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Commemoration of Our Father among the Saints Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Enlightener of Northumbria

THE 31ST DAY OF THE MONTH OF AUGUST

Commemoration of Our Father among the Saints Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Enlightener of Northumbria

At Vespers

At Lord, I have cried, 6 stichira: 3 for the Deposition of the Sash of the Mother of God and 3 for the holy hierarch, Tone VI, Spec. Mel.: ‘On the third day…’

Arise, you Christian peoples, and let us praise the wondrous Aidan, a hierarch blessed by God, a tireless husbandman of the vineyard of the Holy Church; and with cries of jubilation let us proclaim before all nations that he is our fervent intercessor before the throne of the Lord of lords.

O Lindisfarne, thou Holy Isle, washed everlastingly by the waves of the sea, as thou didst behold the spiritual struggles and feats of the holy hierarch Aidan, thy very stones bear witness to the glory he has won with Christ. Wherefore, as thou art exalted above the tides, raise us up to praise him.

Kings and nobles honoured thee, but thou gavest their gifts to the poor in Christ, thereby showing thyself to be a model of Christian virtue and love; wherefore, thou hast been crowned in the heavens by the right hand of the Almighty, O glorious Aidan.

Glory, Tone II.

The islands of the sea leap for joy at thy memory, O Aidan, for on the Isle of Scattery, in the Ireland of thy birth, thou didst first undertake the monastic life with the venerable Senan, on the blessed Island of Iona in the land of the Picts thou didst attain spiritual maturity under Segenius, and found thine own monastery on the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne on the coasts of Northumbria. Wherefore, in thee were the words of Isaiah the Prophet fulfilled, for thy sake was the glory of the Lord revealed in the isles of the sea, and the name of the Lord made glorious therein.

Now & ever, for the Deposition.

Aposticha of the Deposition and Glory, Tone VIII.

With the right-believing Kings Oswald and Oswin thou didst plant the Faith of Christ among the English, as a true apostle and disciple of the Saviour, O holy Aidan; and caring for orphans and children as an attentive father, thou didst instil in them true piety and the knowledge of God; and with coins entrusted to thee in Christian love thou didst purchase the freedom of many who languished in bitter thralldom and captivity. O holy hierarch, look down from heaven upon us, thy sinful children: by thine example teach us the virtues and lead us to the vision of God, and by thy supplications ransom us, the wretched, from slavery to death and the devil.

Now & ever, of the Deposition.

Troparion of the holy hierarch, Tone I.

A son of Ireland, transplanted to Iona, the isle of saints, tended there, thou didst grow to spiritual fruition; and when the field of Northumbria was ready to receive the seeds of the Christian Faith, thou wast sent there to plant the crop of salvation. Wherefore, labouring diligently day and night, thou didst produce a rich harvest for Christ. O godly Aidan our father, beseech Him earnestly that our souls may find mercy.

Glory… Now & ever… Troparion of the Deposition.

 

At Matins

At ‘God is the Lord’, the troparion of the Deposition, twice; Glory…. that of the holy hierarch, Now & ever…. that of the Deposition, once.

After the readings from the Psalter, the sessional hymns of the Deposition.

Canon I of the Deposition, with 6 troparia, including the irmos, which is sung twice; Canon II of the Deposition, with 4 troparia; and this canon of the holy hierarch, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Eire, Scotland and England praise Aidan”, Tone I.

Ode I

Irmos: Let us sing a new hymn to the Lord Who made the impassable Red Sea dry land. He caused the children of Israel to cross it, and covered the adverse foe with the sea.

Eireann’s child Aidan, growing in wisdom and stature in the land of the Picts, became a true apostle and father to the English, so that multitudes came to sojourn on earth as they were angels and dwell now in the heavens.

Iona, the sacred isle of the venerable Columba, nurtured thee, O Aidan, with the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the fathers, so that thou didst excel in the monastic struggles, in prudence and all the virtues.

Rejecting the acquisition of worldly power and material possessions, like the disciples of Christ thou didst go humbly among thy flock, O wondrous hierarch, preferring to walk upon thy beautiful apostolic feet, rather than to ride.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Ever-virgin art thou, O all-holy and blessed Sovereign Lady, Queen of all creation, for the Son and Word from before eternity has preserved thy purity undefiled, from thy birth to this day, and time without end.

