Tag Archives: ROCOR

On the Importance of ROCOR inside Russia

The following article on the importance of ROCOR theology and the end of Paris School influence in Russia, taken from the Russian ‘Independent Newspaper’ (Nezavisimaya Gazeta), was written by Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, a senior archpriest in Moscow. For those who do not read Russian, it would be of interest to go to google translate to appreciate its importance.

«Карловацкий дух» и Церковь будущего. Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин надеется на востребованность традиций РПЦЗ в РПЦ МП “после ухода старшего поколения иерархов и церковных бюрократов”

“НГ-РЕЛИГИИ”, 7 июня 2017 г.

Насколько востребовано духовное наследие русского зарубежья
Церемония освящения храма Воскресения Христова и Новомучеников и Исповедников Земли Русской в московском Сретенском монастыре 25 мая с.г. ознаменовала сразу несколько дат в истории Русской церкви, трагическим образом связанных друг с другом. Возведение храма было приурочено, с одной стороны, к 100-летию революции и годовщине Большого террора 1937 года, ставшего последствием этой революции, а с другой – 10-летию воссоединения Московского патриархата и Русской православной церкви Заграницей. 17 мая 2007 года был подписан Акт о каноническом общении разделенных Церквей. При освящении нового храма в Сретенском монастыре патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Кириллу сослужил глава РПЦЗ митрополит Иларион (Капрал).

Президент Владимир Путин, принявший участие в церемонии, в своей речи коснулся темы воссоединения Церквей, связав ее с общегосударственными задачами национального примирения. «Создание общности целей, главная из которых – благополучие каждого нашего человека и нашей Родины в целом, и есть тот ключ, который помогает преодолевать разногласия, – заявил политический лидер. – Ярчайшим подтверждением тому служит и восстановление единства Русской православной церкви, десятилетие которого мы отмечаем в эти дни». Президент, который сыграл в процессе объединения большую роль, напомнил, что «путь к возрождению церковной целостности… был непростым»: «За долгие годы разобщенности, уходящей своими корнями в драму братоубийственной Гражданской войны, накопилось слишком много противоречий и взаимного недоверия».

Путин отметил, что «раны расколов», как церковных, так и гражданских, «тяжело затягиваются». «Восстановление единства… стало и остается событием огромного нравственного звучания, символом и примером того, что история нашей страны, ее прошлое могут и должны не разъединять, а объединять всех нас», – сказал президент. «НГР» попросили публицистов с различными взглядами на историю и миссию Православной церкви в обществе оценить уровень церковной консолидации за прошедшие 10 лет, а также рассказать о той роли, которую сыграло воссоединение русского православия в жизни страны.

10-летие воссоединения с Московским патриархатом Русской православной церкви Заграницей (РПЦЗ) не сильно повлияло на внутрицерковные дискуссии. Появилось несколько «парадных» интервью. В Сретенском монастыре при участии РПЦЗ прошла конференция, посвященная святителю Иоанну (Максимовичу) – лейтмотивом ее был почтительный анализ истории. А консервативная общественность провела по инициативе Аналитического центра святителя Василия Великого неглупое собрание в фонде Леонида Решетникова «Двуглавый орел». Однако сказать в связи с круглой датой есть о чем: собственно, на упомянутом собрании мы многое и сказали, но столкнулись со стеной молчания в информационном мейнстриме.

«Зарубежная церковь вернулась на родину» – эта яркая фраза, которая звучала в СМИ 10 лет назад, верна лишь отчасти. На самом деле идейное и духовное влияние «карловчан» ощущалось даже в СССР. Помню, как в 1981 году я, 13-летний советский школьник, только пришедший к вере, смог прочесть в ксерокопии «тамиздатский» конспект по Закону Божию предстоятеля РПЦЗ митрополита Филарета (Вознесенского; 1903–1985). До сих пор помню одну цитату, которой активно делился с другими молодыми людьми: «Гниющий труп набальзамированного Ильича есть наилучший символ коммунизма». Книжку эту мне дали почитать в Калуге – а с амвона кафедрального собора этого города священник Валерий Суслин цитировал святого праведного Иоанна Кронштадтского – Московским патриархатом тогда к лику святых еще не причисленного. Тогдашний калужский правящий архиерей архиепископ Никон (Фомичев) против таких упоминаний не возражал, сказав: «Наш Синод за границей его канонизировал». И я тогда впервые понял, что у России есть третий путь – не советский и не западно-«демократический». Путь православной монархии.

