Zeal as a Spiritual Illness

Introduction

Some people speak of ‘zealous Christians’, as though this were a good thing to be. However, I am always deeply troubled by that phrase, for the simple reason that zeal is by no means good. In fact, there are two sorts of zeal, one is based on pride, the other on humility. The sad fact is that the former, in my experience, is far more common than the latter. Zeal is often a spiritual illness unless it can be channelled by obedience to experience.

Bad Zeal = Contempt for Others: The Pride-Isolation-Discouragement-Lapse Cycle.

Pride comes before the fall – that is the spiritual law in all situations. And pride is at the root of bad zeal with its pharisaic comparisons with others. Pride says: ‘I am better than they are’; ‘I can do everything better than they can’; ‘as regards the others, who do not come to church all the time, who do not pray like me, who do not cross themselves often and do not keep the fasts as strictly as I do, all they are fit for is criticism from me’. Ironically, pride always boasts: ‘I am sinful and unworthy’. (We already know that you are sinful and unworthy, like the rest of us, it is part of being a human-being. Stop being a pharisee). Be intolerant of others and sectarian – and you are well on your way to your self-imposed exit from the Church. Be literal in everything, never be indulgent and show no pastoral ‘economy’ (dispensations for weaknesses).

Thanks to your mountain of self-admiring pride, you will soon find yourself in a state of self-isolation. You will flee others, but they will also flee you, for your priggish pride and grim-faced airs of superiority will turn them away. And you will have done that to yourself. Isolation is entirely your own fault. The result is discouragement, depression and despair for you, but not for the others. The final stage is when you give up, falling away from the Faith because you cannot go on like that any longer. This is because you have created a devilish brick wall against which you have been knocking your head for so long that the alternative to giving up has for you become insanity. The strange thing is that those whom you criticized so mercilessly and arrogantly as bad Christians at the beginning will still be there. But you will not.

Good Zeal = Love of God: The Humility-Sociability-Encouragement-Discernment Cycle.

Good zeal, that is, the love of God, grows out of humility, the willingness to learn little by little from each and all. For the word humility comes from ‘humus’, the word for ground, for only those who are grounded are realists and you can only build on solid ground – never in the demon-haunted air. In order to learn, you must first admit that you know nothing, that you have come to learn, not to teach and preach, that you have an enormous amount to learn and that it will take a long, long time, that gradualism is vital, that books will help you little here, that you have to learn from other human-beings who have the one thing that you cannot get from books – whoever you are – experience. If you start running without first learning to walk, you will inevitably fall over (see above). So learn to walk before you run.

If you have humility, you will have the willingness to learn. And for that you must be sociable, talking to others, so that you can learn from them, asking them questions, ready to listen to them, obeying them and serving them. If you are sociable, mixing with others, you will not know of isolation and so the discouragement that comes from isolation, for you will find encouragement from others in any simple human contact. That is why monks and nuns live in community, not in isolation. After all, you are new, the others were there long before you and, moreover, they are still there. If you want to be like them, copy them because they have discernment, which is the ability to see the psychology that lies behind what people say and do. It is the opposite of spiritual blindness. And it is the key to survival, your survival.

Conclusion

After over forty years, I can write the above. They can be summed up by the following story that happened six years ago. An ex-Anglican priest in a jurisdiction of converts boasted to me that he had ‘made’ 200 ‘converts’ in 15 years. My reaction was to ask him how many had lapsed. He replied shamefacedly, ‘Nearly all of them’. I do wish that man had become Orthodox before he had been ordained. He was ill.

Some Missionary Notes

After 33 years as an Orthodox clergyman in three different countries, I would like to make the following observations about missionary work. Before anything else, it must be said that missionary work is never done top-down. In other words, it is not a matter of people sitting in offices poring over maps and sticking pins in them. That would be a great mistake. We are not McDonalds. Missionary work begins at the grassroots with the people who are inspired by God. It is therefore down-up. Some 15-20 years ago I wrote an article on what is vital for missionary work. It was entitled something like ‘The Three Ps’. The Three Ps are People, Premises and Priest – in this and no other order. Let me explain.

People

The first P means that all new missions open because there are people who want them. People does not mean self-servers who want to ‘open a mission’ for their own vainglory. Nor does it mean people who have a consumerist mentality towards the Church: ‘We demand a priest who will do everything we want him to do’. People means Orthodox people who want to pray together in an Orthodox church building, worshipping, praying to and thanking God, receiving the sacraments, of whom at least one can read and sing. Their first task is to contact their bishops and ask for his blessing, then decide whom they wish to dedicate their future church to and next look for suitable premises, preparing for financial sacrifices.

Premises

The second P means Premises, suitable for Orthodox services. It does not matter too much what they look like on the outside, at least initially, but on the inside they must be capable of transformation so that they will look like and then feel like an Orthodox church. They must be public-access premises with planning permission, located where Orthodox live, in a town or city, not in the middle of nowhere, still less be part of a private house of property. Ideally, they should be neither too small, nor too big, though with room to expand. If they have a kitchen, meeting-room, toilets, parking and you can have processions around them on Great Friday, Easter Night and on the patronal feast, then they must be near ideal.

