The Romanov throne was destroyed not by young bomb-throwers or forerunners of the soviets, but by the bearers of aristocratic surnames and court titles, bankers, publishers, lawyers, professors and other public figures, who lived off the empire’s bounty…A description of the anti-government activities of the Russian aristocracy and intelligentsia could fill an entire volume – one that should be dedicated to the liberal émigrés who mourn ‘the good old days’ in the streets of various European cities.
From Chapter 16 of ‘The Eve’, by Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, brother-in-law of Nicholas II
Ten years ago, in May 2007, the vast majority of the members of the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and of the Church inside Russia were reunited at the Liturgy of the Feast of the Ascension in Moscow. After some eighty years of parallel and unwanted separation, enforced purely by external atheist political interference, unity was restored. Those who rejected this long-fought for unity were to be found on the politicized and sectarian spiritual fringes of the Church Outside Russia and among pseudo-representatives (in fact infiltrators) abroad of the Church inside Russia, as well as among émigré groups claiming to be of ‘the Russian Tradition’, but for long altogether outside the Russian Church and never wanting to return to Her. Those who rejected the restoration of unity left both parts of the Russian Church and went elsewhere. Why?
The ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus explained the reason for this very well, albeit indirectly. He said that all depends on our understanding and devotion to the ideals of Holy Rus. These ideals mean standing up for three things: for the Faith (the purity of Holy Orthodoxy); the Tsar (the Christian Emperor Who incarnates Christian values in life); Rus (the ideal of the Christian Empire supporting the Church and supported by it in symphony). Wherever there was no understanding of and devotion to these ideals, there was no interest in the restoration of the unity of the Russian Church, but only negative, hair-splitting criticism and self-justification for schism. Those who rejected these ideals and thus restoration of Church unity were very diverse and belonged to three opposing groups of both left and right:
Firstly, there were the liberals, whose forbears had actively sought the 1917 Revolution and who had wanted to confuse the purity of the Faith with Western humanist ideology, creating a dreamy, disincarnate, spiritualistic, intellectualist, Gnostic ideology, such as the heretical Sophianism of Bulgakov, denounced by two saints, St John of Shanghai and St Seraphim of Sofia. These were heretics and schismatics, centred in the Paris School of émigrés from Saint Petersburg, and supported by the Russophobic, US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Secondly, there were the anti-monarchists of various political denominations, both the semi-Communist left and the semi-Fascist right. They objected to any Church influence on the State and to any presence of the Church in social, economic and political life in general. They wanted a Non-Christian, secularist State, where they could live egoistic, disordered or even depraved lives for themselves, proudly independent of any Christian influence, values and conscience. The concept of a Christian Emperor (Tsar) was and is anathema to them.
Thirdly, there were the sectarians, both of the left or the right, who wanted a Faith for themselves or their political or nationalist groups, and not for the masses. Anti-incarnationalist by nature, they wanted not a Universal Christian Empire, but a private Church and ideology for the elect – themselves. They wanted to be a sect of purists, ‘walled off’ from others. For example, the typically Parisian late Fr Alexander Schmemann denied that ‘Holy Rus’ had even existed!
It has always been our mission, together with many, many others, more eloquent and better equipped than ourselves, to counter the propaganda against ‘The Faith, the Tsar and Rus’, understood as Orthodoxy Incarnate through the Christian Emperor in a Universal Empire. Many still believe the dubious memoirs of treacherous White Russian emigres after the Revolution, born of the parlour room gossip of anti-Orthodox aristocrats in St Petersburg, and to Bolshevik and the equally Russophobic propaganda of paid Western academics as regards ‘The Faith, the Tsar and Rus’. We reject all of that as untrue, because it is untrue, as we preach the Crucified and Risen Christ, Incarnate on Earth in the Church and in the Universal Orthodox Christian Empire, the restoration of which we believe in and eagerly await.