Q and A April 2023

Q: Why are women not allowed to become deacons or priests in the Orthodox Church?

A: Please read the Bible and do not listen to the secular world! Christ chose men as His disciples and future apostles. Since He Who overturned all the regulations of the pharisees in the greatest revolution in human history, but did not overturn the natures of man and woman, which, after all, He Himself had created, it is clear that a male priesthood is Divinely ordained. Women have another role. That role is set by the Mother of God, veneration for whom is quite absent among Protestants, from where this fantasy of a female priesthood comes. Indeed, they disrespect her and blaspheme, claiming that she had several children.

This whole story of wanting a female priesthood comes from clericalism, the false concept that somehow clergy are superior to laypeople. This is absurd for real Orthodox, though it is true among heterodox.

Q: Do you agree that the Second Vatican Council threw out the baby with the bathwater?

A: I do not agree at all. The problem of the Second Vatican Council was precisely that it threw out the baby, but kept the bathwater. It rejected the sense of the sacred under the weight of American Protestantism/secularism, but hung onto the bathwater of anti-Biblical absurdities like the filioque, papism, compulsory clerical celibacy, indulgences etc

Q:  I know an ex-Catholic who was received into the Church by chrismation three years ago, but now wants to be received by baptism. How would you answer him?

A: Firstly, he should read the Creed: ‘I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins’. Secondly, he should consider whether he is not blaspheming against the communion he has been receiving for the last three years by demanding what would in effect be rebaptism. This is because whatever was missing in the rite of baptism he underwent as a Catholic, it has been made up for by the grace of reception into the Church and holy communion. Finally, thousands of Catholics are received into the Church by chrismation every year and with the blessing of Orthodox bishops. They are quite happy with this and always have been. Why is he different? In general, I think this very insecure man who is so attached to external rites needs to see a psychologist, not a theologian. My decades of experience tell me that all such people end up outside the Church because they do not want to belong to the Church, but to a proud sect.

Q: How do you receive old calendarists into the Church?

A: In principle we have to recognise that old calendarists existed primarily because of the apostasy and compromises of ‘canonical’ bishops. They are the ones responsible for scandalising these little ones, those of simple faith. Therefore, old calendarist laypeople are received by confession and communion because they have been misled and lied to, taken into sects, hoodwinked and exploited. As regards old calendarist clergy, a bishop must decide how he will receive them. Most of the laypeople have been misled by clergy. As for clergy, there are various issues. Some are careerists and want titles, depravity or money, which they could never get in a canonical Church because there they had been seen through and could not ‘rise’ any further. Others are very proud pharisees. Others are sincere and have just been misled. Bishops will decide.

Q: There are more Russian Orthodox in England under Constantinople, Romania, the Ukrainian Church or under old calendarists than there are under the Russian Church. Why are there more Russian Orthodox in England who are not under any of the three parts of the Russian Church than are under them?

A: I am not sure about your statistics, but you may be right. Apart from the two London churches, one of which is very small, the Russian Orthodox Church is now virtually inexistent in these islands apart from the chapels in Oxford and Norwich and a few tiny communities of a dozen or so elsewhere.

The answer to your question is that people in England do not accept tyranny. Those who follow the reflexes of German-style dictatorship, Russian-style subservience or American-style sectarian intolerance (‘since I can’t have complete control as I want, I will throw everything out of my pram and destroy everything’, just like arrogant and destructive spoilt-brat GIs in Vietnam or Iraq) are alien to us. Look what happened to the Normans, Cromwell, Thatcher and Johnson. Tyrants do not prosper here. Freedom is the culture of England and we will not renounce it because of foreign tyranny.

In our own case, the few people who left us last year, most of them occasional or hobby Orthodox, all left because of their nationalism. They used to come to church to speak their own language, not for communion with Christ. Their departure amounted to a cleansing of the Church.

Q: In what cases can you leave a bishop?

A: There are three cases: Either when he openly preaches heresy, or else when he creates a schism by breaking communion and refusing to concelebrate with another canonical Church or even part of his own Church, or else when he behaves immorally (stealing money, homosexual practice or any other uncanonical activity, such as freemasonry). In any case, there is no point in the bishop being told (perhaps by a gay mafia of fellow-bishops) that he must investigate himself after such a charge has been made and allowing him to intimidate and bully everyone. Strangely enough, he will find himself perfect and that everyone is very happy with his conduct. This is why such bishops are given the title, ‘His Disgrace’.

Q: How do schismatic bishops who ‘defrock’ canonical priests of other Local Churches sleep at night?

A: Sadly, they sleep very well because they do not have a conscience. But woe betide them on that day when their conscience is awoken. Especially if that day is the Day of the Last Judgement. They will find that they have defrocked themselves, that is, deprived themselves of grace.

Q: Do you have a favourite film?

A: I think there are several films that I like. I always liked ‘The Sound of Music’, which is about a family of singers who escaped the clutches of Nazis by fleeing over the mountains. It is a bit personal, since we escaped the Nazis by escaping to the Romanian Carpathians and thus our churches were saved from closure, just as in the Ukraine today churches have to be saved from Nazis and be saved from closure.