Katavasia: The irmoi of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Ode III

Irmos: O Lord, establish the Church which Thou hast acquired by the power of Thy Cross, whereby Thou didst vanquish the enemy and hast enlightened the whole world.

Senan, thy tutor in faith and piety, sent thee to Segenius to train as a champion in the contest against all manner of temptations; and, strengthened by the supplications of both preceptors, O Aidan, thou didst vanquish the hordes of Satan.

Called to the episcopate because of thine exceeding great discretion, thou didst tend the sheep and lambs of thy flock for Christ, the Chief Shepherd, Who has crowned thee gloriously with an unfading wreath.

O the grace which filled thee, body and soul, O wondrous Aidan! For, sensing the power of the Almighty working in thee, the waves of the sea stilled their raging when the oil thou didst provide was poured forth thereon.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Tenderly didst thou feed thine own Creator at thy breast, O Virgin Mother; wherefore, He Whom thou didst cradle in thine all-pure arms took thy pristine soul into His own hands when it departed from thine immaculate body.

Kontakion of the holy hierarch, Tone V.

With great pastoral prudence, O holy hierarch Aidan, thou didst feed the lambs of thy new flock with the milk of piety; and when they were filled with such wholesome spiritual sustenance, thou gavest them the solid food of Orthodox teaching, thereby confirming their souls in godly reverence and true devotion.

Ikos: Arise and praise Aidan, O Northumbria! O Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, rejoice and be glad! Ye kings and princes, lords and commons, lift up your voices in jubilation! For the blessed hierarch ever imparts to your land the mercy and favour of the Most High, shedding the rays thereof on your cities, villages and towns. Wherefore, let the streams of the Humber carry his fame to all the world, and let the cities of York, Durham and Bamburgh declare his glory to all Christendom, that every nation may glorify God, Who is wondrous in His saints, that He may confirm our souls in godly reverence and true devotion.

Sessional hymn of the Deposition; then, Glory…. that of the holy hierarch, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel.: ‘Of the Wisdom…’

Well didst thou heed the words of David the Psalmist, O Aidan, for thou didst take care not to be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose jaws must be held with bit and bridle; wherefore, when a costly steed was bestowed upon thee by the pious king, thou didst straightway give it away to a poor man, reproving the sovereign when he protested at thy liberality, for the poor in Christ, who are always with us, are higher in value than all the horses of this world.

Now & ever…. Sessional hymn of the Deposition, again.

Ode IV

Irmos: Thy grace has shone forth upon the nations, and the ends of the earth have beheld Thy glory, for by Thy Cross Thou hast saved the whole world.

Let all the ends of the earth rejoice today in the memory of the holy hierarch Aidan, who cast down the idols of the heathen and shone forth the grace of God in the Kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia.

All Orthodox nations exult greatly today, praising the apostolic struggles and journeys of the wondrous Aidan, by whose tireless efforts the Faith of Christ was established.

Now let us all emulate the blessed Aidan, the model for monastics and paragon of Christian virtues, that having like him pleased our heavenly Master, we may enter into His gracious joy.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Despairing of our salvation because of our manifold transgressions, in fear we flee to thee, O most immaculate one; and, clasping thy precious feet, we beseech thy mighty intercession.

Ode V

Irmos: Once, the seraph, taking up tongs, took up a burning ember and touched it to Isaiah’s lips; and, purified, he proclaimed unto all: Learn ye righteousness!

Alms didst thou constantly receive from the mighty of the world, O Aidan; and these didst thou straightaway give away among the poor and needy. Wherefore, great is thy treasure in the heavens.

Neither silver nor gold didst thou keep for thyself, O friend of the Most High, but didst hold the poor in spirit to be thy true treasure; and therein thy heart didst delight, O God-bearer.

Despondency and all the fleshly passions didst thou dispel from thy soul by the rigours of abstinence and ascetic struggles, O venerable one. Wherefore, thou becamest a true model for monks.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Even the most eloquent of orators is utterly at a loss how to describe the mighty works which thine all-powerful Son has wrought through thee, O most pure Maiden.

Ode VI

Irmos: Emulating the Prophet Jonah, I cry out: O Good One, free my life from corruption! O Saviour of the world, save me who cry out: Glory to Thee!

Nailing the uprisings of thy flesh to the fear of God, thou didst earnestly take up thy cross and follow after Christ Jesus thy Lord, by Whose sufferings we have been redeemed.

