was because Great Britain feared that Gregory was advising the Tsar to conclude a separate peace with Germany. This of course was pure propaganda in order to justify the British murder and later coup d’etat. Gregory had no political influence over the Tsar, who had totally ignored Gregory’s request not to enter into the War in 1914. And in any case, the Tsar had never had any intention of concluding such a peace, as the British full well knew.

The real reason for the murder was that Gregory stood in the way of the overthrow of the Tsar and his replacement by Anglophile traitors from the House of Romanov, like the Grand Duke Dmitry who as a Romanov guaranteed immunity from prosecution for the murder, supported by equally treacherous masonic politicians in the Duma. Great Britain’s interest in murdering Gregory was that with the Tsar at the head of the re-equipped and reinvigorated Russian Army, Russian victory was guaranteed in 1917. Such a victory, from a British viewpoint, had to be stopped. Triumphant Russian troops liberating Berlin and Vienna from tyrants, the consequent control of all Central and Eastern Europe freed from Prussian and Austro-Hungarian tyranny by Imperial Russia, the long-awaited restoration of Poland, once most of its territory had been freed from them, and the Russian liberation of Constantinople and control of the Dardanelles (as perfidious Britain had agreed to on paper), were not in British imperialist interests.

This is why Britain freed the evil Trotsky from a Canadian concentration camp in April 1917 (6) and sent him back to Russia, as later Germany sent back Lenin and others, and why the anti-Christian and pro-Bolshevik (7) British Prime Minister Lloyd George had openly greeted the overthrow of the Christian Emperor (6) as the attainment of ‘one of our war aims’. (It was similarly acclaimed in France and the USA, which, opportunistically seizing its chance, entered the War immediately after the coup d’etat in Russia, which US citizens had helped finance). Indeed, according to the French ambassador, Paleologue, and many others, the overthrow had been carefully plotted by aristocratic Russian traitors together with the British ambassador, Buchanan, at the British Embassy in Petrograd.

The conspirators all believed that if Gregory, the ‘Friend’ of the Tsar and Tsarina, could be removed, then they could persuade the Tsar to abdicate and Russian domination of the Continent could be prevented. This had been exactly prophesied by Gregory and of course it is exactly what happened, for two months later the Tsar was overthrown in a plot, orchestrated by cowardly generals, treacherous politicians and deceitful Romanovs. This would extend the bloodletting of the First World War from three years to four and a half, costing directly millions more lives, not to mention tens of millions of lives later under the Soviet Bolsheviks and the German Fascists, who would never have come to power without the coup d’etat against the Russian Emperor.

In reality, the liberation of Eastern and Central Europe was achieved not by the Christian Russian Empire in 1917, but in 1945 by the atheistic Soviet Union, the Frankenstein monster of Lenin and Stalin created by the meddling, anti-Christian West. The torture and murder of Gregory Rasputin-Novy and all that followed lies like an impermeable bloodstain on the British Establishment which ordered and carried out his execution, a crime only recently exposed and which has never been officially admitted, let alone expiated. In the Great Reckoning that is to come, it would be well if the British Establishment made a beginning to its repentance now.

Notes:

1. To Kill Rasputin, Andrew Cook, 2005

2. Rasputin, The Role of Britain’s Secret Service in His Torture and Murder by Richard Cullen, 2010

3. See for example: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mi5-named-uks-most-lgbt-friendly-employer-in-annual-stonewall-ranking-a6820261.html

4. The SIS (Special Intelligence Service is the British agency that does the dirty work (torture and murder) for MI5 and MI6. It still exists and is active. One of its ex-agents, a South African, told me in private conversation in 2012 that it commits up to 100 murders per year.

5. Cullen, P. 197

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Trotsky

7. See for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lloyd_George#Prime_Minister_.281916.E2.80.931922.29

Christ the Invincible Power

Answers to Questions from Recent Conversations and Correspondence

Q: When did you first become conscious of the Russian Orthodox Church?

A: My introduction to the Orthodox Church was through the local saints of England in my native north Essex, notably St Edmund, but also St Albright (Ethelbert), St Cedd, St Botolph and St Osyth. However, as regards the Russian Orthodox Church as such, my first encounter was almost fifty years ago, just after my 12th birthday, in August 1968. As a result of that revelation, I began teaching myself Russian in October of that year in Colchester because I already knew that the Russian Orthodox Church is my spiritual home. However, I had to wait nearly another seven years until I could take part in Russian Orthodox life, as in those days (it is not much better now) there were so few Russian churches anywhere. I only managed to visit any Russian churches in 1973.

Q: Which part of the Russian Church did you join?

A: Having been told by two of its members that the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) would not allow me to join it because I was English (I had no idea at that time that my great-grandmother was Russian, I only discovered that distant link much later), I had no alternative but to join the Moscow Patriarchate. They may have been many things in those distant days, but at least they were not racists.

Q: What was your path to the priesthood after that?

A: A very hard one. First of all, since I could not live and work in Russia on account of the Cold War at that time, for my first job I went to live and work in Greece. I thought that was the next best alternative. After a year there and visiting the then Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, I understood that the Balkan Churches were no solution to the need for a Local Orthodox Church in the West. They were all inward-looking, culturally very narrow and hopelessly nationalistic. Later, contacts with Romanians and Georgians told me the same about them and in the Romanian case there is the huge problem of simony. So, with Russia closed off, in 1979 with the blessing of Metr Antony (Bloom) I went to study at the St Sergius Theological Institute in Paris, which I had in my ignorance imagined to be a Russian Orthodox seminary.

Q: What was it in fact?

A: It was the remains of a Russian Orthodox seminary mingled with an institute of philosophy and, frankly, of heresy. It openly preached modernism or Renovationism, which is Protestant-based, and is therefore not even remotely interesting to someone coming from a country like England with a Protestant culture, so alien to me. One English priest, rather harshly, called St Serge a Methodist Sunday School. Very harsh, but there was some truth in it.

Q: Why did you not think of going to Jordanville in the USA?

A: For the same reason as before. I was repeatedly told by members of ROCOR that they only took Russians. Remember in those days there was no internet, no advice, you had to make your own way, you went by what local representatives told you, even if it was incorrect.

Q: What happened next?

A: In 1982 I was offered the priesthood by the Moscow Patriarchate on terms which I can only describe as scandalous. I walked out, never to return, and enquired again at the Church Outside Russia. I got the same answer as in 1974, though I noted that this time there were actually a few ex-Anglicans in a separate branch of ROCOR in England. However, these rather eccentric conservative Anglicans seemed to have no interest in the Russian Orthodox Church, but only in being anti-Anglican and they had a huge interest in fanatical Greek Orthodox sects. Never having been Anglican and having lived in Greece, I had no interest in either. This was all the more frustrating since ROCOR had just canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors and naturally I had their icons and venerated them. Nevertheless, in 1983, I decided to emigrate to France and join my wife’s jurisdiction, the Paris Jurisdiction.

Q: Wasn’t that foolhardy? I mean you already knew about the problem of modernism there?

A: What you have to understand is that in Paris in 1981 they had elected a new Archbishop. Under the very elderly and saintly old one, renovationists had come to the fore, taking advantage of his old age, but the new Archbishop promised us personally that he would sweep them away and return his jurisdiction to Orthodoxy and canonical Russian practice. So this was a time of great promise and even excitement. Patriarch Dimitrios of Constantinople even said at the time that the Paris Jurisdiction would be returned to the Russian Church as soon as it was free. So, with hope in a promising future, in January 1985 I was ordained deacon there.

Q: What happened next?

A: in May 1985 I was offered the priesthood providing that I would become a freemason. I refused, scandalized. Then we became witnesses to the complete takeover of the jurisdiction by renovationists. The new Archbishop ordained them one by one, completely breaking his promise – not because he was a liar, but because he was weak. It was the same problem as Metr Evlogy, the first Paris Jurisdiction ruling bishop; he had never wanted to leave the Russian Church, but he was a weak man surrounded by powerful laymen, mainly freemasons and those who had betrayed the Tsar and organized the February Revolution. It was the end of the possibility that that jurisdiction would ever return to the freed, restored and reunited Russian Church. But I only understood that the meaning of that bitter disappointment afterwards.

Q: Why did you not leave such a masonic group?

A: Not all by far were freemasons and I felt that I had to labour on until God’s will for me should be revealed.

Q: When was that?

A: Without doubt it was in summer 1988 when the Paris Jurisdiction celebrated the millennium of the Baptism of Rus. Instead of inviting the Russian bishops in Western Europe to the Cathedral on Rue Daru in Paris and returning to the Russian Church in unity, they railed against the Russian Church and invited the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Paris. I was not only scandalized but spiritually distraught. I was an eyewitness to treason and apostasy. It was the last straw. They preferred heresy to Orthodoxy.

Soon after, I met Archbishop Antony of Geneva of ROCOR, who told me that he would be happy to receive me and that I had no need whatsoever to labour on in such anti-canonical conditions. I jumped at the opportunity. 17 people left with me, including a priest. So we all joined the Church Outside Russia in January 1989. That was a transforming moment because previously I had only known the Church Outside Russia in England. On the other hand, Vladyka Antony, heir to Vladyka John of Shanghai, though traditional, was not racist or fanatical, but missionary-minded. He lived in a different world from the fanatics in England and we freely concelebrated with other Orthodox.

I remember him telling me about the extremists who were trying to take control of ROCOR in New York. He said: ‘But there’s nowhere else to go’. I have not the slightest doubt that he would have returned to Russia, if he had had the chance. I also remember conversations with him about Metr Antony of Kiev (Archbp Antony came from Kiev), whom he had known well in Belgrade and whose name he had taken. He was the real ROCOR. Real Russian Orthodox. At last. It had taken me 20 years to get to that point! 20 years of facing illusions, lies, broken promises and corruption. You would think it would have been easy, but nothing of the sort. All hell was against the Russian Orthodox Church, a sure sign of truth.

Q: What happened next?

A: Well, I was at last living as a proper Russian Orthodox. Nearly three years later, in December 1991 I was ordained priest for the new ROCOR parish in Lisbon in Portugal.

Q: What was your attitude to the Moscow Patriarchate?

