Category Archives: The Orthodox Church

My Life, the Last Battle and the New Orthodox World (N.O.W.)

‘Tell the people: Although I have died, I am alive.’

St John of Shanghai

Foreword: The War

Forty-five years ago I was told by one who could have known better that, as I had been waiting for years to join the Orthodox Church, I now faced a choice: I could either join the Greek Church of Constantinople or the Church of Russia; it was all the same. But only to him was it all the same, as, in spite of, or rather because of, his great intellect, he was spiritually confused. He lived in an alien compromise, washing his hands before the critical choice. I joined the Russian Church because, since the age of twelve, I had known through revelations to my soul that my destiny was most definitely in the Russian Orthodox Church. However crippled it may have been after 1917, I was destined to share in that agony, indeed, although it seemed foolishness to the Jews and to the Greeks alike, only by sharing in that agony could I hope to find my own salvation. I sensed even then that what he had told me was somehow untrue. At best it could only have been a delusion. It was not all the same – and recent very sad events have shown this to all absolutely clearly. Let me explain:

The Church is not to be found in a people who believe that it is a chosen people. Many Hebrews believed that they were the chosen people, but they stoned the prophets and crucified the Son of God. To this day many of their descendants reject Christ, some considering themselves superior to the rest of humanity. Then the Western European elite came to believe in their ‘exceptionalism’ (that is, their claim that they too were above God) too, all in order to justify their organized barbaric aggression. So a thousand years after Christ, they too fell away from the Church, rejecting the Holy Spirit and seizing control of the Church in the West in order to justify their conquistador power-grab. So, like pirates, they began persecuting us ordinary Christians and conquering the rest of the world by fire and the sword. Then their secularist descendants, in turn the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, German and finally American elites, did exactly the same, demanding world hegemony (‘globalism’), also rejecting Christ because they consider themselves superior to the rest of humanity. (Hence their anti-Semitism: the other ‘chosen people’, the Jews, were rivals to them, therefore they had to be eliminated). In the Church there has now come the turn of certain Greeks, telling us that only they are Christians, that God speaks only Greek, and, as one very well-known Cypriot archimandrite told me, even that their pagan ancestors had prepared the way for Christ! Many Russians fell victim to the same delusion, in the same way believing in themselves instead of believing in God, taking communion only once a year. So they lost everything and overthrew the God-appointed Christian Emperor in 1917. Only through the blood of the New Martyrs and the tears and sweat of the New Confessors did repentance eventually begin to come to them.

All these ‘chosen peoples’ failed to understand that salvation comes only from the Heavenly Jerusalem of the Church of Christ through the Mercy of God and the Holy Spirit – not from some earthly ‘Jewish Rome’ of some mythical ‘chosen people’. For this reason, once I had chosen the Russian Church, I was to spend the rest of my life at war, in tireless battles, in unceasing strife, in the trenches, on the Western Front, fighting for real Christianity, for the real Russian Orthodox Church, together, of course, with many others. We all fought against the narrow-minded, nationalist delusions and impurities of those who had lost the big picture, who could not see the wood for the trees. They told us that only Russians could be Orthodox, that only their own exclusive little fragments of the great Imperial Orthodoxy, which had not undergone the blood, tears and sweat of others, could be right, that God’s Church needed ‘saving’ or ‘reforming’ (naturally, by themselves!). Some of them even persecuted and took to court as a common criminal the greatest saint among them all, St John of Shanghai. Little wonder that the Lord sent me to a military Church. I never sought any of this; it was all imposed on me. My soul would have died had I not taken part in this spiritual warfare. My life has been unceasing warfare in four battles, all fought beneath the Protecting Veil, which my patron-saint saw and which is the only reason why I am still alive.

Three Battles

My first battle was to take part in the struggle to help free that small part of the Russian Church Diaspora in England, which was dependent on Moscow, from spiritual impurity. After nine years, by 1983, I realized that I would fail in this. It was a task quite beyond me, with my very feeble abilities and from my modest, provincial, rural background; the enemies were invested with the strength of a personality cult, with all the authority of men and their city establishments, they had no time for a ploughman’s grandson. I was knocking my head against brick walls. So I left into exile, seeing my limitations. I understood that it would take far-reaching political changes inside Russia and indeed the departures or deaths of some outside Russia before this battle could be won (I did not know then that this would mean twenty-four years). Victory was inevitable, but only God Who created time, could in time bring the victory. My battle had been premature. By myself I could do nothing. It was good for me to know this.

My second battle was to take part in the struggle to help free that small part of the Russian Church Diaspora, which was dependent on Constantinople (Rue Daru), from spiritual impurity. I fought in Paris and thought that this battle was winnable. It was – almost. However, after six years in 1988 there came a turning-point when I saw that I would fail in this battle too. The intrigues of freemasons in high places meant that I could not help win this battle – all my friends were in low places. I knew then that this Paris group would eventually (I did not know then that this would mean thirty years) disappear into spiritual irrelevance. Those who had betrayed the Tsar and made him and his Family into martyrs had also betrayed the Church. So I left, having understood that here too it would take far-reaching political changes inside Russia and indeed the departures or deaths of some outside Russia before the battle to bring even a part of this group home to the Russian Church could be won. Victory was inevitable, but only God Who created time, could with time bring the victory. My battle had been premature. By myself I could do nothing. It was good for me to know this.

My third battle from the first day of 1989 onwards was to take part in the struggle to help free that part of the Russian Church Diaspora, which was dependent on New York (ROCOR), from spiritual impurity. Here there was a much greater chance of success, for the contaminating Protestant disease of ‘super-correctness’ (as another disciple of St John of Shanghai called it), with its ignorance, phariseeism, extremism, sectarianism, old calendarism, psychological (not theological) deviations of convertitis and Cold War money, had many opponents in the USA itself and even more in Western Europe where I was fighting on the Front. And above all, my Diocesan Archbishop supported me and I supported him. The ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, a spiritual son of and the European successor to St John of Shanghai, was in effect the first real Orthodox bishop I had met. We had an identical understanding of the Church. By myself I could do nothing, but now I was far from being alone; I was simply one of very many, a little cog in a large machine. I did not know then that this struggle would take eighteen years, for only in 2007 did the Church win the day. I was taking part in our first victory, together with millions of others, in the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors, to which I had always belonged in spirit. Only geography had ever divided us.

After the Three Battles

Once this battle, in which I had played only a tiny role, eventually from my provincial home-town, had been won by the many, especially by the bishops who had been inspired by the grace of God, I knew that the two other houses of cards where I had earlier lost the day would fall in their turn. I just did not know that it would take another twelve years. Between 2007 and today, in 2019, I have seen both these first lost battles won. History won them. What I knew in the past, that they would be won only in God’s own time, has come to pass. What we have fought long and hard for has been obtained. Thus, we now at last have for our Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland a bishop, pleaded for during over four decades. He is Orthodox, understanding the local language and people, not phyletist, venerating the local saints and not denying them, missionary-minded like us, encouraging us and not destroying us, not under the control of laypeople, in good health, and who will be resident here in just a few weeks from now.