Glory and majesty shine forth on this day of thy memorial, O blessed one; for having shed the old man like a garment, thou didst put on Christ, Who shines with uncreated light.

Lowly and humble, O Aidan, thou didst yet consort with kings, princes and highborn nobles, teaching them to repent, in that the mighty will be cast down and those of low degree will be exalted.

Hymn to the Mother of God: All-blessed art thou, O Lady Birthgiver of God, for within thy pure womb the Author of all deigned to dwell, so that it surpasses all the heavenly heights in glory.

Kontakion & ikos of the Deposition.

Ode VII

Irmos: O Lord God of our fathers, Who didst appear to the law-giver in the fiery bush and therein prefigure Thy nativity from the Virgin: Blessed art Thou!

Still now do the tides sunder thy Holy Isle from the coastal lands, O Aidan our helmsman; yet during thy life naught could part thee from the love of thy Lord.

Devoutly the pious Oswald granted thee the islands of the sea, O boast of monks: wherefore, on Lindisfarne thou didst found a mighty monastery; while Farne witnessed thy solitary struggles in prayer.

Prudence, the highest of pastoral virtues, reigned supreme in thy life, so that multitudes of the heathen, perceiving the light of Christ shining forth from thee, glorified God, crying: Blessed art Thou!

Hymn to the Mother of God: Robed in gold inwrought with many colours, the all-immaculate Queen and Mother stands in majesty at the throne of the Most High, mercifully interceding for her sinful servants.

Ode VIII

Irmos: Hymn the Lord, Who preserved the children in the burning fiery furnace and descended to them in the form of an angel, and exalt Him supremely forever!

At thy preaching, O godly hierarch Aidan, the hearts of men were opened to the teachings of Christ Jesus; for as thou didst teach, so didst thou live, conforming thyself to the divine precepts.

In time of strife, when pagan hordes strove to burn the royal city to the ground, O Aidan, thou didst set their malice at nought, and by the power of God didst turn back against them the very flames which they kindled.

Singing the praises of God, like the youths in the furnace, while fires threatened to consume Bamburgh, by thine entreaty thou didst preserve the Christian city unharmed by the flames, turning them back upon the evildoers.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Exalting thee among all women, Christ made His abode within thee, O pure Birthgiver of God, miraculously issuing forth from thee at His birth without breaking the seal of thy virginity.

Ode IX

Irmos: With hymns do we magnify Thee, the God and man, Who wast first begotten without mother, and then wast born without father.

As a good shepherd, and not a hireling, O Aidan, thou didst call upon the infidels to cast away their unbelief and to enter, rejoicing, into the fold of the Church, embracing the one true Faith.

Instructing believers in word and deed, O holy hierarch, thou didst strengthen them in the doing of good deeds, that their faith might be alive within them and bear the ripe fruits of piety.

Devoting thyself to monastic ideals, thou didst found many monasteries and convents throughout Northumbria, O most glorious one, nurturing generations of monastics in continence, and uprooting the passions from them like tares.

Again and again the timbers of the church where thou didst repose were utterly reduced to ashes, O holy Aidan; yet the wooden buttress whereon thou didst lean when thy soul took flight was never touched or consumed by the flames.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Now let us entreat the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the all-seeing Judge Who has forgiven mankind, Whose sufferings, resurrection and ascension the wondrous Aidan gloriously preached.

Exapostilarion of the Deposition; Glory…. that of the holy hierarch, Spec. Mel.: ‘Hearken, you women…’

Great was thy mastery of the Christian virtues, O Aidan, for thou wast utterly free of greed and avarice. Readily didst thou tend to the needs of the souls of thy new flock, unceasingly preaching to them the words of life. Wherefore, the sheep and lambs entrusted to thee by the Chief Shepherd greatly increased in number through thy pious ministrations.

Now & ever…. Exapostilarion of the Deposition, again.

At the Praises, 4 stichira of the Deposition; and Glory…. of the holy hierarch, Tone VI.

O royal Bamburgh, be thou exalted among all the towns of England, for within thy precincts did the holy Aidan commit his soul into the hands of his Master. And thou, O Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, whose soil was hallowed by the sacred remains of the athlete of Christ, shine forth upon us the grace of the Almighty, as the sun sheds its rays on the whole world, that, enlightened thereby, our eyes may clearly behold the straight and narrow path which Aidan trod and which leads us surely to the mansions of heaven.

Now & ever, of the Deposition.

