Tag Archives: The Future

The Inevitable Struggle for the Inevitable Local Church

Foreword

The formation of new Local Orthodox Churches is inevitable, indeed it began long ago. One day there will be four new Local Churches in the world – for Western Europe, North America, South America and Oceania. This is not a prophecy, it is obvious and has been obvious to me for 45 years. When? For the struggle for it is also inevitable. Not, I think, in my lifetime, perhaps not even in my children’s lifetimes, but perhaps in the lifetimes of my grandchildren. The formation of a new Local Church in Western Europe is what I have devoted my life to. I hope that, like many others, I will have contributed something positive, however modest, to its foundations.

Introduction

The bane of the Church is any attachment to the world and one of the strongest forms of attachment is nationalism. For example, the Jews could not accept Christ because of their attachment to Jewish nationalism as ‘the chosen people’. Then the Copts and the Armenians broke away from the Church because of nationalism, Western Europe broke away because of Western nationalism, inventing self-justifying ‘Roman’ Catholicism, and the future Protestants broke away from them because of Germanic nationalism. The most flagrant form of this nationalism was perhaps ‘the Church of England’, created by a murderous and power-grasping King.

In much more recent times the unity of the Church has been put under great pressure by flag-waving Greek nationalism, called phyletism, although we still await the repentance of the Phanariot episcopate. Nationalism is by definition worldliness and is therefore anti-missionary. God only speaks the language of the nationalists, be it Hebrew, Latin, Greek or other, and as every Victorian Englishman knew, ‘God is an Englishman’. Nationalist groups inevitably die out, as they are assimilated. Instead of obeying the last two verses of the Gospel of Matthew, they refuse to go out and baptise the world, rather trying to steal the flocks of others, as in today’s Ukraine.

Imperialism

The above is a list of examples of what might be called ‘uncanonical nationalism’, for its extremism always leads to schisms and heresies, that is, it leads to being outside the Church. This we can see with the case of the contemporary Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose schism has taken 100 years to prepare. However, there is also nationalism inside the Church, that is, it is ‘canonical’. Though obviously, by definition, more moderate than the extremist form outside the communion of the Church, it is basically imperialist. Its sign is national exclusivism, it will accept others only if they ‘become Greeks’ or ‘become Russians’, for instance.

This imperialism is marked by the imposition of a single language and a single culture, centralisation and bureaucracy. This is inevitably part of a controlling tyranny, of the bullying and intimidation of both clergy and people at the grassroots. By creating fear and injustice, it hopes to obtain the property and wealth of the people, their church buildings. By mistreating the clergy, this imperialist centralism discourages the missionary impulse, often persecuting any missionary initiative in the name of control and ‘protocols’. Such a mentality is death to the soul and death to the spiritual life of the Church: imperialism is always spiritual death.

Localism

Imperialism is also by definition an attachment to the world, nationalism, but the other extreme of this nationalism is what may be called ‘Localism’. This is the reaction to centralisation, the splitting movement of disunity in the name of some small country, often an artificial one, which has led over the last 200 years to the formation of a whole series of small, ‘Autocephalous’ Local Churches. The most recent example was that which was formed fifty years ago in North America , with the formation of the tiny ‘OCA’, the Orthodox Church in America, a group which in reality united fewer than 10% of Orthodox in North America, perhaps as few as 5%.

The brainchild and scheme of the very practical and frustrated activist Fr Alexander Schmemann, who had taken power from the academic theoretician Fr George Florovsky, the ideologists of the OCA tried to impose US culture, regardless of its lack of spiritual content, on all. Founded not on Orthodox Christianity, this mentality tried to impose the lowest common denominator of local culture – new calendarism, modernism, anti-monasticism, anti-asceticism and anti-spiritual moralism, at best a watered-down rationalistic intellectualism. However, Christ’s Church is founded not on some local human culture, but on His Universal Gospel made incarnate.

Conclusion

For nearly fifty years now we have battled for authentic Orthodoxy, but specifically in the local language (and not in foreign versions of that language!) and for the honouring of local saints, where they exist, and for local traditions which are not opposed to the Church. We cannot ignore the local language, geography and history, we must consult and not ignore experience. All else is arrogance. What we have observed in the last half-century is that every nationalist formation, whether of imperialist or localist nationalism, has died out. Thus, both Greek and Russian Churches have died out here, as has also the attempt to create an Anglican Orthodoxy.

This 21st century will not bring a nationalistic Neo-Anglican ‘British Orthodox Church’, as they wanted. However, it may bring an Autocephalous Western European Orthodox Church, led by His Beatitude Metropolitan N. in Paris. As regards the four peoples and nations of these ‘Islands of the North Atlantic’ (IONA), it would find itself an autonomous part of such a Metropolia. It could have four archbishops, one for England, one for a reunited Ireland, one for Scotland and one for Wales, possibly with vicar bishops. However, realistically, this can only happen under the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, which alone founds new Churches. May God’s will be done.

