Category Archives: The Saints

Eastern England: The Land of Twelve Saints

Introduction: Roman Origins

Eastern England is made up of two of the seven ancient kingdoms of England, East Anglia and Essex, peopled by the East Angles and their cousins the East Saxons. This was once a self-contained area, bordered to the east and north by the North Sea, to the south by the broad River Thames, and to the west by the eastern Midlands, ancient Mercia. In times past that was an impassable area of river and marsh called the fens. In modern terms East Anglia and Essex mean the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk with the area around the Isle of Ely (now in neighbouring eastern Cambridgeshire), and the county of Essex. However, Orthodox Christianity arrived here before England even existed, in the first centuries after Christ. Indeed, within a few years of Christ’s Resurrection Colchester in Essex briefly became the capital of Roman Britain until London had been founded, and it may have been there that the first Christian community appeared.

In any case it is recorded that there may have been a bishop from Colchester who attended a council in Gaul in 314. Certainly, archaeologists have confirmed the existence of a church in Colchester, one of the most important Roman settlements in the country, in the late fourth century. This lasted into the first half of the fifth century and its foundations can be visited. Other bishops from Britain are recorded attending councils abroad in 347 and 359. Baptismal fonts have been found from a villa at Icklingham in Suffolk from the same period and on the Norfolk coast there is an early place name ‘Eccles’, from the Greek word for church, ‘ecclesia’ (like the word ‘church’ itself, from the Greek ‘kyriakon’, ‘the Lord’s house’. However, such urban or villa Roman Orthodoxy had all but died out by the mid-fifth century, as the Roman elite had left these shores, leaving the people unconverted. Only archaeology can confirm even the existence of the little that they left behind.

Holiness: Twelve Saints (643-1016)

After the Roman period and the settlement of the English, there opened in the seventh century a new and deeper Orthodox Christian age, a golden age of saints, both missionaries from across the seas and native. Although nine of these twelve saints lived in the seventh century, three others lived later, continuing the tradition of holiness even into the early eleventh century. The two Irish saints, St Fursey and St Deicola, were ‘wandering saints’ and only stayed here for a short time. Nine of them are venerated only locally, like the two Irish saints above, St Sigebert, St Jurmin, St Osyth and St Withburgh, or regionally like St Felix, St Cedd and St Walstan, but St Botolph, St Audrey and St Edmund were and are venerated nationally and even internationally. Places of pilgrimage to their relics are Ely and Bury St Edmunds, places of pilgrimage to where they lived are Bawburgh, Bradwell-on-Sea, Burgh Castle, Hoxne and Iken. These twelve saints are:

St Sigebert (+ c. 643), King of East Anglia, had lived in exile in France and become a Christian. He was the son or stepson of King Raedwald, the first baptized King of East Anglia, whose burial-hoard became famous when discovered at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk in 1939. In 630 King Sigebert invited the future St Felix to come from Burgundy and evangelize his kingdom. Sigebert later founded a monastery in what became Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and, having abdicated, became a monk there, but was later killed by pagan Mercians.

After seventeen years of activity St Felix (+ 647) came to be known as the ‘Apostle of East Anglia’. He established his centre at the old Roman port of Dunwich in Suffolk (though some say in the now vanished Roman shore fort in Felixstowe, which was in any case later named after him), and then penetrating inland along river estuaries. Thus, he founded the first church in East Anglia in Babingley in west Norfolk and in nearby Shernborne, and also in Loddon and Reedham on the Broads river system in east Norfolk. He also built churches dedicated to St Gregory the Great in Rendlesham and Sudbury, both in Suffolk, and founded a monastery in Soham, in eastern Cambridgeshire next to Suffolk and near Ely.

The Irish St Fursey (+ c. 650) came with his disciples in 633. He established a monastery in a still extant Roman shore fort in Norfolk, now called Burgh (pronounced Borough) Castle, and several churches before leaving for France in c. 644.

St Jurmin (+ 654) was a prince of the East Anglian royal family, a brother or step-brother of St Audrey and St Withburgh, killed in battle by pagans, and his relics were long venerated in Blythburgh and later in Bury St Edmunds, both in Suffolk.

The Irish-trained and bilingual St Cedd (+ 664) came in c. 653. In his brief period as Bishop of Essex, with his see in London, he became known as the ‘Apostle of Essex’. He established a coastal monastery in Tilbury and churches in Prittlewell, Great Burstead, West Mersea and above all in the old Roman shore fort at Bradwell-on-Sea, all in Essex, where there seem to have been some thirty monks. In the latter case this seventh-century ‘Cathedral on the marshes’ still largely and miraculously survives.

St Audrey (Etheldreda) (+ 679) was a royal princess born in Exning in west Suffolk just after 630 and was baptised by St Felix. She founded the monastery in Ely and was the first East Anglian saint to be venerated nationwide. Her hand relic can still be venerated in the Roman Catholic church in Ely.

St Botolph (Botulf) (+ 680) founded a monastery at Iken near the Suffolk coast and was widely venerated throughout Eastern England and well beyond, especially as a patron saint of travellers.

The Irish St Deicola (Dicul) (+ c. 685) gave his name to the small Norfolk town of Dickleburgh, where he founded a monastery in about 660, before leaving for the south of England.

St Osyth (c.700) was a Mercian princess who married the King of Essex, then founded and entered a convent in the coastal village of Chich in Essex and was martyred there. The village of Chich was named after her, being called to this day St Osyth.

