Q: What would have happened if ROCOR and the Russian Patriarchate had not signed the Act of Canonical Communion in 2007?
A: First of all, if the two parts had not been reconciled by depoliticizing themselves (i. e. repenting), the Russian Orthodox Church would quite simply not have been reconstituted. Everything else flows from this one vital fact. The 2007 agreement was the necessary return to Church roots by all those who had strayed from Church Truth beneath the weight of Cold War politics.
For example, without even the preparation for this reconstitution, the Patriarchate would have continued to suffer from its fringes. Thus, the cleansing Sourozh schism of 2006 would not have happened, and instead of the Church being freed, She would have continued to have been oppressed by the fringes and their spiritual impurities. Then also, without ROCOR, the increase in the understanding of the universal meaning of the sacrifice of the Royal Martyrs and the desire to oppose old-fashioned ecumenism would have been far weaker within the Patriarchate.
On the other hand, ROCOR would have disintegrated, being deserted massively by its core clergy and people who would have gone to the Patriarchate, once it had repented. Myself among them, at least after the Sourozh schism after 2006. Our patience had already been wearing thin in the 1990s with the uncanonical and ‘un-catholic’ (= anti-soborny) actions of Metr Vitaly in accepting into the Church sectarian individuals and even criminals (though he did not know that) inside Russia (whereas we are precisely the Church Outside Russia). Equally, there was the nonsense promoted by the theologically ignorant or else CIA-paid (like Bp Gregory Grabbe) about the Patriarchal sacraments being graceless (sic!), which had begun after 1945 with the West’s declaration of the Cold War. Thus, ROCOR would have disappeared, leaving just a few tiny, irrelevant, politically-based, CIA-funded, pharisaical old-people’s sects, whose theology is non-existent and which spend their time cursing and warring with each other and against the Church of God.
Q: At the moment both parts of the Russian Church are present in Western Europe in separate but parallel dioceses and jurisdictions. Which part will emerge the victor?
A: By ‘victor’, I presume you mean the majority? The answer is very simple: the ‘victor’ will be the more pastorally and spiritually competent (or the less pastorally and spiritually incompetent, according to your viewpoint). The same is true of all Orthodox jurisdictions, not just Russian, and is also true everywhere in the Diaspora, not just in Western Europe.
Thus, there are those ‘jurisdictions’ that are destined to disappear (‘let the dead bury the dead’), because they are shackled to some modernist political ideology (large parts of the OCA, the Finnish Jurisdiction and the Paris Jurisdiction), or else to some ethnic/nationalist ideology or simoniac ghetto (the ‘ethnic’ or rather mononational jurisdictions), and those that will survive and become the dynamic foundations of new Local Churches.
Q: Why do you not take part in any internet fora?
A: Apart from the fact that I am too busy doing Orthodoxy, I believe that most such time-wasting fringe fora tend to encourage people with psychological problems. We should not encourage self-righteousness, priggishness, pompousness and the clericalism that comes from the Protestant world and has nothing to do with real Orthodoxy. The vast majority of Orthodox have nothing to do with internet fora. If you did not know that, you will have had a very warped view of Orthodox.
Q: The old generation of Anglican converts, now dead or else in their late 70s, 80s or 90s, is dying out and is not being replaced. Does this not suggest that the idea of English Orthodoxy has been a failure?
A: Not in the slightest. All this proves is that the theologically absurd idea of ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’, that of old-fashioned ecumenists like Nikolai Zernov, who died over 35 years ago, has been a failure. But those of us who were never took part in such a fantasy have always known this to be a failure and that it would die out. Either you are Anglican or else you are Orthodox, you cannot be both.
With rare exceptions, Anglicans do not become Orthodox, but, even after formally joining the Church, remain in a sort of Anglican world bubble. This is regardless of whether it is an arch-conservative Anglo-Catholic, clericalist, puritanical, misogynistic and old calendarist bubble, or an arch-liberal, Liberal Democrat, anti-clericalist, modernistic, feminist and new calendarist bubble. (The two are simply the opposite sides of exactly the same Non-Orthodox coin).
In my experience, the few Anglicans who still exist in this country are generally either aged over 60 or else Afro-Carribeans. Our interest has never been in converting Anglicans. Our interest has always been in firstly looking after our own Orthodox and secondly witnessing to the rest of the world – the 99% of the population who are not Anglican or have no idea what Anglicanism is.
The future in these islands is in English (English-language) Orthodoxy and it always has been. It has never been in a fake and fantasy ‘Anglican-Orthodoxy’. This is why we should pass by jurisdictions and parishes where you never become Orthodox and which keep converts in a state of delusion, that they are Orthodox when in fact they are in a fool’s paradise of thinking that they are Orthodox when they are not, but just in a state of foolish intellectual pride.
