Piotr Multatuli, the respected contemporary Russian Orthodox historian and great-grandson of a New Martyr, has written: ‘The West will never tolerate the rebirth of Holy Rus. It will always try to annihilate us…Unfortunately, many in both State and Church still do not understand this’. We cannot comment on those in the Russian State who do not understand this, but of those in the Russian Church we can say a few words. We believe that those who do not understand this in the Church fall into two groups, each engaged in spiritual impurity.
1. Those Who See the Church as a Private Club
Firstly, there are those who do not look on the Church on earth as the Body of Christ, where God is incarnate among people. They see Her as a mere human institution for private spiritual consumerism, looking at Her essentially in a secular manner as a club for play, for self-serving, egoistic purposes. Thus, there is the tendency of small, inward-looking groups, often of converts. They form, in England for example, ex-Anglican clubs, in France for example, ex-Catholic clubs, elsewhere ex-Lutheran or ex-Calvinist clubs, or else, in general, disincarnate intellectual clubs, which debate disincarnate philosophy in clerically-led cliques, quite uprooted from ordinary Orthodox in the grassroots parishes. Such clubs are based on and preach Halfodoxy, heterodoxy with icons, denying the Orthodox Tradition, which is condescendingly relativized and dismissed as a set of mere ‘customs’. Those in such clubs have to stop talking and start doing, for the Church is not a club, but the presence of God on earth.
2. Those Who Commit Spiritual Treason Against the Church
Secondly, there are those who see the Church as a business, a secular operation for their own glory and well-being. For the King has unfaithful ministers: sadly, He has always had them and always will have them. Such are the ways of the world that infiltrate Church life. Sometimes, it can seem that only the neglected little people are faithful, while the princes of the Church follow the ways of the world. We should not despair, for unfaithful ministers will be swept away when the King returns. Those who love themselves and not the people of God, those who seek property and financial empires, those who seek the wallets, but not the souls of the people, those who prefer the rich and famous to the people, will be removed, for they will die. Moreover, their dioceses will die for lack of spiritually living priests, as the spiritually living people leave them. The result of the spiritual treason of the princes of the Church is solitude and death. The words of Christ are: Let the dead bury the dead.
Outside the Lands that were Orthodox Christian, that is, holy, in the second millennium and indeed, sometimes for much of the first millennium also, we in the Isles of the North Atlantic live on the fringes of the Empire. We have our examples of holiness, but they are far in the past. So what happens in the third millennium when the double-headed eagle of the Orthodox Christian Empire once more flies above us, despite a near millennium of apostasy in England?
At first sight it seems that only compromise happens. However, although there may be a need for superficial compromise, for empty platitudes, there are also those who confess the Orthodox Faith despite diplomacy, despite the failure to witness of those who are quoted as witnesses, but who in fact compromised themselves with the Norman Establishment. They may be Jerusalem, but we are Galilee and, without us, they are but stones without living voices.
Who understands us? It is not the personalities who demanded guru-worship, not the philosophers who lived in their intellectual fantasies, not the administrators with piles of gold who have little understanding of pastoral reality. It is the little people in the poor and ignored places who live the Faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our saints St Elizabeth the New Martyr and St John of Shanghai the New Confessor, who give us food for our souls.
Q: Why is there so much opposition among the Orthodox faithful to the forthcoming Council in Crete?
A: Because it promises to be merely a politicized meeting of bishops. First of all, how can you say that you are having a Council when you do not know if it is a Council, because you do not know if the Holy Spirit will be present? We must understand that a meeting can only become a Council if the Holy Spirit is present. This is why meetings only become Councils on their reception by the people of God, who recognize the inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit. So far this looks like a meeting of bishops, with the US, the EU and the Vatican in the background, which is not Pan-Orthodox because it does not include all the bishops or, for the moment, even representatives of all the Local Churches. To call a meeting a Council before the event is presumptious and pretentious, even more so when you call it ‘Great and Holy’.
Secondly, how can you have a Council when only a small selected minority of Orthodox bishops have been invited? Thirdly, how can you have a Council when the most important question, the calendar issue, has been removed from the agenda? Fourthly, how can you have a Council when several Local Churches or authoritative voices in Local Churches have been raised in particular against the anti-dogmatic contradictions in the proposed important document on relations with Non-Orthodox? Finally, many have been disturbed by the date of the opening of this meeting: 16/06/16. It contains the triple six of Antichrist. How could the organizers, so blind to any transparency, also be so provocative as to start the meeting on that date, so greatly perturbing the faithful?
Q: You say that the US, the EU and the Vatican are in the background. What exactly do they want?
A: All thisworldly institutions want an aggiornamento of the Church, like that which Roman Catholicism underwent in the 1960s. They want to introduce into the Church secularism, humanism, new calendarism, homosexual marriage, banning fasting and monasticism. In other words, they want to destroy the Church, they want a modernist, spiritually toothless and spineless Church, degutted of ascetic life, spirituality and the sacred, so that they can adapt the Church to their worldly agenda, reducing it to a mere human institution, as they have done elsewhere. And who is their prince, the prince of this world? Satan.
Q: So you are against this meeting?
A: I did not say that. Let us wait and see. This meeting could produce schism, given the arrogant lack of consultation by its organizers with the monasteries, parish clergy and people, with the people of God. For example, why have they not invited a distinguished monastic elder from each Local Church to the meeting to represent the people of God? And, as I said, a meeting, however unpromising, can become a Council. All depends on the Holy Spirit. Man proposes, but God disposes. Sadly, for the moment, all we have seen is bureaucratic men proposing.
Q: You have reported elsewhere the opening of the Russian Cathedral in Paris in the autumn. What are your hopes?
A: Our hopes are that the statement of Patriarch Alexei II thirteen years ago will at last be realized. In other words, we hope that this will be the foundation stone of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Western Europe and that that will be the foundation of a future Local Church.
Q: So you want to see in Western Europe a kind of European OCA?
A: Before answering, I should perhaps say that what I want is not really relevant, what is important is what God wants. I will answer only because you have asked.
Not at all, we do not want another OCA. The OCA was a failure firstly because its foundation was politicized, being founded during the Cold War, secondly because it was granted autocephaly unilaterally without consultation with the other far more numerous dioceses of other Local Churches on the same territory, and thirdly because it was founded on compromises of ascetic, liturgical and canonical culture, caused by its protestantization, putting American culture above the Church. This meant that a great many English-speaking Orthodox in the USA, the ones whom it was allegedly designed for, simply ignored it. Personally, if I lived in the USA, I would not belong to the OCA. That is no judgement on the many sincere and pious people who do belong to it or the good work that parts of it do, this is merely a personal statement.
Q: So what do you want to see in Western Europe?
A: What we want to see is what we want to see everywhere, including in North America. That is, quite simply, a Local Church that is fully Orthodox, spiritually pure, politically independent and faithful to the Tradition, but which freely celebrates, whenever pastorally necessary, in the local language and venerates the local saints. What could be simpler? And yet human beings with their compromising political cults or narcissistic personality cults make it all so complicated.
Q: To come back to the OCA, what do you make of the concelebration between Patriarch Bartholomew and Metr Tikhon of the OCA?
A: There are modernist, political dissidents in the OCA who want to become a sub-department of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in some special American Metropolia, just like the Rue Daru group of ex-Russians in Paris, the ex-Sourozhian schismatics in England, or some schismatic Diaspora Ukrainians. It seems to me that a battle is going on between the two factions there, the modernists who want to leave for Constantinople and those with at least some sense of the Tradition who want to stay as a group under the protection of the Russian Church. Personally, I have always thought that a split is inevitable, with all the parishes in Alaska and most in Canada and Pennsylvania around St Tikhon’s, returning to the Russian Church, perhaps within ROCOR, and the others, like those at St Vladimir’s, going over to the Greeks. That would be logical and at last clear up the canonical anomaly once and for all.
Q: The OCA was founded nearly two generations ago. Why has it taken so much longer to begin even thinking about a Local Church in Western Europe?
A: So much longer? We have been thinking about it for thirty years and more! On the other hand, you do not do things prematurely. In my view, the OCA was premature – it should have remained a Metropolia, English-speaking but faithful to Russian Orthodox Tradition, waiting for freedom in Russia, which came 20 years after its independence.
The main problem in Western Europe has been the delay caused by the Paris schism over eighty years ago. The divisive defection of Russophobic aristocrats and modernist intellectuals from the Russian Tradition to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and a self-invented ‘tradition’ meant that the development of an authentically Orthodox Local Church was greatly delayed because the Russian Orthodox presence was so weakened by their disaffection. For instance, although (or because) the Constantinople Parisians are bankrupt, they are still occupying the (smallish) 19th-century Russian Cathedral in Paris, and therefore a new Cathedral and seminary have had to built and equipped at vast expense and with great political complications.
