Tag Archives: Current Affairs

Two Questions and Answers on the Contemporary Russian Orthodox Church

Questions: I have two questions.

Firstly: As you surely know, there are several currents in the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church. For example, you mentioned elsewhere the recent defrockings of two diametrically opposed personalities, Sergei Romanov and Andrei Kurayev, who represented two extreme currents. Which current do you belong to?

Secondly: Do you think there has there been mass repentance in Russia with the hundred million baptisms that followed the fall of the Soviet Union?

Answers: I am not keen on the word ‘current’, it suggests ‘school’, as though the Church were divided into different groups or subcultures. The Church has no need to be not divided and can still be broad on non-dogmatic questions. In other words, there is always diversity and different interpretations exist in the Church on non-essential issues. This is because we are not a sect, where only those with very narrow and intolerant minds are allowed. As long as we understand that these ‘currents’ overlap and are not rigidly self-exclusive, which would be sectarian and lead outside the Church, like the groups represented by the two extremists you mention above, then I can reply to your first question.

I can identify eight different ‘currents’ in the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church, in four groups of two. The first six currents are minority, even dying, currents, the last two are the majority currents.

A: Political Currents from the Past:

  1. Pre-Soviet Nationalist Nostalgia

Though they have now died, there used to be many aristocratic émigrés with their children who proclaimed that the pre-Revolutionary State was almost ideal. This was often really cultural nostalgia for a privileged childhood. It was precisely mainly the aristocrats and bureaucrats, often corrupt and some of whom emigrated, who betrayed and overthrew the Tsar. Once in the emigration, many of these people were more anti-Communists than Orthodox, all they wanted was their money and lands back from the Bolsheviks. The destiny and mission of the Church did not interest them. There was no theology here, just psychology.

Today, some of the descendants of those emigres follow in their footsteps, as well as some insecure converts in the ex-Soviet Union, who also suffer from nostalgia for an idealised past, which provides them with psychological security. They never ask themselves the question why the Revolution took place and why it was at least passively accepted by so many, if everybody had been so happy before it. If they studied the pre-Revolutionary Church in its 200-year state of enslavement to Germanic State bureaucracy, they would understand much. But many do not want to know about this because that would entail repentance on their part. They prefer to demand repentance from others, in the spirit of the Pharisees.

  1. Soviet Nationalist Nostalgia

There are still quite a few elderly or even middle-aged people inside the ex-Soviet Union who, though now baptised, have constructed a myth that the Soviet Union was Orthodox. This can even go to the extreme of idolising Stalin, whom they oppose to the foreign enemies of national Russia, Lenin and Trotsky (overlooking that Stalin was also a foreign enemy). This is largely nationalism, together with childhood nostalgia for the security and imagined prestige they had in the Soviet Union.

They forget the interminable queues, shortages, wastage, injustices and above all the red terror, genocides and Gulag, which were all inherent parts of Soviet ideology from Lenin onwards. Ultimately, such ‘Stalinist Orthodox’ are simply the victims of Soviet brainwashing. Their refusal to acknowledge the facts of history and the anti-Christian and other genocides carried out by the criminal monsters who ran the anti-Russian Soviet State from 1917 on is astounding. As usual with people like this, they do not want to know the truth because otherwise they would have to re-evaluate everything, above all their own lives.

B: Political Currents from the Present:

  1. Post-Soviet Russian Nationalism

There are those who are nominally Orthodox, but only because they are Russian and feel threatened by the wave of Westernisation that has unfurled on the ex-Soviet Union since 1991. You can read articles and books written by such people but they rarely attend Church services. Some of them revere imagined Slav paganism. For them the Church is often just an ideology which they try and use for their own ideological purposes and for defensive self-justification.

  1. Post-Soviet Euro-Americanism

Unlike the above, there are the rootless elitists who hate Russia. They are the spiritual descendants of the Westernisers of the nineteenth century. These modern Westernisers, like the CIA agent Navalny, want Russia to become just more American colonies, divided into various ‘protectorates’, as Hitler had intended, with the natives herded onto reservations, as the elite did to the natives of North America. They descend spiritually from the aristocratic and middle-class Europhile traitors who overthrew the Tsar in 1917 and had him and his family murdered, imagining they would retain their power and riches as Western puppets. They have clearly learned nothing from the recent Ukrainian catastrophe. For them the Church is irrelevant and has nothing to say to the world, but must instead slavishly ape the spiritually bankrupt West.

C: The Two Neophyte Currents:

  1. The Ritualist Neophytes

There are those who, new to the Faith, become very attached to external rituals to an almost superstitious or magical degree, that of folklore. They often elevate purely local customs such as bathing in holes in the ice on 19th January to some kind of obligation, far higher than holy communion. Sometimes this results in a certain phariseeism. In Greece such would be inclined to old calendarism, in the Russian context this comes out as an inclination to old ritualism. It is difficult to dissuade such narrow and closed neophytes that ritualism is to be avoided as we are saved not by rituals, but by Christ. This is because they are so emotional and irrational that they do not lend themselves to rational persuasion.

  1. The Modernist Neophytes

There are those who, new to the Faith, become very attached to a merely intellectual knowledge of the Faith. They are the modern saducees, renovationists, liberals and westernisers, intellectual neophytes – rationalists, who do not believe in very much, except their own intellectual concepts. Many of them follow the Moscow renovationist Kochetkov, whom the ex-Bishop Basil (Osborne) wanted to appoint rector of his London Cathedral before his Sourozh schism and who was adored by the late French modernist philosopher Olivier Clement, who so heartily detested the Russian Church. Such people may well read the CIA newspaper The Moscow Echo or listen to the CIA Radio Liberty and read books written by the notorious ‘Paris’ philosophers, whether they lived in France, England or the USA.

D: The Two Main Currents:

  1. The Bureaucrats

There are the bureaucrats, centralisers, careerists, who love money, power and protocols far more than Christ, who always slavishly follow the State, whether it is in Russia, Romania, Greece or, in England, the Anglican Establishment. These are the sort who put St John of Shanghai on trial because they hated the Truth. The diplomacy of lies prevails amongst them, for they have little sense of reality, for they have never suffered, living in clouds of naïve unreality, surrounded by flattering yes-men favourites. These are the anti-missionaries, who destroy Church life instead of spreading it, who suspend and defrock good priests and promote grasping bandits, discrediting the Church among the faithful.

These are the sort who, obsessed by paperwork, implement covid rules with more zeal than even the unbelieving Anglican elite. They refuse to understand that covid was sent to them to bring them to repentance. These are the anti-pastors, the anti-missionaries, the dessicated bishops, the dried-out and formalist monks, who have no love, especially hating married clergy and families. They have little pastoral understanding or sympathy, for they hate the truth about themselves and their persecuting jealousy. They prefer to fill their few churches with gold and marble, as hard as their souls, for they do not love the poor, even if they do understand that the poor exist; they prefer rituals. This is the type of dried-up bishop who was exactly portrayed by Paul Chavchavadze in his novel ‘Father Vikenty’ (London 1957).

  1. The Orthodox

We belong not to Paul, or to Apollos or to Cephas, but to Christ and His Saints and Martyrs, in the spirit of St John of Shanghai. We Orthodox are those whom the secular world calls ‘the mystically aware’, to whom Christ said, ‘As the world hated me, it will hate you’. Despite their very mean persecution for this faithfulness and even their censorship, we venerate all the saints, ancient and contemporary, including the recent saints, the Tsar, his Family and all his servants, together with all the New Martyrs and New Confessors, for the Church is founded on the blood of the martyrs and the faithfulness of the confessors.

However, the world and the worldly hate the saints and permanently rebuke us for our zeal. We follow the miracle-working St John of Kronstadt, whose bureaucrat-bishop appointed him rector of the parish that he had founded and built only after 40 years. We follow the holy elder Fr Nikolai Guryanov, alone on his island and ignored until great old age. We believe in the international mission and destiny of the Russian Orthodox Church to bring to Christ willing people from all the nations, regardless of nationality and tongue. We will always be persecuted by the truth-hating bureaucrats who have no love for us and our worldwide missionary work.

In reply to your second question:

In the ex-Soviet Union there has been mass superficial conversion, but no deep mass repentance. The latter has concerned perhaps only 5% of the population. This has been made clear by the facts that Lenin’s rotten corpse still lies by the Moscow Kremlin, where stands a monument to Stalin, and the whole Russian Federation is littered with statues and place-names celebrating the atheist brutes who murdered tens of millions of baptised Orthodox and other innocents. The refusal of many to discover and venerate the Royal Martyrs, to read and love the Lives of the New Martyrs in general, the failure to stop mass abortion and divorce, the existence of mass corruption, cremation and other pagan practices prove that Orthodox Russia does not yet exist.

This is why there can be no restoration of the Orthodox monarchy and so re-creation of the Orthodox Empire yet. The existence of the Phanariot nationalist schism in the Ukraine, the failure to bring to Christ millions of the peoples of the former Russian Empire, Kazakhs, Latvians, Yakuts, Mongols and so on, shows that all that exists is post-Soviet Russia, not Orthodox Russia. If Russia were Orthodox, its neighbours would also be Orthodox. They are not. There is far to go. The calls to repentance are to be repeated for long until the long-awaited day of justice and restoration comes.

 

From Recent Correspondence – November-December 2020

Covid

Q: If you are offered vaccination, will you have it?

A: Now that nearly a million people in the UK have had the vaccination, yes I will have it. I have no fear for myself, especially as I had covid last February (just a bad cold with loss of sense and smell for a couple of weeks), but I feel personally that it is a question of responsibility towards others. This is a purely personal view and I cast absolutely no aspersions on those who do not want the vaccination because of fears about long-term consequences or other reasons. And I do not suggest at all that they are being irresponsible in rejecting the vaccine! I will certainly accept it and I recommend it, though everyone is of course free to choose.

Divisions, Schisms and Heresies

Q: What is a division inside the Church? Why is a division not a schism?

A: I can answer because there is the case of my own part of the Russian Church, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). It is very interesting because the events here are current and I have lived through them and seen them and knew and know the people and psychologies involved on both sides. This was not a schism, let alone a heresy, but a division. A division is the stage before a schism and, unlike a schism, may be perfectly justified – providing it is for a positive cause and is therefore temporary. It happens in cases where pious clergy and people are unjustly persecuted by their own bishops, who represent not Christ, but, for example, in our own case, the Soviet atheist State which demanded through certain bishop-citizens that we tell lies. We refused. That was honourable.

Other cases of division are caused by other bishops who also obey purely secular, State interests, or simply their own vices, practising harsh injustices and displaying profoundly anti-Christian conduct. And this can happen and does happen. Tragically, quite often, and in all the Local Churches. Bishops choose to persecute the persecuted and protect the persecutors. We have experienced that.