Secondly, the Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe, awaited for over three decades, was at last established in Paris only a few weeks ago. This means that our House will be built on rock, not on sand, and that the ‘Euro-Orthodox’ fantasy of the Paris Brotherhood is now dead. The future Local Church of Western Europe will be authentically Orthodox. For what we have sought for and fought for since 1988 now is. There is now a real Orthodox Exarchate for Western Europe, with many regional dioceses and young bishops, hundreds of parishes and several monasteries, venerating the local saints and not denying them, the foundation of the new Local Church. Led by Metropolitan John in Paris, who bears the name of our missionary father in Christ, St John of (Shanghai and) Western Europe and so continues in the tradition of Archbishop Antony of Geneva, it will of course need much more time to develop. It consists of the generally newer Russian Orthodox parishes of Western Europe, in many dioceses and with many bishops. However, alongside it and complementing it, also stand the two (Western European and German) dioceses of ROCOR, with their five bishops, two of them younger and active. This consists of the generally older, more integrated, Russian Orthodox parishes of Western Europe, a few of them until recently under Constantinople, but now at last come home. The two parts need each other and hopefully their bishops will meet regularly in order to help each other in their own joint Synod.

However, in this Year of the Lord, 2019, there is the last mystical battle (last for me) in the series of mystical battles in this Hundred Years’ War, which for a century has so deformed Church structures in the Diaspora. This battle is also against spiritual impurity, against masonic ecumenist and modernist intrigues. However, this last battle is the battle inside the Russian Lands, inside historic Rus’; it is therefore not a local battle for English, French and American Rus’ in London, Paris and New York, for part of the small Russian Diaspora, it is a general battle which concerns the whole Church. This is taking place today in the Ukraine, but it affects all. For the Church is the mystical centre of the world and it is the Ukraine which is now the mystical centre of the Church. And this is why we have come here now, sent to fight from the Western Front to the Eastern Front. All will stand or fall by their attitude to what is happening in the Ukraine today, to this battle between Christ and Satan. Whose side are you on?

The Fourth Battle

The internal administrative centre of the false Orthodoxy against which I fought in all our four battles, was formed in Istanbul a century ago. It came into being only because of the long-planned overthrow of the restraining protection of Imperial Tsardom. However, the Western disease which had overthrown the Christian Emperor and so the Christian Empire and then brought that centre into being had already infected Russia and elsewhere before that. For the disease contaminated all nationalities, including many in the Russian Lands and from there in the Diaspora. The disease came to be called renovationism and the renovationists were keenly supported from Istanbul. Today it has become crystal clear that the whole of the supposed Orthodox world has now to side either with real Orthodoxy or else against real Orthodoxy. The time of reckoning has come; the time of compromise is over. No-one can stand by any longer with the indifference and conceit of Pilate. Even though this battle is of exactly the same nature as the series of three battles which we fought in the Diaspora before this one, now it is not the Diaspora, but the Ukraine which is the sword that divides. The battlefield has changed to the Ukraine, but the battle is the same one; it is the battle for spiritual purity, for canonicity, for real Orthodoxy.

Gradually, over the last two months, one Local Church after another has decided to side with spiritual purity, canonicity and real Orthodoxy and so support Metr Onufry and the Church of God of the Ukraine. The rest of the Russian Church with ROCOR was the first to support him wholeheartedly. The Local Churches of Serbia, Bulgaria, Antioch, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Cyprus, and unofficial but spiritually free (= non-political) voices in the Churches of Greece, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Georgia, followed. So far, thirteen out of eighteen Athonite monasteries have joined us. And a few days ago the episcopate of the basically Carpatho-Russian OCA (Orthodox Church in America), which had dithered for several weeks and where some had for years even been threatening to desert the Church for Istanbul, decided the same. This is their spiritual victory and our very great comfort after decades of spiritual slumber, of wandering far from the Church with American phyletist delusions. It means that the little OCA is maturing, at last deciding to accept its destiny, abandoning its eccentric spiritual isolation and so finding its positive identity by returning to its roots under St Tikhon. Inspired by the breath of new life, it can at last begin to play a significant and fulfilling role as one of the component parts of the future, united, much larger, multinational Russian Orthodox Churches of the three continents of the New World, of the Americas and Oceania.

This leaves the episcopates of only two Local Churches, the large Romanian and the tiny Albanian, not politically free and sitting on the fence, paralysed like Pontius Pilate ‘for fear of the Jews’. They are silent, neither supporting nor rejecting, awaiting instructions from above on whether to support the petty nationalism of the phyletist schism of Constantinople or not. The false church in the Ukraine, founded by the US-backed separatists in Kiev, is officially under a certain Sergei Dumenko. He is actually a Vatican- and US-approved puppet-layman, therefore both pro-Uniat and pro-LGBT, and not a metropolitan, His false church has been seen to be without grace, without sacraments, without the Holy Spirit. His church is that of ‘the Ukrainian god’, as one Ukrainian minister has put it. His enthronement in Kiev six days ago was ignored by all the Local Churches. His so-called ‘Church’ is only a regime-manipulated charade of empty rituals, just another small ultra-nationalist organization – an absurd anachronism in this global world. It is supported by teams of police-backed Nazi bandits who intimidate and beat up Christians, because Nazis have no concept of the meaning of the word ‘Christian’. And these anti-Christian men of violence are directly supported by an alien and corrupt political regime in Kiev, supported by alien and corrupt regimes elsewhere, and, to their eternal shame, by Greek ‘bishops’ in Istanbul.

Afterword: The Victory

The decadent, self-appointed, Paris-School ‘theologians’ from the past slip away one by one. With them their secularizing ideologies from the past, Ecumenism (anti-Orthodoxy; against the Father), Modernism (anti-Sovereignty; against the Son) and Liberalism (anti-People; against the Holy Spirit), slip away into spiritual irrelevance. Their books of intellectual fantasy-philosophy are ready for the dust of forgotten library shelves. Those who frustrated, wasted, impeded and persecuted us for so many decades are leaving the stage and we are beginning to see the future clearly now. For the New Orthodox World (N.O.W.) is taking shape. The New Orthodox World (NOW) is led not by anachronisms, relics from the past in cities of empires which have not existed for centuries, but by vibrant and missionary multinational Local Churches, Autonomous Churches and Exarchates worldwide. These are not narrow and corrupted nationalist museums for State rituals, flag-waving and cultural nostalgia or the playthings of disincarnate but very aggressive, politicized and politically correct, liberal intellectuals, but living organisms, cleansed to prepare us all to meet the King before He returns in all His glory. And in the New Orthodox World, NOW, there is the Heavenly Jerusalem of the Church of Christ, awaiting Him and resisting the Enemy of Mankind, who comes before Christ in order to create disunity, disorder and distress among us.

The death-threat which I received three years ago, sent me because the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, did not stop me or deter me for a single second. In a dream, come to me after receiving that death-threat, I opened my front door and saw an agent on my doorstep. He at once fired his revolver at me, but the bullet rebounded off my priest’s cross, killing him instead of me. He fell to the ground and his corpse was dragged away to a waiting car by his colleague, who in fear and astonishment uttered powerless curses. I left and hid in a secret and remote place where I could not be found. I was rescued by the prayers of one who long, long ago had also taken refuge in such a place and I was taken to a faraway land. I have never paid any attention to dreams, especially such dramatic ones, but I remembered this one. However, I only really understood its meaning and symbolism on my first day here. It means that, like all of us, I will die when God decides, not when men decide, for though man proposes, God disposes. It means that the bullet rebounds, for if men want to kill the truth, they kill only themselves (exactly as they have done for the last one hundred and five years, with their atheist wars, one after another). And those who try to kill the Church in the Ukraine are committing spiritual suicide; indeed, their death-bearing bullet has already lethally rebounded onto themselves.