 

Tragedy in Belarus

After ten days of demonstrations, protests are continuing in Belarus. True, they are nothing like as violent or as widespread as the riots in the USA, which have been going on for some two months now, but those in Belarus could topple the democratically-elected dictator Lukashenko. A yesterday’s Communist, a today’s Democrat and essentially a corrupt country bumpkin, like any number of other post-Communist oligarchs, his time is nearly up. Like the equally corrupt Ukrainian fool Yanukovich, who was toppled in 2014, he will surely, sooner of later, go. It is time for a new generation. Post-Sovietism is dead.

However, Western spy services, based in Lithuania (where the CIA has torture ‘facilities’)  and in territory-greedy Poland, are hoping that they will replace Lukashenko with some Fascist billionaire puppet like Poroshenko, as they did in the Ukraine. Thus, they would ensure permanent civil war, mass poverty and chaos in Belarus, just as they did in the Ukraine these last six years. The idea that the Western elite could position its NATO tanks and nuclear missiles along the Russian border, just 250 miles from Moscow, is very tempting to the greedy globalists. After all, their spiritual ancestors a hundred and twenty years ago were already eyeing the mineral wealth of the Russian Empire and so had its Tsar, and tens of millions of others, murdered by their Communist minions. However, this is unlikely to happen in Belarus. Why?

The modern Ukraine is an artificial country created since 1922 for purely political reasons by three Western-backed Communist monsters: Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchov. The eastern, northern and southern three-sixths of the Ukraine are more or less purely Russian and part of what was (Orthodox) Christian Civilisation; the west of centre area around Kiev, two-sixths of the whole, like Belarus, still has the same Civilisation and faith as Russia, though is different from it and mainly speaks a dialect of Russian called Surzhik; finally, the far western sixth (which Stalin stole from Poland in 1939) has nothing to do with Christian Civilisation and Russia. It is the former Hapsburg and virulently nationalistic province of Galicia. Though Polish-hating and once Nazi-supporting, it has far more in common with its Polish neighbour, including its majority religion (also once Nazi-supporting), than anywhere else. This sixth is the only real ‘Ukraine’ (= ‘border land’) and speaks the many dialects of the Ukrainian language, which resembles a very distinctive mixture of Slovak, Polish and Russian.

On the other hand, Belarus is in reality a provincial part of Russia. Over 70% there speak Russian virtually all the time; unlike in the Ukraine the other 30%, who speak Belarussian virtually only at home, also speak fluent Russian. In any case, the language is mostly understandable to Russians, unlike Ukrainian. Moreover,  80% of Belarussians have said that they would be happy to become an autonomous republic, like other such republics, within the Russian Federation.

The Ukraine has now become a largely third-world country, poorer than Kenya; its wealth has been stolen by some thirteen Western-backed oligarch-thieves, who spend most of their time laundering their cash in Tel Aviv, London and New York. Today’s Ukraine resembles the Soviet Union of 30 years ago, only nothing has been done there since, so it is even shabbier than then; the roads are ruinous, as are most of the unrenovated buildings. Its infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, is largely in an unspeakable condition and it survives on handouts from the US puppet called the IMF. As a country with a huge demographic crisis (who wants to have children in a desperately poor, utterly corrupt and Fascist-controlled backwater?), it is possible that its people could actually die out within a century. Millions of young people have fled it for Russia and Poland.

In comparison, Belarus is clean, orderly, has full employment and is more prosperous (thanks to trade with Russia) than the catastrophically poor and run-down EU Lithuania and Latvia or the US puppet state in Kiev. This makes its leader popular with many who vote for him because they fear worse than him. However, Belarus, like the old Soviet Union which it so resembles, only is more prosperous, is also sinsiterly Orwellian.

For Lukashenko is no angel. He is a dictator with a violent streak (just like so many CIA-backed Latin American and Asian puppets) and clearly suffers from North Korean style megalomania. He is also, at times, profoundly anti-Russian. President Putin is fed up with his anti-Russian actions and his oligarch corruption, just like that of the Ukrainian idiot Yanukovich with his golden toilet. But that does not mean that Lukashenko is about to be replaced by some Western puppet, who will make Belarus into just another divided and ruled, CIA-run vassal state. Even the stupidest members of the bankrupt Western elite, now obsessed by the covid virus, realise that they made a terrible mess in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine. They cannot afford to repeat the same mistake in Belarus. The bankrupt EU does not want Belarus, any more than it wants the Ukraine. The EU cannot even absorb hopelessly corrupt and poor Bulgaria and Romania. The West needs President Putin to do something for Belarus.

Let us be clear, there is much better than Lukashenko. But to be honest, there is also much worse – you only have to look at the utterly corrupt Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia for examples. God forbid that worse should happen than Lukashenko. Three (officially) Belarussians have died so far at the hands of  Lukashenko’s thuggish riot police – it is getting almost as bad as the situation in the USA. Let us pray that the Belarussian obscenities, with both sides committing acts of violence, will cease and that Belarus will no longer be a (post-) Communist dictatorship, will not be transformed into just another corrupt and poor CIA/NATO colony, and be transfigured into an Orthodox Christian country. Then a tragedy would become an example to its neighbours.

