By Dionysius Redington
The appointment (one can call it “election” only in the narrowest etymological sense) of Metropolitan Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will no doubt be remembered as a significant turning point in the history of the twenty-first Century Church. Whatever hope might have existed that the schism between Constantinople and Moscow over Ukraine is merely a temporary, unimportant event has surely now been extinguished
Archbishop Elpidophoros is a distinguished and knowledgeable theologian. As a Turkish citizen, he is a leading and obvious candidate someday to succeed His All-Holiness Bartholomew on the Ecumenical Throne. In the major controversies of Bartholomew’s reign (the Cretan Council as well as the Ukrainian schism) he has consistently and staunchly defended the Patriarch’s positions and authority. While there is no reason to doubt the sincerity with which he has taken these stances, it is evident that he has a vested interest in strengthening a presently feeble jurisdiction which he is one day likely to command.
Thus his appointment to the second-most powerful post in the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a two-fold significance.
On the one hand, it telegraphs that there is unlikely to be any backtracking at the Phanar when Patriarch Bartholomew leaves the scene. On the other, it raises the theological stakes, because Archbishop Elpidophoros does not consider the Ukrainian affair a trivial matter of reasserting Constantinopolitan control over a wayward province illegally dominated for a few centuries by Moscow.
On the contrary, he uses the most serious term of opprobrium in all of Orthodoxy to describe his opponents, one the Phanar generally goes out of its way to avoid employing. He says they are heretics.
In 2009, then-Archimandrite Elpidophoros delivered a memorable speech at Holy Cross School of Theology which may still be found online, for example at https://www.aoiusa.org/ecumenical-patriarchate-american-diaspora-must-submit-to-mother-church/. In this speech he makes the following interesting statements, which he has elsewhere expanded into his well-known thesis that the Ecumenical Patriarch is “primus sine paribus”:
“Let me add that the refusal to recognize primacy within the Orthodox Church, a primacy that necessarily cannot but be embodied by a primus (that is by a bishop who has the prerogative of being the first among his fellow bishops) constitutes nothing less than heresy. It cannot be accepted, as often it is said, that the unity among the Orthodox Churches is safeguarded by either a common norm of faith and worship or by the Ecumenical Council as an institution. Both of these factors are impersonal while in our Orthodox theology the principle of unity is always a person. Indeed, in the level of the Holy Trinity the principle of unity is not the divine essence but the Person of the Father (“Monarchy” of the Father), at the ecclesiological level of the local Church the principle of unity is not the presbyterium or the common worship of the Christians but the person of the Bishop, so to in the Pan-Orthodox level the principle of unity cannot be an idea nor an institution but it needs to be, if we are to be consistent with our theology, a person… In the Orthodox Church we have one primus and he is the Patriarch of Constantinople.”
Note first the phrase “constitutes nothing less than a heresy”.
Note second the theologoumenon that the person who acts as the principle of unity for the Church Universal is not Christ Himself, but rather some bishop.
Note finally that the bishop in question is not (as a naively literal reading of the Holy Canons would seem to indicate) the bishop of Rome, but that of New Rome. (This latter is a serious point much neglected in the present controversy. Whatever the role of the Primus may be in Orthodoxy—i.e. whether the he is “primus inter pares” or “primus sine paribus”—there is no doubt that for centuries the historical Primus was the Roman Pope. The only reason for rejecting Roman primacy today is that the Roman Church has abandoned Orthodox teaching. And yet Constantinople, with its lifted anathemas, has more than any other Orthodox Patriarchate seemed to imply that no such apostasy exists. How then can the Phanar claim to be essential to the Church, when the Vatican would have to have a stronger claim? If the ecumenical movement were to succeed and full communion with Rome be re-established, would Constantinople gladly cede its primacy? And how does the existence, if only formerly, of Orthodox Rome agree with the Phanar’s claim that the Church “cannot exist” without the Patriarch of Constantinople?)
Perhaps his words are subject to misinterpretation, but Abp. Elpidophoros seems to believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch is a sort of Pope, the Vicar not of Christ, apparently, but of God the Father! He also seems to believe that those who disagree with this view are heretics.
This is a rather more serious claim than “You know, now that the USSR is gone, there really should be an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church free from Moscow.”
How can world Orthodoxy maintain communion with a Patriarchate that promotes an alien ecclesiology, and refers to those who object as “heretics” (a term it does not apply to Roman Catholics and Protestants)?
There is another aspect to Elpidophoros’s elevation that the 2009 speech also illuminates. Although the Phanar has historically been very opposed to ethnophyletism (in part to stop the incursions of the Bulgarian and other churches into its canonical territory), it is a matter of historical record that the Patriarchate has always seen itself as the bulwark of Greek nationalism. (Patriarch Bartholomew himself would probably neither deny this nor see any problem with it, as is clear from his 2018 remarks about the “predecence” of “our people”.)
