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The Meaning of Rus and Contemporary Worldwide Orthodoxy

O Lord, bless
The strings of our lyre,
That the West might understand the truth
Of the Orthodox faith!

Fr Alexander Pavlovich, Carpatho-Russian poet-priest, 1819-1900 (1)

Introduction: August 2000: A New Orthodox World

With its canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, the Jubilee Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow in August 2000 marked a turning-point in Orthodox and world history. Not only did it tell the world that the Church inside Russia was at last free to glorify those martyred by materialistic Communism, but it also marked the real end of the apocalyptic twentieth century.

In Russia, that last tragic century had at first been marked by the spiritual decadence of much of the Russian ruling elite before 1917. Much of the Russian aristocracy had scorned the Orthodox Tradition and the Russian Church and its faithful, or had even engrossed itself in the occult. This ran parallel to the scorn shown by Western ruling elites for Christian values, which was to lead them to slaughter the flower of European youth from 1914 on.

After 1917, Russia was marked by the vicious atheist martyrdom of Russian Orthodoxy inside Russia. Even Russian Orthodoxy in the emigration was not able to gather enough spiritual strength to glorify the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia until 1981. Thus, with the enforced paralysis of Russian Orthodoxy inside Russia, the Orthodox world was spiritually paralyzed until the end of the twentieth century – in fact until August 2000.

August 2000 signified that the Apocalypse hanging over the whole world had been moved back a little, that the world had been given extra time, a short breathing-space, in which to repent. I thank God that I was born at the right time to witness this event, though I realize that it is my children's generation that will reap the benefit.

Russian Orthodoxy and the Other Local Orthodox Churches

Some will question why Russian Orthodoxy might play such a key role in Orthodoxy worldwide. It is because, although there are indeed other Local Orthodox Churches, they generally concentrate on maintaining the faith of only one ethnic group.

For example, the Serbian Church is engrossed almost wholly by the fate of parts of Serbian Orthodoxy outside Serbia, in Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It seems that it will have to grant internal autonomy to those areas, as did the Russian Church to the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova in the 1990s, in order to keep them within Serbian Orthodoxy.

Similarly, the Romanian Church is currently preoccupied by Romanian Orthodox who live outside the borders of Romania, in Moldova, in Ukrainian Bukovina and around Odessa. This is curiously, for the Moldovan Orthodox Church (under the Russian Orthodox Church) uses almost only the Romanian language and 80% of churches there have so far refused to go under the Romanian Orthodox Church's 'Bessarabian Metropolia', even though if they did transfer allegiance, they were granted the freedom to keep the Orthodox calendar. However, the recent 'offer' by the Romanian government to pay all Moldovan clergy $300 per month salary (a considerable sum in the poorest country in Europe) may change minds now. Similarly, Romanian intentions in Ukrainian Bukovina are equally nationalizing, since the present Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Onuphrius of that area has always rigorously insisted on the use of Romanian wherever necessary. This is unlike in Romanian Bukovina, where Ukrainian speakers have to put up with both a foreign language and the Roman Catholic calendar.

In similar ways, the Bulgarian and Georgian Churches are almost uniquely concerned with their nationals outside their national borders, which in the case of the Georgian Church in the turbulent Caucasus complicates matters considerably. As for the Church of Greece, it too works closely with the Greek Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem, whose Patriarchs are said to be appointed according to the desires of the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens, as is the Archbishop of Sinai. As for the Church of Cyprus, it too looks above all else to its own Greek Cypriot nationals on its territory.

However, some will point out that the Church of Constantinople is multinational. It brings not only Greeks from islands like Crete and Rhodes and the Greek and Cypriot Diaspora under its canonical protection, but also Paris Russians and, since the 1990s, formerly uncanonical, self-consecrated Ukrainians outside the Ukraine, a few Estonians and, since 2006, the tiny Amphipolis Vicariate in Great Britain. Here, it must be said, there is more than an element of politics.