Вдуматься только: в областном городе, чья культура строилась вокруг Циолковского и «космической» тематики, при жестком уполномоченном Совета по делам религий Федоре Рябове, идеи РПЦЗ практически доминировали над официальными призывами того же владыки Никона «молиться за советскую родину в день 7 ноября». Слово из Джорданвилля – резиденции предстоятелей Зарубежной церкви – доносилось и через самиздат, и через радиоголоса (самыми известными были выступления протоиерея Виктора Потапова на «Голосе Америки», которые я слушал лет с восьми).

В это время «подсоветская» церковная бюрократия, в которой я оказался уже в середине 80-х, ориентировалась на другие эмигрантские мнения – на либеральную «парижскую школу», которая больше совпадала с брежневско-горбачевскими призывами к «миру во всем мире». Но для огромной массы народа авторитет РПЦЗ был выше, а за «парижанами», помимо спичрайтеров церковного официоза, шла лишь небольшая часть интеллигенции.

Наследие консервативной части церковной эмиграции продолжало ту дореволюционную линию, которая олицетворялась Троице-Сергиевой лаврой, Московской духовной академией, интеллектуальной частью Союза русского народа. Отсюда – монархизм РПЦЗ, ее консервативность в богослужении, богословии, отношениях с неправославным миром. Другим полюсом до революции были идейные предшественники «парижан» и обновленческого движения. Увы, в кризисный – «судный» – момент Великой Отечественной войны обновленчество оказалось неспособно мобилизовать народ. Поэтому часть умопостроений «карловчан» начала совпадать с позицией Церкви в России – совпадать даже при отсутствии их реального контакта с Москвой.

Впрочем, набор идей РПЦЗ не смог автоматически стать церковным мейнстримом в постсоветские годы. Причин тому было две. Во-первых, интеллектуальная часть патриархийного аппарата была по преимуществу пленена «парижским» духом (пожалуй, кроме Издательского отдела, руководимого митрополитом Питиримом (Нечаевым). Во-вторых, сами «карловчане» решили создать на исторической родине параллельную церковную структуру – и набрали в нее явных авантюристов, имевших дурную репутацию. Помню, как на Поместном соборе 1990 года архиепископ Кирилл (Гундяев; нынешний патриарх) резко говорил о принятом в РПЦЗ суздальском архимандрите Валентине (Русанцове): «Пусть туда десятки таких пойдут!»
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, как ее тогда метко называли журналисты, быстро начала дробиться и всасывать более и более сомнительных личностей. Это, думаю, и привело к смене «карловчанами» своего курса – со стимуляции присутствия в России на воссоединение с Московским патриархатом.

Выторговать в ходе переговоров удалось немного. Первоиерарх РПЦЗ не стал постоянным членом Священного синода – как руководители большинства других самоуправляемых Церквей в составе Московского патриархата. Пожелания о выходе из Всемирного совета церквей исполнены не были – и сегодня даже предпринимаются попытки оживить контакты с этой организацией, почти незаметной на религиозно-общественном поле и скомпрометированной присутствием сообществ, отвергнувших христианскую мораль вплоть до «благословения однополых браков». Иерархи РПЦЗ, выросшие на Западе, оказались не слишком сильными «бойцами» в московских коридорах. Многие из них к тому же привыкли к расслабленной жизни в «тихой заводи» одного из множества западных религиозных сообществ – особенно в Америке и Австралии.

Однако я надеюсь, что «карловацкое» наследие еще скажет свое слово в церковной «политике» XXI века – и обратиться к нему надо думающим людям на канонической территории Московского патриархата. Это наследие показывает, как выжить в условиях религиозно и идейно неоднородного, а подчас враждебного окружения – и остаться собой, не пойдя по пути приспособления к модам и настроениям внешней среды. Пример сохранившихся «зарубежников» и практически растворившихся в культуре Запада «парижан» оказывается очень показательным. Умение говорить ясно, просто, тепло и даже горячо – а духовенство РПЦЗ таким умением всегда отличалось – сегодня востребовано гораздо больше, чем искусство длинных и сложных «дипломатических проповедей».

