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.

 

Foreign-Organized Bolsheviks Massacred the Tsar, His Family and His Servants 100 Years Ago: Four Weeks To Go

In four weeks’ time we will mark the hundredth anniversary of the massacre of Imperial Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II and his Family. On 17 July 1918 their foreign-organized captors herded the family into a basement of a house in Ekaterinburg, at the meeting point between Europe and Asia. Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra, their daughters Olga (22) Tatiana (21), Maria (19), Anastasia (17) and Alexei (13) fell under a hail of bullets. In a ritual of evil the family’s corpses and those of three loyal servants and the family doctor were then stripped naked, mutilated, disfigured, burned with petrol and acid and secretly buried. So fell Christian Russia, which had for over 900 years resisted both the Mongol-Tartar hordes from the East and the Catholic-Protestant hordes from the West, keeping the balance in the world from these extremists.

Throughout the ‘Heartland’, from Kaliningrad to the Bering Straits, stretching nearly half-way around the northern third of the world to three Continents, and beyond that in oases of Holy Rus outside the Russian Lands, Russian Orthodox Christians this year celebrate. We celebrate the martyrdom of the last Christian Emperor and regret the fall of the Christian Empire after 1600 years. With Church services and conferences, monuments and museums, art galleries and films, it will be hard to forget the tragedy – except in the atheist West. Perhaps the lack of interest is due to being anti-Christian and so being Russophobic, since the essence of Russophobia is hatred for Christianity? After all, atheism is always negative, since it starts with a negation.

The so-called Russian Revolution was a coup similar to most other Western-engineered ‘regime changes’ before and since. Jacob Schiff, (1847-1920), the Wall Street banker who had financed Japan during the Japanese War against Russia (1904-1905), publicly boasted of his success in bringing about the coup, with the help of mainly aristocratic Russian traitors and apostates. Imperial Christian gold reserves weighed 1,311 tonnes: they went to the West and not to the people. In 1911 the St. Louis Dispatch had published a cartoon by Bolshevik insider Robert Minor. His published cartoon portrays Karl Marx with a book entitled Socialism under his arm, standing amid a cheering crowd on Wall Street.

Gathered around and greeting him with enthusiastic handshakes are characters identified as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, John D. Ryan of National City Bank, Morgan partner George W. Perkins and Teddy Roosevelt, leader of the Progressive Party. Western corporations moved in for the kill; Ford, General Electric, International Harvester, Caterpillar etc. Gulag slaves, whom Trotsky-Bronstein dubbed White Negroes, worked harder and cost less than those employed in the West. Over 1,000 Gulag camps were scattered across the bankster colony. The United States and Britain invested heavily in the blood-soaked Soviet regime.

The Romanov Dynasty was primarily made up of Europe’s royal houses. The blood of the martyrs was that of England, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Romania, Serbia and the Habsburgs, as well as that of Russia. The martyred Romanovs could lay claim to being of the essence of Europe’s royal houses, not so much a Russian as a European dynasty. There were 53 Romanovs living in Russia when Tsar Nicholas II was removed from his throne on 15 March 1917. Eighteen of them were slaughtered in heart-wrenching circumstances. 100 years on we now await the coming Tsar, the next Christian Emperor from the Romanov family, who alone can through Christ restore sanity in this world gone mad.

 

Homosexuality and the Problem of the Orthodox Episcopate

The scandal caused by the recent article of Metr Kallistos Ware on homosexuality has been well answered by a US convert in a typically Biblical way (1). Like the previous scandal on Metr Kalllistos’ views concerning the possible ordination of priestesses, it reveals the inherent Anglicanism of His Grace, which is why one of his Phanariot fellow-bishops calls him ‘o anglikanos’. This ingrained Anglicanism was already clearly visible in the very first edition of his book ‘The Orthodox Church’, which expressed the views of a young and idealistic Anglican scholastic looking in on the Church from the outside. Written for those outside the Church in an almost British public school civil service report style, the book was largely ignored by Orthodox on the inside.