St Withburgh (+ 743), a sister of St Audrey, lived as a hermitess at Holkham in Norfolk and then founded a convent in (East) Dereham in the same county.

St Edmund the Martyr (+ 869), KIng of East Anglia, was associated with Attleborough and Hunstanton in Norfolk and with Bures in Suffolk. He was martyred by the pagan Danes at Hoxne on the Norfolk-Suffolk border and was venerated nationwide, becoming the patron-saint of all England. His relics were moved nearby to the town that came to be called Bury St Edmunds and one of the most important pilgrimage centres in the whole country. Some of his relics can still be venerated in the Roman Catholic church there. Today his flag is flown throughout Norfolk and Suffolk and he is considered to be the patron-saint of East Anglia.

Finally, there is St Walstan (+ 1016), who became a simple and humble farmworker, and whose millennium it is this year. He probably came from Bawburgh in Norfolk and was associated with nearby Costessey (pronounced Cossey) and Taverham just outside Norwich. He closes this period of Eastern English holiness.

Disruption: Spiritual Decline

After St Walstan, Eastern England, like all England and the whole of Western Europe, clearly entered the period of spiritual decline common to Western Europe in the second millennium. This was symbolized by the appearance of foreign Viking rulers and their new ways. This decline was especially obvious during the rule from 1042 of the half-Norman King Edward, called ‘the Confessor’, who summoned the bloody invasion of the last Vikings, the Northmen (Normans) in 1066. These brought with them the new institutional religion that came to be called Roman Catholicism and substituted it for the original Orthodox Christianity. They destroyed the old churches and mocked the saints, as they had already done in southern Italy and would later do in the ‘crusades’ in the Holy Land.

Within less than half a millennium, this new, despiritualized institutional religion, centred in Rome, had itself been nationalized and robbed by the rapacious Tudor State. The new State religion that had been invented in turn began splitting into various moralizing Protestant sects, resulting in bloody civil wars. These sects were even more dissimilar to Orthodox Christianity than Roman Catholicism. In their turn, again within less than half a millennium, these sects unravelled and were rejected and the population dissolved and disintegrated into unbelief and paganism, its spiritual roots lost, forgotten or, incredibly, even flatly denied. At this, millennial ‘Western civilization’ entered into terminal decline, the new paganism, thus leaving the missionary field open to the Church, as in the first millennium. The situation has turned full circle.

Continuity: Renewal (1966-2016)

Although various immigrant groups did give some witness to Orthodoxy in Eastern England after 1945, their mononational or ethnic witness was very limited. Mononational communities and private ideologies, seemingly more attached to a culture than the Church, always age and die out. However, it was in 1966, exactly fifty years ago, that an English priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia renewed the native English links with the Orthodox Tradition in Eastern England. This was the ever-memorable Fr Mark (later David) (Meyrick) who lived and served for nearly thirty years in a village in Norfolk. Soon after his repose the Church Outside Russia renewed that uncompromised multinational mission with a small church in Felixstowe on the Suffolk coast. After eleven years of patience, this mission penetrated inland, slightly like that of St Felix of old, and founded public-access churches.

These include a large permanent multinational church in the former Roman capital of Colchester in north-east Essex and a permanent multinational church in Norwich, the historic centre of Norfolk and also once the second largest city in England. There is now hope that a church might eventually be founded in Bury St Edmunds, the historic centre of Suffolk. This would create one church in each of the historic centres of the three counties of Eastern England. Beyond this, however, there are other major centres of population which need church buildings, like Stratford in south-west Essex on the fringes of London or Kings Lynn in north-west Norfolk, but also in historic spiritual centres around which Orthodox people live, like Ely (now in the Cambridgeshire fenlands). However, nothing can be planned top-down, from above, nothing can start without the impetus of local people, as we have seen in Colchester, Norwich and also Bury St Edmunds.

The Project to Destroy the Russian Orthodox Church

The Project

If Antichrist is to come, first historical Russia and her independent Christian civilization and values must be destroyed, since they cannot be combined with the globalist project of those who want to destroy all sovereign nation-states and authentic faith (as opposed to mere thisworldly, rationalistic ‘religion’ with its tame, dependent State-manipulated institutions). For authentic faith means faithfulness to the other world and so opposition to this world – which Antichrist cannot tolerate. This was the meaning of the genocidal events of 1917 in the Christian Russian Empire, organized, financed and unanimously welcomed with glee by the warring, internationalist Western Powers, and the massacre and martyrdom of millions after it, which were either praised or else ignored by the West. Now all civilizations are dependent on a spiritual source, And the civilization of historical Russia, which is miraculously being resurrected by the New Martyrs and Confessors after the murderous Bolshevik obscenities, can only be destroyed if its spiritual source, the Russian Orthodox Church, can be destroyed, as the neocon ideologue Brzezinski has clearly stated. But how can Russia and the Russian Church be destroyed?