Q: Does the Church Outside Russia, ROCOR, have a role in the construction of this Metropolia in Western Europe?
A: That depends on the leadership of ROCOR, not on mere parish priests like me.
Q: Does that answer mean that in Western Europe at least ROCOR will become dependent on the Church inside Russia?
A: Not necessarily. Everything is still possible. There are parishes in Western Europe dependent on the Church inside Russia and parishes dependent on the Church Outside Russia that are identical in ethos. Some, sadly, are definitely not identical in ethos because of the hangover from the Soviet past despite transfers of controversial clergy out of Europe by Moscow in the last few years. In ROCOR we patiently wait for that vestigial ethos to die out, as it is dying out. Once it has died out altogether, convergence will come.
Q: You mean that ROCOR in Western Europe will merge with the Church inside Russia or that the Church inside Russia in Western Europe will merge with ROCOR?
A: I don’t know. What I do know is that the most active and most missionary, the most spiritually alive, will dominate. Those who are spiritually asleep will be absorbed. If you do not have younger bishops, resident bishops, active bishops, missionary bishops, bishops who are interested in their flocks and local saints, you will die in your self-made ghetto. This is what happened to ROCOR in South America. This is of course true for all Local Churches and their dioceses in the Diaspora. If you do not live, you will die. Surely, that is not too complicated to understand?
For example, today, just in the eastern third of England, we need twelve priests who can speak at least some Russian and some English – if they are bilingual, that would be perfect. I could name the places where they are needed. But where are we going to find them? We have to encourage men to think about this. That requires leadership, time, effort and energy.
Q: How can you describe the ethos of ROCOR, as compared with the ethos of parishes dependent on the Church inside Russia?
A: The emphasis of ROCOR in the last 25 years especially has quite clearly been on the New Martyrs and Confessors, Anti-Sergianism and Anti-Ecumenism. Wherever within the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia there is veneration for the New Martyrs and Confessors (and it is very extensive), wherever there is resistance to the ideas that the Church must swim with the secular tide of the State and resistance to ecumenist compromises (also extensive), there is joy in ROCOR. However, the fact is that some of the foreign parishes in the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, suffered in the past from modernism, ecumenism and liberalism, unlike parishes inside Russia. When the ethos becomes identical, then there will be a complete merger, though, as I say, it is not clear which part of the Church will dominate it. That will depend on the leadership of bishops.
Q: You mentioned local saints in Western Europe. Who at present venerates those local saints?
A: It mostly seems to be immigrants from Eastern Europe, who have the sense of saints and relics. Sadly, despite all our decades of efforts, there are few native Western European Orthodox.
Q: Why? I thought there were many converts?
A: That is a myth. There have never been ‘many’ converts. At most about 2,000-3,000 in the heyday and many of those soon lapsed because they were received into the Church for the wrong reasons or for ideological reasons, with certain clergy trying to build up artificial empires, which of course soon collapsed. Most of their children also lapsed. I doubt if there were ever more than 1,000 serious converts.
However, in the last ten years, I have witnessed a change. Converts started coming in numbers in the 1960s after the collapse of Anglicanism. In other words, most converts were from an Anglican background, often of a public school or wealthy background and most were at that time 30 or 40 years old. Well, that generation, what I call the ‘Kallistos generation’, is literally dying out. Some are still alive, but are in their late sixties or older. The vast majority of these are either in the Antiochian jurisdiction which at last has a new, young, local bishop, or else under the Constantinople Vicariate, which is dependent on an elderly French bishop in France, whom I knew when he was a young priest.
Together, about 600 in all, they together form a sort of Anglican Orthodoxy. For example, as far as I know, the Antiochian clergy are ex-Anglican vicars who have not received training in Orthodoxy and do not know how to do all the services; then the people do not know how to sing; the Vicariate situation is similar. I know one such Antiochian community, where the priest has banned any language other than English! This is racism, though I suspect partly it is because the priest does not understand any language other than English, let alone the Orthodox ethos.
Q: So converts are dying out?
A: Not exactly, rather their nature is changing. There are some new converts, but they do not usually have an Anglican background; after all very few English people nowadays do – even in the mid-19th century, only 50% of English people were ‘Anglican’, that is, they belonged to the Church of England. Although there are few of these new converts, at least they are converting properly and not creating a semi-Orthodoxy, an Anglican-Orthodox club.
Q: So what does that mean for these convert communities?
A: It means that many Vicariate communities number fewer than ten, usually quite elderly people, and form a kind of ex-Anglican clique, centred on the dead Metr Antony Bloom. Where they are more numerous, most of the people are Eastern Europeans. In a similar way, ageing Antiochian groups are being saved from extinction by Eastern Europeans, especially church-deprived Romanians. Most of these groups do not have their own premises and use Anglican churches.
Q: So what is the justification for using English in services, if there are fewer converts?
A: There are now three justifications. Firstly, there are still English people, converts or children and grandchildren of converts with the English husbands of Orthodox women, secondly, there are the English-speaking children of Eastern Europeans and thirdly, in mixed-nationality parishes, English is simply the common language. The future is with the second group, children of Eastern Europeans, because they are now the majority of English-speaking Orthodox.
Q: How are they to be kept in the Church?
A: That is the key question. In ROCOR, for example, the London Cathedral lost virtually everyone from its second generation, let alone from the third and fourth. And that is a typical story for all jurisdictions everywhere. Why? Because they had no identity, apart from an ethnic one, which they naturally disowned. It is vital for Orthodox children born here or going to school here to have an Orthodox identity, to know and appreciate our civilizational values, to know that we are simply Christians. The old generations generally failed to do this, their identity was purely ethnic, not spiritual.
Thus, the children went to school, lost their parents’ language and said, ‘I’m English, this is nothing to do with me, it’s only for old people’. Assimilation. For example, there are six Anglican Cypriot priests in the Diocese of London. Why? Because they did not understand Greek, so they left the Greek Orthodox Church. Of course, we can only give children this identity if parents bring their children to church regularly. Those children have to be instructed in Sunday schools and they have to have activities, which creates in them a sense of belonging to the Church. If parents do not bring up their children in the church, then they will be completely lost.
Q: Why do Protestants so value the Old Testament?
A: The Reformation was largely financed by Jews (despite Luther’s virulent anti-Jewishness) and most Protestants have always been pro-Jewish. Cromwell depended on them almost entirely. (Even today Israel depends entirely on Protestant countries, especially the USA; Catholics have always been more sceptical). Thus, the Protestants even use the Jewish Old Testament in favour of the Christian one! For Orthodox, by far the most important book of the Old Testament is the Psalter, which is why you rarely find Orthodox reading the Old Testament (other than Genesis and Exodus), but rather just the New Testament and the Psalms.
Q: Why is the USA forcing countries, like the Ukraine and also African countries, into accepting homosexual marriage? Is Obama a homosexual?
A: I have no idea what Obama is – except that he supported thuggery by toppling the democratically-elected government of the Ukraine and replacing it with a murderous Fascist junta, which has little control of the country outside Kiev. Then there are the US drones which can murder anyone anywhere. As regards his other personal inclinations, I would not rely on internet rumours.
Now for your main question, which needs a historical answer.
When, in the 11th century, Satan set about destroying Christendom, his first target was to desacralize, that is, secularize, the Church. Satan cannot stand the presence of the sacred, the sacred must be removed from the world because it prevents him from realizing his plans to take total control of the world. This he did by attacking the Church at its weakest point, that is, in the Western provinces, where all had been weakened by the barbarian invasions. In the 11th century the Western Patriarchate was converted to secularism, with what had been the Church becoming a State, becoming secular, changing the Creed, controlling murderous armies, the courts and sponsoring invasions etc. In history this is called papocaesarism.
In other words, the first step to Satanization, was to remove the Altar. The second step was to remove the Throne, that is, to remove the sacral monarchy. This act came later and was done in the 17th century in England, in the 18th century in France and in the 20th century in Russia, although it is true that the Western monarchies had been deformed before then, either by parliamentarianism, or else by absolutism, neither of which conforms to the Orthodox Christian understanding of monarchy, which is the presence of the Lord’s Anointed among the people.
Thus, having removed the spiritual content of the Faith and the Ruler, having desacralized the Faith and the King, there remained the third and final stage, to desacralize or secularize the Christian People and popular culture. This means destroying Christian cultural values (a process that was very rapid in the 20th century), destroying the family – very rapid from the 1960s on after the fall of the Second Vatican Council, when fasting was abolished and so now today we have an obesity crisis). Then they also started destroying the identity of the human person in the unisex movement that since the 1960s has resulted in only two generations in a transgender, transhuman society.
