Category Archives: Western Europe

The Western Captivity is Ending: The Restoration of Orthodoxy is Gathering Strength

Introduction: Miracles

In 2007 the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Church inside Russia were miraculously reconciled before me, as I stood confessing ex-Soviet generals and others in the miraculously rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Then, as a priest from the Rue Daru Archdiocese concelebrated, I did not think that it would take that Archdiocese another twelve tumultuous years to return to its Russian Mother Church. However, this miracle too has come about – in 2019 – and its Archbishop Jean has now become Metropolitan Jean. Who cannot be moved to see his photo, with that of the distinguished Protopresbyter Anatoly Rakovich and others, at last reunited with the Russian Church? Here are joy and triumph come from the grace of God.

True, his Metropolia is tiny, with only some sixty, mainly small, parishes, largely in France, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands and England. Nevertheless, it is both historic and important, as it includes many who have worked tirelessly for the Orthodox evangelization of mainly French-speaking countries in Western Europe, translating, presenting the Faith and celebrating the Liturgy. This unity became possible only after 2000, once the New Martyrs and Confessors had been canonized in Moscow. This meant that the Church inside Russia and its representatives abroad would now progressively be unshackled from enslavement to the State and from renovationism by their veneration for the New Martyrs and Confessors, who witnessed to Christ against both.

The Past

Thus, the century from 1917 on until today of colossal Orthodox decadence is coming to an end. Marked successively by the forced introduction of the Roman Catholic (‘new’) calendar, the spread of ecumenism, the shortening of the Liturgy, the dismantling of iconostases, the installation of chairs and pews in churches, the establishment of a largely homosexual and anti-monastic episcopate who persecute married clergy and monks alike, the contempt for the canons and the services and the absurd ideology of Eastern Papism, all led by Constantinople, controlled and manipulated  by Anglo-American geopolitics, and aped by others equally weak in faith, the decadence is ending. We thank God for this grace, for it comes from Him, not from men.

We naturally welcome this historic event with a joy beyond words. We helped in the fight against the double-bladed sword of renovationism and sectarianism everywhere, despite phenomenal injustices and persecution. Only our native Eastern English stubbornness helped; others, including a ROCOR Archbishop, told me that they would have given up long ago and walked away from the disgraceful and scandalous. The fight was harsh, the combat was rude. The Centre in Moscow, held captive by Communism and betrayed by renovationist internal enemies both inside and outside Russia, was occupied, the barbarians were inside the City. There was no alternative for those faithful to Russian Orthodoxy but to join one of the two Non-Moscow émigré groups.

The first group was the Church Outside Russia, ROCOR, worldwide and embracing over 85% of the Russian emigration. In the late 1940s, its Synod moved from Europe and has since been based in New York. Sadly, from the 1960s on it was to spend a long period darkened by the accession to power in it of those promoting Cold War sectarianism, phariseeism, ritualism, nationalism and CIA-funded politicking. In 2007 the sectarians left for the only place they could go – to various old calendarist sects. ROCOR now appears to be turning into the Russian Orthodox Church of the English-speaking world. Now dominated by the new immigration, the old largely having died out, the sectarian mentality has today been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The second group was Rue Daru, geographically limited to a few countries in Western Europe and embracing less than 15% of the Russian emigration. It has always been based in Paris. Founded by anti-Tsar, revolutionary, Saint Petersburg aristocrats, liberals, intellectuals and freemasons who soon broke away from ROCOR, it was from the start contaminated by a Western captivity to Protestant, pseudo-intellectual renovationism and fanatical Russophobia. This it later spread to the ex-Uniat Metropolia in the USA, which, today called the OCA, is only now freeing itself of its captivity after over fifty years. Now dominated by the new immigration, the old largely having died out, the renovationist mentality has today been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Conclusion: The Future

Today Metropolian Jean stands with authority, the aggressive enemies of Orthodoxy like the Fraternite, Struve, Behr and others who so persecuted and mocked us, gone. The obstacles they presented fell with their deaths and despite a few neo-renovationists, 1960s rebels against their émigré parents, agents of Western spy services, those married to or paid by Roman Catholics or arrived from Moscow in the 1990s with a political axe to grind, or naïve converts, nothing now stands in the way of restoring Orthodoxy and abandoning the hopelessly old-fashioned half-Catholic/half-Protestant ‘Euro-Orthodox’ mentality. This means restoring the Russian Tradition, abandoning the Catholic calendar and other liturgical and canonical eccentricities.