The Feast of the Transfiguration 2020

The Spirit of St Edmund

Foreword

Our Orthodox Kingdom lives and prays beneath the standard of holy Edmund, the King and Martyr of East Anglia (+ 869), and the first Patron Saint of the English Land. His standard is made up of a crown, representing his kingship, his virginity and his martyrdom, against the background of a heavenly blue and crossed arrows. These arrows show how he defended his Kingdom and so won Paradise, being shot through with many of them by violent and heathen men who then beheaded him.

Introduction

St Edmund’s heavenly kingdom is the East Anglian corner in Paradise, but his earthly kingdom was and is made up of what is now Norfolk, Suffolk and the fenlands of eastern Cambridgeshire. However, it spread and spreads its influence across its marches into northern Essex, across the fens into the East Midlands, and in missions still further afield, thus taking his spirit outside his land. St Edmund expressed this spirit in life and in death in the values of Orthodox Christian Civilisation, which are:

  1. Faithfulness

The Old English word ‘geleafful’ (literally, faithful) was the word chosen by missionary monks to translate the Greek word ‘Orthodox’. Thus, faithful Christians are Orthodox Christians and vice versa. Through his confession of the Faith in his life and by his martyrdom in his death, there is no doubt that St Edmund was an Orthodox Christian, faithful to the end to the Gospel of Christ, which he imitated. It is this faithfulness, that is, Orthodoxy that we need and seek to follow today.

  1. Kingship

Edmund was of the noble and kingly line of East Anglia and its last King. He was also the faithful and trusted friend of the holy King Alfred the Great, unifier of England and its greatest Sovereign. Edmund fought alongside Alfred to defend Nottingham in the East Midlands. He was noble in blood, but also in conduct, fearlessly fighting the heathen, but not afraid to die, like the King of Kings, at his own Gethsemane and Golgotha in Hoxne, in the very centre of his Kingdom between north and south.

  1. Care for the People

His tenth-century life described him as ‘wise and honourable’, that ‘he ever glorified Almighty God by his noble conduct’, was ‘humble and devout’, ‘mindful of the true teaching’, ‘among men as one of them’, ‘bountiful to the poor and to widows even like a father’, that ‘with goodwill he ever guided his people to righteousness and lived happily in the true faith’. He chose ‘rather to die for his own land’, ‘never turning aside from the worship of Almighty God or from His true love, whether he lived or died’.

Conclusion

These Trinitarian values are essential as they represent all that is missing here today. Thus, there is little faithfulness and they only argue about how best to betray the Faith. There is little sense of Kingship as there is little nobility, spirit of sacrifice, they are only political opportunists and careerists who replace the Kingdom of Heaven with the Republic of Hell. And there is little pastoral care for the people as anti-missionaries are in power. Therefore, our mission now is to spread the spirit of St Edmund.

 

 

 

The Three Twenty-First Century Challenges for the Whole Orthodox Church

Introduction

The fourteen Local Churches, many of them recent foundations, which at present make up the Orthodox Church face many different challenges according to their local conditions. Basically, however, all these challenges can be grouped into three categories. These are:

Living in the Past

Here, we are talking, to put it crudely, about a sort of old fogeyism. At the extreme, for example, there are those in the Phanar in Istanbul, who still think that 1453 has not yet taken place – they are well over 550 years behind reality. Constantinople no longer exists and its flock is well under 1,000 people. Another Patriarchate, which only in the 20th century began to claim Africa and not just Egypt as its territory, is still stuck in Alexandria, where it has virtually no flock. Another Syrian group calls itself ‘of Antioch’, another place that no longer exists by that name and today is in Turkey. Another is run from the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens and the local Palestinian people, who do not speak Greek, have no say over the foreigners who are set over them and cannot speak their language. However, all the Local Churches can provide example of this backwards-looking mentality.

Equally, in all the Local Churches there are clerics and even a few laypeople who are so stuck in their youths in the 1960s and 1970s that they actually still believe in ecumenism, modernism and new calendarism! This is incredible; those absurd movements, in which we never believed in any case, died out in the last millennium. How can you possibly be a modernist in a post-modernist world?! How can you possibly be a syncretist when the whole world glorifies diversity?! How can you possibly claim to be Orthodox and yet live on the papal calendar – Muslims and Jews do not?! However, as the gerontocrats, often in their eighties and nineties, die out and are replaced by the new, forwards-looking generation, these movements will be forgotten, locked away in cobwebbed museums and the dustbins of history.

