Q and A: The Ascension of the Lord 2024

Orthodox Christianity Before and After the Western Schism

Q: Was England Orthodox before 1066?

A: I think the question is misleading. Firstly, how can a country be Orthodox? Only people can be Orthodox. Secondly, what do you mean by Orthodox? Jewish? If you mean Orthodox Christian, then it is true that before 1066 English people could and did make pilgrimages to Jerusalem and New Rome (Constantinople) and elsewhere in the Orthodox Christian Roman Empire, of which they were by faith a part, and Greek clergy are recorded living in England at the same time. English people could and did take communion anywhere there, their priests concelebrating.

This concerned not least the exiled refugees from England who went to live there permanently after 1066. This was because all held the same Orthodox Christian Faith, East and West, despite different rituals and customs. Of course this was true not only of the faithful in England, but more or less true of the faithful anywhere in Western Europe, even after the Year 1000. In other words, Roman Catholicism did not exist as such at that time, though its origins can be traced back to about the Year 1000 and even some aspects of it right back to the end of the eighth century under ‘Charlemagne’, who wanted to revive pagan Rome. In fact, that was exactly what his spiritual descendants did so successfully.

Q: Which Local Church will take the leadership of the Orthodox Diaspora in Western Europe?

A: I don’t know. The Greeks rejected their golden chance to prove that they really are ‘Oecumenical’ during the very long years of the Soviet captivity between 1917 and 1992. Instead, they showed that they were only ‘Ecumenical’ and so compromised and discredited themselves. Next, between 2007 and 2020, the Russians were given the same golden chance to assume the leadership of the Diaspora. And they threw their golden chance away too, into the selfsame dustbin of nationalism. It was offered to them on a plate and they rejected it, just like the Greeks before them. To quote the suicidal words of the time pronounced by a very young and spiritually untried bishop from Moscow, which he said against those who belong to other Local Churches, but which in fact he said to his own loss: ‘Too bad for their souls’. So the ship of the Church locally for now continues to be rudderless.


Q: Why do we pray for the monarch or government and armed forces? They are generally a bunch of crooks.

A: You forget that we are Christians and so pray for our enemies! For example, the early Orthodox prayed for suchlike as the Emperor Nero. We must pray for our persecutors. I always do it. We are Christians. We always pray for the powers that be, including the armed forces, as the Apostle Paul instructs us (‘Honour the King’), and this is so that they do not do evil.

Q: How has the word Christian become so discredited?

A: The word Christian is generally used to express Roman Catholic or Protestant, only very rarely Orthodox Christian. Instead of that term they use ‘Eastern Orthodox’, as though Christ (the Head of our Church) were some exotic oriental guru. In other words, the word ‘Christian’ has been instrumentalised and even weaponised by the powers of this world.

For example, I am (Orthodox) Christian because I reject feudalism with its serfs, massacres and inquisitions (so cannot be Roman Catholic); I reject Imperialism with its slavery and exploitation (so cannot be Protestant); I reject Capitalism with its paid serfs, kept quiet with the bread, sugar and salt of supermarkets and circuses of TV and the internet (so cannot be Secularist). So are you a Christian?

However, there are also bad clergy in every part of the supposedly Christian world. They discredit the word ‘Christian’. For example, there is in Colchester a Polish taxi-driver. He had the same job when he lived in the Church city of Krakow in Poland. His job was to transport Catholic clergy and seminarians to prostitutes. This industry was well developed there. On the other hand, we have here a very nice Roman Catholic lady from eastern Poland near the border of Belarus, whose husband is Orthodox. He refuses to go to church because the priest in his Orthodox village is a drunkard, who steals money from the church and lives a dissolute life. That this exists is nothing new; Russia had many such priests before the Revolution and there are many in the Ukraine today. The only question is why such men are ordained by bishops and then NOT defrocked. It suggests that the bishops themselves are corrupt. And I certainly know cases of this. It is all about money.

Q: What do you think of Jordan Peterson as an Orthodox missionary and ‘the surge’ towards Orthodoxy?

A: This Non-Orthodox gentleman does not lead a Church life. He preaches an ideology. However interesting it may be and however sincere it may be and however close some of it may be to Orthodox views, it is not Orthodox Christianity because it is not living Orthodoxy. Thus, over the last years or so, I have been contacted as a priest by many young men (not a single woman), between the age of 16 and 40, who claim, under the influence of Jordan Peterson, they want ‘to become Orthodox’. When I have told them that they have to attend Church services for this to happen, they immediately lose all interest. In other words, they are in love with a podcast theory, ‘internet Orthodoxy’, not the Church. This is totally different from practice and reality.

