What I could not say at the BBC
Re: Beyond Belief, BBC Radio 4, 4.30 Monday 24 September (on BBC iPlayer).
‘After the collapse of the USSR, the main enemy of the USA will be the Russian Orthodox Church’.
Words attributed to the US political geostrategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Foreword In dealing with the British media over the years I have seen the unspoken and unwritten criteria which lie behind their policies. Channel 4 for example, is anti-Church and Republican – like the Guardian newspaper. Its propaganda is particularly unsubtle. ‘The Independent’ is not independent because it is the newspaper of the liberal-secular who generally vote Liberal Democrat. It should be called ‘The Dependent’. The Daily Telegraph belongs to two multi-millionaire brothers and supports the right-wing rich who want to hold on to their money. Like the British tabloid press, it is very xenophobic. The Times, like the Sun, is part of the Murdoch Empire. And we know what that Empire is worth, since many of its journalists have now been arrested and face trial and prison. But what of the BBC?
Introduction: The BBC and British Establishment Policy towards Russia
As the BBC depends for finance on the amount of money which the State decrees that it can take in tax from its viewers, it tends to take an Establishment line in its news and current affairs. There are unspoken BBC parameters set by its role as part of the British Establishment and the BBC tends not to think outside this box or system of self-censorship and the cultural and political prejudices of which it is largely captive. As the exception to the rule, we need only think of how the minority Blair government sacked the BBC Director General for his disagreement with the Western invasion and occupation of Iraq which took place on the trumped up pretext of WMD. The only Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq were those taken and used there for massive destruction by invading Western armed forces.
With regard to contemporary Russia, the Establishment, and so the BBC, have two unspoken but tacitly understood criteria, ultimately set by Washington:
1. President Putin and the Government of the Russian Federation are evil.
2. The 164-million strong Russian Orthodox Church is his plaything.
These criteria originate in the fact that President Putin and the Government of the Russian Federation do not and will not agree either with Western (today = US) cultural or Western political imperialism. Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Church, like Russian Orthodox people, thinks likewise. Therefore, both the Russian Federal Government and the Multinational Russian Orthodox Church, one a political entity and the other a spiritual entity, must be merged in Western minds in a mythical union of Church and State. They must then be attacked and destroyed in an orchestrated campaign - just as the Western Powers did with the Russian Imperial Government and Church in 1917.
Western Ideology and the Russian Orthodox Church
It does not matter how mythical their ‘merger’ is, both are to be destroyed by slander. The Russian Orthodox Church must, in their eyes, become a tame US colony, like the tiny and impoverished Patriarchate of Constantinople, dependent on humiliating US political and financial support for its mere survival in a hostile Turkey. What Western secularists want for the Russian Orthodox Church is for it to become an irrelevant, Protestant-style, disincarnate Church, which only concerns itself with personal piety and academic theories about ‘Divinisation’ and suchlike. This would be a denial of the essential Christian teaching of the Incarnation – according to which the whole of life and society, all political, economic and social life, have to be Churched.
Thus, what those who attack the Church want is for the Church to be made irrelevant and invisible, to disappear into a museum, sect or ghetto, which is exactly what has happened to Christianity in the post-Protestant West. In this way, the whole of life, thus made a vacuum sucked out by secularism, can be occupied by this Western ideology. This is a heresy. It is exactly what Communism, also a Western ideology exported to Russia, tried to do, forbidding the Church to preach, baptize, marry, visit the sick, bury and have any social role whatsoever. Now the ex-Communist atheists in Russia, fully supported by the Western media, are trying to impose this irrelevance on the Church again.
Whom the West Supports in Russia
Clearly, in Russia the West will support anyone who will agree with it, either freely or else because they have been paid to do so. These are very few – for instance, Kasparov or various corrupt oligarchs, either in prison in Russia or else living in protected exile in London, come to mind. But there are other anti-Orthodox Russian dissidents whom the West supports and not necessarily those who support the West. In fact, this includes absolutely anyone who creates division or anarchy and so weakens Russia. Gorbachev the Destroyer is a favourite. In history there is the fanatical chauvinist Archpriest Avvakum, who would have been totally opposed to Western liberalism, but yet who is keenly supported by anti-Orthodox and anti-Russian liberals because he created chaos and so weakened the Russian Orthodox Church. Yes, liberals support fanatics! Why? Because the extremes always meet. Think of Hitler and Stalin...
In Church terms, Western liberals love to support individual dissident clergy or gullible laypeople, if it can find any. The naive and apparently Catholic priest Fr Alexander Men, assassinated by some fanatic, is a case. They love to read his books. Another case is the ultra-liberal renovationist Fr George Kochetkov, who was warmly invited to take over the Ennismore Gardens Cathedral by the ex-Bishop Basil Osborne (Birds of a feather...). Western liberals also support anyone from the Paris School, especially its heretical intellectuals and philosophers, some of whose books sell well in Russia among the shallow and unChurched mass, who do not yet know what real Orthodoxy is, as they have not yet entered the Arena. In general, the West supports anyone who attempts to wreck the life of the Church. It is all part of the Western policy, conscious or unconscious, to divide and rule (see below).