Certainly not with nuclear weapons because Russia can defend herself against them. Such destruction can therefore only be carried out by ‘soft power’, that is, by Western propaganda. The BBC ideology, with its systematic repetition of racist propaganda myths (e,g. Russians are ‘Asiatics’ (how charming for real ‘Asiatics’, like the 100 million massacred Native Americans), Ivan ‘the Terrible’, who, they say, killed about 3,000 and was far worse than Henry VIII (Defender of the Faith’?) or Elizabeth I who killed 150,000 between them, or Cromwell who killed well over a million, the myth that the architect of the so-called ‘St Basil’s Cathedral’ on Red Square was blinded by the Tsar after building it, the myth that Saint Petersburg was built on the bodies of over 100,000 ‘serfs’, non-existent Potiomkin villages etc), its denigration of the Romanovs, praise for the 1917 obscenity and the evil and stupid Khrushchov and Gorbachov and insistence that today’s Church is merely a tool of the Russian State (just as the Church of England is a tool of the British Establishment), is a good example, but not the only one, for all the Western media obey the same Satanic master. For the project means Westernizing enough ‘useful idiots’ of the Gorbachov-Yeltsin type, so that Western liberals and atheists can then take over in Moscow, forming a puppet government, exactly as happened in Saint Petersburg in February 1917 and in Kiev in February 2014. But how can the Church be undermined?

Remove the Patriarch

The history of Western terrorism around the world has always followed the same pattern. Its strategy is always to discredit and then remove the enemy leaders, whether political or spiritual, hoping that the masses will fall for the myth and lie of ‘democracy’, created by Western PR companies. This is exactly what they did in Kiev in 2014. In the case of the Russian Church, this means discrediting the Patriarch. Now His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill was elected after the repose of Patriarch Alexei II six years ago. The dream of Western liberals was that he would prove to be a liberal, since he is a highly-educated man with a profound knowledge and understanding of the Western world and great diplomatic skills. He greatly disappointed them. In 2012 Western embassies orchestrated an attack on the Russian State and Church, including subsidized street demonstrations with tens of thousands out of the 15 million population of Moscow. And so at the same time US-controlled media invented several stories (mainly financial) against the Patriarch personally and there took place the Western-orchestrated Pussy Riot protest, whose obscene name is so deeply symbolic of the Western sex and violence ideology.

The results were catastrophic for the West; there would be no coloured revolution in Russia, as in 1917. The street protests petered out as Hillary Clinton turned off US taxpayer subsidies to the mob; the Pussy Riot demonstrators, adored by the BBC and other Western media and the inveterate Russophobe Senator McCain, were proved to be blasphemous degenerates or mentally ill. As for His Holiness, he proved that he was much more than a diplomat as he turned for support to the masses of devout Orthodox who long ago saw through liberalism, modernism and ecumenism. Indeed, His Holiness spoke then of ‘traitors in cassocks’, when referring to lapsed individuals who had been ‘turned’ by Western spies. Just as the 2006 Sourozh schism, plugged by the BBC, The Times and The Daily Telegraph in the UK, turned out to be the end for the fifty years of aggressive renovationist modernism in the Moscow Patriarchate Diocese in the UK and so at last allied it with the traditional ROCOR, so also the 2012 attack on the Patriarch only consolidated the Church in Russia. Similarly, the 2014 attack on the Ukraine only consolidated Russian relations with China, which had once been sabotaged by Khrushchev.

The Failure

Now, as 2015 turns into 2016, the project has been relaunched. Having failed to steal the Crimea to set up NATO bases there, having failed to create full-scale civil war in the Ukraine and spread it to Russia, Western command and control has sent out the message that the Russian Patriarch must be removed ‘by 2017’. This at least is the message from the dismissed political commentator Fr Vsevolod Chaplin who, like the embittered marginal liberals Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev and Sergei Chapnin, has shown extraordinary disrespect for His Holiness and also for the ordinary clergy and people of the Church. The powers which are conspiring against the Church desire to usurp the all too solid and intelligent Patriarch, replacing him with a naïve, if possible English-speaking, liberal. At the same time, they wish to provoke the Churched masses with a ‘Pan-Orthodox Council’, which appears to have a US-imposed secularist agenda, and so create a schism in the Ukraine. However, the conspirators cannot succeed, whatever the views of a few, off-centre individuals who are in love with the liberal media; the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ, not some secular Western organization, which can simply be beheaded.

First of all, the Patriarch of Moscow is elected for life (unlike, for instance, Pope Benedict of Rome) and the people can see through naïve and manipulated liberals. As for the bishops’ meeting (‘Council’) which may or may not take place this year in some still undisclosed location, it may come to nothing and, indeed, it will certainly come to nothing, if the people do not receive its decisions. The Orthodox Church is not the Vatican, where whatever a Western-installed Pope of Rome says can be applied. Saints like St Justin of Chelije and St Kuksha of Odessa have already said that any novelty at a ‘Council’ will be dismissed. As for schism in the Ukraine, it is not going to happen – the Church there is faithful to the multinational, Imperial Church, centred in Moscow. Neither the Russophobes in the West and their provincial nationalist puppets in Kiev, nor narrow secular-minded nationalists and liberals in Moscow, will succeed. The mainstream, the monasteries, the ordinary parish clergy and faithful, will conquer, for our Faith is founded on Christ, His Mother, the Saints and the New Martyrs and Confessors. Like Julian the Apostate and all the others, the Western tyrants will also one day confess: ‘Thou hast conquered, O Galilean’.

The Russian Orthodox Church: Pessimism, Idealism and Realism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

The Russian Orthodox Church: Yesterday and Tomorrow

The Emperor and the Empress thought that they were dying for their homeland. But in fact they died for all mankind.

