Written by Vladimir Moss



The news, both political and ecclesiastical, is full of stories of Greco-Russian contacts and conflicts. In the political sphere, relations are good: while Greece implodes politically, socially and financially, the Russians appear to be preparing to rush into the breach with significant economic and military help and investment. Greek politicians, for their part, appear to have taken Putin with his cold, chekist smile to their hearts. Thus “Panos Kammenos, a former ND deputy who opposes austerity and admires Mr. Putin, says Greece should turn to Russia if, as expected, it needs yet another bail-out. (Russia has already lent Cyprus €2.5 billion, or $3.3 billion, to avert the island’s default.) Mr. Kammenos’s new party, Independent Greeks, is predicted to sweep into parliament with around 10% of the vote…”[1]

In the ecclesiastical sphere, however, the relationship is much more competitive. The patriarchs of Constantinople and Moscow continue in their unholy rivalry over who should have the dubious honour of leading the Local Churches of “World Orthodoxy” into submission to the Pope. Constantinople’s gains in London, Paris and, most importantly, Ukraine have recently been checked by Russian gains on Mount Athos. Thus Abbot Ephraim of the modernist and corrupt Athonite monastery of Vatopedi has developed close links with the Moscow Patriarchate, while his True Orthodox neighbour, Abbot Methodius of Esphigmenou, is supported by Moscow in his rebellion against the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Since the two patriarchates are clients of Russia and America respectively, this is the old Cold War being waged within the citadel of Orthodoxy.[2] In True Orthodoxy, meanwhile, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens has rejected union with the Russian True Orthodox Church because the Serbian True Orthodox have chosen to receive a bishop from the Russians rather than remain without a bishop under him…

The famous phrase, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”, should perhaps be rephrased today to read: “Beware of Russians bearing gifts”. For the Greeks, like the Trojans in the Iliad, are chronically naïve when it comes to Slavic leaders coming to Greece with offers of friendship and gifts. Thus Kammenos is foolish if he does not know that Putin – a former head of the KGB, a freemason and the richest man in Europe[3] - is not at all interested in Orthodox brotherhood, but only in vengeance on the West for its defeat in the Cold War (which he calls “a geopolitical tragedy”) and the re-establishment of the Soviet empire. To this end, control of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean would be a very important strategic means. Hence the need to send Trojan horses full of diplomatic and financial gifts to turn the Greek elites away from their traditionally pro-western orientation…

As for Mount Athos, it, too, has been deceived by visiting Slavic dignitaries. Thus in the 1970s the secret KGB general and Catholic bishop Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad came to the Holy Mountain. At that time, there were still pious monks on Athos who understood what communism was, and God helped them to understand further by turning the water black while the KGB bishop was on the Holy Mountain. But after the supposed fall of communism in 1991, the monks of a monastery visited by Slobodan Milošević were naively surprised to learn that he was an atheist – as if the leader of the Serbian communist party could be anything else! And now the neo-Soviet leaders Putin and Medvedev have taken to visiting Athos – with purely spiritual motives, of course!

Unfortunately, the Greeks have always had a tendency to ignore the reality of Soviet and neo-Soviet Russia and side emotionally with the Russians against the West, while taking from the West both military protection (NATO) and a great deal of money (the European Union). Blaming their present ills, not on themselves, but on “the new world order” (as if not paying their taxes and fiddling their books was something they were forced to do by the Bildebergers!), they share the general illusion that communism has disappeared forever, and believe that the Russians are now the “good guys” against the ever-evil Americans and Brits (and, more recently, the Germans). This is in sharp contrast to the pre-revolutionary period, when, in spite of the fact that the Russians – truly the “good guys” then – were the main benefactors and protectors of the whole Orthodox oikoumene, the Greeks treated them with suspicion and ingratitude, calling them “Pan-Slavists” simply because they did not support their “Pan-Hellenist” and totally unrealistic dreams of resurrecting the Byzantine empire and exerting dominion over the Balkans…

In the First World War, the Greeks (like the Bulgarians) did not rally to the side of the Russian Tsar until the Tsar had already fallen. The failure of the Balkan Orthodox (except the Serbs) to unite behind the Tsar was a great tragedy; for in early 1917 the Russian armies were on the point of crushing the Turks and taking Constantinople. Instead, the Greeks launched their own madcap invasion of Turkey in 1922 which was crushed by the renascent Turks supported by – the Bolsheviks…