Victory has been ours in the Diaspora, because we have been willing to die for the Church of God and our enemies have not – because they are inherently attached to this world and so fear death which is of this world. Victory is ours in the Ukraine, because we are willing to die for the Church of God and our enemies are not – because they are inherently attached to this world and so fear death which is of this world. This is why we shall win this last battle now – because we do not fear death, for we believe and we know that Christ is the Life-Giving God, Who rose from the dead and freed the captives in hell. They, however, have only heard of the Risen Christ as a theory and symbolic myth for their heads. They believe it not in their hearts. Therefore their heads, like their lives, are full of the philosophies and works of death. But we do believe and we know and we tremble in awe before the Living God, Who is the Great God, Who works wonders and Who is with us, so that none is against us. Let the dead bury the dead. As for us, we shall not die, but live, and we shall declare the works of the Lord. The Lord is our Enlightenment and our Saviour, whom then shall we fear?

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Kiev, 1-8 February 2019

 

 

 

 

Four Ecclesiologies

There used to be three ecclesiologies (teachings as to what the Church is), but last month we saw the birth of a fourth. What are these ecclesiologies?

  1. Orthodox Ecclesiology (‘Christianity’)

This is the ecclesiology of the Holy Trinity, Unity in Diversity. It is the ecclesiology of the Family of Churches, which together form the Body of Christ, of which obviously Christ is the Head. In practical, that is, incarnational terms, this results in the existence of a family of Churches, like those described by the Apostle Paul in his letters to the Corinthians, the Ephesians, the Thessalonians, the Philippians, the Romans etc. Their differences and problems are regulated by Councils. Indeed, this conciliarity, in theology and history called Catholicity, is one of the four basic signs of the Church, together with Oneness, Holiness and Apostolicity. Therefore, a ‘Church’ which does not have this Catholicity is not the Church, certainly not the fullness of the Church, as it is deficient in one of the Church’s four essential qualities.

  1. Papal Ecclesiology (‘Papocaesarism’)

Papal or Roman Catholic ecclesiology asserts that the Church is centralist and imperialist. There is only one Pope, Who as the Vicar of Christ is the Head of the Church. This is the ecclesiology of centralism, which cannot survive without the Pope, Who is Infallible, as He is the source of the Holy Spirit on earth. This is the ecclesiology of the Crusader, the Inquisitor and the Conquistador.

  1. Protestant Ecclesiology (‘Caesaropapism’)

As a reaction to centralist Papism, this says that you can make your own church, everyone is a pope, everyone is the head of their own church: ‘Make it up as you go along: we are all popes now’. If you disagree, you go off and start your own church. Inevitably, and from the very start, this leads to small, weak and divided groups being taken over by States, kings, princes, presidents and politicians, a process known as erastianism, whereby the State controls the Church. Inevitably, and from the very start, this has led to State Churches, phenomena like the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Church of Norway. These are all State-controlled organizations, which inevitably end up adapting their doctrines to the demands of the secular State.

  1. Phanariot Ecclesiology (‘Eastern Papism’)

This power-grabbing ecclesiology, which has been a century in the making in the Diaspora has just now been born in all its fullness in the Ukraine. It is in effect not Orthodox ecclesiology, but a mixture of Roman Catholic and Protestant ecclesiologies, Papocaesarism and Caesaropapism. On the one hand, it is centralizing Papism: all must be gathered together under the Patriarch of Constantinople, who is the ‘Eastern Pope’ (not ‘Western Pope’). On the other hand, it gives what it calls ‘autocephaly’, in reality only a diminished autocephaly or minor measure of independence, to any Church within any nationalist organization or ‘State’ – even though that ‘State’ may be new, temporary, artificial and tyrannical or even already have an authentic Orthodox Church on its territory.

In other words, this new imperialist/nationalist ecclesiology is a combination of the worst of both the Papal and the Protestant worlds. It is a pastiche of authentic Trinitarian Orthodox ecclesiology. On the one hand, it is centralizing, able to exploit its new ‘churches’ as subservient cash cows. On the other hand, it provides a measure of independence to pseudo-autocephalous entities, but no protection for them from the local dictatorship, even in dogmatic questions. For the local ‘State’ can demand and force changes in doctrines in accordance with its own demands, which subordinate Christ to its nationalism. Thus, Phanariot ecclesiology does not affirm Local Churches, it only affirms, Protestant-style, the right of ‘States’ to have their own ‘Churches’. In other words, it merely uses Protestant-style nationalism to increase its own power base. Therefore, this is a double heresy.

 

 

The Orthodox Church: 220 million Faithful and over 1,000 Bishops

The Orthodox Church is a family of Local Churches, just like the Churches of the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Romans, the Thessalonians, the Colossians etc, as described in the letters written to them by the holy Apostle Paul. Each of the Local Orthodox Churches has a main administrative figure, a chief bishop known as a Patriarch, or in the case of smaller Churches, a Metropolitan or Archbishop. However, the Church as a whole has no earthly head, because the head of the Orthodox Church is our Lord Jesus Christ. His authority is expressed in the Orthodox Church through the Holy Spirit as revealed particularly through Church Councils and the saints. Below you will find details of the Orthodox Churches and their approximate sizes, totalling: Bishops: 1,023. Priests: 79,592. Parishes: 71,993. Monasteries: 2,988. Faithful: 220,000,000.

Russia: Bishops: 419. Priests: 40,000. Parishes: 36,878. Monasteries: 1.000. Faithful: 164,011,000

This is the only real multinational Orthodox Church and accounts for 75% of all Orthodox. It cares for Orthodox living on canonical Russian Orthodox territory, spread over one fifth of the planet (the former Soviet Union except for Georgia, plus China and Japan) and peopled by over 62 nationalities. These territories include the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Transcarpathia (the main part of Carpatho-Russia), Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Baltic Republics. The Russian Church also includes the self-governing New-York-based Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (mainly in the three continents of the Americas and Oceania), the Japanese Orthodox Church and the Chinese Orthodox Church, as well as Exarchates for Paris and Western Europe and Singapore and South-East Asia.

Romania: Bishops: 57. Priests: 15, 513. Parishes: 13,527. Monasteries: 637. Faithful: 18,800,000

Also known as the Patriarchate of Bucharest, apart from in Romania there are also many Romanian parishes in the Diaspora, especially in Western Europe.

Serbia: Bishops: 53. Priests: 3.000. Parishes: 2,974. Monasteries: 204. Faithful: 8,000,000

The canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Belgrade covers Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia. There are also many parishes in the Serbian Diaspora.

Greece: Bishops: 108. Priests: 9,117. Parishes: 8,000. Monasteries: 598. Faithful: 8,000,000

Under the Archbishop of Athens, this Church cares for all Orthodox in Greece.

Constantinople: Bishops: 131. Priests: 5, 935. Parishes: 3,196. Monasteries: 148. Faithful: 5,250,000

This includes Greek Orthodox in Istanbul (about 1,000), those on Greek islands such as Crete and Rhodes (700,000), and above all the Greek Diaspora in the Americas, Western Europe and Australia. There are also twenty-four parishes in Finland and small groups of other Non-Greek Orthodox, mainly Ukrainian, elsewhere. It has 58 titular bishops.

Bulgaria: Bishops: 29. Priests: 1,500. Parishes: 2,600. Monasteries: 120. Faithful: 4,500,000

The Patriarchate of Sofia covers Bulgaria and a number of churches in the Diaspora.