It is doubtful if the ivory tower views expressed above really affect anyone in the Church outside the convert fringes and the academic ghetto. I do not think that any of my 600 parishioners have even heard of Metr Kallistos. Everything is simple for Orthodox who live outside the academic world, with its often refined and indeed rather effeminate ways: there is inside the Tradition and there is outside the Tradition. We are inside; what goes on outside is really not our concern. May God guide such people away from bookish secularism and flawed compromises towards the Church and Her inner and mystical understanding and age-old wisdom. This is sent down to the repentant by the Holy Spirit, is so lovingly cherished inside the monasteries and the parishes and is utterly different from mere academic understanding.

However, this issue does raise the problem of the Orthodox episcopate in the Western world and its frequent isolation from the parishes and the monasteries. This isolation, together with the frequent political captivity of the episcopate, are responsible for the lack of leadership it has often displayed over recent decades. True, a few Orthodox bishops come from widowed priests and even from priests whose wives have entered convents. However, the vast majority of bishops have always come and always will come from the monasteries. This is fine, providing that we understand that although bishops should be monks, only a few monks are suitable to become bishops.

The problem, especially in the Diaspora in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia, is that for decades most of the bishops have never been monks, but have simply been unmarried. This is not at all the same thing, for, inevitably, some of these bishops have been homosexuals and in some places and in some jurisdictions this, notoriously, has been and is the prevalent practice. I could draw up a list of several dozen such bishops, whom I have met over the last 45 years. The result has been that these bishops have in turn ordained homosexuals and some married clergy have endured persecution from their bishops and their ordinees, with their homosexual backbiting and narcissism. Thus, the episcopate of one group in North America used to be known as ‘a gay mafia’. And this is not just a problem among new calendarists and others on the liberal fringes. Notorious too are the episcopates of some uncanonical old calendarist groups.

Here we must be honest. If the episcopate has often been tainted, it is surely the fault of all of us. Monks, and therefore monasteries, and therefore bishops, do not grow on trees. They come from devout families and from parishes. The extraordinary decadence of Church life, especially over the last 100 years, is responsible for the weak episcopate. What we do not want is married bishops (the error of the schismatic renovationists in Soviet Russia), what we want is the restoration of monastic life, which is virtually non-existent in some Local Churches, resulting in all these scandals, which are, sadly, so well-known. What we need is genuine monastic bishops, continent heterosexuals, real men with vigour and energy, who are close to the parishes and our spades are spades language, who can understand ordinary Orthodox, without academic theorizing and head in the clouds language. However, the Church is not a welfare State where such bishops magically appear from above. They are created by us: we get the episcopate that we deserve.

 

Note 1:

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2018/06/kallistos-ware-comes-out-for-homosexual-marriage/

Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel Fr. Lawrence Farley Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel Fr. Lawrence Farley If a respected author writes for a publication whose known purpose is the promotion of a particular agenda, then by that very act he lends credence and credibility to that agenda.

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2018/06/met-kallistos-clearly-implies-that-the-church-should-bless-committed-same-sex-

https://orthodoxlife.org/contemporary-issues/kallistos-ware-homosexuality-humphrey/

On War and Military Saints

At first sight it may seem strange that there are military saints, soldiers who became holy martyrs. But we can think of many examples from many countries: St Sabbas the Commander (+ 272), St George (+ 303), St Dimitry (+ 304), St Alban (+ 305), St Theodore the Recruit (+ 306), St Theodore the Commander (+ 319), St Alfred the Great (+ 899), St Alexander Nevsky (+ 1263) and more recently the admiral, St Thedore (Ushakov) (+ 1817).

True, in paradise there will be no armies, because there will be no war, just as in paradise there will be no police and no prisons because there will be no crime. But we live in the real world as it is and anyone from any background can become a saint. Indeed, in the Gospels, there is no condemnation of the soldiers who appear there and, one of them, the centurion, is praised and another, Longinus, who stood at the foot of the cross and confessed that Christ is indeed the Son of God, became a saint.

And yet in the Book of Exodus the sixth commandment states: ‘Thou shalt not kill’. However, from the same chapter and the following chapters, it is clear that this means that we must not murder out of hatred or for some other evil reason, for instance, because we want to get someone else’s money or property, or out of love of glory. But does this mean that we could kill someone for another reason? For example, if we saw someone in the street trying to kill someone to get their money, does this mean that we should defend that person?

