Category Archives: The Phanar

On Empire Building

Over the past few decades we encountered several groups on the fringes of the Church whose manipulative leaders were engaged in ecclesiastical empire building, recruiting all and sundry. These included more recently ‘the Kiev Patriarchate’, various old calendarist groups, including one in Portugal, and before that the Kovalevsky group (l’ECOF) in France, the latter two both claiming on paper to have some 100 priests and parishes. However, as soon as their leaders died, the groups suddenly dissolved and disappeared. They had had virtually no property. Their technique was to ordain any man who came to them, usually an individual on an ego-trip, sometimes someone quite spiritually ill, within a month or two of his appearance. He and his fictitious community would disappear very quickly after the death of the cult leader.

Thus were created impressive-looking lists of parishes and clergy – on paper. In reality, very few of their clergy had any idea how to celebrate, sing, be pastors or anything else. All the cracks in the façade were papered over – until the inevitable scandals began. Some personalities in canonical groups were allowed to do similar things, but none of it lasted; fragmentation always took place within a decade or two of the death of the personality. Unity cannot exist amid sectarianism and personality cults. One tiny diocese created by such a personality, is now split into three even tinier groups, and another elderly group is now literally dying out.

The current administration of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, based in Turkey and backed to the hilt by the US State Department, is set on building just such an ecclesiastical, or rather political, empire, pins in maps and the whole works. Why? Because it is in reality very small and very weak. Real Churches do not engage in such empires of the imagination. For the trouble with all empire building is that it focuses on quantity, not on quality, on surface, not on depth. The result always means dirtying yourself in politics, which in turn means anti-canonical actions. It is much better to stay small and be authentic. Artificial empires never last very long because they are built on fantasies and fictions, not on spiritual realities; they are houses built on sand, not on the Rock of Christ.

This we have seen over the last fifteen months in the far west of the Ukraine with the violent sect established there by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Now we are seeing it in the Diaspora, especially in the USA with another group:

https://www.helleniscope.com/2020/03/10/many-new-vicars-no-real-orthodox-leadership/ If some Orthodox in the USA, the Ukraine or elsewhere wish to become second-class citizens in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, never receiving authentic autocephaly, and wish to consort with some whose legality, let alone canonicity, is questionable, they are welcome to do so. Unity is good: but that does not mean that God can be united with Mammon. There is such a thing as morality – right and wrong. Anyone, including bishops, who claims that he is a Christian and yet does not know the difference between right and wrong should return to Sunday School for Lesson One: Secular Empires always crash.

 

Apostasy in Istanbul

For nearly one hundred years faithful Orthodox patiently continued to concelebrate with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, awaiting its repentance. This was despite the fact that nearly 100 years ago its leaders broke Church unity in the Diaspora, that they accepted a bribe of £100,000 from the Church of England (an agent of the imperialist British State) to abandon the Orthodox calendar for the fixed feasts, that they supported atheist-sponsored modernist sects in persecuted Russia and worldwide against the Church, and that they took part in ecumenist compromises, besmirching itself in anti-canonical activities. Since in 1948 the US State took over the worldwide meddling carried on for a century before by the British State, the once glorious Patriarchate of Constantinople is becoming an inglorious minor sub-department of the US State Department and the Vatican. And still we wait patiently for their repentance, but now our patience is coming to an end.

The meddling of racist individuals in Turkey among Ukrainian immigrants after World War II, in Estonia since 1996, in the Autocephalous Czechoslovak Orthodox Church in 1998, their recent uncanonical acts against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by sponsoring a nationalist ‘Church’ there, their threats to the Church of Serbia and their sponsoring of fanatical xenophobes in Montenegro and Macedonia, countered by two heroically faithful Orthodox hierarchs, Metropolitan Amfilochie and Metropolitan Onufry, and now new threats of blackmail against the Czechoslovak Church, are too much. They are a disgrace to the word ‘Christian’. We have tolerated them  for a  long time. We are distressed for the fate of its faithful clergy and people. But they would be welcome to join us in our battle against the common enemy of our salvation, militant atheism, and so abandon their US-appointed leaders to their apostasy. Salvation through repentance is still possible.

The isolation of the hundred or so bishops of the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople, its two agents in Athens and Alexandria and a handful of abbots on Mt Athos, who obey only the local US and Greek ambassadors in preference to the Gospel of Christ, have shocked the Orthodox world with their treachery. They proclaim that Washington, with its pagan temple White House, is the Third Rome. We disagree. It is now up to the rest of the Church to join together against the common secularist enemy apparently supported by this little band of apostates. This is in faithfulness to the Orthodoxy of the Gospel, of the Fathers and of Canon Law, in faithfulness to the Tradition, to the sum total of the inspirations of the Holy Spirit over 2,000 years. Recent events are a wake-up call to repentance to all Orthodox, to shed themselves of petty nationalism, be it Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian. Macedonian, Montenegrin or Arab. Whatever its language, petty nationalism is the same evil attachment to the prince of this world and his minions. Seven and a half billion human-beings are waiting to hear the call of the Gospel of Christ to His Church from the representatives of His Church.

The Triumph of Orthodoxy 2020

Conclusions

Introduction

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

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

Russia

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

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

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

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

The Patriarchate of Constantinople

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

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

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

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

The Western World and Europe

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

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

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

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

England and My Destiny

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

King John 4, 3. 10

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

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

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

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

Three Miracles

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

It’s 1055 in Lubbock

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.

 

New Schism of a Schism in the Ukraine

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.

Sources:

https://spzh.news/ru/news/63015-v-seti-opublikovano-postanovlenije-pomestnogo-sobora-upc-kp

https://spzh.news/ru/news/63005-filaret-na-pomestnom-sobore-upc-kp-my-postavim-mnogo-novyh-arkhijerejevhttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63018-upc-kp-otobrala-u-pcu-vse-imushhestvo-v-kijevehttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63022-filaret-v-ukraine-tepery-tri-cerkvi-upc-pcu-i-upc-kphttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63025-konstantinopolyu-nuzhno-reshity-chto-delaty-s-filaretom–religiovedhttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63027-filaret-my-postavim-stolyko-jepiskopov-skolyko-budet-nuzhno

Fantasies and Reality: Towards a Local Orthodox Church of Western Europe

Introduction

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?

Conclusion

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.

 

On President Erdogan and the Church of the Holy Wisdom

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.

 

On the Phanariot Failed Church, its Hybrid Faith and the Cleansing of the Faithful Church

 

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.