You recognize such people because they are well-read (all the wrong books) and rage on about having ‘the true faith’. But what is the true faith? It is the Christian way of life. In the Gospels it is described as clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and those in prison etc. It is not reading books by self-appointed experts on ‘Orthodoxy’.
An elderly Anglican lady wrote to me some years ago about her son who had ‘become Orthodox’ and refused to attend the funeral of her husband (a retired Anglican vicar) as the son ‘could not pray with heretics’. She was outraged, though not as much as me. I told her that her son had not become Orthodox, but belonged to a sect of Pharisees that was not in communion with the Orthodox Church (all of which was true). To some extent she was relieved, to some extent she was worried because he had been taken over by a sectarian guru. I told her that all she could do was pray for him, for ‘a mother’s prayer avails much’.
Q: Someone said that most converts in English-speaking countries are Celts, with for example Irish names. Is this true?
A: I think this is largely racist and sentimental nonsense. It is in the same style as ‘Only Greeks/Russians/Romanians/Georgians/Serbs etc can be Orthodox’ because ‘God only speaks Greek/Russian/Romanian/ Georgian/ Serb’ etc. I have only known eight Irish people in Ireland who have joined the Orthodox Church in the last 45 years. Generally, Roman Catholics from any European country do not join the Orthodox Church because of their brainwashing and conditioning that the only Christians in the world are Catholics – either you are Catholic or else you are nothing. Similarly I only know a handful of Scottish and Welsh people who have become Orthodox in that period. This is because although Protestants do join the Church, generally they do not become Orthodox because they remain with their baggage of the Protestant moralistic mindset and so stay on the fringes of the Church. This is especially true of Calvinism which still dominates the religious (and anti-religious) mindset of the Scots and the Welsh.
However, there is a more serious point here. In order to become Orthodox (sadly, that should be the same as joining the Orthodox Church, but it is not), you have to give up the mythical superiority of your cultural prejudices, cleansing yourself of them and putting Christ above them. For many, less educated people, that is easy because they have never had the mythical superiority of cultural prejudices anyway. But for those who belong to the Establishment, this is virtually impossible. This is because the Establishment is wholly based on cultural prejudices, i. e. on not putting Christ first.
An example of this is the tragic case of the late David Balfour (1903-1989), who as a British spy and friend of the late Fr Sophrony Sakharov, obtained a Western passport for him in Paris after the latter’s expulsion from Mt Athos after World War II. Balfour was an Establishment figure and intellectual who had become a Jesuit, then got himself ordained as a Greek Orthodox priest and became the confessor of King George II of Greece. At the same time as this, he was working in Athens as a British spy, betraying all the secrets of confession of the King during World War II. He was of course eventually defrocked. (As for the King who was known for election-rigging, he was thrown out of Greece and went to live with his mistress in an expensive part of London, but that is another story).
Balfour’s story is a very typical story of someone who put the Western Establishment first. There have been many other converts like him, most of them who got ordained (often through simony), then get defrocked or sidelined. I have seen so many of them, washed-up intellectuals with their doctorates, and/or private school aristocrats who have never made it, never having been accepted by the Orthodox people. What a pity that the Greek Church was so naïve that it received this predatory individual Balfour. I only met him in the 70s, when he still came over as an incredibly arrogant and unrepentant person. I hope he did repent before the end.
Q: Whom do you hope to see canonized in your lifetime?
A: There are many figures, but I hope that the first will be the visionary Elder Nikolai (Guryanov), who bore the prophetic message that is already coming true. He carried a revelation from heaven who may help change the destiny of the world by helping to bring about mass repentance in Russia that we are still waiting for. Only after mass repentance can Russia begins its universal mission of preaching repentance to the rest of the world, which another prophet, St Seraphim of Sarov, canonized on the insistence of the martyred Tsar, spoke of. This is all necessary in order to prepare the world before the end.
Q: Do you consider that as Russian Orthodox in the West we should be, as it were, ‘ambassadors’ of the Russian Federation?
A: Not at all! What a terrible idea! The Russian Federation is a temporary and secular political settlement to a problem caused by 1917 and is not long for this world. However, what we are is ambassadors of the once and future Christian Empire and Emperor, which will be restored. Restored, but only after we have overcome the Soviet subculture of today’s Russian Federation and the petty Balkan racism and disintegration in the rest of the once Orthodox world, as we so clearly saw at the pathetic forum in Crete in 2016.