There has been no surge towards Orthodoxy at all. I must add that some of those young men were very strange individuals, narcissistic, misogynistic, family-hating, sometimes, I suspect, repressed homosexuals and sometimes downright weird. I think they live in a virtual world of the fantasy, not the real one. It appears to be a generational problem, a result of the internet, a lack of contact with reality. Podcasts are not a Christian way of life. By their fruits, ye shall judge them.

Q: Why does the Bible not mention dinosaurs?

A: For the same reason that the Bible does not mention locomotives. Both words were invented about the same time in the 19th century. The books of the Old Testament were written down over 3,000 years before that. However, the Book of Job (40, 15-24) does mention a ‘behemoth’, with an exact description of a very large dinosaur (most dinosaurs were very small according to the fossil record). Elsewhere the Bible often mentions dragons and, in all the cultures and folk-memories of the world, dragons are the old name for dinosaurs.

Q: Was the Flood local or universal?

A: This is not a dogma of the Faith, so believe as you will. Personally, I think it was universal, because every culture in the world has a flood story and because how else can you account for worldwide fossils, 95% of which are sea creatures (for example, fossils of sea creatures found on high mountains), stratification of rock, plate tectonics, or the Ice Age? And then, if it had been global, why did Noah not simply move away from the area and why did he bother to preserve the animals anyway? Personally, I cannot imagine how a geologist cannot be a Christian.

Q: When was the Earth created and how long did it take?

A: Nobody knows. The traditional Orthodox date is 7,532 years ago. You can interpret that literally or figuratively. How long did it take? Six days or six ages. No such speculations, or even certain knowledge, helps us to salvation. Do not waste your time!

The Russian Church

Q: Why does the agony of the Russian Church continue even 33 years after the fall of Communism?

A: This is because of the lack or repentance of the Russian Orthodox masses, who are baptised but untaught. Thus, in the centre of Moscow the corpse of Lenin, that forerunner of Antichrist, continues to rot in public in its ziggurat. Everywhere statues of monsters like him and the names of the murderers are recalled in metro stations, streets and whole regions. Meanwhile the relics of the Imperial Martyrs are held, the faithful barred off, in Saint Petersburg and it is impossible for the faithful to venerate them. This is spiritual captivity. Relics make miracles only when they are venerated.

Q: Why was Gregory Rasputin hated by most of the Russian emigration?

A: This was because most of the Russian emigration hated the Tsar and the Tsarina. They blamed their loss of money, position and property on the Imperial Family and all who had supported them. In the words of St John of Shanghai (and also in my experience) only about 10% of the Russian emigration were for the Tsar or went to church, and probably far fewer than 10% of the aristocracy, who had lost the most through the Revolution. Although all the emigres have died out, this attitude continues among their descendants of the second, third and fourth generations, to whom they passed on their old prejudices.

Q: Why does the West hate Russia?

A: Simply because Russia has refused to be colonised by the West. True, it has not remained entirely independent. The Russian Empire (1721-1917), the Soviet Empire (1922-1991) and Russian Capitalism (1992-2022) were all the results of Russian aping of various Western ideologies of materialism. However, this 300-year period is now over. Russia has now reverted to being a National Russia.

Q: Did you ever meet Metr Antony of Sourozh? What would he think of the present situation in the Russian Church?

A: I not only often met him quite often, but he tonsured me reader over 42 years ago, in January 1981. As regards the present, all I can say is that he must be spinning in his grave at the sight of how Sergianist politicians who think like the State have taken over the Russian Church and principles thrown out of the window. The New Martyrs and the New Confessors have been betrayed by those who prefer money and luxury and the corruption that follows from those passions.

Q: Is the schismatic American ROCOR still in communion with any other Orthodox?

A: As far as I can see, this tiny US-based group of 300 churches and small communities is now openly preaching that you must be nasty in order to be nice! This is of course psychopathic, which is what we have come to expect of the new American ROCOR. It has lost so many normal Russian Orthodox that it now consorts occasionally only with certain politically very conservative, usually ex-Protestant, members of the Antiochian Jurisdiction (200 rather wealthy churches and communities in the USA). Both have stronger links to the USA than to Europe and West Asia and actual Orthodox Tradition. Both appear to be out of communion with the huge Russian, Romanian and Greek Churches. Birds of a feather flock together.