Thereafter, by the mercy of God, the Greeks were the only important Orthodox nation that did not experience the horrors of communism at first-hand for any extended period. They remained free from communist invasion largely because of American aid and membership of NATO. But freedom from invasion did not mean freedom from communist influence: within the country the communist party remained strong and active – it has been particularly prominent in the recent demonstrations on the streets of Athens, – while the socialists and even their rivals, the New democrats, ignoring the lessons of 1989-91, have made Greece into the biggest “nanny state” in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Greek Orthodox population have remained largely oblivious of the terrible sufferings of their co-religionists in the rest of Eastern Europe. The incongruity of this can be understood if we imagine that a Christian nation in the fourth century had remained oblivious to the Diocletian persecution raging around it. To this day, Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and the Russian new martyrs are neither venerated nor, to a large extent, even known about in Greece. It is as if the main events of twentieth-century history have completely passed them by… And yet the communist persecution – which may not have ended yet – was the most intense and devastating in Christian history, far exceeding that under Diocletian.

This ignorance by the Greeks of the most important political and ecclesiastical fact of the last one hundred years, together with the vital lessons to be drawn from it, constitutes a kind of “psychological iron curtain” between Greek and Slavic, especially Russian Orthodoxy – but one that may well have serious dogmatic and political consequences one day. For example, the experience of the Russian revolution, which was brought about by anti-monarchist liberal and socialist sentiment, has engendered a deep-rooted suspicion of “demonocratic” politics in Russia, and a fervent hope in the return of the Orthodox autocracy, that is completely lacking in Greece. In fact, monarchist feeling has been on the rise throughout Orthodox Eastern Europe for several years – except in Greece, which still adheres to the old pagan heresy of democratism that was condemned by the Holy Fathers such as St. Gregory the Theologian.

The Greeks like to talk about “the new world order” and see themselves as great defenders of the world against it. And undoubtedly - in journals such Boanerges, published by Esphigmenou – they have identified important phenomena in the western world that are preparing the way for the Antichrist. But in their failure to understand that democratism and welfarism are essential building blocks in the philosophical structure of the “old world order” of socialism and communism, and that they are equally important building blocks of its more sophisticated successor, the new world order, they show a lamentable failure to learn the lessons of the last one hundred years.

This leads them to the absurdity of thinking that the “old world order” of militant atheism is dead, and that Russia and China, now “reformed” and “cleansed”, can act as a kind of counter-weight to the new world order state of America.[4] It is true, of course, that, while adopting most of the vices, and buying (or, more often, stealing) many of the technological innovations of the new world order, Russia and China are aiming to destroy its leader, America. Both states are now building up their military at such a rapid rate as to constitute a real threat to American hegemony in the not-so-distant future.[5] China, in particular, is growing faster than any nation in human history, with extremely threatening consequences for the economic prosperity and financial independence of the West.[6] Moreover, while the new world powers grow ever more unstable as the corrosive ideologies of democracy and “human rights” eat into what little unity they still have, the “old world” powers, and especially China, have retained at least a superficial unity and stability by refusing to allow some of the craziest ideas of these ideologies to penetrate their societies.

But is this to be welcomed?! Are we supposed to applaud the resurgence of the former militant atheist states of Russia and China, which in the not-so-distant past murdered, physically and spiritually, more people, including more Orthodox Christians, than any power in history, and remain largely unreformed and unexorcised of their murderous demons to this day?! As if the unrepentant successors of Stalin and Mao could save the world for Holy Orthodoxy!

In fact, the idea, so beloved by the Greeks, that America is about to found the world empire of the Antichrist looks extremely unlikely. Much more likely is that America and the West will collapse soon – and that the collapse will be rapid and catastrophic. As many demographers, sociologists, political scientists, economists and historians have argued, the western world led by America is descending into powerless anarchy rather than ascending to universal hegemony.[7] America is now massively in debt (70% of it owing to China!), and its main ally, the European Union, is teetering on the edge of financial and social collapse (especially in Greece!) The recent failures of supposedly the world’s only super-power and its allies in poverty-stricken Somalia and Afghanistan hardly suggest that it is about to take over the whole world, but rather that it is going the way of all the debt-ridden empires in history – to ruin![8]