The remains of émigré Russian Orthodoxy, ROCOR in Western Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain, Rue Daru in France, and Moscow everywhere, are now in the One Russian Church. The Church has been cleansed; parasitic, secularist-minded elements have fallen away. The bad old days are over. Persecution by racists and renovationists is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We have now moved a step closer to establishing a United Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Western Europe, faithful to the Tradition, venerating the local saints in the local languages, the foundation of the restored future Orthodox Church of Western Europe, our combat against the traitors and their injustices, and our dream of nearly fifty years, done. This is a miracle of God.

 

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

Introduction

Since at least the 1970s, there has been talk of founding a Local Church in various parts of Western Europe, especially in France under the Fraternite Orthodoxe, but also in Great Britain and, strangely enough, in faraway Turkey.

The Continental Fantasists

French intellectualism, expressed mainly by descendants of Russian aristocrats, freemasons and dreamers in the Rue Daru emigration of those who had betrayed the Tsar, proposed a Paris-centred (how could it be otherwise in the land of Napoleon?) Jurisdiction. Naturally, they themselves would be in power. Their models were political – the deeply-troubled OCA and the highly controversial parishes in Finland under Constantinople. Lost in clouds of philosophy, they expressed words and not deeds and forgot that such a Jurisdiction would need the canonical support of at least one Patriarchate, financial backing from the grassroots and also an infrastructure in the form of a property network of monasteries and parishes.

Of course, it never had any of these and today has no candidates even to be its next bishop after the present 75-year old ex-Catholic Archbishop Jean. Neither the Patriarchate of Constantinople nor anyone else was ever going to support autocephaly for such a tiny and inward-looking group. Financial backing to any appreciable extent was quite absent. And one Rue Daru parish or family after another returned to the Russian Church, went bankrupt, fell into disrepair or simply closed down, forcing the ever smaller group to rely on rented premises. The whole arrogant project, not passed on to the following generation, isolated from the Orthodox mainstream and marred by aggressive new calendarism and ecumenism which mocked the values of faithful Orthodox, seemed more like just another irrelevant sub-department of the Vatican’s Uniat fantasy. Perhaps it was.

The Anglican Fantasists

So much for the navel-gazing in Continental Western Europe. In Great Britain, actually England, insularist Anglican academic Establishmentism proposed a ‘British Orthodox Church’. Made up largely of elderly upper middle-class people, retired vicars and academics, with direct or indirect links to the Rue Daru elite, its philosophy was equally unreal. Born from the tiny elite of the British Establishment, it took no note at all of the fact that the oppressive Establishment is alien to most people who live in the British Isles, and even more in the inherent geographical part of the Isles, in Ireland. After all, the Establishment is originally a blood-soaked import from the barbaric Norman elite in 1066. This compromised itself successively in the oppression of the English, the Welsh, the Irish and the Scots, and then the rest of the world, in slave-trading and exploitative imperialist genocides. In a word, there is no such thing as Britain. Like ‘the Ukraine’, it is a purely political construct and therefore there can never be any such thing as ‘British Orthodoxy’.

Curiously for academics so closely linked to the failed Rue Daru fantasy, these fantasists never noticed that the number of active Orthodox in the British Isles and Ireland is so small that to build a Local Church here is fantasy. And without canonical backing from a Patriarchate, grassroots financial support from large numbers and property infrastructure, the whole project is impossible. This is why no Local Church has ever contemplated founding an Autocephalous Church in the British Isles. The failure was encapsulated in the city of dreaming spires (and lost causes), Oxford. Here the professorial fantasy of combining different groups of Orthodox, new calendar, old calendar, in a modernist chapel, part-financed by Anglicans, with little to do with ordinary people, came to nothing. I said so in 1975, whereupon the fantasist priest (who was later defrocked) told me that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’. Later a dozen or so disgruntled and mainly pensioned-off Anglican vicars, ordained overnight and with little concept of the reality of Orthodoxy and how to do the services, sealed the failure. The fantasy was not passed on to the following generation. Time to move on.

