Monday, 10 August 2020

The future of blogs...

Someone wrote to me yesterday saying that they missed my liturgy writing and asked if I was ever going to return to it. It was a nice thing to have said and it's encouraging amidst dark times to know that I may have had a positive influence on somebody's life, however long ago. The trouble is I think I've moved on. I wrote "Liturgiae Causa" at a time of immature, spasmodic enthusiasm and false hopes. Apropos, it truly saddens me when I look around at old haunts in the "blogosphere," the blogs that haven't yet gone silent, such as the New Liturgical Movement (which I used to read daily in 2006), and I see mediocre academics much older than me entertaining stupid notions which I rejected years ago. Gregory DiPippo writes some interesting stuff but he's a prisoner of Traddieland and I wish he would escape. Then there're practitioners of the Sarum Rite, with which I have immense sympathy, most of them Anglicans, with which I have no sympathy whatever. The whole thing just strikes me as theatrical performance, which is an interesting forum for an audience of practically none. This is not to denigrate people or to claim that good liturgy is by nature esoteric. But it is to say that whatever liturgical revival these Western (and to an extent Uniate) people dream of is an immature enthusiasm and false hope. I suppose it's like the ritualist controversies in the Church of England. Who emerged triumphant? The wrong side! And it's the same today, only this time it's worse because the conditions have changed and the men are lesser. There are no more John Wickham-Legg's or Percy Dearmer's; but there are plenty of ideologues for whom tradition is the suspicious by-product of some other pursuit. It's a complete wilderness; an integrity and authenticity bypass. You start with the Rite, not the Pope!

Just over a year ago I set up an Instagram account @lucernare. I did this for a number of reasons but mostly because I think that the future of blogging is dim. I also work full-time and the last thing I want to do when I get home is to write articles about liturgy. It's an old obsession which passed. I now associate my erstwhile love of liturgy with pain and disappointment. I am also a member of ROCOR. There exist WRO priests in ROCOR (indeed I know one) but they are barely tolerated by the Bishops and we do our utmost to wean them off this fringe obsession, far from the mind of the Church. My faith is now fully Byzantine. I think I'll try to do something liturgical here, if there's a demand for it, but I can't promise much. Otherwise, if you wish to keep following me by all means do so on Instagram.

I chose the photo of the Imperial Martyrs because I love them and because their piety, as good Orthodox, was liturgical. I have adopted St Alexei the long-suffering as my patron and I believe that St Alexandra should be the patron saint of converts. May they pray to God for us!

Sunday, 26 July 2020

On Mandatory Face Masks...


As you know, face masks are now mandatory in English shops, post offices, and most public places indoors. I've managed to obtain a medical exemption from having to wear one but I'll come to that. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has indicated that retail workers are exempt, but my employer, one of the top five grocery retailers (whom I will not name for self-evident reasons) has interpreted that in the opposite way, saying that this company's employees are "social ambassadors" and should set an example to customers by wearing face masks. The official company policy does not use the words "mandatory" or "compulsory" anywhere, just "strongly recommends" their use; which, in practical terms, makes them mandatory by the sheer pressure to conform. I did indeed try on Friday to comply with this stupid and unjust law, just to get along at work, but lasted a mere thirty-five minutes before I lost my temper, had an explosive argument with the store manager about it, and went home sick with stress. I find that face masks make me claustrophobic, irritable; and whatever "scientific" evidence indicates otherwise, even if they don't in fact restrict the flow of air to and from the lungs, they certainly create the sensation of doing so; with the accompanying psychological effects of that. Working under these conditions is totally unacceptable, particularly in a physically demanding job over a prolonged period. What are the unions doing about it?! Oh that's right! They've all summarily capitulated to Covid-mania and are likely to be on the side of the mask-zealots.