Priest

The third and final P is priest. This is the least important issue because if you have people and premises, a priest will appear. However, it is vital that the priest speaks the language of his parishioners – in all senses. This means not only that he speaks and understands at least some of the most common language of his parishioners – which may not be English – but that he understands them and sympathizes with them. It is ideal when a priest is one of the group of people who has made his way through all the stages of priesthood – reader – subdeacon – deacon – priest – and therefore knows what he is talking about and understands.

On the Foundation of New Local Churches

Local Churches

There has been much talk since the 1960s about founding new Local Orthodox Churches, especially in North America and Western Europe. This was the result of the forced dissolution of the Russian Empire, with the foundation of new Local Churches in Poland and the Czech Lands and Slovakia, the autonomy given to the Churches of China and Japan and the needs of the Russian-speaking emigration. This was especially visible in North America, where the Communist-era ‘Moscow Patriarchate’ gave a much disputed autocephaly to an originally Uniat Carpatho-Russian group, called the OCA (Orthodox Church in America).

There have also been the Balkan foundations of the Church of Albania for Albanian Greeks, the much disputed foundation of the Church of Bulgaria which upset Greek nationalism, and the foundation of the Church of Romania, all under the influence of nineteenth-century Western nationalism. What today are the realistic prospects for the creation of new Local Churches by the Church of Russia? (No other Local Church has even contemplated such a move and indeed the tiny Church of Constantinople has categorically ruled it out, on the contrary imperialistically wishing to force others into its nationalistic jurisdiction).

It must be said that most of this talk has been premature, speculative hot air. For example, the Church of Russia was founded 600 years after the first missionaries arrived there. Such processes take time. Thus, the first stage in the foundation of a new Local Church is the foundation of a Diocese in a specific, well-defined territory, which may with time become an Archdiocese and then a Metropolia. A Metropolia means that the territory has a number of bishops under a Metropolitan bishop. Only with time may a Metropolia receive canonical autonomy and only then autocephaly, so becoming a new Local Church.

North America and Western Europe

We would do well at this point to define what a specific territory for a Local Church is. Just as imperialism, Greek, Russian or other, is to be rejected, so too is tribal or language nationalism. The model for Church life is the Holy Trinity, unity in diversity. Thus, a specific territory does not at all have to correspond to national borders. For example, if there were to be a Local Church in North America, it should surely not be a US or a Canadian Church; its territory should include at least both nations, if not Mexico too. Similarly in Western Europe, separate French, German, Italian, Spanish etc Orthodox Churches are to be avoided.

The only exception in Western Europe might be that one day there could be two separate Local Churches, one for Continental Western Europe and one for the Isles (the British Isles and Ireland), with their different history. We stress ‘might be’. Even in the latter case, no grounded Orthodox has ever considered a ‘British Orthodox Church’ (Britain is a purely political concept), still less an ‘English Orthodox Church’. The fact is that all the countries of the British Isles and Ireland are interwoven in a long history. Thus, the conversion of the Isles to Christianity was an Anglo-Celtic operation, with Italians, Greeks and others guiding it.

Currently, the Russian Church is keen to set up a Metropolia in Western Europe, where it already has several bishops, a new cathedral and seminary in Paris, several new churches in France, Italy and Spain, and well over two hundred parishes scattered throughout Western European countries, from Iceland to Portugal and Hungary to Norway. Already, after complex negotiations, in 2003 the Russian Orthodox Church had offered the Rue Daru group, centred in Paris and, then as now, still under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the opportunity to become a Metropolia as the basis for a future Local Church.

However, before its members could even discuss the offer (which most would probably have rejected) and raise the matter with its masters in Constantinople, its last Russian Archbishop, Sergiy, died and the project died with him. In retrospect, Moscow knows that the offer was unrealistic, since the group had rejected the disciplines of the Russian Orthodox Tradition three generations before. Since then, in 2006, it received into itself dissident groups, once under Moscow, which also rejected the disciplines of the Russian Tradition (its traditional theology, spirituality, liturgical practices, the Orthodox calendar, vestments etc).

The Monastic Foundation

Let us now look at the basic building block of any future Metropolia (let alone Local Church), the Diocese. A Diocese ready to become an Archdiocese should have at least fifty parishes, each with hundreds of parishioners with their own buildings (not tiny groups of recent converts in hothouse front rooms and back gardens), and a viable monastic life, with at least one real monastery and one real convent (‘real’ meaning not with a few, but with numbers of trained monks and nuns). Let us recall the old Russian saying: ‘The Orthodox family is the primary school, the parish is the secondary school and the monastery is the university’.

Monastic life is also vital in order to produce candidates for the episcopate. For example, the tiny and unstable Rue Daru group based in Paris has had eight bishops in its ninety years of existence. The first two were monks, who were waiting to return to the Russian Church as soon as She was free (indeed the first one did, but was not followed by the liberals who were in control). Of the six who succeeded them, two were widowed Russian priests, one was a celibate academic, one was a former Catholic monk and the last two had to be imported from outside because there were no more candidates for the episcopate from inside.

In other words, if you do not have monastic life, you will eventually end up without bishops. The same has happened in ACROD, a small ex-Uniat Carpatho-Russian group in North America, which has recently had to import a Greek bishop. Church history clearly tells us that new Metropolias or new Local Churches always start with monasticism, whether it is St Nina in Georgia, Sts Cyril and Methodius in the Slav Lands, St Sava in Serbia, St Herman in Alaska or St Nicholas in Japan. In other words, they do not start with liberals, intellectuals and philosophers, but with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, men and women of faith.