Pierre Gilliard, Swiss tutor to the Tsar’s children.

Foreword

Ten years ago, in 2005, debate raged in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) about our relations with the Church inside Russia. Was it at last free and so could we enter into canonical communion and work together, building the future? Such was the debate that a Pan-Diaspora Church Council was called in San Francisco in 2006 in order to answer the questions posed. At that time we had to counter some very false arguments which were advanced in favour of sectarian self-isolation, arguments that were shaped by the impurity of politics and psychology, and not by the purity of theology. Below are examples.

Yesterday

The human weakness of Metropolitan (later Patriarch) Sergius (+ 1944) and his followers, as revealed in compromises with the atheist persecutor Stalin, known as ‘sergianism’, was erected by some into a ‘theological’ heresy. In fact, it was just another form of erastianism, of placing the State above the Church, of which there had already been so many examples in other forms in the Old Testament and in 1900 years of Church history. There was nothing theological in this, for it was only human weakness on the part of one who had found himself under huge pressure from a militant atheist State. No-one is to judge him for his weakness, there is no place for phariseeism here, for God is the Judge of all.

Though there was nothing of a dogmatic or theological nature in such compromises, certain individuals, partly under the influence of North American political puritanism, even concluded that the present-day sacraments of the Church inside Russia had somehow mysteriously ‘lost grace’ on account of this compromise of three generations before. As a ROCOR priest, I first came across this astonishing piece of politics masquerading as theology in 1992 from someone who was under the influence of this North American error. In fact, of course, sergianism is not a heresy, whereas puritanism, with its inherent impurity of Novatianism, Donatism and Eustathianism, as seen in the light of the canons of the Council of Gangra of 340, most certainly is.

The political and diplomatic support which a few in the Church inside Russia sought from Roman Catholics and Protestants, and called ecumenism, was also condemned. However, it was a very curious idea that the opinions or actions of a handful of individuals could be held up as a sign that the whole of the Church inside Russia, 160,000,000 people, was therefore somehow tainted by the heresy of ecumenism! In reality, most of the faithful inside Russia had never heard of ecumenism and those who had were utterly opposed to it. This was all the stranger, in that by 2005 ecumenism had in any case come to mean something very different from in its political heyday between the 60s and 80s. Instead of concerning itself with politically-enforced syncretistic compromise, in fact heresy, it had turned to having good-neighbourly relations with heterodox, something that ROCOR, with the many mixed marriages among parishioners and regular need to use heterodox premises for services, had always cultivated.

The strangest argument heard at that time was that we could not associate ourselves with the Church inside Russia in any way because of the compromises of a few individuals in it. This was an appalling error, for it would have meant that we could not associate ourselves with the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors. True, we, in freedom, had canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors first, in 1981, 19 years before the Church inside Russia had been able to do so by freeing itself. However, many, including myself, had wondered why we in the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), living in freedom, had so scandalously not canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors long before, from the 1920s on. We felt shame for ourselves.

The sad reason for the delay had been because elements in ROCOR were themselves contaminated with politics. Indeed, I well remember how in 1981 certain parishioners at the ROCOR Cathedral in London, as also elsewhere, had actually been opposed to the canonization. And in any case, the ROCOR canonization had only ever been a first step, a beginning. As I wrote at the time: What has begun in New York must come to completion in Moscow. Moreover, for lack of trustworthy information we had canonized only some 8,000; the Church inside Russia, with greater access to archives, has canonized well over 30,000 and that number is increasing.

Others said that we in ROCOR could have nothing to do with a Church whose bishops belonged to the KGB. I would have agreed with this – if any had belonged to the KGB, such as, we suspect, the defrocked schismatic Filaret Denisenko, now the darling of the CIA. In fact, they did not. The senior bishops inside Russia merely had KGB code names – in the same way as Western secular leaders, whom we prayed for in our services as civil leaders, had KGB code-names. The Church inside Russia could just as well have said: ‘We will have nothing to do with ROCOR because you pray for individuals who have KGB code-names’. It would have been just as false an argument.

Some in ROCOR admitted that there were members of our Church, in good standing, who worked or had worked for the CIA and other Western spy services. They countered this by saying that there were members of the KGB in churches inside Russia. This was totally false: the only KGB members who attended churches there were those who went there to spy, to note down names of priests or young people and create problems for them.

Sectarian elements in ROCOR objected that if we entered into canonical communion with the Church inside Russia, we would then be in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church! I first heard this incredible argument, I think, in about 1999, when a ROCOR priest from London concelebrated with a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This had raised an objection from a sectarian priest trained in North America. In the Western European Diocese of ROCOR, where I had been ordained and celebrated until 1997, such concelebrations were perfectly normal and happened regularly. As a ROCOR priest, I was amazed at this sectarian spirit, which I had hardly met before. The logic of this argument would be that we in ROCOR were no longer in communion with Mt Athos, which is in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Absolutely unthinkable! (Naturally, such sectarians later left ROCOR).

On a much more serious and practical level, there were those who pointed out that among representatives of the Church inside Russia in the Diaspora there were still corrupt and renovationist clergy at even the highest level, even though several had by then died out. This was a problem. Although these renovationists called us slanderers for telling the Truth and so shaming their false idols (as renovationists elsewhere still do), the problem was largely overcome in 2006, when most such clergy in England and France left the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia in a schism which they created; since then, two or three other such individuals have simply been removed, so they can no longer cause scandal and can at last learn the basics of the Faith.