Of course, my objection to wearing a mask goes deeper than mere selfish, contrarian discomfort. I believe they are a sinister device designed to exemplify the mass of humanity, the anonymity, to obscure difference and to generally create a world of compliant, complacent narks and jobsworths who are perfectly willing to be told where to stand, told to queue up, and are willing to use their mobile devices to be "tracked and traced." The other day Cressida Dick, the lesbian Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, felt no compunction in saying that, despite the threat of £100 on the spot fines for non-compliance of this ministerial fiat "law," she was certain public shaming of dissidents would be enough to make the dissidents think twice before entering a supermarket without a mask. I've heard (though have no way of knowing) of people being assaulted for not wearing masks. I myself went shopping yesterday morning and refused to wear a mask (as did my father, although he at least brought one along). We weren't refused entry to Marks & Spencers but we did get one or two sideways looks from customers. I was unphased by this but I did think of the past four years of sectarian divide over Brexit and surmised that mask-wearers and mask-refusers might just be the new sectarian divide in this country. It hasn't escaped my attention that voluntary wearers tend to be the same sort of people who repeat BLM slogans and use acronyms like "BAME," and "people-who-menstruate."

To make my life easier I cynically obtained a medical exemption from my GP on grounds of anxiety. I did this because the store manager indicated that we're likely going to be stuck with face masks until Christmas, and if I can't last half an hour, what hope have I in lasting a week or several months? I usually think that people who go on about "anxiety" need to get a life but I can think of no other way of flouting this policy and retaining my job. That's the kind of civilised institutional serfdom of the contemporary world. My employer will soon make masks part of the company uniform. That makes them part of the brand, part of the company image. To refuse to be part of that brand might one day become a matter of gross misconduct, which means, going through the usual process, ultimate dismissal.

My mother had a lucky escape from this, I think.

The photo was taken in May in a hospital in which my mother was having treatment. A special COVID-19 ward was a mere three doors away from her ward so I think the mask was a sensible precaution in this case.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Meghan Markle...

A quick question for readers. Why do you think I despise Meghan Markle so much? I ask sincerely because I'm trying to work it out myself. I think it's because I find her the polar opposite of what an Orthodox woman should be. Orthodox women are beautiful and I find her so repulsive. But I am welcome of suggestions.

Monday, 6 July 2020

How long will this nonsense last?

One of the "ushers" at Bluewater, taken from the BBC website.

May my words and our thoughts be in the Name of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Like many others in this country I was "furloughed" for most of the duration of the state-enforced quarantine. During that time, I must have put on about a stone in weight, to the extent that the black suit I wore at the Banqueting House in January (which was even then a tight fit) now fits more like a wet suit. As you know, I have a funeral coming up so I went to Bluewater Shopping Centre this morning for the first time in many months to buy a new suit. I was dreading the experience. Having become increasingly annoyed with the food shopping experience, I was expecting mile-long queues, enforced sterilisation points and other measures. My first impressions were actually eased somewhat as nobody barred me from entry to the centre, and there seemed to be no queues anywhere. Be that as it may, it wasn't long before I realised that there were ushers in high visibility vests, face masks and walky-talkies all over the place ushering people here and there and enforcing petty rules. The one way system I thought at least sensible but its rigorous application seemed over the top in a mostly-empty shopping mall. At one point I went up an escalator because an old haunt (well, I have been going to this mall since it opened in 1999!) was nearby. When I got to the top, I made the "mistake" of turning to my left. "Oh no, you can't go this way sir," said a masked usher in a pseudo-friendly way. "Why not?" said I. "We've installed a one way system for your health and safety," he said. "I know that," said I, "but the shop I need to get to is right there!" "You need to go back round," he said. "Why? There's nobody here!" "As I say, you need to back round. We can't have one rule for one and one rule for everybody else." I'm afraid I swore at him at this point, as I had already become exasperated by other things that day (mostly nice cafes and restaurants I used to frequent closed "until further notice" but other things too), but did as I was told. As I spent the next three or four minutes walking around the balcony of the escalator well, I wondered if this skinny person would be so hard and fast with a pregnant woman, or the elderly (or for that matter a boisterous teenager).


About a third of the shops I passed in the centre were closed, some boarded up. There were no decent cafes to buy a cup of coffee; all the nice restaurants were closed, with only the pleb fast food places open to trade (albeit with restrictions, similarly enforced by masked men). The whole place seemed like a jobsworth's paradise. At one point my brother, even more of a hothead than me (if you can believe that), threatened to headbutt one of these men. I don't blame him. These silly rules remind me very much of the work of Sharkey in the Shire as I very much doubt they have anything to do with COVID-19 (the mythical plague*) but a cynical power grab by the government. We've been led to believe that this was all about protecting the NHS and our most vulnerable. I don't think it is. I think it's a ruse to transform this once-free nation into the Soviet Union. We've already seen supply chains exhausted by panic buying. Have they been restored to pre-COVID levels? I haven't seen it. I used to walk into my local Sainsburys and there would be almost 100% availability. Now, availability has improved but it's not as before, and there are still empty shelves and many of the new lines on sale are obviously inferior products; "brands" I've never heard of. And people queue up to buy it! You can't go near or by a supermarket these days without having to stand in line.