Georgia: Bishops: 47. Priests: 1,100. Parishes: 550. Monasteries: 172. Faithful: 3,500,000

The Patriarchate of Tbilisi covers Georgia and a small Georgian Diaspora.

Antioch: Bishops: 44. Priests: 408. Parishes: 496. Monasteries: 32. Faithful: 3,000,000

The canonical territory of the Arab Patriarch, who lives in Damascus, includes Syria, the Lebanon and Iraq.

Alexandria: Bishops: 45. Priests: 500. Parishes: 1,000. Monasteries: 3. Faithful: 3,000,000

Although for historical reasons its Patriarch is a Greek and his appointment is in the care of the Greek government, this Patriarchate is in Egypt. It also cares for St Catherine’s Monastery on Mt Sinai, but most of its faithful are Africans in over 54 African countries.

Cyprus: Bishops: 18. Priests: 600. Parishes: 628. Monasteries: 28. Faithful: 650,000

Under an Archbishop, this Church cares for all Greek Orthodox in Cyprus.

Poland: Bishops: 12. Priests: 420. Parishes: 237. Monasteries: 13. Faithful: 600,000

Under the Metropolitan of Warsaw, this Church cares for Orthodox of all origins who live mainly in eastern Poland.

Albania: Bishops: 8. Priests: 154. Parishes: 909. Monasteries: 1. Faithful: 200,000

Under the Archbishop of Tirana, this Church cares for Orthodox in southern Albania, most of whom are of Greek origin.

The Czech Lands and Slovakia: Bishops: 7. Priests: 197. Parishes: 240. Monasteries: 4. Faithful: 170,000

Led by a Metropolitan, this Church cares for Carpatho-Russian, Slovak and Czech Orthodox, as well as large numbers of Ukrainian Orthodox immigrants.

Jerusalem: Bishops: 25. Priests: 50. Parishes: 50. Monasteries: 25. Faithful: 130,000

Although its Patriarch is a Greek and his appointment is in the care of the Greek government, the flock consists of Palestinian Orthodox in Palestine and the Jordan.

OCA: Bishops: 20. Priests: 1,098. Parishes: 699. Monasteries: 3. Faithful: 90,000

Not recognized by all Orthodox, this group is composed mainly of the descendants of Slav immigrants from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire to North America, especially to Pennsylvania.

 

 

Who Are Orthodox Christians?

For nearly two thousand years we Orthodox Christians have been on Christ’s critical mission of salvation — our own salvation from sin and death and so that of the rest of mankind, of all living things, and indeed of the whole planet. We believe that the world can still be saved from self-destruction, spiritual, moral, political, social, military, and today ecological, chemical, bacteriological and nuclear. For nearly a thousand years this chaotic self-destruction has been the ever-accelerating agenda of greedy Western terrorism, which has been asset-stripping the Non-Western world, even more after its ‘World Wars’ of the last century.

Since the end of the World War in 1945 this terrorism has become ever more relentless and ferocious, using ever more barbaric technologies, massacring millions. The relentless Western military machine has been leaving its bloody traces in genocides all around the world, from all over South America to Korea, from the Congo to Haiti, from Guatemala to Iran, from Vietnam to Cambodia, from Italy to Belgium, from Rwanda to Serbia, from Iraq to Myanmar, from Afghanistan to all of Africa, from Syria to the Ukraine, from Libya to Yemen. This war is part of the war between Good and Evil, which affects all peoples and each one of us.

However, we believe in self-sacrificing service for our common goal of the salvation of the soul. We believe in the final victory over the war-creating enemy of mankind, Satan, who rejoices in death as he is the prince of death. This is the victory of the Church and Her Master, Christ, now and forever. For He is coming again as the Just Judge to judge all the nations and each one of us. Our nationality is Orthodox Christian, our flag is the flag of God, our faith and hope are the certain knowledge that Christ the Son of God and King of Love will win. It is this knowledge that gives us the strength to go on in the struggle for salvation.

On Cleaning Up the Mess After the Phanar

After the falling away of the see of Constantinople from the Orthodox Church and today’s Tomos, we are starting to see how the fashionable tendencies it has long represented are also being rejected. These are freemasonry, modernism, renovationism and dreamy, pseudo-theological intellectualism (philosophy). Thus, this ideology of semi-Orthodox intellectuals, both clerical and lay, is at last being rejected, also in Moscow and Saint Petersburg where they mainly live. This is because such tendencies are now clearly associated with the uncanonical ecclesiastical invasion of the Ukraine by the US-run Phanariots.

Thus, Orthodoxy is at last being cleansed from generations of Protestant-style, modernist philosophers, especially Russians, from Solovyov to Bulgakov, from Berdyayev to Afanasyev, from Schmemann to Yannaras, from Clement to Zizioulas. For it is their ideologies which have led directly to Ukrainian autocephalism. They are what leads directly to the break-up of the Orthodox Church, as Brzezinski and his heirs in today’s US State Department, like Hitler before them, so much desire in their ‘divide and rule’ policy. For the heresy against the Church preached by the modernists is not a theory, it leads to the destruction of the Church.

Nationalist ‘Churches’ in the EU and the USA, in Belarus and Moldova, and anywhere else, is what the modernists and their US sponsors want. This is what Poroshenko and the Phanariots have created in the Ukraine. But the faithful there do not attend their conventicles. Why? Because they give no faith, no spiritual food, they are dead. This nationalism is associated with crude Russophobia. This is cultivated by the phyletists only because they reject the obvious numerical predominance, multinational nature, piety and faithfulness to the Tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church. They want power for themselves.

Lacking humility, they cannot accept the reality of Church life. Russophobia is only their self-justification for this. Of course, we are not talking here about the promotion of some sort of Soviet imperialism or Russian nationalism, which we, like all Russian Orthodox, also naturally wholly reject. We are talking about the rejection of Orthodoxy itself, which has been kept so faithfully precisely by the Russian Church above all. This is why the eight undecided Local Churches (outside the Russian, Serbian Bulgarian, Antiochian, Polish and Czechoslovak Churches) will sooner or later have to choose who they are with: Christ or Belial?

Will the other Local Churches (essentially Greek, apart from the US-influenced Romanian and Georgian Churches) side with the Phanariot modernists or will they remain faithful? In other words, will they recognize the Poroshenko-Phanariot pocket ‘Church’, under US pressure, or will they recognize the faithful and canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Confessor Metropolitan Onufry? If they choose the to do the latter, then the US will form Macedonian and Montenegrin ‘Orthodox Churches’ and many more. ‘Divide and rule’ is after all the Protestant disease which the Americans understand and spread so well.

Just like the former see of Rome, the see of Constantinople is now ceasing to be an Orthodox Church. The process of apostasy is the same: Hildebrand and Bartholomew. Gathering to itself a motley group of freemasons, LGBT activists, schismatics, phyletists, dissidents, ecumenists, modernists and Russophobes, it wars with the spiritual enemies of Orthodoxy, whose last bastion is the Russian Orthodox Church. Their greatest fear is the resurrection of the Imperial, that is, multinational, Church of Rus, of New Jerusalem, of the Orthodox world, of the Orthosphere, of Orthodox Civilization. Their hearts are elsewhere.