At Liturgy

See rubrics for Deposition of the Cincture of the Mother of God.

 

Portrait of a Parish

ST JOHN’S ORTHODOX CHURCH

Military Road, Colchester, Essex CO1 2AN, England

 www.facebook.com/stjohnsorthodoxcolchester

 The Church of St John of Shanghai, built in 1855 for the British Army, is today the largest Russian Orthodox church building and the largest wooden church in the British Isles and possibly in Western Europe. It is situated in eastern England, in Colchester, the Roman capital of Britain before London, which is located 80 kilometres to the south-west of Colchester.

The church was bought by Orthodox through an internet appeal on the Orthodox England website in 2008. It was at once converted to Russian Orthodox use in a town where there had never been any Russian Orthodox presence before. It is therefore a completely new parish. It is attended by 4,000 Orthodox of 24 nationalities, with 200-300 parishioners who attend every Sunday and some 150 baptisms per year. The vast majority of parishioners are aged under 40 and there is a very large number of children. The church and all its buildings belong to the East of England Orthodox Church Trust (Charity No. 1081707), which cares for grassroots Orthodox all over the East of England. The Trust has set up two other churches in East Anglia over the last six years, one in Norwich and another just outside Cambridge.

It has three priests, the rector, Archpriest Andrew Phillips, who was born in Colchester and has served as a clergyman for nearly 37 years, including in Meudon outside Paris and in Lisbon in Portugal. There are also Fr Ioan Iana, who is Romanian and married to a Russian, and Fr George Petrovsky, who is from Latvia. Sunday communions are from three chalices. We at last have two deacons to help us. The parish runs a talk and discussion circle about the Faith, and for children, a Sunday school, a Russian school, a construction club and a sewing club. It also publishes many unique booklets in English, issues a quarterly youth magazine called Searchlight and a monthly newsletter called The Eastern Orthodox.

Apart from the main church, measuring 650 square metres, and two halls, there is also a small church dedicated to All the Saints of the British Isles and Ireland.

This veneration of the local saints was in part inspired by St John of Shanghai, who promoted the veneration of Western saints. Indeed, Fr Andrew was ordained by a spiritual son of St John, the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva (1910-1993). This Archpastor’s very rare values coincide with our own and inspire us. They are:

– To unite all Orthodox, whatever their nationality, into the One  Orthodox Church in these islands.

– To keep the purity of Holy Orthodoxy free from political meddling from whatever great power and from bureaucracy, from both the left (modernists) and from the right (sectarians), keeping to the royal path of the unity of Truth and Mercy.

­- To be faithful to the best of Imperial Orthodoxy and the spirit of the Imperial Family, who stood above factions, confessing the Faith as protectors of the unique Christian Civilisation of the Orthodox world and confessing the Faith, ready to be persecuted and martyred when required.

– To remain multinational, inevitable in the Western European context, carrying out the missionary task  assigned to us by Providence among the peoples of the world, in faithfulness to the words of Christ (Matt, 28, 19-20).

This multinational aspect is reflected by the 24 nationalities which make up the flock here and our three main liturgical languages, Slavonic, English and Romanian, although the choir director is French and the deacons are Moldovan and English. But you will find Australian, Turkish, Maltese, Greek, Estonian and Chinese among the parishioners. The parish has set up several parishes and communities elsewhere in the region, notably those mentioned above in Norwich and Cambridgeshire, but also in Suffolk and beyond. The parish is characterised by the family and community spirit of the parishioners, despite national differences and various languages, and the willingness of all to learn about the Faith with humility and to help one another, both in prayer and also materially. This deep unity comes from our common faith, prayer, fasting and frequent confession and communion.

To commemorate the centenary of the Russian Diaspora in 2020, the parish commissioned an Icon of the three Saints of the Russian Emigration, the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy. These are: St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950) and our former Archbishop, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+ 1966). In this Icon of this global age, we see all six inhabited continents of the planet beneath the Protecting Veil of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, blessed by the Three New Hierarchs, St Jonah, St Seraphim and St John, who lived on different continents. Together they represent the essential identity, unique service, planetary mission and future of our whole Orthodox Church, come forth from the past of Imperial Russia, now living in the present and worldwide.

May the Lord help us and bring us all to salvation!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips,

Colchester, Essex

13 May 2021

From Correspondence – May-June 2020

Pastoral Matters

Q: Do you think that the government restrictions against churches during the coronavirus lockdown were really necessary?