Saint Petersburg Times Film Review: Tuesday 1 August 2017: A Review of the New Horror Film: ‘It Could Have Happened!’

‘It Could Have Happened!’ is the sensational new horror film that everyone in the Russian Empire is talking about, not just the film of the year, but the film of the decade. Released on 1 August 2017, it speculates on what might have happened one hundred years ago in 1917 if the ever-memorable Tsar Nicholas II had not arrested traitors and taken measures leading to victory in the Second Patriotic War (1914-1917). It suggests that a palace revolt, like that of October 1825, could have taken place in early 1917 at the hands of jealous and incompetent aristocratic traitors, so preventing the Great Victory. After this, an atheist ‘Communist’ regime, come to power with the indirect help of Great Britain (where various anti-Russian ‘revolutionaries’ had been harboured for years) and France, and financed from Germany and the United States, could have taken over the Empire with catastrophic results. This is a very dark film.

These would have included the loss of the war declared against the Empire by Germany and Austria-Hungary in August 1914, the occupation of Poland and much of White Russia and Little Russia by the enemy, the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas and his family and servants in an unthinkable atrocity, the brutal slaying of millions of Orthodox believers in civil war, leading to the emigration of the elite, famine, epidemics and a vast network of death-camps in Siberia. With the Tsar overthrown and so the legitimate Christian centre gone and the political balance of the world lost, there would have been a bloody division in Europe between warring ‘Communism’ and an anti-Communist racist ideology called ‘Fascism’. Outside Europe, the loss of the Tsar as protector and guarantor of the Non-Western world would have led to ever more Western genocides in Africa, Asia and Latin America, like those that had preceded 1914.

The nightmare film does not stop there. A generation after 1917, in about 1942, a new invasion of the remaining Imperial territories by a humiliated Germany would have taken place, with tens of millions of deaths and horrifying new weapons. This would have become a ‘World War’ and later lead to tens of millions of deaths in China, Asia, Africa and worldwide. The treasonous clique running the new Tsarless Empire under an atheistic name would have collapsed only at the end of the twentieth century. It would then have become an US-style Capitalist-Consumerist colony together with the rest of Europe, which would have lost its way and lost its colonies in Africa and Asia. This fantastic nightmare scenario, the talk of subjects throughout the Empire, has been dismissed as an absurdity and scaremongering by many, but by others it has been reckoned as a real possibility one hundred years ago.

Many bishops have issued statements to advise the faithful. For example, Metropolitan Viktor of Helsinki issued a statement, pleading that children under 18 should not be allowed to see the horrifying film, which he said could traumatize them. Metropolitan Gregory of Lvov said that we should not forget that our history could have taken another path without prayer. Metropolitan Antony of Saint Petersburg said that believers should pay attention to the film because it showed that if people lost faith and began following what he called ‘the American way’, everything was possible and that the film should serve as a warning. Metropolitan Nestor of Manchuria said that we should not forget the hundreds of arrests which took place among aristocrats, politicians, lawyers, anti-patriotic newspaper-owners and even army generals in November 1916 which had prevented their treasonous plot against the Tsar being carried out.

Patriarch Tikhon II of Moscow has not commented, but his office is expected to release a statement today. The fact is that if it not been for the arrests of traitors to Tsar Nicholas, including traitors belonging to the House of Romanov itself, implicated in the coup being prepared by the British ambassador, anything was possible. If the traitors had succeeded, who knows what might have happened. At this point it would seem only just to recall real-life events and not the dark fantasy world portrayed in the film. As readers will remember, once Tsar Nicholas had taken command of the Imperial Army in August 1915, having dismissed the incompetent, anti-Semitic Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, who had asked to be removed from command and under whom so many ill-equipped troops had lost their lives or been taken prisoner in the first year of the war, the situation at the Front stabilized at once.

Then Tsar Nicholas prepared the victorious 1916 ‘Tsar’s offensive’, which used to be known in the West as ‘The Brusilov Offensive’, and rearmed his troops for the following year, at the same time imprisoning traitors, British spies and speculators in Saint Petersburg, so stabilizing the Home Front. This led to the upsurge of patriotism and the lightning victorious spring 1917 offensive, which brought about the liberation of Vienna within weeks in April. Here a million Russian troops held their huge Easter celebration outdoors. The collapse of ‘the prison of the peoples’, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was greeted with great rejoicing among all the Slav races especially. This was followed in October by the liberation of Berlin and the collapse of the Kaiser’s Second Reich Prussian Germany. No-one will forget the Russian Orthodox celebration of Easter 1918 at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, just as in Paris in 1814.

Just as his ancestor Tsar Nicholas I defeated that other European tyrant, Napoleon, who had also tried and failed to invade Russia and seen his exile, so Tsar Nicholas decided to exile Kaiser Wilhelm to Ekaterinburg, where he died in 1940. There followed the Saint Petersburg Peace Conference which opened in May 1918 where Russia, with France and Great Britain bankrupt, was able to impose fair terms on Europe, ensuring peace and security for generations to come. With US influence negligible, it was after this that Western, Central and Eastern Europe were reshaped, with Belgium being absorbed by France and the Netherlands, and new nations formed, notably, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia Finland, the Czech Lands, Slovakia, Carpatho-Russia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and new borders for France, Denmark, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia and Greece, its capital transferred from provincial Athens to Constantinople.