Suppose we were an armed policeman and we saw a terrorist with a gun or bomb and he was threatening to kill lots of people, elderly people, women and children among them, and he could not see us and we had the chance to stop him and that resulted in killing him, would that be forbidden? Of course not, it would be irresponsible of us not to act in defence of others. In such situations where we are able to defend others, not to defend would simply be cowardice on our part.

The fact is that in this world we are often faced by choices and the choice we have to make is what we call ‘the lesser evil’. However, we must be very careful here: such a choice applies only in the case of defending others. So in every country armed forces are controlled by something called ‘The Ministry of Defence’. But do the armed forces really defend? Sadly, they often seem to do the opposite and attack, to offend.

It is the same with us. If we are aggressive and attack others, even killing them, that is wrong. Indeed, priests and monks are forbidden from taking up weapons to defend themselves. But if we are defending those who are weaker than ourselves, that can be justified. Here there is no hatred for an individual, just the responsible desire to protect others. Here there is no selfishness, we are not defending ourselves or our property or money or showing off our strength, we are protecting others, perhaps people we do not even know.

Yes, as Christians we are called on to love our enemies, but that means not to feel no personal hatred for them. Why? Because they are victims of their bad passions, the victims of evil. So to love our enemies does not mean that we should not defend others. War in defence of the weak is a lesser evil than declining war and surrendering to the power of barbaric terrorists. A soldier for us is not some self-satisfied murderer, but a noble hero who sacrifices himself by defending the weak.

 

(First Published in the Youth Magazine of the Colchester Orthodox Parish, Searchlight, Issue 5, June 2018)

Questions and Answers: Early June 2018

Q: How can you speak of a ROCOR Diocese in this country? It is so small it does not exist. So what can it contribute?

A: You would have been quite right at any time between the mid-eighties and until recently. I remember coming here on loan from Paris in 1994 because the London convent did not have a priest or any services, such was the catastrophic situation! However, before that period you are quite wrong and you are wrong again today, ever since the start of the restoration of our Diocese under Metr Hilarion and Bishop Irenei. It is now bigger than it was in the fifties and sixties and may grow a great deal more yet, as we are freed to expand, using all our energy and enterprise that had been bottled up for so many decades. The Patriarchal Diocese here, laboured with a ‘foreign’ name with a compromising history, called a ‘potemkin diocese’ by one its own priests, also has its difficulties.

Therefore, it is clear that ROCOR, with about 600 parishes outside the Russian Lands and the Patriarchate, with about 300 parishes outside the Russian Lands, mainly in Western Europe, need one another. They are like two pieces of a puzzle, each with its limitations, each with its strengths. For example, ROCOR has little money and few bishops, the Patriarchate has money, political help from embassies and an almost limitless supply of potential bishops (2,000 at the last count). However, generally ROCOR has local knowledge, not just languages, but knowledge of local mentalities and culture and pastoral ability. The average ROCOR priest in Europe speaks three or four languages: the average Patriarchate priest just one.

Unlike ROCOR, the Patriarchate is politically well-connected; however, ROCOR is free, as we saw in the recent Skripal case, and unburdened by the bureaucracy and centralization in the Patriarchate. It was from such formalist pre-Revolutionary bureaucracy that ROCOR has had such difficulty escaping right up until the present day and which, sadly, is reviving in Russia. Bureaucracy is not part of Church Tradition, but is alien to the Holy Spirit, being of the things of men. It belongs to religion, not to faith, to institutions, not to God.

Our Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland can be a useful, perhaps even an essential, part of the future Local Metropolia and then Local Church.

Q: How can we define our Orthodox identity as compared to Non-Orthodox?

A: I expect there are a thousand good ways of expressing answers to this question, but I think I can give you an example of an answer.

Recently, I was in conversation with a fairly senior Anglican priest and I asked him what he thought was the priority to save the Church of England, given that the Archbishop of Canterbury said in 2014 that it could virtually die out by 2050.

