Notes around Moscow
Before the Revolution the Elder Laurence of Chernigov said that there would come a time when everything would be taken and sold off cheaply on account of the misuse of wealth. And all of this would be because the rich had forgotten the needs of the poor and set nothing aside for almsgiving.
Prophecy of St Laurence of Chernigov (+ 1950)
More or less 75 years passed between the Masonic Revolution of February 1917 and the fall of Soviet Communism in December 1991, when three generations of the Russian revolt against God ended. Since then 20 years have gone by. In that time two movements have replaced atheist Communism. The first is the return to the Orthodox Church, with well over one hundred million baptised, at least three churches built or restored every day and at least one monastery built or restored every week. The second movement is the movement of Westernisation. What is this?
The Westernisation of the former Soviet Union began in the 1990s with privatisation, a euphemism meaning the massive theft of public assets by private, often Non-Russian, individuals. Many of them have since fled abroad with their ill-gotten gains and there they are protected by greedy Western governments. Westernisation meant the invasion of those lands by Western Capitalist values, foreign ‘missionaries’ and other bandits, Western brands and makes, the ubiquitous English-language T-shirts worn by so many young Russians today with their ‘sleng’ and graffiti. This was the attempted rape of Russia. Westernisation meant the worship of money, mammon; to hell with society, the coming of the ‘I love me’, self-centred society of consumerism and individualism, the ideology of ‘everyone for himself’ replaced the now mouldering infrastructure of free education and healthcare systems.
Westernisation meant that the old public safety and security, pension system and full employment, hygiene and care for alcoholics, public order, cleanliness and low crime rates of the Soviet Union were gone. Now, alcoholics are left in the streets of Moscow to die, drugs are consumed openly, prostitution and AIDS are rife, pensioners are forgotten, the health and education systems are heading towards American levels of non-provision, fly-tipping and litter are the norm and the countryside is rapidly emptying. Respect is today the word that is forgotten in Russian, both respect for our neighbours and respect for God’s Creation, for Nature. Respect has been replaced by self-worship. In the last twenty years the Wild West has attempted to colonise Russia and now we can speak of the Wild East, with its cowboy maintenance of planes that crash and ships that sink.
Twenty years ago Russia could perhaps have kept the best of Communism and taken the best of the West. Instead, it has often taken the worst of both. Infrastructure has been neglected for twenty years. Russia is threatened by Soviet-era blocks of flats that have never been refurbished or even repainted, potholes that are called roads, non-pavements, stray cats and dogs, invasions of cockroaches and rats, rusty and dirty public transport systems, and health, education and pension systems which suffer from chronic neglect. ‘Money, money, money’ is the slogan of the elite. Sadly, some individuals in the Church elite in Moscow have also been affected. Human aspects of the Church always reflect secular society. The same scandals as before the Revolution and in the emigration tarnish the outward image of the Church. ‘Non-possession’ has been forgotten by several laypeople, monks, priests and at least one Westernised bishop.
These are mainly those ordained in haste 10-20 years ago, who went from career Communism to the career laity and priesthood in a few months – and still do not know how to use a censer. However, beneath the rationalistic convert froth of mainly Non-Russian intellectuals, is the real Church, always present, always ready to offer examples of authentic Churchliness. Outside the hothouse of a tiny elite is the real Church. People are being saved, churches built by popular donations, the New Martyrs daily remembered, new saints formed. There is sheer pleasure in seeing real Orthodox in the streets. They are not dowdily dressed like falsely pietistic converts. They can be recognised at once, because they are modest and their faces shine. Such Russian Orthodox can save the world through their examples.
Every generation has made its penitential contribution to today’s resurrected Russian Orthodox world. They are all rebuilding Traditional Orthodoxy in Russia. The old generation that either never accepted Communism or else saw through it and were baptised, the middle-aged generation that saw that egoistic, careerist Westernisation is anti-Orthodox and therefore anti-Russian and so accepted baptism, and the many in the young, international, ‘Facebook’ generation who know their Russian Orthodox roots, are here.
However, the Russian masses have not yet consciously repented. Virtually everyone is baptised Orthodox, but few go to Church. There are plenty of Moscow dormitory suburbs with populations of over 100,000 which still do not have a single church. A wooden chapel for 50 is enough. When will all of Russia have repented? There are seven signs:
1.When another 100,000 (not 200) churches have been built.
2.When the scourges of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and AIDS are largely over.
3.When the epidemics of abortion and divorce, caused by depravity, are ended and large and stable families are again the norm.