A: We were all just impatiently waiting for it to become politically free and free of renovationism. That happened officially with the Jubilee Council in Moscow in 2000.

Q: So why didn’t the Church Outside Russia join up with the Patriarchate straightaway in 2000?

A: It is one thing to proclaim the truth at a Council, but another for the decisions of that Council to be implemented. For example, after that I can still remember how at the London Patriarchal Cathedral they refused to put up icons of the New Martyrs and also, incidentally, they refused to sell the books of Fr Seraphim (Rose) or anything traditional. Priests and people coming from Russia were persecuted by the renovationists because they were ‘too’ traditional. We had to wait for the Patriarchate to free itself from such Renovationism.

Also, it must be said, we had to wait until the fanatical elements that had done so much harm to ROCOR since they had started infiltrating the Church in the mid-sixties had left us. When the extremists did finally leave, almost at the same time, there was a huge sigh of relief, because then we could get on with being Orthodox. So it was we had to wait until 2007.

Q: How do you know that people are free of Renovationism?

A: Easy: The yardstick is veneration for the New Martyrs, especially the Imperial Martyrs. The renovationists hate them.

Q: How do you know that people are free of sectarian fanaticism of the sort you describe as having infiltrated ROCOR?

A: Easy: The yardstick is the willingness to concelebrate with other Orthodox Christians.

Q: What is going to happen in the future? At present there are countries like England where there are two parallel jurisdictions of the Russian Church, one dependent on Moscow, the other dependent on the Church Outside Russia?

A: According to the 2007 agreement, where there are two parallel jurisdictions, ROCOR should, in time, absorb the Patriarchal jurisdiction. This will probably take a generation, so that no-one will be under any pressure and everything will take place naturally, organically. However, in reality, already nine years have passed and we can see that in certain areas, like North America and Australasia, ROCOR will indeed clearly take over responsibility for those territories, whereas in other areas the Patriarchate will take over, as in South America, not to mention South-East Asia. The problem comes in the mixed area of Western Europe, including the British Isles and Ireland. In this area, only time will tell, clearly it is the more competent of the two that will take responsibility.

For the moment we shall lead parallel lives. There is in any case so much to do. I could start 12 parishes tomorrow, if I had the money to buy buildings and get candidates for the priesthood ordained. The state of Orthodox infrastructure and the general pastoral situation here are so appalling as to be scandalous; no wonder so many Orthodox lapse or become Roman Catholic or Protestant. All we pastors meet with is indifference. Those in authority should hang their heads in shame. Why is there not a church, our own property in every town over 100,000? This should have been done a generation ago. For example the teeming millions of London only have two small churches!

Colchester is the 50th largest town in England (and incidentally the 500th largest in Western Europe). It has a church that belongs to us. But want about the other 49 larger ones? Only five of them have their own churches: London, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Birkenhead-Liverpool. That is a scandal. There is no missionary vision at all. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK with a population of two million. And where do the faithful of the Patriarchate have ten liturgies a year on Saturdays (that’s all the priest can manage)? In the Ukrainian Uniat chapel. The next time you hear some naïve Orthodox boasting about his Church, tell him that. Orthodox should be ashamed of themselves.

Q: So is there competition between the two parts of the Russian Church locally?

A: No, not at all. It all depends on who has the priests and the buildings. A concrete example. I was asked to visit a prison in Cambridgeshire. Now, since there is no ROCOR presence in Cambridgeshire (because through incompetence it refused to set anything up there in the 1980s), I gave the prison authorities the references of the Patriarchal priest who lives in Cambridgeshire. On the other hand, when there was question of the Patriarchate setting something up in Norfolk (it had lost what it had had there a few years before, also through incompetence), but knowing that ROCOR had a presence there dating back to 1966, it was referred to me. So here is a territorial division. Now, where there is a double jurisdiction, as in London (the only case), something will have to be sorted out. But, as you can see, that will be as a result of competence. Only time can settle such matters. The more competent part, the more spiritual part of the Russian Church will prevail and form a united jurisdiction.

Q: So there is no rigid territorial division in Western Europe?

A: No, nobody wants to impose such a system. Let everything be done freely, let the people choose. Though, having said that, we can observe a tendency for ROCOR to dominate in the English-speaking world. Canada, the USA and Australasia are clear examples. For example, with Archbishop Mark of ROCOR retiring to Germany and the ROCOR Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland being taken over by Metr Hilarion of New York, we can even talk about a sort of ROCOR Brexit. Metr Hilarion will in fact be Metropolitan of New England and Old England. That is an exceptional event, historically speaking, and may be significant, a turning-point.

So it is possible that in a generation from now ROCOR will only exist in the English-speaking world, but will unite all Russian Orthodox there. ROCOR will become ROCA – the Russian Orthodox Church in the Anglosphere. That is one quite organic and natural possible scenario, a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia for the Anglosphere, the English-speaking world. The Patriarchate will look after everything else in various Metropolias, in Latin America, in Alaska, in Western Europe, in Asia etc.

Q: So Western Europe would completely go to the Patriarchate?

A: That is the way that things are developing at the moment. All the young bishops and all the dynamism in the Russian Church there is Patriarchal. ROCOR only has three ageing bishops and is not opening any new churches.

Q: Is there a difference between ROCOR churches and Patriarchal churches?

A: I think there is a small one, in general. Strangely enough, ROCOR is at one and the same time more Russian, but also more local, more integrated. We have done the translations, we print in English, we speak the local languages and know the local laws, we were born here. At the same time, however, we are utterly faithful to the best of the Tsar’s Russia, never having endured the Soviet period and Renovationism. ‘To quote the saintly Metr Laurus: ‘We are for the purity of Holy Orthodoxy’. We are Imperial priests and people.

Q: What about your own relations with the Russian Church inside Russia?

A: We are very close to all those who are Churched in Russia and they feel close to us. For example, in Moscow one of the closest friends of ROCOR has always been Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), whom some have even suggested will be the next Patriarch. (Bp Tikhon has been in the news recently, since he outraged the British Establishment by inviting students from Eton College to experience Christianity in Russia; not something the atheist Establishment likes). In general, those who especially venerate the New Martyrs and Confessors at once feel at home in ROCOR. I have this nearly every Sunday. People from different parts of Russia, from the Ukraine, from Moldova and elsewhere say that they feel at home, whatever the language, the atmosphere is like at home. In my native town of Colchester, that is a great thing that we have such an oasis of Orthodoxy.

Q: Who are the unChurched in Russia?

A: You find all sorts of people. There are those on the right hand side who mingle superstition with Orthodoxy, for instance, those ritualists who think that holy water is more important than holy communion, who mix in pharisaic sectarianism, puritanism and judgementalism, or, on the other hand, those on the left hand side, who mix in Soviet nationalism, love of the tyrant Stalin, or modernism. But all that is superficial, the majority make their way to the Church sooner or later. You do not waste time on the convert fringes of the Church – otherwise you might end up thinking that that is the Church! A terrible delusion!

Q: Why have you stayed faithful to the Russian Church despite all the difficulties that you have faced over nearly fifty years?

A: Because the Russian Orthodox Church is the Invincible Power. History since 1917 proves it. The gates of hell have not prevailed – and shall not prevail – despite all the enemies and traitors, both external and internal, we have faced. Judas betrayed, but the other apostles triumphed. So tragedy becomes joy. The stone that was rejected is become the headstone of the corner. Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!

On Debolshevization and Bolshevization: Questions and Answers from Recent Correspondence

Q: Why is the Church Outside Russia in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate? It is a Soviet organization and you are, or at least were, free.

A: A Soviet organization? But there were Patriarchs in Moscow long before the Soviet Union ever existed. I do not understand you. If it is a Soviet organization (even though the Soviet Union ceased to exist 25 years ago), why is the whole Orthodox Church in communion with the Church Inside Russia (or the Moscow Patriarchate as you prefer to call it), including the Church Outside Russia? Simply because it is the now politically-free Church Inside Russia with some 160 million faithful and over 350 bishops, three quarters of the whole Orthodox Church. It has over 800 monasteries and convents, holy elders and no doubt saints. Where are the elders in the tiny but dynamic Church Outside Russia today? The question really is why are you not in communion with the Church Inside Russia? If you are not, then you are outside the Church. So you must belong to some brainwashing, politicized sect, subsidized by the CIA, or else to some esoteric, self-justifying sect or cult which thinks it is above the Church. Only such a sect would call the Russian Church ‘Soviet’.

Q: Yes, but your Patriarch Kyrill actually has a KGB code-name.

A: Well, first of all, the KGB no longer exists, so he had, not has, a KGB code-name would be correct. Secondly, everyone of importance had a KGB code-name, for example, the then Metropolitan Kyrill, but also Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Are you suggesting therefore that Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were KGB agents?! To have a code-name is totally different from working as a spy. You seem very confused between the two. Western spy agencies also give their victims code-names. That does not mean that their victims are spies and murder people, they are victims.

Q: O.K., but you cannot deny that Patriarch Kyrill and Vladimir Putin were once Soviet citizens.

A: And so were hundreds of thousands of saints, New Martyrs and Confessors. You venerate canonized Soviet citizens and you are complaining that they are Soviet citizens!

On a political level, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and a dozen or so Soviet-era defectors were also Soviet citizens. They then went to work for the CIA and MI6 and no doubt were given code-names by those organizations. Some of them, like the late, London-based Litvinenko, worked as an MI6 spy.

As for people who were once Soviet citizens, that was automatic because of the country they were born in. Is it a sin to be born in a country? I cannot understand your logic. The apostles were born in the pagan Roman Empire which persecuted them and the Apostle Paul was actually a Roman citizen. Was that their fault? Was that a sin? Was it their sin that one of the twelve disciples was Judas Iscariot?

Of course, it is true that anyone born and brought up during the Soviet era, and that finished 25 years ago, was marked by that period. Thus, I see a great difference between ex-Soviet citizens under about 50 and those over about 50 and of course both Patriarch Kyrill and Vladimir Putin (the latter of whom is nothing to do with the Church hierarchy, though he is a baptized layman and churchgoer) are over 50. Those under about 25 are hardly marked at all by the Soviet era and on the other hand those over about 75 even tend to be pro-Stalin (and also unbaptized).