Orthodox Civilization stands for everything that is not petty and provincial, that is not Ukrainian-style nationalist ‘Churches’, without spiritual life and monasticism, which wave flags and chant to their Caesars like the Jews of old: ‘Glory to the Ukraine’, ‘Glory to the EU’ and ‘Glory to the USA’, instead of ‘Glory to God’. The support of US/EU globalism and liberalism for petty nationalism is only because nationalism is defenceless before their Eurosodom and Gomerika. What is the way ahead? The clearest course of action is to summon a Church Council, like that in Moscow in 1948, held to condemn ecumenism.

Such a Council might not initially gather all the Local Churches, some of which are still fence-sitting ‘for fear of the Jews’. However, its decisions, like those of other Local Councils in the past, the Palamite Councils, for example, could easily come to be accepted in due course by the whole Church. The agenda would have to include:

  1. The condemnation of the absurd US-recommended, State-run ‘Unifying Council’ (sic), held in Kiev on 15 December 2018, and of its decisions.
  2. The condemnation of the century of ecclesiological heresies, canonical crimes and modernist liturgical aberrations of the Phanar (all of which were present at its Crete meeting in 2016).
  3. In the light of Constantinople’s apostasy, the long-overdue review of the archaic Church Diptychs.
  4. In the light of Constantinople’s apostasy, the discussion of the future close co-operation of the six Local Churches (the Churches of Russia, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia) directly concerned by the Diaspora.
  5. The condemnation of worldly phyletism and Protestant autocephalism (Schmemannism) and the formulation of the ecclesiological principles for the granting of Autonomy within a Local Church and, above all, for the granting of Autocephaly by all the Local Churches together, thus cleansing the Church of secular nationalism.

 

 

 

A Bulgarian Hierarch Speaks Out Regarding the Phanariot Crisis in the Ukraine

Metropolitan Daniil of Vididn to glasove.com: The assembly in Ukraine is uncanonical 

Source: glasove.com

“I will answer you in the words of one of the archbishops of the canonical Church, with which he responded to the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew to attend this assembly: I am firmly convinced and confess that I remain faithful to the One Orthodox Church, and my presence at this council contradicts the first Psalm of David, which reads as follows, “Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the pestilent. But his will is rather in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night.” What could be the outcome of a council that is convened in violation of the canonical order and involving persons outside the Church? In my opinion, this Council will not heal the division among the faithful people in Ukraine, but will deepen it. In this whole mournful situation there is a comforting thing – the desire of Orthodox people in this country to preserve the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church, and that this finds a response and support across the entire Orthodox world.”

This is what Metropolitan Daniel of Vidin says in an interview for glasove.com on the occasion of the assembly on December 15 in Ukraine convened by the Patriarch of Constantinople. The date for its conducting was announced by President Petro Poroshenko, who informed that an autocephalous local Orthodox church in Ukraine would be established at the assembly. Poroshenko said the council would approve its statutes and choose a primate to obtain from the Ecumenical Patriarch tomos (testimony) of the autocephaly.

Why is the position of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church concerning the schism crisis in Ukraine being protracted?

The Holy Synod is a collective, conciliar body of governing, and decisions are taken by a majority, in accordance with the Statutes of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Considering this question, the Holy Synod appointed a commission to examine more thoroughly all documents related to the Church crisis in Ukraine and only then to come up with an opinion. At the discussions during the synodal sessions, there were metropolitans, including myself, who wanted a position to be expressed, but as I already said, the Holy Synod is a collective body. At the same time, everyone bears a personal responsibility for his own voice, both before God and before God’s people. Why do we think we need to express a position? Because the Church is one and conciliar, as we confess in the Symbol of the Faith. In this sense, the dispute in Ukraine is not just a dispute between two local Orthodox churches. It affects the entire Orthodox Church.

What is your personal opinion on this question and why do you think it affects the entire Orthodox Church?

This affects the whole Orthodox Church because inter-Orthodox relations are affected. It violates the millennial Canon Law of the Church, one of the basic principles of which is the principle of the boundaries of Church jurisdiction. These limits are clearly defined and generally recognized. Each autocephalous Church has the right to self-governance within its boundaries and does not have the right to extend their jurisdiction in other local Churches. Here we will list only rule 2 of the Second Ecumenical Council, and rule 8 of the Third Ecumenical Council, which prohibits the individual local Orthodox Churches to extend their jurisdiction beyond the bounds of their area.

In your opinion, has Patriarch Bartholomew crossed the limits of his jurisdiction?

We definitely deem so. Since his Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew has been at the lead of the Constantinople Patriarchy, (i.e. from 1991 until now), he has always acknowledged that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in an indisputable way, with a number of letters and documents endorsed with his signature. Now he suddenly states that the Kiev Metropolis was never given under the full jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

It is pointed out that in the famous document of 1686, by which the Constantinople Church entitles the Moscow Patriarch to ordain the metropolitan of the Kiev Metropolis, there was a requirement that the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople be commemorated. And this also is considered as a sign of recognition of the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople over the Kiev Metropolis. It is another question how legitimate these claims are, but they are only declared today – three hundred years after the act in question was issued.

At the same time, the Church rules define periods of limitation for disputes over the right to jurisdiction over certain territories. For example, rule 133 of the Carthaginian Council sets a three-year statute of limitation. If a Bishop believes that another Bishop has entered a part of its territory, he has three years to file a claim. Rule 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council and rule 25 of the Fifth-Sixth Ecumenical Council provide a limitation period of 30 years in which disputes over jurisdiction over certain parishes can be settled. And in our case, a few centuries have passed.

In terms of Canon Law, these disputes are inadmissible. Here’s an example: in 1917 The Patriarch of Constantinople, German V, writes the following to the bishop of the Georgian Church after its self-proclamation for autocephalous: “I do not know and cannot know a self-contained Georgian Church, since for more than one hundred years, the Orthodox Georgians have been under the rule of the Russian Church. Your separation and formation of an autocephalous Church is only possible with the consent of your church with the Russian one (…) We cannot interfere in your internal Church matters, but advise you fatherly, to listen to the voice of your pastor, and in this way to bring this issue into the river-bed of the salvific Church canons.”

The claim of the Patriarch of Constantinople that his rights are infringed, (as the Kiev Metropolitan does not commemorate his name during Divine Services), is untenable, but is used as a formal occasion for the document from 1686 to be repealed. But this situation has not been contested for 300 years.

For three centuries the Orthodox people in Ukraine have lived in complete unity and have been an integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Since then, Kiev Metropolitans have been members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Church, and have elected, and have had the right to be elected as Patriarchs.

During all these 300 years, the Ukrainian believers have recognized Moscow’s Patriarch as their spiritual primate. Can someone after some 300 years come from outside and say: I am your father? Who’s going to follow him and who’s going to believe him? How can one proclaim himself as the spiritual father of a people, when the people know, remember, and honor the fathers who have begotten and brought them up in the faith? The sacred canons are categorical in this regard.

But for the people outside, it is not clear why Ukraine, after being an independent country, does not have its own independent Church?

Let’s first see what the Orthodox people and their canonical hierarchs in Ukraine say, because that is essential. The hierarchal council, convened by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in reference to these events on November 13th of this year, in which 83 hierarchs participated, expressed an explicit position against the encroachment of the Constantinople Patriarchy into her canonical boundaries, as it stated that “the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is self-governed, endowed with all the rights of independence and autonomy that are today necessary for the fruitful service of God and of the people of Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has over 12,000 parishes, which is more than the two schismatic groups, (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate (UOC KP) and the so-called Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church), combined.

