America is a great country, but it will fall because of money and lust.
St John of Shanghai
Introduction: Compromised Elites in Two Local Churches
Over the last century the elites of the two most important Local Orthodox Churches, the Patriarchate of Constantinople (the most prestigious) and the Patriarchate of Moscow (by far the largest), have often fallen victim to various secret services. This was the case of Constantinople already in the century before last, and even before that, when under Ottoman oppression British and French ambassadors corrupted it with their paid-for candidates for Patriarch. However, political interference, threatening the independence of Church life, has become especially apparent over the last three generations since the end of the Second World War. This political interference has been directed from the USA, notably by the CIA, with the left-wing aiming especially the Church of Constantinople and the right-wing aiming especially the anti-Communist Russian emigration. As for the Russian Church inside the old USSR, it became a victim of KGB manipulations and all its bishops were despite themselves given KGB code-names – as also were Western leaders like Thatcher and Reagan (though nobody suggested that Thatcher and Reagan were KGB agents!)
On the other hand, since 1947, with the aid of Truman, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has become the favoured church plaything of the CIA: (https://orthodoxhistory.org/2019/12/11/ousting-the-ecumenical-patriarch/). Moreover, various Russian Orthodox immigrant groups in the USA in particular were infiltrated in the same way, some were recruited into the CIA and received large amounts of money in order to oppose Communism (for instance, the Grabbe group). With Papist attitudes put into the heads of some inside the Local Churches of Constantinople and Moscow, some there even began to think that all the 13-15 other Local Churches should be subject to them! This is instead of behaving pastorally and creating new Autocephalous Churches, as missionaries should. Such money-hungry and power-hungry individuals can always be exploited by State-run secret services. Here is why we have always avoided and opposed such money and power hunger, carefully protecting the people and steering the ship of the Church away from the reefs of geopolitics and political meddlers. We are pastors and protectors, not wolves in shepherds’ clothing.
The New Cold War
Old enough to recall the illusions of the old Cold War, we now face those of the new Cold War. Nothing essentially has changed today, the manipulations are just as strong and devious. The CIA continues to run the elite of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which today loves to be photographed with Biden, and it also tries to corrupt the elites of the Russian immigrant groups inside the USA, and even elsewhere, from within, through its ‘assets’. These assets are carefully vetted (a father who worked for NATO is recommended) and their handlers are to be found inside the appropriate US embassies under their Pontius Pilate governors.
What do the governors care if Christ’s Church is crucified? Hand the Church over to the Pharisees – their only concern is the greatness of their ‘Roman’ Empire. Thus, today, we see once more the purely political opposition between the left and the right, both sides operated by the same CIA puppeteers, their slogan the same old ‘divide and rule’. Thus, two groups of ‘useful idiots’, as they are seen by the spies, are financed and manipulated by them. Thus, they fund the Orthodox Times (romfea) website and orthochristian. Both sites censor opposition and commentaries and none appears to have the honour, nobility or integrity to leave them. There are now other groups too.
The Extreme Left
On the one side, we now have a group called ‘Public Orthodoxy’. This is a typical CIA-conformist name. It means a form of Orthodoxy which is acceptable to the secular and secularist Western public, zombified by the State-run Western media. Apart from a majority of naïve and misled idealists, it has liberals, syncretists, feminists, ecumenists and woke ‘scholars and theologians’, with Jesuit links. In fact, it does not really have any scholars or theologians, just politically-minded left-wing activists from the professions. Its ethos is deliberately anti-Russian, to the extent of racial prejudice and with no respect whatever for the piety of Christian Civilisation. The only standard they know is aggressive Americanisation. Bidenite and pro-LGBT, it is difficult to see anything other than left-wing secularism in the values of this small group. This is politics, not the spiritual.
Whereas our task is to be Christians, spiritual, without being wishy-washy and disincarnate, their task is to swim with the tide. With this group we are in the virtual world. This group has built no churches, has no churches. Where are its families and its children? This is an intellectual fantasy, the desire to feel fully integrated into the American/modern Western way of life, yet still claim an Orthodox identity. Christ stands outside and above their political correctness and woke ideologies, which are the mere intellectual fads of those who have lost their anchor in the Faith. The two things are in fact irreconcilable. You cannot be with Christ and Mammon. Christ was not a contemporary American, He was an Asian. If you want to go and preach secularism, go and join some political party or social organisation. Do not try and drag the Church of God into it.
The Extreme Right
On the other side, we have extreme right-wing, ex-Protestant crazy converts, for ever quoting the ‘holy’ canons. Some of them, operating under the so-called ‘Russian Christian News Syndicate’ (an invented front name), have attacked ‘Public Orthodoxy’. The pseudo-Russian group, none of whom appears to be Russian (the only one we know of speaks the most appalling Russian) appears to consist of the usual majority of naïve and misled idealists, but also of incels, conspiracy theorists, closet homosexuals and misogynists (unlike open homosexuals, closet ones are always misogynists). They adore their imaginary idol of President Putin, though the real Putin cannot be an idol of the far right, as he is definitely not a right-winger. He is just a Russian patriot, who unites left and right, wants social justice, allows divorce and abortion laws and presides over a country where statues of Lenin are still common.
Like a number of US Evangelicals, such individuals are much concerned with money (tithing) and power, and all the external trappings of men with huge beards, women enveloped in huge headscarves, clergy with bling, all the usual convert paraphernalia associated with ‘infallible’ self-righteous sects and narcissistic cults. (Claims of infallibility are always at the core of self-worship). Deeply schismatic, they appear to be tolerated by the present (not by the next?) Russian Patriarch for political reasons. The worst ones start off mainstream, then go extremist. The danger is when such moralising conservatives, crazy converts from Lutheranism or some other Protestant sect, are ordained priests or consecrated bishops and start acting at being ‘ethnic’. Alternatively, there are those like the Antiochian Metropolitan Joseph in the USA. Another moralising and very wealthy conservative, who defrocked faithful clergy for political reasons, his scandal is all over the internet, given among others by ‘Orthodoxy in Dialogue’. Such is the fate of pharisees.
Conclusion: Standing Firm
The CIA handlers of both extremist sides must sit in their offices and rock with laughter. Non-Americans say ‘Only in America’. Indeed, the political polarity of these extremisms does not export. Americans should be aware of that, from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine and England. We stand steadfast against all political manipulations, whether from the left or from the right. We hold the middle ground, the mainstream, because we adhere to the Tradition. The Tradition, apparently unknown to quite a few Orthodox in the USA, is very different from mere conservatism, just as it is different from mere liberalism. The Tradition for us is not a museum-exhibit, it is spiritually living, ever renewed by the Holy Spirit. We do not want either sort of Extremist American Religion. In Europe we just want to be Orthodox Christians. We do not want spiritual swamps here. Keep them in America or take them back there, where you will have to drain them. You made them, you sort them out.
Recently, I was telephoned by the BBC Radio’s ‘Beyond Belief’, on which programme I have taken part three times in the past, about the situation of the Russian Church today. I explained to them that all our parishes and people had left the Russian Orthodox Church after nearly 50 years because of its recent politicisation and we had joined by far the largest Orthodox Church in Western Europe, the Romanian Orthodox Church. It is because we wish to protect ourselves and our people from schismatic and sectarian politics beneath the protection of the largest and increasingly most multinational Local Church in Western Europe. The mainstream saves us from sectarian and political extremes.