A: Were government restrictions on churches during the peak of the coronavirus epidemic really necessary? What began as sometimes relatively sensible restrictions (stay at home if you are ill, stand back from others) to protect the poor health of the tiny minority of vulnerable in society has been used all over the world as an excuse to persecute us. Supermarkets were open for bread for the body, but bread for the soul did not matter. Car boot sales and beaches have for weeks been full, with thousands of people milling around. But churches are still officially closed.

This is all part of the persecution against us, from various channels. Clearly, the devil is behind it. If Christ had overturned the tables of the moneychangers, today’s Pharisees, now bureaucrats and literalists, would imprison Him, demanding a health and safety review, a risk assessment and impose fines because Christ was not wearing a mask and standing two metres away. Such is the cunning and ongoing persecution of the Church today, conducted from behind the (transparent) screen of health and safety and political correctness and promoted by all those internal traitors and narcissists who always swim with the secular tide.

There are those in the governing elite who, having seen this virus and the zomby-isation of large parts of the population under relentless State propaganda, who are thinking of the next time and how much further they can go then. Unless there is repentance, this really is the beginning of the end.

Q: What should our attitude to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement be? I have heard that an Antiochian priest in America has excommunicated anyone who takes part in their demonstrations.

A: Obviously, we would never support violence, anarchy, law-breaking, looting etc or Marxists or LGBT activists who have jumped on the bandwagon in the USA. However, those are just the opportunist fringes, it is not what that movement is about. It is about restoring the human rights of all human-beings. All Lives Matter. I cannot see how anyone can be against that. As for some untrained and unintegrated crazy American convert, or rather semi-convert, from the conservative evangelicals, I think we can forget him. No priest has the right to excommunicate anyone.

Q: Why do many people look on different religions in such an unstable way, always changing just as they might change the brand of goods they buy in a shop?

A: That is the reflection of the secular approach, imported from the USA under the name of ‘globalisation’, that is, of American imperialism. Secular people think of themselves as consumers and of churches as different supermarkets. The most important thing for them is not the Truth (which alone sets free), but their own individual choice, like a consumer in a supermarket, choosing a brand which suits their own comfort. Secular society is founded on selfishness, on whatever makes you comfortable. On the other hand, the Truth does not make us comfortable, but challenges us to repentance, to change, making us free.

The traditional approach to faith is not in selfish, individual and temporary choice, in some passing fad, but in our roots in a place and in our shared values. This creates stability.

Q: How do we square St Paul’s statement that ‘man is the head of woman’ with modern values?

A: You mean squaring it with secular values? It is impossible. For Orthodox Christians, as in the universal Orthodox proverb: ‘Man is the head and woman is the neck’. Or to put it more poetically: The king rules the country, but the queen rules the king’s heart.

Q: If a homosexual is not actively homosexual, why should he not become a priest or a bishop?

A: The problem is that even a sexually inactive homosexual still has a homosexual psychology. This psychology combines the worst temptations of both men and women, the male weakness being pride, the desire for power and control, which creates backstabbing jealousy and bitchiness, the female weakness being vanity, which creates the love of money and luxury.

Jealousy comes when homosexual bishops see married priests who have everything they cannot have: a wife and children. Homosexual bishops then ordain boyfriends and persecute the married clergy, trying to obtain power over them. This compounds as gay mafias form and this corruption destroys. I knew just such a Greek archbishop, not to mention others. One of his ordinees, a former boyfriend, realised the depth of the corruption he was in and, in despair, turned to alcohol.

The love of luxury – and the need for money to fund this – also corrupts Church life. Whistleblowers are suspended or sidelined. Let us recall that the main reason why the practice of married bishops stopped was because married priests were passing on Church property to their children. Yet the same sort of corruption is now happening because of homosexual bishops, whose interest in amassing money is so that they can live in luxury. A real monk loves poverty and has no interest in villas, luxury cars, antiques, ‘beautiful objects’ etc.

The only solution is to make only real monks, those who have spent many years in a monastery first, bishops. Celibacy cannot be the main criterion to become a bishop. That just creates career opportunities for homosexuals.

Q: What do you think about how some papists have both male and female names? Is this, ironically, the root of contemporary gender confusion and widespread sexual sins (sodomy and all that follows)? Seems like seeing names like “Jose Maria” should tip everyone off that something is remarkably off, but I’ve never seen this addressed anywhere.