He answered that there are currently two trends inside his Church, one was to ‘make disciples’ and the other was ‘to create the kingdom of God’. In his view the first is wrong and the second is right. I (politely) asked him to translate this (for me incomprehensible jargon) into English and he explained that ‘making disciples’ means what we would call ‘proselytism’ or ‘making converts’ (which is alien to the Church), and that ‘creating the kingdom of God’ means trying to act socially or even politically, setting up clubs and groups, taking part in social life, standing for election, appearing in the media, lobbying politicians, holding concerts inside church-buildings etc. (This too is alien to the Church).

I thought that both these options are purely humanistic, turned towards people, not towards God. Our God is Holy and our aim is holiness, ‘acquiring the Holy Spirit’. In his two options there was nothing about holiness. Holiness attracts people long-term because our God works miracles. Everything that he mentioned is purely secondary to us, we transform individuals and society around us through repentance that brings personal holiness; everything else takes second place. We seek the kingdom of God first, then ‘thousands around us will be saved’. And that is the difference between us and Non-Orthodox.

Q: Was Fr George Gapon who led the demonstration against the Tsar in 1905 really Orthodox?

A: He was ordained canonically, but he was very much an extreme left-winger. He belonged to the Social Revolutionary Party and lived with a woman, which was allowed by the Protestant-minded Metr Antony (Vadkovsky) of Saint Petersburg, who was and is very controversial. (Some have suspected that Metr Antony was a freemason, like Protopresbyter George Shavelsky). Fr George Gapon finished very badly, being hanged in 1906 by the violent revolutionary Ruthenberg who had led the 1905 demonstration and terrorist attack on the forces of law and order. I think we can say that Gapon was not only uncanonical but not Orthodox at all. In this he is like Ilya Fundaminsky, who came from one of the richest Jewish families in Russia, became a terrorist, emigrated to France, where he was baptised under Rue Daru, and a few years ago was canonized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople for having been murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz.

Q: What do you think of the decision by a British school that boys must not wear shorts, but skirts, because shorts are gender-specific?

A: Here is the result of what became common here over 50 years ago (in the USA long before) and is now nearly universal – the wearing of trousers by females. The mixing of the sexes causes spiritual confusion. Here is the result. The word ‘sex’ means ‘cut’, in other words men are men and women are women. But we are now in the era of transgenderism and so spiritual catastrophe.

Q: How do we answer critics who say that the Orthodox Church is so old-fashioned that it is antediluvian? I mean we have no women-priests and will never have any, we do not have same-sex marriages, we do not even have pews or organs, which the Non-Orthodox started having already 200-400 years ago. To them we are primitive.

A: What a curious, but also very eloquent viewpoint – antediluvian! I think that people who say such things are themselves ‘diluvian’, that is to say, they have been submerged beneath the Flood of secularism. In that sense we are ‘anti-diluvian’, but not antediluvian! I would answer them that and say that we, on the contrary, are ‘post-diluvian’, that is to say, we are looking forward to what is coming after the present Flood of secularism, to the Kingdom of God, which is coming, one way or the other, and quite soon. They are spiritually primitive – we are not.

Q: Is perfectionism a virtue or a vice?

A: A vice, even, indeed, a spiritual curse. There is an old story of a monk who was a brilliant icon-painter who was praised for his painting. From that moment on he began putting a small mistake into everything he did. Perfectionism is pride, we even say ‘take pride in what you do’. Yes, of course, bodging, Coggeshall jobs and second-rate work is bad, to be avoided, but we should do things as well as we can, but we should know that perfection is beyond us human-beings.

Q: What do you think of the decision by two-thirds of Irish people to legalize child-murder?

A: Once Ireland had agreed to enter the secularist EU, this was inevitable. The same will happen in Poland in a few years time. If you sell your soul to the devil for an EU mess of pottage, here are the consequences.

Q: What do you think are the weaknesses of the European peoples?

