Tag Archives: Multinational

What Does it Need to Found a Local Church in the Diaspora?

The Orthodox Diasporas in the Western world have so far given birth to only one new, albeit compromised, Local Church. This is the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), founded over 50 years ago. Much disputed by others, it has unfortunately been a failure – the vast majority of Orthodox who live in Northern America have not joined it and do not wish to. It has not united Orthodox. However, it must be said, it has been a bold failure and its failure is hardly a matter for rejoicing. It was bold because elsewhere founding a new Local Church has not even been tried. We should learn from the OCA’s strengths as well as from its weaknesses.

True, in England, there was in the 1970s an attempt not to build a multinational Local Church, but a multinational or, at that time, trinational, chapel. This was in Oxford and involved émigré Russian (and English) academics, Greeks and Serbs. It was never going to work. The Serbs never took part, apart from a certain rather effeminate bishop who was then ‘disappeared’. It was set up in a tiny, octagonal, Methodist-looking chapel, not at all traditional on the outside. Then the ‘Russians’ left it through ejection and miraculously managed to set up their own English-language chapel elsewhere.

It left Greeks and a tiny number of ex-Anglican, pseudo-Russian Bloomite elitists in their Methodist-looking chapel. Now that large numbers of new Romanian immigrants have set up their own church in Oxford, the whole experiment is best forgotten. The Oxford chapel represents not even 10% of local Orthodox, rather like the OCA representation in Northern America. Why these failures? It is always ideologies that destroy the unity required for a Local Church, because ideologies are always by definition exclusive.

For example, new calendarism (one of the great failings of the OCA) and old calendarism (one of the great failings of the new 2020s ROCOR sect) are ideological enemies, as are political and nationalist ideologies, like those of the Greek nationalist Second Rome and the Russian nationalist Third Rome. Neither of them ever learned from the failure of the First Rome with its equally nationalist ‘Roman Catholicism’ (a contradiction in terms). All of these isms operate against and are destructive of any multinational Church, for any Diaspora Church must by definition be multinational, not nationalist. Only the concept of a Second Jerusalem can be successful. This, for example, was where the Russian Church failed, and three times over. Thus:

In Russian émigré Paris, French liberal intellectualism, imported back from Saint Petersburg, did nothing for the Paris Russians and as a result their jurisdiction became very small because exclusive. But at least, small, they were not corrupted by money, like the other two.

In the émigré ‘Russian Orthodox’ Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), the substitution of the subtle moderation of Russian émigré Orthodoxy for the very unsubtle extremism of US convert Orthodoxy. Well-financed Lutheran fanaticism was substituted for real Christianity. That is spiritual suicide, for no-one apart from crazy and uncharitable converts is interested.

The Moscow Patriarchate itself has been badly served both by Soviet nationalism and the corrupting riches of the post-Soviet episcopate together with their sexual perversions, as we can see at this very moment. But what has been rumoured for years in Moscow and elsewhere, is only the tip of the iceberg. The MP and ROCOR have to be cleansed. An antique-filled seaside cottage on the south coast of England (in the nineteenth century gay Anglican bishops would also ‘resort’ to south-coast Brighton) is not the solution. The toilets are flushing.

In England, we Orthodox will be neither pro-Soviet, nor pro-American, but faithful to local realities. You can only build a Local Church, if you want it and believe in it.

 

Which Church do I belong to?

My Patriarch is Mordovian.

My Metropolitan is Canadian.

My Archbishop is German.

I am English.

My Deacon is Romanian.

His wife is Latvian.

Last Saturday’s baptisms were of a Lithuanian and a Frenchman.

After the Liturgy last Sunday I spoke in particular to seven parishioners: An Italian, a Norwegian, a Turk, a Bulgarian, a Slovak, a Ukrainian and a Cretan.

Today I baptized a Moldovan.

Clearly, I belong to the Russian Orthodox Church.