A: I don’t think we should read too much into this. The Latin tradition (Romanians keep it as well) is to have two names, the name you like first and then a second name, to whom the child is dedicated, especially the Virgin. For example, the Romanians will call a girl, say, Christelle, but she will be baptised Maria. I think this is purely cultural. There are lots of Romanian men called Marian, Marius etc.

But I do think that the current gender confusion comes from Catholicism/Protestantism, whose Puritanism (it is deeply anchored in both of them) suppressed sexual identity. The present satanic movement is a revolt against this.

Q: What Orthodox name would you suggest for someone called Roxana?

A: Alexandra.

Q: What is a spiritual father?

A: The term ‘spiritual father’ is vastly overused, all too often used by the psychologically disturbed and weak who want a guru. Already in nineteenth-century Russia spiritual writers said that there were no more spiritual fathers left. Its use in Western Europe today, where and when there are certainly no spiritual fathers left, indicates dependency and psychological strangeness. The term confessor is, however, worthy of spiritual maturity.

Q: What is the difference between academic theology and theology that comes from ascetic suffering?

A: An academic theologian knows but does not understand. A real theologian knows and understands.

Contemporary Life

Q: A priest told me that the greatest problem of the Church today is that we have no leadership. What do you think of that?

A: I would agree, but we must first be very careful to define the word ‘leadership’. Many think of it in a secular sense, that what we need is some bishop or patriarch who can manipulate the media, who is good at PR and soundbites. That is nonsense, that would be to fall into the same secularism as the current Roman popes. I am talking about those who have the authority of the Holy Spirit, who have spiritual presence, that is, apostolicity. And this is the problem today, the ‘shortage’ of the Holy Spirit in our leaders because real leadership is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, neither the fruit of academic and theoretical study, nor of the ability to manipulate journalists.

Q: Why are people suddenly talking about fake news nowadays?

A: Fake news is the result of the virtual, or fake, reality which is all around us. People are more and more living in a bubble world of fakery. This is the result of computer life, virtual life, the use of the imagination, which leads to spiritual emptiness. There is nothing more dangerous than living in the imagination. That is where the demons live.

Q: What do you think of the book ‘Being as Communion’ by Metr John Zizioulas.

A: This is philosophy, not the Gospel. I don’t even understand the title and I rather think the fishermen of Galilee would not have understood it either.

Q: Why do so many modern churches have such hideous architecture, made of great concrete blocks? Some of them look like gymnasiums or offices, but not like churches.

A: This is because those who built these monstrosities confused humility with bad taste. You can build beautiful buildings quite cheaply. Good taste is almost always cheaper than bad taste. You don’t need to use gold and marble (indeed perhaps those materials should be banned, though marble can be cheap if it comes from the local area). But also you don’t need to build eyesores. The whole point of Church Art (for some, of all Art) is to point to the sacred and transcendent, but using and so sanctifying human materials. Theologically, this represents the Incarnation. If the sense of the sacred is missing, then this is not a Church building, just a building of fallen humanity, without any presence of the Divine, as you say, an office or a gymnasium.

Western History

Q: What in your view is the essential difference between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy?

A: If I may rephrase your question, the difference between Christianity and the Western deformations of Christianity is this:

Christianity is the faith in Christ the Life-Giver, as related in His triumph over Death in the Gospels, but the Western deviations are essentially a form of Gothic barbarianism with a Christian veneer. For example, the first, full-blown, anti-Orthodox form of Church architecture is known as Gothic, because it looks so barbarian. In the nineteenth century this dead style was revived and called ‘Gothic revival’ or ‘Neo-Gothic’ (the London Parliament was built in that style). In that century Dostoyevsky visited Western Europe and related that it was like visiting a cemetery, where dear friends had been buried. It was in the same century that the West became obsessed with reviving the dead, with novels like Frankenstein and Dracula and the concept of blood-sucking exploitation (Marx). Today the same obsession is there with the cult of death, with ‘Goths’, Hallowe’en, zombies and the undead. Having rejected the life in Christ, the Western world is haunted by death.

Q: When did it become normal for Catholics to kneel down to pray and hold up and fold their hands in prayer?

