In the Gospels Christ tells us that although we are in the world, we are not of it, that although we are incarnate on earth here and now, our destiny is in heaven. Human errors have all been due to the failure to live according to these words. Either to the failure not to be incarnate here and now and to drift away into intellectual speculations and disincarnate daydreams and philosophies: such have been the tendencies either of Western intellectuals or of Non-Christian religions – indeed many such intellectuals have been attracted to Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism, for example, for that very reason. Or else to the human failure to forget that our destiny is in heaven, to concentrate only on the incarnate here and now: such have been the tendencies of the Roman Catholic and Protestant deviations of Christianity, with their concentration on the thisworldly organization of the affairs of men, instead of the balanced God-Man, Christ, the Son of God become incarnate as man and calling us to heaven.
Put in terms of Church history and human deformations of the Church, the first said that Christ the Son of God never became man, the second said that Christ was not the Son of God. The first deformation, denying the Incarnation, went down in early history as Monophysitism, the second, denying possible human salvation, as Arianism. Later, in the fourteenth century, they appeared again, combined in the one heresy of Barlaam of Italy, who said that since God was unknowable (Monophysitism), man would have to rely on his autonomous reason to live (Arianism). Here was the justification for Western humanism and Renaissance paganism and all that has followed to this day – man the measure of all things. St Gregory Palamas opposed this heresy and expressed the universal Christian teaching, distinguishing between the essence and the energies of God. In modern, secular times the same two heresies have appeared as disincarnate, Western liberalism and petty, worldly nationalism.
Thus, today the Orthodox Christian world still suffers from these same constant enemies of the Faith, from petty, inward-looking nationalism of the ghetto and disincarnate, pro-Western liberalism of the intellectuals. In 1453 the latter betrayed Constantinople and provoked its fall and in 1917 it collaborated in the trap sprung by the West in Russia, provoking the February Revolution, later taken over by the Bolsheviks, and then dividing the Russian emigration between true White and false White. Thus, it can be asserted that the New Martyrs of Russia are ultimately the victims of the treachery of Western liberalism, for without Western support and finance the Bolsheviks would never have seized power. Without apostate wealthy aristocrats (including members of the Romanov Family), treasonous generals and Anglophile Duma freemasons, there would never have been any New Martyrs. Their anti-Orthodox and therefore anti-Russian treachery drips with the blood of the betrayed millions.
Then there is the second enemy, nationalism, which, unlike patriotism, which is love of God’s Creation, is simply worldliness, love of man’s creation. It betrayed the universalism of Old Rome, taken over by barbarian-minded Franks, and of New Rome, taken over by Hellenist nationalism. Unlike the petty nationalism of others in the past and today, petty Russian nationalism is worse because Russia has a vocation to defend all Orthodox of all nationalities and to witness to all the fragments of Christianity, a vocation to be Imperial, to be above ghetto nationalism. Examples of nationalism are the treasonous Old Ritualists, who openly supported the 1917 Revolution, a few divisive Russophobic émigrés who sympathized with Hitler, trying to undermine the Church Outside Russia and then siding with Western spies, and in our own times the pro-Old Ritualist Solzhenitsyn. His anti-patriotic nationalism, like that of all Russian nationalists, ironically ended up supporting Western liberals.
On this subject of inward-looking nationalism, there are now in Moldova, the Ukraine and on Mt Athos nearly seventy individuals, mainly monks, including one vicar-bishop and over a dozen priests, who refuse to commemorate Patriarch Kyrill at services. There are two reasons for the decisions of these non-commemorators. Firstly, there was the February meeting between Patriarch Kyrill and the Bishop of Rome in Cuba, for which the Russian Orthodox world had not been prepared although secret preparations for it had been under way for six months, and the vague joint declaration that they issued afterwards. This came after the disturbing document regarding relations between the Church and the heterodox world, released some two weeks earlier in Geneva, in preparation for the meeting of some Orthodox bishops in Crete in June. For some completely incomprehensible reason, this has provocatively already been called ‘a Holy, Pan-Orthodox Council’, when so far it is none of these things.
Seventy people make up 0.00004% of the Russian Orthodox world. We think their first concern is exaggerated. The document issued was after all a diplomatic one, not a dogmatic one and in their sincere simplicity they failed to distinguish between the two aspects. As for the second document, it is only a draft and has already been rejected by several Local Churches and many prominent and well-respected bishops in several countries. Even if it were passed as such, the vast majority, myself included, would either ignore it or tear it up. Such top-down decisions, taken without the slightest consultation with the masses, cannot be enforced. However, I do have a much more serious concern, which I wish the non-commemorators would share. They seem not to realize that since 2014 the Russian Orthodox world has been in a state of war, after an attack on the Ukraine, which toppled the legitimate government and installed an anti-Orthodox, Fascist junta in Kiev, ‘the Mother of Russian Cities’.
This is part of the Neocon-initiated World War, which has reduced a large part of Western Asia and Northern Africa, from the coasts of the Atlantic to the foothills of the Hiamalyas, to terrorist anarchy. This has resulted in the deaths of up to two million and well over ten million refugees, leading to the mass deChristianization of Iraq and Syria. It has also ravaged Eastern Europe, economically and in ex-Yugoslavia, militarily, where part of the population is affected by cancer from uranium-tipped NATO shells and menaced by the US-installed terrorist regime in Kosovo. It has also seen Russian Orthodox forces in combat in Syria, supporting Orthodox and friends of Orthodox next to the Holy Land, by Armageddon. In the post-Soviet world it is one thing for ‘Orthodox’ liberals and nationalists from anywhere in the Orthodox world to criticize or disagree with the Patriarch of Rus’. He may not be ideal (who is?), but to stop commemorating him during what is a World War, is almost treasonous.