30 to-day…

It’s my 30th birthday to-day. I don’t remember my 20th birthday at all but I remember that I was diagnosed with “Asperger syndrome” that year. I also remember reading Michael Davies in the waiting area of the Maudsley Hospital, and thinking that he was a visionary of unparalleled erudition. Looking back, it’s at once irritating to see how obsessed and naive I was, but also liberating in that the obsession paled away comparatively quickly, with sound company and a healthy thirst for true knowledge, unabridged by ideology, while in others they festered away (and perhaps still do). I suppose that nowadays I am less important to most people. If people remember me at all, it’s as that fiery youth, holding the establishment types to the honesty of what really happened, and how things should be, in the impetuosity of his wrath. How soon that fire smouldered! These days I look aghast at members of the old communion as I would at Jehovah’s Witnesses standing at railway stations, asking what the Bible really teaches (or what the prayer really says!) with that characteristically vacant, yet unflinchingly dogmatic, expression. A bit like Pilgrim looking back at the city of destruction, or the prodigal son at the swine. Would you go back to gnaw at yourself with resentful obsession if you had found the pearl of great price?

This is not esoteric. I am not an intellectual; I am just a neophyte who has nothing more, still less original, to say other than the words of the Fathers and of Scripture. Come and see! Or to-day, the Friday of the fourth week of Great Lent, I am reminded of God’s command to our father Abraham, The LORD had said unto Abraham: Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.

A pilgrimage from Russia

Fr Andrew sent me this video last night. It came just in time, actually, as I was ruminating over the anti-Russian frenzy in vogue among the British establishment. Russia is an easy target, really. It looks big on the map, has a strange alphabet, it always snows, and everybody remembers the true menace of the Soviet Union and are perhaps unwilling to remember that it actually collapsed under its own inherent deceit and corruption. The corruption is still there, of that I have no doubt, as well as rampant alcoholism and abortion, but as Holy Rus’ is on the increase, these things will go into abeyance in God’s eternal time. Churches are being built all over Russia, bishops, priests and deacons are being ordained, and vocations to the monastic way are on the rise too. As these pilgrims from Russia to the centre of Orthodox England in East Anglia bear witness, deep roots are not touched by the frost. That is just as true in this country, which has suffered more than 950 years of schism and idolatry, as it was in Russia under the atheist regime. I welcome these pilgrims from Russia, and would that they came to live among us.