After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY

Some of Our History

It took me almost 2 weeks to get the Millennial article ready to post.  It will only take about 20 minutes to read.  ROCOR-MP criticizes us for being "stuck in the past," and calls us "dinosaurs."   But it is good to look back, not because of nostalgia, – but for perspective.

•  1988 (1) MP on Eve of Millennial  Orthodox Life magazine

• 1990 (4) ROCOR Position Statement  Orthodox Life magazine

Interesting Tidbit of Music History and Appreciation

shared with us by Protopsalti John-Peter Presson

... Just for information, Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov was a composer of a "school" of composers called the Mighty Handful (Bakakirev, Rimski Kosakov, Mussorsky, Cui, and Borodin) -Russian composers that were steering away from the European Romanticism of Tsaikovski and more to using actual themes from Russian cultural and religious musical subjects.

Rimsky-Korsakov - Russian Paschal Festival Overture, Op. 36 has themes from the Paschal Service interwoven.
15 minutes

p.s. A big theme in RimskyKorsakov's music was easternism and non-western scales – as one can hear approximation of this in the Sheharizad Suite
(Hans Zimmer's film music masters class ad is interesting too, but that's beside the point.)

New ROCOR-MP Book Review in Etna Monastery Publication

Book Review? or Person Review?
     An Etna bishop gives a glowing review of a new book written by a ROCOR-MP priest, lavishly praising the author and making no mention that the author went with the ROCOR-MP union in 2007, influencing a whole flock to do the same.

Orthodox Tradition (published by Etna monastery)  Winter 2017, vol. 34 no. 1, pp. 21–22
   Book Review: Blessed Pastorship: The Challenges of Pastoral Service
                                  by ROCOR-MP Archpriest Valery Lukianov

click on photo to see full size

Fr. Valery, with his church, was a painful loss for us, the remnant of the true ROCOR.  The ROCOR-MP union not only carried away our good people and our properties; the ROCOR-MP also uses our name, calling itself ROCOR.   Properly, if we need a review of Fr. Valery's book at all, the prerogative should be given to the ROCOR.  Nobody knows better than we do what a great priest Fr. Valery is; nobody feels the loss more deeply than we do.  But, however great is Fr. Valery, he still was hoodwinked by the ROCOR-MP union; so we must admit that something crucial is missing in his understanding of the Church.  Great as he is, we do not want to follow this priest, or his advice.  We have our own good priests to guide us, clergy who have been tested and proven not to fall into a false union. 

Like all of us, Vladimir Moss has his blindspots, –– but the falsity of the ROCOR-MP union is not one of them:

May 28, 2008 - Dr. Vladimir Moss


Dear Fr. Valery,

     Forgive me, who know you only by reputation (they say you are a fine pastor with the most magnificent church in the Church Abroad), for writing to you “out of the blue” like this.  I was sent a copy of your letter to Metropolitan Ilarion, and immediately felt that someone had to reply to it – and publicly.  For it contains a misunderstanding which, if allowed to go uncorrected, could lead many onto the wrong path.

     You write: “My heart is pained for the many clergy and believing children of the Church Abroad who today are not in communion of prayer with us, but who would have returned at that moment when the Moscow Patriarchate would have found it possible to leave the ecumenical World Council of Churches…”

    Are you saying that the only obstacle to union with the MP is its membership of the WCC?  I thought I must be mistaken, but looking through the rest of your letter I found no mention of sergianism, the root sin of the MP, the sin that created the MP.  Moreover, you speak of ecumenism as “the only obstacle whose removal is vitally important and obligatory for the reunion of the broken families and divided parishes of the Church Abroad” (my italics).

     Of course, the renunciation of ecumenism is indeed “vitally important and obligatory."  But to concentrate on ecumenism while not even mentioning the force behind it – sergianism – is to put the cart before the horse.  Let me explain what I mean with an example from my personal experience.

