Tag Archives: The Pastoral Crisis

Q and A for March 2024

The Non-Orthodox World

Q: How did you use to receive converts when you served as a priest in ROCOR?

A: The same as now! I have always obeyed the ROCOR archbishop who ordained me to the priesthood, Archbishop Antony of Geneva. He himself simply followed the pre-Revolutionary tradition which he had learned from Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky) in his youth in Serbia, which is the universal tradition of the Russian Church. So I received Catholics by confession and communion and Protestants by chrismation. This is what is done today inside Russia, for example in Lithuania and Belarus, where there are many Catholics. Those who create schisms because of this are schismatics and there is no need to follow them. To obey schism is a sin because you are cutting yourself off from the Church, which is the source of grace, the bearer of the Holy Spirit.

Q: Why was the Catholic Easter so early this year, five weeks before the Orthodox Easter?

A: This is because the Vatican (and all Protestants follow the Vatican to the letter) no longer obeys the Tradition, as expressed in the canons, that Easter must follow the Jewish Passover. (If you remember in the year of the Crucifixion of Christ, the Jewish Passover fell on the Sabbath/Saturday between His Crucifixion and the Resurrection). In 2024 the Passover begins before sunset on Monday 22 April and ends at sunset on 30 April (it lasts eight days). Therefore, the correct Easter falls on 5 May. The Vatican’s early date is nonsense.

Q: Did the Jews kill Christ?

A: No. Firstly, the Romans killed Christ, though it is true that some Jews urged the Romans to do this. Secondly, Christ Himself was a Jew in His human nature, as was His mother, the Apostles and most of the thousands of first Christians. They did not kill Christ. Those Jews who had a part of responsibility in the death of Christ in His human nature were a small minority of the Jews and they died nearly 2,000 years ago, as also their children’s children 1900 years ago. To suggest that Jews who are alive today are responsible for killing Christ is racist nonsense and also very dangerous racist nonsense.

Q: When Non-Orthodox come and want to join the Church, how do you react as a priest?

A: There are two sorts of such people: Those who want to live a Christian life and the pathological cases. The first want to attend Church services and to love their own families and their neighbour more. The second have little interest in Church services and Christian life and just want to hate others, using the Church as an excuse for their pathology. These are ‘Orthodox’ Amish. I do not receive them into the Church and never have done.

Q: What are the signs of a psychopath?

A: According to the internet, which confirms our experience, the signs are:

Lack of empathy, arrogance, excessive vanity, lack of guilt, difficulty processing other people’s facial expressions, goal-oriented behaviour and insensitivity to punishment.

To this we would add jealousy because that is what lies behind their hatred. Hatred is why it is impossible for them to be Christians, whatever they may call themselves, bishops or whatever.

Russia

Q: Why have so many people stopped attending Russian churches in recent years? In Russia, the Ukraine and Latvia, between one-quarter and three-quarters of churchgoers have disappeared from most of the churches.

A: There were two stages in this disastrous process: Covid and then the Ukraine.

In the first stage, people saw fear of illness (not fear of God) and conformism to State propaganda on the part of clergy who closed (!) their churches. In the second stage, they saw clergy not preaching the Gospel, but justifying death and destruction. Instead of pastors (the pastors were and are being ‘defrocked’!), they found State war propagandists. As a result, they concluded that if the clergy behave like this, what is the point of going to church? It is understandable.

Q: Why are there Orthodox in Russia who praise Stalin? I have even heard that some want him to be canonised?

A: All of this is pure nationalism. It is rather like elderly British people who, brainwashed by the media, consider that Churchill was some kind of saint. Yet he gassed Kurds, he was responsible for several million dead in the Bengal famine and helped to murder 500,000 German civilians. Nationalist people like him because he was the wartime leader and Britain happened to be on the winning side. So it is with Stalin. It has nothing to do with Faith, just nationalism to do with being on the winning side.

Q: What are we to think of the ‘Russian world’ ‘doctrine that is now being promulgated by certain hierarchs of the Russian Church?

A: The liberals of ‘Public Orthodoxy’ condemn this. The conservatives approve of it. Why? Because the liberals are cosmopolitans and view everything Russian, including the Russian Orthodox Tradition, as narrow, provincial and racist. They want to modernise everything and be like Protestants. The conservatives are narrow moralisers, inclined towards phariseeism, who see the identity of the Church as ethnic, look at the past and care little for pastoral matters. Few on either side mention the Gospels, the Fathers, the Saints and the New Martyrs. This is because the interest of them all is not spiritual, but secular. All of them are simply hiding behind the Church, using it as camouflage to try and justify their secular views. The key criterion is how people view the New Martyrs of Russia. You will see that the liberals have no time for the martyrs, unless they expressed liberal views before being martyred and the conservatives have no time for them, unless they expressed conservative views before being martyred.