Outside the Church, history gives another obvious example with the ‘Church of England’, with the creation of Methodism and any number of other Protestant sects. These were established by those who were persecuted by Church of England bishops, who were merely venal State employees and not Christians at all. But their divisions became permanent and so schisms, some of which then developed into heresies.

Thus, our particular division outside Russia was created by the persecution of the Soviet State. However, from the 1960s on, our division showed signs among a ‘super-correct’ few of developing into a schism of the Donatist style, a schism of the self-righteous and self-justifying pride of the Pharisees (backed by CIA funding they justified themselves by accusing others of ‘Sergianism’). Such a schism did not happen among over 95% of ROCOR because when the Soviet State collapsed, the vast majority of the Church Outside Russia only wanted to reunite with the Church inside Russia, as soon as it had been freed. We the majority had never had any hidden agendas; we had belonged to ROCOR only because there was ‘nowhere else to go’, in the words of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva. Our home had always been the Russian Church, and nowhere else, and especially not some pseudo-Orthodox pharisaic sect or a sub-department of some foreign political party.

The tiny minority which rejected our profound unity with the rest of the Russian Church were often of right-wing Protestant origin. They lapsed from the Church immediately, into multiple tiny Donatist schisms, one tiny fragment of which is now developing a new heresy. In other words, we can see in a concrete and contemporary case, how a division may then develop into a schism and how a schism may then develop into a heresy.

Q: What is the difference between a schism and a heresy?

A: A heresy is always the intensification or dogmatisation and justification of a schism.

Schisms, which sometimes develop into heresies, always happen because of pride, either personal pride, or else collective, racial pride. The greater the pride, the more likely a heresy is to develop.

We have personal pride in the schisms and then heresies of Arius, Nestorius, Donatus or the Old Ritualist Archpriest Avvakum. We have collective, nationalist, racial pride in the cases of the schisms and then heresies of the Copts, the Armenians, the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, or the present Ukrainian and Phanariot schisms. The Ukrainian schism says: ‘Glory to the Ukraine’, not ‘Glory to God’. That is a heresy. The Phanariot schism is interesting because we see how racial pride is now developing into the Greek phyletist heresy with the new and still developing dogma of Phanariot Papism, with its ‘first among equals’ ‘because we are Greeks’ now developing into ‘first without equals’ ‘because we are Greeks’. This is extraordinarily primitive and has been copied from the Pharisees, whose racism Christ so often denounced.

However, schisms and heresies can be provoked by the other side. For example, the Copts were provoked by Greek racism, the Protestants by Catholic persecution, Archpriest Avvakum by the persecution of the Russian State, the Greek old calendarists by Greek State persecution. Persecution always creates the martyr complex and so deepens a schism and makes a heresy more likely.

Q: What was the Old Ritualist/Old Believer Schism really about?

A: As regards the extreme Old Ritualists (I prefer to call them thus rather than Old Believers, since the belief never changed – all Orthodox are Old Believers), these are basically Russian Protestants, who match, sociologically, the Western Protestants 150 years before them. Their mercantile money-making had to be justified. Here is their heresy. And again we see racial pride, ignorance and ritualism, phariseeism and puritanism, exactly as with the extreme Protestants. It is no surprise that many of the Old Ritualists actually and suicidally supported the 1917 Revolution, which wiped most of them out, just as it wiped out most Bolsheviks. They died by their own hand.

The Catholic Schism

Q: As far as I know from seminary articles on the Schism from the Church in 1054, in England, France, and Germany they served on leavened bread for a long time after the Schism. Do you know anything about this? Moreover, Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh, having married the daughter of the King of England, Gytha, was surprised that there were already some disagreements in the Church. This only confirms that the act itself was more of an intentional political phenomenon. East-West relations at that time remained united, and the “differences” themselves remained “unnoticed” for a long time for the sake of unity, and did not suddenly arise in 1054.

What about Catholic people in a village in the south of France, where they have been living for generations and do not want to emigrate anywhere, who do not “look at the horizon”, but have been going to pray in one local Church for 500-700 years? Are they Christians or “apostates” (rhetorically)? Do they live “the old way”? Do they have to “understand” anything? Do we have the right to “pity” them without fear of humiliating them? What if our distant relatives are among them?

A: Of course we always distinguish between institutions and people. Roman Catholicism is clearly a heresy, and was so from the start, but as for individual Roman Catholics, that is quite different. I would not call them heretics, as a heretic must be conscious of what he is promulgating. The average Catholic has never even heard of the filioque, but, on the other hand, most Catholic clergy are heretics because they have heard of it and still accept it. I have met individual Catholics who are basically Orthodox, though they have never realised it. Here we follow the wisdom of the old proverb: ‘A fish rots from the head’, in Russian: ‘Рыба гниет/воняет с головы’.

As regards ‘the 1054 Schism’ in general, it is vital to understand that this is NOT a date, but a process. There were people around Charlemagne who at the end of the eighth century had already undergone ‘1054’. On the other hand, there are Catholics today, true, perhaps not many, who have still not been affected by 1054 – for them it has not yet happened. And in general the final implications or end-results of 1054 are still in 2020 unfolding, for example, in LGBT. As an example, it is true to say that some had begun using unleavened bread before 1054, others continued using leavened bread afterwards.

In many places 1054 did not happen until the end of the 11th century. For example, it was then that the First Crusade began and that Anselm wrote the first defence of the filioque: ‘Against the Greeks’. That was the end for them. They were apostates and heretics. But even today, the average Catholic has never heard of the filioque or of the heretic Anselm and considers that the Crusades were totally wrong. There may not be much difference between them and us Orthodox. I have always considered Catholics as ex-Orthodox, but in fact many of them are more Orthodox than ‘ex’.

You asked me about the fate of Catholics from the south of France. That is interesting because my matushka has Catholic relatives who live precisely in the south of France. I pray for them all at every proskomidia and have done for the last 36 years, though obviously I do not take out particles for them. At every proskomidia, I also pray for various Non-Orthodox people, for example, for ‘William’. This is Shakespeare. Will he find salvation? I do not know. But I calculate that probably no-one else anywhere in the world prays for him. Therefore I must do it. I hope that in Russia priests pray for the tragic Alexander (Pushkin), killed in a sinful duel.

The Phanariot Schism

Q: Will the Ukrainian Schism spread worldwide or will it peter out once Patriarch Bartholomew is dead?

A: It is now clear – it was not clear at first – that this is both a political and dogmatic schism and does not depend on individual personalities. The present schismatic Patriarch is supported by others, perhaps even worse than himself. The schism can only end once the USA has lost its Superpower status and has been humiliated and its empire with its dollar-power has fallen. When there are no more planeloads of dollars to hand out, it will lose its influence. Then the American-backed Galician separatists who seized power anti-democratically and violently in Kiev in 2014 (with Lithuanian sniper-mercenaries murdering Ukrainians from the roof of the US Embassy) will fall. And that may happen much sooner than many think. For ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’.

Partly the inevitable fall of the USA will come about because of the incompetence of its elite, partly because of the scourge of God, covid. Thus, its administration is running out of steam and its plots, in Eastern Europe, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Georgia, in Syria, in the Yemen, in the Ukraine, in Belarus, in the war with Azerbaijan and now in its schemes in Moldova, are failing. That the atheist criminals in the US State Department and abortionists like Biden and Son are so desperate to promote the idea that a flockless bishop in a Turkish city could be the leader of World Orthodoxy would be laughable, if there were not a few deluded or bribed people to take it seriously.

However, the Phanariot schism (unlike the Ukrainian schism) is permanent and also worldwide. Both sides of the schismatic Westernised coin, both the nationalists (phyletists, whether Greek, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Serbian or other), pharisees and ritualists, as well as their opposite numbers, the careerists, liberals and modernists, are all falling. Good riddance, as they have all long been compromising our witness to real Christianity.

This includes the schismatics of the Local Churches, which, with a few exceptions, have as a whole remained Orthodox. Thus, the renegade drug-dealing (yes, really), careerist former Russian Bishop Flavian (Maxim Mitrofanov), now defrocked and living in London after his interview on Radio Liberty (where else?), as well as other Kochetkov types inside Russia, and the two notorious pervert Russian Bishops Ignaty, and in Bosnia Herzegovina the Serbian Bishop Dimitry (Radzhenovich), who on 4 December nearly set fire to his own church through his lack of faith, as well as in Cyprus schismatic bishops, in Alexandria the schismatic Patriarch and his yes-men adepts, in Greece the schismatic Archbishop of Athens and his equally unprincipled careerist supporters, are out.

The Church is being cleansed. This cleansing is long, long overdue. Covid has had the effect of revealing the truth about each, about those who are traitors, cowards and deceivers because, despite their outward rite, they have no faith, as well as revealing the truth about those who are Orthodox and do not fear death and martyrdom, but only fear God.

Thus, only recently the Synod of the ROC defrocked Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 at the Central Urals Convent, and it is now about to defrock Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev. I have not met him, but met many just like him in the old Paris group, many of whom were also schismatics (and freemasons) and have remained so. Both these cases are also a cleansing.

The first was an extremist of the right, an ignorant man, uncanonically ordained, who called people to suicide for Russia (not for Christ). The other was an extremist of the left, a liberal who had only the disrespectful pride of the modernist in his soul for the Church, because She does not reflect the values of his narcissistic self. Although his pride may yet result in a schism by his joining the Phanar, there is still hope that he may repent. Extremes cannot survive. Such people always destroy themselves through their passions.

Q: Since the Patriarchate of Constantinople has fallen into schism and is out of communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, what should our attitude be to laypeople of the Patriarchate of Constantinople?

A: We should welcome them with open arms as refugees from the schism created by their still unrepentant bishops and give them confession and communion. As for repentant bishops and priests, they should be welcomed back into the Church by concelebration. Just because the father has put himself in prison, we do not punish the children.

Salvation

Q: Who will be saved? I am thinking especially about Old Ritualists and Catholics. Most of them did not choose to be outside the Church, that was simply the way their parents brought them up. And what about suicides? Can priests take out particles for any of them at the proskomidia? And what is the fate of those who died unjustly, even if they were outside the Church, like Richard III?

A: This is the old question of all us ex-seminarians: What will happen to the Amazon Indians who have never heard of Christ? Nearly 2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul said that such will be judged according to their conscience, in other words, according to what is the content of their hearts. We also have the story in the Life of St Gregory the Dialogist, who drew the pagan Emperor Trajan out of hell through his prayers. All is possible and God is Merciful. But He is also Righteous.