A: The position of feudal homage of the vassal began in the first half of the twelfth century. Until then it seems to have been unknown. It represents the feudalisation of Christianity in the West, its compromise with pagan culture, in the same way as the new ‘theology’ of Scholasticism represents the paganisation of Christian theology by Aristotelianism. This movement, beginning after 1050, later triumphed in the total repaganisation of the Renaissance with its largely pornographic art, painted by homosexuals like Michelangelo and those in Venice, and Caravaggio (probably also like many others in Florence a pedophile) or sex maniacs like Titian. No Christians ever did this or do this, though Protestants (and a few marginal Orthodox) imitate them.

Q: I find the Orthodox Church attractive, but it is all so disorganised. Surely that is wrong?

A: I have faith and live by faith. Faith comes from real spiritual (if you like ‘mystical’) experience. Therefore, quite naturally, one of the things that I dislike the most is religion. Religion is a fraud, a purely manmade manipulation used by the powers that be to control the masses. We can see this quite clearly in the Pharisees at the Temple in the time of Christ. We can see it in the elitist religion of Western Europe (Catholicism/Protestantism – it is all the same thing, the two sides of the same coin), which are designed to line up, make stand up and sit down, to order and to control. The more religion is organised or institutional, the worse it is. I therefore much prefer our Orthodox ‘disorganised religion’, that is to say, our faith, which is our spiritual belief made incarnate. Beware of organised, institutional religion, it is the practice of the scribes and the Pharisees (woe to them), atheists, careerists, bureaucrats with their paperwork and protocols, of those who have lost the faith – if they ever had it.

 

The Crisis

Our bishops and clergy have to obey State authorities which forbid gatherings of people and impose ‘social distancing’. For the last four weeks, there have only been 8 churches open in the whole of the UK, all of them are Russian Orthodox: No Greek Orthodox, no Antiochian Orthodox, no Romanian Orthodox, no Anglicans, no Protestants, no Catholics.

Eight canonical churches for the whole country. We are besieged by Greeks, Romanians and others who are scandalised by what they see, rightly or wrongly, as their bishops’ apostasy in closing their churches down completely, not doing any services and refusing to give holy communion.

Our church in Colchester has been open for the last three weeks on Saturday mornings to give confession and communion to those who wish, individually or in family groups. The rest of the week, whenever there are no services behind closed doors, we travel to people’s homes and give confession and communion. We wash our hands, wear masks, use alcohol to clean the communion spoons and take all possible precautions.

Our parish covers 15,000 square kilometres now. It is exhausting.  I have visited and am visiting and will visit Essex, East London, Suffolk, Kent and Cambridgeshire. Fortunately Fr Ion helps me in Essex and Suffolk and Fr Spasimir takes care of Norfolk.

However, this is not the USSR where churches were closed down for 70 years, this is only a temporary measure, an interruption of normality to which we shall return. But is it a preparation or rehearsal for something more sinister in a possible future? If we are being pressed to see if we are hard or soft and will resist the spirit of this world or not, we can say that we are resisting.

From the very start, this virus has been very puzzling. Clearly, this was going to be a bad flu for those aged over 70, for the long-term ill, for diabetic, smokers, drinkers etc. Clearly, tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands at least would die of its consequences (no-one actually dies of it, but of its results). It might even be as bad as, or perhaps even worse than, swine flu (500,000 mainly elderly and long-term ill dead in nine months) in 2009-10.

But no-one ever closed down the economy because of the flu. So why this time? Why commit economic suicide by closing down? How have the manipulators (the media) been manipulated? Now the internet is awash with conspiracy theories as to why. Basically, each theory is even more ridiculous then the first.

Only one idea seems to make any sense, that this is for some a sort of rehearsal, planned or unplanned, for a possible future in which we will all be controlled, our every movement, our every action controlled. Maybe we are being given a preview of what will come, a possible future – unless we resist. Maybe we are being tested to see how weak – or strong – we are. Maybe we are being warned. Maybe we are seeing whether we still have salt in us or whether our salt has lost its savour. As this Holy Week begins, it is up to us to show what we are made of. All the Holy week services can be followed at:

Full Suite of Texts for Holy Week: Readers Services for Every Day of Passion Week, For Those Homebound During the Period of Covid-19 Pandemic Restrictions | Тексты для домашнего совершения на Страстной неделе

 

While the Wolves Are Running

‘The Box of Delights’, the 1935 children’s book written by the English Poet Laureate John Masefield, is subtitled ‘When the Wolves were Running’. The story concerns crooks who dress up as clergymen and try to stop the Christmas celebration of the thousandth anniversary of a mythical Tatchester Cathedral, founded in 935.