    Back in the 1970s, when I was still in the MP, my spiritual father was Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom).  It was he who, together with Metropolitan Nicodemus, the KGB general (Agent “Sviatoslav”) of sorry memory, led the MP into the WCC at the General Assembly in New Delhi in 1961.  At one point our English parish asked him to renounce his ecumenical activities.  He said that he was not able to because he was “under orders” to continue them.  Later I discovered who precisely was giving him the orders.  Some Italian parishes in Sardinia came under his omophorion when he was exarch for Western Europe.  However, these former papists in their zeal for Orthodoxy began to attack the Pope.  Then Metropolitan Anthony (as he told me personally) received a phone call from Metropolitan Juvenaly of Tula (Agent “Adamant”).  “Drop your Italian parishes,” said Juvenaly.  “We are having negotiations with the Pope over the uniate question, and he has laid it down as a condition of the success of the negotiations that you drop these parishes.”  So he dropped them… (They joined the Nestorians, but later came under Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili.)

     Do you see that the ecumenism of the MP is a product of its enslavement to the God-fighting Soviet regime – in other words, of sergianism?  In 1948 the MP condemned ecumenism; in 1958-61 it embraced it.  This volte-face had nothing to do with the personal convictions of the hierarchs, and everything to do with their spineless subjection to the God-hating atheists.  So it makes no sense to plead for the abandonment of ecumenism when its root and source, sergianism, is still flourishing.  If you cut off the top of a weed but leave its root in the ground, it simply grows up again…

     “But,” you may object, “sergianism is not relevant now that the USSR is no more, and the hierarchs are no longer in subjection to the KGB.”  For reasons I will explain later, I do not believe for one moment that the KGB no longer controls the MP.  But let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that you are right.

    Then we must conclude that the MP hierarchs are ecumenists “not out of fear, but for conscience’s sake.”  This only makes their sin deeper – and the chances of getting them to renounce it even smaller.  Was Judas justified after he went back to the high priests and threw down the money in the temple?  Not at all.  He no longer feared the high priests, or wanted their money, and was heartily disgusted with himself, but he did not repent – and so was condemned.  In the same way, the MP hierarchs have not repented of their cooperation with the atheists, and so are still condemned.  They have not repented of Sergius’ declaration (they are preparing to glorify him), or of the thousands of True Orthodox clergy they sent to their deaths by labelling them “counter-revolutionaries,” or of calling the Tsar-Martyr “Bloody Nicholas” for generations, or of their cooperation in the destruction of thousands of churches and monasteries, or of their obscene praises of the biggest murderer in history, Joseph Stalin, or of their praises of the revolution and “Leninist norms,” or of helping to export that revolution to other countries, causing the murder, both spiritual and physical, of millions more people, or of destroying most of the Russian Church Abroad…

    How can there be any union with the MP before they have repented of these evil deeds?  And how can that union take place in any other way than by the MP repenting before the True Church and being received by the True Church?

     If we follow the logic of your argument, then all the New Martyrs before about the year 1961, the entry of the MP into the WCC, were schismatics; for they rejected the MP, not because of ecumenism, which did not yet exist there at that time, but because of sergianism.  The same applies to ROCOR, which broke communion with Sergius in 1927 precisely because of sergianism.  We reject the MP because of sergianism in the first place, because it made itself into a tool of the God-fighting communists: ecumenism came later as a consequence, as the icing on the poisonous cake of apostasy…

    But let us now turn to the argument that the issue of sergianism is now irrelevant, because the Soviet Union passed away in 1991…  This must be a first in Church history: that a group of heretical churchmen are deemed to have stopped practising their heresy, not because of any change of heart or behaviour on their part, but because of a change of political regime!  Since when can any political change be considered equivalent to the abandonment by heretics of their heresy?!

    In fact, of course, from a spiritual, ecclesiastical point of view there has been no change for the better in the MP, but rather a distinct change for the worse.  Throughout the 1990s and 2000s the MP has waged a relentless war against ROCOR, the Catacomb Church and in general against any Orthodox group that refuses to submit to it.  Vile, lying propaganda, the seizing of churches and monasteries, the physical intimidation (and more) of clergy and believers, has continued unabated.  And worst of all, the justification of sergianism goes on.
Consider the following evidence of sergianism in just one year:-

1.      In May, 2004, at a liturgy in Butovo in the presence of Metropolitan Laurus, Patriarch Alexis said: “We pay a tribute of respect and thankful remembrance to his Holiness Patriarch Sergius for the fact that he, in the most terrible and difficult of conditions of the Church’s existence in the 1930s of the 20th century led the ship of the Church and preserved the Russian Church amidst the stormy waves of the sea of life.”[1]

2.      On November 1, 2004 Patriarch Alexis, according to “Edinoe otechestvo” “emphasised that it is wrong to judge Metropolitan Sergius and his actions”.[2]  For, as he said on November 9, 2001: “This was a clever step by which Metropolitan Sergius tried to save the church and clergy.”[3]  A clever step?!