As regards prayer, there is private prayer and there is public prayer. In public prayer we commemorate only Orthodox. In private prayer we pray for everyone. Parishioners constantly ask me if they can pray for a Non-Orthodox person and I always say: ‘Not only you can, but you must.’ Who else will pray for them? And I tell them to go and light a candle. I remember 45 years ago one elderly Russian aristocratic émigré who always used to light a candle for ‘the servant of God Alexander’. This was Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin. That had saved her life in the early 1950s.

In England today, Orthodox make up exactly only 1% of the population and I am talking about all Orthodox, both practising and nominal. So what? Does that mean we cannot do anything? Do people really think that the apostles did not pray for everyone? There were only 11 of them at one point. How did they convert the world? Read the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles! Millions were converted through the apostles directly and indirectly. We can do the same.

Mixed marriages have always been very common here, including in the first post-1917 emigration – there were and are so few Orthodox. Moreover, most of our Orthodox Russian speakers today, mainly from the Ukraine, are women who entered into internet marriages to come and escape the poverty and corruption of the countries of the post-Soviet Soviet Union, not to mention escaping alcoholic Russian men. They want their children to be baptised and their husbands to join the Church. (Some of these do join and some don’t). Of course these women pray for their husbands. Therefore, outside Russia our commemoration books officially contain two sections, one for Orthodox, one for Non-Orthodox.

I do the proskomidia, taking out particles only for Orthodox. But I also stand before the table and pray for the Non-Orthodox, without taking our particles for them, as that would be theologically illiterate (they are outside the Church and so remain outside the chalice). Does my prayer help them? I hope so. God is merciful.

Most Orthodox are Orthodox, simply because they were born in a certain country. The same is true for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus etc. And the same is true for the Old Ritualists. Like the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, they belong to this sect because their parents belonged to it. They live in a ghetto and psychologically it is very difficult to escape such manipulative sects because they are made to feel guilty if they disobey. What of their salvation?

All I can say is: God is Merciful. One who has left the Old Ritualists, repenting for them, can and must pray for his parents and ancestors. What will God’s judgement be? We must be humble and accept that we do not and cannot know, at least until the Last Judgement. Speculations are a waste of time. We must concentrate on our own salvation, which we can do something about. I would not take out particles for Old Ritualists and other Non-Orthodox at the proskomidia, because they were not in communion with the Church in this life, but I certainly pray for them.

Similarly with suicides. We have to pray for them in our private prayer. As you know, the Church has always made a sharp distinction between the few who commit suicide because they hate God and the vast majority who have lost their minds. What will happen to them? We do not know. But God is Merciful. This is our only hope. Our prayer is so feeble. All we can do is rely on Divine Mercy. Some suicides are martyrs. I have no doubt of this.

As regards those who died unjustly, like Richard III, I think we can have even greater hope in God’s Mercy. They are Non-Orthodox martyrs. God always recognises sacrifices, whoever makes them. But again, I only take out particles at the proskomidia for Orthodox. Otherwise, we disobey the Church in our presumption and pride. God knows, not us.

Let us recall the saints of the Old Testament and the Holy Innocents slaughtered by Herod. None of them was baptised. But they found salvation and were freed from hell by Christ on Great Saturday. And let us recall the good thief, who repented just before the end and was promised Paradise that very day. He was not baptised, except, like so many martyrs, in his blood.

Pastoral Practice

Q: Do you practise frequent communion in your church? Is frequency of communion normal? And how frequent should confession be?

A: Yes, we do definitely practise frequent communion in our church, but we also practise more or less weekly confession, which we can do as we have two or three priests confessing and one priest in the altar.

The old State Church mentality was ‘confession and communion once a year because you have to’. This was the nominalist mentality that brought about both the atheist revolution in Russia and the modern apostasy in Greece. The now very old-fashioned 1960s modernist mentality (the Protestant Schmemann, Archbp Leo of Finland, Greek Orthodox in the USA etc) is ‘obligatory communion every time but confession once a lifetime and only if you insist’.

The mentality of these modernists is that the Eucharist, holy communion, is somehow magical, it is at the centre of the Church. That is not the case. Christ is the Head of the Church and it is repentance that takes us to Christ. It can be said therefore that repentance is at the centre of the Church. When there is no more repentance, then the Church on earth will no longer exist.

The Orthodox view is frequent confession and frequent communion. It is not one versus the other, it is both together. Otherwise the medicine does not work. This is a virtuous circle. The faithful should try and have confession and communion at least twice a month. Communion at every liturgy is more difficult and of course younger women cannot have communion every Sunday in any case.

Western Aberrations

Q: If the ‘evil empire’ (the USSR) fell in 1991, when did the USA become the new evil empire?

A: I think this is a debatable point, as it is more a process than a single event. So, to date it, some people would go right back to the genocide of the American Civil War nearly 160 years ago which centralised the US State, or to that State’s imperialist war against Spain in 1898. Others might refer to the barbaric US use of Atomic bombs in 1945 (no other country has dared to use them) or to the still unexplained assassination of Kennedy in 1963 and the barbaric genocide of the Vietnamese people which followed. However, the USSR still existed both in 1945 and after 1963, still enslaving the former Russian Empire and Eastern Europe until 1989.

I think the turning point was precisely 1991. Even before the obvious imminent fall of the USSR in December that year, in summer 1990 the USA had turned its attention to Iraq and the concept of world domination. It seems to me that, spiritually, the demons that had created and then tormented and haunted the USSR for nearly 75 years, fled to Europe and America, Eurosodom and Gomorica, during this period of the early 1990s, seeing the coming fall of their Communist delusion. People had seen through the demonic idolatry of Communism, but most had not yet seen through the equally demonic idolatry of Capitalism. The demons fled there. After all, in 1993, soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the European Union was formed. However, it is the USA that has always clearly pulled the EU strings, which is a political and military dwarf.

Q: I know the Church is outside politics, or should be, but are there any general political trends among Church people?

A: I think most, if not all, Orthodox are socially conservative. Indeed, it was interesting to note that most Soviet Communists (Orthodox who had lost their Faith) remained in many respects social conservatives. This social conservatism is inevitable, simply because we are Christians. However, being socially conservative does not mean that we are puritans and prudes who condemn the weak for their errors. We are to have compassion for them.

On the other hand, unlike many other social conservatives, Orthodox are not secular conservatives. This is because as Christians we also have a sense of social justice. That is why Orthodox reacted badly to right-wing Fascism, which was always associated with the authoritarian bullying of Catholicism, which largely supported it. Thus, it was in Catholic Poland, including in Western Galicia in the far west Ukraine, and in Catholic Lithuania and Croatia, that the Nazis received the most enthusiastic support for their appalling slaughter of the Jews. The Orthodox did not support this, but had compassion for the ordinary Jews who were victims of the Catholics and ex-Catholic Nazis

All this is of course general and does not mean that we have to vote for any particular political party, especially when all ‘mainstream’ parties without exception, for example, appear to be in favour of such horrors as abortion.

Q: Why does the Church say about primitive man?

A: He did live in caves wearing animal skins a long time ago – that is what the Book of Genesis, and therefore the Church, says (Genesis 3, 21). As to when this was, no-one knows. As all the experts disagree, I have no idea. I think it was more probably this side of 50,000 years ago, rather than the other side, which is based on the speculations of those who found a few fossilized (monkey?) bones and dared to date them. That is unscientific.

We also know from history that ancient man was clearly not a grunting brute: that is the arrogant superiority complex of Western modernists. Pyramids, ziggurats, Stonehenge and aboriginal rock art prove the sophistication of the ancients. One thing that is certain about ancient man is that he did not have concentration camps, Atomic Bombs, cluster bombs and napalm. He was simply not primitive enough for all that.

Q: What do you think of gay conversion therapy?

A: I really don’t understand such secularist and anti-Christian language. It denotes an alien Civilisation to our Christian Civilisation of the Church.

First of all, there is no such thing as ‘conversion therapy’, there is only repentance. And repentance is always voluntary, never imposed by some institution. We do not believe in institutions. Now repentance comes from prayer, fasting, confession and communion (this presumes of course that the person in question is already a member of the Church of God, and not some pseudo-Christian Western religion). And repentance is open to all, whatever their sin.

Q: Why is fasting important?

A: Today two billion people in the world are obese or overweight: never has there been a time for fasting as now. The Scriptures and the Fathers are clear: in the last times people will eat and never be satisfied (the definition of McDonalds). Vatican II dropped fasting and obesity began (though others, including certain extremist ‘Orthodox’ modernists did not help in the 1960s). The rejection of fasting always leads to obesity (and an obsession with slimming, gyms, fitness and also sex and sport…): it is a spiritual rule. It happens in decadent monasteries too.

 

 

 

 

From Correspondence – July-August 2020

Modernism

Q: There are those who assert that we can catch covid from communion? Is this your view?

A: Most certainly not. I would say that such a view is actually a modernist heresy, a form of Arianism, because it asserts that Christ is not Divine, but only a human being. We can be contaminated by other human-beings or things that they have touched, but not by holiness. Indeed, we never hear in the Gospels that at any point Christ was ill or made anyone ill. Our God is an all-consuming fire, as the Apostle Paul wrote. He burns away all sins, including illnesses and viruses. We have not had a single case of covid in our church, but have about 200 communions every single Sunday. If this were true, then all priests and deacons, who consume the remaining gifts at the end of the Liturgy, would long ago have died. St John of Shanghai gave communion to someone with rabies – he caught nothing.

Q: Why is there still a fascination among some inside Russia with the ideas of Fr Alexander Schmemann and others of his school?

A: Russia never went through the 60s and 70s of the last century and some there are still going through it now, rather late in the day. Hence the fascination with what for us here is old hat Paris School philosophy and the fascination with such old-fashioned modernism among semi-intellectuals, who have little or no experience of monastic or ascetic or family life. Here we have the attitude towards it of ‘been there, done that’. We quickly got over it, we are not stuck in the 1960s and 1970s, we are in a post-modernist age here. Those in Russia who have any spiritual sensitivity will also get over this crazy fashion and quickly. Many already have. The Kochetkov school of modernism is now dying out as the old-fashioned aberration it is.

Pastoral Matters

Q: I have read that there are some in the Church of Greece who consider that everyone in the Russian Church is in a state of phyletism, as they have refused to obey Constantinople. Do you think this is true?

A: This attitude comes from the nationalistic phyletists in the Greek Church. Jealous of the greater numbers in the Russian Church, which has given the Greek Church an inferiority complex, they are trying to justify their own racism. When they accuse others of phyletism, they are in fact talking about themselves. If they believed in their own words, they should start by themselves joining the Patriarchate of Constantinople, instead of maintaining their nationalist independence. We must obey Christ, not the US State Department. Tell that to the Phanar.