Pussy Riot: An Invention of the Western Mind
Thus, Pussy Riot was a Western invention, a fiction. This ‘band’ was completely unknown as a musical group. Its very name is English and synonymous with the sex and violence which is characteristic of Western culture prevalent today, for example, in Hollywood films and US television shows. The absurd ‘Free Pussy Riot’ slogan forgets that freedom betters, but licence debases – and they have debased. The whole carefully planned ‘incident’ last February opened a chain of events and slanders in what is obviously an orchestrated and premeditated anti-Church campaign in Russia, exploiting the gullible young and the dissatisfied old. As the perpetrators have expressed no remorse and refused to ask for clemency, they have been sentenced to prison. Those who break the law must expect punishment – like the rioters in England in summer 2011.
It is clear that ‘Pussy Riot’ was only the opening salvo in the anti-Church campaign. This uses the classic technique of taking the few bad eggs in the Church and making out that all the eggs are bad. These there will always be; has anyone forgotten that out of the Twelve one was called Judas? The anti-Church campaigners look at a few fallen trees on the forest fringes, rotting and full of parasites, but fail to see the vast green Orthodox forest in front of them. We who, unlike them, speak from inside the forest, inside the Church, know the reality. Incidentally, supposing ‘Pussy Riot’ had demonstrated in a mosque or a synagogue, what would have happened to them then? One rabbi in Russia said that they would have been shot as Muslim terrorists. Anti-Christian Western reporting always smells of double standards: a blasphemy that takes place in a mosque or a synagogue earns the hatred of the politically correct, but a blasphemy that takes place in a Christian church is supported by them.
Although it is likely that the anti-Church campaign has been organised in Russia, it seems very likely that the CIA is somehow involved, even if only financially. CIA meddling and manipulations in Russia and Eastern Europe are obvious to all. When you see two and two, it is difficult not to make four. This we saw clearly in the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Kiev of winter 2004-5, led by Yushchenko and his American wife. This orchestration cost the US taxpayer $85 million, as the US administration admitted at the time. This we personally saw clearly at the 2006 Russian Orthodox Church Council in San Francisco, where we spoke. The US ambassador to Kiev, John Herbst, standing behind me, was openly (to those who were listening) advocating schism, Church disunity. This was the old trick of divide and rule. And his efforts at sectarian schism had some success in the Ukraine – thanks, naturally to US dollars, which go a long way in a poor country. This divide and rule policy has been used by all Empires, from the Roman Empire to the modern American Empire with its worldwide network of legions. It is what is happening today in the Christian Winter – which the Western media persist in calling ‘the Arab Spring’. Once the Arab world has been divided by civil wars and taken back into the Middle Ages by Islamists, it can then be ruled over and exploited by the West.
CIA meddling was also crystal clear in the pro-US/Constantinople and anti-Russian coverage in the British media of the 2006 Amphipolis schism, whose leader was a very naive American (who then defrocked himself and went to live in his holiday home in France) (1). It was also clear in the 2008 Georgian invasion of Russia, led by the Georgian President US graduate Saakashvili (supported by the CIA front, ‘The National Endowment for Democracy’ (sic), though his regime is notorious for torture), his Dutch wife and 130 US ‘military advisors’. It is also clear in the current US attempts to encircle the Russian Federation with nuclear missiles. I am not saying that all these people are conscious agents of the CIA – many are probably unpaid dupes, (‘useful idiots’ in Marxist terminology), including Pussy Riot and many British journalists. This is very convenient because it saves tax dollars. Of course we cannot know this for sure, since we are no longer privy to the internal documents of the US administration, as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange of Wikileaks are both now untried prisoners, like the hundreds of waterboarded prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp.
As to whether President Putin is bad, I have no particular opinion. It is in any case relative. What we do know is that there is a lot worse than him, notably between 1917 and 2000, when the country was ruled by blood-soaked monsters or the incompetent. And at the present time, compared to other candidates, this President, at worst, appears to be ‘a lesser evil’. Just as Western electorates elect their leaders not because they like them, but because they believe them also to be ‘the lesser evil’, so too this is probably the case in Russia. Compared to the monsters of Lenin (the Russian Cromwell), Stalin (whose collectivisation was similar to the Highland Clearances and the Enclosures under the German Kings of England) and Khrushchev, then to Gorbachev and the alcoholic Yeltsin, he does seem like a miracle. Gorbachev was particularly awful; he dare not even show himself in Russia such is his unpopularity - after all he destroyed the lives of tens of millions through his incompetence and dismantling of what was once the Russian Empire, a work built by centuries of sacrifice.