Therefore, in his letters to the Bulgarian Patriarch and to the primates of the other local Churches, Metropolitan Onuphry correctly expresses his perplexity as to why no one takes into consideration the appeal of thousands of members of the UOC to Patriarch Bartholomew asking autocephaly for these schismatic groups not to be granted.

Why is the voice of a group of people being taken into consideration selectively before the voice of the canonical Church and its flock? Indeed, all canonized saints of the twentieth century in Ukraine urge their spiritual children to preserve sacred the unity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with the Russian one.

Let’s look at another side of the issue. Who are those who insist on autocephaly? The state authorities first of all. As Metropolitan Onuphry rightly notes, the authorities only hear the voices of those groups that burn Churches, profess nationalism, call for hatred, and cry “death to Moscow.” Why are their voices and demands for autocephaly the only ones to be heard?

It is obvious that these same state authorities are preparing to take matters into their own hands. Why is the opinion of the only recognized canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church not taken into account? What makes the opinion of groups whose leaders have been deprived from their spiritual dignity and excommunicated from the Church more trustworthy?

Could an analogy be made with the schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church 20 years ago?

Yes, to a great extent. As the schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was inspired and supported by the state authority, the same is happening in Ukraine. In our country, the schism was overcome, thanks to the Orthodox Council of 1998, convened at the initiative of the BOC in Sofia.

At that time, the Ecumenical Patriarch acted quite differently compared to today. Can we talk about a double standard?

Actually, at the 1998 council, the Ecumenical Patriarch posed the question of the resignation of Patriarch Maxim, but then our predecessors, (hierarchs with spiritual experience and valor), opposed him and said, “We have called you here to heal the schism, not to deepen it.” So the parallel between the schism in our country and the one in Ukraine is completely relevant.

At the moment, the UOC MP is in the same position as the BOC was then. In our country the schismatics also tried to rob the Church’s identity, to despoil shrines, to usurp property of which they were not entitled. And most grievously, destroying their moral appearance, and killing the people’s faith. Because we know how they ended, and what their deeds in the faith were. The same is happening in Ukraine.

In 1992, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, Philaret, was deprived of his dignity for his falling into schism and due to proven moral transgressions in personal aspects, and later excommunicated by the Church. So his removal was laid down legitimately, for good reasons due to a number of canonical violations. And in its decision from October 11th, in complete contradiction with the sacred Canons, the Patriarchate of Constantinople restored that man.

Finally, what should be the position of the BOC in your opinion?

Three metropolitans of the Holy Synod came out with a statement on the situation in Ukraine, in which, proceeding from the experience of the Pan-Orthodox council from 1998, which overcame the schism in our country, we proposed in this case to proceed in the same way and for the matter to be offered for a Pan-Orthodox discussion.

For a Pan-Orthodox council to be convened?

This can happen in different ways. First, resuming the dialogue between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian Orthodox Church, in view of the ROC’s decision to end Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The resumption of dialogue between the two churches, with the participation of representatives of the rest of the local churches, is a way the wound in Ukraine can be healed. In the end, any decision concerning the Local Orthodox Churches cannot be accepted and permanent without their consent and support.

A “unification council”, convened by the Patriarch of Constantinople will be held on December 15th in Kiev. What do you think will be the result of it? 

I will answer you in the words of one of the archbishops of the canonical Church, with which he responded to the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew to attend this assembly: “I am firmly convinced and confess that I remain faithful to the One Orthodox Church, and my presence at this council contradicts the first Psalm of David, which reads as follows, “Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the pestilent. But his will is rather in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night.”

What could be the outcome of a council that is convened in violation of the canonical order and involving persons outside the Church? In my opinion, this Council will not heal the division among the faithful people in Ukraine, but will deepen it. In this whole mournful situation there is a comforting thing – the desire of Orthodox people in this country to preserve the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church, and that this finds a response and support across the entire Orthodox world.”

Is there a political pressure on the Synod of BOC to tilt the scales for one or another solution – from the Russian or American side? Or, from the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which expresses certain interests?

I can categorically say that during the discussions in the Holy Synod, the Metropolitans express their own views. So the debates and decisions are made on the basis of the conceptions and conscience of each of the hierarchs.

This is not a direct answer. Is there any political pressure, in your opinion? From the Russian side or from the Americans (through the Bulgarian government), which is in fact the instigator of the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarch?

I can only testify for myself. I can categorically state that nobody has put any pressure on me. In view of the progress of the situation, at this time, it is necessary for all Orthodox Christians to increase our prayers for the preservation of the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and in the whole world.

Interviewer: Yavor Dachkov

 

Buffoonery and Shame

The new ‘Metropolitan’ of the graceless State Church in the Ukraine, the US ‘divide and rule’ stooge ‘Epifanij’ Dumenko, ordained by a defrocked and anathematized married bandit ‘Patriarch’ from whom he accepts his orders, awaits his papers in Istanbul on 6 January. He has already promised to force the faithful to adopt the papist calendar and then unite with the Uniats, like the Phanar and the Vatican. All this has cost the US taxpayer, who loves freedom and democracy, a bribe of $25 million to set up this farce. But the new Poroshenko nationalist ‘Church’ duly exists with several hundred adherents and at least two church buildings which imitate the rites of the Orthodox Church.

In the city of Vinnitsa in central Ukraine, civil servants paid by the Poroshenko regime, have been told that they must, by Sunday rota, attend the only church under Dumenko there, as it has been deserted by the faithful. Other faithful are being ‘interviewed’ by the dreaded CIA-trained Kiev Secret Police, the SBU, to find out why they refuse to attend. Poroshenko, the founder of a nationalist Church by bloodshed, is indeed worthy of the bloodthirsty tyrant Henry VIII. Thirty years ago, under the Ukrainian Communist Party, if you went to church, you lost your job. Today, under the Ukrainian Fascist Party, if you do not go to the ‘right’ church, you will lose your job. How times change!

Just today the Ukrainian Parliament has ordered the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to ‘The Russian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine’. This means that all the over 12,000 churches must be re-registered – which will give the Kiev regime the chance to take them away from the faithful. Persecution is intensifying under US aegis. Perhaps the Ukrainian Parliament could also order the Patriarchate of Constantinople to change its name to ‘The Patriarchate of Istanbul’? And perhaps, in reply, in Moscow a Synod could change the name of the Patriarchate of Moscow, which is associated with the Soviet period, to ‘The Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus’?

However, there is a serious side to all this provincial buffoonery, which is worthy only of a Balkan farce. The clownish attempt by Istanbul to kidnap the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church because it has virtually no flock of its own has an alternative. If it wanted faithful for its fictitious empire, why did it not set out to convert Turks – or any of the other 7.5 billion people in the world who are not Orthodox, rather than concentrate on the 216 million who are? Of course, in fairness, we must ask the same question of the 13 canonical Orthodox Churches (there are no longer 14). Why are they not also engaged in mission with the 7.5 billion? This is the real shame.

 

The Church is Different and We are Different

The Church is Different

Everything is different in the Church. It all looks different, sounds different, it even smells different. There are icons, there is a priest who wears special clothes, the singing is different from the songs I hear on my mobile phone, there are some special words in the service that I don’t always understand, people talk about prayer and fasting, confession and communion (you never hear that at school) and there is incense. There are people from many countries who speak different languages, people have different names from those at school (no Kyle, Wayne, Shelly and Jenny, but Peter, Joseph, Sophia and Alexandra), most people wear special clothes for Church, most men make a special effort to dress better than usual, most women put on dresses or skirts and cover their heads for church.