Q: Is the Church a source of sorrow or of joy?

A: It is both, but never a source of depression and mournfulness. Thus, repentance for the Crucifixion – the reason why monastics dress in black, is a source of sorrow, but the Resurrection is a source of joy.

Q: Why do many bishops fall ill and why do many die relatively young?

A: There are those who are frightened to die, who are cowardly, not brave, and who persecute the Church, but God is not mocked.

Q: How can you be a Christian but not support pacifism, I mean, support armies etc instead of pacifism? Russia has a strong military history – how can you justify that?

A: The key to this is whether your armed forces are used to defend or to offend. For example, if you saw children being attacked and murdered, surely you would defend them? On the other hand to go and invade someone else’s country, perhaps overseas, to occupy it and exploit it, stealing its oil, gas, diamonds and gold ‘in your national interest’, for example, is not defence, but offence. It is our duty to defend others, not to offend others.

As for Russian military history, it was spent defending, unlike the far stronger and much more aggressive military history of Western countries which was spent offending. Remember that Russia saved Western Europe from itself twice, defending itself and others against the atheist Western dictator Napoleon and, 130 years later, defending itself and others against the atheist Western dictator Hitler. Both of them had aggressively invaded Russia, having already invaded and occupied most of Western and Eastern Europe. And on both occasions Russian forces saved Britain, which was too weak to defend itself alone.

Western History

Q: Is it true that Gothic Architecture is Muslim in origin, as has recently been stated?

A: Yes, but this fact has been well established for at least a century, notably the arched Gothic window and the flying buttress come from Islamic architecture. They were stolen by the crusaders from Muslim architecture in Spain and the Holy Land. There is nothing new here, this has been known for a very long time.

Q: Did the first organ to be used in a Western church come from Constantinople?

A: Yes. In 757 the Emperor Constantine V sent an organ as a gift to the Germanic kinglet Pepin the Short to use for his amusement and for State ceremonies, as they already did at the Imperial court. Foolishly, in 812 Pepin’s son Karl, called Charlemagne, began using a second such organ inside a church! In the tenth century there were at least two organs in England, one in Winchester Cathedral. This too was used for State ceremonies. It was only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that organs became the norm in Catholic and Protestant churches.

Q: Why do the German Protestant and Roman Catholic historians claim that the Greek Fathers were Platonists?

A: Because they are talking about themselves. Writers like Harnack were rationalists, Aristotelians. Therefore, for them anyone with any sort of spiritual sense was automatically a Platonist.

Q: Why are Protestants usually fundamentalist Creationists and Roman Catholics usually scientific Evolutionists? And what is the Orthodox viewpoint?

A: A lot of Protestants are literalists and have little spiritual understanding, for example, the fact that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and that the revelation of the Holy Spirit did not stop after inspiring the Scriptures and its outpouring is continuous, is alien to most of them. On the other hand, modern science was born from the Roman Catholic rationalism of the Middle Ages (e.g. Roger Bacon) and the scientism of, say, the Jesuits, comes directly from this.

The Orthodox view is one of spiritual interpretation and understanding, neither unspiritual literalism, nor secular scientism, knowing that the Bible is merely a part of the revelation of the Holy Spirit. We worship the Holy Spirit, not the Bible, the Creator, not creation. We are neither Bible-worshippers, nor are we Pope-worshippers, we are worshippers of the Holy Trinity. That is mystical.

Q: You assert that we are faced with only two choices, Christianity (for you = Orthodoxy) and Secularism (for you = the Modern West). But surely it is not so black and white?

A: I never said it was so black and white, even if that simple choice is what it boils down to. It is true that the Modern West still has cultural fragments (sometimes important) of its Orthodox heritage and that most of the Orthodox world suffered 75 years of enforced Western atheism. Here there is of course an overlap, but nevertheless, the choice is clear.

Russian Church Matters

Q: The recent August Synod in Moscow made some very important administrative changes. Were these, especially the removal of Metropolitan Paul in Minsk, political?

A: Well, who knows? As I understand it, several bishops were removed because of their moral deficiencies (there are always one or two rotten apples in every basket of apples). As for Metr Paul, who is Russian, he was removed because it was felt that a local Belarussian, Metr Benjamin, was needed at this time of crisis in Belarus. Overall, we Orthodox are satisfied, especially by the changes in Moscow itself.

Q: Quite a lot of Russians inside Russia today consider that religion is just a business, a matter of making as much money as possible, and therefore has no importance or role. Do you have an answer to this?

A: Religion is always a business. My interest is not in religion, but in faith, the living experience of spiritual reality which comes only with repentance and the desire for purity.

An Interview with a Serbian Church Website

The following interview was published last week on www.pouke.org, a Serbian Church website.

  • Being an Englishman and an Orthodox priest at the same time, how do people in your .neighbourhood perceive you?

With complete indifference. Very few people here are interested in any religion. A priest is generally viewed as perhaps rather eccentric, but harmless. Nobody is interested, people live however they want. It is all the same to them whatever I am.

  • Please tell us, is there an interest in Orthodoxy, at least in the town of Colchester where your Church is? Who are the people from your parish? Where do they come from and what brings them to Orthodoxy?

I was born and went to school in Colchester, which is about 100 km north-east of London. However, interest from most English people living in Colchester, as anywhere else, is very limited. Most English people are atheists and have no interest in any faith at all.

Our parish is mainly made up of Russian immigrants from Latvia and Lithuania, Moldovans, Romanians, Ukrainians and Russians, as well as Bulgarians, Cypriots and Greeks, together with their English-born children. Most have come here over the last 20 years. True, we have small numbers of Orthodox English people and some other nationalities, but these are usually linked in some way to Russia or else are married to Russian women. They live in Colchester or around it, within an 80 km radius.

  • Is there a Church choir in your parish? What are the specifics of your parish in Colchester? 

Yes, of course there is a choir, a good one, between about 10 and 20 people sing every Sunday. All are volunteers, we do not have or like paid choirs. On an average Sunday there are only 150-200 people in church, though we have 600 regular parishioners and, in fact, about 3,000 local Orthodox come to our services during the year, but many are only nominal Orthodox and come only once a year, for baptisms or weddings.

Our church building is the largest Russian Orthodox church building in the British Isles, about the same size as the Serbian Cathedral, St Sava’s, in London. It is white and was built of wood 164 years ago. There are 24 nationalities, most people are under 40, with large numbers of children. On average we have about 100 baptisms, 10 weddings and 1 funeral a year. Our second priest, Fr Ion, is Romanian, but married to a Russian from Latvia. Our services are in three languages, Slavonic, English and Romanian. We have many confessions every Sunday with communion from two chalices, and 100-150 communions.

  • You talked about St Edmund, can you please tell us about this Saint and his significance in your life? 

The name Edmund will sound strange and not Orthodox to most Serbs. But just because some Roman Catholics may have his name, it does not mean that he was Roman Catholic. Firstly, he is a real saint (Roman Catholics do not have real saints) and, secondly, he lived before Roman Catholicism was invented. Many Roman Catholics are called Nicholas; does that mean that St Nicholas was Roman Catholic? Of course not!

St Edmund was King of Eastern England, where I and my ancestors were born and live, and he was martyred by pagan Viking invaders in 869. His memory is still alive here and a whole town locally is named after him. I have known about him and felt his presence here from childhood, since he is the main local saint and the original Patron Saint of England. I think I grew up beneath his protection in some mysterious way. St Edmund is the first saint whose spirit I felt in childhood.

The spirit of the saints is identical, wherever and whenever they lived. Many saints of the West have always been venerated by Serbs in the Serbian Church calendar. For example, St Tatiana, St Sophia and St Alexei of Rome, St Irenei of Lyons, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Vincent of Lerins, or St John Cassian and many Popes of Orthodox Rome, like St Leo the Great, St Gregory the Dialogist or St Martin I. However, saints in Western countries further from Serbia and who lived a little later are not known in Serbia. And yet these saints who lived at this time could travel to Jerusalem and Constantinople and take communion there and feel at home; the Church was One, whatever the difference of language and even rituals, the Faith was the same.

  • Have you ever been to Serbia? If yes, what are your impressions of our country?

Unfortunately, I have never visited Serbia and there are no Church-going Serbs in this part of England.

On the one hand, I have the impression of Orthodox in Serbia who are very faithful to the Tradition. On the other hand, I have the impression that few Serbs are really Orthodox, most are atheists and very nationalistic. I suppose this is the result of fifty years of brainwashing by Communism, mainly under the Croat Tito, and then of a generation of the ‘Soft Power’ brainwashing of Western Consumerism, which has produced the Facebook generation. They dress like Americans, listen to American music, watch American TV programmes and films and so think like Americans. I have read that 30% of the Serbian media is now American-owned. How can people resist?

I also have impressions from Serbian Orthodox I know. For example, I studied with the Serbian Bishop Luka in Paris at the Russian St Sergius Institute in the late 1970s and liked him a lot. The only other Serbian bishop I know is Metr Amfilochije. I much admire him. I greatly venerate St Nikolai of Zhicha (called in Russian St Nicholas the Serb) and have read many of his books, which have been translated into Russian and English. I also venerate St Justin of Chelije, a real Orthodox philosopher, as well as Patriarch Pavle. The latter has not yet been canonized, but this is only a matter of time.

  • Since I know you that you have relations with the SOC (Serbian Orthodox Church) and that you have visited the Saint Sava Church in London, tell us please, how do you feel in the company of our people in England?

Perfectly at home. We have exactly the same Faith and values. We belong to the same Orthodox Civilization and are proud, in the good sense, of this. In today’s Europe, there are only two Civilizations: Anti-Christian, Secularist Western Post-Civilization and Christian, Orthodox Civilization. We are opposites. We should ask ourselves every day: Which Civilization and Empire do we belong to and confess: to the Anti-Christian Globalist Empire or to the Christian Empire, to the Secularist Empire or to the Orthodox Empire?

We have our own Civilization, our own Empire, stretching from Bosnia to the shores of the Pacific, with dependent outposts and oases of Orthodoxy all over the world, as in Colchester. We belong to this, it is our identity, regardless of our nationality and language, because we have the same Faith and Church. We Orthodox do not have the same values as the rest of the world and our Civilization and Empire is the only Alternative to Western Anti-Civilization.

