Psalm 28:7

“My heart hath trusted in God, and I am helped : Therefore my heart danceth for joy, and in my song will I praise Him”.

On the one hand, we are told to repent our sins and failings, and on the other hand, we dance for joy because of our trust in God.

The idea that Christians should be dour, joyless people perpetually in mourning is, I think a false one. Our mourning for sins is private, we think on our sins, we re-pent – rethink our lives in the light of our remembrance of our sins.

Then we get on with life and much of that is our dancing for joy – the joy of the life that God has given us, the joy of the love of God, the joy of our very being as His creatures. We have so much to be joyful about.

When we help others who are in need, we can do so in joy. When we pray at the Divine Liturgy we should do so in joy. We have confessed our sins beforehand and been assured of His forgiveness, so joy should ensue. The singing of the Liturgy should burst forth in joy.

Christ nowhere enjoined a sour joyless way of living. Yes, he lamented that Jerusalem – the people in her – had not known the hour of His presence in her, and accordingly repented, then reacted with joy at the presence of their Messiah. But He did not say that we should as the Pharisees go around in public in sackcloth and ashes, in fact he forbade such behaviour.

Christianity is the religion that brings us to quiet joy. Joyfulness, because Christianity tells us that Christ Himself did the major hard work for us, enabling us to be released from the bonds of sin and fault and failing.

Christianity is about repentance first and joy second – but both are there and we should have both. We do repent, we confess our sins, we are careful to rehearse them before God, and be assured that our forgiveness is forthcoming. That done, we are joyful in our release and we thank and praise God for having made this release available to us through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Luke 19:41
+ And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And He went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My House is the house of prayer: But ye have made it a den of thieves. And He taught daily in the Temple.
We Orthodox Christians are well aware that our times are no normal times. This past hundred years has been just about the most turbulent in the whole history of mankind with two horrendous world wars, multiple millions of people killed in Russia, Germany and Asia as well as virtually every other country, by their own governments as well as by enemies. And now, what have we? Have we peace? With major armed campaigns and wars every decade of the past sixty years.
To this year of Our Lord, what now? Are we not right now sinking into precisely the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science that Winston Churchill feared? Christians are being killed literally daily throughout the moslem middle east. Nearly fifty million abortions are performed worldwide every year (50,000,000) Stalin achieved that figure in his whole career – we achieve it every year. Assisted suicide is permitted in many countries. Paedophilia is revealed as a worldwide phenomenon, homosexual marriage is lawful in many first world countries and being pressed upon countries reluctant to have it. Active homosexual clergy are now permitted in many so-called Christian churches. Homosexuality is openly proclaimed and admired throughout the population. Corruption is almost daily revealed in all levels of government.
As one Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop said to me just the other day “we are indeed into Whore of Babylon time”. The Whore (idolatress) is from the Book of the Revelation “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” That “fornication” is the universal infidelity to Christ. We are now freed from The Church, we no longer even pay lip service to the moral guidance of Christianity, newspapers, governments, the media daily deride and laugh at the morality and beliefs of the Christians, the idolatries of the world have taken over openly not only the non-believers, but also many of those who profess to believe. Those who try to hold to the standards are openly persecuted in the courts – courts which within living memory upheld Christian values.
The Book of Revelation is no longer something we read, it is now something we are living.
The world around us is truly “drunk with the wine of this fornication” – this freedom from virtually all moral restraint.
And we, we genuine Orthodox Believers – what are we doing? We are stupified, we sit entranced, watching the world spiral into its spiritual oblivion, we are like rabbits mesmerised by a snake. We do nothing.
What can we do then? Isolated, we can do little. Even together could we re-Christianise the world? I don’t know.
Given a great prophetic leader, we might have some success, but the predictions given us must come true. We can and should try, we should fight to the end to bring as many as we can to a true belief. But we must also guard fanatically our own family and friends. This is no time for laxity or assuming the good. Evil – palpable evil of enormous proportions surrounds us. The best evidence of that is people who discount any call to vigilance, for such do the work of the Whore.
And in The Church are we safe? By no means, for the Whore’s men are already amongst us. So we need to carefully guard our own souls first. I see no point in looking at others to decide who is whom for we cannot guess. We will know our fellow true followers of Christ, and it is with them that we should gather together. Where there is corruption, we should veer away immediately – whatever kind of corruption – financial, sexual, laxity, complacency – it is where we should take ourselves away.
Eventually only a small, scattered remnant will be left. When that time will come, I cannot tell and neither can anyone else. Do not believe those who give you times. How long this period of Whoredom and Tribulation lasts we have not the slightest idea. All we know is that we are warned.
Make no mistake: The Whore of Babylon will be enormously attractive, and many will be drawn in.
Well may Christ weep over Jerusalem, and the whole world. We have not known the time of our visitation when Christ ruled through His Body here on earth. Now the consequences of our laxity and complacency are upon us.