A: Any such generalization is bound to have a thousand exceptions and can only be vague. And it would be more pleasant to talk about strengths than weaknesses. But if you insist: Today (I am not talking about Western culture 1,000 years ago or even 500 years ago, which was different) I think all the Western peoples suffer from an almost uncontrollable desire to tell the rest of the world how to live and to meddle in their civilizations. (Why else does the LGBT flag fly over the British Embassy in Minsk?).

More specifically, I think with the Protestant British (and to a large extent the Protestant Dutch and the Swiss Germans), it is a slavish love of money, a real obsession (why else do British media obsessively report Stock Exchange rates and currency values and encourage people to save as soon as they are born?). This enslavement was taken by the British to North America, hence their enslavement to the dollar. With the Germans it is the need to give orders and create order, as we see from their history. With the French it is hedonism, the obsession with the aesthetic, with ‘look’ and ‘image’. With the Italians it is their obsession with all forms of art, as everywhere, for example, in Venice and Florence and as in opera. With the Spanish it is an obsession with blood and cruelty, as we see in the Inquisition, in Goya and in bullfighting. With the Portuguese it is their melancholy regret for what they have lost, as in the fado With the Scandinavians it is obsession with impossible thisworldly justice, which comes from their narrow and worldly Lutheran culture. With the Russians it is the obsessive need to be accepted (which comes from the national inferiority complex, which began with their apostasy from Orthodoxy in the late 17th century and their superficial adoption of Western values). With the Jews it is (not money – which is a nasty anti-Jewish myth), but the obsession with acquiring power, which goes back to the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem after the glory days under David and Solomon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Music Echoes, for the Glory is Gone

There are those in Corsica who virtually worship Napoleon, ‘the local boy who made good’, taking over the colonial power of mighty France and very nearly all Europe, like a new Roman Emperor. In the same way there are those in Georgia who adore the Georgian Stalin, who took over big brother Russia and Eastern Europe. And there are those in Austria who adore the Austrian Hitler, who took over colonial Germany and even more of Europe than Napoleon, from the Atlantic to the Volga. This is in part why Hitler was (and in parts still is) very popular in Austria. And that is why the Hollywood musical ‘The Sound of Music’ has never been liked in Austria.

The film was made by the Jewish-run MGM studios (Samuel Goldwin (Szmuel Gelbfisz) was a Polish Jew and Louis Mayer (Lazar Meir) was a Belorussian Jew, the songwriters Rodgers was a German Jew as was Hammerstein’s father). The film tells the story of how an Austrian family fled Hitler (in general, it was only Austrian Jews who fled Hitler), thus condemning the Jew-hating Western culture of the Nazis (The Nazis only massacred in Europe as other Western peoples had already done in the Americas, Africa and Asia). Released in 1965, it soon became one of the most popular musicals of all time and people loved its sugary sentimentalism, which the critics disliked.

Made at a time when those who worked in Hollywood were still largely Europeans, drawn to Hollywood by high salaries, and set in ‘Old World’ Europe, the film reflects old European Christian family and patriotic values – little Austria against giant Germany. What interests us here is the opening song:

The hills are alive with the sound of music,

With songs they have sung for a thousand years…

We suggest that the choice of these words is not at all random. What were the songs that had been sung for a thousand years before the 1938 Anschluss of Austria (938-1938)? We suggest that they were the songs of Western culture, the fruit of the first millennium of the Christian Faith in Western Europe. In this light we can say that this film is a lament for everything that was good in Western culture. By 1965 that was rapidly dying out, monastic life as portrayed in the film is gone, with its nuns’ habits and beautiful singing. By 1965 it had been abolished by the protestantizing and infantilizing Second Vatican Council.

The songs that ‘they have sung for a thousand years’ had fallen silent. Why? Because the Western world had deserted the Christian foundation of that culture through its apostasy. Its churches have emptied in favour of television, its classical music, played so well in the film, has been abandoned for rock ‘n’ roll. Today Austria has a huge Muslim population, sent it by tyrannical Brussels. In 1900 Vienna had been the cultural capital of Europe, but since then, Austria has become just another EU vassal state, its glory gone. The sounds of music may still be heard, but only because the songs were sung in the past: today they are but echoes. In the last fifty years we have witnessed the death of Christian culture in the West.

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.