Q: What are the temptations of those who like them were born during the Soviet era, but have since been baptized Orthodox?

A: The main temptation is nationalism. There are even a few, mainly elderly Orthodox, now baptized, who admire Stalin for that reason. This is very similar to elderly Anglicans who admire Churchill. Yes, both were victorious war-leaders, but millions died under both, for example, Churchill organized the bloodbath at Gallipoli, gassed the Kurds, made strategic mistakes during World War II and he must also in part bear responsibility for the millions who died in the Bengal famine during that War. Similarly, in the US there are elderly people who admire President Truman, he who massacred 300,000 Japanese civilians, men, women and children, with atomic bombs and also threatened Patriarch Maximos of Constantinople with death. Such admiration is just misplaced and irrational nationalist nostalgia, the result of brainwashing by wartime propaganda.

Here we come to your question about Patriarch Kyrill and President Putin. Both are of course marked or coloured by the Soviet period and are generally admired by nationalists. What critics like yourself fail to understand is that they are simply part of a process – President Putin and the Patriarch are only stages on the way, not the terminus, which is what we are looking at. The next Patriarch, perhaps someone like Metr Benjamin of Vladivostok, will be very different, free of any Soviet colouring at all. In the same way, a possible successor to President Putin has appeared (not Medvedev). The Russian Federation is not long for the world in its present form. All of this is a temporary arrangement to carry us through to where we want to be.

Q: What about renovationism, which still exists in Russia?

A: It is true that the vestiges of renovationism still exist there, for example, with the sect of Fr Kochetkov, who was so warmly invited by the now defrocked Bp Basil Osborne to take over the then Sourozh Diocese before he joined the Rue Daru group. Fr Kochetkov, who was beloved by the late modernist Rue Daru philosophers Olivier Clement and Nikita Struve, who so hated the Russian Church that they refused to belong to Her, has 2,000 followers. His sect is protected by a very elderly Soviet-era bishop, but, frankly, all this is dying out. It has no future. It is a phenomenon of Bolshevization, we are patiently working for Debolshevization. That will need time. Since we do not ask perfection of Western societies, but continue to live here despite their horrific apostasy and baby-killing, why should we demand instant Debolshevization in ex-Soviet societies? We live in the Church, not in society on the fringes of or outside the Church. As Christians the only perfection we are entitled to demand is of ourselves, not of others.

Q: But there are still strong vestiges of the Soviet mentality.

A: Yes, on the fringes, of course. These vestiges are still strong in remoter, provincial areas like Central Asia, the Baltics and, above all, in the Western-supported Ukraine, with its Fascist elements, who simply changed from being pro-Bolshevik to pro-Fascist overnight. The mentality of corrupt dictatorships is the same, whatever name you give them, Communist or Capitalist.

Q: What about nominalism? Most Orthodox in Russia, though baptized, simply do not go to church.

A: Of course, this is true – just as only a maximum of 10% of Russians before the Revolution and in the emigration went to Church. If you do not believe me for lack of living experience with the old emigration before they died out in the 1990s, read the report by St John of Shanghai on the state of the Russian emigration given at the Second All-Diaspora Council in 1938.

Having said that, you must also understand that Orthodox nominalism, however regrettable, is not the same nominalism as in the West. In the Roman Catholic-Protestant world, church-going, made an ‘obligation’ under threat of hellfire by the Roman Catholics and non-church-going made into an experience of guilt by the Protestants, is seen as the only sign of belonging to the Church. For Orthodox, Christianity is all about the way we live, not necessarily about church-going. For example, we do not have ‘Bible study’, a thoroughly Protestant concept, we live the Bible. Anyone who has experienced the friendliness and hospitality of Orthodox countries will know this. In Orthodox countries you have the Christian spirit of mutual support and love of the Truth, whereas Western countries are marked by materialist and calculating self-interest and the cult of self-admiration, the ‘I’ culture of consumerism. Orthodox, including non-Churchgoers, are horrified by Western people who proudly proclaim that they ‘do not believe in God’, just as they are horrified by the Western treatment of people in their slums and in their colonies in the ‘Third World’. To us it is all simply unnatural and inhuman. You cannot treat human-beings like that.

We Orthodox go to church when we need to, when we feel ill, when we need ‘the medicine of immortality’. It is not a guilt trip, as for heterodox. So do not be like the Protestant Pharisees and judge Orthodox by whether we are at church or not, it is our way of life that makes us Orthodox or not. For example last Sunday, we here only had some 200 at church, and yet there are 600 in the parish, and if I count all those Orthodox who come through the doors in any 12-month period, that figure would probably come to 2,000. This is what I mean by 10% maximum attending church, 200 out of 2,000.

Q: You said that some sects are CIA-financed. What proof do you have of that?

A: Well, first of all, these sects openly acknowledge it and are proud of the CIA as ‘patriotic Americans’. Secondly, there is the case inside the Church Outside Russia. It is a fact that as early as the 1960s a senior individual in the Church Outside Russia was given $38,000 by the CIA, as was revealed at the time. The receiver of the money, who died outside the Church in the 1990s and banned anyone from the Church Outside Russia attending his funeral, had a son, who sold off $6 million worth of Church property in Jerusalem. It was a huge scandal. The CIA always makes use of such ‘useful idiots’, those whom it can buy out. Other Western spy agencies did the same, Russian Parisians like Melnikov and Tiesenhausen openly worked for the French spy agency, in London émigré Russians worked for MI5 and MI6 and in Ottawa Russian émigrés worked for the Canadian spy agency. However, the Church goes on despite such politicking on the fringes.

Similarly, there are many Western journalists who receive CIA money to write anti-Russian articles. This is obvious to any reader of the Murdoch-owned ‘The Times’ in England, but this goes on in all Western-owned media in the US and Europe, including Western rags like ‘The Moscow Echo’ in Russia. Such journalists write the propaganda that they are paid to write by Western spy agencies. Some people will do anything for money because they put money above the Truth, as it is written, you cannot serve God and money.

Q: What does Debolshevization mean in concrete terms?

A: To answer this question, we must understand what the Bolshevik regime tried to do. It had a threefold, anti-Trinitarian programme. Firstly, it wanted to destroy all Traditional Religion and above all, but not only, the Orthodox Church. Secondly, it wanted to destroy all National Identity. Thus, in its anti-Christian cosmopolitanism it banned the word ‘Russian’, used ‘Soviet’ and made the Soviet Union out of many different national identities. Thirdly, it wanted to destroy Family Life, virtually banning sacramental marriage, encouraging abortion and divorce, taking away children and putting them into crèches, schools and camps, all the while brainwashing them with Bolshevik ideology. Therefore, Debolshevization means exactly the opposite of all this, that is, a threefold restoration, that of Traditional Religion, National Identity and Family Life.

In all this the Soviet Union failed. However, Bolshevization still exists because it defines exactly what is happening in the neocon and Bolshevik West today. Firstly, today we see the destruction of all Traditional Religion, substituting for it some wishy-washy, spiritually emptied, anti-traditional, New Age humanism and secularism. That is modern Western religion. This spirit of apostasy dominates Protestantism, Roman Catholicism (since the 1960s) and the modernist, new calendarist, Westernized fringes of the Orthodox Church, for instance, among many Greek Americans and some Romanians. Secondly, today we see the destruction of the Sovereign Nation-State under the slogan Globalization (formerly this was called what it is – Americanization, but now the codeword Globalization is used), using mass immigration and social injustices to help it. Thirdly, today we see the destruction of Family Life, killing sacramental marriage with the cohabitation of ‘partners’, encouraging abortion and divorce, taking away children and putting them into crèches, schools and camps, all the while brainwashing them with secularist ideology, sex education, gender ideology and internet pornography from the State-controlled media.

The Bolshevik regime is dead in Russia, but it is very much alive under the politically correct dictatorship of neocon ‘liberalism’ in the Western world, the very liberalism that is so Russophobic. Why is it Russophobic? Because it is in fact Christianophobic. Liberalism is utterly intolerant of real Christianity, that is, of Orthodoxy, it only allows a castrated, secularized substitute which is powerless to save. Just when the Soviet Union died, the European Union was born as part of the whole Western Union. Next door to the EU headquarters in Brussels, what do you find? The headquarters of NATO. It is all part of the same Western Union.

Although forced collectivization failed under the Bolsheviks, voluntary collectivization through the illusion of consumerist individualism seems to have succeeded. Look around you: everywhere you see ‘individuals’ in the same US uniform of jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes, I-phones, tablets, pokemon fads, tattoos, obesity-making, adulterated food and TV series (bread and circuses). This is the same brainwashing and zombifying secularist poison that makes people unable to think for themselves or to have any sort of spiritual life or values. All who work for Traditional Religion, National Identity and Family Life are mocked, scorned and persecuted in today’s West. The Soviet Union is dead in Russia, but Bolshevization is alive and prospering in the West. The only question is whether it will triumph altogether and completely wipe out the Western world, or whether the Western world will before it is too late take heed of Christian Civilization and values, alive in Russia, and repent.

Do not worry about Debolshevizing old people in Russia, our task is far more ambitious – Debolshevizing the Western world. That is why, for example, some Western people have actually gone to the Donbass to fight for the Ukraine against the Kiev puppet regime – in order to defend the sovereignty of Europe against the anti-Christian, Neo-Bolshevik world.

Questions on ROCOR, a future Local Church in Western Europe, the Ukraine and Nominalism

Q: What is the role of ROCOR today?

A: The same as that of all Russian Orthodox – to remain faithful Imperial Christian clergy and laypeople, in other words, to keep faith with the best of the Christian Empire, Imperial Russia, working for its restoration and guarding the international and missionary approach of its saints like St Seraphim of Sarov, St Innocent of Moscow, St John of Kronstadt, St Nicholas of Japan, the Optina Saints, the martyred Tsar Nicholas II and those with him, St John of Riga, St Seraphim of Vyritsa, Metropolitan Pitirim (Oknov) of Saint Petersburg, of the fathers of ROCOR and above all of our three ROCOR saints, for we are the Church of the Three Saints: St John of Shanghai, St Jonah of Hangchow and St Seraphim of Sofia. However, I also firmly believe that there are many more ROCOR saints who will be revealed.