It is an apt parallel for what is happening today in Constantinople and the Ukraine. The latest news, that President Poroshenko, the Uniat?/Jew?/atheist?, who presided his own State ‘Church Council’ in Kiev, closed Kiev airport until the Phanariot Greeks, who had given a false legitimacy to his meeting, had signed Poroshenko’s papers.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing indeed. However, as Metr Hilarion of Volokalamsk, has noted: The two bishops who were uncanonically accepted into the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the 85 bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church represent percentagewise a far smaller number of traitors than the one disciple from the twelve who betrayed Christ.

 

 

Who Are We?

With a website, soon to be two decades old, called Orthodox England, we clearly believe that there is no England if it is not Orthodox England, i. e, an England returned to its historic roots (just as there is no Russia if it is not Orthodox Russia). So who are we for and who are we against?

We are:

Pro-English (and so pro-Irish, pro-Scottish and pro-Welsh) and so anti-British.

Pro-American and so anti-Washington.

Pro-Russian and so anti-Soviet.

Pro-European and so anti-EU.

Pro-German and so anti-Hitler.

Pro-French and so anti-Napoleon.

Pro-Greek and so anti-Hellenist.

Pro-Ukrainian and so anti Kiev junta.

Pro-Jewish and so anti-Zionist.

It is so simple. We are pro-humanity, because God made us all, and we are anti manmade ideological constructs.

Dr Goebbels Lives

The first signs that large parts of the Western world had fallen to the idolatry of Public Relations came perhaps in the 1980s with an ex-actor as US President and an ex-actor as CIA-friendly Pope. The gulf between image and reality became fixed. Since then the image-makers (Public Relations) have tried to taken over the political world altogether. In the UK this has resulted in a former PR consultant (and descendant of a slave-trader – though the PR consultants will not tell you that) actually becoming Prime Minister (elected by a ‘clear majority’ – 11 million votes out of an electorate of 46 million – though the PR consultants will not tell you that either).

Thus, the Prime Minister can state that a little minor window-dressing by Brussels means that the people of the UK can now ‘freely’ vote on whether we wish to stay in a ‘reformed’ EU or not. Similarly, when the Prime Minister arms one of his closest allies to the tune of £1.75 billion in just six months so that almost 10,000 Yemenis can die under a rain of British bombs dropped mainly by British aeroplanes, this is quite moral. The fact that in the last twelve months his Saudi Arabian friends have also beheaded more people than IS is also quite moral. The terrorism of others is not moral, but the terrorism of the British State is. (Ask any Catholic Irishman or Boer or Kikuyu or Maori or Aborigine descendant for confirmation – or otherwise).

The Western PR machine has truly been in overdrive in its self-declared Second Cold War against the Russian Federation. Thus, Litvinenko, the spy and traitor (and associated with multiple murders by several commentators), was killed not by his mafia connections, but for some reason by the Russian State (obviously too stupid to assassinate someone more discreetly, like the much more professional British SIS, who assassinate scores every year). The same, apparently, is true of the assassination of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who exposed the mafia, and of Boris Nemtsov, himself a mafia agent.

We are also supposed to believe that it was not NATO-trained snipers who assassinated over 80 people in Kiev in February 2014, that it was not Galician Fascists and American mercenaries who slaughtered thousands of Ukrainian civilians in the Donbass and burned dozens to death in the Trade Union House in Odessa. And that Russia did invade the Ukraine 53 times – as announced by the billionaire puppet arms-dealer Waltzman-Poroshenko, even when not a single Russian tank or member of the Russian Army could be found there? And that NATO’s aggression is not the greatest threat to European security?

And apparently the internationally-monitored referendum in the Crimea, in which the citizens democratically and overwhelmingly voted to return to their Russian homeland, was illegal. And apparently, it was not the Kiev puppet regime which crassly shot down a Boeing over Eastern Ukraine. And the fact that FIFA and the World Athletics Federation are corrupt is not the fault of wealthy Western media organizations, betting syndicates and oil-rich Arabs, but of Russians? And if Islamic State is rapidly losing in Syria, it is not because Russian bombardments of their positions have outnumbered Western ones by 100 times? And that the catastrophes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and the ensuing invasion of Europe by immigrants is not the fault of Western blundering and meddling?

Perhaps Public Relations should stick to fairy tales. At least children could believe those.