The Turkish Fantasists

With the vast majority of Orthodox in the Russian Church paralysed for most of the twentieth century, but reviving dangerously, in their view, since the official fall of atheism in Moscow in 1991, in Turkey the Greek racist Phanariots panicked. So these pro-LGBT gerontocrats and Young Turks further extended and developed the use of the code-word for Greek Imperialism, ‘Pan-Orthodox’. How could these fantasists justify the universal rule of a non-universal Empire which in any case had been wiped off the face of the earth five and a half centuries before? They spent a large amount of US dollars on a pseudo-Council in Crete and then set about shamelessly invading the canonical territories of other Local Churches, under US State Department orders. (This was instead of sending out missions to the 7.3 billion of the Non-Orthodox world; no doubt they can wait another millennium to hear the Gospel).

However, today Phanariot corruption by embezzlement, bribery and blackmail, has been displayed before the whole world. Their megalomaniac and navel-gazing talking shops, ‘Pan-Orthodox’ Episcopal Assemblies, agreed to by Russian naivety, are now thankfully dead. Phyletist (the Greek word for racist) Greek grandstanding is dead with it. The Papist project of making the whole world into Greek-controlled ‘autonomous’ parts of the absurdly-named, Turkish ‘Oecumenical Patriarchate’ has become the laughing-stock of the whole still Orthodox world. The days of treachery, cowardice and deceit, to use the concise and precise formula of the martyred Tsar Nicholas II, are over. Another fantasy has bitten the dust. So where do we go from here?

Conclusion

One thing is clear: no Local Orthodox Church of Western Europe will ever be built on fantasies. Three such fantasies have been tried and all failed miserably. No more fantasies, just reality. Since the Phanariot project is now well and truly in the dustbin of history, we have to look at the other six Local Churches present in Western Europe. Of these six remaining Orthodox groups in Western Europe, five, the Romanian, Antiochian and Serbian, as well as the tiny Bulgarian and the newly-appeared Georgian, are not going to do anything to promote a Local Church. This is because they are all mononational and have only one interest: preserving their own national identity and national flags. Their outreach, if it exists at all, is virtually only to their own nationality.

Reluctantly, despite the incredible incompetence, frustrating irresponsibility, paranoid centralization, personality cult narcissism, contempt for local people, waste of human resources  and alcoholism, there is therefore only one alternative. This, like it or not, is ‘the only show in town’, the Russian Church. Under two administrations, the largest one centred in Moscow thanks to its presence in Italy, Germany, France, Iberia and Scandinavia, this is now setting up an Exarchate, with a group of bishops and a network of parishes, some newly-built. It is early days yet, but this is the only hope – and, actually, long has been. May the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe at last be empowered to take the multinational responsibility for Orthodoxy which it has always so sadly refused and shown itself incapable of.

 

The Russian Orthodox Missionary Revolution Begins

Outside the Russian Church, the twelve universally-recognized but small Local Orthodox Churches (in order of size: Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Antioch, Alexandria, Poland, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Albania and Jerusalem) look after only 25% of all Orthodox, on average 2% each. This means small territories and narrow ethnic groups. The two exceptions are the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which looks after the vast African Continent, and the Patriarchate of Antioch, which looks after the Middle Eastern Arab world outside Africa as far as the Emirates and Iraq as well as Arabs and others in the Diasporas. But what of the rest of the world which have never been Orthodox? Who cares for this? Certainly not these twelve small and generally rather nationalistic Local Churches

Neither is it the former Patriarchate of Constantinople. The collapse of that tiny Patriarchate into the papist and phyletist heresies and its resulting falling away from communion with the Russian Orthodox Church is tragic. All we can do is to wait patiently for its repentance. Just as we have been waiting for the repentance of Rome for a thousand years, so we shall wait for Constantinople’s repentance too. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Constantinople’s recent fall from the Church and so self-elimination has led very swiftly to the Russian Church’s decision to set up a mission and build a new church in long-ignored Turkey and establish two new missionary Exarchates.