3.      On January 24, 2005 Metropolitan Cyril (Gundiaev) of Smolensk, head of the MP’s Department of Foreign Relations, confirmed that the MP does not condemn sergianism: “We recognize that the model of Church-State relations [in the Soviet period] did not correspond to tradition.  But we are not condemning those who realized this model, because there was no other way of preserving the Church.  The Church behaved in the only way she could at that time.  There was another path into the catacombs, but there could be no catacombs in the Soviet space…”[4]  No catacombs, but there was the Catacomb Church.  However, the sergianists have no time or respect for the Catacomb Church…

4.      In February, 2005, there was a “Worldwide Russian People’s Council” in Moscow, to which several guests from ROCOR (L) were invited.  As Laurence A. Uzzell, president of International Religious Freedom Watch wrote for The Moscow Times: “The speeches at that gathering, devoted to celebrating the Soviet victory in World War II and linking it to the Kremlin’s current policies, suggest that the domestic church [the MP] is counting on Russian nationalism to woo the émigrés.  Especially striking is the distinctively Soviet flavor of that nationalism.  The main speeches failed to mention the victory’s dark sides, for example the imposition of totalitarian atheism on traditionally Christian societies such as Romania and Bulgaria. Patriarch Alexey II made the incredible statement that the victory ‘brought the Orthodox peoples of Europe closer and raised the authority of the Russian Church.’  If one had no information, one would think that the establishment of Communist Party governments in the newly conquered countries were purely voluntary – and that what followed was unfettered religious freedom… Sergianism is clearly still thriving, despite the Moscow Patriarchate’s occasional abstract statements asserting its right to criticize the state.  The Patriarchate’s leaders still openly celebrate Patriarch Sergei’s memory, with some even favoring his canonization as a saint.  With rare exceptions, they still issue commentaries on President Vladimir Putin’s policies, which read like government press releases.  They seem sure that this issue will not be a deal-breaker in their quest for reunion with the émigrés.  Putin’s Kremlin will be hoping that they are right.”[5]  Unfortunately, they were right: sergianism was no longer a “deal-breaker” for ROCOR.

5.      In May, 2005 Patriarch Alexis wrote a congratulatory epistle to the president of Vietnam on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the communist victory in the Vietnam War.  He called it a "glorious anniversary" and said that it opened up new horizons for the Vietnamese people.[6]

    Nothing much has changed, has it?  And how could it, when, as is affirmed by many sources, the KGB-FSB is now more powerful than ever, occupying 40% of all government posts, and the whole of the hierarchy of the MP?  Some say this is “old news” and ignore it.  But how can we ignore the fact that the MP is led by unrepentant members of the organization that has done more to destroy the Orthodox Church than any other organization in history (with the possible exception of the Jewish rabbinate), and of which its former head, Vladimir Putin once said: “There is no such thing as an ex-chekist”?  How can we ignore the fact, moreover, that, as former KGB Lieutenant-Colonel Constantine Preobrazhensky writes, “absolutely all [my italics] the bishops and the overwhelming majority of the priests worked with the KGB.”[7]

    Let us suppose, Fr. Valery, that by a miracle the MP renounces the WCC.  Presumably you will then change the semi-communion you now have with the MP (that is, everything except commemoration of the Patriarch) for full-blooded membership.  And then what will happen?

    First, a number of those who are with you now will leave you and join the True Orthodox Church.  This will undoubtedly sadden you; for as you movingly write: “If the good pastor leaves his whole flock for the salvation of one lost sheep, one cannot imagine that the leadership of the Church could simply leave a multitude of its children who have departed for ideological reasons to the whim of destiny.”  And yet it is not those who leave you then whom you will have to answer for, for they will have saved themselves.  It is those who follow you that you will have to answer for at the Last Judgement.  For they will have followed you into the abyss of the Church’s condemnation – that condemnation which falls on sergianism and all the sergianists.