Centralisation

Here is a more serious problem, as it concerns everyone, but especially the larger Local Churches. This is in fact the problem of power and money. The bureaucratisation of the Church through power structures and the taxing of parishes as a result to support these superstructures, whose very existence seems to many to be quite unnecessary, is a severe problem. Thus, during the covid crisis, many parishes received virtually no income, but in some places ‘Church’ bureaucrats still demanded large sums to run their palaces from clergy who already had to find secular work in order to sustain their families. There is now a great deal of discontent at the grassroots, all the more so, as many see such bureaucracy as parasitic in any case. There could soon be a revolt at this level. Reform here is beginning, as it must.

Moral Decadence

Here again is a very serious problem which, moreover, is structural and in fact institutional. This moral decadence means the dual problems of simony and sodomy. The former problem is a massive problem in several Local Churches, not least the Russian, the Constantinopolitan and the Romanian. Needless to say this practice is totally uncanonical, the canons on simony are very strict. The second problem has developed as a result of the lack of monastic life, and even worse, the refusal to consecrate good monks as bishops, even where there is monastic life, and instead to consecrate celibates of any stripe.

In one Local Church, one Metropolitan is only such because he and his parents belonged to the ‘right’ political party (they had the right surname) and he did not marry. Is that enough? Of course not. The emigrations have for decades been plagued by notorious gay mafias of bishops, who persecute married clergy, probably through jealousy. The scandals are endless. All we can say is, thank God, that, unlike in Roman Catholicism, most Orthodox priests are married and at least there are no scandals of that sort here.

Conclusions: Three Solutions to Three Challenges

The shape of the future seems clear. By the end of this century, if not by the middle of this century, three great changes will have taken place, because they have to take place, within the Orthodox Church. These will recognise that we now live in a global world and that the time of absurd anachronisms and petty and silly nationalisms is long past.

Firstly, in response to moral decadence, there is going to be, once more, a married episcopate, whether we like it or not. This will mean that, as before, dioceses will be much smaller, with only perhaps twelve parishes in each. The new bishops may, as before, have secular jobs and a simplification of their role will ensue. Thus, the dioceses of Local Churches will, as before, become truly local again. This means that there will at last be the leadership which we have so utterly lacked in the last centuries, when bishops acted as mere State functionaries.

Secondly, in response to centralisation, there must appear four new Local Churches, one for Western Europe and three for the New World: one for Western Europe (WEOC); one for North America (NAOC), one for Latin America (IOAL) and one for Oceania (OOC).

Thirdly, in response to living in the past, a number of very small, very fragile and therefore very dependent and very nationalistic Local Churches, some invented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for purely political reasons, others mere anachronisms, may well have merged. Thus, we may end up with only Twelve Patriarchates, Twelve Local Churches. Perhaps, as follows:

The Russian (of New Jerusalem and All Rus).

The Eastern European (of Bucharest and All Eastern Europe).

The African (of Nairobi and All Africa).

The Middle Eastern (of Jerusalem and All the (ex-Muslim) East).

The Japanese (of Tokyo and All Japan).

The Chinese (of Beijing and All China).

The South-East Asian (of Hanoi and All South-East Asia).

The Indian (of Delhi and All India).

The Western European (of Paris and All (ex-Roman Catholic and ex-Protestant) Western Europe).

The North American (of Chicago and All North America).

The Latin American (of Caracas and All Latin America).

The Oceanian (of Sydney and All Oceania).

 

On the Contemporary Challenges Faced by the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction: Excesses and Extremes on the Margins

After the fall of the militantly atheist Soviet Union nearly thirty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church appears to have gone from strength to strength, both inside and outside Russia. In some respects this is clearly true, but in others it is not the case, as a whole set of enormous challenges remains. The Church suffers from the presence of many marginal individuals, including some clergy, and trends which are outside the mainstream of the Orthodox Tradition and so have little to do with Christianity. As a current example we have the case of Schema-abbot Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 when I visited the Urals.

After meeting him, I was left with a whole set of questions: Why was such a man from a recent, violent criminal background ordained? Why did he have no qualifications? Where did all his great deal of money come from? Why was he left to conduct spurious exorcisms, humiliating his victims, creating obvious psychological damage and dependency? Why was he left in authority when he clearly set himself against Orthodox teachings? Why had he been allowed to set up a cult? Why did his bishop not act? Here are questions that are only now, two years on, being answered, only after much harm has already been caused.

  1. Organisational Temptations

Scandals

Like the case of Romanov, over the last thirty years many mistakes have been made. Desperate to cater to the spiritual needs of the scores of millions of newly baptised, the wrong people were sometimes ordained and consecrated. This is not an opinion, but a fact, as we can see from the number of defrockings and exiles of careerist bishops now in disgrace. There have been too many ‘young elders’, pseudo-elders, charlatans, money-extorters, perverts, careerists, obscurantists and also cultish sects, such as the neo-renovationist Kochetkovtsy. We cannot help thinking that at least some of these scandals are linked to money or else are sexual in nature.