One of these is for Western Europe, though at present it covers only Andorra, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, France and Switzerland. The second is for South-East Asia (Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand). Clearly, these are the foundations for new Local Churches. Indeed, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) has described their long-awaited establishment as missionary.

http://ruskline.ru/news_rl/2018/12/29/nasha_zadacha_missionerskaya_prosvetitelskaya/

Thus, if we look at the world scene today, we can see that for the first time in history, most of the world is now catered for in terms of Orthodox missions. There is the tricontinental Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, based in New York, which fundamentally looks after North America, South America and Oceania. Indeed, in the last twelve years, it will have consecrated six American bishops and one Australian bishop. As for Eurasia outside the territories of the twelve Local Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church caters for the multinational Russian Federation, China (naturally, including Taiwan), Japan and now also South-East Asia and Western Europe through its two Exarchates.

This means that in reality the only territories of the world which are not catered for officially are Iran and South Asia (Afghanistan, BangladeshBhutanIndia, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka), in which countries conditions are such that missionary work is very difficult, even sometimes dangerous. However, South Asia contains one quarter of the world’s population. Perhaps one day we shall see two more Exarchates, one for Iran and one for South Asia.

We have come a long way from the anti-missionary bishops of the past who so persecuted us. We well remember Archbishop George (Wagner) of the Paris Archdiocese, who forbade the use of any language in services except Church Slavonic. Indeed, he considered that only three languages should be used liturgically – Greek, Latin and Slavonic. (He considered that the Romanian Church should return to using Church Slavonic).

He and another bishop of his background also unapologetically forbade the veneration of the local saints of Western Europe. Both bishops wrecked their dioceses, with a great many clergy and people fleeing their tyrannies, indeed as far as the USA and Canada. ‘I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord, so did we sing in those dark days of the dark past. Their dioceses have still not recovered and, it seems, probably never will. The vital missionary forces left and their dioceses were abandoned to the ghetto and spiritual death, while others looked elsewhere for spiritual life and grew strong and numerous.

With these two new Exarchates in Western Europe and South-East Asia, which will only grow, the Russian Orthodox missionary revolution of East and West has begun in earnest.

 

Another Step Towards the Future Metropolia of Western Europe

The Russian Orthodox Church has at last formed two new Exarchates, of Western Europe and South-East Asia. The latter, headed by Archbishop Sergei, is centred in Singapore and covers the territories of eleven countries: Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand.

The new Exarchate of Korsun and Western Europe is centred in Paris. It includes the territories of thirteen countries: Andorra, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy (presumably including San Marino), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, France and Switzerland. It thus includes five dioceses (France, Iberia, Benelux, Italy and the British Isles and Ireland). The head is to be the present Bishop John of Bogorodsk, who has spent several years in the USA, currently looks after the Russian Orthodox parishes in Italy and whose patron saint is St John of Shanghai and Western Europe.

Interestingly, the Exarchate does not include the eight countries of the two dioceses of Germany and Austria-Hungary and a possible future diocese of Scandinavia/the Nordic Countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland). Possibly this is for diplomatic reasons relating to the past and these countries will be added to the Exarchate in due course, possibly in the future an Exarchate of Central Europe and Scandinavia is to be formed.

Clearly, this Exarchate is another step towards the long-awaited Metropolia and then future Autonomous Local Church of Western Europe, which only the Patriarchate of Moscow has had the wish and initiative to form. It follows the collapse of the Church of Constantinople and its fall into schism. If the Exarchate is to be successful, it will need to avoid the four all too well-known besetting sins of the various Russian Orthodox jurisdictions in Western Europe,  as we have experienced them over the past five decades, clearly demonstrating:

Faithfulness to the Russian Orthodox Faith, without falling into extremism and making compromises either of the ecumenist/modernist or the old calendarist sort.