Why is it Different?

We live in two different worlds: the world of the Church and ‘the world’. And the Church does not begin to resemble the world, the world must begin to resemble the Church. This is because the Church believes in the God Who rose from the dead, the world does not believe in Him but faces only one prospect: death. That is why it tries to distract us from death with ‘stuff’, that is, everything you can buy in the shops. We believe in the values that the Risen God gives us, not in the values that the world gives us.

The world says: Let’s have wars, drop bombs on each other, be cruel, hurt each other, steal each other’s money and things, making sure people are unhappy by telling them that stuff from the shops will make them happy, which it will not, and not telling them that one day they will die.

The Church says: Let’s LIVE and in peace, be kind to each other, respect each other and each other’s property and help people to be happy by talking about the real problems, the things that can really make people happy, about life and death and what comes after death.

We are Different

Today this difference between the Church and the world, between Life and Death, is getting even bigger. It means that we can see some very strange fashions around us, that no-one ever thought possible even ten years ago. For example:

The world says that everybody can do whatever they want. For example, if you are a boy and want to become a girl, then you can do that. If you are a girl and want to become a boy, then you can do that. And if you are unhappy afterwards, then you can change back again.

The Church says, of course, you can do whatever you want, but there are certain things you can do that will make you very, very unhappy. If you want to be happy, follow what the Church advises, as far as you can.

For example, if you have feelings that you want to be different from what you are, the Church can help you to understand yourself, to find yourself, to accept yourself and, above all, to improve yourself so you can avoid that unhappiness.

So changing genders will not help you – it will just give you another set of problems, even worse than the first. In the Church we reinforce the differences between boys and girls, men and women, so we can avoid such unhappiness.

Why we Dress Differently and Have Different Roles

So, for example, in the Church we dress modestly but nicely. Men and boys should not dress in shorts; the Church is not the beach! We have not come to church to suntan! They would dress modestly but nicely for the theatre or some special occasion, so why not in church? They should put on something nice for church, shoes not trainers, a shirt not a T-shirt with an advertising slogan. We have not come to the gym, we have come to pray!

Women and girls should not dress in jeans and trousers, but in a skirt or a dress. They have not come to church to distract men and boys from prayer with their shapes! They cover their heads for the same reason: everyone knows that men and boys get distracted by women’s hair and that women distract them with their hair. Not in church, please! We have come to pray!

Boys can, if asked because they are good enough, go in the altar and help; girls can, if asked because they are good enough, go in the choir and help. Boys could one day become deacons or priests; girls could one day become choir directors. We each have different things to do in church, different roles, different tasks because we are different. Different does not mean we are not equal, it means that we cannot do without each other.

Different but Together

This is why children need a father and a mother. It is very difficult when one is missing. People grow up with many problems when they do not have both. This is not a case of one being superior or better than another. Quite simply, if there were no more men and no more women, the world would stop. Everyone would die out. We need each other. Again we see how the way of the world is Death and the way of the Church is Life. Yes, the Church is different; different because heaven is different from the earth and the Church is the foretaste of heaven.

(This first appeared in the Orthodox youth magazine Searchlight, Issue No 7)

Who Governs the Church?

Preface

In my last article, I wrote:

‘Mission on most of five continents, in most of Europe, most of Asia, in Oceania and in North and South America, lies before us. And this mission can only be carried out by a Church, which is uncompromised and untainted by State interference, by racist nationalism, by secularist ecumenism and modernism’

One reader wrote to me and said that such a Church has not existed for some 1,700 years. I replied that we must distinguish between the Church and the hierarchy. Below is my fuller reply to him.

Introduction

In forty-five years of Church life I have met between one and two hundred bishops of the present 900. I believe that at least two of them were saints. Many others were good. However, some were bad, indeed awful.

Bad bishops like the ones I have encountered traumatize their priests. The faithful quit them because nobody can trust them or some of the priests whom they ordain. Such bishops are at best celibates. (And some of them are not even celibates – see below). However, celibates can also be corrupt and incompetent and even atheists. Celibates can also be under-educated, incapable of writing anything, chronically ignorant. They can also be over-educated and nobody can understand their pompous and overblown philosophies. And celibates can prove to be incompetent simply because they are too old and ill to be competent, for instance falling asleep during Synod meetings. In their weak old age they then get manipulated by women, called in Russian ‘bishopesses’. However, most of the temptations that I have seen bishops falling into concern either morality or else power.

  1. Moral Temptations

There are three of these:

The first is money and the luxuries it provides. Who has not met a Greek bishop with a fancy villa in Athens? Or a Russian bishop with an expensive black cars. With all this goes pride, snobbery and elitism.

The second is sexual. Fortunately pedophilia is extremely rare (though I do know of two cases from the Soviet period). Sadly, homosexuality is relatively widespread among Diaspora bishops, with the episcopate of one group in the Diaspora known as ‘the gay mafia’. These like ordaining homosexual boyfriends to the priesthood, excluding married clergy and so perpetuating their vice. I have seen it. Then there are the heterosexuals, the most notorious one being the Soviet-period Metropolitan of Kiev, the notorious Filaret, whose wife had men ordained to the priesthood in return for expensive presents and flattery. One I knew here took Church funds and bought his mistress a house with the money. Another wanted to sleep with the wife of a candidate for a priesthood, He walked out of his old Diocese forever and was ordained elsewhere by a moral bishop. The senior priest (uncanonically ordained) in his old Diocese, who knew all about his bishop’s conquests, defended his bishop: ‘It’s his only fault’. After some years his Diocese came to be in a critical state. No surprises there.

Thirdly there is vanity. Vain bishops are easily manipulated. Their narcissistic vanity is used to deprive priests and their families of their parishes and income. Insults, humiliations, slanders and bullying follow them. The Diocese is ruled by flattering favourites, who support and ordain bad elements against the good. Injustice rules and awards are given to corrupt favourites. Pastoral life suffers, parishioners are not visited, the flock sees no example from above and quits the Church, as nobody cares and those who do care are punished. The sheer lack of love of the vain and narcissistic bishop who abandons the good, preferring the bad, wrecks whole dioceses. I have seen it twice in my life.

  1. Power Temptations

There are three of these:

The first is politics. Uncanonical dependancy on figures in the State leads to uncanonical actions. Thus, for centuries patriarchs of Constantinople have been appointed by Muslim sultans, British and French ambassadors and today US ambassadors. Russian bishops were appointed by lay ‘oberprocurators’, at least one of whom was an atheist. We of course know about the Soviet period. We have the example of today’s Ukraine where a Jewish-Uniat president has set up his own Church, exactly like Henry VIII in England. Power corrupts, and this is why so many recent patriarchs and bishops of Constantinople have been freemasons, trying to corrupt candidates for the priesthood, as I know.

The second is the heresy of phyletism, the Greek word for racism. We have seen so many churches draped in national flags, especially Greek, Romanian, Serbian and Georgian. In one Greek Cathedral forty years ago we saw the Greek metropolitan actually stop the Liturgy: The Greek ambassador and his family had just entered and had to be escorted by the deacon to their seats…Such is spiritual death.