This enslavement is a form of suicide. It is why Russian Orthodox Tsardom, the Christian Empire, had to be destroyed in 1917. With its slogan of Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and the People, the Faith, Tsar and Rus, in English, Altar, Throne, Cottage, in French, Foi, Roi, Loi, its existence was the one thing that made upside down Satanism, with its aim of destroying the Church, the Ruler and the People, impossible.
Q: Can this situation of spiritual enslavement be reversed, or is an imminent end inevitable?
A: Nothing is inevitable because for human beings repentance is always possible. In Russia, the Church is slowly being restored and with Her the ideal of a Spiritual Empire, with a Christian Emperor and People. However, nothing is certain and there are reasons for both profound pessimism and profound optimism. May God’s will be done. On 18 December 1917 the Tsarina Alexandra wrote in her diary: (The Revolution in Russia) ‘is a disease, after which Russia will grow stronger. O Lord, be merciful and save Russia!’ May this hopeful prophecy be true.
‘Not that it had ever remotely been Gregory’s own intention to banish God from an entire dimension of human affairs; but revolutions will invariably have unintended consequences. Even as the Church (sic), from the second half of the eleventh century onwards, set about asserting its independence from outside interference by establishing its own laws, bureaucracy and income, so kings, in response, were prompted to do the same…It was in a similar spirit that the foundations of the modern Western state were laid, foundations largely bled of any religious dimension. A piquant irony: that the very concept of a secular society should ultimately have been due to the papacy. Voltaire and the First Amendment, multiculturalism and gay weddings: all have served as waymarks on the road from Canossa’.
Millennium, P. xxii, Tom Holland, 2008
Introduction: All Can Become Sacred in the Church
The concept that any aspect of public life must be Secular is completely alien to genuine Christianity (called ‘Orthodoxy’ or even ‘Eastern Orthodoxy’ by self-justifying and self-distancing Neo-Christians). On the contrary, the Church calls us to make all things holy, to make all things fit for the Kingdom of God through the Holy Spirit, ‘Who is everywhere present and fills all things’. All social, political, economic, cultural and personal life is called on to become sacral. For the Church, every aspect of our life is called on to be sacralized, to become sacred, whether it is in the social, political, economic, cultural or personal domains. However, through its apostasy from Christ and self-deifying substitution for Him, the Western world has gradually descended into Secularism in three ever-accelerating stages over a millennial process of loss of faith. These three stages are:
Stage I: Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism divides the world into the sacred and the secular, into clergy and laity. In Catholicism, laypeople cannot become sacred, for they are married and so, according to the Catholic definition (logically, a very strange definition) they are secular, whereas the clergy can become sacred for they are celibate – and so, apparently, ‘not secular’. This principle was introduced as the very foundation-stone of Catholicism in the mid-eleventh century. This is its essence and opposes it to every other world civilization, from the Mesopotamian to the Egyptian, from the Hindu to the Chinese, from the Christian Roman to the Maya, from the Aztec to the Inca, in which the sacral empire was always considered as the norm. This division between the sacred and the Secular, unintentionally but quite inevitably, created Secularism. It immediately resulted in the well-known contest between Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV, the Germanic ‘Emperor’ in 1077.
When that Emperor and so the whole layworld that he symbolized were humiliated at Canossa in 1077, it was realized that the State and layworld could therefore never become sacred, that the world was divorced from the sacred, and this founded the whole principle of Secularism in opposition to the Papacy and the clergy that he represented. From that moment on, the eventual nationalist explosion of the ‘Reformation’ became inevitable. National States would sooner or later inevitably erupt against the oppressive and anti-secular International State of Catholicism. It was in this way that the very word ‘Church’ in Western languages came to mean simply the clergy, as used in phrases which are either totally meaningless or else totally blasphemous to the Church mind, such as: ‘The Church must learn from its mistakes’ or ‘The Church is wrong’.
Stage II: Protestantism
The principle of Secularism, introduced by Catholicism, thus became the guiding principle of Protestantism and was taken up enthusiastically by rulers who wanted to free themselves of all limitations. Thus, ambitious Protestant rulers made themselves heads of ‘Churches’ (that is secularized religious institutions, not in fact the Church), so giving themselves control over all aspects of life, social, economic, political and cultural, leaving religion only as the private domain of individuals. Thus, individuals became ‘free’ to invent spiritually irrelevant new sets of belief, places of worship and religious practices, as long as these would not in any way get in the way of the State, of public life, of the domain of power. Thus, social, economic, political and cultural life all became secularized, that is, they were controlled, conditioned and determined by purely material interests. The concept of sacramentality (the possibility that the material can become sacred) became completely unknown.
Thus, religious practice was restricted to private opinion and pietism. This led to the extraordinary hypocrisy seen in Protestant countries. For example, people would not fail to attend their Protestant ‘church’ on their God-slot Sunday, but they had no qualms about being Mammonists, slave-trading, the genocide of Non-Protestants (Orthodox Christians, Africans, Indians, Native Americans, Chinese, Aborigenes, Iraqis etc), the inhuman exploitation of the Industrial Revolution, the killing of the youth of Europe in World Wars, the rape of the natural world. In fact, religion came to be restricted and reduced to narrow moralistic or ethical practices, mainly concerned with and obsessed with sexual moralism. Although anti-Papist Protestants denied it, this was merely the obligatory clerical celibacy introduced by the Popes in the eleventh century, which had already guaranteed hypocrisy and of which they were simply the unthinking heirs.
Stage III: Modern Secularism
Secularism justified its hypocrisy with myths. Thus, American secularists used the mythical slogan ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ (and bombing people back ‘to the Stone Age’ to ensure that they have them), the French hypocrites used ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’, the British hypocrites used ‘Parliament’. In reality all these slogans mean that the public (‘the plebs’, as the elite calls us) can vote every few years for one or another set of corrupt elitist oligarchs, who in any case carry out very little of what they promise because they are merely frontmen, controlled by those who have the real power behind the scenes. Conversely, Christianity uses the word freedom to mean freedom from the passions, not political freedom, which is what the Jews wanted, but Christ did not give, for which Judas sold him to be crucified. Herein lies the difference between the Church and Secularism; inward freedom and outward freedom. This is why the Western world long ago stopped conquering souls and making them into saints and turned outwards to conquering lands and natural resources.
Secularism also uses the myth of nationalism to justify itself. Manipulating, it says to the plebs: ‘Religion and Politics do not mix’. This means: ‘Leave us Secularists to control your lives, as for your eccentric private beliefs, keep them to yourselves’. Manipulating, it says to the plebs: ‘In our national (= Secularist) tradition, our priorities are freedom and democracy’. This means: ‘Leave us to manipulate you as we want through bread and circuses, for we do not seek the Kingdom of God first, which is why we produce no saints and no holiness’. Manipulating, it says to the plebs: ‘Look at what emperors, kings and religions did – they created wars and strife’. This means: ‘Our ancestors, atheist emperors and atheist kings with our worldly religions (like ’Secularism’) created wars and strife’. Manipulating, it says to the plebs: ‘Give us total power over you and you will be free’. This means: ‘If you choose a people’s monarch under God, as they had in Russia before 1917, we will slander him and murder him too in exactly the same way – and you with him, for we are not taking you away from hell, but taking you to it’.
Conclusion: The Kingdom of Christ versus the Republic of Secularism
The essence of Secularism is Arianism, the intellectuals’ mythical ideology that Christ is not the Incarnate and Risen Son of God, Who trampled down death by death, but a mere man, whose bones have long since crumbled away in a cave in Palestine. The Father of Arianism is Satan, for he is the father of lies, as Christ told us, and those who believe in such myths are Satanists. The essence of Secularism is then Disincarnation, a process of loss of faith that has been under way in the Western world for 1,000 years, but was much accelerated by Protestantism and today by Secularism, whose slogan is ‘God is dead’. Secularism’s blood offering to its Satanic master is the scores of millions of babies that it has murdered. Aided by Gnostic Origenism and Personalism, Arian Disincarnation casts God out of the world, so preparing it to become the place where Antichrist can briefly rule before the End, when he will be cast into Gehenna forever.
Following the recent trilogy of articles on gathering together Russian Orthodox of all nationalities and languages in Western Europe into a Metropolia, the first of which was posted on 25 July and the last, the article ’The Path to Unity’, on 5 August, a member of the Paris Exarchate (Patriarchate of Constantinople) has written to reject this vision for an Orthodox Europe, or a ‘Russian Europe’ as he strangely calls it. Since he is not Russian Orthodox and, according to his very undiplomatic words, never will be, his rejection of something which does not concern him seems not relevant. However, if he is interested in one day seeing a Local Church of Europe, we must recall that the only Local Church which is proposing an Orthodox Metropolia in Europe, precisely the basis for a future Local Church of Europe, is the Russian Orthodox Church. In other words, the offer by Patriarch Alexis II over ten years ago is the only offer on the table.
