Towards a Map of Western European Holiness

By origin the word Europe means ‘the land of the sunset’, that is, the west, for it lies at the western tip of the 54.5 million square kilometres of the Eurasian Continent. Measuring 10.5 million square kilometres, only one fifth of the whole of Eurasia, Europe from a Church viewpoint can be divided into three parts. Over 50%, or 5.5 million square kilometres, 4.5 million square kilometres in Russia and just over 1 million in the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, is canonical Russian Orthodox territory. The second part covers 1.4 million square kilometres and is the territory of various Local Orthodox Churches, the Romanian, Serbian (whose territory includes all of ex-Yugoslavia), Greek, Bulgarian, Polish, Czecho-slovak, and Albanian. This is two-thirds of Europe. There remains the final third of 3.6 million square kilometres.

This may be called Western Europe, even though it includes Central Europe, Hungary and Finland. The name can be justified because this part of Europe has for nearly one thousand years been isolated from the Church. This was as a result of the spiritual delusions, and so intellectual and political disaffection, jealousy and hostility towards the Church, of the governing elite of Western Europe. In other words, this is ex-Catholic and ex-Protestant Europe. Going from west to east and north to south, this means the 25 countries of: Iceland, Ireland, the British Isles (the three countries of Wales, England and Scotland), Norway, Denmark (and the Faeroes), Sweden, Finland; the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany; France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Hungary; Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Italy, San Marino and Malta.

There exist many maps of this Western Europe. Some show the borders of the various states and the main cities; others show seas and lakes, hills and mountains; others show population density; others show the main roads and railways; others show the longevity of the population. And yet, although a millennium ago this Western Europe had a history of holiness, that is, of Orthodoxy, because this history has been forgotten, there is as yet no map showing the places hallowed by its saints who received the holiness brought to it from the east. If we drew up such a map of its saints, we would find huge variations. For example, in the very sparsely-populated Nordic countries, over one third of the area, we find little holiness, with no known native saints in Iceland and Finland and only a handful in Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

However, in the rest of this Western Europe we find a very different situation. The centre of its holiness is what is now Italy (and San Marino), close to the source of the Faith in the East with the capital of Rome. From here holiness spread north to Gaul, now France, the second centre of holiness, to southern England and from there to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and from there to Austria and Hungary. From Gaul holiness also spread east to Switzerland, south and west to Andorra, Spain and Portugal, and north to what is now Belgium and above all to the thebaid of saints in Ireland, converted by the monastic life brought to them from Egypt via Gaul. Their influence spread back to east and south, to all the Celtic lands, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, and also to northern England, Belgium, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The first saints of this First Western Europe are of course the leading apostles, Peter and Paul, together with St James the Apostle in Galicia, as well as a huge number of internationally-venerated martyrs, especially in Rome, like St Pancras of Taormina (1st cent.),  St Clement (100), St Ignatius of Antioch (c. 107), Sts Sophia, Hope, Faith and Love (2nd cent.), St Tatiana (225), St Cecilia (230), St Hippolytus of Rome (c. 235), St Agatha (251), St Lawrence (258), St Eugenia (262), Sts Chrysanthus and Daria (283), Sts Sebastian and Comps (287), St Maurice of Agaunum and the Theban Legion (287), St Anastasia of Rome (304), St Lucy of Syracuse (304), Sts Agapia, Chionia and Irene (304), St Vincent of Spain (304), St Eulalia of Barcelona (304), St Januarius of Pozzuoli (c. 305), St Alban of Verulamium (c. 305), St Pancras (early 4th cent), St Agnes (c. 350).

It includes Church Fathers like St Justin Martyr (165),  St Irinei of Lyon (200), St Hilary of Poitiers (368), St Ambrose of Milan (387), St John Cassian (433), St Vincent of Lerins (445), Blessed Jerome of Stridon (c. 420), St Leo the Great (461), St Gregory the Great, called the Dialogist (604), St Maximus the Confessor (662). It includes pious bishops with Gallo-Romans like St Martial of Limoges (c. 250), St Saturninus of Toulouse (257), St Julian of Le Mans (Cenomansis) (3rd cent), St Paulinus of Nola (431), St Germanus of Auxerre (448), then later St Remigius (533), St Germanus of Paris (576), St Gregory of Tours (594), St Leander (601), St Valery (621), St Fulgentius (633), St Isidore of Seville (636), St Eligius (660), St Omer (670), St Amand (675), St Julian of Toledo (690), St Lambert (705), St Hubert (727), St Gregory of Utrecht (776).

It includes monastic founders like St Martin the Merciful of Tours (397), St Genevieve of Paris (500), St Benedict of Nursia (550), St Martin of Braga (580), St David of Wales (589), St Columba of Iona, Enlightener of Scotland (597), St Columban of Luxeuil (615), St Hilda of Whitby (680), St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (687), St Odile of Alsace (720). It includes confessors who evangelized whole stretches of this Europe, like the Roman-Britons St Ninian, Apostle of the Picts (450), St Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland (461), the English St Willibrord-Clement in the Netherlands (739) and St Boniface of Fulda, martyred in Frisia (754), St Anschar of Hamburg (865). It includes pious kings and queens, St Bathilde (545), St Oswald (642), St Clotilde (680), St Edmund of East Anglia (869), St Edward the Martyr (879), St Olaf of Sweden (950), St Olaf of Norway (1030).

The list of saints is immense. There are some ten thousand names of saints of Western Europe, martyrs and confessors, men and women, internationally-venerated and only locally-venerated, some with highly detailed lives, others little more than names. Forty-five years ago we began work on the Saints of England, despite the lack of any encouragement. Then thirty-five years ago we began work on the Saints of what is now France. However, that work was interrupted by the negativity of the then Exarchate in Paris and other concerns, one of which was work on the Saints of Iberia twenty-five years ago. That work helped lead to their recent adoption into a feast of the Diocese of Iberia under Archbishop Nestor. Now with a real Russian Exarchate for Western Europe in Paris, we will be turning our attention back to the Saints of what is now France.

Centralism and Autocephalism: Two False Models of the Church

There was a time when the Orthodox Church consisted of five, and then four Patriarchates, as well as autocephalous Churches in Cyprus and Georgia. Yet today there are as many as fourteen (and some claim fifteen) Independent (Autocephalous) Churches. And most of them are small and some of them are very small indeed. This profusion of autocephalies over the last 200 years is seen as a movement towards Protestant-style nationalism, as with ‘the Church of England’, ‘the Church of Sweden’, ‘the Church of Norway’ etc. On the other hand, today there is a desire by many in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, one of the smallest Churches, to gather all of the Local Churches together, following their model of Roman Catholicism. What is the Orthodox view, between these competing centrifugal and centripetal theories?

It is clear that there can be no such thing as a Church with universal jurisdiction, which is the Papal aberration and its false theology. Any such organization will inevitably fall to the thirst for power and imperialist corruption, precisely as we can see down the centuries in Roman Catholicism since 1054, when it was first invented. This is where the contemporary Phanariot imperialism of Constantinople is wrong and will never succeed. On the other hand, some sort of European tribalism, according to which there should be a national Church for each small tribe living on the Western tip of Eurasia also seems absurd. All of ex-Catholic/ex-Protestant Western Europe forms a very similar cultural area and suffers very similar conditions. Why should each small ethnic sub-group have its own national Church there?

This is the sense of the present Exarchate of Western Europe of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose destiny is to become the single Local Church of Western Europe, replacing the old Roman Orthodox Patriarchate. It should one day include all of ex-Catholic and ex-Protestant Europe, including Germany and all the Nordic countries, together, naturally, with Finland, and possibly with Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Each country could then well develop into a Metropolia with a Synod of bishops, but not into an individual Church, similar to the situation in the Baltic States. This would mean that the present Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia would give up their politically-motivated autocephalies, which is a possibility.

At the very least, there has to be one Patriarchal Church per Continent. Certainly, there should be one Church for North America, one for Latin America, one for Oceania and one for Africa – as there already is with the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Those who live on each of these Continents surely have so much in common that there would seem to be no need for national or Autocephalous Churches for each country on them. This would mean four Autocephalous-Continental Churches. The problem comes with Eurasia, which is essentially one huge Continent, with over 54 million square kilometres (just over three million forming Western Europe), larger than North America, South America and Oceania put together and nearly twice the size of Africa. Here there are so many cultures that there has to be more than one Local Church.

We have already spoken of one Church for ex-Catholic/ex-Protestant Europe. However, there would also need to be a Church for Balkan Europe, perhaps called the Church of Constantinople (but centred perhaps in Thessaloniki, the city of the Apostles of the Slavs, so without Greek racism or phyletism). This would unite the present six Autocephalous Churches of Romania, Pech (Serbia and all the South Slav Lands), Greece, Constantinople, Bulgaria and Albania into one. Clearly, the Eurasian Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, covering one seventh of the Earth’s surface, would remain Autocephalous. The Arab-speaking Patriarchate of Antioch, still little for the moment, would have to take on itself the evangelization of the Arab Middle East, overcoming the narrow ethnic barriers of controlling families.