Q: What does it mean when people are called controversial?

A: In the UK ‘controversial’ is code for ‘opposed to the Establishment’. (In the USA the Establishment is known as the ‘Deep State’). Thus, people are dubbed ‘controversial’ or TV programmes or views are called ‘controversial’. In history by far the most ‘controversial’ person is Christ, for he rejected the scribes (intellectuals) and pharisees (corrupt and hypocritical high priests), the men of law (who had no love) and the banksters (‘the moneychangers’).

Q: What is your suggestion to solve the territorial disputes between the Local Orthodox Churches?

A: The following answer is just my suggestion. Obviously, I have no influence whatsoever.

At the end of 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved into fifteen independent republics. The Moscow Patriarchate (MP) remained, however, undissolved, not just inside those different Republics, but all over the world. Over thirty years on, it is clear that such a highly centralised and therefore basically nationalistic structure, which was essentially a Soviet product, is not designed for long life. Already there are schisms from it in Estonia, Lithuania, the Ukraine and serious tensions in Latvia (where, curiously, the State has forced the Church to become ‘autocephalous’) and in Belarus. The politics of Russian and local nationalism play the major roles.

The more sinister-minded say that decentralisation has not occurred because the Centre in Moscow wanted to retain its size, power, prestige and money. Others say that it was simply because Orthodox in the countries outside Russia were not ready for independence. We consider that such polemics are not really relevant here. Let us stick to the facts. All we know is that following the parallel dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1917, almost exactly 75 years before the dissolution of the USSR, Orthodox in Poland and Czechoslovakia also eventually received autocephaly and Orthodox in Finland received a sort of autonomy. And after 1945 groups exiled from the Ukraine and Belarus uncanonically gave themselves a long-unrecognised autocephaly. All we know is that disputes about territories are unbecoming for Christians. It all seems like childish disputes about toys. We do not recall disputes between the apostles about whose church belonged to whom.

Certainly, a decentralised MP, renamed the Russian Orthodox Church, still with at least 100 million baptised faithful, half of all Orthodox Christians on the planet, would remain as the Church of the Russian Federation. But outside it, there could surely be set up fully independent (Autocephalous) Churches on territories where Orthodoxy is well-established and which are not shared with other Local Churches, and independent (Autonomous) Churches, led by a Metropolitan, on territories which are shared with other Local Churches and where the Faith is less well-established. It is our suggestion that there should be another five Autocephalous Churches, whose territories and traditions have for centuries been part of the Russian Orthodox world (approximate numbers of baptised given in brackets) and which all already have at least four bishops:

Five New Autocephalous Churches:

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (20 million?). Its exact territory is yet to be established, but it would include at the very least half of the pre-2022 Ukraine.

Belarussian Orthodox Church (6 million?)

Moldovan Orthodox Church (3.5 million?)

Central Asian Orthodox Church, covering Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (3 million?)

Baltic Orthodox Church, covering Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland (500,000?). All parishes in Finland which wish to celebrate Easter on the canonical Orthodox Paschalia could join this Church.

(Orthodox in the two remaining former Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan could be cared for by the Georgian Orthodox Church).

This would bring the total number of universally-recognised (if we include the Macedonian) Autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches from 15 to 20, with the approximate present size of their baptised flocks given in brackets:

Russia (100 million), Romania (18.8 million), Greece (10 million), Serbia 8 million), Bulgaria (4.5 million), Georgia (3.5 million), Constantinople (3.1 million), Antioch (3 million), Macedonia (1.3 million), Cyprus (0.65 million), Poland (0.6 million), Alexandria (0.5 million), Albania (0.2 million), Czechoslovakia (0.17 million), Jerusalem (0.13 million) and the above five.

There could also be 6 New Autonomous Churches, making 8 in all. These could be founded by the Russian Church, but their numbers would be small until they could achieve full potential growth to include Orthodox of all origins on their shared territories and have at least four bishops. Only then could they receive autocephaly, which would have to be granted in concert by all the Local Churches concerned. The figures given in brackets show only their initial potential, if they could unite all baptised Orthodox already living on the territories concerned. Their later potential is huge, but that would demand genuine missionaries, not politicians:

Eight Autonomous Churches – together with the Japanese (10,000) and Chinese (100?), which already exist:

European Orthodox Church (potentially 7 million?). This would cover 23 territories: Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Italy and San Marino. This could in time become the fifth largest Local Orthodox Church after the Serbian.

Northern American Orthodox Church (potentially 5 million?). This would cover USA, Canada, Greenland, Bermuda and would initially replace the present OCA, ROCOR and MP North America parishes.

Latin American Orthodox Church (potentially 2 million?). This would cover the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries of the Americas and the largely Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

Oceanian Orthodox Church (potentially 600,000?)

African Orthodox Church (potentially 500,000?)

South-East Asian Orthodox Church (potentially 25,000?). This would replace the present South-East Asian Exarchate.