The only purely theoretical alternative consists of a now very old-fashioned, autocephalist, that is, nationalist, ideology. This was once again put forward by the Greek Orthodox ‘Fraternite Orthodoxe in Western Europe’ at its Fifteenth Congress in Bordeaux in Spring 2015. With absolutely no offer of autocephaly (canonical independence) made at any point over the fifty years of its existence to this small, mainly French group by the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople (to which virtually all its members belong), doubts were long ago raised about its practicality. No autocephaly can ever be given to this small group because it is on a shared canonical territory.
No-one would want to repeat the error that the Soviet-epoch Patriarchate of Moscow made in the USA nearly fifty years ago, giving a canonically disputed autocephaly to a small and rather nationalistic American group, led by Parisian intellectuals, now called the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). One does have the impression of leaders blinded by their autocephalist ideology misleading sincere and idealistic but also blind converts, who have no concept of the practical problems and realities of the Local Orthodox Churches and Diasporas outside their own narrow, intellectual horizons.
A French TV film of their recent Congress shows members of the Paris-based Brotherhood singing in French at a meeting or service (it was unclear what it was) in a modern conference hall in Bordeaux. There were virtually no icons, no iconostasis, no candles and no-one at the meeting or service, standing in lines in front of rows of chairs, appeared to make the sign of the cross. The atmosphere presented was that of a ‘charismatic’ event, common to Catholic modernism (or Protestant modernism – it is the same thing). Present were two Greek bishops, one of them the controversial leader of the schismatic ‘Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church’, and a Catholic bishop. The impression was that many of those present were either Catholics or else ex-Catholics. The meeting was certainly highly ecumenical and also political.
The atmosphere of exaltation, of a lack of sobriety and prayer, and the absence of any Orthodox dress code indeed gave the impression of a political meeting, rather than of a Church service. Most of those shown in the film looked to be middle class people, mostly of the same older generation, aged between 60 and 75. Could this be because they joined the Fraternite in its heyday in the late 60s, 70s and 80s, after the French social revolt of 1968? Enclosed and isolated in the same intellectual ghetto for so many years, without exposure to the realities of the contemporary Diasporas of the Local Orthodox Churches in Europe or in their homelands, members have had no opportunity to evolve. In this way they have not adapted to reality and the generation which has grown up in the Orthodox Churches since the fall of Communism and the liberation of the Local Churches in former Communist countries. Could this be why ‘passeiste’ (living in the past) members still insist that ‘nothing has changed’ in Russia and Eastern Europe and still appear to be living in the Cold War?
Of course, a film can give a false impression. Unfortunately, it is exactly the same impression that was given to us by Fraternite members in the 70s and 80s and also that given to Orthodox from other Local Churches who have visited their Congresses in recent years. They have all said the same thing: that this is a divisive group driven not by spiritual concerns but by political concerns. Its spirit, different and alien to that in the vast majority of Orthodox monasteries and parish churches in Western Europe, gives the impression of a New Age cult or sect. There is a ‘pick and mix’ mentality, for example, you fast and confess only if you really want to, taking communion freely, as in modern Catholicism. It takes what it likes from the Russian Church and the Greek Church, but rejects the disciplines of both the Russian Church, both inside Russia and outside Russia, and of the Greek Church in Greece. (It should be noted that this group is quite outside the discipline of the diocesan jurisdictions of Greek bishops in Europe).
A great many contemporary Protestants will tell you that the empty moralism of their ahistorical and now dying denominations has been suicidal for them. A great many contemporary Catholics will tell you that they do not believe in the Pope and think that compulsory clerical celibacy is wrong. In other words they agree with us. And some look to the Orthodox Church for sustenance. The one thing that the Orthodox Church can offer those who live in the contemporary spiritual desert of the desacralized Western world, whether of Catholic or Protestant origin, is spiritual food. This is the food of faithfulness to the discipline of the Church Tradition that alone unlocks the door to the Holy Spirit, that alone gives spiritual beauty, spiritual nobility and spiritual elegance, the food that feeds the soul. This means not transmitting our little selves, but transmitting that which is far greater than ourselves, that which is both collective (cat-holic) and eternal. This is that which only the Church can give and provide the sense of the sacred, a sacralized faith that brings heaven down to earth and so makes the earthly spiritual.
The impression given, and not only by this film, is the opposite. What appears to be on offer here is a desacralized cult, worship made comfortable for the Western consumer, a castrated and rationalized piece of theatre that makes the spiritual earthly. Nowhere was there any mention of the glorious European heritage of the saints, those who had been earthly but became spiritual, neither of the ancient saints of Europe, like St Irinaeus of Lyon, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Martin of Tours, St John Cassian and others who combated heresies and died for the Faith, or of the new saints of Europe, like the Russian New Martyrs, St Nicholas of Zhicha, St Justin of Chelije and St Paisius the Athonite. This is the result of doing away with the ‘sanctoral’ and applying the other decrees of the Second Vatican Council to the Orthodox Church, as was the heartfelt desire of Fraternite lovers like Fr Elie Melia, the teacher of Pastoral Theology at the St Sergius Institute of Theology in Paris in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
The overall impression of the Fraternite is of a disincarnate form of faith invented in the past, of a rather late and old-fashioned monogenerational offshoot of the ‘charismatic movement’ of the late twentieth century, unknown to the Orthodox Church. Theirs appears to be a phyletistic or nationalistic ideology, a Euro-Orthodoxy, that puts modern Europe first and Orthodoxy second, exactly the opposite to what the Russian Orthodox Church is proposing in its forward-looking vision of an ‘Orthodox Europe’. New Local Churches have always been built on strict adherence to the Church Tradition and had a heavily ascetic, monastic and episcopal foundation, for example among all the Slavs, the Alaskans and the Japanese. Unlike their examples, the intellectuals of the Fraternite, stuck in the 1960s, seem to be proposing building a Church on the basis of an ideology that is anti-ascetic, anti-monastic, anti-episcopal, anti-Tradition and therefore in effect anti-Orthodox. Needless to say, this cannot succeed.
The Path to Unity
Woe unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord…And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
Jeremiah 23, 1 and 3
The Path to Disunity
Since 1917 and the Western-organized fall of the Christian Empire, the Third Rome, the forces of this world have contrived to divide the Confederation of Local Churches which forms the Orthodox Church. This they have done in three stages.
Their first aim was to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide those in the key Church, by far the biggest, the most multinational and missionary-minded and that on which the others largely depended, the Russian Orthodox Church. If extremists of any sort, whether modernists, nationalists or sectarians, could be brought to divide this Church, its territory being one sixth of the planet, then its influence there and all over the world could be destroyed. Thus, the forces of this world provoked Protestant-minded, renovationist modernists, both inside Russia (the Communist-sponsored Vvedensky and those with him, including the present neo-renovationists) and outside Russia (the Protestant-sponsored YMCA Paris Schism), nationalist groups (Ukrainians – Galician autocephalists and the present careerist Philaretists, Belarussians – autocephalists, misled Carpatho-Russian Americans – autocephalists) and tiny right-wing sects (Suzdalites, Agathangelites, Tikhonites (from Tikhon Paseka), Diomidites etc). It did not matter to them what ism they used in order to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide, whether Marxist Communism, Hitlerite Fascism or liberal-consumerist Capitalism. More directly they also used other isms, Catholicism and Protestantism, sending in the 1920s Catholics (D’Herbigny) and in the 1990s more Uniats and US Protestant sectarians to try and divide the Russian Church.
Although the struggle continues, against all that the forces of this world planned, the Russian Church and so Orthodox Russia are gradually being restored. The forces of this world have largely failed and will fail, as long as the blood and seed of the New Martyrs and the tears and sweat of the Confessors who are rebuilding the Russian Church oppose them.
The forces of this world then set out on the second part of their campaign. This was to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide those in the other, smaller Local Churches by introducing modernism and its symbol, the Catholic-Protestant calendar. They started in the weakest link in the chain, Turkish-occupied Constantinople, and began replacing its Patriarchs with Western puppets. This of course created schism. The forces of this world expanded their activities, interfering in the other four Greek Churches (the Church of Greece, its autocephalous offshoot in Greek Albania, the Church of Cyprus and the Patriarchate of Alexandria) as well as in the Latin Church (Romania, where they have yet again recently meddled in the appointment of a Patriarch), in the weakest of the Slav Churches (Bulgaria) and in the Arab Patriarchate of Antioch (where they have created a terrorist war), as well as trying to subjugate the Czechoslovak and Polish Churches. Everywhere they tried to introduce the Catholic-Protestant calendar and other modernist practices. Thus, altogether 20% of the Church was contaminated.
They have succeeded only in part and only temporarily.