A Serb who is not Orthodox is not a Serb, but either some sort of Titoist or else an American of the MacDonald’s Post-Civilization. In the same way a Russian who is not Orthodox is not Russian, but Soviet. And an Englishman who is not Orthodox or not close to Orthodoxy in some way through faith, is not English, but British. He is, consciously or unconsciously, an imperialist who has little time for truth or love, only for self-interest and imaginary superiority over others whom he can exploit.

  • Please tell us your views upon the latest events regarding the actions of Greek Church recognizing Ukrainian Orthodox Church?

It is all very simple. As you may know, the present US ambassador in Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt, used to be the US ambassador in Kiev. So it is clear that this is all just another American game, started by Obama, using flattery, threats or bribery, as is their technique. However, whatever the great pressure the US elite exerts on weak Greek bishops to recognize these Fascist schismatics in the semi-Uniat western Ukraine, I am ashamed of them. Whether because they are cowards or they have been bribed with dollars, these bishops are wrong. How can these bishops be so racist and weak and trample underfoot the basic canons of the Church, which every first-year seminarian knows? This is shameful. If there is no repentance, a terrible event will visit Greece for the apostasy of some of its bishops. God is not mocked. May the Orthodox bishops of Greece, like my contemporary, Metr Seraphim of Piraeus, triumph.

  • What are your relations with the ROC like? 

Relations with it?!! But I belong to the Russian Orthodox Church!

There is only one Russian Orthodox Church, whatever the administrative differences of its various parts. There are several autonomous parts of the Russian Church, the Churches of Japan and China, the self-governing New-York-based Church Outside Russia which I belong to, the Ukrainian, Moldovan and Latvian Churches, the Belorussian Exarchate etc. But we are all one, we all belong to the same Church and commemorate the same Patriarch.

  • What are your views on Constantinople? 

Until the twentieth century, the Patriarchate of Constantinople was the plaything of the Turks and the British or French ambassadors in Istanbul. Everybody knew that the nomination to the Patriarchate could be bought for money. The bishops in Istanbul were finally bought by the Anglicans in the 1920s for £100,000 and so their freemason candidate, (he became a mason in a British Lodge on Cyprus in 1909), Patriarch Meletios Metaksakis introduced by force the Papist calendar. After the fall of the British Empire after 1945, its role was taken up by the American Empire, which continued its dirty work.

So the last legitimate Patriarch, Maximos V, was removed by the Americans by force in 1948 on the orders of the war criminal Truman, who had just slaughtered nearly 500,000 Japanese civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Patriarch Maximos was too Orthodox for American tastes and was kidnapped and taken in Truman’s personal aeroplane into exile in Switzerland.

I used to know a Greek deacon who was an eyewitness to these events. He later became the Greek bishop in Birmingham in England. In 1948 the Americans behaved like thugs, cowboys, they were very violent. Patriarch Maximos was replaced by the Greek-American Archbishop Athenagoras – and we know how that ended. Since then most of the bishops of Constantinople have just been American puppets, without any spiritual relevance. One of them recently held an LGBT Conference with a ‘transvestite Orthodox theologian’!

  • English history is specific in many ways. Can we say that England was Orthodox until 1066 (12 years longer after 1054)?

The Western Schism was a gradual process, it spread over time and in some ways is not complete even today. It led to the invention of Roman Catholicism in 1054, but began much earlier than 1054, in the late eighth century under the heretic and iconoclast Frank Charlemagne. He was a barbarian who wanted to revive the pagan Roman Empire, with himself, naturally, as its Emperor. So that is what he did, setting up in 800 ‘the First Reich’. (Bismarck invented the Second Reich and Hitler the Third Reich; some say that the Fourth Reich is the EU). They called this revived paganism ‘The Holy Roman Empire’, but in fact it was Unholy and Anti-Roman.

This alien mentality of Schism spread from the Franco-German heartland (where later the EU began) all over Western and Eastern Europe, and eventually to the islands and so England too. It is clear that from about the Year 1000, and even before that, England was falling to these heterodox influences. 1066 marked the end of Orthodox influence in England, but the decadence was there already, especially under the half-Norman King, Edward (1042-1066). (Like Charlemagne, this traitor is called a saint by Roman Catholics!). 1054 (or in England 1066) is the end of the initial process of Schism, the conclusion of its fall from communion with the Church, not its beginning. Therefore we have to look carefully at what went on previously, before we can say whether it was Orthodox or not.

  • Do you think there are things in common between Serbia and England?

Strangely enough, yes.

Serbia is like the front line of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first bastion of Orthodoxy, just a few hundred kilometres from Rome. This is why the West hates Orthodox Serbia and wants to destroy it – because it loves Christ, whereas it loves Antichrist, for whom it works to bring in his reign. On the other hand, England today is like the front line of the USA, the first bastion of Anti-Orthodoxy. Nobody can forget how British airmen dropped bombs on Serbia at Easter 1999, marked ‘Happy Easter’. That was Satanic. So any Orthodox in England survive like soldiers in the trenches; and actually that is the same situation as for Serbs today. You too are soldiers in the trenches under the spiritual bombardment of the anti-Christian barbarians every day. This is what we have in common, we are both on the edges, advanced posts in the struggle for the Church of God.

  • Is there anything you would like to say to Orthodox Serbian people from your perspective?

Yes, just one thing: Stand firm in Orthodoxy! The more you resist the onslaught of the West, the US and its EU, NATO and IMF vassals, the greater the example of spiritual courage you give to Orthodox everywhere and, at the same time, the closer you draw to Christ and so to salvation. The West threw Communism and Nazism at us and we defeated both of them. For all extremes come from the demons, as the Holy Fathers say. We Orthodox shall defeat Liberal Secularism, which hates Christ just as much as Communism and Nazism, as well. Let us Orthodox show our courage, that we fear no man, that we fear only God. Then no-one can defeat us.

 

From Recent Correspondence (November 2017)

Theology

Q: Why does heterodoxy speak so little about the Holy Spirit?

A: The short answer is because of the replacement of the Holy Spirit by the Pope of Rome, and then by anyone with Western values, as expressed by the ideology of the filioque, which changed the Creed. Instead of the Holy Spirit, heterodoxy preaches Western power politics (colonialism and neo-colonialism, the invasions, genocides and asset-stripping of other countries, beginning with that of the Saxons by Charlemagne).

This is combined with ‘contemplation’ and ’meditation’, which is either intellectualism (for example, the Jesuits and Dominicans) or else sentimentalism (pietism with its ‘Jesus loves you’ and charismaticism – which has almost nothing to do with sobriety and the Holy Spirit). Intellectualism says that we must study and show off our intellectual knowledge. It is pagan philosophy (Aristotle and Plato) mascarading as theology. Sentimentalism is all about ‘love’, but never explains how we can attain love through, which is in repentance, fasting and sobriety.

Unlike intellectualism and sentimentalism, real spiritual knowledge comes from the nous, the heart, not as the seat of the emotions, but as the purified centre of the human-being, illumined by the Holy Spirit, which expresses itself as Love.

Q: For Orthodox there is not only Scripture, but also Tradition. But is one more important than another?

A: I must disagree with you. What you say is pure Scholasticism a la Timothy Ware. For us there is no difference between Scripture and Tradition, for both are manifestations of the same Holy Spirit. For Orthodox there is only the Holy Spirit, Whom we must acquire as our aim, and He is the authority of the Church. He is manifested to us in many different ways, through Scripture, the Dogmas of the Church, the canons, the lives and writings of the saints, those who have received ‘theosis’, liturgical life, the Fathers, Church Councils, the sacraments, prayer, asceticism, martyrdom, prophecy etc.

To insist on ‘Scripture’ alone is a sort of Bibliolatry, Bible-worship, made possible only through printing, and to insist on ’Tradition’, or any other items from the above list, including Councils, lends itself to a dangerous vagueness. The Church is governed by the Holy Spirit because the Church is the Glorified and Risen Body of Christ. It is as simple as that.

Q: What are your views of the trends in Orthodox Theology called Personalism and Eucharistic Theology?

A: For me they are not part of theology, the knowledge of God, but are philosophical and belong to the domain of privileged upper and middle-class academics, not of those who pray, who are real theologians. Personalism was part of the then existentialist philosophical current in France and was adopted by anti-monastic Paris Russian intellectuals, who included even the more Orthodox Lossky. Based purely on Western secular humanism, personalism exalts sinful human-beings to the level of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. It thus has little concept of the Fall, repentance and asceticism.

Eucharistic Philosophy (as I prefer to call it) was also a Paris invention, with the same philosophical and anti-monastic origins, written about especially by Fr Nikolai Afanasiev, then adopted and developed by Metr John Zisioulas. The Paris Russians adopted it as anti-ascetic ideology, based on Protestant congregationalism, but Metr John developed it in a Roman Catholic direction as self-justification for Papal-like episcopal power, which is part of the ideology of the Phanar. With its titular bishops, one of whom is Metr John, the Phanar has ironically, based itself on a philosophy of the understanding of the Church as the eucharist presided over by a bishop.

Both philosophies are spiritually primitive, now old-fashioned and dying out, and belong to the realms of psychology and sociology, more than to theology.

Q: Do you have a favourite Church Father?

A: Yes, St Ambrose of Milan, as he was a particularly pragmatic theologian, always putting into practice and living his faith.

Q: Roman Catholics talk about the Four Latin Doctors and the Four Greek Doctors, as though there was a kind of equality between East and West. Is this the Orthodox view?

A: This sort of ethnic division is very artificial, very scholastic, humanistic, rather like the absurd myth of seeing the Church as a human body with two lungs, East and West!. In reality, there are only Church Fathers, whatever their origin, Syrian, Greek, Latin, Georgian, Egyptian, Russian, Serbian, east, west, north and south….For there are Church Fathers to our day, like St Justin (Popovich). And the Roman Catholic designation also excludes one of the greatest Latin Church Fathers, St John Cassian, and instead includes much less important figures like Blessed Augustine and Blessed Jerome!

The Convert Movement

Q: What do you think of Ancient Faith Radio?

A: I have heard of it, but have never heard it. I know that it is run by American ex-Evangelicals for converts and Evangelicals, whom it wants to convert. I do think that it has a strange name: my faith and that of 220 million other Orthodox is not ancient, but contemporary.

Q: Do you think that Fr Seraphim Rose will be canonized?

A: Only God can answer that question. What I have noticed, however, is that his popularity has waned over the last ten years, as the newly converted have moved onto more solid fare. I think we may find that interest in his writings for converts will fade further with time.

Heterodox History

Q: Why did the West historically fail to convert China and India to Christ? And what of contemporary Protestantism in China, which has had some success?