From a purely secularist point of view, Jesus Christ is still the single most important figure in human history. Despite the number of moslems in the world, Christ has manifestly affected more people and countries throughout history.

So let’s look at the real Jesus and see what we can make of Him. For a start, He was historically proveable, He is mentioned by a number of non-Christian sources of the time: Thallus 52AD, Cornelius Tacitus 125AD, Mara Bar-Serapion 70AD, Phlegon (80-140AD), Pliny the Younger (61-113AD), Suetonius (69-140AD), Lucian of Samosata: (115-200 A.D.), Celsus (175AD), Josephus (37-101AD), even the Jewish Talmud includes the ancient writing: “It was taught: On the day before the Passover they hanged Jesus. ……. and they hanged him on the day before the Passover. (b. Sanhedrin 43a)

All these tell us that there was an historical Jesus, and more to the point, they testify, if you read them, to a number of crucial points about Jesus and His followers. That Jesus lived in Judea, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and had followers who were persecuted for their faith in Christ. He was wise and well-known and died for His teachings, that the Jewish leadership was responsible for His death and that His followers adopted His teachings. He lived, was crucified, and there was an earthquake and darkness at the point of His crucifixion, He had the ability to accurately predict the future, was crucified in the reign of Tiberius Caesar and showed His wounds after He was came back. His followers believed He was God, and met regularly to worship Jesus. Their commitment to their belief that Jesus was God was extremely strong. He taught about repentance, He lived in Palestine, worked amazing miracles, was accused by the Jews, crucified under Pilate and had followers called Christians. He had disciples who were martyred for their faith (one of whom was named Matthai), and was executed on the day before the Passover.

That’s a lot of outside near contemporary correlation of what the Church was teaching about Jesus. So it seems reasonable for us to conclude that Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical person.


Jesus was the leader, the central figure of a group of men who were all loosely connected by family, social or business situations.

At some point, maybe in his late twenties, Jesus left His family business – which was probably house-building, but could have been plain carpentry since the word is the same for both professions, and set about gathering a group of followers. From the accounts that we have He probably started this before He began public preaching.

Certainly He appears to have watched Saint John the Baptist’s ministry (for he was the Forerunner), possibly just as someone who was there in the crowd, however being there, He had certainly come to Saint John’s attention, enough for Saint John to understand that He was indeed different. Saint John recognised by Divine inspiration, that Jesus was indeed the Messiah long before any other person. But Saint John still required that Jesus Himself should state this, hence his follower’s questions to Jesus (Matt 11).

Jesus began His own ministry a little later, attracting fairly early on some of Saint John’s people – probably at Saint John’s direction.

Jesus taught differently though, unlike Saint John, Jesus taught as someone having real personal authority, and in some ways, His teaching was radical – at least in the eyes of those in religious or political positions. It was essentially however radical in its teaching of love of God and love for one’s fellow man.

The radical challenge that Jesus posed to Judaism was a new relationship of God to the people which would seem to eliminate – or decrease – the need for the great structure that Judaism had built up. Jesus gave everyone the right to address God as Father, because He Himself was God, He knew intimately the relationship that God wanted with His people. This however meant that the chief priests and their friends had reason to think that Jesus’ approach threatened their own status as intermediaries. Indeed, for centuries it was the Prophets and priests of Judaism who had talked to God on behalf of the people.

Then there was Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple of those who sold Temple money for ordinary money, which could well have been the final straw – this was a very profitable business. His stating that His doctrines would set family member against family member would have aroused worry amongst the establishment as to what He was planning – was it an insurrection as others had already tried?

The charges brought against Jesus by the Sanhedrin of those days imply that Jesus’ mission was very far from a failure since significant numbers of people, including some influential people, had accepted that Jesus was indeed a prophet, perhaps even the Messiah for whom they had long been waiting. He may have had around five hundred followers with groups in existence from Tyre to Jerusalem, and while we know of at least one member from the Sanhedrin, there are stories of others from the Sadducees, Pharisees etc.

