The Third Imperial Council in Diveevo
After the Divine Liturgy and a Paschal service of intercession before the relics of St Seraphim of Sarov, whose veneration is now worldwide just as the saint prophesied, the 2045 Imperial Council of the Russian Orthodox Church opened today in the Sacred Monastery of Diveevo. Present were Tsar Nicholas III, Patriarch Tikhon II of Moscow, the 205 metropolitans representing the 1,040 other archbishops and bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church and representatives from the other sixteen smaller Local Churches.
Tsar Nicholas’ Opening Speech
After greeting everyone, Tsar Nicholas, who has now ruled the restored Russian Empire for 15 years, recalled how on 22 June 1941 the Russian peoples had been treacherously attacked by Fascists of many Western nationalities on the feast day of All the Saints Who have Shone Forth in the Russian Lands. This had seen the beginning of the repentance of the Russian peoples for their apostasy a generation earlier in the tragic twentieth century.
He noted how the dreadful events of the 1941 attack had led the Russian peoples to achieving two of the aims of the Russian Empire after it had been attacked in the First German War of 1914, that is, freeing Berlin and Vienna. His Majesty recalled how the genocidal anti-Slav invasion of 1941 had ended with victory on this day, 9 May, exactly 100 years ago in 1945. At these words all stood and sang ‘Eternal Memory’ to all Russian Orthodox of all nationalities who fell in the Second Patriotic War of 1941-45.
Since 2030, as Tsar Nicholas noted, the annual rate of church-building throughout the Empire had increased from 1,000 churches per year, which it had been at since 1992, to 6,000 per year. This did not include churches being built for other Local Churches, notably in Africa and Western Europe, and churches being rebuilt and restored in Turkey. There were now nearly 125,000 churches throughout the Empire, serving its 210,000,000 population.
Tsar Nicholas then reported that the Eurasian Confederation (EAC), at the head of which the Russian Empire stood as founder, now had exactly fifty members. It stretched from Portugal to the Pacific, as far north as the Arctic and as far south as Vietnam, included China and India, and numbered over a third of the world’s population. All fifty members of the Confederation had accepted the voluntary evangelization of their countries by the Russian Orthodox Church, providing that this would lead to the foundation of new Local or Regional Churches.
Unfortunately, it was still not certain what the eight countries of the bankrupt Brussels Union dictatorship (Germany apart from Saxony, since the latter had rejected what it called ‘Carolingian’ rule from Brussels, France, Italy, Benelux, Croatia and Galicia (capital L’viv)) intended to do after more recent Muslim terrorist attacks in their capitals. He added that these eight countries were not ready to join the Eurasian Confederation, as they would first have to mature spiritually.
Greetings from the Other Local Churches
Patriarch Vasilios IV of Istanbul and All Turkey, a former Athonite monk, sent his fraternal best wishes in Turkish and begged for alms for his Church, which was struggling to meet the needs of the millions of Turks who had joined it in recent years. He said that although there were still a few churches in his territory where Greek was used, 98% of his parishes were now all Turkish. He thanked the Russian Church for its help in translating liturgical e-books into Turkish and rebuilding many churches in his jurisdiction.
Patriarch Seraphim II of Antioch, who is a fluent Russian speaker, spoke by skype and thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for its help in building churches and monasteries in Syria, Mosul and Beirut. He expressed his devotion to St Seraphim, whose name he bears, and recalled his life-changing pilgrimage to Diveevo twenty-two years ago.
Pope Nektarios I of Alexandria and All Africa, a Kikiyu from Kenya who is also a fluent Russian speaker, sent his greetings and thanked the Russian Church for building over 900 churches throughout Africa over the last ten years and training so many of his clergy free of charge. He remarked on how the Faith had thrived ever since in 2031 his Patriarchate (like that of Istanbul and Antioch and other Local Churches that had made the same error) had returned to using the Orthodox calendar, ending old calendarist schisms. He estimated that there were now nearly 100 million African Orthodox, with tens of thousands being baptised every week all through Black Africa, making his Church the second largest Local Church.