And then there's the cancel culture, woke, Cultural Marxism or whatever you want to call it. We've all heard the expression "political correctness gone mad," well, what we're seeing nowadays is woke on steroids. Today we've had the wonderful Prince Harry and his whinging slut lecturing us about the evils of the Commonwealth and how we can't be "anti-racist" enough. We're compelled to examine our past interactions for traces of latent racism. All reminiscent of how we examine our consciences before Confession or the self-examination precepts during China's Cultural Revolution. And then there's the sackings and social ostracism of prominent academics; David Starkey being the latest. Starkey is rich and venerable enough to withstand that axe blow, but a young academic who steps out of line? We may not have gulags and secret police (yet), but a man's life can be ruined in other ways. He may have a mortgage and a family to support; but then he says something that can be misconstrued as racist or transphobic (homosexuals have served their purpose), and his house is repossessed; he's homeless, destitute and has no friends.

I'm sorry but you can't tell me that we have not undergone a Revolution. It has taken place right under our noses, and many gullible people have cheered it on, for mixed motives; progress, being nice to people, national security, public health. And this will be much worse than the Soviet Union because Russian people under that dreadful yoke were not like us; crass materialists, sexual libertines and in many other ways ripe for it. Knupffer says in "The Struggle for World Power" that many Russian expatriates actually returned to the Soviet Union because they were appalled by the West's godless materialism and godless science. We're too comfortable to believe in (and indeed rely on) God, so we have no recourse. We hate our own culture, so who is going to protest when the tattered rags thereof are finally burnt up? And we're also too collectively stupid to suppose that our own government(s) could possibly be against us. I mean if a disgraced (former) member of the Royal Family cheers on this stealth revolution, what hope is there in the Royal Family? If the Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates Easter from his kitchen table, what hope is there in the Church of England? None whatsoever. All we can do is pray. But we have to be pragmatic. There's no use in pining after dead institutions and bastardised culture. We must transcend culture and nationalism and strive for the Holy Cross. By all means read and appreciate the works of English literature, until they're rewritten by the woke scribes (as they did years ago with Gilbert and Sullivan), but don't mourn when they're gone forever. Mourn instead when the police raid your church for some perceived "violation" of the new normal.

So in answer to the titular question, how long will this nonsense last? Probably forever. This is the new normal. And who on earth, besides the bankers, saw it coming?

*Please don't misconstrue my comments as a denial of the existence of COVID-19. My late mother's car was sold to a man who survived COVID-19, and indeed almost died. My comments are an appraisal of the fact that this is not bubonic plague and the fact that this virus has not killed nearly as many people as would legitimately constitute a true "pandemic" in my considered view. If COVID-19 had killed Boris Johnson then maybe I would take it more seriously. But it didn't, it just killed lots of elderly people in care homes, paramedics and nurses. And may their memories be eternal.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Hagia Sophia...


The other day someone asked me my view of the political controversy surrounding the Turkish proposed conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. I can honestly say I don't think I care one way or the other. I used to hope, as many pious Christians do, that the Cross would one day stand triumphantly atop her magnificent dome. That was a hope expressed by St Gregori Rasputin-Novy during the First World War. But when you actually ask the question, who would serve it? There people become stumped. Does a cathedral of that size, of that venerable history, really befit a shrunken and rightly diminished group of heretics and schismatics? A pathetic and persecuted ethnic minority only kept from annihilation by the US State department? The implication goes that the Second Rome has not in fact fallen after all. And to be technical Hagia Sophia fell not in 1453 but in 1204. Her ancestral cathedral worship was destroyed over night when the clergy were expelled by barbarous Latins, and when she was restored to Greek praxis in 1261 what they restored was not the venerable rite in use there before the Sack of Constantinople but the bastardised monastic rite (see Taft), vis-à-vis the Nikonian reforms in Russia two centuries later. I have every confidence that this was largely the reason for the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the infidel Turks in the first place. So I have to disagree (as I so often do) with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who has said that this is a regressive move by the Turkish government. Were I in his diplomatic position I would just abandon the Greeks to their inevitable fate and look to the restoration of Orthodoxy in Russia under its new constitution.