Многие управленческие решения «зарубежников» могут использоваться как добрый пример для церковного администрирования в России и других постсоветских странах. Так, Положение об РПЦЗ предполагает ясный перечень доходов Синода (например, двухпроцентные отчисления от содержания епископов и однопроцентное – от содержания духовенства). Епархиальное собрание, согласно тому же документу, «устанавливает смету приходов и расходов <…> по содержанию епархиального епископа, его дома и канцелярии», а также по выплатам епархиальным служащим.

Наконец, «карловчане» продолжают быть форпостом православной миссии на Западе, которая становится все более востребованной. Протоиерей Андрей Филлипс из Великобритании даже написал участникам конференции Центра святого Василия Великого: «В последнее время Русская православная церковь имеет всемирную миссию проповедовать нашу общую веру без компромиссов, на глобальном уровне и на всех языках, несмотря на тех, кто против нас. <…> Мы готовим, даже на Западе, приход русского царя».

Думается, что основные идеи «зарубежного» богословия – ясные, яркие, верные традиционному православию – вновь окажутся в церковной России мейнстримом после ухода старшего поколения иерархов и церковных бюрократов. Именно эти идеи, а не метания «живоцерковников», а затем «парижан» и наших шестидесятников, лучше всего подходят православным людям, когда они свободны и не должны «подстраиваться» под безбожную власть на родине или под доминирующие влияния в условиях эмиграции. «Карловацкий дух» и дальше будет пробивать себе дорогу в церковном учительстве, духовном образовании и православных СМИ – как пробил в советское время через сам- и тамиздат. Главное только, чтобы сами иерархи РПЦЗ остались этому духу верны и не боялись ему следовать в слове и в спорах – кулуарных либо публичных. Тем более что Владимир Путин, общаясь с ними в Сретенском монастыре, сказал: «Вы все – желанные гости. И даже не гости, а хозяева!»

Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин

Questions and Answers on ROCOR

Q: As I understand it, since 1920 the Russian Orthodox Church has been divided into two parts, the very large Russian Orthodox Church Inside Russia and the very small Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (known as ROCOR). Although both are united under the Russian Patriarch, could the two parts be joined together? And another question, what is the difference between ROCOR and the name ROCA (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad)? And also what does the term ‘Moscow Patriarchate’ mean?

A: Firstly, there is no division here between the two parts. The Church is already united, already joined together. There is a simple administrative separation for ease of governance, which was instituted as long ago as November 1920 by the then Patriarch of Moscow, St Tikhon, and continues to this day. Like the Church Inside Russia, the Church Outside Russia has always been Patriarchal in ethos, even when it could not be so in practice because of the terrible persecutions in Moscow and indeed throughout the Church Inside Russia after 1917. In fact, the first Senior Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Antony of Kiev, had been the favoured candidate to become Patriarch.

Secondly, there is no question of abolishing the Church Outside Russia and having one central administration. The Russian Orthodox Church is far too big to be governed centrally from Moscow. Thus, it has several autonomous parts or ‘divisions’ if you prefer to call them that, namely, in the Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, Japan and China; ROCOR is simply a further autonomous part making up the whole, the missing piece in the worldwide jigsaw, if you like.

As regards terms, there are older people who still use the historical translation ROCA instead of ROCOR. However, officially that was dropped (as also was the term ‘Russian Orthodox Church in Exile’) in the 1970s, fifty years after the Revolution, because by that time a majority of members of ROCOR were not living ‘abroad’, but in the countries where they had been born and so were not ‘in exile’ either. Despite this, some older people still use the historical translation ROCA. The term ‘Moscow Patriarchate’ was used for the Church Inside Russia before the reconciliation between the two parts of the Church in 2007 after the Church Inside Russia had become free. Since all of us commemorate the Patriarch, it is for us now a meaningless term, fit only for history books. It is simple: We all belong to the one Russian Orthodox Church.

A: So what do the terms ‘Inside Russia’ and ‘Outside Russia’ actually mean?

A: ‘Inside Russia’ means inside the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, meaning the whole of the former Russian Empire, modified as the post-1945 Soviet Union, and including Japan and China with their autonomous Churches. ‘Outside Russia’ means the rest of the world outside that territory.