Bureaucracy

The pre-Revolutionary Church already suffered from profound careerism and  bureaucratic centralisation, from the use of decrees and protocols – words that cannot be found in the Gospels. Today’s Soviet-style centralisation is even worse. Paperwork is one of the main complaints of parish priests in Russia. They are being made into administrators, ‘effective managers’, businessmen. This all means money: money-grasping bureaucrats have to be paid. The Apostle Paul did not suffer either from bureaucracy or money; he worked as a tent-maker, not as a careerist. Do we not confess the Apostolic Church? Should we not venerate the saints like him in deed, as well as in word? Why kiss the Gospels, if we are not going to live by them?

Money

This brings us to money problems. Some bishops and priests appear to be extremely rich and many think that all clergy live in their way, with 4 x 4s, Mercedes, yachts and villas. In reality, many clergy are poor. Here there is a total lack of transparency and also a poor distribution of resources. Partly this is to do with the post-Soviet nouveau riche class. They like to donate money to the Church – which is good – but why this obsession with gold, marble and luxury in church? They should first read the Gospels and find out about mammon, as their money so often acts as a source of temptation. For every ‘monumental church’ with its kilos of gold, ten plain but community/ congregational churches could have been built. Money is the rot in the Church today, an infectious disease that spreads everywhere.

  1. Internal Temptations

Churching Society

Three generations of militant atheism and violent persecution left Soviet society completely spiritually ignorant, ready to believe everything and anything, extraordinarily superstitious, with at one time almost African levels of animism at the extremes. In a society of converts, often ritualistic, and with very few experienced clergy and people, all kind of primitive errors still abound. The task of baptising society was not so difficult, but to change the faith of the people from nominal-instinctive to active-conscious is far more difficult. All the more so today when some representatives of the Church have discredited themselves through their careerist love of money and luxury and so made most indifferent.

Liberals

The educated extremes of Russian society (the masses are indifferent and look only to survival) have long been divided into Westernisers and Slavophiles. The very small but very active minority of extreme Westernisers are often highly-educated, with doctorates, and are liberal, modernistic, ecumenist. They condemn the Church, hate piety and support LGBT (they are often themselves homosexuals). As regards coronavirus, they are faithless and so wear masks at every opportunity. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they long ago rejected Christ in favour of the Secular West.

Conservatives

The conservatives are also very small in number but narrow and nationalistic. The extremists among them still think that Lenin and Stalin were wonderful. They rarely attend Church, which is just a nationalistic banner or flag for them to hide behind, so that can like the pharisees condemn others, in self-justification. Often Third Romists, they can often be paranoid in relation to the Western world, confess anti-Semitism, indeed, anti-everythingism, and love conspiracy theories. They would certainly never wear a mask, probably not even believing in the existence of coronavirus. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they consider that Christianity is purely nationalistic and probably think that God is Russian anyway.

  1. External Temptations

Dealing with the Post-Soviet State

The main problem here is the refusal of the State to change, to give up its Sovietism. There is post-Soviet, but there is also outright Soviet too. Thus, in Moscow still lie the remains of that revolting mass-murderer Lenin and in Ekaterinburg, where the Royal Martyrs were massacred 102 years ago, as everywhere, there are street names and statues of the murderers and the whole region is still named after one of them. The media and the education and health sectors (after all there is an abortion industry to support) are full of those opposed to the Church. The State still has little practical concern about the chronically low birth-rate, the chronically high divorce rate and does little to further the cause of ecology.

Relations with the Other Local Churches

Half of the Orthodox Local Churches basically support the Russian Church, but the other half, undermined by petty nationalism, has been bought out by US aggression. This is clear with regard to obvious US imperialism in the Ukraine, the Baltics and the Balkans, where its ambassadors, like pagan Roman governors, new Pilates, have bribed and blackmailed the tiny Greek Orthodox world into the crudest infringements of Canon Law and simple human justice. That world, only a few million in number, has thus discredited itself and it remains a mystery as to why anyone voluntarily belongs to it any more. This is the final Greek tragedy.

Relations with the Non-Orthodox World

Here too the tensions are purely political. The Protestant world, consciously and unconsciously, has long been instrumentalised by the Western secret services to destroy the Orthodox world, in order to divide it and rule it. Since its 1960s protestantisation, much the same has happened in the Roman Catholic world, most obviously under the CIA-appointed Polish Pope. However, it was already opposed to Christ anyway and prepared to invade and destroy the Orthodox world at the drop of a hat, as can be seen in the history of the Crusades, in Uniatism and then in co-operation with the Bolsheviks. All this provokes Russian nationalism and makes many unable to appreciate the remnants of Orthodoxy in the Western world.

Conclusion: Towards the New Jerusalem (1) through Churching the Masses

The Russian Orthodox Church is three-quarters of the whole Church. Thus, its main challenge is that of responsibility. How can the mainstream, often paralysed by such excesses and extremes among certain bishops, priests and people, bring the world’s seven and a half billion people to Christ and His New Jerusalem without compromise? The answer is the same as that when the Twelve Apostles, opposed by all and compromised by Judas, also set out to do the impossible. The few must first Church the masses, the 2% of the Churched setting the example by converting the 98% of the unChurched and showing them that the Church is not about the money-grubbing of the new Judases. And how is that possible? Only by the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Royal Martyrs, 4/17 July 2020

Note:

  1. The Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Istanbul was long ago made into a mosque, then a museum and now is to become a mosque once more. Why? Because the local Orthodox have for 567 years failed to convert the local people to Christ. Failing to love their enemies, they have hated them and so made enemies for themselves. What are we to do? We are called on to create a new Church of the Wisdom of God, a New Jerusalem.