There should be Autocephalous Churches for China and India, once they have grown, as these are huge civilizations, whose populations together number one third of the world’s people. And there should also be a Church for ex-Buddhist/ex-Muslim South-East Asia (hoped for and anticipated by the establishment in 2018 by the Russian Orthodox Church of an Exarchate there). As for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, though tiny, it must remain as the Mother-Church of all. It could also take into itself the Churches of Georgia and Cyprus, which would help internationalize it, as must happen if the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is to be taken seriously once more. This would make Twelve Autocephalous, Patriarchal Churches in all. Would this not be enough for the long-awaited evangelization of the world?

The Essence of the Rue Daru Crisis: The Protestant-Style Rejection of Episcopal Authority

Dedicated to Protopresbyter Alexij Kniazeff, Rector of Saint Sergius, Who Knew and Loved and Wanted to Return to the Russian Church

A small group of financially well-off Orthodox, mainly from four Western European countries and centred around their quite small church on Rue Daru in Paris (a church which they did not build and which does not belong to them), their leaders mostly of aristocratic Russian descent, is in crisis. Why? Because after nearly 90 years the Turkish-based Patriarchate of Constantinople no longer wants to keep them as a separate entity within itself, but to absorb them into its local Greek dioceses. There should not really be a crisis because, logically, the group should simply obey their Patriarch: indeed, many would say that the group should have been assimilated after the last Russian-born archbishop died in 1981 and the Greeks have been very patient. Yet, crisis there is. Why?

The essence of the Rue Daru problem is that this unstable group has never accepted any episcopal authority. This is why it left both parts of the Russian Church (inside and outside Russia), both on two occasions, so four times in all, (though claiming to be ‘of the Russian tradition’!!). This is why it refused to obey its first Metropolitan, Eulogius, in 1945 and, unlike him, return to the Russian Church and why, much more recently, it refused to obey its Archbishop Job, sent to it by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, effectively ejecting him. For nearly 90 years the group has been under no Synodal episcopal authority and has been allowed to develop its own fantasies as much as it wanted. Many of its parishes for many decades never saw a bishop even once. And they did not wish to.

Its original leaders, Westernized aristocrats and intellectuals, active in Saint Petersburg before the Revolution, always admired Protestantism. They developed a philosophy of Orthodoxy as a set of ideas, a liberal-bourgeois freethinking ideology, not as a way of life. This why the group has always been anti-episcopal, anti-monastic and congregational. This is why its senior laypeople have always controlled their bishops, electing weak personalities or academics (‘eveques de bibliotheque’) to the episcopate, and, whenever their bishops did want to control them, the laypeople disobeyed them. This is why it developed a heresy called Sophianism, some very bizarre liturgical practices, and many of its senior members were freemasons and some worked for the French Spy services.

The Rue Daru philosophers developed a Protestant-style ideology called ‘eucharistic ecclesiology’ in order to justify their actions. Controlling the Church media and printing presses, with the help of Catholicism (SOP) and Protestantism (YMCA), they propagandized this fantasy. However, in its weakness, until recently, the Patriarchate of Constantinople had left the group to its own fate and never tried to impose episcopal authority on it. Finally, it had enough of the rebels and in November 2018 it dissolved the group, which is now reduced to having a single 75-year old ex-Catholic (exactly like its previous archbishop) for archbishop. Such is the inevitable result of 90 years of anti-episcopalianism and anti-monasticism – it is unable to produce any bishops of its own.

Anti-episcopal, it has never wanted or been able to run its affairs on Synodal (Synod = a group of bishops) lines, like every other Local Orthodox Church always has. It has always been run by a group of power-keeping laypeople, often intermarried, working like a mafia. Any who did not belong to them (for example because they were born in Russia or Moldova, or came from a modest background or, above all, because they followed the Orthodox Tradition) had no say. As a result of its basically racist and class-based exclusivism, over the decades many parishes, clergy and people left it, including for instance the present Metropolitan Athenagoras, a Non-Russian, in Belgium. Thus, the group became ever and ever smaller, almost incestuous, more and more inward-looking and intolerant.

Since last November, more parishes have left the Rue Daru group to join canonical Local Churches. Next month, nearly a year late, the hesitant remnants of the group are to hold a much-delayed meeting to decide what finally they are going to do. The most likely outcome is that perhaps 50% of the group, including the Archbishop, several senior clergy of Russian origin and many Russian-founded parishes in France, will return to the Russian Orthodox Church. However, some 50% on the fringes of the group, who have no idea what the Russian Tradition is, may join various small Local Churches, Constantinople and Antioch (suitable for many of the tiny and elderly ex-Anglican communities in England) and some may simply join sects or set up their own modernist sect.

It is in any case the end of the road for the group and an object-lesson in what happens when you navel-gaze, proudly imagining that you are the centre of the world and, however obviously absurd it is to everyone outside the group, that you are the only true Orthodox. The Orthodox world is much bigger than the tiny minds of liberal bourgeois Parisians. For the Church is not a sect, as it is One, part of the whole; the Church makes saints, not philosophers, as it is Holy; the Church is Catholic, not a Parisian sect, as it operates everywhere and throughout history; the Church is apostolic, as it accepts the authority of bishops, the successors of the apostles. Show Christian humility by accepting the reality of episcopal and apostolic authority or else disappear.  It really is as simple as that.

Q and A June-July-August 2019

Theological Matters

Q; How can we know God? Surely those with education are at an advantage here?

A: We must distinguish between knowledge and understanding, which is real intelligence, the ability to make sense of things, not simply the remembrance of facts. Knowledge is open to all who have a good memory, as also are academic careers. However, having a good memory does not mean understanding. We do not understand with our brains, but with our hearts. And though not all have good memories, all have hearts. Unfortunately, most people do not use their hearts.

Sometimes hearts lie fallow like fields because their owners live only a physical life, using only, and often abusing, their bodies. Sometimes hearts are quite unused, lying like stony ground because of the overuse of the brain and priority given to knowledge, to mere facts. Sometimes hearts are so full of superficial and deluding emotions, at best ‘emotional intelligence’, that they have no depth – thus they are choked with weeds.

To cleanse our hearts, thus sowing faith and gaining humility, is to take the first step towards knowing God, that is, towards understanding, towards spiritual intelligence, what is called the ‘nous’ in Greek. Knowledge is an illusion; we must know how to interpret knowledge, factual information, before it can be of any use in the main task, which is spiritual advancement. Like the illiterate fishermen of Galilee, the martyrs did not have university degrees and we do not need them in order to become martyrs; in order to become a saint the first thing we need is humility, not education.

Q: Where does Orthodoxy stand in the Creationism/Evolution debate?

A: Creationism is basically Protestant in its rationalist word-for-word literalism, because it lacks any understanding of the beyond, of the sacramental and mystical reality of life, whereas Evolutionism is basically Roman Catholic, since it is an intellectual, not to say, Jesuitical, rationalization. In other words, both secular isms attempt rationalistically and humanistically to limit our understanding of the acts of God to the size of our tiny human reason.

The Orthodox understanding is the sacramental understanding of life, which understands the significance of outward details in their relation to the inward facts of God and salvation. Everything in visible Creation represents the heavenly. St Nicholas (Velimirovich) wrote of this especially clearly in his ‘Signs and Symbols’, as he was profoundly Apostolic and therefore Patristic in his thought. Orthodoxy is the way of the Holy Spirit, of grace, of the ascetic, of the Tradition. We should not make isms. Thus, God created all things, man lived and fell, and so man must repent. That is all we need to know. Everything else is just rationalistic speculation, intellectual games. Let the impenetrable mysteries of God the Creator, how and when He created, remain. We can never know these mysteries, we can only catch glimpses of what is beyond the veil. God is infinitely greater than man.

Q: Many non-believers say that God is a crutch, invented by and for weak-minded and weak-willed people to get them through life. What would you reply?

A: Although God made man in His own image, fallen man continually attempts to make God in his own image. Thus, God is a crutch only if you make Him into a crutch for yourself, which is what Voltaire (‘if God did not exist, man would have to invent Him’) and later the proto-Fascist and also madman Nietzsche proposed. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries especially, ideologues tried to use the idea of God to justify this ‘crutchism’, not to mention Fascism, Communism, racism, capitalism and consumerism (‘riches are God’s blessing to those who believe in Him’ – one of the recent American exports to China).

However, to make God in your own image is called idolatry, as it makes the Living God into a manmade idol. Idolatry is continually denounced in the Old Testament, to which most of the world now seems to have returned. Why? Because the world has largely abandoned the New Testament because of its laziness and deluded lack of faith, summed up in the words: ‘Christianity is too hard’. This has been the slogan of the West for a thousand years and has justified all of its falls from Orthodoxy. As Chesterton truly said of the West: ‘It is not that Christianity has failed, it is rather that Christianity has never been tried’.