Q: How large is ROCOR in terms of numbers?

A: The Church Outside Russia, known in full as ROCOR, a self-governing or autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church, has 593 parishes and 51 monastic foundations in 43 countries throughout the world, served by 672 clergy. The distribution of parishes is as follows: 194 parishes and 11 monasteries in the United States; 67 parishes and 11 monasteries in the Australian diocese; 48 parishes and 2 monasteries in Germany; 25 parishes and 3 monasteries in Canada; 22 parishes in Indonesia. ROCOR churches and communities also exist in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Ireland, Palestine, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, South Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela. ROCOR is probably about a million strong – this compares to the Church Inside Russia which numbers some 163 million.

Q: How big are these ROCOR parishes?

A: Some of these parishes are small, some are hundreds strong, others are thousands strong.

Q: What about the Church Inside Russia? Ironically, I believe, it too has some parishes ‘outside Russia’, I mean, on ROCOR’s canonical territory.

A: Yes, for historical reasons there exists an inside out situation here. Compared to the nearly 650 foundations of ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, despite its name, still has over 100 representations outside its canonical territory. Thus, it has parishes in certain former Communist countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, for example, in Hungary and former East Germany, or in countries like Iran, Cuba, Morocco and North Korea, to which ROCOR has at present no diplomatic access. Apart from these parishes, it also has over 30 parishes in North America, as well as a good many parishes scattered throughout Western Europe, in Finland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italy and four permanent churches in England, as well as an important mission in Thailand and Laos. Indeed, I suspect that South-East Asia will in time become part of the canonical territory of the Church inside Russia, like Japan and China.

Most of these churches are connected with areas of very recent immigration from the ex-Soviet Union. According to the 2007 agreement between the two parts of the Church, all these churches outside its canonical territory will eventually be handed over to the Church Outside Russia, the part of the Church which has canonical responsibility for all countries outside the canonical territory of the Church Inside Russia, as we have defined it above. It is significant that the bishops dependent on the Church Inside Russia, but administrating these parishes outside Russia, are mainly aged, suggesting that canonical regularization is just a question of time.

Q: Once this regularization happens, will any other changes take place?

A: It can be assumed that once political situations outside Russia ease and the extra-territorial parishes of the Church Inside Russia are united with ROCOR, together with their clergy and some younger bishops, ROCOR itself will be administered slightly differently. This would mean the restoration of Regional, or rather Continental, Metropolitan Districts, as in the Church Outside Russia until the Second World War, or as in the Russian Church Inside Russia today. Here there could be a Metropolia for Oceania, a second for Western Europe, a third for North America – with potentially a separate one for Alaska – and potentially a fourth, or fifth one, for South America.

All would be governed under the authority of the senior Metropolitan based in New York, just as now. This is just as in the other self-governing parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, in the Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia and Estonia, although they are concentrated over small territories, not over Continents, or as in the Church Inside Russia as a whole, which is also composed of Metropolitan Districts, although under a Patriarch, not under a senior Metropolitan

Q: Does the Church Outside Russia have characteristics which distinguish it from the Church Inside Russia?

A: There are some traits, but these should not be exaggerated; the traits that we have can all be found in different parts of the Church Inside Russia, whose canonical territory after all stretches from the Polish border to Vladivostok and beyond to Japan and China and covers many nationalities and languages. For example, in Estonia, you can find churches where you have two choirs, one sings in Estonian, the other in Slavonic; in the southern Ukraine you can find a similar situation with Slavonic and Romanian.

Q: So what are these traits?

A: First of all, and most obviously, most members of the Church Outside Russia use various languages in worship, not just Church Slavonic. Secondly, we venerate local Western saints who are virtually unknown inside Russia. This is especially the case in Western Europe. Thus, in Paris there is veneration for St Genevieve, in England for St Edward, in Ireland for St Patrick, in the Netherlands for St Willibrord, in Germany for St Boniface, in Austria for St Brigid etc. There is here in the matter of venerating these Western saints a vital question of safeguarding the roots of Western civilization – which are in Orthodoxy, in the saints. Outside Orthodoxy people have all but given up the memory of these saints who stand at the foundations of the old Western culture, but Orthodoxy keeps their memory.