The 20% contamination by modernism left the other 80% of the Church, in the Russian Lands, Serbia, Georgia and Jerusalem, all but uncontaminated. As they could not be allowed to remain intact, the forces of this world proceeded to the third and most recent part of their campaign. They have attacked the Serbian Church (dividing its territory, handing over some to Catholic control, some to Muslim control, some to Macedonian and Montenegrin nationalist schismatic control, and then trying to divide its episcopate), the Georgian Church (supporting a pro-modernist and anti-patriotic coup d’etat, calling it ‘regime change’ and trying to introduce consumerist sodomy), the Patriarchate of Jerusalem (where the previous Patriarch strangely languishes in prison and a schism has been established via the former US ambassador in Qatar, who allowed US premises to be used for services outside the canonical territory of Jerusalem on that of the Patriarchate of Antioch) and again in Russia (a coup d’etat by Western-backed Catholic nationalists from Galicia who have started massacring the Ukrainian Orthodox people. Everywhere they have also used the tiny, US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople to sow discord and division against the Russian Church, whether in Finland and Estonia (age-old territories of the Russian Church), using dissidents in the Russian emigration in France, North America and England, or more recently in Czechoslovakia (refusing to recognize its autocephaly and dividing its episcopate) and the Ukraine (where the Patriarchate’s US masters are tempting it to recognize politically-backed, uncanonical schismatics, as they have already done in Estonia)).
Here too, in this still continuing third part of their campaign, what the forces of this world have forgotten is that though they propose, God disposes. For only He lives in eternity and shows His loving and visionful Providence, whereas they live in their visionless spiral of infernal hatred, which they are trying to establish as an earthly kingdom.
The Path to Unity?
We do not know the future, how God will dispose. That is in His hands. But we can already see where the forces of this world may lose their way:
In Syria, as a result of the US-fomented war, contrary to what was proposed, the Patriarchate of Antioch has recognized who its friends are. Recognizing that it has no support from Constantinople, which is in the hands of the US-backed, anti-Syrian Turks, the Patriarchate of Antioch is now looking to the Russian Church.
In Africa, the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, once run as a colonial department of the Greek Foreign Ministry, is too poor to expand very much. It needs Russian help and such help would inevitably be anti-phyletist. In such a case the Patriarchate could be taken over, as would only be just, by native African bishops, just as the once-Greek colony of Antioch was taken over by native Arab bishops with anti-phyletist Russian help.
In another Greek colony, Jerusalem (as also in Constantinople), most of the faithful are now Russian. And in Jerusalem Russians support, as is only just, native Arab candidates as future bishops.
Many in the Churches of Greece (and so also in the Church of Greek Albania) and Cyprus (here the US-backed Turks were allowed to invade and occupy the island, which made anti-US feeling even stronger), their economies brought low and their peoples impoverished by joining the neo-feudal EU vassal of the US, are now looking to Russia for help.
The Church of Serbia still looks to Russia and adheres to the Orthodox calendar despite EU-backed political interference in its internal affairs and the now US-owned media.
The Churches of Romania and Bulgaria, in difficulty as the old generation of monastic elders has died out and members of the spiritually impoverished and so pro-Uniat middle generation, which grew up in the simoniac Communist period, has come to power, still have spiritual power in the monasteries and among many in the younger generation.
The Church of Georgia still has excellent relations with the Russian Church, despite US attempts to destroy them by encouraging the 2008 Georgian invasion of Russia-protected territory, where the US-run regime slaughtered 2,000 civilians in half an hour in an unprovoked and compassionless attack by its puppet government.
The Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia are allied to Russia, the latter all the more so after recent US-backed Greek meddling there.
The Church of Constantinople looks ever weaker, as the rest of the world begins to recognize that it has since 1453, quite literally, been wearing the Emperor’s (new) clothes, that the real leader of the Orthodox world is the Russian Patriarch and that they have to talk to him if they want to talk about serious problems. More and more members of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and not only on Mt Athos, can see this themselves. The illusion of the absurd but vanity-consoling US interpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon is transparent to nearly all. Even some in the US are wondering whether it is worth spending more money that they do not have in Istanbul in order to maintain the vain illusion.
In the Diaspora, the Russian Church, recovering from paralysis, has begun to take responsibility and bring unity. And in the Ukraine itself, where the forces of this world thought they could destroy the Russian Church, their plans are backfiring. Most are now talking about the disintegration and dissolution of the purely artificial Ukrainian ‘State’, a conglomerate creation of four imperialist tyrannies, the Habsburg, the Leninist, the Stalinist and that of Washington. Its collapse is for many now just a question of time (according to some, months, though others reckon a few years). 84% of the Ukrainian people are now publically asking for their country to be run by President Putin – far better than continuing under the tyranny and poverty of the corrupt and unrepresentative Kiev puppet junta. This is completely reliant on US subsidies for survival, at great expense to the EU, whose members are suffering bitterly from its anti-Russian, or rather anti-European, sanctions.
Some 55% of the Ukraine, the east and the south, together with Transdnestria, may well return after nearly 95 years to Russia (some of it, the Crimea, already has done so by democratic referendum). 25% of it, centred around Kiev, may become once more the ancient Malorossiya, a southern variant of Belarus. The only part, some 15%, that is really Ukrainian and where the various dialects of Ukrainian are spoken, the largely Catholic Galician borderland, which is what the word ‘Ukraine’ means, may mostly return to Poland. It was from here that the Georgian tyrant Stalin tore it away in 1939, earning the undying and understandable hatred of its people. The two small remaining parts of the present Ukraine, some 5%, may return to Romania (the Orthodox calendar intact, so again helping the Romanian Church to return to the Tradition) and Hungary. And the part that may return to Hungary, that which the Kiev bureaucrats still call ‘Transcarpathia’, even though they are the only Transcarpathians, as they are the ones who live across the Carpathians, could become the kernel of a fifteenth Local Church, a Hungarian Orthodox Church.
Given the excellent relations between Hungary, which has a democratically-elected anti-EU government, and the Russian Federation, which supports all National Resistance and Sovereignist movements against the tyrannical EU, this could happen. Only a few years ago the Russian Church won its legal battle for control of the Budapest Orthodox Cathedral – all is set for a new Local Church to be born. Thus the 500 parishes of ‘Transcarpathians’, that is Carpatho-Russians (or Ruthenians = Latin for Russians), would be at the heart of another Local Church. For it is they who are at the heart of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, they who have contributed to the Polish Church, one of whose constituent peoples is the Lemkos (north-western Carpatho-Russians), and it is they who through their noble and illustrious son from Presov Rus, Metr Lavr (Skhkurla), contributed to Diaspora unity between the Russian Church and one of its constituent parts, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). The vast majority in the latter had only been waiting for freedom at the Centre of the Church to be reconciled with Her.
Of course, nothing is certain; the above are all possible scenarios, only some of which may actually happen. Nevertheless, they are possible, whereas only a few decades ago, when we lived oppressed and isolated by all the forces of this world, they seemed impossible. The visionless who thought short-term, unlike St John of Shanghai and those like him, whose world-view they should have been trying to live by instead of studying philosophy, failed to see that the world would change. Today, we live in a different world from the past. Now a small minority of countries that have stopped being Christian huddle together in a bankrupt union of less than a billion, a union of Eurosodom and Gomorrhica. And the three largest Christian countries, Brazil, Russia and China, are bound together in a union with others, covering half the world’s population.
What the forces of this world were proposing only three or four decades ago, and which made those who had no faith in the Holy Spirit despair, today seems ever less probable. Then the Establishment-compromised, who had in their youth taken the easy, Establishment-approved path and refused to take up the Cross of the Russian Church, mocked us, denounced us and despised us. Now, older, they have only to take up the Cross and they too will walk. Unlike the Donatists and Neo-Donatists, we will welcome them back with open arms, as the loving Father did the Prodigal Son of old.
All heresies reverse spiritual progress because by their very nature they contain spiritual impurity. That is precisely why the Church, which as the Body of Christ is spiritually pure, perceives heresies as ‘wrong choices’, in Greek ‘heresies’. Essentially, what we are logically saying is that every choice that is not Christocentric contains spiritual impurity, for only Christ is without sin, all else is therefore tainted by sin. This includes all cases when groups of human-beings put their humanistic, impure cultures above Christ, so becoming ethnocentric instead of Christocentric. When humanity does this, it also condemns all other cultures and civilizations, whether existing today, in the past or possibly in the future, including Christocentric culture.