     But that will be only the beginning.  Your magnificent church will then become – not immediately, of course, but eventually – one of the KGB-FSB’s listening posts in the United States.  For that is what every major MP church abroad has become.  Thus for example the MP cathedral in London which I used to visit became – as the former MI5 officer Michael Wright revealed (in a book banned in Britain but published in Australia) - the main “dropping off” point for KGB agents in London.  And it will happen to your church – unless you resist, in which case you will be removed.

     You are now on the very brink of spiritual death, for you and for your flock, Fr. Valery.  Step back while you still have time!  The temporary fig-leaf which the MP gave you in the form of non-commemoration of the Patriarch is now being removed, and is being replaced by the garments of skin given to those who have been expelled from the Paradise of the Church.  Flee, casting your garment behind you, as did Joseph the Fair!  Otherwise you will become like the fig-tree without fruit that was cursed by the Lord, or the salt that has lost its savour – good for nothing, except to be cast out and trampled on by men…

Yours in Christ,
Vladimir Moss

[1] Ridiger, in A. Soldatov, “Sergij premudrij nam put’ ozaril”, Vertograd-Inform, № 461, 21 May, 2004, p. 4 ®.
[2] “Chto ‘soglasovano’ sovmestnaia komissia MP i RPTs (L)” (What the Joint Commission of the MP and the ROCOR (L) Agreed Upon), http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-402.htm, 3 November, 2004 ®.
[3] http://www.ripnet.org/besieged/rparocora.htm?
[4] Gundiaev, in Vertograd-Inform, № 504, February 2, 2005 ®.
[5] Uzzell, “Reaching for Religious Reunion”, Moscow Times, March 31, 2005, p. 8; Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), May, 2005 ®.
6] http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/
[7] Preobrazhensky, KGB v russkoj emigratsii (The KGB in the Russian emigration),New York: Liberty Publishing House,2006, p. 41 ®.

St. Sophronius Sermon on the Presentation

St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (ca. 639)

     Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.
     The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.
     The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.
     The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal.
     Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendor.
     Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.
     By faith we, too, embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel.
     Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honor.

    St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

  Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy during the First Wave of Islamic Jihad


  1. Introduction, by Ralph H. Sidway
  2. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, References to Islam
  3. Life of St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem
  4. The Last Ancient Patriarch of Jerusalem: Saint Sophronius, by Robert Shaffern


• from Triodion introduction: Content and Inner Unity of the Triodion 

• from Triodion introduction: Meaning of the Great Fast 

• from Triodion introduction: Historical Development of the Great Fast 

• Meeting of Our Lord  Homily (1)

• Meeting of Our Lord Homily (2)

• St. Valentine's Day not for Orthodox

The Shepherd February 2017

• Why modern liberals are wrong (describes chiliasm heresy without naming it)

Why would anyone think that President Trump is an antichrist?


Anyone who thinks that President Trump is an antichrist, has not studied Antichrist closely enough.  Archbishop Averky says we need to study Antichrist, or else we will not recognize him when he comes.  Why would anyone think that President Trump is an antichrist?   Best we* can figure is some people are offended by his personality or his speech which can be rather unrefined, unbridled, (too spontaneous, and fearlessly insulting).  The exact opposite of the deceivers whose "words were smoother than oil."

Antichrist will establish One World Government and One World Church.
Politicians who push for Globalism and the New World Order are serving the antichrist spirit whether they are conscious of it or not.

Other things our Church teaches us about Antichrist is that he will make his appearance on the world stage amidst global chaos –– possibly a world war.  We also know that he will be loved instantly by everyone and charm everyone with a spellbinding charisma.

Before the advent of Antichrist, his appearance is already being prepared in the world.  "The mystery is already at work", and the forces preparing for his appearance struggle above all against lawful royal authority.  The holy Apostle Paul says that Antichrist cannot appear until "he that restrains" is removed.  St. John Chrysostom explains that "he that restrains" is the lawful, godly authority.