A third trait of the Church Outside Russia is that many, if not all, of us are particularly traditional, ‘patriotic’ (patriotic in terms of Orthodox patriotism and Orthodox identity, not in terms of nationalism). For instance, this can be seen in our veneration of the martyred Tsar Nicholas II and our hopes for the restoration of the Orthodox monarchy inside Russia. We know that this event which we pray for daily would have a huge positive effect on the whole world and especially on the Orthodox world.

Q: Is that a realistic hope?

A: Seven years ago, I thought it a very distant possibility, but as time has gone it, it has become an ever more realistic and nearer possibility.

Q: Why?

A: I think that ever since Communism was discredited, except among a few elderly and brainwashed people, Orthodoxy has clearly won the ideological argument in Russia. Everyone can now see that the only ‘alternative’ to Orthodoxy is Western consumerism – and that is just a bad joke; it was tried in Russia in the 1990s, enforced by idiotic, pseudo-American Harvard graduates and their corrupt, Western-backed, billionaire, oligarch friends, and has failed miserably. The people never accepted it.

Now we are moving on to the next stage, which is when Orthodoxy has won the argument on paper, people have to realize that the consequence is to start going to Church, to put Orthodoxy into practice, to be active not passive. And that means the re-establishment of the Orthodox social, economic and political order. And that can only mean the restoration of the people’s monarchy, the Tsar, the Orthodox Empire. And this, by the way, is also the only system that will help us Orthodox, who will only ever be small minorities in the Western world but who still belong in heart and mind to the Orthodox Empire, which is and will be until the end of time centred in Moscow. And that is also the only system which will free the smaller Local Orthodox Churches from pro-Western tyrannies.

Q: Are there signs of the presence of such a new order already?

A: There was the case of Greece and Cyprus which looked to Russia during the banking crisis – but Russia was not strong enough to help in their cases since those countries are enslaved to the feudal EU structure, having been betrayed by their political elites, like all the other EU countries. On the other hand, relations with the Patriarchate of Antioch are very close because of the help Russia gave in preventing Syria from being bombed back to the Stone Age by the West, as it did in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere and is now doing in parts of the eastern Ukraine with its phosphorous bombs and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

In general, a generation after the fall of Communism, Russia is beginning to become once more the force that ‘withholds’, that is, the force which prevents the coming of Antichrist, to which the Western and Westernized world has now clearly dedicated itself. However, this process of withholding, with the stand against ‘gay pride’ marches, against homosexual propaganda among children, against GM food that causes so many allergies, and now the stand against the use of bad language in public and against abortion, is only just beginning. Russia is becoming the only place in the world that resists the satanic New World Order, and which stands for Christian civilizational values, which the Western media call, at best, ‘cultural conservatism’, but which in fact is normality.

Nevertheless, it is highly significant and proves that Russia and the West are heading in opposite directions, Russia towards Christ, the West towards Antichrist.

Q: What are the forces that resist the restoration of the old Orthodox Imperial consciousness?

A: There are two such forces. The first is that in Russia which resists Orthodoxy as a living force, in other words, Russian nominalism, which resists the calling of Russia as the worldwide Orthodox Power because it resists the practice of Orthodoxy. The second force is the nationalism or phyletism of smaller Local Churches, as we can see quite clearly in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, for example. This force we can call Balkanization and it is actively encouraged by the secularist Western Powers that want to reduce Orthodoxy and the Church to a piece of mere ethnic exotica, to irrelevant folklore and so subject to the same secularist manipulations as so-called Western Christianity is subject to.

Q: How do you see the role of ROCOR in the contemporary world?

A: I would prefer to speak of a calling or a duty, rather than a role. Actors play roles – we live according to our responsibilities. I think our priority is inevitably to look after the Orthodox who already live here outside the Russian canonical territories and who come to us. However, outside that, there is a mission to anyone from the local, mainly Western, populations who contacts us and comes to our services. Here we make no distinction between backgrounds, races and religions. Our task has always been to prepare the ground for the sowing of the seeds of Orthodoxy, above all in the Western lands, the very lands which lapsed from the Church a millennium ago and are now in danger of losing all sense of their roots, of civilization itself.