And if it became a mosque? Again, so what? It was a mosque for centuries. Please don't misunderstand me, I would rather it remained as a museum than to be turned into a mosque but my position is so against the Ecumenical Patriarchate that I would rather hear the voice of a mullah chanting Arabic under the dome than see the damned heretic Bartholomew and his renegade clergy simulating the Sacraments there. Not all sins go unpunished in this world, and it's time the heretic Bartholomew  understood that for his constant fomenting of schisms around the world, for his uncanonical meddling in churches not under his jurisdiction, for his ecumenism with Rome and for the new kalendar, this might be the price he has to pay. So were Hagia Sophia to become a mosque again, I would look the other way. It would be sad, but not unjust.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Lisa Sheridan RIP


It is with great sadness and abundance of grief that I tell you that my mother Lisa died this morning at 10:45 after a long illness. She was 58 years old. I cannot yet lift up my heart but I know that my Redeemer liveth, etc. Let us commit her to the mercy of God our Maker and Redeemer.

Sacred to the memory of Lisa Maria Sheridan
4th August 1961-27th June 2020.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Race Relations...


Since I was proven right about the toppling of other statues (if not Lord Nelson's...yet), I wonder if I'll be proven right about this. I can see the drafting of a new Race Relations Act on the horizon. This Act will enshrine the preliminaries for the new social order, a new conquest of the institutions. It will evince the fact of our invasion by people who are not sympathetic to us, but who will rule over us, largely because of the craven ideology of their sympathisers. It will be like the Norman Conquest, only more vindictive and thorough. Soon the majority of white British people in this country will be ruled by a cabal of minority groups in a new racial and sectarian "balance;" all government positions will have to be filled by homosexuals, cripples, blacks, Asians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Wiccans; all executive jobs in major public institutions will be the same, as will key positions in the newly-disestablished multi-faith "church" of England, with its new lesbian Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop of York will still be a man (for now), but we all know the historic subordinance of that see to Canterbury, as men are to women. Perhaps, even better, he'll be a trans-man or non-binary! There'll be no more white privileged hereditary Christian Monarchy. We might still have an elected (drag-) Queen, but the Coronation order will have to reflect the diversity of modern Britain (renamed Africa Minor), with representatives of all faiths (except the Anglican) playing equal parts. There'll be no Crown, as such, as all the Crown Jewels will be put away into museums and explained by tour guides as relics of a nasty colonial age of non-global, homogenous Britain, when people are literate and civilised and not stupid and barbarous.

If you think I'm going a bit far, perhaps you're right but I think we'll finally know we've disappeared up our own contradictions when something resembling this happens. Enoch Powell was right! Even Mrs Thatcher admitted that. What interests me, as someone who has met people of the Windrush generation (the real generation, those who came in the '50s), is how different these aging people are to their descendants. When I was at Sixth Form one of our lay chaplains was a black lady who came to Britain from Saint Lucia in 1960. What a marvellous, gentle and thoroughly decent woman she was! She undoubtedly encountered racism in her youth but there was no sign of resentment. If you contrast that with the younger generation, who seem to want to level racial scores with white people, irrespective of their perceived "privilege," and it makes me wonder about racism. Similarly when I worked for the bank one of my colleagues was a young Turkish woman who wore a hijab. She once told me that her mother never wore a hijab, except to go to the mosque. Why do you suppose that is?
It's obvious to me that with the passing of the years, as a result of state apathy (or not) about the lack of racial and cultural integration among different communities, people have retreated for a sense of belonging and meaning not to the collective national culture, which is void now except for the names of dead institutions like the Church of England, but into themselves. Or perhaps this kind of stuff was not an accident but a deliberate policy to "rub the right's nose in diversity," as Andrew Neather, a speech writer for Tony Blair, admitted in The Evening Standard newspaper some years ago. It's now generally well-known that Blair, and many in his cabinet, were Trotskyists. The same is true of news anchors like Andrew Marr.

What room is there in such a world for men like me? I'm only 32.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Edward Colston...