No less significant was the partition of Germany into twelve separate kingdoms, including Saxony and Bavaria; never again would militarist Prussia, demilitarized in 1918, be allowed to dominate the German peoples, who once again returned to their great traditions of art, literature and music. It was thus that the Russian Empire came to set up the Confederation of Europe, sovereign and independent nations old and new co-operating with one another, following the implementation of Tsar Nicholas’ original plans for the Hague International Court. If only those plans had been accepted by the Western Powers in 1899 when they had been launched, then the three-year long Second Patriotic War of 1914-1917 would never have occurred. The Russian victory in Europe also led to great changes in the Middle East after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, where the Russian Empire protected all Christians.

Not only in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land, but also throughout the Near and Far East, with the new nations of Cyprus, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Kurdistan being formed, the Russian Empire became the guarantor of sovereignty. In the Far East too, the Empire became the protector of Mongolia, China, Tibet and Afghanistan. A menacing Japan was disarmed and Western European colonial empires in Africa and Asia were dismantled. It was in 1956 that Tsar Nicholas II passed away peacefully at the age of 88, feted as the greatest and holiest Tsar in Russian history. He was followed by his beloved son Tsar Alexei II ‘the Just’, who reigned until 1981, when he passed away and was succeeded by his son, the present Tsar Nicholas III, whose 75th birthday was so joyfully celebrated last year. Under Tsar Nicholas III’s energetic reign the 600-million strong Russian Empire has become very prosperous indeed.

A global beacon of peace and the Christian Faith, the Empire has balanced out international tensions, working as an arbitrator. It has also supported the Orthodox Church all round the world, setting up new Local Orthodox Churches in Europe and Asia and Russian Orthodox Metropolias in Alaska and elsewhere. It leads the five-yearly Councils of all twenty Local Orthodox Churches held at the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow and the recent election of a Syrian Patriarch in Constantinople had been seen as the end of Greek provincialism there. The Imperial role in calling for justice for the nearly two million people interned in prisons and camps in the tyrannical Consumerist USA is well-known, as is its role in moderating the excesses of heterodox sectarians in Europe. Pleas for justice in Latin America and Africa have brought great respect for the Russian Church among those of all religions and none.

Breaking News

The following pastoral message addressed to the faithful flock of the Empire has been received from Patriarch Tikhon II, who is currently on an official visit to Lhasa at the invitation of Metropolitan Mitrofan of the Tibetan Orthodox Church. In thinking of this film, His Holiness said that we must be faithful to Christ in thought, in word and in deed. But what did these words mean? Here he asked us all to recall the last words of Tsar Nicholas II, whose canonization is now being prepared, to the distraught Colonel Kushelyov in July 1956: ‘Serve Russia as you have served me’. These words about serving Russia, he said, meant precisely serving not ideas, but the reality of the Church on earth, incarnate in the Christian Empire. This, he explained, was the most important thing we could do to serve Christ. It was the one way of ensuring that we would not fall into treasonous acts, as portrayed in the fictitious horror film.

After Crete: On the Ecclesiological Heresy of ‘Balkanism’

After the failure of last year’s US-backed meeting of some Orthodox bishops in Crete, representing less than 85% of the Orthodox faithful, the rejection of that meeting by many who were present yet whose signatures were on documents which they had not signed, and the general non-reception of those documents throughout the Church, where does the Church go now? After all, the essential lesson of the failed meeting was that the elderly bishops in their 70s and 80s, who had fixed the agenda, still thinking in terms of the old-fashioned, Vatican II-style 1960s, have still to learn about the reality of Church life. This is that they are to represent the bimillennial Faith, not private political agendas.

Those Orthodox bishops who in their old age are still marked by the decadent 1960s (they often studied in Catholic and Protestant Universities in Western Europe at that time) appear to be confused about the role of the Church. Some of them want Her to become a mere nationalist branch of the Vatican or become some Protestant sect, seeing Her as a depository for Balkan history and folklore and banning missionary work by refusing to accept other nationalities and heterodox into Her, especially in the Western world. We can call this peculiar, provincial view ‘Balkanism’. Clearly, in the global world in which we live, this is so old-fashioned and parochial as to be laughable.

However, more seriously, this is also a heresy. The heresy in question is ecclesiological: it is the refusal, inherent in Balkanism, to recognize the Church as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, but to see Her only as Divided, Secular, Separated from the Universal Church and without Apostolic Tradition. This heresy believes that the Church is divided into nationalistic institutions, each vying with one another to possess the highest Cathedral in the Balkans, controlled by US-appointed Patriarchs and puppet Balkan governments, that She can act in isolation from and without reference to the rest of the Church both in time and in space, and without reference to the Apostolic Tradition.

It seems to us that the time has come for the Patriarch of by far the biggest Local Church, the Russian Orthodox Church with 75% of the faithful and a thousand monasteries, to call a Council of the whole Church to condemn this heresy. Statements on the identity of the Church, One and not Divided, Holy and not Secular, Catholic and not Provincial, Apostolic and not Modernistic, would bring dogmatic and pastoral clarity to the issues raised by the Cretan farce and give elderly and confused bishops the opportunity to retire quietly or else be defrocked in disgrace. Now is the time for lucidity in order to reassure the faithful that they are represented by bishops who are Orthodox in faith.

Orthodoxy on Bullfighting, a Possible Future Revolution in Russia, Religious Statues and Homosexuality: Four Questions from Recent Correspondence

Why does bullfighting not exist in Orthodox countries?