So Jesus would be a problem to the government from both religious and political points of view. With the major groupings in Israel at the time – the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Zealots, the Essenes, all having different perspectives on Judaism, this was a context in which religion and politics were intertwined in a very complex way.

Israel was not isolated – it was part of the Roman Empire with the Jewish diaspora spreading from Alexandria through Greece to Rome and Odessa, travellers were constantly coming and going and pilgrims came in in large numbers to visit the temple, so they were not in some isolated Jewish context without external influences.

Add to that the fact that many Jews living outside of Israel – especially in modern-day Turkey were in close contact with the Galatian Druids whose five hundred year period was coming to a close and their prophecy that a great king would arise (hence the Magi). All Israel was in some turmoil about the Roman occupation and the ideas of some other societies in the area reinforced this, with the result that the number of wandering Rabbis and revolutionaries was increasing. This was quite rightly seen by many particularly religious people, as the world coming to some sort of significant turning point: The Jews expecting the Messiah imminently, the Druids expecting a great king to arise somewhere and the Romans paranoically trying to hold their empire together, while the Jewish king, knowing all this worried that he would be displaced and the Jewish religious leaders likewise.

Jesus disciples then, lived in this world. They were variously fishermen – that is, loosely related men working their business together, and other men of business such as Matthew, or Luke the physician. Peter was at least as well-off as Jesus’ own builder family was. They lived in or around Nazareth – a Jewish area surrounded by several gentile towns.

And of course, there were the women too – recorded as sustaining Him of their substance, and Lazarus’ sisters, Mary Magdalene and the other Marys not to mention His Mother. These women were Believers and serious assistants. Look at the Samaritan woman at the well – a messenger to her own people. The women deserve a study all of their own.

Former lives, mistakes, offences count for nought, it was their ready belief and their acceptance of Jesus for who He truly was that counted.

Around 200 AD, Sextus Julius Africanus, cited by Eusebius (Church History 1.7.14), speaks of “Nazara” as a mere village in “Judea” and writes of desposunoi – relatives of Jesus – who he claims kept the records of their descent with great care.

So the context of Jesus is important. He was amongst His own people and His own group of followers within that society which knew Him and His family quite well.

We have all known someone who manages to be the centre of attention in a group, but this Jesus is somehow different He doesn’t need to try – He just naturally is. He is strong, a totally compelling presence. Human yes, ordinary – but extraordinary – something that can’t be understood easily. There is no getting away from it: When He was there, everyone was listening. He didn’t have a rabbinical beth ha-Midrash or beth ha Talmud education, but yet He knows everything there is to know. The entire education of everyone in the Jewish school system of those days was in the Scriptures, yet He seems to know them by heart, better than any Rabbi. Even those who disagree seemed to listen and couldn’t really answer Him and His statements were on another plane entirely, a gracious and yet altogether divine plane. His presence was in a sense, confusing, something that couldn’t easily be explained – unless of course He was in fact God.

In Israel at the time – especially because of the Zealots, there were a number of would-be messiahs and other leaders of groups. Mostly they seem to have been given to violent solutions, however there were also many wandering Rabbis and teachers. But what then, of Jesus? Well it is all in His authority and His teaching of the fatherhood of God, His love for mankind, and of course there were the miracles which were done by no other teacher – these set Him apart and well above the other wandering teachers. The miracles gave His teaching the greatest authority.

Within all this however He was surrounded by the Apostles and the Disciples. We know from the time of the sending of the seventy out to preach across Israel that there must have at least been around a hundred men relatively close whom He knew to have understood His teaching, keeping Him company. When He travelled with them (it must have been quite a movement requiring some organisation – in fact a major missionary event), they didn’t always understand where or why they were going, some of them asked questions, discussed things and they often got somewhat difficult answers, as a group of Jews, there was probably endless discussion among them. Yet they had to be there, to be left out was unthinkable, what they heard scared them, puzzled them and ofttimes passed right over their understanding, for their eyes were not yet opened. Nevertheless His presence made it all reassuring – He certainly knew much that was hidden from His followers, He had answers to questions they hadn’t even asked – He was compelling, people had be there with Him. They didn’t know it yet, but He was God incarnate, which was of course the answer.

And then He was taken away from their midst in the most frightening of circumstances, arrested and immediately questioned and tried, of course they felt at risk themselves, all of them were afraid. Jesus was quickly executed in public as a criminal, for something that wasn’t really clear to them at all. He was gone.