The sad thing about all this is that certain hierarchs have not only dug themselves a hole, but they are now continuing to dig. Stop digging!

Covid

Q: Looking back, what do you think covid was really about? And the lockdowns and the vaccines?

A: First of all, covid was a real virus. People did die from it. Of course, far fewer than they said. Most, though not all, who ‘died of covid’ were already very ill or very old and covid was simply the last straw. They just lost a few days, weeks or months from the end of their lives. In Romania hospitals were paid by the EU to put ‘coronavirus’ on death certificates and any relatives who complained were paid to accept it. Of course, the lockdowns were excessive and absurd. There was no need for them, just reasonable precautions would have been enough. So many businesses and shops closed down for ever and large numbers of people lost large amounts of money. All so unnecessary and tyrannical.

The most shameful thing was that State Churches, like the Church of England – as well as many others, including Orthodox – obeyed the lockdowns! Little wonder that so many people have stopped going to such churches. It was the last nail in the coffin for hundreds of Church of England churches. As for the vaccines, at best, they seemed to have no effect and if they did, it was admitted officially that the effect only lasted a few weeks! Such a waste of money. Many of us had to accept the vaccine, for example, all who worked for the health service and in care homes (like many of our parishioners). I advised everyone to make the sign of the cross if they had to be vaccinated and had no other choice. They had to keep their jobs. They suffered no ill effects then.

As for the origin, who knows? It may have been natural and happened through lack of hygiene. However, there are some very strange coincidences. The City of Wuhan, where it all began, has a huge laboratory investigating viruses. It accepts contracts from all over the world, including from the USA. And the main US aim is to destroy China. That would explain the incredibly stern measures and lockdowns taken by the Chinese government after the leak – if it was a lab leak. If so, the whole thing backfired and spread to the West. After all, like Hitler’s scientists, the Fascist South African government of that time tried to develop vaccines to kill black people, so it would not have been the first time they tried to kill or reduce a race. But perhaps we shall never know.

I say this, not because I am a conspiracy theorist, but because I am convinced of human stupidity. In other words, the causes of covid, either a lack of hygiene or an accidental leak, have the same cause: human stupidity.

In Memoriam: Metr Hilarion, the Last Metropolitan

The following has been compiled by Abbot Tikhon (Gayfundinov), the former private secretary of Metr Hilarion (Kapral). The latter was born in Spirit River Canada in 1948 and passed away in May 2022. We first met the future Metr Hilarion in 1986 and again and again in several countries. He came to celebrate and ordain in our church and was beloved by all. The last Metropolitan of the old ROCOR, now gone for ever, he fell ill and in the revolution of 2018 was removed from authority. Others took over from him and began following all the opposite policies, using his electronic signature, with the dire result of the new ROCOR that we see today. Born in Saint Petersburg, Fr Tikhon himself, like so very many others, was forced into leaving ROCOR. But God is not mocked!

The Battle for the Soul of the Russian Church

A Reply to Metr Tikhon of Pskov

Just a few years ago Metr Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Pskov asked what the specificity of the Church in the Russian emigration is and how it can contribute to the rebuilding of the much-ravaged Church inside Russia, where parish life was destroyed. Whether he asked through naivety or through intent, we do not know. He received no answer, for he did not contact the vital forces of the emigration. He only ever contacted those in the emigration who were of their own will falling over themselves to take on board all the evils of the Soviet and post-Soviet Church, its love of lucre and power.

The Trial of Pontius Pilate

The final days of the USSR in the 1980s were marked by a profound internal conflict between Communist Party bureaucrats and KGB (now called FSB) patriots. The first were Euro-Atlanticists, cowboys prepared to commit treason to Russia for a fistful of dollars. From them were born the oligarchs and mafia gangsters of the 1990s. The second were highly intelligent Slavophiles who wanted not the restoration of the bankrupt, anti-Russian and alien-inspired USSR, but the restoration of an independent Orthodox Russia.

Today the collapsing American Empire is suffering a similar profound internal conflict. This time it is between the US State Department and the CIA. The first are the social liberals, the internationalist, neocon LGBTQ propagandists, who are in love with Mammon. The second are the socially conservative, patriotic Americans, who are increasingly concerned by the Deep State of the American Establishment and its unpayable debts, accumulated over three generations by exceptionalist meddling abroad.