In respect of missionary work, I must say that sadly, in recent decades in England at least, there seems to have been a misconcept among some mainly convert Orthodox that we had a special mission to ‘recruit’ only ‘Anglo-Catholics’ or ‘Conservative Evangelicals’, who on paper were supposedly ‘closer to Orthodoxy’ than others. That was utterly wrong; most of them in their tiny, ‘greenhouse’ convert groups turned out to be further away from Orthodoxy than anyone else and soon lapsed from authentic Orthodoxy. We look after the needs of those whom God sends to us and who are serious about entering into the Orthodox Church as She is, coming to us without peculiar, distorting agendas of their own, whatever their background, race and religion, our calling is to bring Light to the vast masses of the West without pre-judging them.

Q: Where does St John’s parish fit into this?

A: Although our parish in Colchester owns the largest Orthodox church building in England, which I believe is also the second largest in Western Europe, with 628 parishioners currently, it is not at all the largest parish. However, we do cover a whole region, the East of England, and our flock is scattered throughout that region and includes 25 different nationalities, including English, Italian, French, Turkish, American, Norwegian and Indian.

Q: How do you view the other Local Orthodox Churches?

A: The people there are Orthodox like us and we welcome them to our churches. Of course, we regret that some of the smaller and politically weaker Local Churches have been politically compromised by individual patriarchs and bishops, who seem to agree with anyone who is in power, secularist, atheist, Western-bribed tyrants or whatever, rather than with Christ. We feel closer to those who have kept the integrity of the faith, as in Serbia, Georgia and on Mt Athos. However, we also clearly understand that whatever a few individual bishops may do to compromise themselves, the faith of ordinary Orthodox is not affected. Only those who have compromised Orthodoxy will have to answer for that at the Last Judgement, not the ordinary people.

Q: How do you view the little groups of Orthodox who belong to the old calendarists and so on?

A: Wherever the Church has been, tiny minorities have always created sects. It is a distortion inherent to fallen, human nature. In terms of the contemporary Orthodox Church, this is above all a Greek problem, but wherever State Churches have compromised, extremist individuals have been outraged and cut themselves off in sects. However, I doubt if throughout the world such sects, usually personally cults or ‘one-man shows’, number even 50,000 and that is out of 216 million Orthodox. But I do find the existence of such sects very sad; the people in them often have so much anger and sectarian hatred. The existence of such sects is simply due to a lack of love. Obedience is always better than schism.

The Roads Not Taken

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Four roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one least travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

With Apologies to Robert Frost

Introduction: Four Roads

Reflecting over the last twenty five years of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), we can in hindsight see clearly the four roads that the Church faced then and how the Church, in Her faithful bishops, clergy and people inspired by the Holy Spirit, came to reject three of the roads and take the fourth road, a road that time has proved to be profoundly right. Here we should not forget that it is only seven years ago, at the historic Fourth All-Diaspora Council in San Francisco in 2006 that the Church definitively chose this road under the saintly leadership of the Ever-Memorable Metropolitan Laurus. What were these three roads that the Church did not take and the road we did take?

1. The Sect

Sometimes to do nothing is actually right. However, when there is clear and radical change, for example the world-changing event of the collapse of the Soviet Union, to continue as before would have been absurd. To do nothing, not to react, the choice of passivity, would soon have become the choice of passivism and so the path of the sect and the nationalist ghetto. This became clear during the 1990s when Metropolitan Vitaly, already affected by Alzheimer’s, heavy medication and a sectarian and nationalistic entourage, accepted into the Church Outside Russia little groups inside Russia, and this to the horror of educated ROCOR clergy and laity. This act, which seemed quite uncanonical even then, proved to be disastrous in establishing tiny sectarian groups, sometimes led by rightly defrocked clergy.

Similarly, at that time an infamous and incredible decree was issued in the Metropolitan’s name, using, or rather abusing, his signature. This decree forbade the use of English, including in parishes where there was not a Russian in sight! That this was the path of the sect and the nationalist ghetto was clear to the vast majority then and the decree was quietly but universally ignored. Moreover, that this was the path of the sect and the nationalist ghetto has been further borne out even more by all those tiny and mostly elderly groups, already dying out, often consisting of ungrounded neophytes, quite uneducated individuals or else CIA operatives, with peculiar names and even more peculiar theology, which left the Church Outside Russia between 2001 and 2007.