However, what we can say is that if President Putin does not resolve the problems of everyday corruption in Russia, he will be replaced. Such is the way of politics. The corrupt bureaucrats and officials who run much of the administration in Russia, who changed overnight from being Communists into being Capitalists in the 1990s but remained atheists for all practical purposes, have to learn about morality, which is why the Church constantly tells them this, insofar as She is allowed to. It is this everyday corruption that is making Russians want to leave their country. It must be said here that the 10,000 to 40,000 recently demonstrating against President Putin (a very small number for Moscow, which is by far the largest city in Europe with 15 million inhabitants) are mainly old-fashioned Communists. With nostalgia they remember the Soviet period – no freedom, but security; then the corrupt were sent to Siberia or shot. Corruption came in the West, with Gorbachev and Yeltsin. The protestors are not, with few exceptions, English-speaking, pro-Western activists, as Western correspondents - and the CIA - like to pretend.
Problems in the Contemporary Russian Federation
Today the Church in Russia is ‘persecuted’, not in the Soviet sense, but by corrupt government and local bureaucrats – somewhat as before the Revolution. They constantly interfere in the Church’s life, do not return Church property, stop new churches from being built for years on end, demand bribes for churches to be built, reject Her suggestions for improvements in education and social reform (especially in health and social matters) and by their atheism stop the Church from being heard in the atheist-run media of their friends. These are the bureaucrats who also refuse to take down the many statues of the mass-murderer Lenin and restore the many place names of Russia. What is sad is that the secularist Western media and their advocates are supporting their atheist line by attacking the Russian Orthodox Church. President Putin can do little about this. In a Parliamentary Democracy like the Russian Federation, he is only one person.
The problems of the Russian Federation today come from the hangover from the Soviet period, in other words, Alcoholism, (a)Bortion and Corruption (ABC). These problems prove that the task of the Church in spreading spiritual and so moral values has only just begun. Although miraculously 130 million have been baptised and 25,000 churches restored or built in the last 25 years, we have covered only 2% of the way we have to go in order to restore Orthodox Rus. President Putin is only a politician and like all politicians, he is here today and gone tomorrow. He is not an Anointed Tsar, merely a politician. The Church, however, will be here long after he has been forgotten. The Church thinks long after him, long term – about the other 98% of the way to go. The Church has a very clear vision of where we need to go in the future, about the values needed to create a proper Christian society, bringing health care and education to the people, with Christian orphanages, hospitals, old people’s homes, centres for the disabled, hospices, schools and universities, all reported on by Christian media in a society of Christian businessmen.
The Russian Orthodox Church and the Recent Past
According to Western ideology, the Russian Church has never been free. This is untrue in the more distant past. Even in the recent past, this is only partly true and very hypocritical, when the Church is compared to totally erastian entities such as the Church of England, whose very doctrines were established by bloodthirsty mass murderers and thieves (Henry VIII, Elizabeth I), who appointed themselves its heads. In Russia it is true only of the Church administration (not of the Church Herself) in the more recent past. Thus, when the Russian State began to be Westernised at the end of the 17th century, it first deposed Patriarch Nikon and then persecuted the Old Ritualists, introducing absolutism and Western serfdom, finally decapitating the Church, abolishing the Patriarchate, word for word imitating the Protestant model. This was especially blatant under the German ruler, Catherine II, who closed some 600 monasteries and enforced serfdom, like a German Henry VIII. These Western elements later attempted to deform the profoundly true and democratic expression of Russian Orthodoxy, ‘Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and the People’ into ‘State Religion, Absolutism and Nationalism’.
Those who did this, all Westernisers, in fact prepared the Revolution of 1917, which worsened out of all proportion the persecution of the Church. The captivity of the Russian Church inside Russia during the Communist period after this Revolution came after 1925 and after 600 bishops had been martyred. The few remaining bishops in the Soviet Union, made ‘more flexible’, were in a hostage situation. They would not be murdered, but those in their charge would be murdered. These bishops are accused by the West of having been ‘KGB agents’. This is misleading. The bishops did not spy for the KGB; they were, however, registered with the KGB - but only because they had to be. That was the demand of the Soviet Establishment. The parallel is the imposition of the British Establishment that bishops of the Church of England be freemasons, as they nearly all are. In this state of unfreedom of the Church inside Russia, it fell to the free Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, providentially established in November 1920 by Patriarch Tikhon himself, to speak on behalf of the captive Church, Her people and Her New Martyrs and Confessors. But the spiritually impure West did not listen to us and even mocked us when heroically, in 1981, our part of the Russian Church canonised the New Martyrs and so changed the course of history.