A: Western missionary movements succeeded superficially among animist peoples in the Americas, Africa and Oceania, but they failed miserably elsewhere. Not only in India, China and the Islamic world in Africa and Asia, but also in the Christian world in Eastern Europe and Russia, up until this day (the exception being among a few million pathetically nationalist Uniats in the Ukraine and a few sectarians). This failure came about because these movements were and are largely movements to spread Western imperialism, both economic and cultural.

Such Western missionaries were called foreign devils by the local inhabitants because, usually without realizing it themselves, the missionaries spread the propaganda of their paymasters, rather than the Word of God. This was crystal clear to the exploited local inhabitants. After all, devils do not realize themselves that they spread the message of Satan because they have no consciousness, but are merely slaves conditioned to obey. In India, for example, people said that they could not become Christians because it would mean ‘wearing trousers’, i. e. Western dress.

The US uses Protestant missionaries in Iran and especially China in order to try and sabotage those countries (just as they tried to do in Russia in the 1990s). From the Chinese Protestants I have come across, they seem to associate Protestantism with a get rich quick mentality, precisely the opposite of what Christianity is about. Put crudely, if you are not rich, it is because God has not blessed you because you are not Protestant like Americans. In other words, Chinese conversion is very superficial. Just as US missionaries ‘converted’ some Russians in the 1990s by giving them dollar bills, so too this is all shallow. It will not last.

Q: What do you think of the recent visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Moscow?

A: This is part of Church diplomacy, important when the present UK Establishment, as ever using its organs like the BBC and the gutter press to issue fake news, has taken such a violently Russophobic, neo-Cold War attitude towards Russia. Thus, the present Prime Minister has promised to waste a further £500 million of public money on fake news propaganda against Russia. For me the most interesting moment was when Patriarch Kyrill asked the Archbishop if he had the courage to resist the tyranny of political correctness of atheistic Western governments. There was no answer.

Q: What is the most important question that you would ask heterodox today?

A: The same as that I would ask all Orthodox: Do you belong to Christian Civilization and its values or not? This question is vital because we belong to a world which, whether it is geographically Western or not, is full of Western atheism. For example, do we consider the organized violence of ideological totalitarianism, on which Western countries have been based ever since the eleventh century (the Norman Invasion and the First Crusade, followed by the Inquisition, Wars of ‘Religion’, Puritan intolerance, Imperialism, Communism, Fascism and today’s New World Order Neo-Imperialism), as part of our way of life or not? In Western Europe: Do we accept that the State has the right to intimidate and persecute our free speech in the name of political correctness? In Russia: Do we accept alcoholism, abortion, corruption, divorce and ecological disaster (ABCDE) as permissible in the life of Christians? Are you ‘real Christians’ (which is what the words ‘Orthodox Christian’ mean), having a Christian way of life and confessing Christian values in all spheres of life, spiritual, moral, social, political and economic?

 

 

From Recent Correspondence (September 2017)

Q: What is the Russian Orthodox view of patriotism?

A: As President Putin has put it: ‘For Russians […] patriotic sentiment, the sense of national belonging that is now, to their sorrow, being eroded in certain European countries, is very important’. In today’s Europe, the attention of those who seek to preserve their national identity, those who are patriots and nationalists in the best sense of the word, is fixed on Moscow. Conversely, those who yell the loudest about a ‘Russian threat’ and ‘European unity in the face of Russian aggression’ are precisely those who want to destroy European faces and borders and reviving identities, like that of Catalonia, as they are oriented towards the EU headquarters in Brussels and the White House.

Russia is the Motherland of patriotism in Europe and in defiance of the artificial denationalisation imposed by Western-imposed Soviet Communism, it is returning to the old mission of keeping the flame of national identity in Europe alight, preserving it as a Europe of homelands and not a public thoroughfare. Although the State-run media like the BBC try to slander all moderate patriots as ‘Neo-Nazis’ and ‘the far right’, in reality there are very few ‘Neo-Nazis’ and ordinary people, both on the normal right and the normal left, are patriots. 52% of British people voted for Brexit, surely even more would vote for Brexit today, given Juncker’s recent speech on the abolition of Europe (‘Eurofederalism’) in Brussels.

Q: Why is the West so aggressive?

A: The West is far more aggressive than many people even realize. Its wars of aggression are always camouflaged by code-names. For example, the multinational Western invasions and Western wars of aggression against Russia are variously known as ‘The Teutonic Crusades’, ‘The Napoleonic Campaign’, ‘The Crimean War’, ‘World War One’, ‘World War Two’ etc. In the same way, today the USA has a ‘Department of Defense’, and yet no-one has ever tried to invade the USA and that Department is notorious for its Offense.

Britain’s ‘Ministry of Defence’ has similarly always spent its time invading and bombing countries far away, all in the name of ‘national security’. Apparently Britain has invaded some 150 foreign countries in its history! This British Establishment aggressiveness goes back to its founders, in their so-called ‘Battle of Hastings’, which did not take place in Hastings and should actually be called ‘The Norman Invasion and Occupation’ or ‘The Defeat and Rape of England’.

The roots of this Westernwide aggression go back even further than 1066, to the anti-Christian Charlemagne, who revived the dead pagan Roman Empire – the model for all aggressive, asset-stripping and war-based systems – under the code-name of a ‘classical revival’. He told his people that they were superior to Christians (‘Greeks’) and also to anyone else, because the Holy Spirit came from their leader, the Pope of Rome, whom Charlemagne had made infallible with his filioque ideology. Later this mythical superiority was spread downwards to anyone who agreed with the Western Establishment and anyone who was ‘Western’ was thus considered superior. ‘Black, brown, red and yellow peoples’ were inferior and therefore could be enslaved and massacred by ‘White’ Western people. Here is the fruit of the filioque, from the Crusades to Iraq.

Yet another example: On 25 September the BBC programme ‘Beyond Belief’ (Radio 4, 4.30), the programme I spoke on twice after the Pussy Riot blasphemy, the subject was ‘The Persecution of Atheism in Russia’! I could hardly believe what the BBC has come to. It really is Beyond Belief! Not content with supporting the US installation of lesbian politicians and Zionist atheists as leaders in Eastern Europe, from Serbia to the Baltics and the Ukraine, the BBC are now directly plugging Western atheism in Russia, where a few decades ago Western Marxist atheists martyred 600 bishops and 120,000 clergy, under the pretext of ‘freedom of speech’.

Q: What worries you most about the situation of the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church? Ecumenism?

A: Definitely not ecumenism. That is a bedtime fairy-tale for old people. It was abandoned as a failure long ago. No, it is something else. Let us try and understand the context in which we live.

We live in the fourth century. We in the Russian Church have come out of persecution and are being recognized, moving forward into the rest of the fourth century. (Unlike the West, where the heterodox have been in the fourth century and are now heading backwards towards the third century and persecution by various atheist emperors). What was the problem in the fourth century? There were no outward enemies, but there were inward enemies, all those who swam with the tide, the ‘fairweather Christians’ who joined the Church for their careers, for worldly advantage. Martyrdom is largely over for us: the ‘easy way’ to salvation has gone: all we had to do was to be killed. For a believing Orthodox that is not a problem. This is why in the fourth century, there was a huge growth in monasticism. Opportunities for martyrdom were mainly over, but the faithful still needed the real thing.

In times of peace we face not outward enemies, but inward enemies, as we in the Church Outside Russia, know only too well. We in our part of the Russian Church did not face martyrdom, what we have faced for nearly 100 years is inward enemies. We faced multiple schisms, by modernists (in the Paris Jurisdiction and in the USA), then by old calendarists (in the USA, France, South America and Great Britain), we faced racism and nationalism (the policy of excluding certain people from the Church because they had ‘the wrong blood’), we faced careerism, false brethren and slanders, backed by certain bishops. This type of persecution is insidious and calls on us to be confessors and not martyrs. That is much more subtle.

We have a great example in St John of Shanghai, who was put on trial in a secular court by so-called ‘ROCOR’ bishops, clergy and people. Shame on them! But who came out of this affair a saint? It is the insignificant and derided little man on the court bench who prayed: the others are, at best, forgotten. Something similar happened to Fr Seraphim (Rose), who faced persecution from inside. Our greatest enemies have always come from inside the Church. Our enemies confess not the Orthodox Faith, they confess ‘religion’, the outward ritualistic system of phariseeism, spiritual dryness and literalism, together with a systemic personality cult and academicism, sometimes homosexual, all of which persecute, mock and despise any authentic, living spiritual experience.

The souls of these go dry at Pentecost, they feel nothing, not the rushing wind of the Holy Spirit, not new green life, but they rattle off the prayers to the Holy Spirit without feeling, looking at their watches. These people have no Love, no Theology, no Knowledge of the Living God (St Alban), no compassion, all they have is their ill psychology, which they use for self-justification and persecution of the righteous.

Today we can see such tendencies inside Russia (and among some of its representatives outside Russia). Careerism, the interest in ‘awards’, rationalism, knowledge only of the outward, Spirit-free academicism, the rush for ‘degrees’, the salt that has lost its savour. It does not matter whether the tendency is new calendarist and modernist or old calendarist and traditionalist, it is the same anti-spiritual tendency.

Q: Was the Russian emigration a good thing?

A: Its causes were of course bad and émigrés suffered. But the spiritual life of the emigration itself was very mixed, both pure and impure. In the 1930s St John of Shanghai reckoned that only 10% of the emigration was Churchly. This corresponds to my own experience. Many Russians were ‘White’ only inasmuch as they were greedy for money and property and had no time, either for the Faith or for the Tsar, whom so many of them had actively betrayed. Many were racist and nationalistic, opposed to multinational Rus, so denying the words and commandments of the apostles to go out into all the world and teach and baptise ‘all men’.

There are still parts of the Russian emigration which have not returned to the Russian Church and, incredibly, are still on the Catholic calendar, which was introduced by the masonic Anglicans into Constantinople for a fee of £100,000 in the early 1920s. Still no repentance for such unspeakable spiritual decadence! In years to come we shall be amazed that any of this was possible, let alone justified by ‘theologians’, ‘the great and good!’

And yet the emigration also produced saints. As ever, I will say to you: Follow the Saints! Yes, the rest existed and exists. Ignore them, let the spiritually dead bury the spiritually dead. There can be no nostalgia for them. Follow the Chains of Love and you will set your soul free. The Russian emigration was caused by evil, but God’s Providence can always make good from evil.

Q: Is it true that ROCOR has never had a scandal?

A: I do not know who told you such a fairy tale. Sadly, very sadly, just think about the Antony Grabbe scandal in Jerusalem, about the consecration of Valentin of Suzdal (I remember how Archbishop Antony of Geneva prayed for a snowstorm so that his plane could not take off and he would not have to take part in his consecration under obedience), about Grabbe’s bishop-father who ended up in a right-wing sect outside the Church and banned anyone from attending his funeral, about the defrocked….