The refusal to ask candidates for the priesthood to compromise themselves morally or spiritually.

The building of trust and the refusal to attack, bully, insult and persecute zealous priests and the faithful, using favouritism and injustice.

The missionary impulse to accept local people, use local languages in the liturgy and venerate the local saints, avoiding centralization to distant countries and interests and rejecting any racist attempts to form an inward-looking ethnic ghetto.

 

 

The Exarchate of Western Europe

The Russian Orthodox Church has just announced in Article 105 of its Winter Synod that it is forming an Exarchate of Korsun and Western Europe, centred in Paris. This includes the territories of thirteen countries: Andorra, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, France and Switzerland. The head is to be the present Bishop John of Bogorodsk, who currently looks after the Russian Orthodox parishes in Italy. Bishop John (Roshin), born in 1974, has as his patron-saint St John of Shanghai and is fluent in English, having spent several years in the United States. Also a new diocese is to be formed for Spain and Portugal, to be headed by Bishop Nestor, who is at present responsible for France, Spain and Portugal. His title will be ‘of Madrid and Lisbon’.

Another Step Towards a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe

On Thursday 20 September, the six bishops of the ROCOR Synod meeting in London established the Diocese of Richmond and Western Europe. This combines the former Diocese of Richmond and Great Britain and Geneva and Western Europe. The ruling bishop is Bishop Irenei (Steenberg), former Professor of Theology at the University of Leeds and venerator of St Irenei of Lyon, whose name he bears.

Temptation and Opportunity

The recent temptation experienced by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, under intense financial and political pressure from Washington, to set up schismatic Churches under its authority in the Ukraine and (North) Macedonia, has already been publicly condemned by the Churches of Russia, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia. The Churches of Antioch and Czechoslovakia will no doubt agree with them, tired of past meddling from Constantinople. Thus, some 85% of the Church has stood united against uncanonical political interference.

True, the Church of Greece, also tired of past interference from Constantinople, has stood on the fence, as no doubt will the four other tiny, Greek-controlled Churches (Alexandria, Cyprus, Albania and Jerusalem, with scarcely 2 million faithful between them). The Romanian decision, like other decisions there, may perhaps be taken by the US ambassador in Bucharest. The headline, ‘Constantinople falls into schism and is isolated’ is very unlikely, for we are all hoping and praying that this temptation will be resisted by those in the Phanar.

Against this disturbing background, the foundation by the Russian Orthodox Church of an Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe, on hold for fifteen (and more) long years, is moving forwards despite delays. A great step forward was taken last December, when new bishops were appointed in Moscow for Russian Orthodox Dioceses in Western Europe, making the Metropolia inevitable. Only details such as ROCOR participation and timing remain to be resolved. 2018 is thus becoming another turning-point in the formation of this Metropolia.

Western Europe is after all simply the westernmost tip of Northern Eurasia, 90% of which has long been the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, so that a Russian Orthodox Metropolia here is just a natural extension of this territory. It is rather like the Belarusian Exarchate, with its Metropolitan, eleven dioceses, four monasteries, seminary and five million faithful. With as many faithful, eight dioceses, monasteries and a seminary, Western Europe too will have its own Metropolitan, being the foundation of a new Local Church.

This is also like the Russian-founded Churches in Poland and in the Czech Lands and Slovakia. It may have eight dioceses: Italy and Malta; Spain, Portugal and their islands; France, southern Belgium and western Switzerland; the British Isles and Ireland; Scandinavia; Germany and German Switzerland; Dutch-speaking Benelux; Austria-Hungary. Such a Church will be a centre of resistance amidst anti-Christian and secularist Western Europe. It will be larger than the Western EU core, as it includes Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Brexit Britian.

After all, Brexit was never an objection to Europe, but only to the political construct of the European Union. A Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe is an answer to those who want some sort of ‘Euro-Orthodoxy’ or ‘Brussels Orthodoxy’, a salt that has lost its savour, an Orthodoxy mingled with secularism, new calendarist, masonic, liberal and modernist. For this is proposed by those who want to see in the Church of God female clergy and homosexual marriage! But there is no communion between Christ and Belial, God and Mammon.