Q: When you say to keep faith with ‘the best’, I presume you mean that there has also been the ‘worst’?

A: Of course, the good and the bad, the wheat and the chaff, always go together. However, although Judas was indeed among the disciples, he notably failed to become an apostle. Such is the fate of all traitors. Who were the worst? Firstly, for example, some ill-informed say that our task is to restore Russia before the Revolution. This is blindness, for that would mean also restoring the worst from before the Revolution when it was precisely that bad that created the Revolution. Thus, if we restored all that went before, without distinction, we would simply have another Revolution. Therefore we must keep faith only with the best from before.

Secondly, and linked with this, there was in ROCOR, that is, after the Revolution, the presence of right-wing politics and racist nationalism inherited from before the Revolution and as a result elements in ROCOR were corrupted and compromised by Western spy services like the CIA, MI5, the DGSE in France, the BND in Germany and the CSIS in Canada. Such political operatives began from the 1960s on to encourage the infiltration of our part of the Russian Church by schismatic old calendarism. Fortunately, this spirit more or less died out after the Cold War, and by 2001 these fringe elements had at last been defeated by the majority whom they could no longer oppress.

Q: You say the good and the bad always go together. How do you resist such bad or secular influences and yet keep the good, the purity of Holy Orthodoxy? How can the wheat grow alongside the chaff which surely hinders it?

A: We carry on despite those influences that are always worldly, making opportunities out of the chaff, living for the long-term and so for the greater good of the Church, not living narrowly for the short-term, continuing to fight for the Faith. For example, the persecution (the word is not too strong) by several well-known bishops and senior clergy that I met both for the veneration of Western saints and for the New Martyrs and Confessors only spurred me on to promote them. If it had not been for such vigorous opposition, perhaps I would not have insisted so much. Now the same people or their heirs are falling over themselves to venerate them. Bad always withers away and dies, providing that we are patient. The chaff is here today, gone tomorrow. Only the good lasts on Christ’s winnowing floor. It is very important to understand that.

Q: If ROCOR had its problem, what was the problem of the Russian Patriarchal Church?

A: Without a doubt, its problem was renovationism, the rather pathetic, dying vestiges of which still survive here and there, both inside and outside Russia. However, apart from among a few elderly and marginal figures or unconverted intellectuals, these Soviet-period vestiges now mainly live on, outside the Russian Church, in schisms. For instance, there are the dying embers of the Paris group, founded by treasonous decadent aristocrats and freemasons from Saint Petersburg, or groups in Finland and Estonia, the latter of which had been infected by the masonic, Parisian YMCA movement before the Second World War.

This ‘democratic’ renovationism, or ‘Kerenskyism’, so obvious in politicized decisions of the 1917-18 Moscow Council (which, thank God, have never been implemented inside Russia), is in fact just protestantization. It is dismissed by such sterling contemporary hierarchs of the Russian Church inside Russia as Metr Onufry of Kiev, Metr Agafangel of Odessa or Metr Benjamin of Vladivostok, who, with so many others, guard the conscience of the Church today.

Q: There has yet again been talk of a ‘British Orthodox Church’. What do you say?

A: I think this theme has been exhausted. First of all, the word ‘British’ can simply not be used in a Church context. It is the local equivalent of ‘Soviet’, in other words, it defines a purely political myth, a fantasy and delusion. We do not talk of a ‘Soviet Church’, so why do we speak of a ‘British Church?’ Soon, there will be no Britain (UK) or EU left, like the already defunct SU (Soviet Union). The State concept of Britain has had its day and we shall at last move on to profounder things. Churches are named after geographical and spiritual realities, not passing political myths invented by political hacks. We should rather speak of the Church of the Isles.

But, in any case, at present, ‘Britain’ is home to only a tiny number of practising Orthodox, with hardly any infrastructure, without monastic life, even sometimes with an insular, provincial, visionless outlook and living in a kind of Anglican phyletism, and phyletism is always spiritual death, as we can see from all the phyletist parishes in this country that have closed or are closing. Phyletism always puts the State Establishment above the Gospel. Indeed, last year one such ex-Sourozhite convert actually wrote me a letter, vigorously accusing me of putting the Gospel above the Establishment and slating me for that! At present we should be taking the broad view of a Metropolia of Western Europe, which can later develop into a Local Church of Western Europe, not a narrow view of a tiny, insular one.

Q: Who could found such a Metropolia?

A: No Local Church will ever found a Metropolia and future new Local Church in Western Europe, except the Russian Church. For example, of the seven groups that exist in the Diaspora, the four Local Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia are all strictly mononational, with no interest in missionary work and founding new Local Churches. As for phyletist Constantinople, it has never freely given anyone autocephaly: the Russians had to wait for nearly 600 years until they seized it themselves and the Bulgarians had to wait for over a millennium and had to create a schism in order to obtain it! As for the Church of Antioch, the Church of four families, as some Antiochians themselves call it, with its all-Levantine episcopate, it even took back the limited autonomy it once gave its small archdiocese in North America. The Antiochians have an admirable though naive zeal, but you need knowledge as well as zeal. Naivety always ends up in disaster, as we have seen.

Q: What, spiritually, is naivety?

A: It is a lack of spiritual experience and so of spiritual maturity. It is always linked with superficiality and a lack of suffering. Real Orthodox live in the arena, are always ready for martyrdom, and are always persecuted and suffer.

Q: If there were one day to be a Local Church in Western Europe, how do you see it?

A: Clearly, without the arrogant mistakes made in the past by the OCA, for example. Firstly, it would use the Orthodox calendar and not impose the divisive Roman Catholic one (though some exceptions might have to be made for some spiritually weak communities) and would avoid modernism of all sorts, insisting for example on confession before prepared communion, modest dress and head coverings for women, correct services and correct liturgical language. All these are not some ‘local customs’, as mocking and despising modernists would have you believe, but are all integral parts of the Tradition.

Secondly, it would have to avoid esoteric Parisian personality cults, like those seen in England and France, of the sort whose first question is, ‘Have you got a doctorate?’ Thirdly, it would have to avoid the patronizing racist mentality of the type to be found in England, that of anti-spiritual, Anglican Establishment phyletism, which automatically excludes the vast masses of people and only ordains Anglican vicars to the priesthood. In a word, it would have to avoid all the falsehood and superficiality of academic, theoretical, convert Orthodoxy. It would have to be the real thing, showing integrity, which is sadly so rare, yet is the only thing that preserves us from the spiritual disease of modernism. Our aim is to become saints, not fantasists.

Q: What is the present situation in the Ukraine?

A: Although I have not been there since May, my impression is that the situation is largely calm on the surface, but underneath is volcanic. Nothing much may happen until the US elections in November, but then the volcano could well erupt. For example, there is already huge dissatisfaction with the ‘thieves and murderers’ (I quote from graffiti seen in Odessa) of the corrupt Poroshenko regime. This at present only controls the area around Kiev, rather like earlier corrupt Fascist US puppet regimes which controlled only Latin American capitals or capitals like Saigon, Manila, Athens, Pretoria, Kabul or Baghdad, but not the countries themselves.

The rest of the Ukraine is controlled by local oligarchs, the new princes. It seems that the component parts of this artificial conglomerate called the Ukraine are falling apart. Poland, Hungary and Romania are looking on, preparing to take back what Stalin stole from them some 75 years ago. The whole of the east and the south of the so-called Ukraine, over half of the country, stolen from Russia by Lenin in 1922, are also yearning to return to Russia and freedom, as the Crimea has already done. Only Little Russia, the region around Kiev, can survive as an independent entity, creating a country similar in size to Belarus to the north.
But I feel that nothing will happen until the Clinton-Trump contest is over. If Clinton the globalist neocon wins, the agony may well get worse and the war could become terrifying, but if Trump the American nationalist and anti-globalist wins, freedom may yet come.

Q: Are you saying that Trump is good?

A: No. I think we all agree that Trump is something of a clown, a primitive nationalist, aggressive, rude and strident like Jean-Marie Le Pen was in France or Nigel Farage was in England, but even if he is not a Christian, he could on balance still actually be the lesser evil. He may actually have a sense of social justice and is surely a social conservative, whereas Clinton calls abortion a blessing, supports the Fascist banksters and as a globalist and Zionist is preparing the coming of Antichrist. Of course, I don’t know for sure, Trump may or may not be the lesser evil: only people can make up their minds about who is the lesser evil.

Q: What is the greatest threat to the Orthodox Church? Politicians like Clinton or Trump?

A: Of course, not. The greatest threat is not others, but ourselves, our own nominalism, which precisely includes blaming others for our own shortcomings. Most Orthodox, 95%, here or elsewhere, are only nominally Orthodox. For example, in this country, how can you take Orthodox seriously when they are even unable to buy or build their own church-buildings? Academic dreamers who call themselves Orthodox rant on about their theories and fantasies, preaching about the ‘Beauty of Orthodoxy’, but when they are asked where their churches are and where authentic liturgical life can be experienced, they can provide nothing, it is all fictitious, in their heads and imaginations. Academics feed only the fantasy, not the heart, because they have no spiritual food to give.

Q: Given this level of nominalism, how can we not fall into despair?

A: Holy men have prophesied that, if we repent, we will be saved by some event in the East. This may mean China and the neocon war now being threatened against China by the hubris-obsessed Obama government in the South China Sea. But it may mean something else. We shall see. Only one thing is certain, and that is that only repentance leads to salvation.

The Russian Orthodox Church: Pessimism, Idealism and Realism

Any reading of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, not least from the many volumes of the biography of the Patristically-minded Metropolitan Antony of Kiev and Galicia (1), confirms that there were many negative aspects to her life before the Revolution. Notably, partly because she had been deprived of a Patriarch by Peter I some 200 years before, a careerist mentality had developed within her senior clergy, some of whom had become civil servant administrators on behalf of a bureaucratic State. This meant that many a bishop had been appointed to his position without reference to his zeal for the Faith or to any Faith in general, but only with reference to his ability to ‘administrate’.