Q: What would you like to see the Orthodox Church do as a whole?

A: Publish statistics and facts! For example, I reckon that there are about 800 Orthodox bishops, 80,000 priests and 217 million Orthodox. However, these are merely informed guesstimates and I do not know the truth. I have no idea how many deacons, monks and nuns there are in the Church and in each Local Church. I would be very grateful to see some central statistical Orthodox authority issuing such information. (If any readers can correct my estimates, please will they contact me).

Q: In the light of what happened in Crete in 2016, what should be done about the state of the Orthodox episcopate, where there are so many who are clearly unprincipled?

A: That is of course a question for the episcopate, not for me. However, my suggestion would be something like deposing all bishops who do not confess that:

1. The Orthodox Church alone is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

2. The application of the canons which state that if they have been appointed by secular authorities (e. g. the State Department in Washington), they must be deposed.

3. The application of the canons which state that if they practise simony, they must be deposed.

4. The application of the canons which state that if they practise homosexuality, they must be deposed.

5. That if they are freemasons, they must be deposed.

Q: You are educated, how can you believe in heaven and hell?

A: We know from the unique revelation of the New Testament that God is Love. Therefore, it is clear that heaven is the presence of Love and hell is the absence of Love. It is very simple. It is even clear from this that heaven and hell, although in undeveloped forms, already exist on earth. People create their own heaven and hell. Please forget the primitive notions of atheists about heaven and hell that you seem to have. It reminds me of the incredibly primitive peasant Khrushchev who said that Gargarin had proved that God did not exist because he had been in space and had not seen Him! The only thing that this proved was Khrushchev’s own primitive ignorance and spiritual blindness.

Q: Why does the Church have rituals? Surely they are unnecessary?

A: The angels do not have rituals. So why do we? Obviously, because we are not angels, that is, we have bodies, a material nature. All people have rituals. Protestants have rituals (sit down, stand up, prayer, hymn, guilt-making sermon, collection of money to pay for the guilt, which is merely a copy of Catholic indulgences), secularists have rituals, parades, processions, the opening of Parliament, both military and civilian etc. Let us therefore make sure that our Church rituals are beautiful and meaningful.

People will always make rituals to worship something higher and greater than themselves, whether the True God or an invented one – drink, football, the sun on the beach, a human ideology…As we know that we are inferior and need to worship something, so let us worship the True God and not such false gods.

A: What is the situation in the Ukraine now?

A: I have not been there for a year now, but with the persecution of most of the people (‘ethnic minorities, of whom over 50% are Russian’), the continuing civil war, the fleeing of millions abroad (especially to Poland and Russia) and the fact that the government is propped up only by US money and money from US organizations like the IMF, I think the future is grim. It seems probable to me that in a few years from now, the country, which is an artificial conglomerate founded by Lenin and Stalin, will split between Russia, Poland, Hungary and Romania, leaving a possible Little Russian rump around Kiev.

Q: What are we to make of the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean and the earthquakes in Mexico?

A: There have always been such events. When you hear ‘the most powerful hurricane for 100 years’, it means that there have already been others at least as powerful in recorded history. None of this is the first time, it is just that the media are here to report these events. But the Caribbean and Florida are well known as places of crime, gambling, prostitution, drug-dealing and money-laundering. It is clear that only Faith can avert such catastrophes, not vice. Nearly 70 years ago on Tubabao St John of Shanghai protected that island from a typhoon through his prayers, going around the island with the cross and praying. This is what needs to be done here. But is anyone doing this?

In the USA some fear a great eruption in Yellowstone that could almost wipe out life in North America, or an earthquake in San Francisco. But what do people do in these places? Do they pray, do they repent? Some of course yes, but it seems that most just have more and more hubris. Just like Pompeii of old. Just like the Tower of Siloam. Little wonder that people speak of ‘Eurosodom and Gomorrhica’.

Q: Whose side are you on in the Brexit conflict between the Chancellor Philip Hammond and the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson?

A: That is a political question. All I can say is that I support neither of them. The Anglo-Turkish Old Etonian Boris Johnson is, despite his Russian Christian name, a fanatical Russophobe who supports a new Cold War. As regards the multi-millionaire Philip Hammond, I knew him personally, as he was in the same year in the same college in Oxford and also born in Essex (though at the wrong end). Even then, as a teenager, he was quite a ruthless careerist. True, he has done very well for himself in this respect, but has not yet got the top job, which is what he wants. However, regardless of that, both of these politicians are pro-British, i.e., anti-English, which is because they are pro-UK Establishment. The last pro-English politician I can think of is the long ago-retired Sir Richard Body. I am not sure that there is a single pro-English politician left in Parliament today.

Q: Should we be worried about the conflict between the USA and North Korea?

A: For the moment there is no conflict, just mutual insults. What worries me is that both leaders have terrible inferiority complexes that produce paranoia. One wants to be taken seriously as a President, instead of as a horse-trading businessman of limited intelligence, the other is a shy man who is trying to live up to his father and grandfather in cruelty, bluster and everything else. And his country is surrounded by aggressive US ships and planes (the USA is not surrounded by North Korean ships and planes), which only deepens national paranoia.

They both remind me of Kaiser Wilhelm who also had a terrible inferiority complex, caused by his deformed arm and his profound jealousy of Great Britain, and so started the Great War, with all its appalling consequences. ‘Inferiority complexes’ (= the sins of jealousy, vanity, selfishness and pride) cause many problems in world history. They are dangerous. As for these leaders, you should give children toys to play with, not guns, missiles and nuclear bombs. That is worrying.

Questions on ROCOR, a future Local Church in Western Europe, the Ukraine and Nominalism

Q: What is the role of ROCOR today?

A: The same as that of all Russian Orthodox – to remain faithful Imperial Christian clergy and laypeople, in other words, to keep faith with the best of the Christian Empire, Imperial Russia, working for its restoration and guarding the international and missionary approach of its saints like St Seraphim of Sarov, St Innocent of Moscow, St John of Kronstadt, St Nicholas of Japan, the Optina Saints, the martyred Tsar Nicholas II and those with him, St John of Riga, St Seraphim of Vyritsa, Metropolitan Pitirim (Oknov) of Saint Petersburg, of the fathers of ROCOR and above all of our three ROCOR saints, for we are the Church of the Three Saints: St John of Shanghai, St Jonah of Hangchow and St Seraphim of Sofia. However, I also firmly believe that there are many more ROCOR saints who will be revealed.

Q: When you say to keep faith with ‘the best’, I presume you mean that there has also been the ‘worst’?

A: Of course, the good and the bad, the wheat and the chaff, always go together. However, although Judas was indeed among the disciples, he notably failed to become an apostle. Such is the fate of all traitors. Who were the worst? Firstly, for example, some ill-informed say that our task is to restore Russia before the Revolution. This is blindness, for that would mean also restoring the worst from before the Revolution when it was precisely that bad that created the Revolution. Thus, if we restored all that went before, without distinction, we would simply have another Revolution. Therefore we must keep faith only with the best from before.

Secondly, and linked with this, there was in ROCOR, that is, after the Revolution, the presence of right-wing politics and racist nationalism inherited from before the Revolution and as a result elements in ROCOR were corrupted and compromised by Western spy services like the CIA, MI5, the DGSE in France, the BND in Germany and the CSIS in Canada. Such political operatives began from the 1960s on to encourage the infiltration of our part of the Russian Church by schismatic old calendarism. Fortunately, this spirit more or less died out after the Cold War, and by 2001 these fringe elements had at last been defeated by the majority whom they could no longer oppress.

Q: You say the good and the bad always go together. How do you resist such bad or secular influences and yet keep the good, the purity of Holy Orthodoxy? How can the wheat grow alongside the chaff which surely hinders it?

A: We carry on despite those influences that are always worldly, making opportunities out of the chaff, living for the long-term and so for the greater good of the Church, not living narrowly for the short-term, continuing to fight for the Faith. For example, the persecution (the word is not too strong) by several well-known bishops and senior clergy that I met both for the veneration of Western saints and for the New Martyrs and Confessors only spurred me on to promote them. If it had not been for such vigorous opposition, perhaps I would not have insisted so much. Now the same people or their heirs are falling over themselves to venerate them. Bad always withers away and dies, providing that we are patient. The chaff is here today, gone tomorrow. Only the good lasts on Christ’s winnowing floor. It is very important to understand that.

Q: If ROCOR had its problem, what was the problem of the Russian Patriarchal Church?

A: Without a doubt, its problem was renovationism, the rather pathetic, dying vestiges of which still survive here and there, both inside and outside Russia. However, apart from among a few elderly and marginal figures or unconverted intellectuals, these Soviet-period vestiges now mainly live on, outside the Russian Church, in schisms. For instance, there are the dying embers of the Paris group, founded by treasonous decadent aristocrats and freemasons from Saint Petersburg, or groups in Finland and Estonia, the latter of which had been infected by the masonic, Parisian YMCA movement before the Second World War.

This ‘democratic’ renovationism, or ‘Kerenskyism’, so obvious in politicized decisions of the 1917-18 Moscow Council (which, thank God, have never been implemented inside Russia), is in fact just protestantization. It is dismissed by such sterling contemporary hierarchs of the Russian Church inside Russia as Metr Onufry of Kiev, Metr Agafangel of Odessa or Metr Benjamin of Vladivostok, who, with so many others, guard the conscience of the Church today.

Q: There has yet again been talk of a ‘British Orthodox Church’. What do you say?

A: I think this theme has been exhausted. First of all, the word ‘British’ can simply not be used in a Church context. It is the local equivalent of ‘Soviet’, in other words, it defines a purely political myth, a fantasy and delusion. We do not talk of a ‘Soviet Church’, so why do we speak of a ‘British Church?’ Soon, there will be no Britain (UK) or EU left, like the already defunct SU (Soviet Union). The State concept of Britain has had its day and we shall at last move on to profounder things. Churches are named after geographical and spiritual realities, not passing political myths invented by political hacks. We should rather speak of the Church of the Isles.

But, in any case, at present, ‘Britain’ is home to only a tiny number of practising Orthodox, with hardly any infrastructure, without monastic life, even sometimes with an insular, provincial, visionless outlook and living in a kind of Anglican phyletism, and phyletism is always spiritual death, as we can see from all the phyletist parishes in this country that have closed or are closing. Phyletism always puts the State Establishment above the Gospel. Indeed, last year one such ex-Sourozhite convert actually wrote me a letter, vigorously accusing me of putting the Gospel above the Establishment and slating me for that! At present we should be taking the broad view of a Metropolia of Western Europe, which can later develop into a Local Church of Western Europe, not a narrow view of a tiny, insular one.