The first are those who stand behind Constantinople and the Zelensky regime in the Ukraine. The second are those who stand behind the ‘Gang of Three’, the bishops with their right-wing Evangelical contacts in the US, who use their base in Moscow and its very close contacts with the Patriarchate and even President Putin to undermine the Russian State (1). It is all of them who are now on trial like Pontius Pilate. They should tremble, for ‘God is not mocked’, which is what they have done. To all of those who quench the Spirit, I repeat: You cannot escape Divine Justice.

The Church of the Future

Today the identity of the Church is in the balance. Is it a politically-controlled, money-oriented institution, headed by elitist atheists and perverts, ‘princes of the Church’, who have no love for the people in their hearts. Or is it the uncorrupted Body of Christ? The Church of the future has long already been here. For us the uncorrupted Church:

  1. Is the Church of the Faithful, not of the money- and power-minded elite, the ‘effective managers’, who promote the Church as Business.
  2. Has no professional choirs, who as mercenaries only sing for money.
  3. Has priests who are pastors paid by the people, not a professional caste of business profiteers.
  4. Has parishes which are communities close to the monasteries, not railway station foyers, which are little more than religious supermarkets.
  5. Has bishops who are monastics, and not open or closet homosexual businessmen.
  6. Is politically independent of States and their secret services, whether CIA or FSB.

For such views churchpeople are accused of being criminals, excommunicated, suspended or defrocked! Yet here is the reply to Metr Tikhon, whether he wants it or not. On 11 March Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and his Synod have again shown these people the way, calling for a Pan-Orthodox Council to settle the neocon-initiated schism that has come about between Greeks and Russians. It is hardly the first such call, but this time Antichrist is now coming to Kiev. This is not the time for the theatricals of personal vanity on the part of patriarchs or of anyone else. The Beast is coming.

Note:

  1. We recall how the British MI5 did the same and used the British confessor of King George II (reigned 1935-1947) of Greece to extract information in the 1940s. In the 1970s we met that same very arrogant David Balfour, and after him the King’s British nanny, honest Charlotte. She confided to me. We conducted her funeral in Paris in the late 1980s. The ways of the world never change.

https://greekreporter.com/2022/06/15/father-dimitrios-the-orthodox-monk-who-was-a-british-spy/

 

 

Q and A August 2022

Q: Is the funeral of Metr Kallistos significant? What about the fact that it is taking place in a Catholic church?

A: I think it is significant. It is perhaps the last Pan-Orthodox event to take place in this country. We are turning a page. The old generation, for good and ill, is all but gone. The Orthodox world is now divided and chaotic and will remain so until there is a genuine and free Church Council, unmotivated by geopolitics and manipulations, whether Greek or Russian.

Some more rigid people will say that of course it is taking place in a Roman Catholic church because Metr Kallistos was an ecumenist. However, that for me is not the point. The point is that neither of the little Orthodox chapels in Oxford, neither the Russian, nor the Greek, is anywhere big enough to accommodate even a mere hundred people. Now that is really sad. When will the missionary work start in Oxford, a city of 1,000-2,000 cradle Orthodox and another 100,000 to become Orthodox? There are those in Oxford who think about books, but what we want is churches, basic infrastructure. Are the Orthodox incapable? Do they believe in anything at all, except in tiny ghettos?

Q: Why do Churches die out?

A: Churches die out when they no longer have any spiritual significance. This is clear from the many current examples and it concerns Protestant, Catholic and also Orthodox churches. To have no spiritual significance happens when you swim with the secular tide. Quickly your services become empty ritualism or nationalism (for example, Uniatism) and your teaching becomes moralism (for example, Puritanism). These together create Phariseeism, as with the Old Testament Jews, who were ritualistic, nationalistic (they hated the Samaritans and the Saducees) and moralistic – and who crucified Christ. This decadence of ritualism, nationalism and moralism always precedes the physical closure of church buildings. This is the spiritual law. There are no exceptions. If you become spiritually irrelevant, you will die and enter the dustbin of history, churches, bishops, priests, people.

Q: What is Uniatism?

A: It is Roman Catholicism which attempts, and by definition fails, to imitate the Orthodox Faith. Technically, it may reach a high level of imitation, but it has no spiritual or creative content, only intellectual or emotional content. It has no spontaneity or creative force.

Q: What is the greatest change you have seen in Orthodox practice over the last fifty years?

A: Undoubtedly, it is frequent communion. In the 1970s you were told on no account to take communion more than once a month, at best. A great many at that time still took communion, at most, once a year. Of course, it was this decadence of practice that had created the Russian Revolution and the spread of atheism everywhere. It was precisely the decadence of rare communion that was countered by both St John of Kronstadt and St John of Shanghai, who were in turn both opposed by the formalistic hypocrites, scribes and pharisees of the hierarchy.