Also the Academies and seminaries had become hotbeds of German Protestant and protesting philosophical influence. Some reckon that 90% of pre-Revolutionary seminarists were atheists and revolutionaries – among them many a Bolshevik, including Joseph Jugashvili, later called Stalin, who was ejected from one. An example of a product of an Academy was the very senior Protopresbyter George Shavelsky, a treacherous bureaucrat who had little time for piety, which he dismissed as ‘mysticism’. He was also an enemy of Tsar Nicholas II and the spiritually alive, as is made quite clear in his detailed and self-condemning autobiography (2). In the emigration his sympathies were entirely with the masonic-led Paris Jurisdiction which actually abandoned both parts of the Russian Church!

The paralyzing hand of State bureaucracy, eminently disloyal to the Tsar and infected with the Revolutionary virus, with its careerism, conformism and nationalist centralization seemed to penetrate everywhere. These bureaucratic abuses all formed the suicidal basis of the later Soviet regime, in which the old ‘chinovniki’ (civil servants) simply turned overnight into Communist ‘apparatchiki’; their stifling spirit, so detested by the people, was exactly the same. Thus, the State bureaucracy had made the ancient Church of Georgia into a department of the Russian Church! And when Russian forces at last liberated Eastern Galicia (the area centred around Lvov) from Austro-Hungarian control in 1915, incompetent Saint Petersburg bureaucrats soon turned the people away from Orthodoxy and back to Uniatism.

Sadly, there was decadence in many a wealthy monastery too; the stories are legion. As for some village priests, often through no fault of their own, their lack of education, impoverished situation and need for money simply to survive had discredited the Church in many places. The fact is that the Church looked after the State, but for the most part the State did not look after the Church. This was because the State was increasingly run by atheist bureaucrats, which is why they had no problem in serving the atheist Bolshevik State and why the State machine, Duma masons and generals among them, betrayed the Tsar, the Lord’s Anointed. For example, the grandfather of a relative of mine was the last pre-Revolutionary ambassador to Washington – and an atheist….

Indeed, a generation or two ago there was no need to read to read about all this. It was enough to talk to old émigrés who had been adults before the 1917 Revolution or whose parents had accurately described the then situation to them. They were the best remedy for the idealism of later émigrés and others who idealized pre-Revolutionary times for ideological reasons. I well remember one émigré’s grandson who condemned contemporary Russian bishops for having comfortable black cars, driven by their deacons. The ever-memorable patriot and missionary, Archbishop Antony of Geneva, soon corrected him: ‘And what about pre-Revolutionary bishops who each had a black carriage and horses with their driver?’

Another émigré, Prince Boris Galitsin (may his memory be eternal), told me of his youthful naivety and that he only realized that brothels had attached themselves to the First World War Russian Army when he was in his thirties. (Though any reader of the late Archimandrite Sophrony’s version of the life of St Silouan can read of the same and also of how the future saint had lived before the Revolution, not keeping the fasts and getting a village girl pregnant). Another émigré aristocrat told me that the Church in the emigration was like a glass of clear water, inside Russia it was dirty water. I asked him why then we in the emigration had so many defrocked priests and such a severe shortage of priests in general. He had no answer.

The simple fact is that if the members of the Russian Church had all been as they should have been, then no Revolution would ever have happened. The betrayal of the living spirit of the Church is why some bishops then betrayed the Tsar in 1917. This is why the 1917-18 Church Council took place without freedom, under the masonic influence of the democrat Aaron Adler (later called Alexander Kerensky), though it did at least restore the Patriarchate, despite the vigorous opposition of many lay professors of theology and bishops. One of Kerensky’s first and typical acts had been to remove the saintly, such as Metr (now St) Macarius of Moscow. No saints for him! This is why the Bolshevik-sponsored Renovationists (under Metr Alexander Vvedensky and his three wives) prospered for a few short years, many of their clergy being graduates from the decadent pre-Revolutionary Academies and seminaries.

This betrayal is why Metr (later Patriarch) Sergius could make his infamous Declaration of loyalty to a militant atheist government, thus guaranteeing division, so that many inside enslaved Russia and virtually everyone in the entirely free Russian Church in the emigration would not follow him. This is why one small part of the emigration, members of which had created and welcomed the February Revolution, left the Russian Church altogether. And this is why such second generation émigré Parisian academic rebels like the late Fr Alexander Schmemann (born 1921) and their American disciples turned to cynical Renovationism, denying that Holy Rus had ever existed (!), and that the only hope for the Church (!) was in its thoroughgoing American-style Protestantization, that is, Desacralization, which produces not a single saint. These were words he said to me, but also words that he wrote in books that are heretical.

So much for both second-generation emigre cynicism and second-generation idealism. Fortunately, that is only part of the story and, by far the least interesting part. Beyond the superficial froth of both faithless, academic cynics and naïve and ill-informed idealists there is a far deeper story, a real story, an edifying story, the story of saintliness, of the real Church of God.

Before the Revolution the Russian Orthodox Church was what any real Church should be – a seedbed of saints, a saint-making machine. We only have to think of St Seraphim of Sarov, the Optina and Glinsk Elders and St John of Kronstadt. But above all we can think of the preparation of the millions of martyrs and confessors for the Faith under the Soviet yoke (3), the tens of thousands of martyred and confessing clergy and laypeople, as well as confessor-saints like St Seraphim of Vyritsa, St Matrona of Moscow and St Luke of Simferopol, who had been prepared by the pre-Revolutionary Church. It was their victory that guaranteed the cleansing of the Church inside Russia by blood and persecution from the abuses from before the Revolution and her Resurrection after the atheist Golgotha was over.

However, there was a parallel situation in the emigration. We can say that perhaps 50% of the emigration was not only anti-Orthodox, but also (and as a result) anti-patriotic. These were those who had carried out the Revolution with pride, largely aristocrats. In the emigration, highly politicized, they deserted the Russian Church and Russian history, and went to one or another extreme. Either they became unChristian, narrow-minded nationalists who died out and disappeared, or else they became enamoured of the countries where they lived, lost the Russian language, culture and culture and never even thought of repenting for their treason, cowardice and deceit. Just the opposite – they actually justified their apostasy! Not for the Parisian Renovationists either St John of Kronstadt or St John of Shanghai, both of whom they ferociously slandered and rejected, and I am a witness to this.

However, another perhaps 50% of the emigration were not only Orthodox but also, and as a result, patriots. Indeed, the more saintly the Orthodox, the more they were patriots. For them exile was a call to repentance, a chastisement deserved for the sins of the fathers. The cases of the saints of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, St Jonah of Manchuria, St John of Shanghai and the future St Seraphim of Sofia, are well-known. However, there were a great many others, their graves scattered all over the world, seeds of spiritual renewal for the whole earth, from France to Serbia, from Brazil to Australia, from Ireland to New Zealand, from Canada to Germany, from Italy to Venezuela, from the USA to Portugal, from Finland to Tunsia.

Among those I could mention are the holy cave-dwelling hermit Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, buried in the tiny village cemetery of Limeray near Tours in western France. Viciously condemned by Paris émigrés for his love for the saints, surely the relics of this highly-educated ascetic will soon be taken up from obscurity and oblivion and moved to the new Russian Cathedral in Paris? What of the White Russian general Anton Denikin, whose last words in distant exile in the USA in 1947 were: ‘So I shall not see how Russia will be saved’, demonstrating his innate faith that Russia would be saved. What of the great Russian philosopher and patriot Ivan Ilyin, whose words are now rightly considered as prophetic?

What of Metropolitan Antony of Kiev, whose relics lie in Belgrade and whose works are still slandered and deliberately distorted by modernists, but are loved by the saints like St Justin of Chelije? What about Archbishop George (Tarasov), Bishop Methodius (Kulmann) and Bishop Roman (Zolotov) in France? They all loved the Church and Russia to the core. Then there was Bishop Mitrofan of Boston, a man ingrained with patriotism who desperately wanted to return to Russia. Or Fr George Sheremetiev in London who, as Count Sheremetiev, went from being one of the richest men in Russia to one of the poorest men in England, so that he could repent for the sins of his class, whose betrayals he blamed for the Revolution.

What can I say of the patriot parish priest Archpriest Igor Vernik in Paris? Or, in the same city, Vladimir Ivanovich Labunsky, the last of the 4,000 White Russian officers in our parish. In 1990, on introducing him to the first visiting priest from Russia, he begged him: ‘Bless me with the blessing hand of Holy Rus’. He was typical of so many. And what of the suffering heart of Lyudmila Sergeevna Brizhatova, the delightful Russian émigré poetess, faithful to the end in her lonely Parisian exile? The more saintly, the more Orthodox, the more missionary-minded but also the more patriotic. To some the idea of being both Russian patriots and missionary-minded may seem contradictory, but it is not.

This is because those who were Russian patriots were not simply patriots of Russia, but patriots of Holy Rus, the multinational ideal of the Orthodox Church, the Imperial ideal, the missionary ideal. Not for them nationalism and narrow-minded chauvinism, but the message to the whole world that God is with us. Not for them treason, cowardice and deceit, the slogan of the other 50% of the emigration, but faithfulness, courage and the truth. Faithfulness to Holy Rus, courage in the face of temptation, slander and exile, and words of truth against both the lies spread by the Bolsheviks and against the Russophobic myths spread by Western academics and politicians.

As widespread repentance and so the restoration of Holy Rus begins (and it has only just begun – you have seen nothing yet), old bad habits, a casual and nominal attitude to Church-going, fasting and prayer, a superstitious mentality based on ignorance, a few money-grubbing and compromised clergy, still exist. However, since 1917 the Church has been through a great movement of cleansing. Inside Russia, she has been cleansed by blood and persecution; outside Russia she has been cleansed by poverty and confession. Temptations have been taken away so that we can be faithful.

This is why, in 2007, at the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion by both parts of the Church, inside and outside Russia, there took place not the ‘reunion’ of the two parts of the Russian Church, inside and outside Russia, but the reaffirmation of our mutual unity, which had always existed, for we were always One and never spiritually divided. We, the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church of all nationalities and tongues, have always believed in the Resurrection, Restoration and Recreation of Holy Rus, not in her national garments from before the Revolution, but in her heavenly raiment all over the world.