 

 

Chickens Always Come Home to Roost

Honesty is the best policy.

 

I have been asked to write down what the most important spiritual law I know is.

It is to be found in St John’s First Epistle: ‘If a man says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar’.

If you say that you love God but do not love your brother, then you are a scribe and a pharisee, a hypocrite, and woe unto you. Why woe unto you?

Woe because the bill always comes due, chickens always come home to roost, what goes around, comes around, there are always consequences to your actions, there is always blowback, like a boomerang, the consequences will come and hit you. As the French say, ‘Do not spit in the air’ (think about it), or as the Russians say, ‘Do not spit in the well, for you may need the water’.

In other words, I am saying that there is such a thing as spiritual responsibility. You only have to think of meddling in the Ukraine and then finding that your main church has become a mosque. God judges that you are not worthy of it, unless you repent. For over 500 years the Greek Church in Turkey has failed to convert the Turkish people to Christ and just made them into national enemies. Why? Surely we are supposed to love our enemies? When a church stand empty, you are not worthy of it and it will be handed over to others. But there are many other cases in other lands. Stand in fear and trembling.

I once knew one well-known, self-styled ‘spiritual father’; one who said that if ever he saw someone again, it would be over his dead body. Within six months he was dead. Be warned. You cannot get away with it. So they fall, one after another.

Hot News: The Cold War Is Over!

The Church Has Only One Enemy: Ourselves.

 

The first Cold War ended some thirty years ago. True, forces in Washington and in poodle-town London and EU/NATO Brussels have tried to create a second one. True, those forces, have hesitated to turn their military might and huge deficit budgets against today’s Russia, but only because it is nuclear-armed. Instead, they have tried to take over Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, thus aggressively encircling the Russian Federation with bases. They have also invaded Muslim countries, slaughtering many and losing many wars there at a cost of six trillion dollars. All this has forced the Russian Federation to ally itself with China and now to declare its sovereignty through a very popular new Constitution. This has brought countries like Iran, Syria and Turkey into the joint orbit of these Allies, making them invincible.

However, so far the end of the Cold War has not greatly affected Church life in the Diaspora. True, after the petering out of spiritually poisonous Soviet and American influences, in 2007 the Russian emigre Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) entered back into communion with the by then free Orthodox Church inside Russia. The small Parisian fragment of the Russian emigration, about one tenth of the size of ROCOR, did the same as recently as 2019. All fragments still have to work together with the Mother-Church, members of whose flock and clergy make up some 90% of their flock and clergy. The Mother-Church has its own newly-organised structures outside Russia, especially in Western Europe. So far only in South-East Asia has this integration already taken place, with former ROCOR communities in Indonesia entering the Mother-Church.

On the other hand, the end of the Cold War has affected other, far smaller and spiritually weaker Local Orthodox Churches, mainly in the Balkans or else those Greek-run. Indeed, there the situation has worsened by far, as some of these have been bribed, blackmailed and instrumentalised into becoming part of a second Cold War, launched by Washington against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. Most notably, there has been the tragic case of the gerontocrats who run the tiny and spiritually enfeebled Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul. This has been pushed by the State Department in Washington into uncanonical and purely political actions in the Diaspora, in Estonia and, above all, in the far west of the Ukraine. ‘Divide and rule’ is the anti-Christian slogan of all these State and Church bureaucrats alike.

Not content with this, the aggressive Washington State Department elite has declared war against all Orthodox elsewhere, notably in Greece, Alexandria and Montenegro, and is also interfering in Romania, Moldova, Cyprus, Macedonia, Bulgaria and anywhere else it can, in an attempt to isolate as many Orthodox as possible from the Russian Orthodox Church, exploiting and stirring up the base motive of nationalism. The Church of Russia is, after all, three-quarters of the whole Orthodox Church and the only Local Church which is truly multinational and, quite often, missionary-minded. All the above has taken place in the last thirty years, since the fall of the Western-imposed Marxist yoke in Russia and Eastern Europe. So what could the next thirty years bring? In other words, what reconfigurations could there be by 2050?

Many scenarios are possible, but there is one which may seem more likely than others. The Western world, basically the USA alone, is already bankrupt, with 25 trillion dollars of unpayable debt. Moreover, the Western world is now only one eighth of the world population. Furthermore, China is today’s world leader, for the American century (1915-2015) is now over, just as the British century (1815-1915) before it and the French century (1715-1815) before that. Therefore, not only will the new Cold War fail politically, but it will also be unfinancable. Thus, the enemies of the Russian Orthodox world will also fail. However, this is on one condition: that the Russian Orthodox world proves that it can take responsibility for all Orthodox in an honest and non-nationalistic way, that it is not only the Patriarchate of Moscow, but also of New Jerusalem.