Q: What is the difference between secular unity (of the US and EU type) and Church unity?

A: Secular unity is always of the ‘one size fits all’ sort, as practised by the pagan Roman, British, European and any other secular Empire, including the Papal and the Phanariot. Church unity is always unity in diversity. It does not impose one language or one approach, but says there are ‘many mansions in the Father’s Kingdom’.

Q: Why does Catholicism place such emphasis on suffering for redemption and what they call ‘atonement’ or ‘reparation’?

A: This is not only true of Catholicism, but also of Protestantism, which inherited it from Catholicism. It originates in the Catholic (Anselmian / late 11th century) cult and doctrine of the Redemption. This asserts that we were saved by Christ’s suffering on the Cross before the punishing feudal God the Father who demanded His Son’s death as a propitiatory sacrifice and demands human suffering. This is to confuse cause and effect.

For Orthodox we were saved by the Resurrection (the Crucifixion was of course the necessary path to the Resurrection). Christ freed the captives from hell through his Resurrection, which came about after His Crucifixion, when His soul went down to Hell and defeated the devil, who alone is the author of suffering. This is why heterodox celebrate Good Friday and not Easter Sunday. This is why piety among them is seen as suffering and even false suffering, pretending to suffer, seeking suffering, when in fact they make others, not least Orthodox, suffer.

Q: An American from St Vladimir’s has tried to persuade me that Judas repented, because that is what it says in the King James Gospel before it says that he ‘went and hanged himself’. How do I answer this?

A: St Vladimir’s has often been a hotbed of American Protestantism.

It is true that Judas did regret what he did (‘he repented himself’ in early 17th century English in Matt 27), but this is not repentance. We can imagine that almost all suicides regret what they have done in their lives (Hitler must have regretted many tactical mistakes, such as invading Russia, before he died), but regret is not at all the same as repentance. When people throw themselves under trains, and it often happens, they die full of regret. But there is no repentance. Otherwise they would not commit suicide so selfishly (and create inconvenience to the lives of tens of thousands and mental breakdown to train drivers) and would have made up for their feelings of regret, which wipe away the feeling of regret. Ask the Apostles Peter and Paul in prayer and they will tell you what repentance is.

Q: What is the difference between piety and pietism?

A: Piety is the natural effect on human behaviour after the human heart has been touched by the Holy Spirit. Pietism is a disease, an artificial affectation, the self-willed effects of an intellectual and pathological decision to pretend to be pious. It can easily be diagnosed because it is always coloured by priggish, self-righteous pride, aggressiveness and vanity, a lack of humility and love for one’s neighbour.

Q: What do you make of the Pope’s decision to change the wording of the Lord’s Prayer in Italian from ‘Lead us not into temptation’ to something like ‘Avoid putting us to the test’, because otherwise some might think that God tempts us?

A: There is nothing new in this change. The Anglicans did the same some fifty years ago and the change seems to be yet another example of the Protestantization of Catholicism. True, the rewording is something of an explanation of the original words. However, temptations inevitably happen to us in the fallen world (they happened to Christ, for example, in the wilderness) and they are very positive if they are resisted, as they build us up, making us stronger and mature. (There is no maturity without undergoing temptations). Even ignoring this, the ‘rewording does seem very strange: by what authority does the Pope ‘correct’ the Saviour’s wording? And why does he think that believers can be so infantile as to think that God deliberately leads us into sin? Is he the Pope of doubters and sceptics?

Q: What do you think of Vladimir Lossky’s ‘The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church’?

A: I think it is an excellent academic overview of the Church’s theology, written by an Orthodox if Paris-trained intellectual. My only regret is the title, which is clearly aimed at Non-Orthodox. First of all, ‘Eastern Orthodox’ means in reality only Orthodox who live in the Middle East – Russians, for example, never call themselves ‘Eastern Orthodox’. I am not Eastern Orthodox. And then, why ‘mystical’? All theology is mystical, i.e. meta-rational, above the reason. Otherwise it is not theology, merely philosophy. A better title would be: ‘An Academic View of Authentic Christian Theology’.

Q: How do you keep faith alive today in such conditions of cynicism, of what they call post-modernism?

A: Cynicism is by definition the lack of faith. Post-modernism is the lack of any ideals caused by the lack of faith. For us there is only one ideal – Christ (and therefore all those who tried to follow Christ in and through the Church, the saints and the righteous. This excludes a lot of the people who claim to be in the Church, especially those among the senior clergy, for as the proverb says, ‘A fish rots from the head’). St Seraphim of Sarov did not live in Saint Petersburg (true St Xenia did, but as a tramp or drop-out), Elder Nikolai Guryanov lived on an isolated island in a lake and his teachings are still mocked by know-it-all-and-understand-nothing ‘Orthodox’ intellectuals in Moscow today. There is no surprise here, for Christ Himself did not live in Jerusalem (where they killed Him), but in the ‘backward’ province of Galilee. Thus, my answer is simple: Have faith in Christ, and if you do not have that, seek faith in Christ – and you will find faith. Then you will have an ideal and the cynicism that sinful men create will not vanquish you.

Q: When the clergy wear red in honour of the feasts of the martyrs, there is often so much gold colour in the red that it is more gold than red. Why?

A: To represent the glory of the martyrs. Martyrdom is not a defeat for us, but a victory. Red leads to gold; the blood of martyrdom to heavenly crowns.

Russian History and the Russian Church

Q: Was it only the Bolsheviks who destroyed Imperial Russia? What part did other countries in the First World War play in its destruction?

A: The only Christian Empire, Imperial Russia, was primarily betrayed by the loss of faith and so apostasy of its own leaders of the left and the right. And this long before the Bolsheviks came to power. Indeed, it can be said that the Bolsheviks were only latecomers, the opportunist flotsam and jetsam of history, a band of ruthless terrorists and thieves, the lowest of the low. They were led for the most part by apostate Jews and many of their victims were pious Jews. The Bolsheviks did not lead or start the so-called ‘Russian Revolution’ in any way, they were just parasites on the back of history. They never admitted this, because lying was inherent to their nature, as Solzhenitsyn later pointed out in his ‘Do not live according to lies’.

All the forces that destroyed Imperial Russia can be seen in the murder of the healer and prophet Gregory Rasputin, who is venerated by some pious Orthodox, especially inside Russia, as the first martyr of the Revolution three months before the others. His depraved murderers were: the liberal Anglophile/Francophile and transvestite aristocrat Yusupov; the right-wing Germanophile politican and so-called ‘monarchist’ Purishkevich; and two British spies, one an Odessa Jew under the alias of Sidney (Solomon) Reilly.

In this we see all the enemies of Christianity; the liberal modernist ecumenistic pro-British and pro-French traitors (later of the Paris School, whose sorry liberal influence parts of the OCA is still trying to cleanse itself of; it even denounces normal, middle-of-the-road Orthodox as ‘conservative’!); equally treacherous, pro-German (and later pro-Nazi), nationalistic, moralistic and pharisaical narrow-minded right-wingers; the apostate West, of Britain, France and Germany (later of the USA); Zionism.

However, it is Russian people themselves, both the elite and all who passively followed them, who are primarily responsible. They did not have to listen to any of the siren voices coming from the West and the West cannot be blamed for any of the primary responsibility. Maturity is the taking on of responsibility for the consequences of one’s own sins, as the New Martyrs did. Immaturity is blaming others: typically, children do that all the time – adults should not.

Q: When will unity between the various groups in the Russian Church come in North America and Western Europe? And what about the calendar question? Surely ROCOR would never agree to take on parishes, like the OCA ones, which use the new calendar for the fixed feasts?

A: There are at present three groups in North America (ROCOR, OCA – which are probably about the same size, even if the OCA has hundreds of tiny groups – and some 40 MP parishes) and two groups in Western Europe (about 70 ROCOR parishes and 200 MP parishes). They are all basically parts of the Russian Church, even though the OCA has a piece of paper granting it ‘autocephaly’ – though everyone knows that that independence is more or less a myth.

Unity will come with time. Both ROCOR and the OCA (and to some extent the MP parishes) were at daggers drawn during the Cold War because of their inherent political secularism and lack of spirituality. The OCA suffered from extreme Paris liberalism and the disease of ‘autocephalism’, uncanonical actions and downright episcopal immorality, the persecution of married clergy (not unknown elsewhere), with the result that it is still controlled by prematurely-appointed protopresbyters (the norm is 55 years of priesthood), like a Presbyterian Protestant group.

ROCOR suffered from what can be called in one nightmarish word ‘Grabbe’ (= narrow-minded phariseeism, inward persecution by the spiritually proud, loveless, racist, ritualist, exclusivist ghettoism and right-wing sectarianism of the ‘One True Church’ variety). However, now that the political extremists everywhere have either died, left, or else are at last starting to die out from old age, having inflicted intense suffering on others almost all their lives, there is hope for the future.