Such an authority struggles with evil.  The "mystery" working in the world does not want this; it does not want an authority that wars against evil; on the contrary, it wants an authority of iniquity...

       [cf. II Thess. 2:7]  Man of God p. 176, St. John's  "Talk on the Dread Judgement"

Isn't it obvious that President Trump is fighting with all his strength against the antichrist spirit and the servants of antichrist who are ushering in the NWO?  Even unworthy America, –a democracy founded by Protestants– is given a lawful authority to restrain the antichrist.  I can only be grateful to God.

So if it is not his "personality," then what it is?  Maybe his actions are seen as rash.  Well, Christ was also "rash" when he turned over the money-changers' tables.

Maybe it is not that President Trump's actions are seen as rash, but that his actions are seen as "wrong."    Then this means, for these folks, that their sense of right and wrong is out of whack.  Let right prevail! at least for a little reprieve, after the horror we endured the last 8 years.  Let us observe good in action again, for a time before the end.  Thank God for our new President!  God protect him from assassination –– from "do-gooders" who don't know the difference between right and wrong, who have right and wrong reversed in their minds.  (That could be caused by watching TV... Lady Gaga commercials...)

I'm hoping to find something I once saw written by our Church about how all the world leaders, good and bad, rule by God's allowance.  And that every nation, (Christian or Moslem or pagan or whatever), has its own angel appointed as its guardian.  If anyone comes across this writing, please forward it to me so I can post it.   Thank you. 

*"we" in this instance means some of my Orthodox friends and I, including one friend in world-orthodoxy.

Annunciation Parish Liberty Tennessee

     Of the recent schism Bishop Gregory said, "We should not be tempted to take the wrong path. We do not condemn anyone or judge anyone. We should pray for everyone."

Bishop Gregory of Sao Paulo visit to USA
Jan 28–29     St. Innnocent Mission, Pottstown, PA
Jan 29–30     Myrrh-bearing Women parish, Valley Cottage, NY
1/30 or 1/31  Meeting with Parishioners in NYC area
1/31 or 2/1   St. Nicholas Convent, Cleveland, NY
Feb 4–5       Annunciation Church, Liberty, TN
Feb 6         Ascension Church, Fairfax, VA
Feb 8         Bishop Gregory departs

Doxology Byzantine Chant from vespers to St. Maximos

DEP PSALTIC ARTS GROUP -From tonight's vespers to St. Maximos

Add star 

John-Peter Presson

Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 9:17 PM
Masters bless, Friends, Byzantines and lovers of Romanity:
This lovely slow Great Doxology has been in service at the Cathedral for roughly a year now. It is a fairly modern composition of "great-grandpa" Simon (Karas). I had not finished the Asmatikon (we just did a slightly slower recapitulation of the first Holy God) until this week. It does pack a range on it (over a full octave) and I have to pitch it fairly low on my voice, about a whole step flat, to hit the top range (fortunately it does not descend below Νη)

Vespers stichera for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son for Lord I have cried. I recorded these stichera from some of my early scores in 2015, and re-mixed, so the bass on the isokratima isn't as overwhelming. The "Woe's" in the Doxasticon were deliberately written and chanted to convey a bit of of the pathos of the ill-fortuned son. My intention was that if these were to be sung in choir, that a lone μονοφοναριος would chant them with the full schola following in the next phrase or two.

John-Peter Presson
Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Etna & Portland (ΓΟΧ)
Director of Liturgical Music -Holy Nativity of the Theotokos Cathedral -Portland, OR
Musicorum et cantorum magna est distantia, isti dicunt, illi sciunt quae componit musica. - Guido of Arrezzo

Candlemaking at ROCOR-MP Hermitage

Fr. Joseph (Nathaniel before tonsure) was catechized at Agape Community.  He entered the monastery as a novice in 2000, prior to the ROCOR-MP union, before we were aware that the unbelievable could happen.