The Russian Church and the Future
Let the Western media know that the Russian Orthodox Church will win in the battle against the present anti-Church campaign of the atheists. The Church always wins, in the long term, because we are ready to be martyred for our Faith – like the millions of Russian Orthodox who were already martyred in the last century, in the greatest persecution the Church has ever seen in 2,000 years. And the centre of the Church and the centre of this resistance are not in the parishes, but in Her 800 new monasteries – so sadly ignored in this radio broadcast. The parishes, many of them excellent, depend on the monasteries and it is they which are now producing some excellent bishops too.
The day will come when Lenin’s remains in his chemical soup will be moved from Moscow, when all his many statues will be destroyed and when the last Soviet place names will be deleted from the map. Those who oppose us, ex-Communist secularists inside Russia allied with and manipulated by Western media operatives outside Russia - all practical atheists, all working together - will lose. This is because by definition, as atheists, they have no faith and nobody is prepared to die for an absence of something. The Truth always wins, in the long term. The Church always wins, in the long term, because the last words in human history are Christ’s.
Archpriest Andrew Phillips
24 September 2012
1. In speaking of the official judgement on Ennismore Gardens in October 2009 after the attempt to take from us our London Cathedral, which we donors had bought for the Russian Church in the 1970s, the then Bishop Elisey of Sourozh rightly said: "We welcome this judgement, which recognises the vigorous life of the Diocese and the London Parish and the importance of its work. The Russian Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom remains true to its original vision and purpose, which is to minister to all adherents to the Russian Orthodox tradition, of whatever nationality or background. We give thanks that this judgement will now allow the Church to devote all of its energies and all of its resources to such vision and purpose."
In other words, if we may paraphrase, the multinational and multilingual Russian Orthodox Church is able to carry on its activities in freedom. And this despite the attempts of infiltrators with their ‘British’ (= Establishment = spiritually neutered) nationalism and spiritual compromise. They tried to corrupt and divert the Russian Orthodox Tradition from its true path, but then were found out after our 25-year struggle against them. The cause of authentic English, Insular and Western Orthodoxy, of which I have been a leading proponent in my books, writings and practical Church-building for nearly 40 years, writing their lives, getting them translated into several European languages, establishing the first church dedicated to the Saints of the Isles, composing the first full service to them and having the first complete icon of them painted, despite opposition from all quarters, is now safe again.
Twice in the last six years, I have received an anonymous letter regarding the Amphipolis schism. It is frustrating to receive an anonymous letter or a letter without a full name or address because I am not able to reply to the arguments. The fact that the letter is anonymous suggests that the writer does not have the courage of his convictions or is unable to argue them. The second letter, from a certain ‘Joseph’, I received after this programme. It makes a number of untrue statements and gives statements of opinions which can easily be answered:
1. When, together with hundreds of others, I donated money for the purchase of Ennismore Gardens in 1977, I was told that my donation would go to the purchase for a Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church. No word was mentioned to me that this was for some disincarnate ‘Orthodox Christian Faith’, but specifically for the Russian Orthodox Church and Faith. That is what I gave my money for and I would not have given it for any other reason. If I was lied to at the time, I am hardly responsible for that.
2. Almost exactly 300 people left the Russian Orthodox Church in the 2006 schism (I use the term ‘schism’ because that is what Patriarch Alexis II called it). I call that ‘few’, and have no doubt that I am right to do so, given the thousands on the other side. In the programme both I and Canon Michael Bourdeaux did ‘truthfully’ mention the bishop and clergy involved in the schism. However, the BBC cut that section, as it cut several other sections (see the above article).
3. The plot to create the schism was revealed to us in 1982, 24 years before it was implemented. When we disagreed with it, we were persecuted and driven out of Ennismore Gardens, which is why I went into exile in 1983, going to France. Unlike another, I had no holiday home there and no pension to collect. Nor did we ever receive an apology from those involved. We were hardly alone – many others left Ennismore Gardens both before and above all, after us, because of the creeping renovationist takeover there, which wanted to create a desacralised, spiritually neutered ‘British (= Establishment) Orthodoxy’. I have always been in favour of Orthodoxy in the local language – and was mocked for that by people at Ennismore Gardens in the 1970s - but I have also always been in favour of authentic Orthodoxy.
4. The letter states that the present Patriarch has reduced the Church to ‘a Government department’. This is a matter of opinion. It is certainly not my impression and I have frequented Church people in Russia from the Patriarch down. To make such a statement without any proof is meaningless.
5. I do not doubt for an instant that Bishops Basil was ‘Metropolitan Antony’s desired successor’ or, as the letter also states, that Metropolitan Antony blessed his ‘followers’ (sic) to leave the Moscow Patriarchate. We knew Metropolitan Antony very well, including all the details of his way of life. All this is true, but we do not say it is because it is not to the credit of the deceased.