Such a scenario is in accordance with the prophecies of the Orthodox elders, such as Elder Aristocles of Moscow and Mount Athos (+1918), who said: “America will feed the world, but will finally collapse”. This collapse will enable the old evil empires to fight back and destroy America’s “new world order” before being themselves destroyed. Indeed, several of the Russian prophets and elders, such as St. John of Kronstadt and Elder Theodosius of Minvody, prophesy that at the climax of the Third World War Russia and China will destroy each other, proving that the kingdom of Satan, being divided against itself, must fall…

The Greeks’ Achilles heel is their national pride; Greek nationalism, including ecclesiastical nationalism, is a centuries-old phenomenon that has already led to more than one church schism, as well as to national disasters such as the war with Turkey in 1922-23. [9] In modern times, as we have noted, this has led to a profound ignorance of the history of modern Russia since the revolution, which in turn has led to a failure to understand, not only the full depth of the revolution’s evil (for no socialist can fully understand the revolution, and Greece is profoundly socialist), but also that the revolution has not been decisively defeated, but continues in a relatively softer, but more subtle and no less dangerous form in today’s Russian Federation. For like the head of the apocalyptic beast that was “as if mortally wounded” (Revelation 13.13), but recovered, and was then “granted to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Revelation 13.7), Soviet Russia has recovered from its defeat in 1991 and is now almost ready to throw off its peace-loving, democratic mask. Perhaps its present or future leader will even claim to be “the new Constantine” so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24.24) – the Orthodox Christian commonwealth. This the Greeks, both religious and a-religious, both World Orthodox and True Orthodox, seem, with few exceptions, unable to understand; for, on the one hand, True Orthodox Russians are rejected by True Orthodox Greeks as “unbaptized”, while on the other hand neo-Soviet Russians bearing the most deceptive of gifts are warmly received…

If Orthodoxy is to survive in the modern world, it must be, in accordance with the ancient Serbian slogan, “above East and West” – that is, independent of both East and West, both the old and the new world orders. We must reject both the sergianism and neo-sovietism of the East and the ecumenism, democratism and “humanrightism” of the West. And we must renew our hope in the coming of “the new David” of St. Seraphim’s prophecy, the True Orthodox Tsar who will first cleanse the East of her traitor politicians and churchmen, and then bring her life-bearing waters to the parched and starving West…

To that end, we must cast off our parochial nationalisms that only divide us against each other, venerate with fervour the true saints of all nations, and remember the words of the “old” David: “Turn us back, O God of our salvation, and turn away Thine anger from us. Wilt Thou be wroth with us unto the ages? Or wilt Thou draw out Thy wrath from generation to generation? O God, Thou wilt turn and quicken us, and Thy people shall be glad in Thee…” (Psalm 84.4-6)

Vladimir Moss.

March 24 / April 6, 2012.

[1] “An Orthodox Friendship”, The Economist, April 7-13, 2012, p. 38.

[2] David Keys, “An Orthodox Flashpoint”, BBC History Magazine, vol. 13, no. 4, April, 2012, pp. 18-20. Another example of Muscovite clandestine penetration of the Holy Mountain is a DVD distributed by Esphigmenou monastery’s journal, Boanerges, but made by the Moscow Patriarchate and presented by Fr. Tikhon Shevkunov, Putin’s reputed spiritual father. The subject is an analysis of the Fall of Constantinople in which much emphasis is laid on the roles of evil aristocrats within and western barbarism without. However, the real purpose of the DVD is not historical analysis, but contemporary political allegory: for “the Fall of Constantinople, the Second Rome”, read “the possible Fall of Moscow, the Third Rome”; for evil Greek aristocrats, read evil Jewish oligarchs; for western barbarism then, read NATO expansion now; for the absolute need for a powerful and independent autocrat then, read the same need in Russia now…

[3] See Luke Harding, “Putin, the Kremlin power struggle and the $40bn fortune”, The Guardian, December 21, 2007, pp. 1-2.

[4] See, for example, the caption to the photo of Russian and Chinese soldiers and politicians in Boanerges, no. 57, September-October, 2011, p. 74.

[5] “China’s Military Rise”, The Economist, April 7-April 13, 2012, pp. 25-30.

[6] Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money, New York: The Penguin Press, 2008, chapter 6.

[7] See, for example, Francis Fukuyama, The Great Disruption, London: Profile Books, 1999.

[8] Niall Ferguson, “Complexity and Collapse”, Foreign Affairs, March-April, 2011, pp. 18-32.

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