Glen or Glenda – Hollywood homo pervert propaganda from 1953
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDP8BixW7Q8 1hr. 11 min., black & white

• Catholic Sermon against organized sports  (20 min.)
      (vulgar advertizing mentioned minute 11½)

• Update on Bus 1170: Li found not guilty because of insanity 

• Happy People living in Siberia - Documentary series
   Spring Part 1 (55 minutes)
   Summer Part 2 (55 minutes) 
   Autumn Part 3 (55 minutes)
   Winter Part 4 (55 minutes)

No reconciliation without repentance

shared with us on the Dutikow emailing list

No reconciliation without repentance
01/16/2017, "Ogonyok" magazine No 2 and Kommersant

Why the contemporary Russian elite cannot be considered the heirs of ancient Russia.

Heir to two noble lineages, Stolypin and Sluchevsky, descendant of the first wave of Russian emigres following the Revolution, President of the Non-commercial partnership “Stolypin Center for Regional Development”, Nikolai Sluchevsky shares with “Ogonyok” his views on how the Revolution divided Russia and how the reconciliation between the ‘reds’ and ‘whites’ continues to be impossible.

In order to understand what is happening in Russia today it is extremely important to understand what happened then, in the watershed period of 1917. In part this can help answer the question: does there remain anything in common between the community of the White émigré Russians and the post-Soviet Russians of today?

Nicholas Sluchevsky, Director of Stolypin Centre for Regional Development. 
Photo: Vladislav Lonshakov, Kommersant

It is important to note that, in this context, when I speak of the ‘émigré community’ I am quite specifically referring to the descendants of the 1st wave – those that left immediately after the Revolution. The 2nd through 4th waves are distinctly different from the 1st wave in that they all had experienced life in the Soviet Union directly, albeit during different periods. I also wish to make clear that, obviously, I do not speak for the entire White émigré community. (This last statement did not appear in the Russian version).

Allow me to begin with the main question: do the White emigres resemble the ‘post-Soviet’ Russians? Are we all still the same people as described in (pre-revolutionary) classical literature or not?

My answer is no, we are categorically different people, albeit speaking the same language. The experiences that each of these groups went through after the Revolution is radically different. Our respective values have split, our relationship to our history and traditions bear little resemblance to each other, and the way that we perceive ourselves is also completely different. It is hard to imagine the possibility of any deep ‘understanding’ between us. Having said that I do not mean to imply that there should be no dialog between us, or, indeed, joint efforts to develop our relationship. However, our significantly different starting points and respective world-views cannot be underestimated. 1917 was not merely a historical episode but, in fact, the end of one history and the beginning of another. In a certain sense the Soviet Union and its admirers today relate to Tsarist Russia as a murderer does to his victim – with all attendant consequences.

I recall the famous Churchillian quote: ‘nothing separates the Americans and British more than our common language’. This fully characterizes the state of relations between the White émigré community and today’s post- Soviet Russians. (Note: post-Soviet Russians refers quite specifically to those old enough to have been schooled and raised in the Soviet Union, not today’s youth) It does appear that we mouth the same words: ‘the rebirth of Russia’, ‘getting up off of our knees’, ‘Holy Russia’, but the reality is that we understand these words in completely different ways. We connect these terms with different things entirely.

Perhaps the clearest example of this lack of understanding, evoking shock in much of the White émigré community, lies in the question of ‘reconciliation and redemption’. In today’s Russia the standard view is along the lines of: some of my ancestors fought on the side of the ‘Reds’, while others on the side of the ‘Whites’, but in the end it doesn’t matter because each fought for the glory of Russia. Therefore there should be peace (reconciliation) between us! For the 100 year anniversary of the Revolution the government appears to have ordered all celebrations to be promoted in this ‘reconciled’ tone. For ‘us’ this is completely unacceptable (again, I speak for myself and those who think as I do). Quite simply, there cannot ever be reconciliation without redemption and while today’s Russia promotes this line of reconciliation without redemption, ‘we’ will continue to consider the country ‘cursed’ until such time as there is a national redemption (also missing in the original Russian text is the statement that I do not refer to ALL post-Soviet Russians thus; in fact there are far more post-Soviet Russians with historical knowledge and traditional values very much intact and in concert with ‘our’ own, than would appear at first glance.) While the government continues to insist that ‘all cats are grey’, and the Stalin myth remains popular, Russia will not find redemption. We will continue to have people in power extolling the human sacrifices made during Soviet Russia as being for the glory of ‘great Russia’ – and there certainly were many who died heroically for Russia during WWII - but why, in the 21st century, must ‘glory’ and ‘greatness’ be defined solely in such military tones, and what of the innocent victims of the gulags? Let me be perfectly clear - such ‘reconciliation’ is pure evil and dishonour all the innocent victims of Bolshevik Russia. Such ‘reconciliation’ destroys any moral compass a nation can have.