They were devastated for this wasn’t just a friend, for He had told them that He was the Son of God – those who had been with Him at Mount Tabor had passed on their experience there, they knew that it was true but couldn’t understand how it could be, but they had heard it from His own lips. He was the centre, their reason for being, He was irreplaceable, they couldn’t go on without Him – because He was the centre. Then suddenly He reappeared amongst them – no doubt that it is Him – there He was and very real. This was the real Jesus back amongst them, talking to them, teaching them a whole lot more and now there was absolutely no doubt, they had been in the presence of God Himself.

Saint John the Divine tells us that Jesus taught His people a great deal more than is recorded in the Gospels. That makes a lot of sense, since He would have been in fairly constant conversation with them for at least three years and it seems unlikely that He was given to idle chatter. This in depth teaching only bore fruit after the Ascension when they could see it all in context and understand the depth of what He was saying.

This explains the fact that the Apostles and others display such a profound understanding and passed it on to the succeeding generations. Saint John the Divine (theologian) lived on to great age and taught several generations of men who would become the early Fathers of the Church. These Fathers guided by the Holy Spirit and with the detailed teaching passed from Jesus, could and did leave for us profound teachings explaining the Scriptures and our relationship with God.

Jesus was therefore an historical fact, there’s really no denying that – too many others mentioning Him – He was the Son of God by His own admission and other’s estimation. How He and His Apostles and Disciples operated in first century Israel is the real point.

He was by no means obscure in Israel during His ministry – all Israel would have heard of Him, and seen Him and his multitude of followers as they moved around the country. His ministry would, for the period, have been a fairly major undertaking – He was trying to speak to all of Israel, for the Jews were to be the first to hear, they had the first right of refusal.

His interacting with His followers and ordinary people daily with discussion, argument and speculation – that much we know from Scripture, and Jesus word was the final one in these situations. He was the undisputed leader. He had friends outside the group too – Lazarus and his family – who were also believers. Within that group of Apostles and Disciples, there was something which survived entirely His death and Ascension. So strong was His presence that the Apostles and Disciples personally survived for nearly a century, separated geographically as they carried His distinct message as far as they could. The Apostolic missions went from Britain to India and from Africa to Georgia proclaiming the love of God now to all mankind beyond just the Jews.

Jesus’ message was indeed very different, a teaching that the Empire had not come across before and which in the long run it was powerless to stop.

Jesus presence here in earth was such that it is still powerfully felt today two thousand years later.


Men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man attended to you by God with mighty works and signs and wonders which God did to Him in your midst, as you yourself know – this Jesus delivered up according to a definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it (Acts 2:22-24).

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father (Jn 10:17-18).

Neither the Gospel nor the Church teaches that Jesus was lying dead and then was magically revived and walked around in the same way that he did before he was killed. The Gospel does not say that the angel moved the stone from the tomb in order to let Jesus out. The angel moved the stone to reveal that Jesus was not there (Mk 16; Mt 28).

At His resurrection Jesus comes back in a new and glorified form. Appearing in different places almost simultaneously. He is difficult to recognise (Luke 24:16; Jn 20:14). He eats and drinks to show that he is not a ghost (Luke 24:30, 39). He allows himself to be touched (John 20: 27, 21:9) – and yet He appears in the midst of His people, “the doors being shut” (Jn 20:19, 26). And He “vanishes out of their sight” (Luke 24:31). Christ indeed is risen, but His resurrected body is full of life and divinity. It is human in the new form of the eternal Kingdom of God. So it is too with the resurrection of the dead.

The resurrection of Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection of all mankind. It is the fulfilment of the Old Testament, “For Thou doest not give me up unto Sheol, or let Thy Godly one see corruption” (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:25-36). In Christ all is fulfilled: O Death, where is now thy sting? O Sheol, where is thy victory? (Hos 13:14).

And David answered and said, “I know the words being shouted, since by His Spirit I prophesied the same; and now I say to you what I said before: ‘The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle: He is the King of glory.” ………

And as David spoke in this way, so the Lord of Majesty appeared in the form of a man and lightened the eternal darkness and broke the unbreakable bonds. And His everlasting might brought relief to us that sat in the deep darkness of our transgressions and in the shadow of death of our sins……….

Then the King of Glory in his majesty trampled on death,
and laid hold of Prince Satan and delivered him to the power of Hades, and drew Adam to Him, to His own brightness……..