This why the famous Dr Johnson wrote that ‘patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel’, meaning that scoundrels always use flag-waving nationalism as an excuse for their base deeds. In particular, scoundrels make cheap propaganda which demonizes their enemies, making them less than human, ‘subhumans’, ‘Untermenschen’ in Hitler’s language. This is merely a justification for the genocides which they commit. This is what Catholics did when slaughtering Christians (100,000 in England alone in the decade after 1066), Jews and Muslims in the Middle Ages, what Protestants did to Black Africans to justify slavery, what the Nazis did to Slavs (30 million of whom they slaughtered), Jews and Gypsies, what the Croats did to Serbs (some 800,000), and the Americans have done to umpteen peoples around the world, from Native Americans to Mexicans, from Japanese to Vietnames, from latin Americans to Iraqis, from Serbs to Russians. ‘They’, ‘the rest and not the West’, were and are all ‘subhuman’. Why? Simply in order to justify their power-grabbing and land-grabbing.
However, if nationalism (which is what Dr Johnson meant when he misused the word ‘patriotism’) is the last resort of the scoundrel, what is the first resort? The first resort of the scoundrel is always religion. This we saw very clearly in the anti-Christian Catholic ‘Crusades’ of the Middle Ages, which sacked and looted the Christian capital in Constantinople, in the Spanish plundering of the Americas in the name of God, in British empire-building (‘civilizing the natives’), in the blasphemous US dollar bill inscribed ‘In God we trust’ (meaning in Mammon we trust), in the German First World War soldier with ‘Gott mit uns’ (‘God with us’) inscribed on his belt, or in the Western-founded Al-Qaida and Islamic State, which use Islam (which as an Old Testament religion in spirit hardly has a record of tolerance in any case) to justify the most abhorrent crimes committed while land-grabbing and power-grabbing.
It is this that certain Western semi-converts to Christianity belonging to the various Local Orthodox Churches have to beware of. For long in this country, for example, we have seen an old generation of ex-Anglican semi-converts who reject ‘foreigners’ (i.e. anyone who has never been an Anglican), proposing their own unOrthodox and crypto-Protestant agenda, rejecting the Church as She is. These Establishment types regard the whole of England as their ‘territory’, set up small congregations of half a dozen here and there in order to justify their presence, try to eject others who do not belong to their mafia-like brotherhood, condescend and patronize, slander and backbite. Fortunately, that generation is dying out and we are now coming to a new generation of real Orthodox, who are not compromised by the ethnic religion of Establishment Anglicanism, which puts its culture above the Church, Which it condemns as ‘foreign’. Christ is indeed foreign to the racially and ethnically narrow, for in His human nature He was an Asian, not a Westerner.
Where did this ethnocentric Western mentality, which condemns all other civilizations and rejects the Christian condemnation of war as an absolute evil, as the Church Civilization of the Orthodox Christian world does (1), come from? Its origins are precisely in the eleventh century, of which the apostates of the Western world so proudly boast as the beginning of their much-vaunted Western ‘civilization’, from which ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds’ (2). That century marks the falling away of Western Europe from Church Civilization and the Christian Faith, the beginning of its spiritual degeneration, which it has since spread worldwide like a degenerative epidemic. It was that century which marked the beginning of the Western world as the future technological giant but spiritual pygmy. Until they purify themselves of that mentality of pride, which asserts that all Western actions are justified because of the imagined ‘innate superiority’ of Western culture over Christ and acquire a conscious and consistent Orthodox world-view, there will be no authentic conversion of such Western converts to the Church of God.
Until then, the abysmal Western genocides of people and culture around the world will continue, from Spain to England in the 11th century, from Jerusalem to Cyprus (3) in the 12th century, from Constantinople to Novgorod in the 13th century, from the Cathars of France (‘kill them all – God will recognize His own’) to the peasants of England in the 14th century, from Italy to Germany in the 15th century, from Amazonian natives (‘kill them – they do not have souls’), to French Protestants in the 16th century, from West African slaves to Carribean plantations in the 17th century, from Bengal to Native Canadians in the 18th century, from starving Irish peasants, the Plains Indians (4), New Zealand Maori, Tasmanian Aborigenes (‘animals’) to Sudanese Muslims in the 19th century, from the Belgian Congo, Boer South Africa (5), Carpatho-Russia, European Slavdom and Jewry to Vietnamese peasants in the 20th century, from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria to the eastern Ukraine already in the first grim years of this 21st century.
As a recent popular historian but no friend of the Church as he writes about himself and those like him, has put it quite accurately and apocalyptically:
‘The road to modernity stretches clearly from the first Millennium onwards, marked by abrupt shifts and turns, to be sure, but unriven by any total catastrophe such as separates the year 1000 from antiquity. Though it might sometimes appear an unsettling reflection, the monks, warriors and serfs of the eleventh century can be reckoned our (sic) direct ancestors in a way that the people of earlier ages never (sic) were. (This book) Millennium, in short, is about the most significant departure point in Western history: the start of a journey that perhaps (sic), in the final reckoning, only a true apocalypse will serve to cut short.
Millennium, Tom Holland, p. xxix, 2008
1. It was in the summer of 1053 that for the first time in history a Pope of Rome, ‘St’ (sic!) Leo IX, the Schism-Maker, formally blessed a standard of battle. Absolution from the stain of bloodshed – ‘an impunity for their crimes’- was promised to all who answered the call. This was the first launching of a papally-sanctioned ‘holy war’. This was to be repeated in England 1066, then in the Crusades, and today has been repeated by Western countries, which also ‘replace God’ and arrogate to themselves papal infallibility in wrecking Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the Ukraine, to name but a few examples. On the other hand, when in his book ‘Tactics’, the Christian Emperor Leo VI ‘the Wise’ of New Rome (866-912) called ‘religious war’ simply ‘a licence to loot in religion’s name’, he was expressing the immutable Christian teaching that had been universal until the 11th century before the foundation of Catholicism.
Thus, as Sir Steven Runciman noted, Orthodox Christian history was remarkably free of wars of aggression. Peaceful methods were always preferable, even if they involved tortuous diplomacy or the payment of money. To Western historians, accustomed to admire barbarian militarism, the actions of many Orthodox statesmen appear cowardly or sly; but the motive was usually a genuine desire to avoid bloodshed.
Unlike the Christian view, the Catholic view had developed out of the militarism inherited from pagan Rome. The military society that has emerged in the West out of the barbarian invasions has always sought to justify its habitual pastime of bloodshed and interventionism, just as it does today. It gave prestige to the military hero; and the pacifist acquired a disrepute for which he has never recovered. Already Pope Leo IV, in the mid-ninth century, had declared that anyone dying in battle for the defence of the Church would receive a heavenly reward. Pope John VIII, a few years later, had even ranked the victims of a holy war as martyrs; if they died armed in battle their sins would be remitted.
2. We recall the famous words of Gandhi, who, when asked what he thought of ‘Western civilization’, replied: ‘An excellent idea’.
3. Including the cannibalism of the sadistic French King of England, Richard ‘the Lionheart’.
4. In 1866 General Sherman wrote to President Grant that, ‘We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children’. And, as quoted by his biographer Marszalek, he added that ‘during an assault on an Indian village the soldiers cannot pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age. As long as resistance is made, death must be meted out’. Together with the other Indian fighter, Philip Sheridan, it was he who wrote that ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian’. The descendants of the same Plains Indians have recently supported the Russian Federation against the US government’s anti-Ukrainian and also pro-pedophile policies.
5. In the letter of Tsar Nicholas II to King Edward VII of 27 May 1901, we find the last Orthodox Emperor expressing his concern in English that although his ‘principle is not to meddle in other people’s affairs’ (unlike the modern West), his ‘conscience obliges’ him ‘at last to speak openly’ and that the Boer War ‘looks more like a war of extermination’ and that Britain must ‘put an end to this bloodshed’.
Q: Some consider that the Orthodox world was very weak in the 20th century. Would you agree?
A: 20th century Orthodoxy produced more martyrs than any other century, as well as a great many confessors, so I do not see how you can call the 20th century Orthodox world ‘weak’.
Q: But what about the betrayals of the Faith by certain bishops and even patriarchs in the 20th century?
A: This existed, but we get what we deserve. If we were real Orthodox, we would be strong and so would all our bishops be strong, but we are nominal and therefore decadent Orthodox. The whole problem is not with others, but with ourselves. The Church is us. To think otherwise is an unChristian path which leads directly to the sect. We find fault with ourselves, not with others. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. Only the Non-Orthodox-minded hate sinners and, in so doing, love the sin. We Orthodox know that all of us are sinners, even if some perhaps more than others, we know that all of us are the victims of Satan and therefore we should feel more solidarity with one another, knowing that we have only one common enemy, not each other, but Satan and Satan alone. ‘Bear one another’s burdens’, as the Apostle says.
Q: What about the historic injustices that the Orthodox world has suffered, the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the many Western invasions of Russia? Did they not weaken the Orthodox world too?
A: It is true that there have been many historic injustices and betrayals of the Church by the West which wanted to substitute itself for the Church.