We have all suffered enough; when the last vestiges of these trends have gone, the Church will be free at last to move forward: I just hope we will not all be too old ourselves after over forty years, so far, of unnecessary delay and frustration.

For only when both groups have freed themselves from this extremist past can unity take place. There is already hope. Metr Jonah, once of the OCA, is now a retired Metropolitan in ROCOR, as is Bishop Nikolai (formerly of Alaska). And both current Metropolitans are well-disposed to one another. But both have to drag their groups behind them and in ROCOR we have certainly suffered from much extremist aggressiveness from the OCA in the past, but that was sometimes mutual. This process could take another generation and there must be progress on both sides. In Western Europe, hope for progress is also there, but ROCOR has suffered so much in the past from immorality or incompetence on the part of bishops of the MP. Trust has to be built. And that will take time.

The new calendar? A problem? How short are memories! Until 1991 ROCOR had several new calendar Romanian and Bulgarian parishes. There was no problem with that. If people are so weak that they need to have the fixed feasts on the new calendar, ROCOR can accept them by economy.

Q: Why does the Russian Church not hand back the Moldovan Orthodox Church back to Romania?

A: The simple answer to this is that only the Moldovan Orthodox themselves can decide which Patriarchate they want to be under; it is not for the Russian Church to do anything. You cannot ‘hand back’ what does not belong to you. The Moldovan Church is part of the Russian Church of its own freewill. The days of dictatorship in Eastern Europe are over, sadly the Romanian Church does not seem to realize this: if Moldovan Orthodox themselves, after nearly 200 years, with one short gap, within the Russian Church, wish to go under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Church (which, like Romania itself, did not even exist 200 years ago), they will do so.

What must be avoided is any kind of uncanonical, political and imperialist interference, including force and bribery, on Moldovan territory by the Romanian Church to make the Moldovan Orthodox change jurisdictions. This would be the same basic lack of canonicity and US-backed ecclesiastical imperialism as recently exercised by Constantinople in the Ukraine with such disastrous results, resulting in the Constantinople schism and its fall from grace. Moldovans have all told me that they don’t want to join the Romanian Church, as it is corrupted by simony. If the Romanian Church first sorts out its own house, perhaps the Moldovans would like to join it, providing they do not have to use the Roman Catholic calendar. That is up to them.

Q: Why does the Russian Church insist that bishops be monks? The Greek Church does not.

A: The answer is in the words of the ever-memorable Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky): ‘A scholarly monk who has been removed from his monastic setting and who is unable to form an attachment to another Church institution is liable to be tempted to love nothing but himself’. Of course, in the Russian Church too anyone can formally become a monk, without actually being so. So there is no guarantee that a Russian bishop is better than a Greek bishop because he is formally a monk. He can be exactly as narcissistic despite outward resemblances.

In fact, it is not the lack of nominal monasticism, but the lack of genuine monastic life among the Orthodox Christian episcopate, Greek or Russian, which is its bane. However, something similar can be said of those in the married state: he who is not obedient to marriage and does not love his spouse and children can also end up ‘liable to be tempted to love nothing but himself’. This is the danger of the refusal to marry or to become monastics, that is, the danger of celibacy without monasticism. Both the bachelor and the spinster, or for that matter, Roman Catholic priests, suffer terribly from the temptations of selfishness. All the best Roman Catholic priests I have met have been married with children (behind the backs of their bishops).

Q: Some people think that we will one day have a Tsar in Russia?

A: Of course, we will. That is exactly what we in England, and elsewhere, have been praying and working for over the last 100 years. He will not only be a Tsar in Russia, but a Tsar for all Orthodox everywhere. Our task now is to be like so many St John the Baptists, preparing the way, forerunning.

Western History

Q: When in history does the mentality ‘the West is better than the rest’ originate?

A: This mentality can first be found in the racist cruelty of the pagan Roman Empire, with its barbaric invasions, plundering and asset-stripping of other countries and endemic slavery. However, after the invasion of the West by the Germanic barbarians, the West was humbled and this proud and self-adoring mentality largely disappeared under the influence of the Christian enlightenment provided by humble Orthodox saints.

This situation lasted until the eleventh century – with the notable exception of Charlemagne’s massacre of the Saxons in the late eighth century, which happened precisely because he was trying to revive the pagan Roman Empire and so created what later came to be called Roman Catholicism. Thus, after the Year 1000, we can see this mentality very clearly in the Norman massacres in England after 1066 and in Jerusalem under the barbarian Crusaders in the late eleventh century, and again in the plundering of the Christian capital of New Rome in 1204 by other Roman Catholics. ‘Kill them all, God will recognize His own’, shouted the murderous Roman Catholic Dominicans in 13th century France – that too was the same mentality. All those who did not accept this mentality of the New West had to be terrorized and massacred into submission.

The Spanish and Portuguese Conquest of the Americas, annihilating the advanced civilizations there and so creating in their places the jungles of Guatemala and the Amazon, was the same. So were the massacres of Polish-led Uniatism in the 17th century. Other Western European countries simply followed this mentality in developing the slave trade and Empire-building, The war-crime massacres of the Carpatho-Russians by the Austro-Hungarians in the First World War and the German massacre of 30 million Slavs in their holocaust in the Second World War was only what the Spanish and the Portuguese, the British and the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and the Italians had already done to the Native Americans, Africans and Asians. And as for that notorious American general who some sixty years ago more or less said, ‘Bomb them back to the Stone Age’, he only repeated a tradition that was already 900 years old.

Q: What do the terms ‘Anglo-Saxon’ and ‘Byzantine’ mean?

A: Non-Christians and non-conscious (= Non-Orthodox) Christians use these terms to mean Orthodox English and Orthodox Roman. In the same way Non-Christians and non-conscious Christians call the late medieval revival of paganism ‘The Renaissance’ and also almost everywhere use the term ‘Christian’ to mean Non-Orthodox Christian, i. e. heretical. (For instance, they write: ‘Christians sacked Byzantium’, when what they mean is ‘barbaric anti-Christian heretics plundered the Christian Capital’). When secularist historians write of ‘Normans versus Saxons’, or ‘Franks versus Gallo-Romans’, they mean heretics versus English Christians or versus Western European Christians. Today, they say ‘modern versus traditional’ – it still means heretics versus Orthodox Christians.

Men and Women

Q: Why are there more women than men in churches?

A: Women are generally more sensitive and emotionally open than rationalizing men, who get blocked from faith by their brains, and so women access faith more easily, instinctively, by feeling and intuition. This is very positive. On top of this, every woman who has given birth has been through an experience that can only be likened to a near-death experience. Rare is the woman who does not admit the existence of God after giving birth. However, the downside of this is that women’s religious practice can be less sober and is more often coloured by sentimentalism and emotionalism, which in turn can lead to superstition, the disease of seeing ‘coincidences’ everywhere and misinterpreting them, fetishism or ‘lucky charmism’ and, in extreme cases, hysteria. Pathology always seeks to justify itself through religion.

Q: Should women stay at home and look after their children?

A: Please do not generalize! Every woman is different and free to choose what is right for her. Just like every man.

Q: What is the ideal age gap between a husband and wife?

A: I don’t think there is any such thing. True, very, very often in couples the husband is slightly older than his wife, but there are no rules here, as human psychology and experience are so varied. There are always the rare exceptions, even of very happy marriages where the age gap is 20 years and more, either cases where the husband wants to be mothered, which the wife in question is happy to do, or cases where the wife wants to be ‘daughtered’, which the husband in question is happy to do.

Q: What did you think of the recent Women’s Football World Cup?

A: As I have little interest in sport, I was only dimly aware of it until the last matches. However, I thought it was very typical that the four semi-finalist teams turned out to be from the four ex-Protestant countries, Great Britain, the USA, Sweden and the Netherlands. Clearly, this phenomenon of women playing traditionally male sports is not about equality before the law (of which everyone is naturally in favour). It is about women renouncing being women and everything that is distinctive about women: womanhood, femininity, motherliness, about becoming like men, and at that, often becoming like the worst and most vulgar of men.

Has no-one thought that women players can fall over and hurt their breasts or childbearing organs and become infertile? Men should be protecting them from this. This so-called ‘equality’ of the sexes which is preached and propagandized by the post-Protestant world is just more cultural imperialism. The post-Protestant world even when it was still Protestant already had no veneration for the Mother of God, but tended rather to despise her blasphemously. And so it goes on. The phenomenon of women playing man-invented sports is not about equality. It is about the reduction of women to the level of men, about homogeneity and sameness, about the levelling down of womankind to mere economic units, according to which reproductivity is a hindrance.

Personal

Q: How do you become a priest? And how did you become a priest personally?

A: You do not become a priest first, you become an active layman first, taking part in parish life, working in the parish, praying,  gong to confession, taking communion, lighting the lamps, singing, reading, cleaning, helping, learning the services, reading, asking questions, helping in the altar if invited to. Priesthood is the end point, not the start. After a few years you may then end up as a reader. From there on you pray for God to continue to guide you.