I would feel more outraged at the toppling of Edward Colston's memorial statue in Bristol yesterday if I were not already aware that there have been calls for the systematic removal of statues to national heroes from the riff raff of the radical Left for years. In 2017 Afua Hirsch wrote this execrable article in The Guardian calling for the removal of Nelson's Column, ostensibly because Nelson opposed the hypocrisy of William Wilberforce, the "woke" hero of the early 19th century. Of course, in Wilberforce's defence his kind of liberalism owed more to Methodism than to Marx, which cannot be said of Hirsch, another PPE graduate from the University of Oxford. These people exult in the kind of ejaculation of transient fear, hatred and ignorance we witnessed on Sunday, which is the essence of Iconoclasm. There is nothing good to be said of the trafficking of human life but black slavery owed just as much to corrupt black African slave owners (who have never really gone away) as it did to skilled men like Colston, whose legacy is in the many charitable foundations all over Bristol, in churches, almshouses and hospitals. Oh, I know it's tempting to take the moral highground on this if you're an infallible minority. It must be just thrilling to be a young, ignorant, weed-smoking and parasitic drop-out, exulting with the jeering mobs who contribute nothing but fornication and homosexuality; nothing permanent there, just a stain and a bleeding wound. But in their minds they're good, they're orthodox, they're fundamentally right. Their values are universal, shared by all humanity in this desirable global community. Not like the reactionary and oppressive values of the Church (which is truly universal).

The police did nothing. They just stood and watched as people broke the law in broad daylight. Apparently this was a strategic response but I wonder where their orders came from. An investigation is underway, according to the mixed-race mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees. His unfettered rise to the mayoralty of Bristol, much like the British Pakistani Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, is unprecedented in a country which discriminates so wantonly and oppresses so willingly.

Who's laughing? The hidden menace, those ogres of international sabotage. Mark my words! Nelson will topple next and that, more than the death of our Sovereign, will mark the symbolic death of Britain, our very nationhood. Then, whether we leave the European Union or not, the process of globalisation will just carry on with other symbolic ejaculations of contempt. I agree with the protesters when they say that Slavery is an evil legacy. But I would go further and add that I am also firmly of the view that Africans should have stayed in Africa. But I think there I've just said the unsayable.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

George Floyd...

The media, social media and a great many other people and institutions have got it into their heads that all civilised, progressive people are united in grief and outrage at the death, by manslaughter, of George Floyd. Detractors are racists, white supremacists and generally undesirable. I know nothing whatsoever about Floyd except that he was black and he died. There are conflicting stories about why he was arrested and detained in the first place; I've read that he was a net tax consumer and that he was arrested for attempting to buy goods with a forged $20 note. I've also read that he was a regular at the store at which he was arrested and well known to the manager, and that there was a misunderstanding. Since the truth is withered away from the sons of men (cf. Joel 1:12), whom do we believe? I think at this point the answer to that is irrelevant. The reaction to Floyd's death, which is what we're dealing with, has taken the usual form sober persons here recognise, with elements of the mob and demagoguery; people pinning their own grievances onto the deceased, those who want to find somebody, anybody, to blame for them, etc. Would you be at all surprised if you discovered that the same people taking to the streets in protest in London and across America were the very same who protested against climate change with "Extinction Rebellion," or were part of the "Me Too" movement? And don't let's forget selfish, greedy and lawless people who use occasions like this to loot shops, and of course social justice warriors who simply don't like white people (God bless them!).

We've all seen this kind of bogus outrage before. I remember some years ago, when Theresa May formed a flimsy coalition government with the Democratic Unionist Party, I was in London visiting a friend. I wandered into a bar for a drink and was met by a shabby, smiling young man who was in Westminster protesting the coalition. I listened with polite indifference to his version of Irish history and politics, which was untested by reality, and got the impression that, probably having never even heard of the DUP before last week, he'd just jumped on a bandwagon. The delicious irony, of course, came when this self-proclaimed champion of social injustice and progressive values said that I looked like a leprechaun (I was wearing a tweed jacket), which, if I were that way inclined, I might have taken as a racist slur. At a guess, I'd say he was ten years my junior but our brief, painful, interaction brought to my mind a lot of concerns about the state of education in this country (and at a guess the entire western world). When I was at school, the only literature we read in higher tier English was To Kill a Mockingbird, so that covers race relations; the only history we read was about Nazi Germany, so that covers Jews (and to some extent other minorities). If you think about it, if the only two references in your education cover how nasty and evil western civilisation has been towards minorities, of course you're going to be obsessed with social injustice! You're also likely to despise your own country. In my case, I am the counter product of my education. Everything I know that I consider to be of value I taught myself, not only because I felt decidedly welshed by my teachers but because deep down I thought there was much more to our civilisation than what I read in Harper Lee and second-rate history textbooks. As for our impressionable young man in the bar, what can I say? If, as seems likely, his education was as bad as mine, why should we take his protests seriously? They aren't based on real knowledge or grievances at all.