Q: I have seen a video of a Russian priest blessing shells and kalashnikovs. Is this real?

A: I have seen the same video. I think it is a fake. However, I have also seen a video of a Ukrainian bishop blessing guns of the Kiev Army. I think that that one too is a fake. However, there is a slight chance it is all true. After all, everything is possible when you commit the idolatry of putting nationalism of any sort above Christ.

Q: Do you think the Russian African Exarchate will be successful?

A: I do not know. The Russian Church now has three Exarchates – in Western Europe, South-East Asia and the new one in Africa. The sign of success will be native European, Asian and African bishops, priests and autonomy. We appear to be very far from that at present. If ‘nativisation’, that is incarnation, does not happen, all these Exarchates will die out as some sort of exotica imposed or allowed for temporary ideological reasons. This was the case in this country, where the Patriarchal presence is now dying out.

At present a lot of African priests have joined the Russian Exarchate there simply because their bishops were absentee landlords. They lived in their villas in Athens and visited their wretched poor flocks once a year, arriving in limousines, like the Greek bishop in the Congo. On the other hand, where there was a good Greek bishop, nobody has left. It is always the same. In Western Europe where the bishop only persecutes his clergy, dreams about pumping money out of poor parishes, buying £400 shoes and bling, people will leave him for a genuine Orthodox bishop.

It is not a question of jurisdiction or nationality, it is simply a matter of whether the bishop behaves as a Christian or as a monster! Of course the Africans left for the Russians in the above cases. If the Russians opened in Israel, the same would happen there and the people would leave the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem for a new Exarchate. On the other hand, there are plenty of Russians who would leave their corrupt Russian bishop if they were sent a genuinely Orthodox Greek bishop.

Q: Do you think the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR will ever recover from the PR disaster of their attitude to the military operation in the Ukraine?

A: Who knows? For the moment it seems highly unlikely. Certainly, the multinational and missionary aspect of the Russian Church has gone out of the window. Many Non-Russians and Russians too have left both the Patriarchal and the ROCOR jurisdictions, at least, in Western Europe. Half the ROCOR Diocese in England ended up under the Romanian Church and has attracted many Ukrainians and Russians, precisely those who reject politics and nationalism and just want to be Orthodox. English people don’t want to attend Russian churches, MP or ROCOR. If I were a Ukrainian, would I want to attend them?

Thank God we, who were granted canonical letters of leave from the Moscow Patriarchate exactly eight days before the events on 24 February 2022 and found a safe refuge in the Romanian Church, are outside all that. It has always been the duty of us pastors (even more it should be of archpastors) to lead the way out of politics and scandals like the Miami one in ROCOR, steering the ship of the church away from all that worldliness to protect the people. Those who do not protect the people will be – and already are – condemned by history.

Q: Do bishops of all Local Churches try and steal property?

A: Absolutely. There were many cases in the USA in the old Russian Metropolia (now the OCA).  Then remember the Greek bishop in Italy who demanded the keys to the Russian churches in Florence and San Remo in 2019 – immediately they left him and he lost everything. The same thing happened in France when the Greek bishop tried to take over the Rue Daru Cathedral. There have also been several cases in Moldova over the last twenty years, which led priests and parishes to join the Romanian Church. There have been Russian cases in the USA elsewhere over the years, where the Russians then lost many valuable properties through their crass mishandling of the situation, as in Amsterdam this year, as with the Brookwood case in England in 2007.

In England alone they lost at least £7.5 million of assets between 2007 and 2022, about 75% of their total assets, to other jurisdictions. If they had only behaved as Christians and not as property-grabbers, all would have been well. Such mismanagement and incompetence are punished by immediate sackings in the corporate world, but not, it seems, in the Church. It is always the same old story, priests are free to do whatever they want if they have no property, but if they have property, then there is greed and they are attacked and slandered on the internet. And this happens throughout the Orthodox world. Fortunately, the guilty are a minority of bishops.

Q: Where can I find the liturgical texts to locally-venerated Western Saints?

A: The complete set of liturgical services for the Western Saints have been in the public domain on the Romanian Orthodox website ‘Orthodoxengland’ website for some 15 years.

 

The Crisis in the Orthodox Episcopate

There are just over 1,000 Orthodox bishops in the world, although well over 100 of them are retired through ill health or extreme old age .Despite this figure, which is much greater than a generation ago, though far less than in the early centuries, there is a great shortage of bishops in certain, though not all, Local Churches. A figure more than double, of about 2,200 bishops, to care for the world’s 220 million Orthodox Christians, would be far more appropriate. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church has only 400 bishops, a figure that needs to be quadrupled for the 164 million Russian Orthodox, 75% of the total. This would give one bishop for every 25 parishes, which is not unreasonable, given that the number of parishes is still rapidly increasing.