As for me personally, it was a miracle. In my day if you mentioned such a thing as becoming a priest, you got humiliated, bullied, mocked and threatened. And of course there was no internet in those days, so no factual information, just negativity, prejudices and discouragement. I was recently astonished to see a brochure from Jordanville actually encouraging young men to become clergy! Just the opposite of a few decades ago. Young people have it so easy nowadays. In my day, there were two huge impediments to being ordained, one was being young, the other was being educated. So much talent was wasted – little wonder the Church is still desperately short of clergy. I would not want to be a bishop at the Last Judgement.

In my day, most jurisdictions would only ordain you if you belonged to the right ethnicity (or else if you agreed to be morally or financially corrupted by the bishop in question, for example by agreeing to become a freemason). (I remember how in order to become a deacon, I waited for ten years and had to be able to read the Six Psalms fluently in Slavonic, better than Russians could; you were always a third-class citizen; one rule for Russians, another for Non-Russians). One jurisdiction only ordained upper-middle class men – and your social class was decisive for them, so coming from my background I was out. Another jurisdiction, which appeared a couple of decades later, only ordained ex-Anglican vicars. One person there told me that you could only become a priest in that jurisdiction if you first became Anglican and got ordained as a vicar.

Frankly, I don’t know how I became a priest, except that it was a miracle worked through the prayers of St John of Shanghai and through the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, his spiritual son. I certainly received only hindrances and everything that has happened has taken place despite everyone, except Archbishop Antony.

Q: If you had your time again, what mistakes would you have avoided?

A: The question is of course impossible because if I had not made and then learned from my mistakes, I would not know what I know now!

However, I can clearly say that, given the absence of the Russian Orthodox Tradition, as I had already experienced it in Russia, in the Sourozh Diocese of the then enslaved Moscow Patriarchate in England, I would have gone straight to the University of London in 1974 and to the ROCOR Cathedral. On graduation, I would have gone straight to Jordanville.

However, I would always have belonged, as now, to the St John of Shanghai wing of ROCOR and not to the highly conservative, political, secular, old calendarist wing. It was that wing that more and more dominated ROCOR for forty painful years between the 1960s and 2007, when it was finally defeated, though sorry and painful vestiges still survive. The battle against this wing lasted for over four decades and took a great deal of our energy. It was the representatives of that wing who put St John on trial in San Francisco in 1964 and in so doing they put all of us on trial for decades to come. Personally, I was only found innocent and exonerated in December 2016, when the persecution stopped.

St John was the last bishop consecrated by Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), who said of him, ‘If I do not consecrate him, no-one will’. In turn, St John was the spiritual father of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who was converted to monastic life by Metr Antony and by his understanding of the Redemption, as he told me in Paris in 1987. In turn, when I was ordained by Archbishop Antony, I think the last priest he ordained, he said, ‘If I do not ordain you, no-one will’.

This is where I will always belong, to the old traditions of the Western European Diocese of St John and his spiritual son Archbishop Antony, and not to some false and invented set of myths, invented by latecomers to the Church. Archbishop Antony, born in Kiev and living in Western Europe, would today be in the Exarchate, as he was a forerunner, pioneer and prophet of it.

 

 

 

The Imperial Guard to Light the Lamps of Europe

The warning came to Europe at Fatima over a hundred years ago in 1917, through the last innocent European children in provincial Portugal: If you do not repent, you will end up like the atheist Soviet Union and so suffer yet another period of bloodletting with tens of millions dead. And so it come to that and since then neither Catholicism, because it pharisaically deformed the message of Fatima, nor its offshoot Protestantism, has repented and so returned to Orthodoxy, even after so many chances given. Thus, Western Europe has become a self-justifying Sodom and Gomorrah. Meanwhile, in the former Soviet Union itself, atheism collapsed, 100 million were baptised and people are gradually, returning to an active and meaningful Faith and the values and culture of Christian Civilization.

Europe has lost its faith, abandoning itself to its weak and illogical powers of reasoning, and so has made itself insane. Now it has neither identity, nor nation, nor honour. This is why it says: Kill them like pigs; they are only human-beings. And though the incinerators of Hitler have gone, they are open in European hospitals and clinics to burn the bodies of millions of murdered children every year and of hundreds of those who, having lost faith, have chosen euthanasia-suicide, and they are open in cemeteries to burn up the bodies of the dead, as nothing but biowaste, the rationalization of Hitler, who had human bodies made into soap and human skin made into lampshades.

Europe has lost its faith, abandoning itself to its weak and illogical powers of reasoning, and so has made itself insane. It has no other source of knowledge or apprehension of the world except itself and so, looking at its own sorry self-reflection, it has become dependent on anti-depressants of all names, legal and illegal. This is why Europe no longer has anything of spiritual or moral import to say to the world, for spiritual life, which it denies, is the source of moral life. Having lost the first, it has lost the second, and so wastes itself in futility and superficiality, following ‘religiously’ every passing fad and fancy, however absurd and defiguring, without any moral compass or direction.

Europe has lost its faith, abandoning itself to its weak and illogical powers of reasoning, and so has made itself insane. This is why it invents its own self-justifying morality, which is only hypocrisy and contradiction, as is apparent to every civilization outside Europe and even to those who still believe but still live in Europe. It is especially obvious to Russian and other faithful Orthodox who live in Europe. We are Europeans, but we are also Christians and so have nothing in common with the spiritual illness of the Anti-Civilization of Western Secularism, which pervades the anti-people European elites and their self-deluded elitist fake news media. Theirs is the path to suicide, a path they celebrate as ‘freedom’.

This is why we must pray to the Saints of Old Europe to save it, for they evangelized it; this is why we must value the oldest places of Europe, often the most famous, for they exist because they were founded in the first millennium, when Europe was still authentically Christian, that is, Orthodox. This is why, in the cities and towns and villages and once holy places and shrines of Europe, we must light the lamps, witnessing to the peoples who live here that there was – and is – Another Europe, the Old Europe, the Europe of the Saints of God, the Europe that loves Truth and Mercy, the First Europe, ‘the Europe before Europe’, which never accepted its thousand-year long aberration, from which it must first be cleansed.

Let faithful Orthodox therefore form an Imperial Guard, a Europe-wide force of dedicated Orthodox, whose emblem is the double-headed eagle, the words ‘For the Faith’ written underneath the emblem in the language of the guard, male or female, and, underneath that, his or her national flag. This would channel the idealism of all faithful Orthodox, including young people, perhaps organized in detachments dedicated to the local national saint, deepening our identity and purpose. Keeping faith with the Orthodox Empire, at present Emperor-less, we are asked to call Europe, many centuries ago part of our Empire (read St Bede the Venerable), to repentance, to save Europe, people by people, by ourselves being faithful to and witnessing to the Church of God.

Let us rewrite each of the national anthems of Europe, with new words, keeping only the melodies. This will be the Europe that has an identity, nation and family, that has strength and honour, because it confesses the Faith of Christ, the lodestar of our lives.  In every Imperial Guard home and family in Europe let us light a lamp before the holy images as the lamp that burns within the soul of each Imperial guard as we pray there. Praying and working, we await the return of the Christian Emperor. Let us prepare the places where we live for his coming, so that he may not be ashamed to visit us when he comes. Let us now therefore cleanse our homes and, above all, cleanse our hearts.

The Great Betrayal

For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’. (Matt.  3, 3)

 Introduction: Fake History

The textbooks of official history are like old ‘newspapers’ filled with interpretations, not facts. This is to justify the biased beliefs of their writers or, much more often, of those who pay their writers. This can be seen clearly if you compare a history book from 100 years ago with a modern one: the two versions are very different. This bias is not least true when it comes to the fake history about the last Russian Emperor. For the attitudes of most towards Tsar Nicholas II are still dictated by that fake history, first spread by the traitors who overthrew him in March 1917. This fake history actually asserts, for example, that the Tsar was ‘weak’, ‘cowardly’ and ‘stupid’ and that therefore he deserved to be replaced (by those who wrote, or else paid for the textbooks).

Such lies were promulgated inside Russia by jealous and power-hungry revolutionaries before the Revolution and in the West which aided and abetted them. It was reinforced by Paris Russian emigres who had overthrown the Tsar (and were then overthrown in their turn for their crass incompetence). As for the very Bolsheviks, who overthrew them in November 1917, they simply repeated the lie. In other words, there was no concern with the truth anywhere, only with self-justification. And later Western historians, in self-justification, have only reinforced it. All justified themselves with yet another lie: that the Tsar had abdicated. This myth, promulgated by émigrés and Soviets alike, is still repeated today and also presented as ‘history’!