And the Lord stretching out His hand, said, “Come to Me, all My holy ones who bear My image and My likeness. You that by the tree and the devil and death were condemned, behold now the devil and death condemned by the Tree!” And immediately all the saints were gathered together under the hand of the Lord. And the Lord holding the right hand of Adam, said to him, “Peace be to you with all your children, my righteous ones.”

Blessed is he that came from heaven that he might dwell on earth, was made man that he might destroy the sins of the flesh, was made a victim that through his passion he might give eternal life to them that believe, the same Lord Jesus Christ, (Liturgy of Saint John the Divine (Stowe)

Come Forth ye blessed of My Father Inherit of the kingdom Alleluia, prepared for you from the foundation of the world,  Alleluia.  Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be Come ye forth!  As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end.  Amen.  Come ye forth! (Liturgy of Saint John the Divine (Stowe).


The difference between Jesus and Mahommed are startling. Since Mahommed followed his writing by leading an army of armed men on a swathe of murderous battles, killing thousands of people, and after his death, were murders amongst his followers and more battles between his followers even until today – it is unsurprising that he is quite well documented.

Jesus on the other hand led only a small army of preachers of the fatherhood of a loving God. Yet we know that He is still well documented by those outside His movement. His teaching reached a much wider part of the world in peace than Mahommed’s ever did by war and murder.

We know that Lucifer was an angel who disagreed with God’s method of saving mankind. Lucifer had a different strategy in mind for reaching what he thought was God’s goal. Hence his fall from grace and his ongoing campaign as satan.

It is indeed arguable that Mahommed’s methods are entirely the strategy of Lucifer, and clearly opposed to those of Christ. Mahommed denies the Divinity of Christ – as indeed Lucifer would want to deny Christ and His Way.

We know that we are warned that if even an angel should teach something other than Christ’s teaching, we should shun him as satan. We know too that satan can appear as an angel of light since he is an angel himself. Little doubt that the angel who dictated the koran to Mahommed was in fact Lucifer, dictating his own strategy. This then is the strategy of satan out in the open and pursued by millions in the struggle with Christ and the Way of God.



Digital Camera

I have been thinking much of late about Orthodoxy in these British Isles.  If one separates it into the essentially immigrant-ethnic ghettos on the one hand and the former Anglican convert missions on the other, the picture isn’t all that marvellous.

One lot seem uninterested in mission and largely persist in worshipping in a language other than English ….. not much help to would-be converts – even if they are welcomed.  The other lot are rather inward-looking, having saved themselves from the slide of Anglicanism, many of them have not yet become more than superficially Orthodox.

There are of course quite a few parishes scattered across the country which are making valiant efforts to become “British Orthodox” in some sense or other.  Yes, of course their origins tend to show through, but they are there and they are trying hard.  I think this is to be encouraged.

Most of the people that I know wring their hands about the destructive ethno-separatism – the jurisdictionalism, and that is probably the most difficult problem confronting Orthodoxy in the British Isles today.

For a start, the jurisdictions make no sense to the would-be convert, he tends to see them as divisions, and doesn’t want to belong to a divided Church.  Telling him that we are really all one Church doesn’t help much, when the divisions are all too obvious.

Certain people – and Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) stands out here – do manage to transcend the jurisdictions, but it is rare at the leadership level.  There is unfortunately competition amongst some leaders who each think that they are (or ought to be) in charge of everyone.

So my thoughts turn to “what can I do about this”?   Precious little is the realistic answer.  I can concelebrate where possible with clergy of other jurisdictions.  I can happily send would-be converts to other jurisdictions where they have the best/closest church.  I can treat all Orthodox as just that – Orthodox and no qualifications.

We are about to set up our permanent Hermitage home.   I want it on Mull, because I feel strongly called there – and my Metropolitan mentioned it in his instructions.  But more than that, I wonder if we shouldn’t aim for two, three or four small Orthodox monasteries on Mull.  I am thinking of the leadership, boost that this might give to Orthodoxy in general throughout the country if leaders and people saw a monastic spiritual enclave on Mull.

We all know the great value that Mount Athos has been to Orthodoxy down the centuries.  Those of us who know genuine British history, know the great leadership that the Celtic monasteries gave – and the later leadership that the Anglo-Saxon monasteries gave – at times when the episcopal leadership wasn’t all that evident or not strong enough.