In his speech, delivered at America’s only Greek seminary, Elpidophoros is largely concerned with this exact issue. He says that “ecumenicity is the heart of Hellenism and by definition alien to any form of nationalism or cultural chauvinism.” He adds that “diaspora” refers not to people temporarily living in lands beyond the Roman Empire, but to those who live there permanently. Nevertheless, in a seeming contradiction, his vision of these people is limited to immigrants from traditionally Orthodox countries and their progeny. His primary concern is the maintenance of (in this case Greek) culture and tradition without assimilation, and he has this to say about “converts”:
“Another great number of candidates to the priesthood come from converts, who possess little, if any, familiarity with the Orthodox experience and they are usually characterized by their overzealous behavior and mentality. It is of interest that the converts who become ordained into priesthood represent a disproportionally greater percentage than the converts among the faithful. The result of this disanalogous representation is that, more often than not, convert priests shepherd flocks that are bearers of some cultural tradition, but because their pastors either lack the necessary familiarity with that tradition or even consciously oppose it, they succeed in devaluing and gradually eradicating those cultural elements that have been the expression of the parishes that they serve.”
While this is a legitimate concern, it is notable that Elpidophoros nowhere talks about an evangelical mandate to bring Americans as an whole into Orthodoxy, nor does he discuss parishes which do not have a single (or any) ethnicity. In the context of a talk at a seminary (where the Dean at the time was named Fitzgerald) the speech seemed to have a clear message summed up in the sarcastic nickname some people gave to it: the “Too Many Xenoi” speech.
I am a xenos. So far as I know, the interaction of my post-Schism ancestors with Orthodox Christians was limited to fighting them on the Eastern Front. My wife and I converted to Orthodoxy in 1988 at the OCA cathedral in Boston. We were the founders and editors of the now-dormant Saint Pachomius Library, one of the first Orthodox patristics websites, in 1994. We used to teach Church history online, and I was involved for a number of years in Orthodox evangelical outreach to the Rastafarian sect. In 1997, we moved from Boston to Lubbock, Texas, where I was ordained a reader in GOARCH and served as a chanter at Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church until last October.
Lubbock is a university town with a population of about a quarter-million. It lies in the center of the Llano Estacado, a vast thinly-populated plateau straddling the Texas-New Mexico state border. The first Orthodox in Lubbock were probably Lebanese merchants who arrived around 1900, but there was no parish until a few Greeks decided to found one in the 1970s. They succeeded, after great struggle and many difficulties: Lubbock, although fairly large, is invisible to most Americans because of its isolation. St. Andrew did not have a priest until 1996; before that, people would drive over 100 miles to Amarillo for liturgy.
When my wife and I arrived, we were not sure what to expect. We found a parish that was part of the Greek Archdiocese, but also very multi-ethnic and welcoming. The liturgical rubrics and music were Byzantine, but the services were entirely in English, and every effort was made to accommodate people of different backgrounds: Greeks of course, and converts, and Arabs, Ukrainians, Russians, Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians… and probably members of other nationalities I am forgetting. The “Greeks” in the parish were themselves a mixture of recent immigrants and families that had been in the US for several generations. Both of the priests who served in my 21 years at Saint Andrew parish were graduates of Saint Vladimir’s (OCA) Seminary.
The parish was not utopia, but it had its successes. Two of the parish’s young men (both of them converts, as Archbishop Elpidophoros might have predicted) went on to become priests of the Greek Archdiocese, a remarkable record for a parish so small and young by Greek standards. They are both, I might add, outstanding, even saintly, clergymen. One of them, whom I especially admire, was featured on the national GOARCH webpage in March. Neither of them answers to Abp. Elpidophoros’s caricature of the convert-priest as a fanatic ignorant of Greek culture (indeed, both of them married Greeks!)
My wife and I were very impressed by the generosity of the Greek parishioners at St. Andrew, their commitment to the religious education of their children, and above all by their sheer persistence in keeping alive a parish in an uncomprehending Protestant fundamentalist town, ignored by the rest of the country, always on the edge of financial collapse. At least twice, the parish seemed certain to close; once it was saved by an “anonymous” donation actually from the diocesan bishop, a very good and holy man.
Then in 2018, the current schism happened. My wife and I had been unhappy with the direction of the Greek Archdiocese for some time (I had been parish council president during the Council of Crete) but had always managed to convince ourselves to stay, if only because there was nowhere else to go: The Amarillo parish 100 miles away was still the nearest, and it, too, is Greek. Moreover, we did not want to cause a division in the already embattled local community; we respected our metropolitan; and (as I remember saying on more than one occasion) “If this were really heresy, and not just rhetoric, surely at least one of the other Orthodox churches would break communion over it”.
The Ukraine issue, however, made Patriarch Bartholomew’s more-than-papalising claim of being “primus sine paribus” impossible to ignore. We decided to leave the parish, and to hold reader’s services privately. We did not however tell anyone what we were doing except for the parish priest. We did not wish to be seen as sowing dissension, and we still hoped that the affair would be resolved in a few weeks. Then we found out that other people had noticed our absence, and eventually we decided to announce publically that we were starting a new parish, under the protection of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
At first we had no place to meet, so we met outdoors, at a park bench on the university campus, with the dome of heaven over our heads, flocks of pigeons (and the occasional hawk) circling above us. A few joggers looked at us in amazement, but for the most part we were ignored. For three months, this was our church.
I had imagined that once we announced our existence, many of our fellow-parishioners at Saint Andrew would wish to join; after all, the theological issues seemed rather clear-cut. This did not happen. Instead, the old parish split along neatly ethnic lines. Nearly all of the parishioners who came from the former Soviet Union joined our group; almost no-one else did. (It might interest Archbishop Elpidophoros that the converts have—so far—stayed with GOARCH.)