Finally, there were those who said that we could not work together with the Church inside Russia because the situation in Russia was not as it had been before the Revolution. Soviet practices had infiltrated Russian society, alcoholism, abortion, corruption and divorce were rife, the mummy of the Russophobic murderer Lenin still lay on Red Square, and the squares and streets of Russia were littered with his statues or named after his henchmen. They demandingly demanded in fact that the post-Soviet Russian State (in charge of such matters) behave as though it were part of the Russian Church! In the face of this argument we pointed out that pre-Revolutionary Russia had not been ideal either (otherwise there would never have been a Revolution), we asked for compassion for a people deprived for three generations of a free Church, asked for patience and said that with time the Church will influence the State, since repentance, which we too are in need of, changes people.

Victory

The above arguments were rejected, with repentance for ever having entertained them, by well over 95% of ROCOR, dismissed as the arguments of schismatic impurity, of a tiny, sectarian, inward-looking and politicized minority, which had been trying to take over ROCOR, holding us back and impeding us from fulfilling our universal calling together with the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church, the great majority. As we know, in 2007 the vast majority of the hierarchy, clergy and people of our little ROCOR were happy to enter at last into canonical communion with the vast majority of the rest of the Church, of which we had always spiritually been a part. The separation, caused purely by political events exterior to the Church, was over. We were sure that the Church inside Russia had freed itself, as had already been made evident by the Jubilee Council of 2000. At long last, our inward unity could become outwardly apparent and, impediments removed, we could progress together towards our common destiny and ever more urgent mission.

Tomorrow

A generation after the fall of State atheism in the Russian Federation, we see in Russia today most interesting developments, promising for the future. After the awful period of ‘law of the jungle’ capitalism in the 1990s, with its rule of seven bankers, ‘Wild East’ bandit privatizations and the appearance of pro-Western criminal oligarchs and liberals, Russia has largely seen through that alternative to Communism that was offered it by the consumerist Western world, which we too, living in the Western world itself, had already seen through.

Thanks largely to the chaos and misery that the Western Powers have been causing in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, Syria and above all in the Ukraine, Russian society has seen through Eurosodom and Gomorrhica. If the CIA-installed Poroshenko junta, set up in Kiev, the Mother of Russian cities, wants the suicide of ‘European values’, it can have them. We will remain faithful to the values of St Vladimir and St Olga of Holy Kiev. Believing in Christ, Who trampled down death by death, we choose life. Believing in satan who tramples down life by death, they choose death. That is the difference between us.

Providentially, through the Western attacks on Holy Rus, Russian society has for the most part now come to understand that the West is not the solution. Russia must follow its own, historic, God-given way, the way that our saints and other lucid elements in ROCOR have always preached. As for Russia, it must heal itself and restore Holy Rus. Outside Russia, we can only pray and encourage, learning as we go, for our main task is to spread Orthodoxy outside the Russian Lands in faithfulness to Holy Rus. We are only humble disciples who follow the precepts of Holy Rus.

Interestingly, voices have been saying that Russian society today resembles 1917 Russia. However, unlike in 1917 the direction of today’s Russia is not 1918, but 1916. In other words, although the situation is delicate, Russia is not heading towards catastrophe as it was in 1917, but is heading back from it. Here is the difference. If, God willing, we continue on this God-given path, the Church of Russia will lead us to our destiny. What is this?

On account of the utter failure of imposed Western ideas there, we can say that Russia has seen the future and knows from bitter experience that it does not work. Today it is struggling its way back up from the pit, at the same time as the Western world, led by the United States, is hurtling headlong into it. Today, some of the more aware Western politicians and thinkers are going to Russia or following events in Russia in order to learn. Gerhard Schroeder, Nicolas Sarkozy, Phillippe de Villiers, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, Franklin Graham and others all follow events in Russia closely or visit.

Russia’s mystical and historic role now is to act as an intermediary between East and West, between China and Western Europe. For the spiritual destiny of China is to enter the authentic Orthodox Christian world, becoming the Eastern provinces of Holy Rus, just as the spiritual destiny of Western Europe, with its roots in Orthodox Christianity, is to return to it, with the help of its ancient saints, by becoming the Western provinces of Holy Rus. True, the towering national pride of Europeans largely prevents this, for where there is no humility, there is no salvation. Indeed, Russia’s task is now not to save Europe from the USA, as some have put it, but to save Europe from itself. Just as Russia, and not the West, was to blame for choosing the Western ideology that created the Russian Revolution in February 1917, we do not blame others for the present misfortune that Europeans have chosen for themselves.

The key to universal salvation in these last times is atonement, in the restoration of Holy Rus and in Holy Rus becoming universal. Following the Holy Trinity, we are called on not only to be Guardians and Gatherers of Holy Rus, following the Father and the Son, but also Spreaders of Holy Rus, following the Holy Spirit. Those, in East and West, who want to work with the Russian Orthodox Church and so, by following the Tradition, build up new Local Churches are welcome to do so. If some do not wish to do so and set themselves against the prophetic and mystical Church Tradition in tired, old, secularist and humanist neo-renovationism, then God be with them. We shall do God’s Will without them. We force no-one to follow the Church; the Church sails ahead without those who reject Her.