Right from the beginning the converted Culdee colleges gave a centre of learning and spiritual leadership, hence Iona being such a major centre for Christianity – to say nothing of the great monasteries in Wales and Ireland.

On Mull, we have an island right next to Iona.  It is large and has facilities but only about two thousand people.  Every pilgrim to Iona must pass through Mull.  It has plenty of land available and houses for sale.  In other words, a small monastery could easily be set up there for very low cost if the monastics are available.

One wouldn’t want a lot of failure set-ups as has happened in the past, but I believe that if the right people are involved, it could be possible to encourage the beginnings.  As it is it looks as though the first two monastic institutions are likely to be set up fairly soon, so there is a beginning.

The Second Forty Years

The Jerusalem Talmud:
“Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand (black). They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open” (Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, p.156-157).

The Babylonian Talmud:
“Our rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand (white); nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the western most light shine; and the doors of the Hekel [Temple] would open by themselves” (Soncino version, Yoma 39b).

Jesus, Son of God was Crucified in 30AD by most counts, and from that year according to the Jewish record, God no longer took notice of their sacrifices, nor forgave their sins. The Temple was destroyed in AD70, forty years later.

crucifixion-iconThe Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me?” I will strike them down” (14:11a, 12a). But Moses interceded for Israel and asked God for forgiveness (14:13-19). God replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, … not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers” (14:20, 23a). The Lord said to Moses, “[Tell them], ‘In this desert your bodies will fall – every one of you twenty years old or more … who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land … except Caleb … and Joshua (14:29-30). Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert” (14:33).

Forty years the children of Israel were left with a Temple shell, no forgiveness, nothing to shield them from their murder of the Son of God. Forty years to reconcile with the Son of God. They did not and their Temple was destroyed and they were dispersed. In the place of all mankind – for all mankind was responsible, Jew and Gentile alike – for God had willed that all could become His sons.

The Great Conversation

There is no romance in a monastery whatever one hears, monasteries are not places of leisure or of freedom from work. There is in fact hard work, deprivation and the secret comfort of closeness to God on occasion. Anyone who has ever lived either the eremitic life or the cloistered life knows full well, that no matter the beautiful or remote location, the monastic life is no easier or more romantic than the life of a Christian who chooses to marry and raise a family in the suburbs. Different paths – to the same end – theosis.

The eremitic life is difficult in that the hermit is responsible for everything – all obediences are his. Only when he has mastered the art of continuous prayer as he carries out his worldly work is he able to fulfil the requirement of praying properly.

The coenobitic monastery is valuable to the Church not because it runs retreats, provides picnic facilities, produces cheap candles and incense or becomes a mission in its area (although this latter is of great value). It is valuable to the Church because of prayer. Because it sets aside so much time to bring before God the things of the Church and the world. Its not that God doesn’t know what’s going on but rather that there is a portion of the population which is trying to distance itself from the surrounding atheistic corruption and evil and to converse with God. The monk talks to God daily about this situation. This in turn brings the monk into ever closer alignment with God’s will and therefore over time a portion of God’s people are in fact closely aligned with Him.

The Church ever had some form of monasticism even before the desert Fathers went out, there were individuals and small groups who tried to lead a prayer-centred life in the cities, e.g., the communities of virgins and widows in Rome.

In the west – in Great Britain – the Church came with Saint Aristibule in AD 37 and proceeded to convert the Druids. The Druids held a theology remarkably prescient of Christianity. They were not a “church” but rather collegiate groups across the country and these colleges were readily converted and many began to lead a life that was a precursor of the monastic life.

The Church needs those who pray and who are able to spend time praying on behalf of the Church. The Church through its monasteries spread around the world thus prays continuously, is continuously conversing with God – and this alone is the point – as Christ’s body here in earth, the Church must be in this continuous mystical conversation with God. This is the Church’s real connection. The wider people of God come together in the Liturgy once a week as is due and proper, but in the meantime the conversation must continue unabated.

If monasticism is indeed part of the ongoing mystical conversation between the Body of Christ – the Church – and God, then monasticism is of the utmost importance to the Church. Now this is not of course the entire story. We all know that in most parishes there are those quiet people, mostly unnoticed, who actually pray – in the Liturgy and outside the Liturgy – and they are the real mainstays of the parish. We know that Priests, many of them, struggle to really pray the Liturgy and the Offices such are the demands of leading the service correctly. The Church certainly around the world celebrates the Divine Liturgy regularly and often. One way or another the Church prays and does its duty to our Creator.

