The free voice of the Orthodox Church can be heard in a number of places today.
The Present Situation of the Orthodox Church in ‘Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition’, July 1989
Unlike some, we have over the last forty years of writing always defended the True or Old West and its culture, while always telling the truth about the False or New West. According to this balanced Orthodox view of the world, the True West is that which was and is in communion with, and was and is an integral part of, the Church of God, the whole Orthodox world. The True West is 10,000 glorified saints, listed on this website. They include apostles and martyrs, of Rome, of Lyon, of Agaunum, of Merida and many other holy places, and Church Fathers, St Irenaeus of Lyon, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Ambrose of Milan, St Vincent of Lerins, St John Cassian, and a multitude of confessors and monastics who brought the Light of Christ to the spiritual deserts of the pagan Latin and Germanic world and marked them for all ages with their names.
The True West and the False West
The True West lasted for more or less the first millennium, before the powerbrokers who ruled over this Western corner of Europe, then containing a small minority of the total Christian population, cut it off from communion with the Church. This was in order to launch themselves into their great Western nationalist project consisting of false ideologies, Catholic-ism, Protestant-ism and now Secular-ism. We have had no illusions about the inherently secular nature of this False and New West, that of the secular second millennium and secularist third millennium.
Of course, there are those who do not belong to Christian culture, who attack the West out of insecurity, undiscerningly demonising it. They put their own culture and ethnicity above the Western, failing to discern between the True West and the False West. Islam is in particular guilty of this, but so sometimes is Hinduism, the former especially expressing even violence and fanaticism. Occasionally even some Greek Orthodox take part in this, not only old calendarists and sectarians, but also, for example the philosopher Yannaras. Possibly out of cultural shock and an inferiority complex, these are inclined to condemn even the True West.
All these groups fail to understand the many Western people who themselves have understood quite clearly the failures of the secular West of the second millennium, all the more so in its contemporary secularist form of the third millennium. Having seen the foreign groups which attack the West in a demonising and undiscerning way, it is therefore of interest to see who ignores the True West, or even attacks it, and so defends the False West. There are three groups involved in this operation, but by no means all of their members are actually Western people, for self-interest is involved here. Which then are these three groups?
1. The Self-Established
The first group which defends the False West is composed of those who have voluntarily allied themselves and so compromised themselves with Western Establishments. We can take as an example Anglicans (or ex-Anglicans who still think as Anglicans). They belong to a State-Church, a ruling, erastian ideology. When the State follows a secularist ideology, so do they. As one cynic put it a decade or so ago, ‘In 1900 the Church of England was for fox-hunting and against buggery, in 2000 it is against fox-hunting and for buggery’. Or to take other examples, today the Church of England is for female clergy and homosexual unions and 40% of its clergy, so it is said, do not even believe in the Holy Trinity.
Why is all this? Because the State decrees so and therefore the Church of England swims with the State’s tide. This is why it is ecumenical, for ecumenist syncretism is part of the politically correct ideology of the present State. It is true that there are small and heroic groups of actual believers in the Church of England. However, generally these end up leaving it for variants of the older Western ideology, becoming Methodists at one extreme or Roman Catholics at the other. On the other hand, the self-established are not interested in the authentic Church, refusing even to adopt Her calendar.
2. The Self-Interested
The second group, linked to the first, of those who defend the False West is composed of those who are financed or propped up by Western Establishments on condition that they ape the Western way. Thus, we can think of individuals over the last nearly hundred years in the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch, the ‘Greek Church’, so beloved of conformist Anglicans. A sure sign of their Western Establishment backing is the fact that they are willing to adopt the Western calendar and support ecumenism. Large sums of money are associated with these changes which they attempt to foist on their peoples.
The politically unprincipled will always change for the sake of lucre and power. In only the last few years, months and days we have seen individuals fall in the Churches of the Serbs, of the Czechs and Slovaks and of the Bulgarians, for exactly the same reasons. Political and financial backing attract the spineless ‘diplomat’. ‘Follow the money’. A sure way of identifying who these ‘diplomats’ are, is to question their attitude towards the Council of Florence and St Mark of Ephesus. You will not find an icon of this great and courageous saint among them.
3. The Self-Deluded
The third group, often linked to the first or the second, are the naïve. Sometimes they are outside the Church, sometimes just inside, but on the convert fringes. They are often newly converted, or in any case they have never been grounded in the realities of the Faith. Their lack of awareness and their lack of knowledge of the facts of history mean that they are still connected with the heterodox world. Unable or unwilling to integrate, they suffer from self-delusion. This is not necessarily because they have never lived outside the Western world, it is rather because they have never lived outside the Western Establishment world.
They do not yet understand the difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy. They demand censorship of the Orthodox Truth (a good case is the late French Uniat philosopher Olivier Clement who even demanded in ‘Le Monde’ that Patriarch Pavle of Serbia not canonise the new Serbian Saints so as not to offend the Vatican, whose agents had massacred them!). The self-deluded have not yet integrated Orthodox culture, the Orthodox civilizational ethos, they have not had time. They too are very prone to ecumenism. They do not want zeal, only diplomacy. They should ask for the prayers of St Gregory Palamas to enlighten them.
Our task is to return the history of the West to its proper course and order. This means observing the proper balance between the True West and the False West and avoiding extremes. Unfortunately, we have seen time and again how those who do not defend the True West defend the False West. If we do not have a realistic view of the Heterodox West, then we will have a false view of the Orthodox West and vice versa. And a false view of present reality is also a false view of the future that awaits us, with its sorrows and its joys. Let us recall that the Enemy is parasitic; it only uses the West as a base and hates the West as it hates all of humanity, all of God’s Creation. The Lover of Mankind, however, loves all and his grace shines on the righteous and the unrighteous alike; the only question is whether all see it.