The Ukrainians, whose canonicity is indeed dubious, for they were self-consecrated, still do not, in London at least, commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew, but only their Ukrainian bishop, and their church in London makes no mention of their Greek Patriarch. As for Estonia, there are very few Estonians who have opted to join the tiny and somewhat fictitious structure set up by Constantinople in Estonia. The vast majority of Estonian Orthodox there have remained under the Russian Orthodox Church. Just as the Amphipolis Vicariate, which is about to take the Russian Church to court in unseemly legal action, the schism there is not about language, but about Tradition versus modernism. Sadly, it is Constantinople that is backing the modernists, some of whose origins are to say the least canonically dubious. This continues the divisive actions of Constantinople in Gregorian Paschalia Finland, Poland and Czechoslovakia in the 1920s and 1930s. The record of Constantinople is hardly glorious, rather it is divisive, canonically suspect and, in the case of Estonia and the Amphipolis Vicariate, it has ruined relations with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Estonian-speaking Patriarch.

It is not acceptable for the Patriarchate of Constantinople to appear to make out that it still only recognizes the territory of medieval Muscovy as canonical Russian Orthodox territory. The fact is that 1453 was over 550 years ago. Muscovy has expanded. It is time to live in the present. Nearly every Non-Greek I know who has approached a parish of Constantinople in this country is told to leave with the message: 'Our Church is only for Greeks'. And the same message has frequently been given by Greek bishops in this country to Anglicans wishing to join the Orthodox Church, who are told to remain Anglican. 'Orthodoxy for Greeks, Anglicanism for the English' is the official standard phyletist line of representatives of Constantinople in this country – and elsewhere. For example, it was for this very reason, hellenist phyletism, that the Indonesian Orthodox mission some years ago transferred to the Russian Church, since when it has expanded considerably.

If Constantinople does lay claim to universality, why does it not include any Non-Greek bishops in its Synod? Certainly, in England the Greek Embassy always used to say that it would refuse permission for any Non-Greek or Non-Cypriot to become more than a vicar-bishop here. The fact is that for many Orthodox, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is also compromised by its imposition of the Roman Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts. As a result, wherever one finds the Patriarchate of Constantinople, one finds, not far off, old calendarism, with all its divisions and pitfalls. In Italy and Spain, this becomes all the more frequent, given the Constantinople concordat with the Vatican not to receive Roman Catholics into the Orthodox Church.

The alternating pro-Soviet, pro-Masonic, pro-Vatican, pro-Turkish, pro-EU and pro-White House language of Constantinople are all reasons for concern. Thus, to cite but the latest example, there is the November interview of the Roman Catholic modernist journal, 'The Tablet', with Metropolitan John Zizioulas. Entitled 'An Eye for the Other', in it Metropolitan John appears to approve of homosexuality (surely an error by the journalist), and attacks, with base political polemics, the Russian Church as an instrument of the Russian State. A ridiculous and offensive anti-Russian cartoon accompanies the fawning interview, which is so absurd as to be unworthy of further comment. At least Metropolitan John's abstruse philosophical views mean that few outside modernist Roman Catholic intellectual circles will understand them.

The Uniqueness of the Russian Orthodox Church and Her Struggle

The fact is that for geographical reasons Russian Orthodoxy has always been multinational. Many Russians in their nationalism do not like this, but it is a fact of history. From the very beginning, when it was converted by Bulgarian and Carpatho-Russian Orthodox clergy, Russian Orthodoxy has been multinational. Thus, the name 'Moscow' is Finnish for 'waterway' and the very word 'Rus' is not Russian, but Swedish or Finnish in origin.

Furthermore, this word 'Rus' includes not only Carpatho-Rus, the first element of Rus to be converted back in the ninth century, not only Little Rus (the Ukraine) across the Carpathians, not only Belarus (White Rus) and Great Rus (Russia), but also a host of other peoples, from Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Lapps, Tartars, Siberian peoples, the Japanese and a host of other nationalities, including that of the present writer. In other words, Rus (unlike 'Russia'), is neither a country, nor a geographical place, but an idea and a reality. And it is this word that appears in the title of His Holiness Alexis, Patriarch of All Rus (not of all Russia), who has today, together with the rest of the 188-strong multinational hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, gathered all of canonical Russian Orthodoxy together.