This is the tragedy of what is happening: an already barely-viable multi-ethnic parish has become two. Our parish is, I am confident, the Orthodox one, and the other is under a Patriarch and an Archbishop who are in communion with schismatics. But this is not the fault of the remaining parishioners of Saint Andrew. Few if any of them care at all about Constantinopolitan hegemony, much less Ukrainian autocephaly. For them, the parish of Saint Andrew is the Orthodox church, the church they or their parents built from nothing with sweat and sacrifice, the church where they were baptized or married or where they expect their funerals to be served. It is where they have met the Lord every Sunday in the Eucharist. Perhaps it is as impossible for them to leave GOARCH as for French peasants in the twelfth Century to have repudiated papism; for them, it would be “leaving the Church”.
But with the elevation of Archbishop Elpidophoros, surely that is what things are coming down to.
At the mission parish of Saint Catherine, we have had rapid progress. We were accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia almost immediately. The Dean of Texas, Fr. John Whiteford, has been named our acting Rector; although distance has prevented him from yet visiting in person, we have had two liturgies served by Hieromonk Aidan (Keller) from Austin.
We no longer have to worship on a park bench; an Anglican parish allowed us the use of their abandoned Sunday School chapel, complete with amusing stained-glass windows depicting happy 1930s children from around the world. A parishioner (Alexey Ageev, who deserves mention by name) built a traditional wooden altar and donated some hundred icon prints. God willing, through the prayers of St. Catherine the Great Martyr (and of St. Andrew the First-Called!), we will perhaps, despite our sins and weaknesses, be able to ensure a witness for Christ on the Llano Estacado.
But what about the other parish? What about the Greek “diaspora”? How will they fare under Archbishop Elpidophoros?
The year is now 1055.
When last January the Patriarchate of Constantinople under strong US State Department pressure on its puppet regime founded a new schismatic religious grouping (‘Church’) in Kiev, it isolated itself from the rest of the Orthodox world. Today this schismatic group has itself split into two, much to the embarrassment of its founders in Istanbul and Washington. One of its pseudo-bishops, ‘Patriarch Philaret of Kiev’ has split away from another, the so-called ‘Metropolitan Epiphanios Dumenko’, and promised to consecrate yet more pseudo-bishops throughout the Ukraine. It will soon have more pseudo-bishops than people. This small group will almost certainly split further.
It seems to be a spiritual law that the sectarian spirit which creates schisms always then creates more schisms. Rabbits breed rabbits.
This can be seen to be true in the history of Catholicism, which, having split from the Church in the eleventh century, continually splits into various sects, from medieval ‘orders’ and groups, persecuted by crusades and inquisitions, to Protestant groups, to Jesuitism, to Uniatism, to Old Catholicism, to Traditionalism and various liberal ‘charismatic’ groups, which appear to have nothing to do with Catholicism. There are now said to be up to 40,000 such sects, all born from the original split in Rome in 1054.
This can be seen to be true in the Greek Old Calendarist schisms. Many years ago I was told that there were no fewer than thirteen Greek Old Calendarist ‘Churches’. I have no idea how many there are today. This can be seen to be true in the tiny sects, a few hundred in each, which broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 2007; those infected with the sectarian spirit immediate split into four groups, apparently there are even more today! This can be seen to be true in the tiny modernist Paris Rue Daru group, which has already split into three (some returning to the Russian Church; some going to the Bulgarian; the remnant for the moment staying with Constantinople, though it is widely rumoured that the remnant will split into two by or in September this year.
Now we see the same in the Constantinople-founded ‘Orthodox Church in the Ukraine’. The crisis will deepen until Constantinople renounces its error. Already it is facing serious divisions in the ‘three As’ (in America, Australia and ‘Anglia’ – the Greek word for England). Here the Turkish-led Greek nationalist Church has imposed, without consulting the grassroots, three hardline bishops, who already have scandalous reputations. It would seem a good time for all concerned to leave the sinking ship of the Phanar in Istanbul. Not everyone wants to be playing in the band on the deck or rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Since at least the 1970s, there has been talk of founding a Local Church in various parts of Western Europe, especially in France under the Fraternite Orthodoxe, but also in Great Britain and, strangely enough, in faraway Turkey.
The Continental Fantasists
French intellectualism, expressed mainly by descendants of Russian aristocrats, freemasons and dreamers in the Rue Daru emigration of those who had betrayed the Tsar, proposed a Paris-centred (how could it be otherwise in the land of Napoleon?) Jurisdiction. Naturally, they themselves would be in power. Their models were political – the deeply-troubled OCA and the highly controversial parishes in Finland under Constantinople. Lost in clouds of philosophy, they expressed words and not deeds and forgot that such a Jurisdiction would need the canonical support of at least one Patriarchate, financial backing from the grassroots and also an infrastructure in the form of a property network of monasteries and parishes.
Of course, it never had any of these and today has no candidates even to be its next bishop after the present 75-year old ex-Catholic Archbishop Jean. Neither the Patriarchate of Constantinople nor anyone else was ever going to support autocephaly for such a tiny and inward-looking group. Financial backing to any appreciable extent was quite absent. And one Rue Daru parish or family after another returned to the Russian Church, went bankrupt, fell into disrepair or simply closed down, forcing the ever smaller group to rely on rented premises. The whole arrogant project, not passed on to the following generation, isolated from the Orthodox mainstream and marred by aggressive new calendarism and ecumenism which mocked the values of faithful Orthodox, seemed more like just another irrelevant sub-department of the Vatican’s Uniat fantasy. Perhaps it was.