4.When corruption and bribe-taking are things of the past because decent salaries are normal.
5.When the brain (and beauty) drain towards the West are over – because the Russian State at last appreciates its greatest asset – its human resources.
6.When the Soviet fashion for high-rise blocks of flats has changed and been replaced by a return to the pre-Revolutionary norm of family wooden houses. (Why does the most spacious country in the world have to crush its people into sixteen-storey high-rise blocks? In tiny, overcrowded England, which could fit dozens of times over into the expanses of Russia, everyone tries to have their own home and garden, however small).
7.When the immense Russian lands are once again, as before the Revolution, the breadbaskets of the planet, solving the problem of repeated famines around the world.
Only when the above has been achieved, will the other newly independent countries around Russia clamour to rejoin her. There is far to go. But at least the potential is here. In the West, what little authentic Orthodoxy we have is largely directly or indirectly dependent on Russia. On account of this, our worldwide but little Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has great potential – in the Russian Orthodox Tradition, but free of any interference. Any disaster can only come from ourselves, a lack of faithfulness to ourselves, to our identity, to our Tradition, to our duty and destiny, which is to be multinational, multilingual and in the forefront of missionary work.
On Monday 18 July there reposed Fr Vasily Bryliov. An exemplary priest for 55 years, he had served for the last 33 years in a parish in the provinces, some 60 miles from Moscow. Having always refused to serve the KGB, he was exiled there, without a second priest or a deacon. Just before his repose, he prophesied that if the masses do not return to the Church, God will punish Russia. Of course, argue some, how can the masses return when their image of the Church is poisoned by certain representatives who are morally and financially corrupt, who have turned the Church into a ‘business’? However, it is an error of superficiality to see the Church in a few judases who are hanging themselves from the money tree. Judas was only one among twelve. The other eleven, at whom we should be looking, are saints. They, like the martyred Tsar, his family and all the New Martyrs and Confessors, like Fr Vasily, like the martyred Fr Daniel Sysoiev, and millions of today’s other bishops, priests, monks, nuns and other laypeople, are the real Church and overturn the tables of the moneychangers, the Western rationalists and the perverted.
We have been given a short time before the end to gather together. Hence our sense of haste. This short time has not been given us to divide and go off to live in ideologically pure and tiny ghettos, whether created by left-wing renovationist Saduceeism or right-wing purist Phariseeism, simply because we do not believe in the Incarnation, because we do not believe that the Church must influence State and society, because we do not love the people, because we imagine in the pride of our imagination that we are better than them. In the year 2000, at last free, Russia made a huge stride forward in accepting the canonisation of her rejected and martyred Tsar, his family and the other New Martyrs and Confessors. This was the first stage in the process of repentance. Those proud, Russophobic nationalistic fragments which long ago split away from the Russian Church and still reject their canonisation, whether in New York, Paris or Moscow, have understood nothing of the Church.
However, with Russian Church unity achieved in 2007, the second stage in the process of repentance must now begin. This is to involve the masses actively, to consolidate and spread living Orthodoxy through example. Only when this has happened can the fear of secularist plotters be overcome and secular politicians be replaced by the new Tsar, on condition that there is repentance worthy of it, as the saints have prophesied. And until that time of the re-emergence of the Orthodox Christian Emperor, the whole world will continue to be a plaything of Antichrist, living without peace in unending wars, strife and natural disasters, as it has done ever since 1917. And until then Russia will be unable to re-people Siberia and carry out in full her God-given calling to bring back the divided vestiges of the Church to Christ and spread the true worship of Christ around the world, to China, to India, to Latin America, to Africa and the far shores everywhere.
But the Lord will not be angered until the end and He will not allow the Russian land to be destroyed to the end, because Orthodoxy and the vestiges of Christian piety are mainly still kept in her alone.
Prophecy of St Seraphim of Sarov (+ 1833)
And there shall arise from the banished house of Romanov a great prince, who will stand up for the sons of his people. He will be the chosen one of God and will have the blessing on his head. His name has been destined to be three times in Russian history.
The Venerable Monk Abel the Prophet (+ 1841)
The great crime committed with regard to the Emperor must be erased by fervently venerating him and glorifying his spiritual feat...Then the martyred Tsar and those who suffered with him will become the new heavenly defenders of Holy Rus. Then the blood that has been innocently shed will give rebirth to Russia and cover her with glory anew.
Prophecy of St John of Shanghai (+ 1966)
Archpriest Andrew Phillips,
8/21 July 2011