2. Go Under Moscow

Given that ROCOR was clearly part of the whole Russian Orthodox Church, which clearly had grace and sacramental life, a few considered submitting to the authority of Moscow and actually abolishing ROCOR. This would have been a huge mistake for a number of reasons. Firstly, there was the fact that the Church had been founded by St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, who as a former Bishop of San Francisco, well understood the need for a politically independent Church outside Russia. Thus, self-abolition would have been contrary to the wishes of this saint. Secondly, many of the parishes under the Patriarchate of Moscow outside Russia were scandalous. Many of their clergy were uncanonical or else had been defrocked by ROCOR and then reinstated by Moscow (the OCA used to do the same).

Thus, several of their bishops, especially in Europe) had morally scandalous lives (Archbishop Basil Krivoshein stands out as an exception). Paris and London are well known and most know the almost burlesque story of the former priest of the Australian Diocese of ROCOR, defrocked on any number of accounts, not least of which was adultery, who was welcomed into the arms of Moscow and ended up as ‘Metropolitan of Vienna’ and a proven KGB agent! But thirdly, it would have been a terrible error to lose the unique, multinational Church Outside Russia with its pastoral experience and linguistic abilities, which is now proving itself in teaching Patriarchal churches how to live in a multicultural and globalised world, while retaining the best, pre-Revolutionary Orthodox traditions.

3. Go Native

A ‘third way’ or radical alternative would have been to divorce altogether from the Mother Church, to renounce the Russian Church, despite all our history and canonicity as an integral if politically separate part of the Church, and go native. Thus in Western Europe there would have been founded a ‘European Orthodox Church’, in the USA an ‘American Orthodox Church’ and in Australia an ‘Australian Orthodox Church’. The justification for such an out of character and quite uncanonical operation would have been that as the flock was losing Russian as a native language, it was time to use instead the native languages of the countries wherever the Church existed, flying in the face of real pastoral needs and realities, let alone the canons of the Church.

Apart from a few recent converts, most were not at all attracted by this concept, since it would have destroyed the multinational unity of the Church out of phyletism and would also have led to the sect and the nationalist ghetto. Unlike in the first road, this sect would have been liberal and the nationalism would have been European, American and Australian, but still it would have been a sect and a nationalist ghetto. After all, the OCA, Paris and convert parts of the Antiochian Diaspora had already taken this erroneous road and proved this point. Furthermore, a new Local Church can only be created through blood, tears and sweat, monasticism and martyrdom, not through the superficial inanities of modernism, which is but a passing fashion without a future in the real, post-modernist world.

Conclusion: The Fourth Road

In reality none of these three choices attracted more than a few. In reality, the way of the Church, the fourth road, prevailed. This was to recognise the repentance of the hierarchs of the Church inside Russia, so wonderfully expressed in their August 2000 Jubilee Council and then gradually implemented. This was after all what the faithful monastics, clergy and people of the Church inside Russia, the real judges of the situation, had recognised. Once this had been done, it would be possible to negotiate and reunite the two parts of the Church, becoming a universally canonically recognised autonomous Metropolia of the whole Church. Thus, we would have our future and continue our unique multicultural and multilingual mission worldwide, in faithfulness to the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

ROCOR and the Future of the Western World

Never has the power of sin dominated humanity as it does today…And we know that if sin is victorious over all humanity, then Antichrist will appear.

His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill, 1 February 2011, (http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/print/1398799.html)

Today we recall the prophetic words of St John of Kronstadt on the birthday of Tsar Nicholas II in 1907:

‘The Empire of Russia wavers, shakes, is close to falling…Hold firm to your Faith and the Church and Orthodox Tsar…If you fall away from your faith…then there will be no Russia or Holy Rus, but a collection of all sorts of people of other faiths, trying to destroy one another…’.

We can understand this prophecy in the light of later history, as recalled by ROCOR faithful:

In Paris the White Russian General P.N. Krasnov related how during the First World War Kaiser Wilhelm once asked a thousand Russian Muslim prisoners of war, for whom he had built a mosque, to ‘sing your prayer’. To a man they sang, ‘God, save the Tsar!’