In 1917 the last Christian Emperor, the Tsar, did not abdicate. In 1917 Russia and the whole world abdicated from him, from the Christian Emperor and Christian Empire, and so from Christ. Since then there has been no peace on earth so that we have all had to atone, each receiving our penance in order to learn humility. Inside Russia the people faced the penances of persecution and Nazi invasion, outside Russia those in the emigration faced the penances of exile and isolation. As for Europe, like today’s USA also, it has faced the penance of war and humiliating loss of power and greatness. As for the rest of the world, it has faced constant strife and war, ever since ‘he who restrains’ (2 Thess 2, 7) was in 1917 removed. All the suffering of the world since 1917 has been the opportunity of all to learn humility.

Our destiny, mystical and prophetical, is to preach Holy Rus, the message of the last Christian Emperor, to the whole world for repentance before the end. The time is coming when the world will at last be ready to hear of Holy Rus, of the universality of the Incarnate Christ, authentic Christianity, and not the two diluted isms shaped by Western heathenism, pagan Romanism and northern barbarianism, that is, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Afterword

My great-grandfather was born in the same year as Nicholas II, the last Christian Emperor who was martyred in Ekaterinburg in 1918. One hundred years after the Emperor’s birth and fifty years after his martyrdom, I, born on the anniversary of the day when the remains of the Imperial family were finally destroyed, received the message from the east that I was to learn and then go and speak of Holy Rus, Christ Incarnate, to those whom I met. This is not only my personal destiny, but also that of many others, as described so well in the poem ‘The Apostles’, written in exile in 1928 by the bard of the Tsar, Sergey Bekhteev:

Amid the darkness of the slavish world
We bear the spirit’s torch in victory
And we call loud to those chosen by God
To enter the hall where the Orthodox feast.

We walk along a road of thorns,
We soar above worldly vanity,
We are the apostles of Christ’s Faith,
We are the heralds of holy truth.

We call the races and the peoples,
Made scarlet with their brothers’ blood,
To the kingdom of true, eternal freedom,
To the kingdom of goodness, light and love.

The hopes and prayers for the future turn to Ekaterinburg, to restoration and coronation.

Three ROCOR Saints for the Life of the Twenty-First Century World

On the surface of the Church, like foam on the ocean waves, we can find the froth of ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’, with its institutes and personalities, its theories and its philosophies, its doctorates and its ologies. If we take that froth for the deep ocean, we are sadly mistaken. We must forget the surf on the surface and head for the deep ocean where we will find the real thing, the depth of the Faith. Incredible though it may sound, some, thinking superficially, forget that the Church does not exist to create intellectuals and academics, but to create saints. The life of the Church is not vain, futile and superficial, as are so many intellectuals, but purposeful and serious, as are the saints.

Indeed, when there is no longer anyone who wants to become and strives to become a saint, then will come the end of the world, because its existence will no longer have any purpose as the seedbed of saints, to be nurtured by the Church. This quest for holiness, which is what real Orthodoxy is, is to be found in the monasteries and convents, among faithful clergy, families and parishioners, not among academics and intellectuals who live on booklore and fleshly reasoning. The Church exists to provide our ‘daily’, that is, ‘essential’ bread, spiritual food, soul food, and not brain food, for humanity does not live by bread alone and if it tries to do so, it dies, as we can see.

This is why the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has brought the world three saints. They are St Jonah of Hancow (+ 1925), St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+ 1966) and the future St Seraphim of Sofia (+ 1950). St Jonah represents Asia, St John, though he lived long in China and Western Europe, represents North America, and St Seraphim represents Europe. His long-awaited canonization is now being prepared by the Churches of Russia and Bulgaria, but most of his life after the fateful events of 1917 was spent in the Church Outside Russia, where he wrote against the foolish heresy of Sophianism and of the Resurrection of Rus as a spiritual and political entity, as the Christian Empire.

All three of these saints were faithful to the Russian Church, all three were hierarchs and ascetics, all three struggled within living memory, and together represent three different parts of the Church Outside Russia. Some will say, surely, our Church has produced more than three saints? They are right. Suggestions have been put forward about other candidates for canonization in other parts of the world, in Australia, in South America, in China, in Western Europe, holy men and women, laypeople, monastics and parish clergy. In God’s good time these three holy hierarchs will be joined by others, whose earthly remains wait to be revealed from their places of rest all over the world.

However, at the moment our attention is turned to these three and especially to the coming canonization of St Seraphim, the preparation for which was announced at the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 23 October 2015. All three saints came forth from Russia and were given as a gift and witness to the world. All three announced the freedom of the Church and awaited its arrival inside enslaved Russia so that they could return to administrative unity with the Church there. All three mystically proclaimed the providential arrival of the Message of Holy Rus, of the Gospel of Christ in its authentic Church context, to the world outside the Russian Lands.

St Seraphim of Sarov (+ 1833) had already prophesied that his veneration would spread worldwide and that he would glorify him who glorified him, meaning that he would bring the worldwide veneration of Tsar Nicholas II (+ 1918), as it is indeed coming about. And as for St John of Kronstadt (+ 1908), he announced that the rebirth of his church in Kronstadt, which has now taken place, would proclaim the rebirth of all Russia. These three saints, representing Asia, North America and Europe, mystically represent not only the first fruits of worldwide veneration, but the actual physical presence of contemporary holiness outside Russia, without which the world will die.

