The most basic trait in the identity of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) is faithfulness to our inherited Tradition. This need for faithfulness to the Tradition is vital precisely because we are outside Russia, where we continually have to ‘guard the deposit’ from the threat of the alien influences which are all around us. Only in this way can we witness to the integrity of our Russian Orthodox Faith and Civilization. Such a need for spiritual purity automatically also entails our independence from local politics. Our need for independence is all the greater precisely because of our international nature, which would be undermined by local nationalist influences. Indeed, on no fewer than three occasions in our ninety-year history our political independence has been under serious threat from local nationalism: firstly, from Bolshevik atheism, secondly from Hitler’s Fascism, and thirdly from the Russophobic politics of the American Cold War.
On the first occasion we were asked to swear loyalty to a militant atheist State which held captive the Church inside Russia and was most cruelly martyring Her. We refused, using the independence granted us by the marvellous foresight of the holy Patriarch Tikhon. On the second occasion the German Fascists wanted us to take part in a war which was in fact against the Slav Motherland. With the exceptions of a few who were deluded by the temptation of Nazi propaganda into thinking that Bolshevik atheism could be defeated by joining with Nazi atheism, we refused. On the third occasion, we were asked to declare ourselves a sect and the Church inside Russia without grace! With the exception of a few politicized by CIA money or deluded by sectarian pride, we again refused. Each time the continued existence of ROCOR as an integral part of the Russian Orthodox world was under threat, but each time we survived, although with the losses of small, isolationist groups.
Thus, exactly ten years ago, the greatest task of the Fourth All-Diaspora Council of the Church in San Francisco was in fact to ensure our independence from local Western politics, from ‘Western values’. At that time, as still today, these were in fact pro-secularist and anti-Christian beneath anti-atheist camouflage. For eighty long years we had undergone an enforced separation from the Patriarchate in Moscow, for long held captive by atheists. We understood that it had become free again through the long-awaited canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors and the rejection of ecumenist and erastian compromises. At that point our independence and survival meant precisely no longer living in separation from it, but returning to canonical communion, as Patriarch Tikhon would have wanted. It is therefore part of our essential identity to ensure that the Patriarchate continues to be free, to protect the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox world from threats to its integrity.
Although the threat from State atheism is long gone inside Russia, today the Patriarchate faces a new threat from outside Russia. This is the threat precisely from where we are, from the new atheism of ‘Western values’ infiltrating into Russia. Last year it became known that one person who had worked for the Patriarchate’s sometimes controversial Foreign Affairs Department in Moscow, a certain Evgeny Petrin, was a CIA agent. Now there is a rumour that at least one ecumenist who works there may have long ago been recruited by spy services abroad and then passed on to CIA handlers. If this rumour is true, and it is only a rumour for the moment, though he does have contacts with the US ambassador, then there could have been very serious leaks of information. Whether Western agents and traitors in Moscow are acting through foolish naivety, or utter stupidity, or because they are anti-Orthodox, pro-Western liberals and modernists, is here irrelevant. The result is the same – treason.
It is the duty of all Russian Orthodox, and all the more so of us Russian Orthodox outside Russia, to protect our Patriarchate, whose freedom has been fought for with such great sacrifices, from those who may try to infiltrate ‘Western values’ into the Church. As time has passed and the Old West has died out, so has its half-Christianity; it is precisely the New West and its atheistic values that are flagrantly anti-Christian. There is little grey now, as before, and much more black and white, plainly wrong and plainly right. The so-called ‘Western values’, the values of the New West, are marked by the fingerprints of Satan, as was made plain two years ago when they were introduced into the Ukraine by the Western-installed, genocidal junta in Kiev. One of its first acts was to recognize the ‘Church of Satan’, then to attack the canonical Church and intimidate and martyr its clergy, and it is now set on promoting perversions. Every day they hear Satan’s laughter.
At a time when some are trying to infiltrate ‘Western values’ onto the agenda at the so-called All-Orthodox Council in Crete in June, we must tread carefully. Ever since the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople, Maximos V, was replaced by the CIA in 1948, threatened with death and flown to exile in Switzerland on President Truman’s personal aeroplane, the Patriarchs of Constantinople, who are organizing that Council, have all been carefully vetted by the US State Department with its ‘Western values’. We who live in the West, manning the outposts and oases of the Russian Orthodox world in the Western spiritual desert, know exactly the ravages of the slavery of ‘Western values’, which are the very opposite of Christian values. That is why we stand firmly against them, for, together with our free Patriarchate, we stand for Christ. If ecumenists and liberals try to infiltrate the Church, we shall fight to the last against them to protect the freedom of our Patriarchate! We fear not, for Christ is Risen!