The mission is not to take over, it is nothing to do with ‘Soviet tank’ invasion, colonial bullying, oppressive exploitation or theft of money. The Church must never be a business. In the past many came to dislike and distrust ‘Russians’, confusing them with Soviets. Our mission is not to export kalashnikovs and missiles to the rest of the world, but to export Christ and His Church to the rest of the world, to bring as many as possible to Christ before the end, which now looms over us. The Cold War is over, despite the wishes of the aggressive warmongers to revive it. It is time to co-operate with Sovereign Orthodox Russia, seeing off the last vestiges of both Sovietism and Americanism – both arrogant, bullying and money-grubbing imperialisms are for us dead. We do not belong to either of them: we belong to Christ, as does His Holy Church.

 

 

 

 

1 JULY: THE NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

It may seem unusual for us to speak here of an internal change to the Russian Constitution, rather than to laws in, say, England, but the new Constitution does affect us here for the following reasons:

The proposed changes to the Russian Constitution, subject to referendum on 1 July, offer the possibility of moving away at last from the old post-Soviet constitution of 1993, largely dictated by the American elite in the 1990s. In other words, they mean moving away from colonial Western liberalism to sovereign, Christian, Russian Orthodox values. Christian Civilisation is being raised up to defend us from US, Euroatlantic, Secularism. (Symbolised by the US Embassy in Moscow, which flies the LGBT flag). This change has been slow, but has come at last. What does it mean?

Firstly, if passed, this will be a Constitution voted for by the people, and not imposed by American bureaucrats and Soviet oligarchs under an alcoholic President. Secondly, it will put Russian Orthodox law above International Secularist law, imposed by the West. Thirdly, it will confirm the territorial integrity and Russian language of the Russian Federation and forbid senior figures from having dual nationality and foreign bank accounts. Fourthly, it will call on the New Russia to keep the heritage of Imperial Russia (inherited by the Soviet Union) in the form of social justice, free education and health care, which was all but abandoned by the post-Soviet American Russia. Fifthly, it will at last strengthen the responsibilities of the Federation to come to the aid of Russians abroad. Sixthly, it affirms the role of the State Council, a kind of Nationwide Senate outside Party politics.

However, even more than this, the Constitution affirms the existence of God, making it quite distinct from Western Secularist countries. Unlike apostate nations, it also affirms marriage as the union of a man and a woman and affirms the family and children as a priority of Russian government policy. God, Marriage and the Family are the three main elements here. For us who live in the Anti-Christian West, this is invaluable support. Today, Western Europe faces the choice between the arrogance of ‘one-size fits all’, Secularist American Imperialism, ‘we know best and you must obey us’, or the support of Imperial Russia and her Church with its Exarchates and missions outside the Russian Federation. It is clear which we shall choose and all other Orthodox will do the same, if they are really Orthodox and overcome their racial prejudices and phyletism.

At last, post-Soviet Russia, with its putrid corpse of Lenin and statues and places named after Bolshevik monsters, is dying out. After thirty years we are moving ahead away from the old and dying Cold War foundations towards the literal Re-Constitution of Imperial, Christian Russia and support for the authentic Orthodox Christian heritage of the Western world. The writing is on the wall: let those who are able read it. The Future is arriving and it is Orthodox Christian.

 

Towards the Fifth Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Foreword

At the present time, in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) are thinking about the significance of this our centenary year. Many will be thinking about the past, the last hundred years, and its important events. However, I would rather focus on the future, though it is also perfectly true that we cannot think of our future if we do not first understand our past. Here is a small offering.

Introduction: Four Councils

Church Councils are called whenever major decisions have to be taken, whenever there are controversies, for which solutions are urgently needed. Thus, a period without Councils can in some respects be seen as a calm and positive period, a period without divisive controversies. For we do not hold Councils just for the sake of them. This is as true of the Seven Universal (Oecumenical) Councils as it is of Local Councils. Thus, in the one hundred year history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which was founded effectively by a Russian and an American citizen, St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, by his decree No 362 of 20 November 1920, four ‘All-Diaspora’ ROCOR Councils of clergy and laity have so far taken place. These were in 1921, 1938, 1974 and 2006. Although not occurring exactly every generation, they have in effect marked generational change, turning-points in our history.

The Four Councils

  1. The First Council – Foundation and Organisation – 1921

The First Council was called by Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev, who was the most senior Russian bishop forced into exile. It took place in 1921 in Sremsky Karlovtsy, in what later became Yugoslavia, with the blessing of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This was in the foundational period of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and this Council was devoted to organizing administrative and canonical structures for the Church. In this way, the thirty-four Russian bishops forced into exile worldwide were able to establish a united Church structure of metropolia, dioceses and parishes for their flocks, composed almost uniquely of Russian Orthodox refugees.