J. S., Catalonia

Bullfighting only exists in certain once Catholic countries, Spain, Portugal, southern France and ex-colonies in Latin America. On the other hand, bullfighting is unknown in Ireland, Austria and other Catholic countries. It is also unknown in once Protestant and once Orthodox countries. However, it seems that in pagan Minoan Crete, as in the myth of Hercules who ‘took the bull by the horns’, it did exist. This suggests that bullfighting is a pre-Christian, pagan custom, once prevalent in many parts of the Mediterranean, but which survives only in the Catholic west Mediterranean, not in the Greek Orthodox east Mediterranean, nor in the ex-Greek Orthodox central Mediterranean. Why?

The fact is that Catholicism has a cult of blood and death, what we may call ‘crucifixionism’, which very clearly and suddenly began with its birth in the late eleventh century with images of ‘Jesus’ as a suffering, dying or dead human-being. (See for confirmation any of the studies of the Catholic Middle Ages by the Oxford scholar Sir Richard Southern). This developed into the bloody portrayal of the lives of the martyrs in, for example, the medieval anthology ‘The Golden Legend’ and also into the constipated sentimentalism of Catholic pietism.

This cult of blood, dead bodies and death can be seen in the pietistic Catholic veneration of human organs (bleeding hearts) and wounds, in the tortures of the Spanish (and French) Inquisition, and in Catholic art (Bosch and Goya, for example). However, it also exists in other Catholic countries, where bullfighting does not exist, for example in catacomb mummies, strange funeral customs throughout the Catholic world and customs of flagellation and self-mutilation in southern Italy and the once Spanish Philippines, especially on Great and Holy Friday.

This cult of blood is part of the Catholic cult of suffering and self-flagellation – beloved still today by Mother Teresa’s followers and Opus Dei. Morbid ‘crucifixionism’, as can be seen in Italian films on the Crucifixion or the Gibson film ‘The Passion of Christ’, the portrayal of the bleeding human-being Christ (‘Jesus’) on the Cross, is indeed partly why Protestantism rejects the Cross, seeing it as a symbol of death, instead of what it is, the symbol of Life and victory over death. It may be that the Arian-Protestant sect, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, also rejects blood transfusions as a result of the rejection of what it associates with Catholicism.

Bullfighting is unknown in once Protestant countries (although here bearbaiting, cockfighting and until recently fox-hunting were once very popular). Today, in these countries all such blood-sports are frowned on and even detested because of the prevalence of secularist values with political correctness and animal rights. Since, for secularists, human-beings are merely intelligent animals, we should not treat animals any differently from Western human beings. (Non-Western human-beings may be massacred freely, however, as in Rwanda, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Ukraine).

Why then do we Orthodox not cultivate bullfighting? Because in Orthodoxy, although and because we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion, we have no cult of blood, no ‘crucifixionism’. As Orthodox, we consider that we suffer enough simply by being faithful Orthodox Christians – not least through persecution by Catholicism and Protestantism, and we do not artificially seek or create suffering or entertain morbid images of torture of the human body.

We do not tolerate self-flagellation or a morbid cult of death, blood and human remains – the wax dummies that dead Catholic saints are turned into (which is quite different from the veneration of holy relics). This is because we do not imitate Christ outwardly, but imitate Him inwardly. Thus, we live in the Risen Christ, through the Holy Spirit, by Whom the Church, Whose Head is Christ and Which is the Risen Body of Christ, lives. Our cult is not of death, but of Life, of the Spirit, of the Victorious Resurrection, of Christ triumphant on the Cross.

You have yourself written that the restoration of Church life in Russia is very slow and very fragile. What would happen to the Church Outside Russia if there were another anti-Church Revolution inside Russia and the Patriarchate were enslaved again?

R.T., Seattle

I think this very unlikely, but, true, anything is possible in today’s Russia, where there are still statues of Lenin, and his mummy is in Red Square, and public places are named after other sadists and terrorists.

In such a case we would simply return to our situation nearly 100 years ago when Patriarch Tikhon founded the Church Outside Russia, precisely because he foresaw that the Church there was facing enslavement and we would so become the free voice of the Church. And I think that this time, we would be a lot stronger.

Firstly, those who are under the Patriarchate outside Russia, much more numerous than two and more decades ago, would surely quite naturally join us, if the administration inside Russia were enslaved again.

Secondly, I do not think that this time there would be any harmful and unnecessary political schisms in Paris and North America, as there were in the 1920s; this time the emigration is united in its Orthodoxy and would not let anti-Russian renovationist and masonic political interference from Constantinople or elsewhere disturb Church life.

Is it true that Orthodox do not worship statues like Catholics because statues are three-dimensional, whereas icons are two-dimensional? And why does that make a difference?

P. A., Manchester

I think that the truth can be expressed more clearly than this. It is not so much a question of two or three dimensions as a question of our concept of realism.

First of all, Orthodox do not worship anyone or anything except the Holy Trinity. However, we do honour, revere and venerate holy things, such as icons, the cross and holy relics. We do not have statues in churches (but they may exist as memorials outside churches), because they are an attempt to create realistic representations of God or human beings. For the same reason we do not paint or make realistic, two-dimensional, images of Christ, angels and saints. An icon is precisely not an attempt to create a realistic image (like a statue or a Catholic religious picture), but is a spiritual portrait.

