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A Russian Orthodox Future?

12 July 2011: The Holy Chiefs of the Apostles Peter and Paul:

Western news media are today reporting the 450th anniversary of the completion of what they call ‘St Basil’s Cathedral’ in Moscow on 12 June 1561. With their usual reckless neglect of facts, they have made several basic errors in their reports.

First of all, it is not St Basil’s Cathedral, but the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil (only one of the chapels inside is dedicated to St Basil of Moscow). Secondly, it is not situated on ‘Red Square’, but on ‘The Beautiful Square’. Thirdly, in another mistranslation, the Cathedral was not built under Tsar Ivan ‘the Terrible’, but Tsar Ivan IV, ‘The Threatening’. This nickname was given to him because he was threatening to his enemies, some 3,000 of whom died opposing him. (In this he was far milder than his murderous near contemporary in England, the monstrous founder and symbol of English Protestantism, Henry VIII. This tyrannical wife-killer, who killed in all some 70,000, was the privatiser of the monasteries, which had been the refuge of the poor, according to the social security system of the time, but which he broke up and distributed to his cronies). Finally, Ivan IV did not have the architects of the Cathedral blinded after its completion, so that they could never build anything more beautiful, as the tourist myth goes. The architects lived happily on and built other churches.

What the anti-Christian Western media utterly miss is the whole sacral symbolism of the Cathedral and its site. Only the central dome of the five main domes is a Russian dome. Each of the other main four domes represents the four other World Civilisations outside Orthodoxy, grouped like the four Evangelists around Christ, Who is the central dome of Orthodoxy. Of the four other main domes, one is Roman (European), one Mauretanian (African), one Indian and one Chinese (Asian). (See our article of 1993, Chapter 58 in Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition). As for the position of the Cathedral on the Beautiful Square, it represents the sanctuary of a gigantic Cathedral, the Beautiful Square being the Church’s nave and hence its name of Beautiful.

The Church of the Protecting Veil thus represents the Protecting Veil afforded to World Orthodoxy, the World Church, by the Imperial Russian Church. In 1561, 450 years ago, this was already clear to many, for the other Local Orthodox Churches, small and provincial, then suffered under the Muslim Yoke. Only the Imperial Russian Church in the North was free. Only a global and messianic Church, and not a local and provincial Church, as extremists of both sorts (anti-Christian and anti-Russian Westernisers and conversely sectarian and obscurantist nationalists) would have had Her, could be free. Only She could free the other Local Orthodox Churches and so carry forward the long-halted general Orthodox mission to the Non-Orthodox world, East, West and South.

Little has changed today despite the long history of the plotting of the envious against Russia. This plotting entailed the Westernisation of Russia, which began with the deposition of the great Patriarch Nikon 350 years ago and then imposed serfdom, enforced by Peter I and the German monarch Catherine. Then the plotting led to the three genocidal invasions of Russia by imperialistic Western Powers in five generations (between June 1812 and June 1941). It also entailed the temporary fall into the delusions of Communism. Finally, it led to the recent and hopefully temporary, Western-encouraged separation of the Ukraine, Belarus and other Orthodox areas of the former Russian Empire from the Russian Federation.

Thus, as 450 years ago, all the Local Orthodox Churches, except one, still suffer under the yoke of others. Either they suffer under the yoke of the US Empire (previously called the British Empire), like the ancient but tiny national Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and increasingly Jerusalem, with close-shaven, dog-collared clerics and Catholic doctorates bought in Rome, who mainly know little of monastic life. Or else they suffer under the yoke of the EU, like the national Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria and increasingly the Church of Serbia, which is being humiliated, divided and crushed according to the EU’s usual divide and rule policy, and, if possible one day, the Church of Georgia.

Only the Russian Orthodox Church, 75% of the Orthodox world, remains free to carry out the messianic tasks of Orthodox Christian Civilisation. And the multinational Russian Orthodox Church includes the independent but Russian-Tradition Metropolias in Poland, Czechia and Slovakia, and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), as well as autonomous Churches in Japan and China. It may one day be the destiny of ROCOR to recover the fragments that broke off from Her under anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox political pressure in North America, France and even Finland, as well as to carry out missions elsewhere.

However, there are many problems. Contemporary Russia is still held back by its Soviet heritage of ‘ABC’, Alcoholism, aBortion and Corruption (as can be seen by the criminal negligence, caused by profit-seeking, which lies behind the recent air crash and pleasure boat disasters in Russia). Today temptations that survive from the Soviet period mingle with Western corruption, especially in Moscow. Westernisation, that is, the degradation of the education and health systems as well as the pension system, continues. In the countryside, hit by Soviet ecological disaster, there is desperate poverty, for it has never recovered from the State-organised robbery of collectivisation – the Soviet imitation of the State-organised robbery of the Enclosures collectivisation in England some 150 years earlier. Meanwhile Church building is slowing, the rate is now fewer than three new churches a day.

Pessimists, both inside Russia and outside Russia repeat the prophecies that the Church will grow corrupt when cupolas are regilded and new churches are built, as in Russia today. Others repeat the prophecies of danger when an Eighth Council is convened, as modernists speak of doing. However, we should be cautious of misinterpreting such prophecies and applying them to the wrong period. All too often sectarians twist these prophecies to justify their futile, personality-cult schisms. Some of these prophecies were made before the Revolution and were in fact warnings to the Church then, and so were proved true then, they do not concern today.

The fact that there are corrupt individual representatives of the Church in Russia is nothing new. It was so during the Soviet period and before the Revolution and any who studies Russian history and any who lives Russian reality knows it. Of the twelve disciples, one was called Judas Iscariot. It was ever so and ever shall be so. This is the weakness of human nature. The scandal of Judas Iscariot did not make anyone leave the Church then, neither should it do so today. As for an Eighth Universal Council, this will not happen. The Seven Councils have affirmed for all time all that is needed as regards Church teaching. There will only be a meeting of bishops to deal with administrative questions.

Today, outside Russia also, huge tasks, responsibilities – and opportunities - lay before all us Russian Orthodox. The Non-Orthodox world, both Protestant and Catholic, is collapsing. Millions await Orthodox missionaries in Africa, Guatemala and Brazil. And yet many converts to Orthodoxy are outside the Russian Church. There are two reasons for this: firstly, the typical Protestant divisiveness of some converts, which wants to create tiny, bishopless, Traditionless and undisciplined empires in separate ‘jurisdictions’ (a Non-Orthodox word); secondly, the lack of authentic Russian Orthodox bishops.

Many people have been tragically lost to the Church and even chased away from the Church, in the UK and in France, then in Latin America and elsewhere, because of the lack of local Orthodox bishops who are motivated by missionary work, who speak the local language, who understand the local culture and can deal competently with local people, while remaining faithful to the Tradition. The same tragedy may still happen elsewhere. It means that local priests and people are left to their own devices, to manage as they can, without support.

If human-beings fail to rise to the task and calling, the future is gloomy. God will take away the great opportunities He has given Russians. They will fall further, increasingly into suicide, its population will shrink, Siberia will be occupied by Japan and China and the Western Powers will strip it of its natural resources. Instead of global Orthodoxy, there will only be vulgar globalisation, the mediocrity of Westernisation and the destruction of everything of spiritual value. So the end will inevitably come. Never has there been a greater need for the Imperial Orthodox Church, the Church of canonical Tradition which can act globally, assuming Her high responsibilities and calling.

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