The Anglican Fantasists
So much for the navel-gazing in Continental Western Europe. In Great Britain, actually England, insularist Anglican academic Establishmentism proposed a ‘British Orthodox Church’. Made up largely of elderly upper middle-class people, retired vicars and academics, with direct or indirect links to the Rue Daru elite, its philosophy was equally unreal. Born from the tiny elite of the British Establishment, it took no note at all of the fact that the oppressive Establishment is alien to most people who live in the British Isles, and even more in the inherent geographical part of the Isles, in Ireland. After all, the Establishment is originally a blood-soaked import from the barbaric Norman elite in 1066. This compromised itself successively in the oppression of the English, the Welsh, the Irish and the Scots, and then the rest of the world, in slave-trading and exploitative imperialist genocides. In a word, there is no such thing as Britain. Like ‘the Ukraine’, it is a purely political construct and therefore there can never be any such thing as ‘British Orthodoxy’.
Curiously for academics so closely linked to the failed Rue Daru fantasy, these fantasists never noticed that the number of active Orthodox in the British Isles and Ireland is so small that to build a Local Church here is fantasy. And without canonical backing from a Patriarchate, grassroots financial support from large numbers and property infrastructure, the whole project is impossible. This is why no Local Church has ever contemplated founding an Autocephalous Church in the British Isles. The failure was encapsulated in the city of dreaming spires (and lost causes), Oxford. Here the professorial fantasy of combining different groups of Orthodox, new calendar, old calendar, in a modernist chapel, part-financed by Anglicans, with little to do with ordinary people, came to nothing. I said so in 1975, whereupon the fantasist priest (who was later defrocked) told me that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’. Later a dozen or so disgruntled and mainly pensioned-off Anglican vicars, ordained overnight and with little concept of the reality of Orthodoxy and how to do the services, sealed the failure. The fantasy was not passed on to the following generation. Time to move on.
The Turkish Fantasists
With the vast majority of Orthodox in the Russian Church paralysed for most of the twentieth century, but reviving dangerously, in their view, since the official fall of atheism in Moscow in 1991, in Turkey the Greek racist Phanariots panicked. So these pro-LGBT gerontocrats and Young Turks further extended and developed the use of the code-word for Greek Imperialism, ‘Pan-Orthodox’. How could these fantasists justify the universal rule of a non-universal Empire which in any case had been wiped off the face of the earth five and a half centuries before? They spent a large amount of US dollars on a pseudo-Council in Crete and then set about shamelessly invading the canonical territories of other Local Churches, under US State Department orders. (This was instead of sending out missions to the 7.3 billion of the Non-Orthodox world; no doubt they can wait another millennium to hear the Gospel).
However, today Phanariot corruption by embezzlement, bribery and blackmail, has been displayed before the whole world. Their megalomaniac and navel-gazing talking shops, ‘Pan-Orthodox’ Episcopal Assemblies, agreed to by Russian naivety, are now thankfully dead. Phyletist (the Greek word for racist) Greek grandstanding is dead with it. The Papist project of making the whole world into Greek-controlled ‘autonomous’ parts of the absurdly-named, Turkish ‘Oecumenical Patriarchate’ has become the laughing-stock of the whole still Orthodox world. The days of treachery, cowardice and deceit, to use the concise and precise formula of the martyred Tsar Nicholas II, are over. Another fantasy has bitten the dust. So where do we go from here?
One thing is clear: no Local Orthodox Church of Western Europe will ever be built on fantasies. Three such fantasies have been tried and all failed miserably. No more fantasies, just reality. Since the Phanariot project is now well and truly in the dustbin of history, we have to look at the other six Local Churches present in Western Europe. Of these six remaining Orthodox groups in Western Europe, five, the Romanian, Antiochian and Serbian, as well as the tiny Bulgarian and the newly-appeared Georgian, are not going to do anything to promote a Local Church. This is because they are all mononational and have only one interest: preserving their own national identity and national flags. Their outreach, if it exists at all, is virtually only to their own nationality.
Reluctantly, despite the incredible incompetence, frustrating irresponsibility, paranoid centralization, personality cult narcissism, contempt for local people, waste of human resources and alcoholism, there is therefore only one alternative. This, like it or not, is ‘the only show in town’, the Russian Church. Under two administrations, the largest one centred in Moscow thanks to its presence in Italy, Germany, France, Iberia and Scandinavia, this is now setting up an Exarchate, with a group of bishops and a network of parishes, some newly-built. It is early days yet, but this is the only hope – and, actually, long has been. May the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe at last be empowered to take the multinational responsibility for Orthodoxy which it has always so sadly refused and shown itself incapable of.
I have been asked by a US correspondent about our attitude to President Erdogan of Turkey, who has recently spoken about the massacre of Muslims by a Fascist fanatic in New Zealand and about turning Agia Sofia into a mosque again. Now, we have in our parish three Turkish Orthodox parishioners and soon there will be a fourth. Interestingly, they all have the same attitude to President Erdogan, the neo-Ottoman ‘Sultan of Turkey’: they consider that he is a nationalist dictator and find him very unpleasant and distasteful.
