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After years of preparation, the train of the rebirth of Orthodox Russia is now leaving the station. Indeed, the train of changes taking place in Russia is gathering speed and some risk being left behind on the platforms and in the waiting rooms of the past.

On the one hand, there are those often elderly émigrés and others who are still attached to anti-Soviet politics - even though the Soviet Union fell apart sixteen years ago. Like the CIA and other Western Intelligence Services, they long ago confused anti-Soviet with anti-Russian, masking anti-Russian behind anti-Soviet. They put their political or nationalist values before spiritual values. On the other hand, there are those often ageing individuals who are still attached to the old-fashioned modernism of the 1960s and 1970s. Many of them completely abandoned the Russian Church as a result. They left Her, as in London and elsewhere, to recover from the renovationist wounds they inflicted on Her. Both these groups fail to grasp the historic events now happening in Russia, visible to all those who hold the centre ground, the royal way. The extremes leave. To paraphrase the poet: The wings fall apart; the centre can hold.

The changes now taking place in Russia are coming from the people, from the grassroots. Certain older career clergy there, of a political and secular frame of mind who are conditioned by the Soviet past, are being swept up in this movement. They are having to leave behind their old theories and practices and follow the people. In Russia, it is younger people who go to Church; atheism is for Stalinist pensioners.

In these days of destiny, as we ROCOR pilgrims from the four corners of the earth obtain tickets to fly to the heart of Russia for the historic events in May, other pilgrims are leaving Siberia to walk to Moscow to take part in the same events. In the weeks to come, we are called to ascend to the centre of Orthodox Russia, borne on the tide of national and international history, borne on the blood of the martyred Tsar and all those who confessed Christ or were martyred for Him.

Exactly ninety years ago, in March 1917, the Russian Elder Hieroschemamonk Aristocleus said: ‘The judgement of God has begun over the living and there will not remain a single country on the earth, not a single person, who will not be concerned by it. The beginning is in Russia, the rest will come later’…‘Only fear nothing, fear not. The Lord will reveal His wondrous mercy’. Shortly before his repose in 1918, even before the Great War had ended in Russia, he said: ‘But there will be another war…Only do not rejoice then. Many Russians will think that the Germans will deliver Russia from Bolshevik government, but this is not so. True, the Germans will enter Russia and will do much there, but they will leave, for the time of salvation will not yet have come. That will be later, later’ (1).

A generation later, amid the darkness of the long Soviet night, the holy Schema-Archimandrite Laurence of Chernigov (+1950) said: ‘Brothers and sisters…I do not speak only for Russia, but also for the whole world. My words are true…’. ‘Russian people will repent of their mortal sins…that they did not defend the Tsar, the Lord’s Anointed, Orthodox churches and monasteries, the host of holy Martyrs and Confessors and all that is holy in Russia’…‘Together with all the Slavic peoples and lands, Russia will form a mighty Kingdom. An Orthodox Tsar, the Anointed of God will care for them. The Tsar will be from God. All schisms and heresies will disappear from Russia. There will be no persecution of the Orthodox Church. The Lord will have mercy on Holy Russia, because there appeared in her the dread and terrible time before Antichrist. A great host of Martyrs and Confessors has shone forth, beginning from the very highest orders in Church and the State. The Metropolitan and the Tsar, the priest and the monk, the child and the infant at the breast and all the laypeople. They all beseech the Lord God, the King of Hosts, the King of Kings, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, glorified in the Most Holy Trinity…Russia will experience a flowering of the Orthodox Faith and the rejoicing of old, but only for a short time, for the Dread Judge will come to judge the living and the dead. Even Antichrist himself will fear the Russian Orthodox Tsar…’ (2).


1. The Life of Elder Aristocleus, Moscow 2003, Dependency of the Russian Monastery of St Panteleimon on Mt Athos, pp. 18-20 and 25. (In Russian).

2. St Laurence of Chernigov, Life, Akathist and Teachings, Pochaev Laura 2006, pp. 148 and 151-152. (In Russian).

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