Realism portrays only fallen nature, which we precisely wish to restore. This is why an icon does not have perspective or represent the body anatomically. It is the opposite of a realistic portrait – or a statue. This is why, although there are many Orthodox saints of whom we have photographs, we do not venerate their photographs. We venerate only icons – attempts to produce spiritual photographs, representations of the spiritual essence or soul of the saint in question, restored to their primal beauty as they would have been before the Fall. That is our realism.

Can a homosexual be ordained?

A.T., Norfolk

We condemn the sin, not the sinner.

Many, but not all, homosexuals appear to be of two sorts, though with a multiplicity of variations: he who by repression has become narcissistic (narcissism always come from a personality complex), nasty, aggressive, jealous, backbiting, slanderous and vengeful. On the other hand, there is he who is camp, obviously homosexual, can be kind, charming, boylike and is very popular with females, because, unrepressed, he has no aggression at all and so presents no threat to them.

The question of ordination is for a bishop, though I suspect that any bishop of any jurisdiction, canonical and non-canonical (there are homosexual clergy in all jurisdictions) would either answer a definite ‘No’, or else would ask: ‘Which homosexual’? After all, the custom of classifying people according to a category, ‘French’, ‘homosexual’, ‘English’, ‘Catholic’, ‘Russian’, ‘married’ depersonalizes them: I think we should see people as individuals first of all. As we all know, some homosexuals are ordained.

Thus, the second sort of obvious homosexual would not be ordained (though I have met exceptions among those who have been ordained by homosexual bishops). However, the first nasty narcissistic sort, if ordained – as, sadly, they are, are catastrophes, especially when they become bishops, as many sadly have.

However, there are exceptions. Although there are two main sorts of homosexual, there are also those who have control both over their illness (and the illness of homosexuality is a heavy cross to bear) and over their aggressiveness. With such people bishops would make exceptions.

1917-2017: 100 Years in the Empire of the Double-Headed Eagle without the Emperor

The Last Christian Emperor

Russian Orthodox of all nationalities belong to and live in the spiritual Empire of the Double-Headed Eagle, uniting East and West. We are subjects of His Imperial Highness. The fact that our Christian Empire has had no earthly Emperor for a hundred years has caused catastrophes of repaganization the whole world over, exactly as was the plan of the international forces which overthrew him. These disasters have taken place not only inside but also outside the borders of the former Empire, including where we live, in the spiritually backward West.

The fact that we in particular live in these spiritual provinces where we have been cut off from the One Christian Empire for far longer, well over twelve hundred years, makes our lives even harder. However, still we believe that the Empire will be restored, that we are simply between earthly emperors, learning from the wisdom of the last Tsar so that we can prepare for the next Tsar and his Restored Empire. That has been our purpose for one hundred years – to learn and prepare for the Restoration of the Empire, for the future belongs to us.

The last Christian Emperor of the only Christian Empire on earth, the martyred Tsar Nicholas II, was and is portrayed by the enemies of Christ as weak and incompetent, the martyred Tsarina Alexandra as hysterical and fanatical and the martyred prophet and healer of the Heir, Gregory (Rasputin), as demonic and debauched. Why? Those who created such absurd propaganda myths – and even repeat them despite the opposite affirmations of unbiased history! – needed to rubbish Russia for their own self-justification and legitimization of their seizure of power.

Treason, Cowardice and Deceit

Their slander and mythology show their own spiritual impurity – for in reality they are talking about themselves – incompetent, fanatical or demonic. Thus, the shameful reason why the supposedly free Russian emigration did not canonize the Tsar, martyred in 1918, and the other martyrs until 1981 is because there were such elements in the emigration who were responsible for the overthrow of the Tsar and so indirectly for the horrors that followed. They could not admit their many tragic errors and repent of their sins and so we had to wait for long.

When the powerful ‘abdicated’ from him, the last Christian Emperor spoke of ‘treason, cowardice and deceit’ to explain his illegal usurpation. These three words prophetically and exactly define the whole history of the last one hundred years and all that faithful Orthodox Christians have been through in that time. We have experienced the treason of those who put themselves in place of the Church, the cowardice of those who put their own well-being in place of the Truth and the deceit of those who swam with the tide, saying one thing and doing another.

Thus, in the last hundred years there has been the treason of those who betrayed the unity of the Church in Western Lands and the Orthodox calendar under the pressure of foreign powers, to whom the Church of God is alien. Then there has been the cowardice of those who, although representing the Church, refused to be faithful to Her teachings through fear and failed to spread Her Truth in the world. Finally, there has been the deceit of those who told the faithful clergy and people one thing, but did another behind their backs, thus deceiving themselves in their faithlessness to those who sacrificed their lives for Christ.

The Next Christian Emperor

Thus, treason to the Church has been by betrayal of Her Faith, cowardice to the Emperor by not defending the principle of the Empire from its disincarnate enemies, and deceit of the People through propaganda lies. Therefore, we must show faithfulness to the Trinitarian Faith, courage in affirming the Incarnation, and the truth of the Spirit before the people. We must not be sidelined by nostalgia for a lost past, personal opinions on minor matters and petty personal ambitions. We must adopt the great project – the restoration of the next Emperor.