The Russian Golgotha delayed us for 100 years, but it has not stopped us, on the contrary it has strengthened us. Thus, one hundred years ago the Russian Church was on the verge of creating Metropolitan districts so that the people and the bishops would be brought together. That is at last happening only today. 100 years ago the most devout and much slandered Metr Pitirim of Saint Petersburg, in charge of churches outside Russia, was proposing to build a Russian church in every Western capital and translate the liturgical treasures of the Church into every Western language. That is at last happening only today. As the deputy of the last lay administrator of the Most Holy Synod in Russia, the spiritually alive Prince D. N. Zhevakhov, wrote prophetically over ninety years ago:

‘Educated society in Russia neglected its duty before God and the Tsar and cast Russia into such a state of terrifying chaos that only God and only a Tsar can extract her from it’ (4).

Notes:

1. See especially the first four of the seventeen volumes of his biography, as compiled by Bishop Nikon (Rklitsky), Jordanville, 1957-1971. Characteristically frank, Metr Antony, who taught in all the Academies, leaves us in no doubt as to the real situation of the Church at the time.

2. Fr George Shavelsky’s autobiography was first published in New York in the 1950s, but is now freely available electronically in Russian and also in a recent French translation.

3. See especially the two volumes of lives of the New Martyrs of Russia by Fr Michael Polsky (original editions in 1957 and 1980) or the thousands of pages in the more contemporary volumes researched and written in Moscow by Fr Damaskin Orlovsky.

4. P. 338 of the first two volumes of his 900-page ‘Reminiscences’ covering 1915-1923, first published in Munich in 1923 and republished by Tsarskoe Delo in Saint Petersburg in 2014. Sadly, the two later volumes are still lost.

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.

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.

An Appeal for Faithfulness and for Unity

The Past

When eight years ago in Moscow a senior archpriest of the Moscow Diocese asked me to write the full story of Metr Antony, I answered him that, straight after a schism, it was not yet time, that people were not ready for it. I maintain that point of view today – only bit by bit can the story be told, only inasmuch as it serves the edifying and overriding goal of faithfulness and so unity. A bit more has been told this month at the instigation of a ‘Patriarchal’ priest of the Russian Church in the Diaspora, and only in order to point the way towards further unity. All revelations are for a good reason, not by chance, and are thought out beforehand. As for the rest, I have maintained silence on the whole story for 33 years – it can wait longer.

Thus, the article we published on 25 July regarding the past of English Orthodoxy and, most importantly, to provide a vision for the future unity of Russian Orthodoxy and all Orthodoxy in Europe has been like a stone thrown into a pond – it has created ripples, many for and some against. That shows that people are alive. It also shows just how divisive Metr Antony was, especially considering that the article was written most diplomatically, quoting Metr Kallistos. The conclusion must be: divisive personalities create division. Let us recall that the goal of the Church is to bring down the Holy Spirit on earth to produce saints, like St John of Shanghai, not to produce personalities.

Sadly, the truth hurts. And the article pained some, especially the naïve who are still in denial. But without growing pains, there can be no maturity. I have been there. As they say: ‘No pains, no gains’. And, in this case, although we would rather not talk of any of this, but keep it quiet just as everyone else keeps it quiet, this truth that hurts must be heard now. This is because to keep quiet now is to impede unity and the prize of unity is too great, for no Church or spiritual life can ever be built on myths and illusions, just as no Church or spiritual life can ever be built on schism and fragmentation. And schism and fragmentation were the case of the old Sourozh Diocese and the Paris Exarchate and, indeed, to a lesser extent, the case of both once divided parts of the Russian Church Diaspora.

Some have criticized details in the article. Two criticisms were quite right. These mentioned quite correctly that the Greek Metropolitan for Benelux is Metr Atheagoras (not Panteleimon, who was his predecessor) and that Maximos is not a Greek name. Thank you. As these were mistakes, like all the mistakes that I make, they were corrected at once. As a matter of historical fact, the Fr Maximos in question (he formerly had the fine Christian name of Michael) quit the Greek Orthodox priesthood after only two weeks. (Sadly, not a record; last year this was beaten by one recent convert, ordained without preparation, who stayed for only one day).

Another correspondent asked what was wrong with Greek vestments. He had missed the point; there is nothing wrong with Greek vestments – except when you claim to be following ‘the Russian Tradition’. Or do those words mean a consumerist, ‘pick and mix’ attitude to the Church? Another asked about Russian dress code in the spirit of, ‘But I know someone who…’, and also missed the point. I was talking about the context of general Christian dress code (which only the Russian Orthodox Tradition seems to have kept), not about the exceptions of loose sharivari trousers as worn by some peasant women in Serbia or African or Asian native dress. Orthodox dress code is universal and can be summed up by the words, ‘modesty without provocation’. Sadly, some in the name of an ideology alien to the Church, but not alien to secularism, like to provoke.

One asked me about my view of the ‘unusual and unique practices’ of Fr Sophrony (Sakharov). To which I simply answered that it is hardly for me to judge the spiritual value of such practices which take place in the Patriarchate of Constantinople. That is for the Church and Her hierarchs to judge. In this matter I am a mere observer who simply states facts and accepts the judgement of the whole Church, whatever that will be.

Another asked why we should have confession before every communion. Again he had missed the point. I was talking not about a pious convert monk who took communion every day and did not need confession every day (though his inexperienced and over-rigid convert confessor was demanding it!), but about the average Orthodox in the average parish who takes communion every two or three months and therefore needs confession before each communion. Even more so for the Greek who takes communion at every liturgy, but hotly denies even the existence of confession; since he has never heard of it and as he has never been asked to do it, it does not exist for him.

In this context, confession before communion is not some exotic Russian Orthodox tradition, it is the universal tradition of the Church – visit any Local Church and ask the faithful; everything else is mere decadence. There is only one Tradition, despite the vain attempts by Protestant-minded and Protestant-backed liberals to invent a new and alternative one and then reject the Tradition as ‘old-fashioned’ or ultra-conservative’, so moving the goal posts so that they can justify their conformity to secularism. Their technique of calling the Tradition ‘ultra-conservative’ was well-practised by the modernist Catholics and Protestants long before fringe Orthodox blindly copied it.

One said that the article was simply untrue; however, he was quite unable to reject a single point, as he is in denial of reality. All such articles are written from experience. You can deny that someone has experienced something if you wish, but it makes no difference to the fact that the experience has taken place. You are simply in denial, because you have some personal axe to grind. You are welcome to disagree with my interpretations of the facts, but to deny the facts is to deny reality and dwell in fantasy. Another who had been there at the time, squirmed and then reluctantly admitted that the whole article was true. The truest statement came from a third person who simply said: ‘We all know that this is the truth, it is just that no-one has dared say it out loud until now’. Such is the fear of the political correctness of the modern Jews.

One asked about naïve young Russian women in Russia who admire Metr Antony’s Russian (not English) writings, which Patriarch Alexis II expressly asked him to write in the 1990s. In my view, they are right to admire them, they are very well-written, ideal for beginners, just as beginners in Russia also admire the writings of C.S. Lewis. New to the Church, they need food for the mind and the highly talented Metr Antony gives this. That is why he was so popular with Anglicans, others outside the Church and those on the fringes of the Church. He wrote for them. From an atheist and secular background, he was well able to address the rationalistic doubts of people from that secular background. However, if such young women wish to be Churched, to enter the Arena, they will need to move on beyond introductions and rationalizing food for the mind and find writings with food for the soul. As for the tragic legacy of Metr Antony in England, which is what we were writing about, such young women, new to the Church, have no idea about it. We do, because we were subjected to the tragedy which wasted so much and drove so many away.

One correspondent asked about the need for a European Metropolia, and not a local English Orthodox Church. It is my polite suggestion that he should think about what I wrote of a ‘British Orthodox Church’. I wrote that we must avoid nationalism on the one hand and on the other hand admit that we are far too small to dream about a Local Church now. There may be at least 300,000 Orthodox in the UK, but fewer than 10% (30,000) practise and of that 10% it is doubtful if even 5% (1,500) are English people who practise. And most of the 30,000, including hundreds of the English people, have no desire for an English Orthodox Church; they are quite happy to belong to a Church that is based in another country. This is exactly what happened in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) – most Orthodox Americans of Non-Orthodox origin do not belong to it, thus making its claims strange.

In any case, who would provide the initiative for such a new Local Church? Not the Russian Church, for it has learned from its sad experience precisely with the OCA, whose canonicity is denied by most, as it received its contested Cold War autocephaly on a shared territory. What I was saying to this correspondent, and what I am saying here, is that now is the time for unity in a Metropolia, which could with time become autonomous and then, only with the consent of all, become a new Local Church. Now is not the time for narrow national division.

In a word, I am slightly disappointed, though not at all surprised, that some, perhaps a few on purpose, criticized the details of the trees, but forgot to look at the forest – which was, after all, the point. Above all I am disappointed that some seemed to pay less attention to the second part of the article, a vision of unity for the future, which to my mind is ten times more important than the first part. That simply lists the mistakes of the past and so explains how NOT to build unity and the future – on divisive personalities and divisive modernism. Perhaps some are not ready for the future. I am.

The Future

On what then can future Church unity be built? It can only be built on faithfulness to the Tradition. You cannot build unity on faithfulness to compromise, as I remarked thirty years ago to Archbishop George (Wagner) in Rue Daru, who could provide no answer to this truism, after he had just preached about the need for faithfulness, but never explained faithfulness to what. Why faithfulness? Because the Church that is faithful produces saints and, as we said above, this bringing down of the Holy Spirit to produce saints is the goal of the Church. A so-called Church that is against fasting, monasticism and asceticism, radically shortens and changes the services, destroys a prayerful atmosphere, conforms to the secularist spirit of the Western world, constantly berates Mt Athos, compromises on everything, and does not prepare the next generation of spiritual heroes, the saints and martyrs, as were produced by the Russian Church in the nineteenth century, is not a Church.