19 October/1 November 2015
St John of Kronstadt

An Appeal for Faithfulness and for Unity

The Past

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or will it read like this? Perhaps:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition Available Again

This anthology of 100 essays, first published in 1995 and now with a new foreword, is at last available again from:

frandrew_anglorus@yahoo.co.uk. 3rd Edition A5 495 pp.

Price: £15.00 + £2.80 p & p in the UK. Unfortunately, Air Mail to the USA is now £12.85 (surface post, which can take up to two months, is £8.00). Please make payments by Paypal button from the website: www.orthodoxengland.org.uk

From the Back Cover

Today many search for an Undivided Christendom and the traditional teachings of the Early Church, which go beyond the latter-day divisions and disputes of Roman-Catholic, Anglican and Protestant. And amid the chaos of recent years many have discovered the Orthodox Church and Her Faith, drawn from the first millennium of Christianity. In this book the author, an English Orthodox priest, looks at the authentic Orthodox Faith, beyond the historical and cultural vicissitudes surrounding it, and pinpoints its relevance to us. He writes: Orthodox Christianity is the Faith revealed to the repentant in their quest for the Holy Spirit. Should we accept it, we would thus accept the struggle for the Holy Spirit; and in so doing we would accept the struggle to build Jerusalem here, ‘in England’s green and pleasant land’.

Foreword to the Third Edition

For we hope that the Lord will deliver Russia and the Russian people from the dread years of evil which have now lasted for 70 years. Russia can be reborn only through the repentance of the Russian people, through faith in God, through living the Divine commandments. Therefore the rebirth of the Russian people – the rebirth of personal, social and national life – must be founded on the Holy Orthodox Faith and their life must be built on this. And then once more, as of old, Russia will be Holy Rus, the House of the Most Holy Mother of God.

Prophecy of the Ever-Memorable Archbishop (later Metropolitan) Laurus (1987)

All my life I have been haunted by the European world that was lost by the consequences of the tragic events and sacrifices of August 1914, now exactly 100 years ago. Growing up with nineteenth-century grandparents and great-uncles who had fought in the First European War and with tragic maiden great-aunts, I knew that all of us had to live with those consequences. There has been no peace in the world since then, since the profound injustice of the victory so cruelly and ironically snatched from the Russian Empire in 1917 by Allied treachery and then the German treachery that made the slaying of the Russian Royal Family inevitable. And that, in turn, made the destruction of Germany in the Second European War inevitable, with Russian troops taking Vienna and Berlin. And that, in its turn, made the Cold War inevitable.

That War dragged on until 1991. Then the Slav, Romanian, Georgian and Albanian Churches all lived beneath the yoke of atheism and had virtually no free voices. As for the smaller and weaker Greek Churches, they were compromised by US control. Thus, the impoverished Patriarchate of Constantinople, at one time financed by Anglicanism, had come under US control in 1948, when Patriarch Maximos was deposed by the CIA with threats to his life and despatched into a generation of exile in Switzerland, uttering as he went the words, ‘The City is lost’.

Those were dark days of the betrayal of the Church and, virtually alone, the Church Outside Russia spoke on behalf of us all. For during the Cold War proud anti-Incarnational modernism and ecumenism (heresies, like sects and cults which are created by heresies, are always based on pride), in either their crass, pseudo-intellectual, humanist Protestant/Catholic form, as often in the US, or in their subtle, pseudo-spiritual, personalist Buddhist/Hindu form, as often in Europe, were everywhere. ‘Orthodox’ academic theology was then dominated by that spiritual decadence which may be called ‘captivity theology’. In its intellectualism that ‘theology’, ignorant of the Lives of the Saints, utterly failed to see that Orthodoxy is a striving for holiness, which is simply a life lived with prayer in conformity with the Tradition

This was the academic theology of ‘Orthodox’ intellectuals, who had studied either in Protestant centres (Oxford, Cambridge, Strasbourg, centres in Germany etc) or else in Roman Catholic centres (especially the Gregorian University in Rome, but also Paris, Louvain, Jesuit Fordham etc). The academics infected naturally reflected the proud cultural prejudices of those establishments where they had studied, resulting not in an Orthodox, but a ‘Halfodox’ vision of the world. An associated mixture of ecumenists, liberals and modernists, those intellectuals wished to reduce the Church to a mere religion, a theory and an institution, just like the Western denominations. This was, consciously or unconsciously, spiritual treachery.

Their ‘theology’, in fact philosophy, reflected the humanistic personalism and spiritually empty symbolism of that age. Most of those intellectuals have now died, if not, they are very elderly. The generation of disciple-imitators that succeeded them has even less conviction or talent. It is hardly surprising – modernism is incredibly old-fashioned in a post-modern world. With the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, that age of decadence seems increasingly distant. I remember at that time, and I mean nearly 40 years ago, being told by an ‘Orthodox’ academic at one of those above-mentioned universities that if I was not satisfied with their food that did not satisfy my soul, I should ‘go and live in Russia’. During the Cold War that was not possible; therefore I took the next best option, to frequent the last emigres of the first generation of the White emigration in Paris and the Church Outside Russia.