In this way, he is perhaps similar to many another tyrannical Middle Eastern ruler. We think immediately of the rulers of Saudi Arabia, who behead people by the dozens every year, keep most of the people dirt-poor and the rich ultra-rich, and have carried out a huge genocide (with enthusiastic Western backing) against the people of the Yemen. Not to mention the fact that they tortured and cut into little pieces a Saudi journalist in their consulate in Istanbul last October. Apparently this barbaric behaviour is quite agreeable to the Saudis and their Western sponsors and guardians. In other words, there is always worse than Erdogan, but, true, there could be better, only be careful – you may end up with worse. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine are outstanding examples. Thus, in Turkey, the US attempt to assassinate President Erdogan in July 2016 would surely have led to incredible strife and thousands of deaths.
Of course, there are Orthodox who strongly dislike President Erdogan, not because they are Turkish, but because they hate his threat that the Church of the Holy Wisdom in Istanbul, for long a tourist site, may yet again become a mosque. However, this is a false problem. The real problem is that the Orthodox have shown themselves unworthy of having an Empire and a Capital. Until the Russians repent for their betrayal in 1917, there will be no Orthodox Emperor, and until the Greeks repent for their betrayal of Christianity which led to 1453, they will never have any power, and until they repent for their latest crimes in the Ukraine in 2019, Agia Sofia will become a mosque. The same is true for apostate Greek Cypriots, the northern third of whose island was occupied 45 years ago by Turkey, with full Western backing, and true for the Serbs in Kosovo, who forgot their Faith and were outpopulated by Albanians.
You always lose your territory when you show yourselves unworthy of having it. You bring it on yourself. Territory does not belong to us, it belongs to God and is only on loan to us for as long as we remain faithful to Him. Thus, Belgium was devastated in the First European War because of its crimes in Central Africa (millions of Africans mutilated or murdered), Britain lost its Empire because it swapped the Bible for the exploitation of natural resources and the same can be said for umpteen other empires throughout history, ancient and modern, from China to Babylon, from the Hindus to the Egyptians, from Timbuktu to Machu Picchu, from the Mayas to Zimbabwe, from France to Austro-Hungary. Power hangs by a thread; it is an illusion to think we have any power, we only have what is granted by God. The USA will lose its power for the same reasons. Spiritual and moral decadence is always followed by catastrophic collapse.
When Greeks or Russians begin converting Turkey to Christ, instead of hiding in their ethnic corners, then Istanbul will become Constantinople again and the Church of the Holy Wisdom will echo to praise for Christ in Turkish from the Turkish Orthodox faithful. But until then, expect only worse and worse. The fruit of non-repentance and self-justification is humiliation. It is the only thing that can bring humility to the unrepentant. In other words, there will be no Church of the Holy Wisdom until you have shown Holy Wisdom.
The US-backed Phanariot schism from the Orthodox Church had been under way for many decades. Indeed, its inevitability has been clear ever since the failed 2016 meeting of the failed Phanariot Church in Crete with its Obama-esque agenda. Spiritually and politically free Orthodox refused to attend it or agree with it. The Ukraine was only the last straw in their schismatic process, for the camel’s back had been breaking for well over a century. The charge sheet is very long; all the charges shaped by virulent Phanariot Greek nationalism, that is, by its racist phyletism. Some obvious landmarks were the British political pressures at the start of the last century, under which the Patriarchate of Constantinople buckled and set out on its first hesitant ecumenical activities under Patriarch Joachim III (+ 1912). Meanwhile, the future heretic Metropolitan Meletios Metaksakis was installed in a masonic lodge in the British vassal-island of Cyprus in 1909. And in Russia, apostate intellectuals and philosophers were preparing their renovationism with the aid of the weak-faithed and pro-modernist Metropolitan Antony (Vadkovsky – 1898 -1912) of Saint Petersburg. It was he who had protected the defrocked renegade and schoolgirl seducer, the murdered intriguer George Gapon.
After the blood-soaked tragedy of the 1917 Saint Petersburg coup d’etat of deceitful Russian aristocratic traitors emigrated to Paris. The coup, orchestrated and backed by the scheming British ambassador Buchanan, gave the Phanariots a free hand. They opened dioceses and parishes, dividing the Orthodox Diaspora in North and South America, Western Europe and Australia, claiming Papist universal jurisdiction. Thus, they created ‘jurisdictions’, that is, divisions. Then they backed the Protestant-style renovationists in Russia against St Tikhon, accepted Anglican orders in exchange for £100,000 from Canterbury, introduced the Papist calendar, cut the services, created homosexual bishops, like German Aav in Finland where it meddled, as also in Poland and then in Czechoslovakia, where it created a schism. It set up the Paris Jurisdiction, encouraging the modernist and ecumenist Paris School of Philosophy and failing to condemn the Bulgakov heresy, meddled in the uncanonical Ukrainian Diaspora after 1945, adopted the modernist ‘neo-Patristic’ philosophies of Russians like Florovsky and Schmemann and the Protestantizing ‘eucharistic’ pseudo-theology of Afanasiev, created the absurd Phanariot schism in Estonia, and today swim with the US-imposed LGBT tide.