In a word, that is a Church that is unfaithful, it is disrespectful of the saints, does not produce saints, it produces only intellectuals who have no role to play in an organism where all the most important and so saving knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit, not from dry books of philosophy that only give you headaches. That is the Church of the philosophers, not the Church of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of illiterate Galilean fishermen, of the Saints of God. Such an unfaithful Church is no longer a Church at all and instead of saints produces only apostates, heretics and schismatics. A glance at twentieth-century Church history confirms this in abundance.

As I said to a former Sourozh priest in Cambridge in 1982, one who had just denied to me the need for spiritual heroes or even their existence and had just launched a magazine about such a new ‘Church’, that Church is just another rationalistic, secular and anti-spiritual organization, for it has nothing to feed our souls with. The Church has one foot in heaven and one foot on earth; the modernists want to make a Church with two feet on earth. They can do so if they want, but it will no longer be a Church, just a Protestant-type social club.

We have in recent years turned a generational corner in the Diaspora. Some in the old generation still seems to think that there are two parts to the Church, those who celebrate the services in ‘foreign’ languages and those who do not. At the mere mention of the word ‘faithful’, they think of their departed parents’ or still earlier generations who culted ‘the old country’ and a ‘foreign’ language. This old generation with all its complex of identity is hopelessly old-fashioned and is dying out. Today, everybody in all jurisdictions in the Diaspora uses English or another appropriate local language.

Today there are still two parts to the Church, but their division has nothing to do with language; of today’s two parts, the vast and often silent majority are trying to be faithful, a small but very vocal minority are not. The latter is not trying to be faithful because it believes in being ‘modern’, in other words, because of psychological and sociological complexes it is trying to conform to the world. ‘Faithful’ no longer means old-fashioned ethnicism; only old calendarists believe because of their chronic insecurity that faithful means a mere aping and anti-creative parroting of the past with pharisaical, imitative, almost Anglo-Catholic ritualism. Faithful means following the practices and spirit of the Church in whatever language we need. Language is totally irrelevant to faithfulness, languages are only permutations of a variety of consonants and vowels, of God-given human speech, of the Word and Breath of God that distinguishes men from animals.

True, one Georgian Orthodox priest did once tell me that God only speaks Georgian. And, some years before that, the same Archbishop George (Wagner), a convert from Catholicism and with an amazing complex about his Berlin past, while railing against the ‘modern’ Romanian use of Romanian in services, told me quite seriously that God only understands Latin, Greek and Slavonic in the services. (Little wonder that the Peckstadt parish and family, like so very many others, left his jurisdiction in those years). However, they were and are wrong! Thank God that that generation, the ones who said quite literally, ‘we would rather see our church close than hear French (or English) here’ has gone. Today, there are still two parts to the Church – but they are divided not according to language, as some in the old generation still think, they are divided according to faithfulness and lack of faithfulness. Agree with me or not, as you like, but my combat has always been with those who want to destroy the faithfulness of the Church and to pray for their enlightenment.

Faithfulness is so important because we know that our Russian Church has produced tens of thousands of saints and so survived, whereas renovationism has produced not a single one – it has produced only apostates, heretics and schismatics, those who conformed to the world, collaborated with atheists and secularists and persecuted and persecute the faithful. So why is faithfulness so necessary in the Diaspora just now?

I believe that we are now at a unique time, a turning point in our Russian Church Diaspora history. In both North America (ROCOR/MP/OCA) and Western Europe (ROCOR/MP/Paris Exarchate) there are three groups of Russian Orthodox (or at least two which are Russian Orthodox and one which has Russian Orthodox origins). All three groups are now faced with the possibility of further unity – or disunity. And unity becomes possible precisely through faithfulness, whereas disunity becomes possible precisely through lack of faithfulness, as we saw with all those tiny sects which rejected the unity between the two parts of the Russian Church in 2007, or with the old calendarists and their 12/13/14/15/16? tiny synods.

Today, in North America, the former leader of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is a member of ROCOR – a unity unthinkable in the bad old days of the Cold War. The OCA itself is now held by a steady hand, Metropolitan Tikhon, whose very name takes the group back to its historic origins with a Saint of the Russian Church. It may be that unity is at hand, that the modernist-minded and divisive extremes, which have for so long impeded OCA unity with the rest of the Russian Church in North America, will leave the OCA, just as the extremes of ROCOR and the Sourozh Diocese had to leave before their unity and that of both parts of the wider Russian Church could be achieved in 2007. Extremes, mainly Protestant-minded, ‘autocephalist’, fringe modernists, who could not accept united episcopal authority could join the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople or Antioch. This would leave the former OCA free to join a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia in North America.

Today, in Western Europe, the Paris Exarchate is now also held by a new hand, Archbishop Job, whose very name indicates the suffering that must be endured if this group is to return to unity. It may be that there too unity is at hand, that the modernist-minded and divisive extremes, which have for so long impeded Church unity with the rest of the Russian Church in Western Europe, will leave the Paris Exarchate, just as the extremes of ROCOR and the Sourozh Diocese had to leave before their unity and that of both parts of the wider Russian Church could be achieved in 2007. Extremes, mainly Protestant-minded, ‘autocephalist’ fringe modernists, who could not accept united episcopal authority could join the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople or Antioch. This would leave the former Paris Exarchate free to join a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe.

I have always refused to take part in anti-unity, anti-mainstream, fragmenting, fringe movements, whether of the Sourozh Diocese, seeing where it was heading in 1982, or of the Paris Exarchate, seeing where it was moving in 1988, when Archbishop George (Wagner) preferred to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the Baptism of Rus with a Catholic cardinal rather than with the Russian Church, or of old calendarism which had infiltrated the local Diocese of ROCOR in 1974 and was still there in 1997, but is now gone. This is because anti-unity movements are by definition unfaithful.

You can agree with me for wanting faithfulness and so unity, or else throw stones at me for wanting faithfulness and so unity, as some indeed have done. That is your choice, though God is your Judge too. But I will not change the fight for faithfulness and so unity, that is, for true unity, the unity that is founded only on the truth and which comes only from faithfulness, not founded on myths, delusions and faithlessness. For it is no use papering over the cracks and indeed the chasms, as old-fashioned ecumenists, stuck in the 1960s, do, unity is always in truth, that is, in faithfulness. Ask St Photius the Great, St Gregory Palamas and St Mark of Ephesus.

Let me be even clearer. What I am saying is this:

When ‘The History of the Orthodox Church Diaspora, 1917-2027’, comes to be written, what will it read? Perhaps:

‘The history of the Orthodox Church Diaspora is a sad one. Apart from the one bright moment of intra-Russian unity in 2007, it is a history of disunity and bickering because of divisive personalities with divisive policies. This has continued to this day and there is little hope for the future. Starting from Pan-Orthodox Diaspora unity under the Russian Orthodox Church in 1917, which was destroyed by the tragic Russian Revolution, Pan-Orthodox unity in the Diaspora has still not been restored after 110 years, to this very day’.

Or will it read like this? Perhaps:

‘Starting from Pan-Orthodox Diaspora unity in 1917, today, 110 years after the tragic Russian Revolution which destroyed that unity, unity is once more within our grasp. This has been achieved by restored Russian Church unity, the firm foundation of which was laid in 2007 by the adherence of both parts of the Russian Church, inside Russia and outside Russia, to the Russian Orthodox Tradition by the blood of the New Martyrs and Confessors, as represented in the Diaspora by the universal spirit of St John of Shanghai. Then came the confirmation of that unity when two former fragments, the former Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the remains of the Paris Exarchate, overcame their politically-inspired Russophobia, as well as their equally divisive American and French phyletism, and, having jettisoned that secularism, joined in with Russian Church unity.

Today, other national groups in the Diaspora, now again faithfully adhering to the unity-creating principle of the Tradition, rediscovered after generations of decadence and conformism to the practices and values of the Non-Orthodox world (in North America thanks greatly to the monasteries founded by Fr Ephraim), are uniting around this example of responsibility. For they are joining in the life of the Four multinational Metropolias, formed on the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Australasia. The formation of four new multinational Local Churches, following the impetus and examples of these Russian Metropolias, is now within sight. The cleansing of Church life from spiritual impurity, from heterodox-inspired secularism and historic injustice, is now leading to restoration and the return to canonicity’.

In other words, Diaspora unity, which is what we all want, cannot be built on divisive compromises, but only on faithfulness to the One Saint-making Tradition, our lifetime combat.

In other words, the ship is preparing to leave the port. We should make sure that we have tickets for it. Otherwise we shall find ourselves isolated and stranded on the dilapidated jetty of the desert island of dying heterodoxy – a lonely place to be at the best of times.

Ten Centuries of Institutional Secularism: The Despair of the Contemporary World and the Hope of the Church

Secularism, the worship of this world, has always existed and always will exist. It comes from the fact that the human-being, part breath of God and part fallen nature, is torn in two directions, towards the Kingdom of God and towards the fallen world. At times in his history he has turned more to the Kingdom of God, at other times more towards the fallen world. The attraction of the fallen world, secularism, is so strong that it can get inside religion, or rather pervert and deform religion into idolatry, for there have always been and are religions which actually idolize the fallen world, mistaking fallen creation for the Creator. They are called paganism. As examples we can mention yesterday’s Baal, Greek gods and Roman emperor-worship, or today’s religion of consumerism and entertainment (fun), bread and circuses.

Indeed, pagan secularism can enter into any religious system in forms as diverse as the physical sensuality of Hinduism or the militant violence of Islam, as the State-serving of Confucianism or the State worship of Shintoism, as the bourgeois capitalism accepted and promoted by Protestantism or the racial nation-worship to be found on the nominalist margins of Orthodox Christianity, even though officially condemned. Humanity, in other words, is capable of defiguring and corrupting anything, making the spiritual pure into the innately secular. The greatest danger is when such corruption becomes institutionalized, an inherent part of the system. It was in order to avoid this that in the fourth century monasticism began to develop very quickly and the capital of the pagan Roman Empire, which Christianity had vanquished through the Martyrs, was moved away from corrupted Rome to New Rome, uniting East and West, Asia and Europe in the Christian Roman Empire.