It is appropriate to consider the foundation of the Metropolia in this centenary of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II. It was he who built 17 churches in Western Europe, hoping to establish a church in every Western capital, including London, for which plans had been drawn up. Speaking fluent English, French, German and Danish and married to an English-educated, Hessian grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, who fully converted to the Orthodox Faith, he well understood the need for a Russian Orthodox Church of Western Europe. As do we.

 

Towards a Local Church of Western Europe

A Metropolia of Western Europe

It was in April 1988 that I first proposed in French a paper on a Metropolia of Western Europe, composed of six dioceses in six different linguistic and cultural areas (cross-border) which I called, Gallia, Germania, Iberia, Italia, Scandinavia and the Isles. (See, ‘A Vision for the Orthodox Churches of Western Europe’, published in Orthodox England, Vol 4, No 1, September 2001). My thought then was that this could become the foundation of a restored Local Church of Western Europe. This was a historic suggestion, as for well over 900 years this had ceased to exist.

Thirty Years Ago

The idea was dismissed in Paris, the historic centre of the Russian emigration in Western Europe, and the forward-looking project proved to be impossible then. There were only three groups who could realistically have contributed something towards it: the Rue Daru or Paris Exarchate group (RD); the Moscow Patriarchate Exarchate (MP) and the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Of these three, the old Rue Daru had tied itself up in modernist knots (nothing can be built on compromises) and in any case under US-run Constantinople it was not politically free to do anything of the sort.

As for the old MP, it was tiny because it was so distrusted by all. Run in fact by part of the Soviet Communist Party, it too was not politically free and moreover it had dangerously renovationist figures in it. As for the old ROCOR, it was small, disorganized, elderly and above all, inward-looking, as it still defined itself as being a group opposed to the atheist regime inside Russia, rather than as a key part of a future Local Church. It was living in reference to the past, not the future. The situation was to alter radically only after the year 2000, for those with the vision to see ahead.

Fifteen Years Ago

After the Moscow Council of August 2000, with a new archbishop after 1993, the Rue Daru group fell into conversations with the by then largely politically free MP, which was still very small in Western Europe. It was virtually agreed that RD would at last return to the jurisdiction of the MP and become an autonomous Metropolia within it, as a foundation for a future Local Church. However, Archbishop Serge (Konovalov) of the Rue Daru jurisdiction was to die tragically on 22 January 2003 and the next archbishop, Gabriel (De Vylder), was a furious Russophobe and strongly modernistic.

Indeed, since then, having missed the boat and set on a suicidal path, the Rue Daru group has largely fallen into irrelevance, its vital forces having quit it for one part or the other of the Russian Orthodox Church. Looking back, there was Providence here, since Archbishop Serge’s hopes would in any case have been dashed by the dominant wing of the Exarchate, represented by his successor. Today Rue Daru represents only 60 scattered parishes and communities, most of them very small. Most of its living parishes are in fact Moldovan and Romanian, with priests loaned by the MP.

The MP Needs a Partner

Why did the MP enter into such negotiations with Rue Daru? Simply because alone it could do nothing. Thus, even though the once few MP parishes of 30 years ago today number perhaps 250 in Western Europe with six bishops, dwarving the one-bishop Rue Daru group (ROCOR has about 100 parishes in Western Europe with three bishops), it is essentially an ethnic group. It is composed of recent immigrants, often  not understanding local languages and culture. The MP needs those who have this understanding. Let us compare as examples the MP and ROCOR dioceses in the Isles.

Although on paper the MP diocese here is much bigger, in reality most of its communities are tiny (less than ten!), often with only a few services a year, without property and without a regular priest. It is a paper empire, all its money expended on its ex-Anglican church in London. ROCOR probably actually has almost as many people, more property, is better established and tends to attract people who are better-established in these Isles. Often, those immigrants who have been here for more than ten years tend to drift across to ROCOR, their children more integrated into society.