However, some individuals in Moscow are also compromised. They are still members of the Pan-Protestant World Council of Churches (WCC) and still in contact with the Vatican with its generations of pedophile scandals. The Vatican has been controlled by the US ever since its Protestantizing Second Vatican Council (1962-65). This has been especially so since the US installed the anti-Communist, PR-led Polish Pope, who hid pedophile scandals, after the sudden and highly suspicious death of the previous anti-US Pope. It is time to stop Soviet games from the past and act on principle. For the Phanariots and the Papists have agreed on uniting in 2025, the 1700th anniversary of the First Universal Council of Nicea in 325, when, according to some, the EU elite also plans to proclaim its long-planned United States of Europe. Today the future course of action for the Russian Orthodox Church in particular, and the whole of the free (= Non-US-controlled) Orthodox world in general, is clear. This is to return to the decisions of the quasi-Pan-Orthodox Council of Moscow in July 1948. The authority of this Council is such that it could be called the Eighth Universal Council. Unanimously then, real theologians like the ROCOR St Seraphim of Sofia, exposer of Bulgakov’s heresy of Sophianism, agreed on all.
Then the whole Russian hierarchy inside Russia and the hierarchies of the other Local Churches (except for the Constantinople, Greek and Cypriot bishops, who were not allowed to attend by their American puppeteers) were in agreement. They unanimously condemned Papism, which had openly supported Fascism during World War II, CIA-funded Ecumenism, and refused to recognize Anglican orders. Thus the WCC, founded by Anglo-Americans in their Cold War bid for religious power the very next month, August 1948, was recognized, on Protestant orders, only by the three Local Churches who had not been allowed to attend the Moscow Council. Now the Russian Orthodox Church and all the other Local Churches, except for schismatic Constantinople, has the opportunity to return to the decisions of the 1948 Council, thus uniting all faithful Orthodox of all nationalities. Fence-sitting among many Local Churches must stop. The unfaithful fringes in various Local Churches, many of whom have already fallen away in any case, can leave the Church. We do not need hybrid Protestant-Orthodox Churches. Then the Church will at last be cleansed of the deadweight of spiritual impurity. ecumenism, modernism and all the other isms in the spirit of atheist Western Secularism, will fall away.
The Parish Church
Q: Where is the Colchester church financed from?
A: St John of Shanghai Church in Colchester was bought and equipped in 2008 with money donated for 95% by English Orthodox. The rest came from various kind individuals in ROCOR, from Venezuela to Alaska. Not a penny came from inside Russia. We had no support from there at all, or from many obvious rich people in London or locally, who could have helped us. One English convert used to boast that he had £2 million – he never gave us even £1!
Over the first ten years we spent a lot more money on getting an abandoned building up to scratch. Almost all that money has come from the faithful. They are nearly all quite poor Eastern Europeans, not wealthy ex-Anglicans, so of course every penny they have given us has been valued.
Q: You are part of ROCOR, so is your ethos in the Colchester church Russian?
A: Our ethos is Orthodox. Inevitably, as part of the new ROCOR (not the old ROCOR, which was often nationalistic and even racist), we are multinational, 24 nationalities, with three languages and a Romanian second priest. We are in effect an ‘Imperial’ church, that is a multinational church, simply the church for all faithful and traditional Orthodox locally, that is, within a radius of 50 miles.
Q: Why did the Patriarchate of Constantinople set up a new organization in the Ukraine for schismatics and heretics and then recognize it?
A: Over two decades ago the Polish-American Zbigniew Brzezinski was proclaiming the need for the US State Department to implement a schism in the Orthodox world, following the US takeover of that Patriarchate in 1948. The US has now done this through flattering Greek nationalism in Istanbul, keenly supported by the notorious US ambassadors in Kiev and Athens. There is now little doubt that this schism from the Orthodox Faith will prove to be permanent and that nationalists and other secularists (liberals and LGBT activists) who have infiltrated a few other Local Churches will join that schismatic-supporting Patriarchate.
However, there will also be faithful Orthodox in the Patriarchate of Constantinople who will join us. This is above all the long-awaited schism of the Greek Orthodox world which has undergone Westernization for the last 100 years. Westernization always ends in schism, as we saw in Russia in the 1920s. However, the schism is small, that of a Westernized splinter-group, that of a few hundred thousand against over 220 million in the Church
Q: Why are there still people in Russia who think that Stalin was a great man?
A: Why are there still people in the UK who think that Churchill was a great man? In other words, the answer is because he was the country’s leader at the time of the victory over Fascism in 1945. In other words, the answer is because of nationalism. Churchill was in fact very unpopular with ordinary people in the UK (that is why he was voted out by a very large majority in 1945). He was hated for Gallipoli, his hatred of the miners, his complete lack of understanding for the poor and, abroad, for the gassing of the Kurds, the Bengali Famine in which millions died, and his astounding racism, which was similar to Hitler’s, only towards Non-White races.
Just as some nationalistic Russians forget that Stalin was a foreigner, a Georgian, and caused the deaths of millions and millions of Slavs, people also forget that Churchill was half-American and a profound White Supremacist. In Russia, such marginal nationalists and xenophobes (often anti-Semites) also adore Ivan IV (‘the Terrible’) who was responsible for the deaths of at least 2,000 innocent people. (Though this means that he was a lot less ‘terrible’ than his contemporaries, the Tudors: Henry VIII and Elizabeth I killed at least 150,000 between them).
Q: Did you mention the terror attack in New Zealand in your sermons last Sunday? And what do you think of this massacre?
A: Of course, I did not mention it! People come to church to get away from such grisly secularism. It is the last thing they want to hear about. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.