However, human nature is the same worldwide. Despite the removal of temptation by moving the Christian capital from pagan Rome, the spirit of the old pagan secularism still reached into Christianity there, over the centuries creating a new religion. The revived spirit of pagan Rome, of worldliness and secularism, was actually ingrained into this new religious system, made systematic and institutionalized by it. After earlier temptations it was eventually defined in Rome in the eleventh century, in imitation of the pagan Roman Empire and came to be called Roman Catholicism. This was essentially an attempt to make the former Church in Western Europe more powerful than all worldly rulers, to make the Church into a State – the most powerful State of all, to create a Roman universalism, hence its name. This was the world’s power to defigure, not the Church’s power to transfigure.

The way in which this was done was primitive enough. First it was necessary to assert that the Holy Spirit proceeded from Christ, from Him Who had taken on human nature while still remaining God. In the later eighth century the warlike barbarian Charlemagne found such a mistaken affirmation and tried to use it to assert his authority against the Church. In this he failed. Then in the early eleventh century the same mistaken affirmation was made again, but this time in Rome where within a few more years the Western leader, the Pope, began to call himself the Vicar (substitute) of Christ. This granted the Western leader Divine authority, by both theologically and juridically making him the source of the Holy Spirit. The trick was complete.

With this new ideology, the Western leader, the Pope, was in effect made God on earth, Pontifex Maximus, the infallible bridge between God and man, just like the old pagan Roman emperors. But when this God on earth commanded armies, launched pagan and barbaric military campaigns (called conquests and crusades) that looted, raped, pillaged and murdered hundreds of thousands, destroying higher forms of civilization, persecuted and tortured all those who disagreed with him, claimed to be able to sell places in Paradise, built himself palaces with every luxury, provided himself with male lovers or brothels and poisoned his enemies, people realized that his was not the Church of God.

Essentially then, what had once been the Church in Western Europe started to rot from the head downwards, its ruling warlike elite forming a neo-pagan institution, a servant of the world. Of course, it took time for the rot to spread and the former Church kept some of the outward structures of the Church that it had once been. There survived church buildings and monasteries, bishops, priests, sacraments and saints – without them it could never have kept the loyalty of simple and uneducated good souls faithful to the old Church and from whom the iniquity of the new system was hidden by ignorance and then indoctrination. However, gradually the old church buildings and monasteries were demolished or uglified into castle-like, military styled, barbarian Gothic and then worse, sections of the episcopate and the priesthood were perverted by sodomy and pedophilia, the sacraments were deformed and communion withheld.

As for the ancient saints, like their churches, they were forgotten or else remade, buried beneath layers of new and strange fashions, promoted by the elite. As even the outward structure of the Church was slowly deformed through the trick of gradualism, so that the people would not notice, the fullness of life went out of it and it began to resemble a dead formula, a mere ritual. The highest form of human life, the spiritual, gained through the ascetic, was replaced by lower forms of human life, the anti-ascetic, whether the intellectual, the psychic, the emotional or the pietistic, with which in their simplicity and naivety many of the simple people, kept in ignorance of the real, were conditioned to be satisfied.

Pagan barbarism had triumphed, disguised by the name of the Church, the Roman, the Papal, the pious, the canonical and the classical. It said that there was no difference between it and the Church of the first millennium, claiming that it had always been thus, that no revolutionary transformations had occurred in the eleventh century and the Church had never been altered! In reality, a subtle form of desacralization and so decivilization had all along been under way. As the former Western Church was gradually clericalized and turned into a mere institution, the world was divorced from the spiritual, thus leaving the political, economic and social life of the world to be secularized. Thus, the Incarnate Christ was driven not only out of the Temple, but out of all Jerusalem, which with time was turned into Babylon.

However, this idolatry of the old Roman paganism that had united Western Europe by military conquest in the name of ‘the Church’ attracted the imitation and envy of others. ‘If the Papacy can operate this trick, then so can we; we other humans can also proclaim ourselves gods on earth and call ourselves ‘humanists’. Thus, Europe drifted even further from the heritage and memory of the old Western Church as it had been. The new imitators tried to imitate the old Roman paganism in their own way, setting up a new Roman Empire which they called ‘Holy’, but which was not, but Unholy and secular. They in turn were followed by others who in protest set up still more forms of Christianity, allying themselves with princes and economic power, subjugating ‘primitive’ and ‘ssvage’ peoples outside Europe (‘primitive’ and ‘savage’ because they were not yet gods on earth like Western men) and becoming worshippers of Mammon.

There is no better example of this than the Victorian Imperialist in Britain, who stamped his pennies with the image of Roman Britannia and who just like the pagan Roman Imperialist, once a simple and honourable farmer, left his homeland to conquer and reorganize the ‘savages’ and so lost his own soul in the process. Just like the pagan Roman Imperialist, he learned Latin, he had strict and narrow moral views, a devotion to imperial duty and what he saw as the public interest – res publica. He was firmly convinced of his moral superiority over the clever but immoral ‘Greeks’ (French and Germans) and over the idle and superstitious ‘Orientals’ (Latins and Indians), over the backward and savage (all other races, as in ‘Darkest’ Africa), whom it was his business and duty to conquer. ‘God is an Englishman’, he wrote, for he had created a god in his own image. Moral censoriousness, sense of duty, xenophobic national glory and devotion to money-making, and so to ruthless and predatory exploitation, were his only goals. His Bible was the Bible of Mammon.

There were many other imitators who also deified themselves. There had already been Napoleon who dressed himself as a Roman Emperor and crowned himself from the hands of the Pope and later there would be Hitler, both paganized Catholics, who tried to re-establish the pagan Roman Empire in Europe by military conquest – and failed as soon as they had to face even the weakened remnants of Christian Russia. All these ideologues were deluded, whether they called themselves Capitalists, Liberals, Darwinists, Socialists or Nazis. Little matter what they called themselves, the secularist aim of worshipping this world has always been the same, including among those who today are for the moment re-establishing the pagan Roman Empire in Europe, a Fourth Reich, by economic conquest. They too are failing but only because again they have to face the weakened remnants of Christian Russia.

Thus, the conspiracy of rejection and concealment of ten centuries of the Faith of the Christian saints in Western Europe and their relics, condemned as living in the ‘Dark Ages’, as unsaintly, uninteresting, obscurantist and primitive, followed by ten centuries of barbaric institutional secularism, extolled as ‘Western culture’, have brought the Western world back to where it was 2,000 years ago, to the new, or rather old, paganism of today. This ‘new world order’ is thoroughly undermined by its narcissistic self-admiration, selfish exploitation, its utter lack of any spiritual purpose, dynamism and leadership, its spiritual futility. So, almost as if by sleight of hand, an anti-spiritual world order has been established. The West has gone from Christ to Antichrist in 1,000 years and turned full circle back to its paganism of 2,000 years ago.

Today’s remaining Western Christians are still little conscious, still largely shackled by their idolatrous attachment to their culture rather than to the purity of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Thus, they are still in denial of the inherent responsibility for the contemporary situation of their gradual thousand-year apostasy. Some have reacted to the contemporary acceleration of the apostasy, for which they still do not see their responsibility and see as due only to a recent process, with apocalyptic and depressing pessimism – the depressive Protestant philosopher Kierkegaard and the Catholic writer Bernanos did so. Others, superficial ‘feel-good’ Protestant evangelists or the deluded, Origenistic Catholic philosopher Teilhard de Chardin and Catholic modernists and even a few Orthodox, fallen away from the Church, have gone to the opposite extreme of idealistic naivety. They have imagined like pantheists that the world is merging into some great Universal Church which will bring the spiritual unification of humanity. Of course, they are right, only the Universal Church in question is the Church of Antichrist, not of Christ.

What is the Orthodox view? How do Orthodox view the future of the world that has become repaganized by ten centuries of systematic Western secularism made global? Orthodox say that, of course, the Apocalypse is potentially upon us and the West has potentially created the Kingdom of Antichrist. However, we should also know that the Church, and the Church alone, has the Power that provides hope of transfiguration and can resist the ten centuries of secularist repaganization that have brought the world to its present state. That is why we do not recognize as part of the Church the movements, delusions and so-called ‘saints’ of the second millennium, for they do not belong to Her spirit but to the spirit of apostasy, even if ever so subtly and under the cloak of good. For we know that the Church alone has the Power to change the world that Power has been lost to the institutionalized and the secularized.

For, behold!, just as the Church conquered the pagan Roman Empire, so in our own time She has conquered the pagan Soviet Empire. Thou hast conquered, O Galilean! Thus, all may not be lost. This conquest of both the Roman and Soviet Empires came about precisely by the spiritual vitality of the Commonwealth of Christian Peoples, by the Power of the Saints – the Power of the Holy Spirit. And Victory over two Pagan Empires can yet be extended to a Victory over a Third, today’s Western Empire. The victory of the Saints is not in numbers but in heroic Power, the Holy Spirit’s Power to see deeper and further than the secularists, to make the impossible possible. This isolates them from the world which ignores them, as it has isolated from the blinded world both the Saints of the West of the first millennium and the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, but this isolation is always triumphant.

The Western world never totally threw off the yoke of pagan Rome. And once it had abandoned the Faith of the Church, Orthodoxy, in the eleventh century, it could no longer preserve itself intact from the temptations of that yoke. They all came back, one by one. Through them the Christian way of life gradually became reduced to a legalistic philosophy, a hypocritical puritanism and a powerless and sentimental pietism. The pagan principle of secularism has once more become inherent in Western culture over the last ten centuries as that pagan yoke has gradually crept back into Western life through becoming institutionalized, an ingrained and systematic part of the Western Establishment.

The Divinely-inspired values of the Saints, of noble selflessness, of Beauty, Truth and Goodness, of Hope, Faith and Love, are the strongest-known values known to world history. They are the only values that can destroy the ignoble selfishness, vulgarity, unreason and evil, the despair, apostasy and hatred of the lunatic asylum of the contemporary world. That deranged world has been made powerful through usury and technology, but it has been made powerless spiritually because it has emptied its soul. The values of the Saints conquer because they are inspired from outside this world by the Power of the Holy Spirit, by the real world, that is, by the Kingdom of God, to which the Orthodox Faith and Church alone direct us. And this is the Faith in the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory that will triumph at the end of history, showing us that all else was mere illusion.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!