In the 20th century the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia won a great victory against Western materialism in its Communist form, a victory won mainly through martyrdom. With 600 martyred bishops, 200,000 martyred priests, monks and nuns and millions of martyred laypeople, its sacrifices were an immense example to the whole world, as long as that world wished to see it and not be blinded by its cultural prejudices causing it to hate the Church of God.
At the same time, living in outward freedom, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia won a great victory against Western materialism in its secularist form, a victory won mainly through confessordom. With figures like Metropolitans Antony, Anastasy, Philaret and Laurus, Archbishops Averky, Antony of Geneva, Tikhon, John and Antony of San Francisco, and a host of faithful priests, monks, nuns and laypeople, it resisted the ways of the Western secularist world, remaining faithful to the best of the Tsar’s Russia.
At one point, during the decadence of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the Church Outside Russia was indeed virtually alone in speaking on behalf of authentic Orthodoxy and combatting the modernist and ecumenist compromises of new calendarism, while the Church inside Russia was paralysed, a hostage of the Soviet atheist regime. The Church Outside Russia opposed Frankish-style ‘Orthodox’ ‘theology’, which fills the brain with mere academic theories, but does nothing to nourish the heart, and the attempts to create a Western Establishment Halfodoxy, in fact an anti-Orthodoxy, instead of real Orthodoxy.
The victory of the Church Outside Russia is apparent in that the now free Church inside Russia is speaking with the same voice and spirit as the Church Outside Russia. Ecumenists, immoral bishops, personality cultists, syncretists who wish to merge Hinduism with Orthodoxy in ashrams, are all of the past. Today the old decadent modernism and ecumenism, so prevalent in the Patriarchate of Constantinople for example only a few years ago, is dying out, its remaining representatives mostly in their 80s.
This double victory of both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church is apparent in the forthcoming Inter-Orthodox Council to be held perhaps in 2016. (The 2015 date prematurely announced was always unrealistic, given the amount of work there is to do in preparation). This Council was unthinkable, as St Justin of Chelije pointed out in the 1970s, as long as Eastern Europe suffered under Communist persecution and the Greek Churches were chattels of the CIA. If the Patriarchate of Constantinople can be persuaded to accept the autocephaly of the Churches of the Czech Lands and Slovakia and of America, and if the Patriarchate of Jerusalem can renounce its imperialist ambitions in Qatar, then a Council as early as 2016 is still possible.
With the Patriarchate of Constantinople now having accepted the Orthodox principle of consensus, as against the papist system of majority voting, the Local Orthodox Churches together will have to prepare an agenda, as the old one was long ago hopelessly discredited. It is true that because this Council is to be held in Constantinople, where resources are very limited, only about a third of the 800 or so Orthodox bishops will be able to meet. However, it may be that after this initial Council there will come another and more significant Council, which could be held for example in Russia, where there is the infrastructure to hold a Council of 800 and more bishops.
However, it is good that this Council is to be held. The heterodox world will learn something. It will help to put an end to the decadent drift in the smaller and spiritually weaker new calendar Local Churches and could also end US and EU meddling in Orthodox Church life. This could also put an end to the cultural isolationism and nationalism of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the other new calendar Local Churches. It was, after all, the cultural isolationism of Western Europe that brought it into the Great Schism in the 11th century, when it replaced God by Western man with its filioque heresy.
Then the Western world cut itself off from the Church of Christ and the Holy Spirit and propelled itself forward into fallen humanisation. It entered the ever deepening and tragic ideology of its filioquist civilisation and its ensuing inevitable secularism and atheism. If the new calendar Churches can be brought back to the Orthodox calendar and its ascetic and liturgical ethos, this will be a mighty example for the heterodox world. Perhaps the Council, gathered together in unity, could even speak prophetic words to the contemporary world, like St John the Baptist before the First Coming – repent for your sins before the Second Coming.