The problem in this matter is that bishops must be single, that is, celibate, specifically in most cases, they must be monks. As this severely limits the pool of available episcopal candidates, what can be done?

Some of a Protestant and modernist ilk immediately suggest that married men should be allowed to become bishops. This is absurd. It is also uncanonical. The canon forbidding married bishops (Canon XII of the Sixth Council in Trullo) is there for at least two reasons:

Firstly, there is the ever-present danger of corruption and careerism. We can think of the case of the schismatic Filaret, who appointed himself ‘Patriarch of Kiev’, who was married and allowed his wife to vet all candidates for the priesthood, according to what bribe they gave her. And inevitably, a married bishop will be tempted to find jobs for his children.

Secondly, poor wives! It is bad enough being married to a priest. When would a bishop’s wife ever see him? He would be far too busy.

However, the situation is even worse. Since a potential bishop has to be single, you will inevitably attract perverts. A single man does not make a bishop. He can, however, be a homosexual, either physically or else psychologically (psychological homosexuals are generally narcissists who persecute married clergy because the married have everything that they do not have, or, far worse, they may be pedophiles – as the Roman Catholic world knows to its cost. Thus the pool is even more limited. It has to be a single man who is sexually, and so psychologically, normal, not a dry and formalistic monk who has everything, but because he has no love, only a sadistic jealousy, he has nothing (1 Cor 13).

What is to be done, given such a very limited pool of candidates? While we are waiting for a monastic revival and so more candidates, bishops will simply have to delegate far more than they do at present, to married priests and laypeople. Ultimately, after all, there is only one thing that they cannot delegate – and that is ordination.

 

At Last a Real Cathedral for all Orthodox in London?

One of the greatest pastoral problems in London is the chronic lack of Orthodox churches. For example, St Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow Road is very small, hardly a Cathedral at all, and the medium-sized Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Knightsbridge is smaller than St John’s Russian Orthodox church in provincial Colchester. Of course, there is one church building that would suit Orthodox in London, providing it was frescoed and fitted with iconostases and other Church furnishings. One person who works there would be glad to help us use it.

St Paul’s Cathedral is located on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. Its dedication to the holy apostle Paul dates back to the original church on the site, founded in 604, though unproven stories assert that this was because St Paul actually preached here. The present Cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was until 1967 the tallest building in London.

The first recorded Orthodox Bishop of London was called either Restitutus or Adelphius and attended the Council of Arles in 314. However, the location of his Cathedral is unknown. St Bede recorded that in 604 St Augustine consecrated Mellitus as the first Bishop of the East Saxons, whose territory covered London, and their King, Sabert. Sabert’s uncle and overlord, Ethelbert, King of Kent, built a church dedicated to St Paul in London, as the seat of the new bishop. It is assumed that this first Cathedral stood on the same site as the present one.

On the death of Sabert in about 616, his pagan sons expelled Bishop Mellitus from London and the East Saxons reverted to paganism. Christianity was restored later in the seventh century and it is presumed that either the Cathedral was restored or else a new one was built as the seat of seventh-century bishops like St Cedd and St Erconwald, ‘The Light of London’, who was buried in the Cathedral in 693. This building, or a successor, was destroyed by fire in 962 but rebuilt in the same year.

In 1016 King Ethelred the Unready was buried in the Cathedral. This was burned down with much of the city in a fire in 1087. The Norman occupiers then built a new Cathedral, known to history as ‘Old St Paul’s’. This Gothic building was in turn gutted by the Great Fire of London of 1666. While it might have been possible to rebuild it, a decision was taken to build a new Cathedral. The task of designing it was assigned to Sir Christopher Wren in 1669.

The design process took several years, but the result was the present St Paul’s Cathedral, modelled partly on St Peter’s in the Vatican. St Paul’s is still the second largest church in Britain. The building was financed by a tax on coal and was completed within the architect’s lifetime. It was declared officially complete by Parliament on 25 December 1711, though in fact construction continued for several years after that. In 1716 the total costs amounted to £1,095,556 (£148 million in 2015 money).

Today, though with a small but active Protestant congregation, St Paul’s is largely a tourist monument. With an area of some 6,000 square metres and several altars, it is ideally suited for London’s huge numbers of Orthodox Christians. Consecrated to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, it could become the Cathedral for all Orthodox in London. Fantasy? But our God works miracles.