Real History

Today, we know that for several years before 1917 the aristocratic conspirators who wanted power for themselves had worked sytematically with spies (‘diplomats’) in Western embassies, using foreign-controlled media and hired agitators to discredit and slander the Tsar. And they were successful; many jealous Romanovs, power-seeking aristocrats, politicians, professionals, the half-baked ‘intelligentsia’, clergy, industrial workers and even peasants believed their lies, especially about Gregory Rasputin, alleged to be a base drunkard and revolting debauchee, who controlled everything that the Tsar did. The fact that so many believed these disgusting lies proves only the loss of faith leading to spiritual blindness of huge numbers at that time.

When on 16 December 1916 debauchees and atheists murdered the in fact righteous Orthodox healer and prophet Gregory Rasputin, there was actually rejoicing. A few weeks later later, on 1 March 1917, as the Tsar was being held prisoner by his generals on the royal train in Pskov between the Front and Saint Petersburg, an attempt was made on his life, not for the first time, by arranging a train crash. Threats were also made to the lives of the Tsarina and the royal children. On 2 March the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, the Tsar’s foul-mouthed uncle and incompetent and so sacked former commander of the Western Front, also gave allegiance to the traitors. A document of abdication was drawn up, signed in pencil with the forged signature of the Tsar.

Some of the other main traitors were politicians like Guchkov, an agent of the Anglo-German imperialist Lord Alfred Milner, and the President of the decadent Duma, Rodzianko, a puppet of the British ambassador, Buchanan. But virtually all the military commanders were also traitors, from Alekseyev, Ruzsky, Kornilov, Brusilov, Kolchak, Evert, Nepenin, Sakharov to Bonch-Bruyevich, who in Pskov imprisoned the Tsar on the royal train. Like the others, they all broke their oaths of loyalty to the Tsar and his Dynasty. Lacking a living Orthodox Faith, the Tsar’s own brother, the Grand Duke Michael, and even his Danish mother were disloyal. And Romanov relatives, the Grand Dukes Nikolai, Sergei and Alexander Mikhailovich, were among his most virulent critics.

In the Church there were also unprincipled clerical careerists, who betrayed the Tsar. Just as the disciple Peter betrayed Christ (though then repented, unlike Judas), so too there were so-called ‘churchmen’ who initially betrayed the Tsar. Once the pious metropolitans of Saint Petersburg and Moscow had been removed by the ‘Provisional Government’ which treated the Church as a mere Department of State, the traitors broke their oaths of allegiance to the Lord’s Anointed, under the pretext that the Tsar had abdicated! They had signed their own death warrants. These traitors, consciously or unconsciously, were all acting for Western spies, German or Allied, the enemies of Russian Orthodoxy. Their only desire was that Orthodoxy would not win the War.

However, those who betrayed the Tsar all paid for their crime in the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War, or in bitter exile, or when they were repressed by the Soviet State, or in the Fascist invasion of 1941. However, those who even today continue to spread the lies of the revolutionaries about a ‘weak and stupid Tsar’ and ‘an abdication’ are also guilty. Almost all the Romanov relatives, aristocrats, generals, politicians, professionals, senior clergy and intellectuals, all the elitist plotters, were guilty. The fact that they tried to justify themselves in émigré memoirs proves it. When they wrote:  ‘We were right and we suffered because of the mistakes of the Tsar and the Tsarina’, all were repeating the same lie. And today their spiritual heirs only repeat it.

We have the Old Testament which the Tsar read in his Gethsemane on the royal train. In the book of Leviticus 26, 14-36, he made notes which make it clear that the Tsar understood prophetically the deep apostasy of his people: ‘But if you will not hearken to me and do all these commandments…I will appoint over you terror, consumption and a burning fever that shall consume your eyes and torment your hearts: and you shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you… and I will make your heaven as iron and your earth as brass…And I will bring a sword on you that shall avenge your quarrel with my testament…And I will make your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries into desolation…And I will scatter you among the heathen…

Conclusion: The Warning to the West

Tsar Nicholas knew about his future, including his sacrificial martyrdom, long before they came. However, this did not stop him from doing what he had to do, making the Russian Empire into a Great Power, only a little behind Great Britain and Germany and catching up ever faster with the USA. The nearly 50 million increase in population in his reign proves it and as for the technological developments, we know that the Second World War was won by the men trained and the equipment in development already in his reign. After the Great Betrayal, Marxism came to power, delivered by special train from Germany. After destroying much that had been achieved, they took up the development of what remained of the Russian Empire, but with one vital difference.

The Bolsheviks thought that they could create heaven on earth by atheism, a ‘bright future’ without belief in heaven and a way of life that takes heaven as its model. As a result they created hell on earth, an earth in which souls are not saved. Tsar Nicholas wanted to create earthly prosperity, but only in proportion as spiritual prosperity could be created, which is why he also tried to do much for the spiritual and moral welfare of his peoples. This is the knowledge that Russian Orthodox have today and warn the West of: If you organize worldly life without attention to spiritual life, if you make the same mistake as the Soviet Union, you will end up like the Soviet Union: spiritually, morally and economically bankrupt. But the West appears to be deaf…

 

 

 

Holy Suffolk

Holiness is the Christian Orthodox ideal: we look not at rank or riches, but at holiness, for it is one of the four signs of the Church and the one which is personally accessible.  It is why all Orthodox speak of the Holy Land, the Holy Mountain, Holy Russia and of making pilgrimages to holy places, the places of the saints. Locally, in England, we speak of Holy Island, the monastery of St Cuthbert in Lindisfarne, and also of one county as holy: Holy Suffolk. What is the origin of this latter name?

When the pagan Danes invaded the Kingdom of East Anglia in the ninth century, martyring St Edmund in Hoxne, among the ‘southern folk’ of the Kingdom, later called Suffolk, they found so many churches and so much piety that they called the region ‘gesaelig’, meaning ‘blessed’ or ‘holy’. This by corruption in the Middle Ages became ‘seely’ and today ‘silly’, hence the name ‘Silly Suffolk’. Incidentally, the root of this word is the same as the Greek ‘salos’, which means foolish for Christ; any fool for Christ’s sake is known as ‘salos’ in Greek. As the Apostle Paul writes, foolishness (‘silliness’) in this world is wisdom before God.

Thus, we know that there were already 417 churches in Suffolk in 1066 – for a population that could not then have been more than 50,000: one church for every hundred or so people. Moreover, what had become known at that time as Suffolk (the region of the southern folk of East Anglia) was by the twelfth century divided into three parts: about one third in the south-east was called St Audrey’s Liberty, for this centred on Rendlesham, which had been owned by St Audrey (pedants call her ‘Etheldreda’). She was baptised by St Felix who lived there and after whom nearby Felixstowe, where St Felix founded a monastery, is named. The other two-thirds was divided into St Edmund’s Liberty or west Suffolk, centred on Bury St Edmunds, and into what was called the ‘Geldable’ (= the taxable, that is the area subject to central secular taxation). Thus some two-thirds of the modern county was dedicated to the Church, through St Audrey and St Edmund.

Indeed, a more or less straight diagonal line can be drawn from Felixstowe in the south-east corner of Suffolk, on to Bury St Edmunds and then to Ely, which borders Suffolk,  just beyond its north-west corner. The monastery in Ely had been founded by St Audrey who had been born in nearby Exning in Suffolk. This straight line forms a heavenly path for pilgrims, a spiritual way, a mystical road, connecting the three best-known saints of Suffolk: St Felix, Apostle of East Anglia, St Edmund, King of East Anglia and St Audrey of Ely. This is part of that mystical conscience of the other England, beyond modern traffic and roads, towns and shops, noise and bustle. It is a tiny fragment of holiness in today’s Suffolk, pointing us to our Orthodox destiny.

Holy, Felix, Audrey and Edmund, pray to God for us!

 

 

 

 

Verses of Vision

Verses inspired by the poetry of John Masefield

One

Though in sorrow and joy our lives end and start,

Truth and Freedom are the dear songs of my heart:

That God may make of my soul a gleaming rift,

Through which meaning may come to seekers as a gift.

The haunts where Beauty dwells, unknown to the blind,

Are what God made it my destiny to find,

For though my life has been like a desert parched,

God is the Star by Whom I have ever marched.

For beyond the pain, beyond the yearning clay,

Beyond the gleams of Beauty glimpsed every day,

Lies a glimmering land, won by all who pray.

Its Beauty is grace, the spring, the wine, the bread,

The life, the dawn, the wakening from the dead,

The Eternal April of words Heaven said.

 

Two

An unknown voice is beckoning me, calling me

And telling me to fulfil my destiny:

You are seeking and you shall find

Wisdom and Beauty in the Eternal Mind.

My vision is Wisdom, the World as it is,

The unearthly, undying Beauty that lives.

To help and bring Beauty from beyond the stars;

To see and sing of Paradise is my task.

I wait in hope for the turning of the wheel,

The hope that only we the abandoned feel.

Though the devil ever keeps the laws in hell,

Above in Heaven, as I have long heard tell,

The law of love rings the Saviour’s victory bell,

Proclaiming Resurrection and how death fell.