  1. The Second Council – Consolidation and Pastoral Care – 1938

The Second Council was held in 1938, also in Sremsky Karlovtsy. This Council, led by the second primate of ROCOR, Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky), consolidated the organization of the Church for the second generation. It considered the spiritual rebirth needed by the émigré flock and the new generation, the struggles against sectarianism, political schisms, the persecutions of the Church inside Russia and the missionary sense of the Russian Diaspora. Here, ROCOR continued to assert that ‘the part of the Russian Church which is outside Russia is an indissoluble, spiritually united branch of the Russian Church. She does not separate Herself from the Mother Church and is not autocephalous’.

  1. The Third Council – Resistance and Canonisation – 1974

The Third Council was held in 1974 at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, under the third primate of ROCOR, Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky). Facing the challenges met by the third generation, this Council examined Church life in the ever more difficult conditions of the Western world where most had been born or were settled for ever. It also called for unity among the parts of the Russian Diaspora that were in schism from the Church Outside Russia. It noted the dangers of ecumenism and modernism in Church life and the need to resist these disintegrating movements. It also drew attention to the continuing persecution of the Church inside Russia, thus paving the way for the heroic and history-changing canonisation of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in 1981.

  1. The Fourth Council – Reconciliation and Mission – 2006

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and so the end of persecution, the situation of the Church inside Russia changed radically. ROCOR now had to re-examine attitudes to the once Soviet-enslaved Church and hierarchy there. Following the long-awaited canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors in Moscow in 2000, which confirmed the ROCOR canonisation of 1981, and other acts showing new freedom and at last the beginning of the multi-generational process of de-Sovietisation, in 2003 the ROCOR Council of Bishops entered into dialogue with the Patriarchal administration. Very important questions had arisen, relating to normalizing relations with the Church inside Russia and to ROCOR’s temporary self-governance, which in its fourth generation needed to become permanent. Also examined were issues regarding ROCOR’s future identity, purpose and mission as an integral yet also spiritually independent part of the Western world, with only very few of the faithful, many of them born in the ex-Soviet Union, ever intending to return to their impoverished native lands.

The Fifth Council?

In 2020, our centenary year, no-one is as yet talking about the need for a Fifth Council. Indeed, such a Council could easily be a generation away, in 2045, or even after. However, whatever may happen, it is clear that there are temptations to avoid in the second century of our existence. These temptations come about because, whatever our origins and native languages, we, the fifth generation, and our children, grandchildren and all our descendants in the 21st and perhaps 22nd centuries, are here to stay. We are clearly outside both disappeared (Imperial) Russia and the disappeared Soviet Union. We are not abroad. We are not a Diaspora.

Indeed, most of us are not Russian, but Ukrainian, Moldovan, Latvian, Kazakh, American, English, Australian, but most hold the passports of Anglosphere countries. Though there are faithful in Germany as well as in Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Venezuela and other countries, most members of our Church now belong to the English-speaking world, whether to the USA, which is our centre and almost unique source of bishops, or Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand or countries in some way dependent on the Anglosphere (Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica etc). In this, our real situation, what are the two temptations to avoid, temptations which in one way or another will certainly be discussed at any future Fifth Council?

  1. The Temptation of being a Church, but not Local

The first temptation to avoid is that of ceding to any form of political pressure from Russia, direct or indirect, and so becoming a mere mouthpiece for some form of post-Soviet nationalism. This was the error of parts of the old ROCOR, which died out because they looked back only to a disappeared past, a past that was irrelevant to the generations born here. Any forms of nationalism and cultural nostalgia, Russian, Soviet, post-Soviet or other, are not the way to go. They are an indulgence that rapidly becomes spiritually perilous. That is the way to the ghetto which will inevitably die out, like all ghettoes, the way to the old people’s home and the cemetery.

  1. The Temptation of being Local, but not a Church

The second temptation to avoid is that of ceding to local Western pressure, direct pressure by persecution from local Western States or indirect pressure by assimilation, and becoming, like so many ‘ethnic’ and flag-waving ‘jurisdictions’ of so many nationalities, just another mouthpiece for US/Western nationalism and secularism. Then we would be just another secularist organization, integrated not into Western society but into Western secularism, an organisation with a mere religious and ethnic façade, that has lost its identity, except for titles, folkloric food recipes and folk dancing and costumes. Salt that has lost its savour. Such organisations are always absorbed and disappear into history.

Conclusion

In order to avoid both temptations we must at one and the same time be faithful to the (Imperial) Russian Orthodox Tradition which we have gratefully received from the past of ROCOR and continue to receive, but also be local in the present, for the sake of the future. We must be transcendent, but also immanent, be godly, but also incarnate locally, be divine, but also human. We must be pastoral and so stop losing generation after generation of young people through their assimilation. We have to look back to our inheritance, but also to be incarnate in our present for the sake of our future. In short, we have to be a real Church, but also really Local.