Let me show you some of the things that I've seen on social media in the past week.

Blocked by a young woman, a British Pakistani politics graduate who administers an account dedicated to the Romanov Martyrs (of all things!). Before I was blocked, she declared in her story that black and ethnic minorities aren't capable of racism because racism is a prejudice invented by white people. She then used her Romanov account as a platform to spout partisan political slogans and racialist hashtags, even attributing a kind of anachronistic, uncharacteristic support the Romanovs would have for the protesters. Needless to say, I disagreed and asked why she was using an historical account and not her personal one to advance a political agenda. I didn't get an answer; I was just blocked.

This one is more personal, as the young lady is a friend of mine interested in becoming Orthodox. But her position is a parody of the truth, and I think ideologically demonstrates the long reach of blessed Augustine of Hippo over western culture, being in a sense an inversion of his understanding of Original Sin. It doesn't matter that you might be a law abiding and respectable person. If you're white, you have a cultural debt towards black people because your ancestors were slave owners (even if they weren't); your ancestors oppressed native people. It's irredentist, ill-informed and totally skewed. Chattel slavery happened long before I was born; it has nothing to do with me. How can you possibly argue that a private proprietor has no right to defend his business and livelihood just because black people were slaves in the distant past? It's grotesquely obscene!


I like beagles and labradors so I was formerly subscribed to some enthusiast accounts. Notice one of the comments with the racialist hashtag. I'd be interested to know how coordinated "Black Lives Matter" is because they're clearly capable of applying intense political pressure. Shortly after this, the account administrator posted a black image with another hashtag. I removed my subscription.

Yet another cultural and art historical account, bandying partisan slogans as if they spoke for their subscribers. Once again, I condescended to inform the account administrator that I was removing my subscription, and gave the reasons. Please note the disparity between the quality of our English.

I took other screenshots but I'm sure you get the idea. The latest one was a petition calling on the British government to make "anti-racism" compulsory in schools, as if freedom of thought wasn't already under threat. This sort of stuff is Orwellian!

So far I have "unfollowed" 69 accounts. You may think I'm taking it all too seriously; in fact I am giving serious thought to giving up my Instagram account altogether, but if my devotion to the Imperial Martyrs has influenced me in any way, it is to oppose Marxism in whatever form it takes. It is obviously what this all is; the dialectic has simply shifted from haves vs have-nots to oppressors vs oppressed. One crucial difference between these two is that the latter is largely based on myth. Racism, as practised by white people against minorities, is largely non-existent. How could it possibly be an issue in countries with meticulously enforced diversity laws? On the contrary, I think that white people are scared of minorities. We may not have gulags or concentration camps but we do have sackings and social ostracism. We live in a society completely emasculated by this doctrine, running scared from its history, its culture and from the Church. And this, for me, is the worst of it. Whenever I come up against Diversity and Inclusion, I have no recourse to the faith of my country because my country is not Christian, where once it was. I have no just cause to discriminate between a married couple and a pair of homosexuals because laws based on the Bible no longer apply.

You may think that I digress but this is all part and parcel of the revolution-by-stealth that we have endured in the western world, largely since the 1960's but set in motion long before. Of course, I am not excusing racism or police brutality in this post. It behoves the scum salt of the earth to remember the immortal words of St Paul: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus," (Galatians 3:28). I try to treat people as they come, and I also think that to treat somebody badly because of the colour of their skin is a barbarous thing and a failing in Christian charity. But I am saying that I reject this phoney cultural debt that white people have towards minorities, and I will not be forced to hold a set of beliefs about race and culture by anybody. If Diversity and Inclusion is what it claims to be, why would it exclude people who think and believe differently, or just think for themselves?