Just in the second millennium, there were the invasion and occupation of England in 1066, the pillage of Constantinople in 1204 which led to its fall in 1453, the invasion of Russia by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, by the Poles in the 17th century and then by the Europeans under Napoleon in 1812, the 19th century imposition of German princes on Greece and Bulgaria, the Western invasion of the Crimea and the invasion and occupation of Cyprus by the British.
In the 20th century there were the invasions of Serbia and Russia by the Central Powers in 1914, the Western-organized Russian Revolution in 1917, the invasions by Germany and its allies of several parts of the Orthodox world in 1940-41, the CIA-installed, banana-republic colonels’ regime in Greece in the 1960s-70s, the Western genocide in Serbia in the 1990s, the EU colonization of Orthodox Eastern Europe and today the bloodthirsty Western puppet regime in Kiev. However, we should not make excuses out of these historic injustices that our civilization has suffered. The source of all these historical injustices is in our own decadence. If we had been faithful, these injustices would never have occurred.
Q: So much for the past and today. Do you think that the 21st century overall will be positive or negative for the Orthodox world?
A: Who am I to answer such a question? It is not yet clear which way the Christian Church, that is, the Orthodox world, is going. On the one hand, there are signs of hope, the renewal of monastic life on Mt Athos since the 1960s, the fall of atheism in Eastern Europe and Russia since 1989, the spread of Orthodoxy worldwide. On the other hand, there is much that is profoundly decadent and a cause for pessimism. The President of Estonia is an American, the new President of Romania is a German, there are American-appointed Non-Ukrainian ministers in the Ukraine, the President of Montenegro is an EU puppet etc. However, the Orthodox people can resist the EU/US imposed Establishment and choose freedom, as we have just seen in Greece, though of course the leaders who choose freedom usually get assassinated.
Q: By ‘much that is profoundly decadent’ are you also thinking of corruption? For example, the political, business, banking, police and justice systems in Romania, Greece, the Ukraine or Russia and so on are steeped in corruption and bribe-taking, even more than in countries like Italy, Spain and France. Why is there so much corruption in Orthodox countries, why are Orthodox so corrupt?
A: First of all, today there is, sadly, no such thing as ‘an Orthodox country’. There are only ex-Orthodox countries or, optimistically speaking, ‘pre-Orthodox countries’, which we hope will become Orthodox countries again. Secondly, Orthodox are not corrupt, only ex-Orthodox are corrupt. Our Orthodox Faith is everything. Destroy it and you destroy the source of all our morality and our whole political, social and economic system. We have only one ideal – Orthodoxy, the Church. Take that away from us and the corrupting passions of this world rule.
The West has never understood that. It thinks that if you destroy someone else’s civilization, then you can almost automatically make it into part of Western ‘civilization’. That is the greatest of illusions. If you destroy, you destroy. Full stop. Western ‘civilization’ does not work outside the Western world. When the West destroys someone else’s civilization in the name of ‘freedom and democracy’ by bombing it back to the Stone Age, all it produces is the Stone Age, not Western ‘civilization’.
That is why after the Western coup d’etat in 1917, the Russian Empire became a corrupt mafia regime of criminals and bandits, the Soviet Union, created by the West. We Orthodox have no other values, no other source of morality, justice and honesty than our Faith. In the Christian Church, the Orthodox world, we only have the Church. It is all or nothing for us. Thus, the corruption in Greece, when the elite bankrupted the nation and the people after the imposition of the euro, exists because the elite is not Orthodox. He who is not Orthodox in a once Orthodox country is corrupt. The same is true of Romania, Russia, Bulgaria and so on.
In the West it is different. In the West, at least in the part that has Protestant culture, there is an elaborate half-way house between the Church and corruption, a set of legalistic and humanistic balances and checks, ultimately Christian in origin, which are the substitute for the fullness of Orthodoxy. Having said that, the West is still corrupt. The EU cannot even be audited. In England your career will never go very far if you are not a mason or at least a member of some paramasonic club like the Rotarians. And as an Italian told me decades ago: ‘In England you have taxes, in Italy we have bribes. It is the same thing – payment for a protection racket; it is just that in England the protection racket is State-run, in Italy it is private’.
Q: Has the decadence in what you call ‘ex-Orthodox countries’ or ‘pre-Orthodox countries’ affected the Diaspora?
A: That decadence has affected us profoundly. Quite simply, it has made the foundation of new Local Churches in the Diaspora impossible because the necessary conditions for their establishment have not been in place in the homelands, where the leaders of the Local Churches were all politically enslaved and so spiritually compromised. No new Local Church can be built on spiritual compromise.
As regards the Diaspora itself, it has been unable to do anything alone because it lacks the spiritual level. To have a spiritual level implies having monastic foundations, which the refugees, political or economic, who formed the Diaspora have also largely lacked. In other words, even regardless of the captivity of all the Local Churches in the homelands, the Diaspora has not been spiritually mature enough to form new Local Churches.
Q: What do you mean by spiritual maturity?
A: Spiritual maturity is the spiritual growth that comes from suffering. This, incidentally, is why modern Western societies, spoilt by superficial consumerism, are so infantile, so immature. The majority in them do not know suffering.
Q: Can you give examples of this spiritual immaturity in the Church context?
A: We have the example of the OCA (Orthodox Church in America), which was granted a disputed autocephaly by the Patriarchate of Moscow at a time when it was in Soviet captivity. Nearly fifty years after the OCA received this disputed autocephaly, it is still riven by sectarian, spiritually immature, politically-minded, modernistic factions. They ignore and even despise and deny the two spiritual roots of the OCA, of American Rus in Alaska and of Carpatho-Rus in Pennsylvania, that is, of two strands of the Russian Orthodox Tradition, and want to substitute some kind of superficial, compromising, ephemeral, Protestant American cultural customs for those roots. It is like replacing the hymnography of Orthodox Christmas with ‘Jingle Bells’ (I quote from the practice of one ‘Orthodox’ parish of converts in California) or a fine French wine with Coca-Cola (I paraphrase the words of a well-known and more traditional OCA bishop from the past).
To be fair to OCA laypeople, many or most of whom reject these extremist factions and their modernism, we have to mention the problem of hundreds of former members of the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Also spiritually immature and politically-minded and ignorant of or rejecting the traditional practices and spiritual roots of the Church Outside Russia which were obvious before the mid-1960s, they tried to innovate and, on finally failing, abandoned ROCOR for various extra-ecclesial sects. This happened over a period of two decades between 1986 and 2007 before the reconciliation of ROCOR and the Church inside Russia. (In the same way, some renovationist intellectuals also left the Church inside Russia before its reconciliation with ROCOR, since they could not accept the reality of Church life). Extremists of any type cannot abide unity and reality and always fall for fantasies and sectarian mentalities
Q: Who were these renovationists in the Church inside Russia who left? I thought renovationism in Russia had been defeated in the 1920s and 1930s.
A: Yes, it was very much defeated, but only inside Russia. I meant the sectarian renovationism in foreign parishes in the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia. This had been allowed to develop and was still preventing unity and reconciliation between the two parts of the Russian Church after the Jubilee Council in 2000.
Q: What conditions would you say need to be in place for any legitimate autocephaly in the Diaspora
A: There are two conditions, one concerning the Diaspora, the other concerning the Local Churches involved. 1. Freedom from spiritual compromise in the Diaspora, that is, the consciousness among a sufficient number (I mean at least 10,000s, not a few hundred) of rooted and mature Orthodox in the Diaspora that they need status as a new Local Church through autocephaly. 2. Freedom from spiritual compromise, that is, agreement among the seven Local Churches which have jurisdictions in the Diaspora on the granting of such an autocephaly.
Q: Leaving aside the first condition and agreement among the seven Churches, why can the Russian Church today not provide autocephaly for the Diaspora and found new Local Churches in, say, Western Europe, Australasia, North America and Latin America? After all, the atheist regime in Russia died a generation ago and today the Church there is politically free, free of State interference. Otherwise, there would never have been any reconciliation between it and the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).
A: True, the Church inside Russia is politically free and the reunited Russian Church now has 342 bishops, about half the total number of Orthodox bishops worldwide, and nearly 40,000 clergymen, with 4,000 being ordained the last two years alone. However, merely being politically free is not the same as being free of ‘spiritual compromise’. There are other problems which create what I call ‘spiritual compromise’. For example, unlike in the atheist period, the masses in the Russian Lands are at least baptized, but that is not enough. You have to live the Faith to be Orthodox.
