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Since the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate of Moscow (MP) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), entered into communion in May 2007, there have been those who have wondered what the role of ROCOR is. Why have two parts, when we are one?

Recent comments by two members of the MP in Moscow, reported by Blagovest-Info, have once more made the role of ROCOR clear. They have revealed that some in the Patriarchate of Moscow, like others in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, are not aware of the realities of life in Western Europe, whereas the faithful of ROCOR by definition are. Although no-one in either Moscow or ROCOR has any illusions about the politically correct, liberal Protestant world in the West, with its anything goes, merge with the world, secularism and syncretism, there are still those in Moscow who have illusions about Roman Catholicism. Like the late, politically-minded Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad in the 1970s, there are still a few in Moscow who labour under the delusion that Roman Catholicism is a real spiritual power in contemporary Western Europe.

In Moscow there are those who still consider that if only Rome would close its dioceses on ‘Russian Orthodox canonical territory’ in Russia and especially in the Ukraine, abandoning their aggressive adventure of Uniatism, then they would be willing to abandon the clearly-stated project of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II to establish a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe (ROME), the basis for a future Local Orthodox Church in Western Europe. Such individuals still entertain illusions that the Russian Orthodox faithful of ROCOR who live in Western Europe overcame generations ago. They have yet to grasp that:

  1. For Rome there is no such thing as ‘Orthodox canonical territory’. Just like Protestant sects, Roman Catholics will set up their missions wherever they want. Orthodox for them are at best schismatics, at worst heretics, and certainly not, according to their own clear documents, part of the ‘Church’. For them Orthodox are ‘defective’.

  2. Rome is not going to abandon its proselytism in Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus or anywhere else in the Orthodox world. For it, religion is a free market and anyone can send missionaries anywhere. This should mean that for Orthodox too anywhere in the world can be considered Orthodox canonical territory.

  3. In Moscow there are those who labour under the delusion that Roman Catholicism is heir to the Orthodox legacy of the first millennium. This, to some extent, was true before 1917, when much had still been preserved from before 1054. This was even true in the 1950s. But it is not true today. To illustrate this point, here is an extract from a letter of an elderly and devout local Roman Catholic woman, who lives near our church and has been contact with us for several years, seeking pastoral care and slowly feeling her way towards the Orthodox Faith. Her letter sums up the present situation of many Roman Catholics in Western Europe and their spiritual abandonment:

‘Unfortunately for me this has been the year in which the one thing that I had tried so long to prevent happening finally did. I found it impossible to continue going to Mass. I could have put up with the fact that in all the three and a half years I had been going there every Sunday, no one had ever said as much as ‘good morning’ to me, but what I could not endure any longer was the total lack of any respect whatsoever towards God. Every week I would sit in the church before Mass began and see people coming in and simply slouching into their seats without as much as a genuflect. In particular, there was one girl who, considering it beneath her to genuflect, sat in the front pew, directly facing the tabernacle, in a posture which, had she in fact been wearing a skirt rather than trousers, would have been not just ungainly but grossly indecent.

In addition to this, every time it was someone's birthday, the Mass would become a ‘clown Mass’ with people expected to sing happy birthday and, of course, this would be followed by the usual vulgar clapping, which the priest actually invited people to do. On Easter Sunday I was absolutely horrified when, just before the last hymn, the priest announced that it was the organist's birthday, And so, on what 1 was always taught to understand was the greatest feast in the Church's calendar, the Mass had to end as being a joint celebration of the Resurrection and the organist's birthday!

That for me was just about the last straw. I walked out of that church and have never returned since. I just cannot tolerate seeing great feasts played down in this disgraceful way. Both the priest and the organist (a woman of my age group) should be thoroughly ashamed at vandalising the great Feast of the Resurrection in that way. Unfortunately, I cannot shop around to find a more acceptable Mass, because there are so few Catholic churches. The one in X would, I know, be just as bad because the priests there are completely radical. Believe me, after over seventy years I do not like not going to Mass, but I have been given no choice.

I cannot help feeling that all around everything seems to be just running down and down. So much so, that I often find myself wishing that I had been born some 20 or 30 years sooner and would never have had to experience this horrible day and age. In the past, when times seemed to be bad, the Catholic Church was always there with words of comfort and guidance, but today its voice is completely silent. Even sermons today are so politically correct that they are just not worth listening to’.

Sadly, this lady is typical of spiritually forsaken Western people with whom ROCOR clergy have been coming into contact, especially since the 1960s. Many such people have actually joined the Russian Orthodox Church, finding in Her a spiritual anchor and depth which had in fact been concealed from them for centuries by Catholicism with its illusions and errors. It is time for certain individuals in Moscow to awake to the realities of Roman Catholicism, as it has developed since 1917. Cut off from the Western world since then, they have not yet awoken to today’s realities. It is time that they realized that the establishment of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Western Europe, the basis of a future Local Orthodox Church in Western Europe, is now the only thing that is going to make any spiritual difference here, as Western European nations enter into the final phases of their apostasy.

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