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The Geopolitical Crisis in Contemporary Orthodoxy

Hail to the glorious morning
When the Cross again shall shine
On the summit of Saint Sophia,
O City of Constantine!
And that day of sack and slaughter
When the wild, despairing cries
Of 'Kyrie Eleison!' fainter
Went wailing up to the skies
Shall be lost in the splendid triumph
As the Church reclaims her own,
And the Patriarch welcomes our Lord, the Tsar,
To the Caesar's ancient throne!

In the sky of the south, at midnight,
We have seen God's flaming sign,
And we know He will drive the Moslem horde,
As chaff, from his sacred shrine!
Silent will be the muezzin
As the sun on Asia sets;
Folded the crescent banner;
Crumbled the minarets.

Then, the grand Cathedral,
Victorious chants we'll raise,
While the saints look down with loving eyes,
And the gems of the altar blaze.
Hail to the day when the Eagles
And the Cross shall gain their own,
As the Patriarch welcomes our Lord, the Tsar,
To the Caesar's ancient throne!

Edna Dean Proctor, American Poet and Traveller, 1873

Recent weeks have seen new conflicts, as the Orthodox world has been attacked by external forces which aim to produce division within it. The first conflict came with an encroachment on Russian Church territory, as the new Patriarch of Romania made nationalist claims. These involved setting up three dioceses on the territory of the Moldovan Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Moreover the Romanian Synod, with the strong financial backing of the now EU-supported Romanian State, has threatened to open a diocese for the 106 Romanian-language parishes in the southern Ukraine, also on Patriarchal territory. Money is on hand, for the Romanian Church is offering thousands of dollars to impoverished Moldovan Orthodox clergy and churches, if only they will change jurisdictions.

The second conflict has been that centred on the quite unnecessary Roman-Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue and its recent meeting in Ravenna. There, the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople deliberately provoked the Russian Church Delegation into walking out, so that it and its allies could then sign a ‘secret’, Uniatizing agreement with the Vatican, The word ‘Ravenna’ will now go down in Orthodox history like the words ‘Lyons’, ‘Florence’ and ‘Balamand’, as names associated with betrayal. It is true of course that the names on the ‘agreement’ (which in fact entail only the responsibility of the signatories, who do not represent the Orthodox masses) was signed neither by the Russian Church (75% of all Orthodoxy and which has rejected the since published document), nor by the Bulgarian Church and also seems to have been rejected by the Serbian Church. The event has in any case elicited protest elsewhere in the Orthodox world, for example in Greece, and no doubt we shall soon hear from Mt Athos. It is clear that the conclave in Ravenna had been planned at a time when the Church of Greece was paralysed, since its Archbishop is dying of cancer in an American hospital. Would they have dared do this, had he been physically well and active?

Unfortunately, we must see both these events as linked and connected also with other less recent events in the Orthodox world. Thus, as is known, the Romanian Church has since the 1930s celebrated the fixed feasts on the Roman Catholic calendar. As long ago as 1935, amid police persecution, five Romanian peasants from what is now Moldova were killed defending the Orthodox calendar. Roman Catholics have always tried to encourage Romanian nationalism in order to infiltrate their Papal pretensions among the Romanians. Thus, ever since the Westernization of the Romanian elite that began after the French Revolution of 1789, the Vatican has played a cunning propaganda game of presenting Romania (a name invented by Transylvanian Germans in the 17th century) as an outpost of Latin culture in a sea of ‘hostile Slavs’. Therefore, allegedly, the interests of the Romanian Church are in its submission to the protection of the Papacy. Sadly, the naïve intellectuals and nationalists of Romania have all too often fallen for this trick. Thus, in 1938, under the nationalist dictatorship of the pro-Fascist (and German) King Carol II, Romanian clergy were forbidden to confess in any language other than Romanian!

Sadly, in recent times both the EU and the State Department in Washington have taken a hand in meddling in the lives of the Orthodox Churches. On 30 July 2002, they forced the impoverished (Communist) government of Moldova to register the Romanian Church jurisdiction in Moldova. Now, however, the pro-EU and pro-American Patriarchate of Constantinople is also being invited to meddle. Indeed, it has been suggested by the Moldovan Agency ‘Infotag’ that, as a compromise solution to this dispute, all parishes on Moldovan soil should be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Moreover, it seems that this idea emanates from the Communist President of Moldova, Vladimir Vor-onin, who appears to have discussed it with the pro-EU Greek President Costas Karamanlis in Greece in June this year.

It has to be admitted that the present administrations of both the Church of Constantinople and the Romanian Church are to some extent ecumenical structures hostile to the Orthodox Tradition, kept by the their own faithful and the Russian Church. It is well-known that organized ecumenism began in Constantinople directly after the Russian Revolution, in 1920, and was promoted in particular by Patriarch Mellitus IV. This well-known freemason made ecumenical compromises with the Anglicans (later the Church of Romania, apparently also under masonic influence, actually recognized Anglican orders), destroyed Orthodox Church unity in North America and set up dioceses throughout the world, wherever he could in order to reinforce his power base.