Nevertheless, the Church needs something else. That is, it needs the actual mystical conversation: continuous and sensible, non-formulaic. The ills of this world are multitudinous and we, the Church are those who stand in opposition to the evil, it is our business to constantly converse with God and to align ourselves with His peculiar view of the world and all that is in it. He is the Master of the whole Cosmos, His view is immense and because of that we cannot align ourselves with it without working closely on a daily basis with Him.

How does one even try to comprehend let alone express the unbelievable difference between God and man? Let’s start with the premise that God, at the appropriate stage, imbued mankind with something of Himself. To my mind that means that He gave us that which enables each of us to understand and align ourselves with His will.

However, it doesn’t come easily. Mankind generally has so depraved itself, so neglected, damaged this faculty that it is in many cases virtually unusable. Schema-monks in the safety of their monasteries, dedicate every minute of their lives to the great mystical conversation with considerable difficulty. It is a pathway for the courageous faithful, not for the faint-hearted. And never to be undertaken inadvisedly.

The truth is that while the Church may have great numbers of adherents, it has only tiny numbers of those who unfeignedly believe and converse with God. In these days – which indeed may be the latter days – we must all endeavour to seriously be what Saint Paul called “saints” that is, those engaged in the business of sanctifying themselves and practising their ongoing conversation with God.

The Church – the world – desperately needs the continuous, informal man-God-man conversation and understanding which flows from it. Those within the Church who can do this must then find ways of engaging in the wider Church. Yes we have the Scriptures, yes we have the Fathers, and yes we need people today who can witness to the ongoingness of the man-God alignment.

Mankind needs to understand that our faith is no dusty historical childish supernaturalish thing, but that God really does exist in reality in this universe and deals daily with us in a meaningful way. I don’t mean the mega-church charismatic leader proclaiming “miracles” on stage or something daft like snake-handling, no sensible person believes in that. Yet we do need to be able to convey to the world a reason, as Saint Peter says, for the hope that is in us. We need to find ways that are not stale, that have not become trivialised and worn out by over-use and by the mockeries of the god of the world to communicate to it that its Master, the Master of the whole universe, is really present and active – and accessible to every single person every moment regardless of where or how they are in their life.


The crusade against Christianity that is now occurring in the UK and Europe is turning distinctly nasty and indeed is starting to gain the attention of some authorities. Most of the behaviour reported wouldn’t have occurred fifty – eighty years ago (except perhaps in pre-War Germany).
Yet now we have it.I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I do think that “something” ought to be done. However “this is ‘something’ let’s do it” isn’t the best way of tackling the problem. The cause of the anti-Christianism is complex, and the solution will necessarily have to be well thought through – it isn’t within the realm of pop-journalism to analyse it for us.Regardless of the musings of journalists, the whole media-driven public perception of the paedophile rash has probably been the biggest background driver of public anti-Christian sentiment. Obviously other far more long-standing issues are involved, but the media paedophile frenzy was the catalyst for many people. It gave people something on which to hang their previously fuzzy anti-religion feelings.I have said before, and I’ll say again, the western churches – all of them – have already lost the war. They, with their rampant liberals, paedophiles, modernists have made themselves unacceptable to the public.

I have also said before that I believe the Russian Church, while beset with its own daunting internal problems, nevertheless has a duty to Europe to come to its rescue.

Only the Russian Church and her Patriarch have the clean media image in the west to undertake the task. And yes it will involve the spending of money. It occurs to me that Mr. Putin could well apportion a good part of his foreign policy budget to the Church to spend on European missions. The return for Russia long term would be incalculable.

This is no mere pipe dream, the re-Christianisation of Europe must be accomplished one way or another if Christianity is to survive and if we in Europe are to survive. Spain drove out the moslems over a lengthy period, and frankly, western Europe/UK needs to find a solution to the immigrants who adhere to the moslem religion. Conversion is the best solution, but that requires laws that enforce freedom from violent retaliation. We possibly need to think through the likelihood of a mission-war between the two religions.

However, as we well know now, moslems are not the main problem at all. The main problem is militant liberalism-anti-Christianity. This is a home-grown western phenomenon with some extremely nasty financial and political connections. This needs to be properly analysed and these connections made transparent to all. How we get this done and how we achieve a media that will finally begin to report the new Christianity accurately and fairly seems to be one of the beginning points.