I may live another twenty or thirty years, but equally my time on earth may come to an end tomorrow, next week, in a month’s time, or next year. No-one knows, but I have no illusions. Now that I am coming to an end, it is fitting to set down the three tasks of my destiny which have filled my unworthily lived days. It is my belief that others will more effectively continue these tasks after me, just as many others worked on them both before me and at the same time. And although, not always in positions of power, they worked far more efficiently and with far greater success than me, it has often felt as though I were totally abandoned in these tasks. I never chose them – they fell to my lot despite my clear manifold human weaknesses and equally clear unsuitability and unwillingness to fulfil them.
With the Saints
My first task has been the modest contribution to spreading the veneration of the Saints of Western Europe in the Church. This meant fixing them in locally-issued calendars, praying and writing their lives and compiling, collecting and celebrating their services and icons. This was a bitter battle and cost me enormously, for resistance from all sides without exception was very harsh. Isolation was my lot. There were – and are – so many who resist the saints. Altogether, above all by the reposed Monk Joseph (Lambertson) whom I much encouraged, services were compiled to nearly one hundred saints or groups of saints of Western Europe who did not yet have one. Victory came slowly and over forty years later several such saints were included in the official Russian Orthodox calendar, with more to follow.
My second task has been to help contribute to the restoration of the unity of the two parts of the Russian Church and to call others outside it, for example those who had fallen away in Paris, to unity with it. My part was very, very minor, of course, but it must have helped, for people told me it had. Having visited the Soviet Union twice in the 70s and seen the lamentable state of much of the Patriarchate in England and France, I could see that nothing could be done until the fall of the Soviet Union. Only that would bring the liberation of the hostage episcopate there. So it was only in 2000 that it repented for its compromises with the atheist government and so its failure to recognize the New Martyrs and Confessors earlier, as well as for its politically-motivated compromises with heterodox.
Equally, however, the Church Outside Russia would have to reject decades of the spiritual impurity of sectarian politicking with the treacherous and tragic Vlasov movement and its CIA backers, as well as its own embarrassing failure to canonize the New Martyrs until as late as 1981. Victory came only in 2007 with the Act of Canonical Communion, signed in the presence of thousands of us in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, the Russian Patriarch and President and longsuffering clergy of both parts of the Church in attendance. That Cathedral had been built to commemorate the 19th century Orthodox victory over the French atheist Napoleon and rebuilt to commemorate the 20th century Orthodox victory over the German atheist Marx. Thus, the Cathedral became the place of a threefold victory.
A Life for the Tsar
My third task has been to help contribute to the restoration, now inevitable, of the Orthodox Empire, based in Russia under the coming Tsar, just as St Seraphim of Sarov prophesied nearly 200 years ago. This has been and is, if anything, the hardest of all. This is because it involves the Incarnation, that is, the political, economic and social ramifications of our understanding of the Incarnate Christ. Resistance here is ferocious and mocking, for our struggle is with the Devil himself. Firstly, we must defend the holiness of Tsar Nicholas, both in life and in death. Secondly, we must defend all those faithful to him, many not yet canonized. Thirdly, we must promote his shining vision, which was a century ahead of its time but tragically interrupted for a blood-soaked century by ‘treason, cowardice and deceit’, as he described.
Some might say that then all has been completed. This is not so. The task for Rus, to spread veneration for the Western saints of the first millennium Church is to develop much further. The task for Faith, to see the full unity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe in a single Metropolia, the foundation of the future new Local Church, helping build up a little part of it in my native East of England, is nearing its conclusion, but is not complete. Finally, the task for the Tsar, to explain his holiness and defend his healing vision of justice and balance after a century of global injustice and wars, which resulted directly from his overthrow by internal traitors, so-called allies, Great Britain, the USA and France, and enemies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, and to implement that vision, so long delayed, has only just begun.