What do I think of it? I am shocked that Tarrant, this Neo-Nazi White Supremacist, was allowed the freedom to do this. Tarrant had already been reported several times to the Australian government by Semyon Baykov, the ataman of the Zabaykal Cossacks in Sydney, for his terrorist activities in the Ukraine. He had been fighting for the Kiev Fascist regime against the Orthodox freedom-fighters in the Donbass. (The Australian government had ignored his reports). Birds of a feather flock together, fascists fight with fascists.
Missionary Work in Western Europe
Q: Why have only small numbers of Western Europeans joined the Russian Orthodox Church in the last hundred years?
A: It is because most Western people are attached to their very nationalistic culture, which thinks that it is superior to all other cultures, in other words, they are attached to Western worldliness. (Nationalism is by definition worldliness). Let me explain
In order to be an Orthodox Christian, you have to reject the deformations of the last thousand years of Western history. If you do not, but still join the Church, you will not last in it, but will lapse quickly. In other words, you may join the Orthodox Church, but you will never become Orthodox. For example, the later Metr Antony (Bloom) used to chrismate heterodox into Orthodoxy just a few days after meeting them. In this way he received at least a thousand people; but they virtually all lapsed from the Russian Church, attached only to his highly controversial but hypnotic (look at photos of his cold eyes) personality. Most of them lapsed very quickly, though some lapsed only many years later after he had died and therefore the cult was over.
This lapsing was because these ‘converts’ had held on to Western heterodox culture and never accepted Western Orthodox culture from the first millennium and its continuation in the reality of Russian Orthodox culture of today. The same thing happened for the same reason in Paris (where Metr Antony was from), where also at least a thousand heterodox were received into the Paris Jurisdiction (the ex-Exarchate and ex-Russian Church), mainly over the last 60 years, but virtually all of them lapsed. However, here, the ex-Exarchate has actually always boasted that it is ‘Western’, i.e. spiritually impure!! Such impurity cultivates only disincarnate narcissistic intellectual and emotional fantasies, but not spiritual life. To use the language of the Gospels, you cannot build a Church on sand, only on rock. In other words, you cannot be Orthodox without spiritual purity.
Q: Is it true that most baptised Orthodox do not attend church?
A: Yes, it is true that most baptised Orthodox only attend church when they have a problem. This is different to the mass of baptised Non-Orthodox, who take to drink, drugs and anti-depressants when they have a problem.
Q: What is your position on manmade global warming as a religion and political ideology?
- Clearly, it is not good to pollute. Thus, China today is similar to England 150 years ago in terms of pollution. (Thus, when the West boasts of being clean, it is hypocritical because its production for its consumer society and so its pollution has simply been transferred to China etc). Pollution is bad because we should respect and not destroy and disfigure the environment because God made it. Clean air, water and land are literally vital. But does (manmade) pollution create global warming?
- Global warming exists, but that is the nature of climate: it always changes. Currently, having come out of the period of the medieval ice age (global cooling), we are simply returning to the climate of 1,000 years ago. So perhaps this climate change is quite natural.
- The opinion of most scientists that it is manmade is clearly coloured by the business and political lobbies who pay them very richly for their reports. Significantly, a minority of independent scientists contradict the majority opinion. Are they right? I don’t know, but I wonder.
- Spiritually, it is clear that the Western world has entered a period of paganism, nature-worship (‘tree-hugging’). For many, ecologism is the new religion, which has replaced the worship of the Creator with the worship of creation. This is called idolatry and pantheism.
Our God is a consuming fire
Heb 12, 29
I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.
St Alban of Verulamium
Introduction: The Western God’s Funeral is Over
The thousand year-long funeral of the Western god is over. This much is clear to everyone. True, very small groups of the elderly still huddle in surviving churches, true, other buildings are packed with swaying crowds of happy-clappers – only in reality they are not attending churches, but feel-good American entertainment shows. Thus, former church-buildings have become fitness clubs, restaurants and shopping centres for the cult of the body and ‘wellness’. People are told to ‘spoil and pamper themselves’, because ‘you’re worth it’, with personal trainers, life coaches, leisure centres, spas, hot tubs, jacuzzis, beauty salons, massage parlours, cosmetic surgery, gourmet restaurants managed by ‘celebrity chefs’ and gastropubs with ‘fine wine’. Physical impurity of all sorts must be purged – go vegan and gluten-free; as for spiritual impurity, it has never been heard of. However, all manner of utterly irrational superstitions are available for mental wellness; mindfulness, gurus, astrology, magic crystals, feng-shui, tree-hugging – anything goes, providing it is fashionable. So all Westerners have become ‘fashion victims’. But how did the Western (and Westernized) world reach this point of killing its own god?
After the Western world had denied and then lost the knowledge of the real God a thousand years ago, it substituted its own rationalist and scholastic god for Him. This substitute god, represented by a Western man called ‘the Vicar of Christ’, from whom, they claimed, flowed all authority, was idolized for hundreds of years. This idolatry came because he justified all manner of Western aggression, from massacres in Western Europe (southern Italy, England, Iberia, Wales, southern France, Ireland) to ‘Crusades’, from Inquisitions to the ruthless genocides of Western ‘explorers’ (=murderous pirates and thieves) like Columbus, Da Gama and Cortez. After a few centuries the self-invented Western god’s authority was extended to others, ‘democratized’, and this justified the plundering and looting of the whole planet outside Western Europe with colonial empires, violent Revolutions in England, France and Russia (including the ‘Industrial Revolution’), World Wars, the Holocaust of the Slavs (30 million dead), the Atomic bomb and the invasion of and genocide in Iraq (which the Western god ‘told’ George Bush to do).