The overthrow and the arrest of Emperor Nicholas II caused great sorrow to many of the Protestant Baltic Germans in the Imperial Army, such as Count General Keller and General von Rennenkampf, or the Muslim General, Ali-Hussein Khan Nachichevansky, who remained faithful to the Tsar, unlike so many other generals.

In Tobolsk, where the Imperial Family had been exiled, the local Tartars prayed with their mullah for the well-being of the captives in front of the house where they were under arrest.

In 1939, that faithful and most active layman of ROCOR in Western Europe, P.S. Lopukhin, wrote:

‘In this essence of Orthodoxy and Orthodox people lies the foundation of Russian expansion and the ability to join peoples to them, without crippling them. Foreigners perhaps sometimes even more than Russians have loved their ideals, for example, the idea of the White Tsar. This is of course a purely Holy Russian idea. ‘Don’t think’, said one Palestinian, ‘that the Russian Tsar was only Russian. No, he was also Arab. The Tsar is the all-powerful protector and defender of the Orthodox East. While he lived, millions of Arabs lived in peace and security’. Another man said: ‘When the news that they had killed the Tsar reached the Middle East, then in three countries (Syria, the Lebanon and Palestine) there was a wave of mass suicides. Already at that time Arabs felt that with the death of Tsar Nicholas human history was over and that life on earth had lost all its meaning’. A Russian Orthodox man recalled how when the news of the murder of Emperor Nicholas II first reached Kazan, a Tartar said in despair: ‘Russia is dead. We are all dead’.

Today, in many parts of the world, for example in Syria, we see the results.

Why do we recall these words today? Let us look at Western Europe today, first recalling events which took place in Portugal in 1917 – 96 years ago:

‘We will not dispute the miraculous nature of the original appearance of the Mother of God (in Fatima)…like other similar appearances. All these signs had one general task: to warn faithful Catholics of coming misfortunes and to call them to repentance, to change their lives and draw near to God – in order to avoid these misfortunes. To the unprejudiced consciousness, all these appearances, especially the miracle at Fatima, contain what is applicable to Russia, clearly and beyond argument’.

Fr Konstantin Zaytsev, Pastoral Theology, Vol II, P. 41, Jordanville 1961

And what has happened 52 years on since these words were written? Has there been repentance? Let us look at four items, taken from the news this very day, 7 February 2013:

It has been announced in Germany that the Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin is to reduce the number of churches it has from 105 to 30 in the next seven years.

Meanwhile a similar situation has developed in Brussels, (which within a generation will, it is said, have a majority Muslim population, where scores of its 108 churches are to be closed, including the central St Catherine’s church, which is to be turned by the Archdiocese into ‘a vegetable market’.

After being deluged with complaints from outraged religious groups, Obama’s health department has dug in its heels, saying its decision to force employers to provide abortifacient birth control drugs will continue as planned – although faith-based groups will be given a year reprieve. In response, U.S. Catholic bishops have not minced words, vowing to fight the order as ‘literally unconscionable’.

It has been announced that the government of the Russian Federation will review its policy of allowing Russian orphans to be adopted in countries like France and Great Britain, since legislation is being passed there to allow single sex ‘marriage’.

What is the purpose of ROCOR?

That I may not be accused of speaking from myself, I will quote again from that renowned Orthodox thinker and writer, Fr Konstantin Zaytsev, from page 136 of the very same book as above:

‘The world has previously been on the threshold of its end. Even now the end can be postponed. What is necessary for this? The Restoration of the Russian Orthodox Empire. The Restoration of Age-Old Church Consciousness’.

He continues on page 138:

‘As regards the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia…inasmuch as it remains by succession a surviving part of the Russian Orthodox Church, it thereby remains faithful to the idea of the Russian Orthodox Empire…’.

The West has westernised Russia. All aspects of modern, everyday life, from blast furnaces to railways, from electricity supply to television, from cars to smartphones, have been shaped by technology born in the West. However, all this belongs to the realm of the natural. But there is that which belongs to the realm of the supernatural, the miraculous: This is the bringing of the West to Christ and only a fully restored Orthodox Russia can do this. Here is the purpose of ROCOR.