The third is dictatorship. Power goes to the head of the bishop and he becomes a dry dictator, a ‘good administrator’, ‘an effective manager’. Never consulting local people whom he only has contempt for anyway, such a bishop is just a spiritually dead bureaucrat. His diocese dies.

Conclusion

Some may be scandalized by the above and even despair. I say: So what? There is nothing new in the above, for there is nothing new under the sun. Sin is intensely boring because it is just the same old thing over and over again. Given the list above, my reaction is that this proves that the Church is Divine. If the Church were a secular company, it would long ago have gone bankrupt. For the Church is not governed by bishops – and if any bishop thinks that, he is clearly insane. The Church is governed by the Holy Spirit. Man proposes, but God disposes. And that is why, they can throw and have thrown all sorts of the above bishops at us and we are still here. And they are not. Victory is always ours, for Christ stands behind us.

 

“Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?”

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/17/whose-money-stoked-religious-strife-ukraine-who-tried-steal-it.html

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket?

Last month the worldwide Orthodox Christian communion was plunged into crisis by the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople to recognize as legitimate schismatic pseudo-bishops anathematized by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In so doing not only has Patriarch Bartholomew besmirched the global witness of Orthodoxy’s two-millennia old Apostolic faith, he has set the stage for religious strife in Ukraine and fratricidal violence – which has already begun.

Starting in July, when few were paying attention, this analyst warned about the impending dispute and how it facilitated the anti-Christian moral agenda of certain marginal “Orthodox” voices like “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” Fordham University’s “Orthodox Christian Studies Center,” and The Wheel. These “self-professed teachers presume to challenge the moral teachings of the faith” (in the words of Fr. John Parker) and “prowl around, wolves in sheep’s clothing, forming and shaping false ideas about the reality of our life in Christ.” Unsurprisingly such groups have embraced Constantinople’s neopapal self-aggrandizement and support for the Ukrainian schismatics.

No one – and certainly not this analyst – would accuse Patriarch Bartholomew, most Ukrainian politicians, or even the Ukrainian schismatics of sympathizing with advocacy of such anti-Orthodox values. And yet these advocates know they cannot advance their goals if the conciliar and traditional structure of Orthodoxy remains intact. Thus they welcome efforts by Constantinople to centralize power while throwing the Church into discord, especially the Russian Church, which is vilified in some Western circles precisely because it is a global beacon of traditional Christian moral witness.

This aspect points to another reason for Western governments to support Ukrainian autocephaly as a spiritual offensive against Russia and Orthodoxy. The post-Maidan leadership harp on the “European choice” the people of Ukraine supposedly made in 2014, but they soft-pedal the accompanying moral baggage the West demands, symbolized by “gay” marches organized over Christian objections in Orthodox cities like AthensBelgradeBucharestKievOdessaPodgoricaSofia, and Tbilisi. Even under the Trump administration, the US is in lockstep with our European Union friends in pressuring countries liberated from communism to adopt such nihilistic “democratic, European values.”

Perhaps even more important to its initiators, the row over Ukraine aims to break what they see as the “soft power” of the Russian Federation, of which the Orthodox Church is the spiritual heart and soul. As explained by Valeria Z. Nollan, professor emerita of Russian Studies at Rhodes College:

‘The real goal of the quest for autocephaly [i.e., complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a de facto coup: a political coup already took place in 2014, poisoning the relations between western Ukraine and Russia, and thus another type of coup – a religious one – similarly seeks to undermine the canonical relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow.’

In furthering these twin objectives (morally, the degrading of Orthodox Christianity; politically, undermining the Russian state as Orthodoxy’s powerful traditional protector) it is increasingly clear that the United States government – and specifically the Department of State – has become a hands-on fomenter of conflict. After a short period of appropriately declaring that “any decision on autocephaly is an internal [Orthodox] church matter,” the Department within days reversed its position and issued a formal statement (in the name of Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but clearly drafted by the European bureau) that skirted a direct call for autocephaly but gave the unmistakable impression of such backing. This is exactly how it was reported in the media, for example, “US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly.” Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in personally with his own endorsement as did the US Reichskommissar for UkraineKurt Volker.

The Threat…

There soon became reason to believe that the State Department’s involvement was not limited to exhortations. As reported by this analyst in October, according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York. The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.

[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here, but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day. Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese’s calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit, there’s been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating.]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let’s keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul’s Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as “the Phanar,” much as “the Vatican” is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.) Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar’s financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the “Diaspora” in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That’s why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox “Eighth Ecumenical Council” (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox “Vatican II,” the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew’s adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

…and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department’s direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the “stick” of legal threat: there’s reason to believe there was a “carrot” too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment:

‘Peter [Petro] Poroshenko — the president of Ukraine — was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.

‘As reported by Izvestia, this occurred after the story about Bartholomew’s bribe and a “vanishing” large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.

‘As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko’s visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine “chipped in” in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement.] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.

‘As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.

‘”Such a decision from Bartholomew’s side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople,” a trusted source explained to reporters.

‘For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev … ‘

Now, it’s possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

  • When Poroshenko generously offered Patriarch Bartholomew $10 million, the latter was aware that the full amount was $25 million and demanded the $15 million Poroshenko had held back. How did the Patriarch know that, unless he was informed via New York of the full sum?
  • If the earlier-reported $25 million was really collected from “a few wealthy people of Ukraine” who “chipped in,” given the cutthroat nature of disputes among Ukrainian oligarchs would Poroshenko (an oligarch in his own right) have risked trying to shortchange the payment? Why has not even one such Ukrainian donor been identified?
  • Without going into all the details, the Phanar and the Greek Archdiocese have a long relationship with US administrations of both parties going back at least to the Truman administration, encompassing some decidedly unattractive episodes. In such a history, a mere bribe for a geopolitical shot against Moscow would hardly be a first instance or the worst.

As one of this analyst’s Greek-American connections puts it: “It’s easy to comprehend the Patriarchate bowing to the pressure of State Dept. blackmail… not overly savory, but understandable. However, it’s another thing altogether if Kiev truly “purchased” their autocephalous status from an all too willing Patriarchate … which would relegate the Patriarch to ‘salesman’ status and leave the faithful wondering what else might be offered to the highest bidder the next time it became convenient to hold a Patriarchal ‘fire sale’ at the Phanar?!”

To add insult to injury, you’d think Constantinople at least could pay back some of the $7-8 million wasted on the Crete 2016 debacle to restart the St. Nicholas project in New York. Evidently the Phanar has better things to spend it on, like the demonstrative environmentalism of “the Green Patriarch” and, together with Pope Francis, welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe through Greece. Of course maybe there’s no need to worry, as the Ukraine “sale” was consistent with Constantinople’s papal ambitions, an uncanonical claim to “universal” status, and misuse of incarnational language and adoption of a breathtakingly arrogant tone that would cause even the most ultramontane proponent of the Rome’s supremacy to blush.

Finally, it seems that, for the time being at least, Constantinople doesn’t intend to create an independent Ukrainian church but rather an autonomous church under its own authority. It’s unclear whether or not Poroshenko or the State Department, in such event, would believe they had gotten their money’s worth. Perhaps they would. After all, the issue here is less what is appropriate for Ukraine than what strikes at Russia and injures the worldwide Christian witness of the Orthodox Church. To that end, it doesn’t matter whether the new illegal body is Constantinopolitan or Kievan, just so long as it isn’t a “Moskal church” linked to Russia.