In 1974 I asked the then Fr Kallistos (Ware) what the situation in ROCOR was. He told me that he had met the future St John of Shanghai (+ 1966) in the 1950s and had seriously thought about transferring to ROCOR in the 1960s. However, the well-respected priest at the ROCOR Cathedral in London, Fr George Sheremetiev (+ 1971), who had been the confessor of the Tsar’s sister, Xenia Aleksandrovna (+ 20 April 1960), had dissuaded him.
Fr George had told him that the new censoriousness coming from the then CIA-financed ROCOR in the USA was poisoning ROCOR in England and he had better not join it. As an elderly priest, he would stay, for him the old ROCOR was still alive, but it was not a jurisdiction for the young. Consequently, Fr Kallistos remained a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, though also remained priest and confessor at the ROCOR Convent in London until 1976, when the poison from the USA reached a new crescendo. In any case, Fr Kallistos’ witness dissuaded me from joining ROCOR in 1974.
Leaving England for Paris in 1979, there I encountered the old ROCOR, still uncontaminated by the US ROCOR, unlike in England. The ROCOR Western European Diocese, living in the spirit of its former Archbishop, St John of Shanghai, had as its ruling hierarch St John’s successor, Archbishop Antony of Geneva. The Dean for France was Archpriest Alexander Trubnikov, who was priest at the parish of the Resurrection in Meudon in the Paris suburbs. He had a great influence on me, an inspiration, and I knew his matushka and children very well.
Fr Alexander had been born in 1908 in Tsarskoe Selo, where the Tsar and his Family and servants lived, into the noble family of a hereditary Russian imperial officer. During World War I, his father was posted as a military attaché to France. After graduating from a French high school, the future Fr. Alexander had to take on various jobs to make ends meet. At the same time he completed military classes organised by White Russian émigrés in France.
The majority of White Russians went indiscriminately to any Russian church. St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, his vicar Bishop Nathaniel of Brussels, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and all of us considered that both those in the Paris Jurisdiction, then under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and ROCOR were our common flock in France and Benelux and ignored the minority of freemasons in the Paris Jurisdiction. Thus, we freely concelebrated with it. Fr Alexander was the rector of the Parish of the Resurrection in Meudon from 1954 until 1984, where he inspired several young men to become priests and rebuilt the Meudon chapel, courageously mortgaging his own home to do so. Besides his role as rector, Fr. Alexander served as chaplain to the Russian scouting organisation, the Vitiazi, which educated children from all jurisdictions.
Fr Alexander was also actively involved in inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian relations for many years, publishing books and a newsletter in French that shared news of the Orthodox world. This publishing activity brought Fr. Alexander to participate in the Second Vatican Council in Rome, where he met the then Pope. He wrote books, published his newsletter and attended the Vatican Council, hoping to represent the point of view of the free Russian Orthodox Church to all who would listen, not least to the Roman Catholics who were, and still are, undergoing a crisis, as they threw out the baby, but kept the bathwater. A priest and a diplomat, Fr Alexander reposed 35 years ago in November 1988. Eternal Memory!
After the repose of Archbishop Antony of Geneva five years later, in 1993, the last barrier fell. Thus, the censoriousness began to appear in the Western European Diocese from the USA, but now via Germany. All the clergy at the funeral were profoundly shocked when we found ourselves forbidden from celebrating. Thus, the new order of categorical phariseeism and judgementalism was already remarked at Archbishop Antony’s funeral. We patiently withstood it to defeat it in 2007, at last bringing ROCOR into canonical communion with Moscow. However, a decade later the censoriousness returned and took revenge; communion with Moscow had for them just been a delaying tactic to give their schismatic spirit outward legitimacy.
The new order of the new pharisees was founded on cupidity, jealousy, narcissistic egoism and the love of power of those who manipulate and use others as instruments for their own benefit, before discarding them. Those of the new order corrupted and destroyed everything they touched. Therefore, we did not allow them to touch, out of respect for St John of Shanghai, Archbishop Antony of Geneva, Fr George Sheremetiev, Fr Alexander Trubnikov and all those of the old and traditional ROCOR. You could accept their sectarian and schismatic censoriousness or else resist it. It all depended on whether you were a careerist or someone of principle and integrity. One day it will all be over. Our victory is inevitable because those who occupy the spiritual and moral high ground always win, even though patience will be required in waiting for Moscow to reject the Americanised and schismatic CIA-shaped ROCOR sect.
American ROCOR took over fifty years to spread its tentacles and take over completely. Once the American proxy war in the Ukraine is over, the unprincipled American ROCOR, which has lost so much by sitting on the fence in that conflict, will divide into two camps. On the one hand, there will be the pro-Russian non-schismatics and, on the other hand, the anti-Russian schismatics, the right-wing crazies and persecutors, penetrated by the CIA, heirs to the pro-Hitler Russians of the 1930s and 1940s. This will be the end of ROCOR, as the healthy part will be absorbed into the Moscow Patriarchate or into other Local Churches who obey the canons.
When it is all over, all of us together, from all the Local Churches, will at last be able to build the new Local Church of Western Europe in a US-free Europe, a Sovereign and Confederal Europe, co-operating with all the Local Churches, including a decentralised Moscow, and stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Only then will Europeans be able to recover their lost Motherland of the Church and their lost fatherlands of their own freed countries. At last, with a mother and a father, they will be able to become true brothers and sisters, fleeing the towering pride that created sectarianism and schism, which is what went wrong with ROCOR.