In each of the Western provinces of the former Empire where we live, we represent the Sovereign Spirit of National Resistance and, together, European Resistance, to Antichrist. Our task is to prevent the conditions necessary for his appearance and enthronement, so carefully and cunningly prepared since the overthrow of him who restrained until 1917, by restoring the next Christian Emperor. From the Irish and Portuguese Atlantic coasts to the statues of the Tsars in Helsinki and Sofia we represent Orthodox Europe, the True Europe of the first millennium.

For the false Europe of the second millennium, as a giant with feet of clay, is collapsing in the third millennium. As a priest in my native town, I can say that in our greatest struggle we have achieved what we have achieved despite faithless traitors, visionless cowards and loveless deceivers, the narcissistic, spineless and jealous, the spoilers, thwarters and underminers, despite all who have ignored us, spoken evil of us and tried to destroy us and our Local Church unity. That we can achieve this here means that as much and more can be achieved elsewhere.

Pelagianism Past and Present

The collapse of empires brings much spiritual confusion and an attraction to the exotic. Thus, the collapse of the Soviet Union a generation ago led to some Russians adopting occultism, Hare Krishna and even Catholicism (!), the collapse of the British Empire led to some British people adopting irrationalism, Transcendental Meditation and even Islam. In ancient times the collapse of the pagan Roman Empire led to its citizens adopting all manner of ‘end of the world’ -isms. For example, in provincial Britain one secularist philosopher came up with a heresy of Christianity which asserted that man did not really need God, that he could cope quite well on his own in effortless consumerism. His name was Pelagius and his humanist fantasy of confidence in man became known as Pelagianism.

His fantasy was typical of the psychology of provincials who placed an irrational and over-confident false hope in man’s ability to survive, just when he faced the menace of the collapse of the Empire. Today, as the Western Empire, headquartered in the USA and taking in Western Europe and Japan, collapses all around, both economically through debt and morally through depravity, we see the same phenomenon. It is the collapsing West that has heard talk of ‘The Triumph of the West’, ‘The West is Best’, ‘The End of History’ etc. It is most ironic, but such things always happen among the spiritually blind just before the end. Such was the case among the pagan Romans 1600 years ago, such is the case in the pagan West today, with its defeated NATO legions and EU vassal states held hostage.

What we have to do in such negative times is to find the positive way ahead out of and after the collapse which is already taking place. What will survive from beneath the rubble is all that is spiritually living. That which was invented for reasons of elitist self-justification 1000 years ago and manipulation of the masses 500 years ago will not last. The old manmade, crowd control religions with their hypocritical moralizing, the old State-controlled Western propaganda media used to justify imperialism and exploitation, the irrational philosophies of death whose founders are dead, are all doomed. Just as the poor slaves of pagan Rome brought the Light of Christ to that fallen and discredited Empire, so we plebs can bring the Resurrection again here and now. If not, then the end is here.

Those Who Lapse and Those Who Last: The End of ‘Euro-Orthodoxy’ and the Beginning of Orthodoxy in Europe

For some 40 years between the 1960s and the end of the twentieth century, some two thousand Anglicans joined certain parishes of the Orthodox Churches in England – mainly those under the then Parisian ‘Sourozh Diocese’. Together with a small number of ordinary (Non-Anglican) English people, they joined the Church for many reasons. Some of us, perhaps especially the Non-Anglicans, joined because we were sincerely seeking, not being influenced by any personality, but called by Christ to help rebuild His Church in the Western desert. For us, the Orthodox Church was and is the only Church, our spiritual home, to which we had come after realizing that this is God’s Will for us and our souls will die without spiritual food, that is, outside the Church. We have lasted and not lapsed because for us, belonging to the Church has always been a matter of spiritual survival, although and because we have been voices crying in the anti-Orthodox and so secularist wilderness.

However, some did not last but lapsed, for it seems that they were not attached to the Orthodox Church and Faith. Dissatisfied with the ever-changing and ever-new fads of Anglicanism, they attached themselves only to some personality or intellectual philosophy, and not to the Church Herself. Some were perhaps received by marginal figures who, without support from Churched Orthodox, needed to build personality cults for themselves among the naïve, ill-prepared, uninstructed or deluded. In other words, attraction operated for negative reasons, by being against something else, and some never accepted the Church as She is. Deluded by anti-Incarnational fantasies, sometimes of Hindu or Buddhist origin, Russian fakirs and charlatans and secondary and superficial attractions, some remained ‘converts’, not actually becoming Orthodox because of their baggage. They joined the Church, but did not become and live as Orthodox Christians.

The fundamental error of such ‘converts’, as they often liked to call themselves, consisted in not first separating themselves from the 900 + years of the anti-Orthodox and therefore also anti-English, Norman-founded British Establishment. This included its Anglican extension under the syphilitic Tudor tyrant Henry VIII and his followers, not least his murderous ‘theologian’ daughter Elizabeth, the genocidal Cromwell and then various other mercantile Dutch, German and ‘British’ Protestant Imperialists with their ‘Rule Britannia’ jingoism that invaded and enslaved the world. In no way therefore were they able to adopt the Orthodox Faith, for they had not first cleansed their minds and souls from the Anti-Orthodoxy, which they had been conditioned and deluded into thinking of as ‘Western Christianity’. Not having first made room in their minds and souls for the Orthodox Church, the only authentic Western or any other Christianity, they could not last and so lapsed.