Only a minority of the people and of the elite in the Russian Lands are living Orthodoxy. Many middle-aged people in the bureaucracy still think in the old Soviet mafia ways – otherwise there would not be corruption, oligarchs and even a civil war going on for oligarch control in the Ukraine. All those phenomena are due to the atheist Soviet heritage. It is why you have so much alcoholism, abortion, corruption and divorce (ABCD). The Church inside Russia is still not spiritually strong enough. You can also see this in nationalistic tendencies in sections of the Russian population.
Q: What nationalistic tendencies?
A: In Russia today there are nationalists, that is semi-Orthodox, who still have a Soviet mentality even though they have been baptized. For instance, they can speak of such opposites as the Tsar-Martyr and Stalin as ‘Russian heroes’ in the same breath. Or they speak of ‘the Russian world’, instead of the Russian Orthodox world. Or they speak of commemorating Vladimir (Putin) by name at the liturgy.
Q: What is wrong with praying for your political leader by name?
A: Everyone agrees that Vladimir Putin is by far the best leader Russia has had since 1917, but he is not the Anointed Tsar, he is at best the politician who, God willing, is preparing the way for the restoration of a legitimate Tsar. But he is not the Tsar himself, only a forerunner. And only an Anointed Tsar is prayed for by name at the liturgy. To pray for a secular leader at the liturgy by name is a form of nationalism, however positive the underlying motivation. Worse than that, in a multinational Church, I think with 62 nationalities in all, you do not offer public prayers for the leader of only one nationality. That would be divisive. If some wish to pray for ‘Vladimir’ in their personal prayers, that is fine, but at the liturgy, in public prayer, we pray only for the authorities in general.
Q: How can such nationalism be overcome?
A: In order to overcome such nationalism we must develop the awareness of what the word ‘Rus’ means.
Q: And what does ‘Rus’ mean?
A: Our Patriarch is called Patriarch of ‘All Rus’, that is, of All the Russias. And ‘Rus’, as in ‘Holy Rus’, the phrase which expresses the Church’s ideal, means multinational, for it includes all the dozens of different races who confess the uncompromised Russian Orthodox Faith, not just Russians. The enemies of the Church, whether nominal, nationalistic Orthodox or Western heterodox – and both groups are actually enemies of the Church – are terrified of a Church which is multinational and uncompromised. Because their souls are narrow, both suffer from the same narrow, reductionist nationalism.
Q: If the Russian Church is at the moment unable to do anything in the Diaspora, then why, if the other conditions were met, could the Patriarchate of Constantinople not provide autocephaly for the Diaspora and found new Local Churches in, say, Western Europe, Australasia, North America and Latin America?
A: Now you are out of the frying pan and into the fire. First of all, unlike the Russian Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has never freely given any people autocephaly; Greek imperialism is a great hindrance here. Secondly, that Patriarchate is not only enslaved by US politics – since 1948 its Patriarchs have been nominated by the CIA – but it is also very nationalistic. Hellenism is stronger than Christianity. I can name three Greek priests in England who have in the last 15 months refused to baptize unbaptized English people into the Patriarchate of Constantinople for the simple reason that they ‘are not Greek’. So I baptized them in their place. Such clergy see the Church as a mere Greek club. This is characteristic in general. Whatever you say about Russians, they are not as nationalistic as this. I will always remember attending the Greek Cathedral in Paris on a Sunday, now 35 years ago; the Liturgy was stopped because the Greek ambassador entered – late. This is highly symbolic. A representative of the Greek State was considered to be more important than Christ.
Q: What is nationalism, spiritually?
A: Nationalism is a spiritual disease – a sign of a lack of spiritual experience and spiritual consciousness. It is what lies behind the absurd and violently nationalistic schisms in the Ukraine, in Macedonia, in Montenegro and in Moldova, which are so eagerly and mockingly exploited by the West as the movements of provincial bumpkins (which is what they are). Wherever you get decadence, you get nationalism, nationalistic tendencies and wherever you get nationalism, you get decadence. You can dress this up in a name like phyletism, but it is still nationalism, racism.
Q: Is nationalism only a sign of decadence among Orthodox?
A: Not in the least. In the 5th century it already lay behind the Coptic/Monophysite schism and the Nestorian schism. In the 11th century, it lay behind the Western schism, when the West wanted to replace the Church with its own ethnic identity (‘Roman’ Catholic, not Catholic) and began to deride the Church as ‘Greeks’ and ‘Byzantines’, so reducing it to an ethnic identity. In the 16th century it lay behind the Protestant Reformation, which was essentially an anti-Latin revolt of the Germanic peoples.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the invention of Anglicanism by the bloodthirsty Tudor monarchs, who, like the popes of Rome before them, supplanted Jesus Christ as heads of the Church in a purely ethnic operation. Unlike in the Orthodox Churches, however much they may suffer from nationalism, in Anglicanism the monarchs (or nowadays atheist and agnostic prime ministers) appoint the bishops and actually influence and shape Anglican doctrines and beliefs, whether it is the sacraments or a female episcopate.
Q: Why is nationalism so poisonous in Church life?
A: Simply because nationalism is another word for worldliness.
Q: If the Russian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople cannot act in the Diaspora, what about the Romanian Church? That is the second largest Local Church. Could it not act, if the other conditions were right?
A: No, the Romanians are also unable to do anything. Sadly, their country has now become an EU colony and so, like the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it is US-run. Apart from nationalism (fully backed by Washington, which is eager to cultivate and exploit that weakness – ‘every man has his price’ is the motto), there is a second and closely related disease in Romania, which has evolved directly from nationalism. That is ecumenism.
For instance, in Italy, where the Romanian jurisdiction is by far the largest Orthodox jurisdiction, the impression given by representatives of the Romanian Church is that ‘we are Catholics who use Romanian in our services, instead of Italian. There is no other difference between us’. (Some Romanian priests even use white wine in the Eucharist so as to be ‘like the Catholics’). Romanian Church representatives are so poor that they will compromise on almost anything with the Vatican to get the free use of redundant Catholic churches in Italy. Nationalism stands behind this ecumenism because Romanians and Italians are of the same Latin race, a racial fact which the Vatican exploits to the maximum. This is only one step away from Uniatism and the Vatican knows this and exploits this – Romanian Catholic and Roman Catholic do sound very similar.
The Romanian situation closely reminds me of the relations of the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the Anglicans when they sit the Archbishop of Canterbury on the bishop’s throne in their churches, or with the Catholics, whom they ban themselves from receiving into the Church, even though they plead to be received. (Thus if a Catholic priest wishes to be received into the Rue Daru jurisdiction (Patriarchate of Constantinople), he has to be sent to the OCA to be received, in other words, he is received through the back door).
Only recently in Germany two Romanian Orthodox priests became Catholic priests. Why not? The local Romanian bishop had been saying for years that ‘there is no difference between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church’. His priests were just being logical. On top of that the Catholics pay better. For an Orthodox who has no dogmatic consciousness of Orthodoxy, i.e. who is an apostate, it is only logical to be Catholic.
What I am saying is that any Local Church which is reduced to nationalism is very easily exploited by the enemies of the Church, whether the enemy is Protestantism or the Vatican, or secular-Protestant Washington or its secular-Catholic EU vassal or, perhaps the worst enemy, nominal, nationalistic Orthodoxy. Nationalism is the result of decadence, a low spiritual level, which causes a weak dogmatic consciousness, in other words, which creates an attachment to this world, which is much stronger than an attachment to the Kingdom of God, the values of the Church.
Q: So if at the present time no Local Church can act in the Diaspora, what is the solution?
A: There is no solution to the Diaspora problem at the present time because the solution is much more practical than that dreamed up by a few disincarnate intellectuals in ‘theological’ institutes. It is in the Incarnation of the Faith in international life, that is, in the restoration of the legitimate multinational Christian secular authority, the restoration of the Orthodox Emperor and Empire. Once this is restored, there will be the multinational support for the Diaspora and new Local Churches there. There were no jurisdictional disputes in the Diaspora before 1917, when there was an Orthodox Emperor. Once the Orthodox Emperor is restored, there will be the necessary finance, say, 200 billion roubles (£2 billion / $3 billion) for new Local Churches, the necessary infrastructure will be created and all the jurisdictional problems will be solved worldwide, as they were before the Revolution of 1917.
Q: What is preventing this?
A: Ourselves. We Orthodox first have to want and to be worthy of a restored Emperor and Empire. In 1917 the Orthodox elite had so far lapsed from the Faith that they actually rejected a Christian Emperor and Empire. The question is when will Orthodox stop being ‘ex-Orthodox’ or optimistically speaking, ‘pre-Orthodox’, and become worthy, ready to accept an Orthodox Emperor and Empire again. Only then, with an end to decadence, with a developed Orthodox consciousness, shall we see an end to the problems of the Diaspora.
This anthology of 100 essays, first published in 1995 and now with a new foreword, is at last available again from:
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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
St John’s Orthodox Church
Colchester, Essex, England