Today

The old, inward-looking and too often politicized ROCOR, which largely died out in the 1980s and 1990s, could not have been a partner for the ultimate aim of building a new Local Church: however, the new ROCOR, born after the reconciliation with the MP in 2007, can be such a partner. The MP of the early 2000s, still with an old-fashioned, Sovietized cast of mind, could not see this and sought the wrong partner, one compromised in modernism. Today it needs a skeleton, a structure, solid Russian Orthodox people with local knowledge: it is only ROCOR that can provide this.

Towards a Local Church of Western Europe

Introduction: Local Churches

Over the years there has been much talk of creating Local Metropolias in the Orthodox Diaspora, which could with time become new Local Churches, uniting all Orthodox on their territory. Yet none has ever appeared. This is not only the case in North America, where there was once a (Carpatho-Russian) Metropolia, which then became the minority and for many uncanonical, but largely English-speaking ‘OCA’ (Orthodox Church in America), but it is also true of Western Europe. None of the talk of creating a new Local Church in any part of the Orthodox Diaspora has been fruitful, all the ideas have remained pipe-dreams. Why?

Ethnic projects

First of all, there have frequently been what may be called ‘ethnic projects’. This is the idea of granting autonomy, or even autocephaly, to an Archdiocese or Metropolia in a territory of the Diaspora. This simply amounts to treating the territory as an extension of another and foreign country. Notably, this means creating a Church in a place, rather than a Church of a place.

For example, the old translation of ROCOR (the Church Outside Russia) was ROCA (the Church Abroad). This is an absurd translation – unless what we mean is a temporary extension of a Church, which has been set up for immigrants who will sooner or later return to ‘the old country’ and their Church will then disappear. Those born locally who are part of ROCOR, whatever their origins, are not abroad. Officially, this translation was dropped in the 1970s – and yet is still frequently heard and used! Other national groups have done no better, everywhere it has been the same problem.

Only a Metropolia of a certain territory, and not in it, is the beginning of a Local Church, as by definition it uses mainly the local language or languages, since, in other words, it has integrated and cannot be transplanted elsewhere. If its members want to return somewhere else, always harping after a childhood home, then they will never become local – they will have no roots there. Thus, today, there are Russians, Romanians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks etc in Western Europe who have no intention of staying here, of becoming of Western Europe. They can never form a Local Metropolia, let alone a new Local Church. They are certainly Orthodox, but they are definitely not Local.

Local Projects

On the other hand, there have also frequently been what may be called ‘local projects’. These have always been marked by what can be called ‘autocephalism’ or ‘autocephalitis’. This is the desire to assimilate the local culture, whether it be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or whatever. In any words, they gain local-ness, but lose the Faith – they are no longer Orthodox.

For example, we have the case of Finland, where many parishes that I have seen appear not to be sure whether they are Lutheran or Orthodox. They say: use only the local language (a dogma more important to them than the Holy Trinity), take out the iconostasis, do away with fasting and confession (and any other ascetic discipline) and give communion to all. Be local, be like the others – conform. This often happens when the locally-born second generation comes to power. Fleeing their parents’ ghetto, they suffer from an inferiority complex. But in desiring the local, they lose the Faith.

Thus, they end up with something local, only it is not Orthodox. I remember forty years ago hearing a recording of an OCA Liturgy. It was not just American, it was super-American; at moments it seemed like listening to a cowboy film. Clearly, this had been done deliberately by people who were second-generation Americans, who wanted to be more American than Americans. Russian intellectuals and aristocrats in France did the same, making Orthodoxy into a bourgeois French philosophy. This was also the case in the old Sourozh project, which was Parisian pretending to be Russian. Phyletist to the core, they threw out anyone who was not ex-Anglican or was Russian-speaking.