Q: Who could found such a Metropolia?

A: No Local Church will ever found a Metropolia and future new Local Church in Western Europe, except the Russian Church. For example, of the seven groups that exist in the Diaspora, the four Local Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia are all strictly mononational, with no interest in missionary work and founding new Local Churches. As for phyletist Constantinople, it has never freely given anyone autocephaly: the Russians had to wait for nearly 600 years until they seized it themselves and the Bulgarians had to wait for over a millennium and had to create a schism in order to obtain it! As for the Church of Antioch, the Church of four families, as some Antiochians themselves call it, with its all-Levantine episcopate, it even took back the limited autonomy it once gave its small archdiocese in North America. The Antiochians have an admirable though naive zeal, but you need knowledge as well as zeal. Naivety always ends up in disaster, as we have seen.

Q: What, spiritually, is naivety?

A: It is a lack of spiritual experience and so of spiritual maturity. It is always linked with superficiality and a lack of suffering. Real Orthodox live in the arena, are always ready for martyrdom, and are always persecuted and suffer.

Q: If there were one day to be a Local Church in Western Europe, how do you see it?

A: Clearly, without the arrogant mistakes made in the past by the OCA, for example. Firstly, it would use the Orthodox calendar and not impose the divisive Roman Catholic one (though some exceptions might have to be made for some spiritually weak communities) and would avoid modernism of all sorts, insisting for example on confession before prepared communion, modest dress and head coverings for women, correct services and correct liturgical language. All these are not some ‘local customs’, as mocking and despising modernists would have you believe, but are all integral parts of the Tradition.

Secondly, it would have to avoid esoteric Parisian personality cults, like those seen in England and France, of the sort whose first question is, ‘Have you got a doctorate?’ Thirdly, it would have to avoid the patronizing racist mentality of the type to be found in England, that of anti-spiritual, Anglican Establishment phyletism, which automatically excludes the vast masses of people and only ordains Anglican vicars to the priesthood. In a word, it would have to avoid all the falsehood and superficiality of academic, theoretical, convert Orthodoxy. It would have to be the real thing, showing integrity, which is sadly so rare, yet is the only thing that preserves us from the spiritual disease of modernism. Our aim is to become saints, not fantasists.

Q: What is the present situation in the Ukraine?

A: Although I have not been there since May, my impression is that the situation is largely calm on the surface, but underneath is volcanic. Nothing much may happen until the US elections in November, but then the volcano could well erupt. For example, there is already huge dissatisfaction with the ‘thieves and murderers’ (I quote from graffiti seen in Odessa) of the corrupt Poroshenko regime. This at present only controls the area around Kiev, rather like earlier corrupt Fascist US puppet regimes which controlled only Latin American capitals or capitals like Saigon, Manila, Athens, Pretoria, Kabul or Baghdad, but not the countries themselves.

The rest of the Ukraine is controlled by local oligarchs, the new princes. It seems that the component parts of this artificial conglomerate called the Ukraine are falling apart. Poland, Hungary and Romania are looking on, preparing to take back what Stalin stole from them some 75 years ago. The whole of the east and the south of the so-called Ukraine, over half of the country, stolen from Russia by Lenin in 1922, are also yearning to return to Russia and freedom, as the Crimea has already done. Only Little Russia, the region around Kiev, can survive as an independent entity, creating a country similar in size to Belarus to the north.
But I feel that nothing will happen until the Clinton-Trump contest is over. If Clinton the globalist neocon wins, the agony may well get worse and the war could become terrifying, but if Trump the American nationalist and anti-globalist wins, freedom may yet come.

Q: Are you saying that Trump is good?

A: No. I think we all agree that Trump is something of a clown, a primitive nationalist, aggressive, rude and strident like Jean-Marie Le Pen was in France or Nigel Farage was in England, but even if he is not a Christian, he could on balance still actually be the lesser evil. He may actually have a sense of social justice and is surely a social conservative, whereas Clinton calls abortion a blessing, supports the Fascist banksters and as a globalist and Zionist is preparing the coming of Antichrist. Of course, I don’t know for sure, Trump may or may not be the lesser evil: only people can make up their minds about who is the lesser evil.

Q: What is the greatest threat to the Orthodox Church? Politicians like Clinton or Trump?

A: Of course, not. The greatest threat is not others, but ourselves, our own nominalism, which precisely includes blaming others for our own shortcomings. Most Orthodox, 95%, here or elsewhere, are only nominally Orthodox. For example, in this country, how can you take Orthodox seriously when they are even unable to buy or build their own church-buildings? Academic dreamers who call themselves Orthodox rant on about their theories and fantasies, preaching about the ‘Beauty of Orthodoxy’, but when they are asked where their churches are and where authentic liturgical life can be experienced, they can provide nothing, it is all fictitious, in their heads and imaginations. Academics feed only the fantasy, not the heart, because they have no spiritual food to give.

Q: Given this level of nominalism, how can we not fall into despair?

A: Holy men have prophesied that, if we repent, we will be saved by some event in the East. This may mean China and the neocon war now being threatened against China by the hubris-obsessed Obama government in the South China Sea. But it may mean something else. We shall see. Only one thing is certain, and that is that only repentance leads to salvation.

Thought-Provoking News

23 June 2015

It has just been announced that the former UK Prime Minister Blair, who was fleeing to North Korea, has been arrested in Rwanda on behalf of the Iraqi government for genocide and war crimes. He faces trial in Baghdad at the International War Crimes Tribunal (IWCT), together with other Western leaders for whom arrest warrants were issued last month by various African, Asian and Eastern European countries. However, there appears to be a dispute between Rwanda and Serbia, which also wishes to extradite Blair and institute proceedings against him for war crimes there. Blair’s Swiss bank account has already been frozen.

Greece says that it is now exasperated with the debt-ridden EU, an organization so corrupt that its accounts have never been audited. Last year alone nearly 150 billion euros ‘disappeared’. The debts of countries like France and the UK are now well over 2 trillion euros, similar to the per capita debt of Greece. The Greek government states that it is ‘fed up’ with sums of money owed to the Greek government being transferred from one German bank account to another. For this reason, said a spokesman, Greece ‘is leaving the EU and joining the EEU’ (Eurasian Economic Union). He called this a move for freedom and added that Greece no longer wished to be ‘a park for illegal Muslim immigrants to the EU and a dumping ground for drunken British yobs’.

The young Greek Prime Minister, smiling broadly, said that this was a great day for Greece as the Greek people had at last put their national sovereignty and patriotic duty above EU bribes and intimidation. ‘Some values are higher than money’ he commented. He added that it would be hard to change but that the humility earned would help the national character. The Greek Orthodox Church has said that now it is at last free from Western diktat, it would return to the Orthodox calendar after nearly 100 years of tyranny. Referring to the change from the EU to the EEU, the Prime Minister said that Greece had ‘not so much gained an ‘E’ as regained its national dignity’. We have had reports from Cyprus that it is to follow Greece and also expel British occupying forces from their base there. Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary are all said to have been examining the situation closely ever since Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro joined the EEU last month, and may also follow Greece.

In Miami the Fascist junta of President Luis Gomez (real name Aaron Goldberg) who was installed there last year by the Cuban government, has said that English would soon be banned in Florida. Anyone who spoke English would be denounced and sent to concentration camps ‘to be reformed’. The multi-billionaire President Gomez, dubbed ‘the candy king’ by the Cuban PR company which got him elected with nearly 25% of the vote last year, actually made his money from selling the arms of the Florida military to Colombian drug-smugglers.
Texas, which was annexed by Florida in 1954, has now returned to the USA after a democratic referendum, in which 97% of Texans voted to rejoin the USA. The Miami junta says that it refuses to recognize the result. All Latin American countries are now enforcing sanctions against the USA as they accuse it of ‘annexing Texas’.

Meanwhile in the Florida panhandle where what Miami calls ‘separatist rebels’ are fighting to rejoin the USA, from which they were separated in 1922 by a Cuban decree, the civil war has calmed. In the last 24 hours a mere 26 violations of the Ottawa accords by the Cuban-armed Miama junta have been recorded by the rebel government. The junta has accused the USA of invading Florida 37 times so far, although not a single US soldier has been spotted there. Israeli intelligence has stated that there are 50,000 dead so far in the civil war and has registered mass torture by the junta as well as their rocket attacks on schools, churches and hospitals.

In Mexico where hysteria whipped up by the government has reached fever pitch, fear of a US invasion has reached a new high. Cuba has threatened to install nuclear missiles along the US-Mexico border and will target Washington and New York. A senior government figure in Havana has said that the US border is ‘far too close to Mexico’ and added that the threat to peace posed by ‘gringo imperialism’ is the greatest since the US ‘stole New Mexico in the 19th century’. He added that that the US President is ‘clearly mentally ill’, as could be seen by photographs of him.

Following the illegal Latin American sanctions against the US, the dollar has halved in value. The boycott of jeans, Coca Cola and all Hollywood productions is causing concern to the US economy. The US has accused Havana of supplying arms to Florida. However, Havana has reiterated that it has only ever supplied ‘non-lethal arms’ and military advisors to the Miami regime. In Havana Senator Meccano has renewed his call for Cuba to ‘give nukes’ to the Miami junta, which is made up of Cuban gangsters. Only thus, said the Senator, ‘can Florida protect itself from US aggression’. Speaking from his retirement home, a friend of Senator Meccano, a retired Cuban general called Gonzalez, has called for the USA ‘to be nuked’.

Yesterday the ninety-year old Archbishop Lucifer, the head of the ‘National Catholic Church of Florida’ (NCCF), who was defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church nearly 25 years ago for having a wife and two children and for conniving to become Pope, visited Havana. He declared that Havana must supply weapons of mass destruction to Florida so that it can ‘kill every Yankee in the world’. He said he would not rest ‘until the Rio Grande ran red with the blood of the gringos’. Swastika-emblazoned thugs of the NCCF have been occupying Roman Catholic churches, beating up priests, ransacking church property and destroying cemeteries. Little wonder that locally in Texas Archbishop Lucifer is called ‘Cardinal Satan’.

English speakers in Florida (80% of the population) are cowed and intimidated and fear denunciations for speaking English. Over a million have already fled to Texas. Last night in Miami another statue of President Kennedy was pulled down by Havana-paid rioters after a junta building had been daubed with the slogan ‘Remember the Alamo’. In Brussels EU gerontocrats say that they ‘are going to monitor the situation and follow all their strict moral principles in full providing that they do not offend Cuba’.

(With apologies to Cuba)