From Western fantasies, from hellish false teachings,
They guard all Rus unwavering.

Thus spoke the Carpatho-Russian poet Julius Stavrovsky-Popradov (1850-1899) (2). Even Russian Orthodox singing is adaptable to all nations and races and its melodies can be heard in English and Japanese, German and Italian, Korean and Tartar, Norwegian and Spanish, and is nearly always used by other Local Churches, when they celebrate the services in languages other than their own. 'Rus' is an idea and a reality that has gone around the world to spiritual orphans and spiritual exiles, all the abandoned of the Earth, who live amid alien and anti-Christian ideologies. Today, Rus means the uncompromised and international Orthodox faith and way of life.

Of course, Rus has many enemies, and always has had. The first were the Roman Catholics, followed closely by the Mongols and their Tartar allies. Then Rus was caught in a vice between East and West, between one extreme and another. However, once it had escaped from this vice, there followed isolationist Russian nationalism, with its ignorance and persecution of St Maximus the Greek, a chauvinism which was quelled only by the great internationally-minded Patriarch Nikon, who was betrayed by the Western agent Paisios Ligarides. But this in turn was followed by the decadence of the Westernized Russian boyars or aristocrats, who brought such hatred for the Orthodox Monarchy and oppression of the peasants. This came to be symbolized in the murder by Prince Felix Yusupov of the much-slandered peasant Gregory Rasputin in 1916. Thus, the Westernized aristocrats, with their slanderous jealousy and hatred of Orthodox Monarchy, brought a Revolution, though without the results for which they had so naively and foolishly hoped.

The resulting Communism, that is State Capitalism, of the revolutionaries brought with it modernist anti-Patriarchal renovationism, supported by Constantinople. This then invited the genocidal invasion of Hitlerite National Socialism, later followed by the mafia Capitalism of the Yeltsin years. Today, the enemies of Rus are still there. Today, Rus is under threat from the EU and the White House, which is chipping away at Orthodoxy, in Montenegro and Macedonia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, in the Lebanon and Syria, in the bastions of Jerusalem and Mt Athos, in Romania and Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus, the Ukraine and Georgia, Estonia and the Baltic States, today in Moldova, tomorrow, probably, in Belarus and mineral-rich Siberia. They strive to eat away at Rus, wherever they see weakness.

The original treacherous introduction of the new calendar, followed by its two wings, ecumenism and renovationism, promoted by the West through duping Orthodox, whether simply naive or else self-interested, is still today a useful tool in the undermining of Orthodoxy. So also, however, is the extremism of schismatic, 'traditionalist' Orthodox groups, who are hoodwinked into believing that they are performing the Church a service in their defiant stand for their opinions. In fact, they do the Church the disservice of enfeeblement and division, falling into traditional-ism, Protestant individualism and opinionatedness, failing to see the wood for the trees.

Conclusion: 'Pray to God'

Nearly 200 years ago the grandfather of the great awakener of Carpatho-Rus, Fr Alexander Dukhnovych (1803-1865), said to his grandson (3):

'Remember your people, love your people, pray to God,
and always look to the east and the north, whence comes our salvation'.

Two hundred years on I, an English Orthodox, part of the English Rus, have not yet heard any wiser counsel, as we hope against hope for national awakening and spiritual restoration here too. And in the light of the current situation of the Orthodox Church worldwide I cannot think of any wiser words. We pray to God, the Father of the Holy Trinity. We love the land where God has put us, for we believe in the Incarnation of Christ. And we look to where Orthodoxy is strongest, and not weakest and most compromised, for this is the natural inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The above words express the meaning of Rus, the uncompromised Orthodox way of life worldwide, global Orthodoxy, our only arm against today's secularist globalism.

Priest Andrew Phillips, East Anglia

Great Martyr Demetrius the Myrrh-Streaming 26 October/8 November 2007

1. Vinets Stikhotvorenii o. Aleksandra Iv. Pavlovicha, Uzhhorod, 1920, p. 57
2. Poeziya Popradova, Preshov 1928, Listok 11, No 2, 1895.
3. Kratkaia Biohrafia, Uzhhorod, 1993, Tvory 3, p. 405

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