Conclusion: Orthodoxy and Integration, Not Heterodoxy and Assimilation

In the real world, Local Churches start by learning Orthodoxy and then become Local. They have to keep the Orthodox Tradition, but also have to be local, inculturated, integrated, using the local language and not ‘translationese’. All must keep faith with the One Orthodox Tradition, without compromise, without assimilation, yet all must prove themselves to be Local, that is, as Churches that cannot be transferred elsewhere. Thus, all must start with the maximum, never the minimum, that is, we start with monasticism, whether it is Sts Cyril and Methodius among the Slavs, St Herman in Alaska or St Nicholas in Japan.

 

The 11th Century Scramble for Europe and 21st Century Globalization

Eight centuries before the 19th century European ‘scramble for Africa’ (the rush with which Western European elites invaded and conquered Africa for purposes of exploitation), there took place the scramble for Europe, the same process of legalized plunder. This happened between 1050 and 1250, the year 1050 being an endpoint in a 300-year long process of degeneration and so a launch-pad for what had been unknown before in the vast part of Europe – feudalism. The process was led by the Franks, a people whose name means ‘the free’, for all whom they encountered became their slaves. From 1050 on the Franks created a new institutional and cultural uniformity in the first ‘European Union’.

This process can therefore be called ’the Frankization of Europe’. It was a process that had begun in the Carolingian heartland of what is now western Germany and north-eastern France. From here in the 11th century, this spread southwards to Italy and northwards to Scandinavia, in 1066 it was carried by its Norman shock-troops westwards to England and later to Wales, Scotland and Ireland, then southwards to Spain and later carried by Teutonic shock troops eastwards to the Slav Lands and Hungary. By the end of the 11th century the process had reached beyond Europe to the Holy Land. This was the beginning of what is now called ‘globalization’, which merely means the scramble for the world.

Thus, the ordinary people of Europe were the first victims, and not the bearers, of Frankish expansion, trampled down beneath the alien castle-building cavalry elite. The Crusades are the best example of this papally-orchestrated war of conquest, fought in the name of God and profit, expanding Frankish religion and trade. This is also what is happening today, the expansion of the Frankish/Western religion of political correctness (including sodomy) and its asset-stripping business. Vigour, boldness, brutality and greed, this was what made up the Faustian brew of the Frankish conqueror, just as it does today. By the late Middle Ages 80% of Europe’s rulers were Franks; today they belong to the ‘Davos elite’.

In the late 11th century the Welsh bishop, Rhygyfarch (1057-1099), witnessed to the ‘gratuitously cruel’ Norman conquest of south Wales and wrote his lament: ‘The people and the priests are despised by the words, hearts and deeds of the Frenchmen. They burden us with taxes and consume our possessions. One of them, however lowly he may be, makes a hundred natives tremble with his command and terrifies them with his look. Alas, our fall, alas our deep sorrow’. Similarly, but this time in support of conquest and not lamenting it, in the 1090s the Frankish monk and historian Guibert of Nogent wrote of the Crusades that ‘God has instituted holy war’. He could have written ‘jihad’.

So began the myth of the ‘Free World’, which means the world enslaved by the Franks. So was born the myth of freedom and democracy, that is, of the anti-social individualism (narcissistic selfishness) of modern times. It can be heard in the imperialist anthem ‘Rule Britannia’, which proclaims that upper-class Britons will ‘never, never, never be slaves’, yet theirs was an empire founded on slavery, or at best, wage-slavery. So was born the chosen people myth, of Aryans, Nazis and, in the USA, of WASPS and ‘American exceptionalism’. BBC Establishment propaganda still insists on ‘the international community’ – the same myth of ‘the West is best’ and ‘the West against the rest’, which is today called the G7 and the New World Order.

However, today, after a thousand years of the sanctification of warfare, of the Western delusion of self-justification, of the militarization and monetarization of society, of institutionalized Western terrorism (‘shock and awe’), the myth is coming to an end. God is not on the side of Western, or anyone else’s, greed and terrorism. The lies of a thousand years have their consequences and will have to be paid for. It is called retribution. The vassal states of American feudalism, from Western Europe to Japan, from South Korea to New Zealand will not forever be held in subjugation by their lords. And this is the future history of the twenty-first century, the terrible yet redeeming story of which is now being written.