This anthology of essays was written between 1974 and 1995, precisely at that time when the Church Outside Russia was isolated, indeed virtually besieged, under attack from all sides and from inside, by the extremes of modernism and ‘traditionalism’ alike. Indeed, as I came to realize, the Church Outside Russia was then one of the few points of freedom anywhere in the Orthodox Church. Figures in it expressed words of truth similar only to those of the lone Serbian theologian St Justin of Chelije, canonized in 2010, and other figures on the Holy Mountain and in the monasteries of the Carpathians.

Rejoicing in the canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors in New York in 1981, when the Orthodoxy hierarchy was still paralysed in the homelands, at that time we also tried to reclaim for the Church the ancient holiness of Western Europe. We knew that all holiness can only come from the Church, as we daily confess in the Creed. Our task was to help gather together the remaining living spiritual and cultural forces of the dying West and to call it back to its roots in its ancient holiness that it had for the most part renounced. This desire is very much reflected in this book. Sadly, since that time we have seen the final death-throes of once Christian-based Western civilization, witnessing the disappearance of the old culture.

For after 1991, and with great speed, the demons that had operated in the atheist Soviet Union migrated to the atheist European Union, whose spiritual deadweight has been reinforced by the atheism of North America. Only a few years ago President Putin of the Russian Federation, made wise by the failure and defeat of atheism, warned the then Prime Minister Blair that demon-inspired atheism was literally a dead end; naturally, he was ignored, for deluded arrogance never listens to wisdom. Indeed, ever since 1988 the Church that President Putin belongs to, the multicultural and multilingual Russian Orthodox Church, 75% of the whole Church of God, has been reviving, re-opening or building three churches every day somewhere on the planet.

Together with it there is reviving the social, political and economic life of the Russian Federation, the Russian Lands (Rus) and even other parts of the Orthosphere. In 2007 in Moscow we witnessed the reconciliation of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church and the re-establishment of canonical communion, a long-awaited miracle of our times. Our great hope of 20-40 years ago for the messianic restoration of Holy Rus, so great that it was a belief, has been coming true through repentance. We have no illusions that we may not see our hopes for the full restoration of the Sovereignty of the Tsar realized, or, much less likely, Europe liberated from its self-imposed ideological yoke, but at least we know that we are on the way. There is much to do, very far to go, but the direction is the right one.

Nearly twenty years on now since the first edition, this book is here reprinted, a few typographical errors corrected, spelling updated, long paragraphs divided and a few minor precisions and corrections made. May this third edition of these essays be a help to all those who seek. May it guide them to the spiritual awareness of the Church and Civilization of Holy Rus and that Orthodoxy is Christianity and that all else, whatever its legacy from ancient Orthodox times, is ultimately but an ism, a distortion and a compromise. ‘For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith’ (1 Jn. 5, 4).

Glory to Thee, O God, Glory to Thee!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

August 2014
St John’s Orthodox Church
Colchester, Essex, England

Local and Faithful, or Westernised and Hellenised

Since the Russian Revolution the Patriarchate of Constantinople has taken into its jurisdiction a variety of Russophobic dissidents. Their schisms have come about because the dissidents have been too spiritually weak to remain faithful to the Russian Tradition and so have been dragged down into party politics or personality cults. Thus, they have either been virulent nationalists or else anti-Tradition liberals and freemasons, cultivating political and theological schisms caused by that Revolution. Having lost sight of the big picture of Orthodox civilisational values, the Orthodox world-view, they have been brought down into petty, provincial concerns.

Some of the dissidents have been Slavs – Russians, Ukrainians or ex-Catholic Carpatho-Russians – others have been Western converts – Finnish, American, French, Estonian or ex-Anglican. Here we look at the dissidents, originally Russophobic, pro-Kerensky aristocrats from Saint Petersburg, who, leaving Russia, then the Church outside Russia and then the Church inside Russia for Constantinople, over 80 years ago formed the Rue Daru jurisdiction in Paris. After nearly a year without a leader, they are now hoping to elect a new archbishop in November 2013.

Although issued from the Russian Tradition and even claiming to belong to it, since they left the Mother-Church these dissidents have gradually become more and more Westernised and absorbed into the US and Turkish-controlled Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul. This can clearly be seen in their forsaking of the Orthodox liturgical calendar and Orthodox liturgical, dogmatic and pastoral practices for modernist, Western, secular practices. This simultaneous Westernisation and Hellenisation is inevitable and can only be avoided by their leaving schism and taking the path back to the Mother-Church.

If, after the election of a new archbishop, they cannot return to the Mother-Church, they will consign themselves to remaining a small archdiocese of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, perhaps 5,000 in number in all, most of their parishes set up in temporary or rented premises and less than 25 strong. Their ethos will continue to be intellectual, not spiritual, philosophical, not theological, disincarnate, not incarnate, with mainly untrained clergy, without a living Tradition and without a Mother-Church, yet dependent on the Russian Church for vestments, literature, musical culture and people to fill its small parishes. Clearly, eventually, they will disappear, absorbed into Greek Church structures and practices.

However, if, after the election of a new archbishop, they can return to the Mother-Church, they will be able to rejoin the multinational and multilingual free Russian Orthodox Church, fifty times bigger than the tiny and captive Patriarchate of Constantinople. They will be able to take part in the construction of the Metropolia of Western Europe, with its hundreds and hundreds of real parishes and historic churches all over Western Europe, the stepping-stone to a future new Local Church and yet at the same time authentically faithful to the Russian Orthodox Tradition and Church in all ways. Local and Faithful, or Westernised and Hellenised: this is the choice that they face.