What is there to say? Lenin’s attempt to create a new ‘Soviet’ man was largely successful. Orthodox symbols, traditions, icons were wholesale exchanged for new, Soviet ones. Nevertheless, the ideas and principles carried in the historical tradition simply did not translate into this new paradigm. Service to God, Tsar and the Motherland were substituted by total subservience to the State, a fundamentally different concept. Not everyone today would understand the difference between service and subservience. This substitution of basic values with which so many citizens of Russia today grew up is likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future.

Many of today’s political and intellectual elite are attempting to recreate, at least to their own satisfaction, a ‘Russian identity’. They hope to restore the ‘historical memory’ or, to be more precise, use this ‘historical memory’ to expand their own Soviet identity which, for some reason, no longer suits them. For these ‘re-constructors’ and schemers the use of symbols and images associated with the White Movement are a very valuable resource for gaining legitimacy for their own ambitious schemes. In fact, to view the spawning of such chimera is, for many of us, very painful. What ‘reconstruction’ can there be without a profound, emotional period of adjustment, without a spiritual debt paid to the 1000 year traditions of ancient Russia? Without an honest appraisal of what was good and what was bad?

Let’s take, for instance, a seemingly trivial thing, such as the headscarves worn by so many women upon entering an Orthodox church. Most people believe that this is our native and ancient tradition but it is nearly completely absent in the White émigré community of my parents and grandparents. This was a primarily peasant tradition which rarely migrated to the cities. Today, however, most women have adopted this custom under the ‘protection’ of Holy Russia. (Author’s note: viewed as fashion I have no problem with this, but when churches prohibit women from worshipping if they lack such head covering, that I have a major issue with. Once again, it is about subservience, not service.) The source of this custom is apparent – at the time of the Revolution some 80% of the citizens were peasants, and the imagery associated with peasant life after the Revolution was preserved and extolled, while the life of anyone who could be called bourgeois or aristocratic was reviled and erased from the public memory. (I’ve been called arrogant and high-minded for making this observation.) In the end one can legitimately orient one’s identity towards peasant culture and creatively develop it, but all the options should be available and there should be freedom of informed choice by the individual. However, in any case, one must give an honest answer to oneself – for what reason are we ‘restoring’ something and what, exactly, are we restoring?

Russia, of course, has long-suffered for its 1000 years old adherence to myths and ‘sacred legends’ rather than on objective historiography. Myths are likely just as popular with the White emigres as with post-Soviet Russians, but the motivations that lie behind such myth creation are quite different. In the beloved mythology of the Soviet Union – from ‘getting up off our knees’ to the restoration of great power status – there is virtually no space for the person, the individual as a valued contributor to the motherland. Only as a symbol does the person matter. Contemporary Russian mythology is directed at the masses (purely Soviet), calling on them to band together against ‘common enemies’ which, of course, are everywhere. It is assumed that the individual is not called upon to serve based on status (as a citizen) but on ‘situation’ (e.g. threats), and this is a nuanced difference connected to the loss of personal responsibility.

To summarize my, regrettably, quite harsh comments, I must state that the contemporary Russian elite cannot by any means be considered the heirs of ancient Russia (Lenin saw to that) and native (historically speaking) Russian values.

Paradoxically, today’s Russian elite have more in common with the contemporary American elite which, by all appearances the Russian elite wants to emulate. No historical consciousness, which for centuries informed Russian governance, can be seen in today’s Russia.

For this reason, the future is far from clear and the horrors of the recent past remain so fresh. Without redemption these horrors cannot be truthfully recalled (and, hence, vanquished). Under these conditions the White emigres have a humble mission: like the medieval Catholic monks who preserved knowledge and culture for better times, so must we keep these artefacts of our history and culture and preserve them for better times.