In 1923 he organized the notorious ‘Pan-Orthodox Congress’, in which he instituted modernist renovationist ‘reforms’, including imposing the Roman Catholic calendar, which at once led to fatal old calendarist schisms. The Patriarchate of Constantinople then began to openly meddle in the internal affairs of the Russian Church, supporting the Communist-organized Russian renovationists against the long-suffering Patriarch St Tikhon. It took over the canonical territory and parishes of the Russian Church in Poland, Finland, the Baltic States and Western Europe (the so-called Paris Exarchate). Furthermore, it continued this policy in the 1990s, accepting Ukrainian self-consecrated schismatics into its jurisdiction, then setting up the pathetically small ‘Estonian Orthodox Church’ and in 2006 creating the Amphipolis schism in Great Britain. In its defence, it stated that it recognized the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate as being limited to that of 1591!

Unfortunately, Constantinople has made various political compromises in order to gain the backing of the Vatican and Washington for its pretensions. In 1964, together with Pope Pius VI, its Patriarch Athenagoras (also a well-known freemason) lifted the anathemas of 1054 (a meaningless concept, since only those who impose anathemas can lift them). Since then the Vatican has used Constantinople to meddle in the internal affairs of as many Local Orthodox Churches as possible and attempt to promote modernism and intercommunion (as happens, for example, in some of the Constantinople parishes in Paris and Lisbon). In 1998, the USA promised to support the Patriarchate of Constantinople against its opponents.

In return the Patriarchate there always supports NATO and other ‘agents of freedom and democracy’, remaining silent when Serbia was bombed by NATO. It has actively tried to detach the Ukraine and Georgia from traditional Orthodoxy, supporting the Washington and EU-financed and manipulated ‘Revolutions’ in those countries. Today, the USA will certainly support any attempt of Constantinople to take over Church jurisdiction in Moldova, just as US agents attempted to foment trouble and schism before the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) entered into eucharistic communion with the Patriarchal Church inside Russia before May 2007. Then, US agents lobbied against Orthodox unity, both at the ROCOR Council in San Francisco in May 2006 and in Moscow in January 2007, where it sent one of its main cassocked agents. Quite rightly, he was told that the matter was none of his business, since he had renounced membership of the Russian Church over thirty years before. There is little doubt that the present Serbian Church troubles in Montenegro and Macedonia are also attempts by anti-Orthodox powers to further weaken and divide the Orthodox world. Little wonder then that some of the old calendarist groups who also weaken and divide Orthodoxy seem to be financed and supported from the West.

On 19 November 2007 the Russian politologist, Vladimir Bukarsky, wrote the following of these events: ‘The Church schisms being fostered in Moldova, Montenegro and other points in the Orthodox world are all parts of ‘the great game’ which has been played out for centuries. This game is that of the Western world against Slav-Orthodox civilization. Zbigniew Brzezinski is far from being the only American strategist to state that: ‘After the collapse of the USSR, the main enemy of the USA will be the Russian Orthodox Church’.

Just as German imperialists persecuted Sts Cyril and Methodius in Orthodox Moravia in the ninth century, then the mission of their disciples in Orthodox Poland in the tenth century and took over Orthodox Rome in 1054, just as Venetian imperialists sacked Orthodox Constantinople in 1204, just as Teutonic Knights massacred Russian Orthodox in the thirteenth century, just as Austro-Hungarian Imperialists tried to uniatize Orthodox in the seventeenth century, just as Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, just as British and French Imperialists went to war with Muslim Turkey against Christian Russia in the nineteenth century, just as elements in New York and Berlin financed the Bolsheviks in 1917, just as the Vatican massacred Orthodox Serbs in the 1940s, so today EU and US Imperialists continue their secularist persecution of the Gospel of Christ. There is nothing new in any of this. But is sad that there are Orthodox, who are so self-interested or so naïve that they actually go along with it, falling, voluntarily or involuntarily, into apostasy.

It is our hope that those in power in Moscow will understand that if they are to protect the Orthodox world and the friends of the Orthodox Tradition from the aggression of the anti-Orthodox policies of the US/EU and their financial muscle, which is trying to tear away the Ukraine and Georgia, now Moldova, Montenegro and Macedonia, and financing Evangelical ‘missionary activities’ in Russia, they will have to give Orthodox in the front line the kind of support and infrastructure that we need. May this be the case here in the Diaspora, where for decades we Russian Orthodox have continued to be faithful, not only in the absence of the enslaved Patriarchal Church, but even in spite of certain now discredited Patriarchal ‘representatives’ of the past, who again and again not only did not show leadership, but openly attacked the stand for Truth of the Church Outside Russia.

On this, the feast-day of the Archangel Michael, may the enemies of the Church, secularist and modernist, schismatic and nationalist, be struck down by the sword of righteousness; may Orthodox of all nationalities and tongues be united in Love around the Truth; may the Orthodox Commonwealth be restored; and may the great voices of the glorious past of the See of Constantinople, of St Andrew the Apostle, of St John Chrysostom, of St Photius the Great, ring out once more all through the Orthodox world. As Fr Paisios, a true Athonite Elder, wrote only a few years ago:

But when the time comes, the Lord will raise up new Marks of Ephesus and new Gregory Palamases, who will gather together all our scandalized brethren, confessing the Orthodox Faith, strengthening the Orthodox Tradition and bringing great joy to our Mother Church.

Amen! Amen! Amen!


Priest Andrew Phillips
East Anglia

The Holy Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers
8/21 November 2007

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