 

Three

By loving mercy, confession, martyrdom

And sufferings, our God leads us to Wisdom.

For only the Mind of Wisdom can declare

All the meaning and the purpose everywhere.

I seek for Truth in all places and all things.

Beyond the gold and glitter, beyond the kings,

Beyond the veil, I can see the angels gleam,

I must find all that is beyond what may seem.

Suddenly the darkness of the Night has ceased

And, bearing hope and glory, a bright-robed priest,

Alive out of the East, all in light gleaming,

Brings the living, shining love of Christ streaming.

For now and ever, Life’s everlasting Spring

Has despoiled all hell and robbed Death of his sting.

 

Four

Thoughts are many, but Holy Wisdom is One,

Though boughs are bare for now, God’s April will come.

For by ways as yet unseen and still unknown,

Glory awaits the low and meek to enthrone.

This world is but the shadow of the Other,

Of the Light of God and His Holy Mother.

For if from Divine Glory we cannot learn

We will not defend us from hell and will burn.

For often only a visit to Death’s doors

Can soften the proud heart and teach us God’s laws.

The souls that are unlit and unhelped grow ill

But His Kingdom’s words give life and never kill.

No Death reigns there, all is Beauty and Wisdom,

For all ways are ways of Light in the Kingdom.

 

Five

So asses rule and he who brays the loudest

Is the one of whom this world is much the proudest.

Death is life’s enemy and they walk his way,

‘Hate God and hate your neighbour as yourself’, they say.

But my King and Queen give me fair words to write:

Beauty is my daily bread and soul’s delight.

Though squalid blackness and devilry destroy,

Our winter sorrows still bring Aprils of joy.

This present world has been long in a Dark Age,

But a New Birth will yet turn another page:

For Beauty hallowed the deaths the martyrs had

And changed into light and good the dark and bad.

To live without God’s life is hell’s path taken,

But when the King comes, the dead will awaken!

 

Six

The world’s Unwisdom brought Death, the knell that tolls,

But there is the lighted way of lonely souls,

Who suffer torments and trodden pathways flee,

But eternities in every instant see.

Their nights are long, but their days break fair in dawn,

They teach Beauty, for it outlives Death forlorn:

Shine in your heart, open doors of glory now,

The light in your very soul will tell you how,

Bring the news from Paradise by starry night,

Somewhere in every heart it’s still April bright.

In eternity the bells are ringing out

For angels and men to join for hell’s great rout.

Men take strength and women noble hearts hold high,

To give this poor Earth the glory of the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

A Vision for the Post-2020 World

Introduction: The Realignments of the New Century

Just as the nineteenth century began not in 1801, but in 1815 in London after the defeat of the French Napoleon, so the twentieth century began not in 1901, but in 1919 in Versailles, the terms of which treaty largely dictated by the USA, after the defeat of the German Kaiser. So too the twenty-first century began not in 2001, but will begin in 2020. For this date will mark the passing of seventy-five years since 1945, the end of the Second World War, made inevitable by the foolishness of Versailles, the second US world victory, and also the end of the failed US attempt at world domination through its so costly anti-Russian and then anti-Muslim Cold Wars, both of which it lost through its hubris. Tragically, it never learned from its loss in Vietnam that trillions of dollars spent on military technology does not win wars.

This new epoch has already been presaged in the USA by the election of an anti-elitist outsider and in the UK by the selection of a new Prime Minister. A former American citizen born in New York, he has promised to free the UK from the alien EU straitjacket and bring it even closer to its blood-relation, the USA. After a series of Prime Ministers who were weak nonentities and self-deluded narcissists, the UK at last has one who has taken up the inevitable challenge of the changing tide of history, set by people power. For good or for ill, he is the English Trump, just as unpredictable, with the same human weaknesses, and even physically resembling his American cousin, but chosen, as the others proved to be incompetent.

The Two Spheres: Earth and Ocean, The Old World and the New World, ‘Eurasica’ and ‘The Atlanto-Pacific’.

2020 will mark the division of the world into two spheres.

The first sphere of Eurasia-Africa, to be called ‘Eurasica’, the EAA, or some similar name, is composed of the two interconnected landmasses of Africa and Eurasia, with three-fifths of the world’s land surface, well over four-fifths of its population and most of its poverty. It includes Asia, which is the source of all developed religious beliefs, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam (all now largely degenerated into nationalism) and Orthodox Christianity (in some places also degenerated into nationalism). These landmasses will be dominated spiritually by the renewed Orthodox Christian Civilization of Russia and economically by China (with at last reunited Taiwan) and India.

The six billion plus of these continental landmasses will reassert their independence after the doomed attempts to tyrannize and exploit them over the last 1,000 years by the countries at the western tip of Eurasia and then by their colony in the USA. A millennium ago it was this Western Europe which separated from the rest of Eurasia and invented its own self-justifying religion of imagined ethnic superiority and armed violence. The evils resulting from this millennium of the attempted Western colonialization and ideologization of Asia, Russia and Africa will be condemned and many injustices may at long last be righted. History may yet be rewritten truthfully.

The post-1945 cruelties and genocides of the USA, like those of the UK, France and others in their colonies in ‘Eurasica’, both before and even after 1945, in Palestine, Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and Turkey will all be admitted as such. Therefore, the USA, now in the financially straitened circumstances of its unpayable 23 trillion dollars of debt, almost all of it amassed in its megalomania of the last 30 years, not least in its many recent invasions of Eurasia, will at last withdraw from the Eurasian landmass. It will at last recognize that it never even understood, let alone controlled, Asia, Africa and Europe (who can forget the foul-mouthed opinion of Victoria Nuland about Europe?). Its aim of world domination was in fact only an arrogant megalomaniac delusion which went to its head in 1945.

The second sphere of the Atlantic-Pacific, to be called the ‘Atlanto-Pacific’, the AP, or some similar name, has well under one fifth of the world population (a decreasing 15%), but some two-fifths of the land surface and even more of its wealth. It may at first be led by a humbled USA, but it will include all of Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, the Atlantic Islands of Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Ireland (the latter two to be united in an Economic Confederation, perhaps called the Confederation of IONA – the Isles of the North Atlantic) and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the small Pacific islands). The British Isles and at last reunited Ireland will have a special role here, as the spiritual and cultural Anglo-Celtic womb from which the present Anglosphere was born and from which a new, repentant and humbled Anglosphere can be reborn.

The Transformation or Fall of Post-1945 Institutions

In the new century the pseudo-international Institutions, set up as a result of the US victory in 1945, will be transformed or else disappear one by one.

The Security Council of the UN, largely US-controlled and so toothless, with at present only five members, will be increased to twelve members. The USA (to represent Canada, the British Isles and Ireland), Russia (to represent the Orthodox world and by far the largest country in the world) and China (till the most populous country) will continue as members. However, the UK and France will lose their seats, which they do not deserve, if they ever did. The French seat will be replaced by a future Confederation of Western Europe seat, which will represent most of what is the so-called EU, which still has three of the ten largest economies in the world. Thus, though long overdue, the UN Security Council will at last be reformed and internationalized with eight new members. They will have the huge responsibility of representing all the continents, religions and peoples of the world and relieve the world of the permanent conflicts and tensions created by the rapacious Western world.

These eight new members will be: Brazil (to represent all Latin America), South Africa (to represent all Black Africa), Australia (to represent all Oceania), Egypt (to represent the Muslim world in Africa and the Middle East), Pakistan (to represent the rest of Muslim Asia), Indonesia (to represent South-East Asia), India (to represent one seventh of the planet’s population, Hinduism and other Indian religions like Sikhism and Jainism) and Japan (to represent its unique civilization and powerful economy). They will all become members of the Council, nine of them in Eurasica and three in the Atlanto-Pacific, representing far more fairly than ever before the populations of the Earth.

The arrogant, post-Catholic EU (European Union), stuck in the past of its top-down, anti-people, elitist gerontocrats, whose only desire is to continue to fill their pockets and flatter their secularist hubris, will dissolve. The purely artificial construct-continent of Western Europe will merge back into the common values of Northern Eurasia, largely preserved in Eastern Europe and European Russia, and give up its present secularist depravities. Its cultural renewal and salvation can now only come from Russia, which has providentially preserved uncompromised the first millennium roots of Western Europe in Orthodox Christianity. Gradually, old ‘Protestantism’ and ‘Catholicism’ will die out, surviving only in museums. They will be seen as what they always have been, as the ethnic aberrations of second millennium Western Europe, quite unsuited for the global third millennium.

The anachronism of NATO will at long last disappear, a generation after it should have done, and its gerontocrat warmongers with their absurd and aggressive propaganda, which turns reality upside down and which nobody believes, will die out. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank will cease being US-manipulated financial organizations. The long-discredited Nobel Prize system will cease being funded by the CIA as an organization for Western cultural propaganda and political brainwashing.