This illumination by Jean Colombe (1430-1493) depicts the defeat of the "People's Crusade." The Crusades remind me of the the great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who once said:
"To do evil, a man must first of all believe that what he is doing is good...Ideology - that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honours."
Like most ideologues, Peter the Hermit had good intentions and intelligible motives but the destruction caused by this populist movement cannot be measured by a raw body account but by the retarding of western civilisation forever. He went on crusade in the name of Christ; now people march in the name of Floyd, transformed in death from the banal into the sublime. Some people think that revolution is good, that the creation of equality in this life and worldly utopianism are attainable by taking to the streets. I don't and history shews that attempts to create these things have left behind hecatombs of the innocent. If these people shut their ears to all the racialist slogans and looked to their souls, they might realise that they're not angry because they are discriminated against but because they have abandoned the Church. If they reformed themselves first then perhaps their material lives would improve as well. Otherwise, I have nothing more to say other than to offer my condolences to the family of George Floyd.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1John 2:15.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

"The science"...


In a world as wicked as this, it's hard to be certain of anything temporal. This new strain of coronavirus has inexplicably ground the world to a halt. Everybody is affected, not just those infected and their loved ones. Simple things like walking unmolested into a supermarket or visiting the sick on a hospital ward are gone, perhaps forever. Worse still, the Devil has worked with hideous delight to have all the churches closed. Not even Stalin managed to close every church in the Soviet Union and yet our bishops and pastors have supinely accepted this blow to our faith, with few voices raised in protest, and all for what? Some epidemiologist's report? From what I can tell, Covid-19 (with very few exceptions) only affects the very old and the very sick. Never have I heard of anything so ridiculous as putting the hale in enforced quarantine in order to, perhaps slightly, extend the lives of the morbidly obese or those over the age of 75. It's the most crass materialism I've ever seen and is only possible because not one of these "scientists" believes in the life eternal.

Since the start of this civil year we've heard a lot about "the science." What does that mean? I don't imagine that it's a phrase chosen at random. It's the new idol, like capitalism and the separation of church and state. Those who dissent from "the science," even if they are sober and considered persons like Lord Sumption, are treated with derision. From where I'm standing as an Orthodox Christian, medical science is as imprecise, uncertain and subject to just as much political manipulation as any other academic area. To make matters worse, because of the growing adulation people have for "our NHS heroes" and the kind of credulous trust that people have in our institutions, they are more easily manipulated by the government. I was surprised and shocked that people took to this "lockdown" so easily, even voluntarily. I've seen a few instances of protest, mostly people grumbling in the endless queues to buy food, but I've also heard of narks ready to involve the police in the minor doings of their neighbours. It's chilling. That's not to say that I think little of the effect Covid-19 has on people. I take reasonable precautions; I observe social distancing when I am out, I have kept to the "lockdown" rules to the best of my ability, etc. I was even, back in March, in favour of the lockdown. The trouble is, in Britain we haven't really had one.  If we'd had a strict house arrest, enforced by the army, with a "track and trace" policy from the start then we might be in a better position than we are now. Instead we've had this protracted semi-quarantine in which large numbers of people have disobeyed government advice, and what evidence is there that this stupid policy has saved even a single life? Meanwhile peoples' livelihoods are down the pan. This crisis could see the ultimate end of private proprietorship.

Cui bono? That's difficult to say at this stage. I'm not going to give air to conspiracy theories but I'll say this much: this strain of coronavirus is proof that the Chinese (the "yellow peril") will eat anything. Does it strike you as coincidental that this disease has come in the wake of the "extinction rebellion" protests last year? Furthermore, if private proprietorship is at an end, perhaps it's also the end of other private institutions. I have a great dread of the future. Already we're heading into a self-inflicted economic recession. It won't be long before your government starts seizing your assets, raiding your pensions and savings. But in the words of Christ, Take no thought for the morrow for sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Lord, have mercy!

Art: Poussin. It's the adoration of the golden calf.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Gregori Rasputin-Novy...


Fr Andrew Phillips over at Orthodox England has written the first sympathetic biography in English of Gregori Rasputin-Novy that I have ever read. At 12,000 words it's worth reading. See here.

What are your thoughts about Rasputin? Do you believe the stories of the "mad monk?" The drunk debauchee who wormed his way into the good graces of the Tsar? Do you share the naive disdain of Grand Duchesss St Elizabeth and Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes, who despised all Russian peasants? Comment below.