Unwilling and so unable to live according to the Orthodox way of life and the Orthodox view of the world and so to think naturally in an Orthodox way, many lapsed completely, some returned to Anglicanism, and others lapsed into a fringe ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’. This inability and unwillingness to integrate meant that these latter tended to form exclusive cliques and convert clubs, which made their church into a ‘Halfodox’ hobby, Anglicanism with icons. Thus, some allowed the baggage which they had brought with them into the Church to define their lives and block possible spiritual growth and understanding. This was because their Western-founded Norman Establishment has always called us, the people, ‘Anglo-Saxons’ or ‘plebs’, although we have always called ourselves simply ‘English’. Their alien Norman Establishment has always patronisingly despised us natives and all who ‘go native’, that is, all who are Orthodox Christians in mind and heart, who are foreign to them.

With this mentality of Establishment condescension and pride towards us English, they also rejected the Orthodox people, with our unintellectual and unphilosophical simplicity and uncomplicated and unmoralizing piety. Thus, some refused in their imagined racial ‘superiority’ and intellectual theorizing to ‘go native’. Between about 2000 and 2010, with Anglicanism altogether disappearing into the New Age blur, few Anglicans asked to be received into the Church, while the by then ageing converts from the last century began to isolate themselves and die out. In recent years, however, a new period has begun. Some ordinary (Non-Anglican) English people from the vast majority have begun to join the Orthodox Church. Like the few Non-Anglicans among those who had preceded them, they have had little difficulty in renouncing the Norman-founded British Establishment and its corrupted culture, because they have in any case never even belonged to it.

Thus, unlike some who had preceded them, they have never been tempted to put British Establishment culture above Christ, so betraying Christ, His Church and also His Orthodox England. For this reason they can begin to develop a real English Orthodox culture. Far more importantly, what has happened in England is only an example of the wider situation all over Western Europe. The betrayal of Western Europe by its Christophobic elite, making it into a wayward, schismatic and isolated province through heresy in 1054 and then apostasy, the betrayal of the real England, Orthodox England, finally destroyed in 1066, the repeated Western betrayals of the Christian Emperors and invasions of the multinational Christian Empire between 1204 and 1917, these are what real Orthodox in Europe reject. What we accept is the end of the old compromised ‘Euro-Orthodoxy’ of the philosophers and the beginning of the real Orthodoxy of the saints of Europe, the Restoration of Europe.

The choice for Christophobic and so Russophobic Europe today is fast becoming Apocalypse or Repentance. Europe, on its suicidal death-bed, caught between self-invented Secularism and self-imposed Islamism, has a last chance. If the peoples of Europe can yet throw off the degeneration of their millennial brainwashing, they can still learn that the truth will set them free from stepping lemming-like off the precipice into the abyss. If they can accept that their elites have deluded them into thinking that they are ‘free’, by being enslaved to the elites’ millennial secularist ideology, regardless of whether it is called Roman Catholic, Scholastic, Protestant, Anglican, Conservative, Socialist, Communist, Democratic, Liberal, Agnostic, Atheist, Post-Modernist, then suicide can be averted. If they can accept that their roots are only in the Tradition, Orthodox Christianity, the Church of God, and not in any latecomer manmade religion, then Repentance even at this late hour is still possible.

An Intercepted Message: Victory is At Hand!

The following message has been sent to us, intercepted from the Dark Net.

Hell Headquarters
12 December 2014

To All the Disincarnate,

The one whose name we dare not mention describes Faith in what the humans call ‘The New Testament’, but we demons call ‘The Words of Death’. There he describes the words and acts of Faith and his struggle against the immoral institutionalism of Religion and the Pharisees and the amoral indifferentism of Pilate and the Saducees.

Over the last millennium we have seen our success in gradually creating our complete infestation of the Western world, bringing it back from Faith into the institutional religion of Phariseeism and the indifferentism of Saduceeism.

1. Phariseeism

As you will recall, our first success came when we created our structure of Command, when we invented feudalist Papalism 1,000 years ago. For some 500 years after that we worked very hard on corrupting the top, institutionalizing Faith by putting it under earthly command and so making it into mere Religion.

2. Saduceeism

As you will recall, our second success came when we created our structure of Control, when we invented individualist Lutheranism 500 years ago. For some 500 years after that we worked very hard on controlling the masses by reducing faith to mere moralism and the myths of individualism (freedom and democracy), so that we could exploit them in our industrial ‘civilization’.

3. Destructionism

Brothers! Now comes the moment of our triumph. Thanks to 1,000 years of OUR patience, they are now so brainwashed that they believe that they are free because we tell them that! At last, they are ripe for total repaganization by having their identities destroyed. Soon they will no longer be men and women, fathers and mothers, but transgender zombies who will do as they are told by our politically correct State. Our final victory is at hand!

There will no longer be any ladies and gentlewomen, because they have lost their souls. According to one of our greatest agents, Darwin, they now believe that they are, at best, intelligent apes, who are guided by us whom inspire the basest instincts in them. At worst, they now know that they are inconvenient and so deserve abortion or euthanasia and then incineration, of which our great friend Hitler, an admirer of Darwin, was the ideological forerunner.

However, on the verge of victory, we must be careful: despite our globalization of the West, there are still outposts of resistance outside and even inside the Western world. Beware of being expelled by them! Victory is at hand, but is still not yet quite ours. Remember that gradualism is the key to our success. Soon all Earth will be Hell. This will be our great prize. Remember it.