The Reconfiguration of the Orthodox Church

What will happen to the Church? Nearly thirty years after the collapse of the failed Western import of irrationalist, atheist Marxism into Russia, it is already clear that the Russian Orthodox Church, renewed by the greatest persecution in world history, is the leader of World Orthodoxy. Now that the gerontocrats of the once respected Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the grip of the blinding passions of love of power and love of gold, have finally fallen away and become spiritually irrelevant, Russian Orthodox leadership will become visible to all, except to the provincial or the obtuse.

The AEA, Eurasia (its Arabic part mainly in the jurisdiction of the Arab Patriarchate of Antioch) and Africa (the latter only formally in the jurisdiction of the still un-Africanized Patriarchate of Alexandria) will be guided by the alms of Russian Orthodoxy. The other ten small, national Local Churches (the five Balkan ones of Romania, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Albania and the other five of Georgia, Poland, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia and Jerusalem) will continue to look after their small ethnic groups.

Indeed, these national Local Churches may very well either return to their Mother Churches (Poland and Czechoslovakia to the Russian Church) or else merge with one another (the Balkan Five into a renewed Patriarchate of Constantinople centred in Thessaloniki near Mt Athos? Georgia and Cyprus into a renewed Patriarchate of Jerusalem?), abandoning their nationalistic and political autocephalies, most of them of recent times. This amalgamation would recreate Five Local Churches: The Patriarchate of Rus (for now, 75% of the whole); the Patriarchate of Constantinople (the Balkan Five renamed as such, for now 20% of the whole); the for now still tiny Patriarchate of Alexandria (All Africa); the for now still tiny Patriarchate of Antioch (the yet to be reconstructed Arab world); and the tiny Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Palestine, the Jordan, Georgia and Cyprus) (all three for now, only 5% of the whole). This would recreate the Pentarchy of the first millennium, with great potential for the future.

Conclusion: The Orthodox Church Outside its Homelands

Orthodox will inevitably be cared for by the infrastructure and influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, with its two Exarchates in Eurasia and its Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in the Atlanto-Pacific. On the margins there will still be small ethnic groups, unable to provide any overall leadership, like the Romanians, the Serbs, the Bulgarians, the Albanians and the Greeks (perhaps in the future together renamed the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as we have suggested above) and the Church of Antioch, for now a mixture of Lebanese and Syrians with some conservative Evangelical and Anglican converts. Once nationalism has been put aside, these groups could all eventually merge into regional Russian-led Continental Orthodox Metropolias, with separate and independent administrations for each language group within them, the foundations of new Local Churches.

In the USA, the small OCA grouping will divide into its constituent parts; perhaps two-thirds of the people, including all Orthodox in Alaska, rejoining the new ROCOR (the Church Outside Russia, perhaps renamed ROCAP – the Russian Orthodox Church in the Atlanto-Pacific?), one sixth (the liberal wing) lapsing into schism and one sixth (the conservative Evangelical wing) joining Antioch. This is much as is now happening with the old Rue Daru jurisdiction in Paris, which is falling apart into these three basic parts in lamentable acrimony. Its mythomania, artificially prolonged long after its sell-by date had expired, has collapsed like a house built on sand.

The Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) may yet see its best years, though perhaps, as we have suggested, under another name. Having shorn itself of its secular side which compromised it for so long, that is, the old racist nationalism, Cold War politics and narrow and sectarian bigotry, it has yet to assume its full destiny. This could be to care for all those of the authentic Orthodox Tradition of all nations and languages in the Atlanto-Pacific, the AP. Its future may then be to become ever more missionary, multilingual and multi-Metropolia-ed, to be tri-Continental, covering both the Americas and Oceania, the Atlantic and Pacific Continents and Islands. The billion people of the Americas and the Caribbean, those of Oceania and the Pacific Islands, large and small, as well as the Atlantic Islands with Great Britain and Ireland await missionary leadership. The challenge is immense, but all is still possible. May Thy will be done, O Lord.

 

Return to the Orthodox Church or Continue in Freemasonry?

The battle for the survival of real Orthodoxy in the fragmenting and ever smaller Paris-based Rue Daru group has now reached a culminating point. Thirty years ago we realized what the below author, the daughter of one of my professors, has realized today. In this article she demolishes the arguments of the sectarian ‘Fraternite’ (‘Brotherhood’ – a very apt name) group of Protestant-minded, anti-episcopal modernists and ecumenists who have been sabotaging Orthodoxy within the Rue Daru group for over fifty years. And all this under entirely pseudo-canonical and anti-Russian political arguments.

Anne Andronikof: An Open Letter to Fr Alexis Struve

https://www.egliserusse.eu/blogdiscussion/m/Anne-Andronikof-Lettre-ouverte-au-pere-Alexis-Struve_a5778.html

Dear Fr Alexis,

I was able to read your letter to the members of the pastoral assembly of July 15 2019, of which I am not a member, and I would like to make a few comments.

I fully agree with you that our future in the Archdiocese will inevitably be, and whatever decisions are made, other than what we are currently experiencing. It is indeed illusory to believe that it would be possible to find oneself “as before”.

However, I have an opinion radically contrary to yours on all other points.

Indeed, you write that the Archdiocese is not “Russian”, the vast majority of parishes having very few, if any, people of Russian origin. So far so good. However, we are much more “Russian” than Greek (or Romanian, Bulgarian or others) on the one hand because we have all opted for the Russian-Slavonic tradition. For those of Russian origin it is not really a choice, but for all others it is.

And on the other hand because the Archdiocese came from the Russian emigration and relies on the Moscow Council of 1917; that our attachment to Constantinople was from the beginning conceived as temporary, transitory, in anticipation of the liberation of Russia from the Communist yoke.

I therefore agree with our bishop that the return to the Patriarchate of Moscow is our natural, logical and in keeping with the spirit of the foundation of the Archdiocese.

If this option were chosen, everyone would be free to act according to their conscience, to remain or change their jurisdiction. It’s a personal choice.

You finish on the “scandal” of the prohibition (for clerics) of intercommunion with Constantinople. But the real scandal is the action of the Phanar in Ukraine, with the creation of the false autonomous church based on excommunicated clerics and flouting the territorial principle of the Churches. The rupture of intercommunion was a logical and healthy decision of the Orthodox world, and not at all caused by conflicts between prelates. Personally, if we had continued to commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew during the services, I would already have left.

For me, all this is a matter of the Orthodox conscience, stripped of all consideration of people, nationalities, clans …

Finally, our only hope of preserving our statutes and our functioning lies in our attachment to Moscow, which has officially confirmed their maintenance. In Russia, moreover, the separation of Church and State is inscribed in its constitution (Article 14). The fear of today’s Russia comes from a fantasy carefully maintained by the West, the EU being itself at the boot of the USA.

I would add that, financially, the Archdiocese (what is left of it at least) has every interest in attaching itself to the Moscow Patriarchate, the only one able and willing to invest money for the maintenance of the churches, the restoration of St. Sergius, the revitalization of the Institute. See how Constantinople has never done anything in this sense, see the state of the churches in Biarritz, Cannes …

As you know, my father did a great deal for the creation of parishes in the vernacular, and I myself chose the crypt as a parish, to which I am very attached, and in which I am very involved. It will be heartbreak for me to leave, if the Archbishop decided to sacrifice himself by returning to the jurisdiction of the Greeks.

I am also in favour of a Local Church, but it is clear that the Archdiocese has missed its mission, which will definitely be buried with the Greek option.

Anne Andronikof, parishioner of the crypt (Daru).

Additional remarks

“The Ecumenical Patriarchate remains the first and guarantees the unity and catholicity of the Orthodox Church”.

The primacy of honour does not imply a hierarchy of powers. Constantinople has shown that it is the guarantor of nothing at all, but rather a troublemaker, in constant search for survival.

Regarding Russia: “We live in too different worlds. ”

I have just spent a week in Moscow, where I had the impression of Western civilization. And I recently spent a week in Athens, where I felt in “a different world”, and where the Communist Party is very influential. I do not know what you think.

“The [Russian] Church is at odds with, if not dependent on, the civil authorities. ”

This is false. (See above)

“Yes, our origins and traditions are Russian, and it is certainly a wealth, but our sources are not Russia. Our sources are the renewal created by the “Paris School”, by the creative theologians of the Saint Serge Institute in permanent dialogue with the world. ”

What contradictions! The distinction between origins / traditions on the one hand and “sources” on the other hand is sleight of hand.

The theologians of the St. Sergius Institute have precisely maintained and developed all the wealth of “Russian” Orthodoxy, which has re-seeded Russia.

“One of the arguments of those who today wish to join the Moscow Patriarchate is faithfulness and obedience to the bishop. ”

See the above arguments having to do with faithfulness to the spirit of Orthodoxy and nothing to do with loyalty and obedience to the bishop. If the latter is wrong, it is up to the conscience of each one (as you say yourself) to take a position. It is an insult to, or at least a misunderstanding of, the thinking capacity of the basic Orthodox (of whom I am one).

Anne Andronikof
July 17 2019, Paris