I personally see the atheist revolution in Russia as the ultimate culmination of the Raskol. When Russia abandoned its purity of worship in favour of contemporary Greek praxis, and the Tsars were educated by foreign (sometimes Jesuit) tutors, this sort of thing became inevitable. Decembrists and Turganev be damned!

Friday, 17 January 2020

The last Inkling has died...

A working bookshelf of mine.

I read yestereven with surprising shock that Christopher Tolkien, the youngest son of my literary hero J.R.R. Tolkien, died on 15th January at his home in the south of France. He was 95 years old. It seems pointless to remind you but Christopher (to distinguish him from his father) was the greatest Tolkien scholar in this world, and I am reminded at his passing of the words of Faramir at the death of Gandalf:
"It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power - for many wonderful things he did among us - could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world." (The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter V).
He was the greatest scholar simply because he was there (almost) from the beginning, and listened in wonder to the tales of Bilbo and the Dwarves and the great gestes of the Elder Days in their rude and primitive forms. He witnessed the living growth of a mythology so immense in its scale and so profound in its catholicity that nobody could rival it. Narnia, while charming, is frankly puerile by comparison; and I need not mention more contemporary (in both time and ethos) fantasy literature. Upon his father's death in 1973, Christopher took up the unenviable task of collating and transcribing Tolkien's manuscripts and typescripts, many of them dating back to the First World War and written in diaries under shell fire, and later on exam papers and the backs of envelopes. Four years later Christopher published The Silmarillion; about as coherent and succinct a narrative of the Elder Days as could be reliably drawn from the sources. Over the next thirty years he produced the scholarly "The History of Middle-earth" in twelve volumes as well as other works by his father; tales of the whimsical Tom Bombadil or Farmer Giles of Ham with his blunderbuss. Perhaps dearest to my heart is the complete The Children of Húrin, a dark tale of curse and incest and drawing much from Kullervo and Oedipus. Christopher's introduction to that epic narrative is excellent and evidence not only of a deep appreciation for the legendarium but of a profound understanding of evil, as imagined and of course rejected by his father. His exposition of the interpenetrating themes of fate with Morgoth's gigantic will and Túrin's character is as much worth the read as the tale itself.

Christopher drew this map of Beleriand.

Another invaluable resource for people who appreciate Tolkien is The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, compiled and edited by Christopher and Tolkien's biographer Humphrey Carpenter. It seems fitting to quote therefrom in Christopher's memory. Written seventy-six years ago on the 8th January, at the height of the Second World War to his son away south in Africa, the prelude in the series Pater ad Filium Natu (sed haud alioquin) minimum, Tolkien writes:
"If you don't do so already, make a habit of the 'praises'. I use them much (in Latin): the Gloria Patri, the Gloria in Excelsis, the Laudate Dominum; the Laudate Pueri Dominum (of which I am specially fond), one of the Sunday psalms; and the Magnificat; also the Litany of Loretto (with the prayer Sub tuum praesidium). If you have these by heart you never need for words of joy. It is also a good and admirable thing to know by heart the Canon of the Mass, for you can say this in your heart if ever hard circumstance keeps you from hearing Mass. So endeth Fæder lár his suna. With very much love.
Longað þonne þy lǽs þe him con léoþa worn,
oþþe mid hondum con hearpan grétan;
hafaþ him his glíwes giefe, þe him God sealde.
From the Exeter Book. Less doth yearning trouble him who knoweth many songs, or with his hand can touch the harp: his possession is his gift of 'glee' (= music and/or verse) which God gave him.
How these old words smite one out of the dark antiquity! 'Longað'! All down the ages men (of our kind, most awarely) have felt it: not necessarily caused by sorrow, or the hard world, but sharpened by it."
Sound, loving advice. I like to imagine that the venerable Christopher, with eyes as profound and yet present as Treebeard's, looked towards God on high with those joyful words in his heart and on his lips. We owe Christopher a tremendous dept for his life's work, the gift of glee which God gave his father, and through him, us. I pray God that his death was good and that he was reconciled to the Church of his father.

Give rest, O God, unto Thy servant Christopher, and appoint for him a place in Paradise; where the choirs of the Saints, O Lord, and the just will shine forth like stars; to Thy servant Christopher that is sleeping now do Thou give rest, overlooking all his offences. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Christopher John Reuel Tolkien, 1924-2020. May he rest in peace. Amen.