The Nature of Western Civilization
Thus, it can be said that the essence of Western Civilization is self-worship, the worship of Western man, which it calls humanism. After the Reformation this worship was, as we have said, gradually extended down the centuries in the name of ‘equality’, from one Western man to all rich Western men, then later from rich Western men to poor Western men, from Western men to Western women and, much more recently, from Western men to anyone of any colour, race, religion and ‘sexual orientation’, as long as they accept the Secularism inherent in Western ‘Civilization’. Therefore, today, the Western world no longer needs a god to justify itself; it is its own god. This was already recognized quite clearly by nineteenth-century intellectuals like Darwin and then Nietzsche, who openly proclaimed that the Western god ‘is dead’. Today this is repeated by spiritually empty intellectuals like Dawkins, who constantly proclaims that God is a myth. And he is right: the Western god, first proclaimed 1,000 years ago, is indeed a myth, but that god is in no way related to the True and Living God, as proclaimed by the Western Orthodox St Alban, who was martyred by Western pagans for proclaiming this well over 1700 years ago.
Dawkins’ arrogant and preening proclamation is true, but it is also suicidal. This is because, since the Western god, angry, vengeful, racially prejudiced, favouritist, puritanical, persecuting, spiteful, punishing, militaristic and just plain evil as he enjoys seeing the victims of death, is dead, this means that his own Western Civilization is dead, fit only for the museum. For it was this nasty-minded god who lay at the root of post-Christian Western Civilization after 1054. For with his so-called ‘atheism’, Dawkins condemns himself and everything he stands for. His ‘Western values’ are merely the ultimate and most logical development of Western Civilization’s own, self-invented god. This atheism, belief in self, has not brought progress, but simply a return to the old paganism, as among the globalist Romans, who believed in any gods, except in the True and Living God. The new gods of today are simply the old pagan gods revived. Western values mean believing in Anything. Christian values proclaim faith in Something, the Living God. However, only a few Western people have been able to step outside the ‘delusion’ (Dawkin’s word) of the self-justifying bubble of their Western ‘Civilization’ to understand this and accept Christ.
Why? Because repentance is far too hard for them; self-justification is far more attractive. Thus, only a few Western people (though it is quite obvious to those outside ethnocentric Western Civilization) have so far realized that the Western world has not buried the real God, just its own thousand year-old Western false god, its idol. Western people, who, amazingly, call themselves ‘atheists’ (which only means that they no longer believe in the Western myth of god) need to be warned: The real God is not dead and buried, but alive and acting and He is coming back. His return is coming from the Holy Spirit, Who ‘blows where He wishes’ and Who has reconnected the inspired in the West with Orthodox Civilization. This Civilization is quite different from Secularist Western Civilization because this is Christian, whereas Western Civilization has not been really Christian for a thousand years. To find a Western Civilization that was Christian, you have to go back a thousand years, in other words, go back to a time when there was no such thing as ‘Western Civilization’, when Western Europe was simply a small, provincial and little developed part of Orthodox Christendom, whose centre was and is in the East, close to Christ.
The Attempt to Destroy Orthodox Civilization
The essence of Orthodox Civilization is the True and Living God and its direction is heaven, and not some Western self-idolatry, whose direction is hell. For the last hundred years in particular (though it had been patently obvious since 1054 or 1204), we have seen how Western Civilization has tried to destroy Orthodox Civilization, betraying and usurping the most Christian Emperor when he was on the brink of victory in the Western-initiated Great War in 1917 and soon afterwards bribing the Patriarchate of Constantinople into enslavement. It even forced that enfeebled Patriarchate, and any others who were so weak that they would follow it, to abandon the Christian calendar! Thus, the schismatic events in the Ukraine of the last few weeks, actively and openly supported by the US and British ambassadors in Kiev and Athens, are only the latest results of the thousand-year attempt of Western Civilization to divide and rule, and eventually, as they hope, destroy and conquer, Christian Civilization. The centre of this Christian Civilization has for centuries, and at no time more than now, been the Russian Orthodox Church. It is why we belong to Her, defending Her against all and confessing Her faith without hesitation.
Conclusion: The Future
Today, the Russian Orthodox Church is as ever supported by all other faithful Orthodox, especially those in the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Serbian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Polish, Czechoslovak Orthodox Churches, by monastics everywhere and many others. The battle today is between two diametrically opposed Civilizations. On the one hand, there is Western Civilization, which is in fact not a Civilization at all because, unlike all other Civilizations in world history, it is not based on faith in God and the spiritual inspiration behind all culture. Its aim has always been the conquest of the planet (‘globalism’), justified by its imagined superiority, which is leading directly to the destruction of the planet – hell on earth. On the other hand, there is Christian Civilization, whose centre is without doubt the martyred Russian Orthodox Church, supported by all other faithful Orthodox. Our aim is heaven on earth. It is clear that although those on the fringes of the Orthodox Church may be falling away, as they have been for the last four generations, that the chaff is being sifted from the wheat (and so much the better), the Church will be victorious in the end. This is because the Church is not ours, but Christ’s and He is invincible.