Patriarch Theodore II of Jerusalem and his All-Arab Synod thanked Tsar Nicholas for his help in restoring and rebuilding churches for the Arab faithful throughout Palestine and Jewish Israel, for preparing liturgical e-books in Arabic and helping to set up schools and two universities for Arab Orthodox.
Other fraternal messages were sent from the Local Churches of Romania, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia and Albania, thanking Tsar Nicholas and Patriarch Tikhon for their protection and aid.
Then Metropolitan Mitrofan (Liu) of Beijing stood before all the assembled Metropolitans and announced that the Chinese Orthodox Church, the fifteenth Local Church, was now celebrating the tenth anniversary of its autocepaly from the Russian Church and new missions were opening every month. He mentioned in particular that the mission to Tibet was meeting with great success and that the seventh Tibetan Orthodox convent had opened in Lhasa last month. The assembled Metropolitans stood and sang Many Years to Metropolitan Mitrofan and the peoples of his Church.
Metropolitan Istvan (Stefan) (Bojko) of the Hungarian Orthodox Church sent his fraternal greetings by skype from Uzhgorod, where he is currently visiting members of his family, after consecrating the new Cathedral in Budapest. His flock now numbers 1.3 million.
Metropolitan Ioann (Maartens) of Paris, speaking on behalf of the Western European Orthodox Church, which had received its autocephaly from Moscow eight years ago, so becoming the seventeenth Local Orthodox Church after the Chinese and the Hungarian, reported that it now had 992 parishes, despite the political and economic difficulties in those parts of Western Europe that had not yet freed themselves from the Brussels Union dictatorship and joined the Eurasian Confederation.
Metropolitan Ioann, who is fluent in nine languages, spoke eloquently of the duty of the Russian Orthodox Church to meet the spiritual needs of those who had witnessed the spiritual and moral collapse of Catholicism and Protestantism in Western Europe and indeed worldwide. He noted the shock of those in France after the recent declaration that atheism was now the new official State religion. He feared that direct persecution was now imminent and that he might even be forced to take refuge in Dresden, the capital of Free Saxony, part of the EAC.
The Russian Orthodox Church
Patriarch Tikhon II of Moscow and All the Russias then spoke of his ecclesiastical territory, Europe and Asia, and how all were held together by the One Faith, for which he thanked God. He said that the main task of the Council would be to deliberate on granting autocephaly to create three new Local or Regional Churches in Japan, Korea (reunited since 2024) and South-East Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand). There followed reports from various Metropolitans of the Russian Orthodox Church.
First, His Beatitude Metropolitan Job (Romanchuk) of Kiev and Malorossiya remarked on how Malorossiya had prospered since 2020, when the old American-imposed junta in Kiev had collapsed and the ‘Ukraine’ (as it was then still called) had divided into its constituent parts, with EU-sponsored Greek Catholic Galicia breaking away from the Orthodox world altogether, but refusing to join Poland. He said that enormous progress had been made against corruption and that Malorossiya was today one of the most trustworthy countries in the world. However, he noted that the birth-rate was only now beginning to increase again after the social, economic and political collapse of the old Soviet-style ‘Ukraine’.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Nicholas of Washington (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), which in fact is the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Continental Eurasia (the territory of Patriarch Tikhon) and Africa (the territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria), spoke next of Church life on the continents where his Church works.
He described how his part of the Russian Church was now composed of six Metropolias, of which the largest, that of the Confederated States (the former USA) and Canada, now had 702 parishes. The Alaskan Metropolia, represented by Metropolitan Innocent of Alaska, reported that it now had 211 parishes.
The former Latin American Metropolia had now been divided into two Metropolias, firstly for Mexico and Central America, with 624 parishes, and secondly for South America, with 511 parishes. He noted that missionary work was progressing well in South America, but there was still a shortage of Portuguese-speaking priests in Brazil.
The Oceanian Metropolia numbered 373 parishes, most of which were in Indonesia and the Philippines. As for the Ionan Metropolia, (Isles of the North Atlantic – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales), it now numbered 167 parishes, all with their own buildings, and had eight monasteries.
Metropolitan Gregory of Tashkent and Central Asia spoke next, reporting considerable growth in his flock, especially from Muslim women who were asking for baptism.
The Council will continue tomorrow with brief reports from all the remaining 202 Metropolitans.