The Serbs: Guardians at the Gate


Almost one hundred years ago, British writer and historian, the Rev R G D Laffan, published a series of lectures about the Serbian people and their place in history.

Laffan was part of the Entente invasion force which illegally occupied Northern Greece in an effort to force King Constantine I to abandon his position of Greek neutrality vis-a-vis the Axis Powers. At that particular time, however, the divisions between the King and the Prime Minister forced an impasse. Thus, the Entente occupation forces (Britain, Italy, and France) were more concerned with propping up Serbia, which had fallen precipitously. Serbia was a more pressing concern at that point.

As everybody “knows”, the Serbs provided the casus belli for the Great War, when The Black Hand, a Serbian terrorist group had assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Eugenie at Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914. This, of course, was a pretext: it took the Great Powers of Europe months to lumber their way into a war which they thought would be over within six months. When that didn’t happen and it wasn’t clear if victory was achievable, Serbia was cast aside by the British.

Laffan however, felt that the Serbs deserved better. In order to underscore the importance of Serbia to Europe, he gave a series of lectures to the British officers stationed in Salonika. They were later collected in a volume which he entitled The Guardians at the Gate and was published by Oxford in 1918.

The long-forgotten story of the Serbs and their civilization is worth a read. Not simply because they are Orthodox and suffered mightily during the past century at the hands of the West but because they continued to be used as eternal villains in the Enlightenment narrative. Most recently during the Kosovo crisis of 1998 when NATO chose the date of Orthodox Easter to bomb Belgrade.

One man’s villain is another man’s hero I suppose. For this reason, the Serbs are worthy of recognition because they have continued to be an irritant to globalist ambitions in times past and –especially–now. As during the Kosovo crisis, the Serbs bought the Russians precious time to rebuild their economy and their arsenal. In the opinion piece below, Jim Jatras, one of our commentators, explains in meticulous detail how Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia struck an early and decisive blow against the hegemonic designs of Western and Constantinopolitan interests.

“Among the strongest bulwarks against the schismatic schemes of Kiev, Constantinople, Washington, and the Soros/LGBT network has been the Serbian Orthodox Church, based on a principled rejection of Constantinople’s anti-traditional, neo-papal claims. The vehemence of the Serbian Church’s stand on Ukraine also reflects particular internal threats Serbia faces from politically motivated schismatic groups that could provide tempting targets for meddling by Patriarch Bartholomew and his western backers. These include the “Macedonian Orthodox Church,” which claims to be independent of the Serbian Church but is recognized by no other Church (and where state authorities in the NATO puppet and newly renamed “Republic of North Macedonia” harass the canonical Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid), as well as attempts to create a separate “Montenegrin Orthodox Church.” In this context, never far from anyone’s consciousness is the formation of an ersatz “Croatian Orthodox Church” in 1942 under the World War II-era regime of Ustaša dictator Ante Pavelić, as a cover for the genocide of Orthodox Serbs in the so-called “Independent State of Croatia.”

It’s a rather long read but I highly recommend it. Although it ends on a rather ambiguous note (regarding the continued mistreatment of Bishop Artemij by the Serbian Church on trumped-up charges), it gives me hope that the liberal, Western pretensions of the globalists will ultimately flounder. They did in the late 90s and they continue to do so today in Ukraine. In both cases thanks to the Serbs.

It’s safe to say that like his Western backers, Bartholomew didn’t see this one coming. After all, the Serbian Church was present at the Cretan Council, albeit reluctantly. (I imagine this explains why Ambassador Sam Brownback made a hasty trip to Mt Athos, this time to try and cover all the bases.) Thanks to this nation, Orthodox everywhere can thank them for again, being “the guardians at the gate”.


  1. John Sakelaris says

    George, you said that the “liberal, Western pretensions of the globalists” concerning Serbia would “flounder” in “the late 90s.” No, what happened in 1999 was a victory for the globalists, particularly the pro-Islamic ones, and a defeat for what we used to be able to call Christendom. That year a Muslim state, called Kosovo, was carved out of Christian Serbia, with huge support from the US and British media. Thousands of Serbians became refugees that year, even more by 2004. Kosovo and its kindred Albania have become failed states and bases for Islamic extremists.

    A small Christian Serbian enclave does still exist in Kosovo, called North Mitrovica. Its future status remains in doubt, however. Incidents have occurred.

    • Yes. And they decided the Albanians were pure and perfect and as usual we were the enemy. There is a very good north macedonian film called when the rains come. Very Very good. I have visited north macedonia last yr with bulgarian party. Only person in group with greek passport!!
      To me the macedonians appeared as bulgars, whose language in dialect they speak. The monasteries are thriving.
      Huge american Embassy in Skopie and Saudi mega mosques and Turkish schools everywhere. In Skopie Albanian quarter we were spat at ( there was priest with us)

      I have been telling greek friends the danger is to let USA, Saudi and Turkey cause war there and bring another Kosovo. I have not agreed with greek attitude. Short sighted. Yes Skopie full of Alexander great statues. I told them as a Greek I thank them for honouring my HERITAGE!!
      But they are an Orthodox people and need our support.

    • George Michalopulos says

      John, you are correct however I choose to view the war between the globalists and Orthodoxy in the long term.

      We must remember that Hitler had conquered every Orthodox land but one of those conquests (Greece) delayed him just enough so that his invasion of Russia proved to be his ruination.

      And yes, I realize that Russia was not then a Christian nation. I chalk that one up to God having a sense of humor.

      Seriously, Brzensinski’s evil plans for Russia came to naught because of the Western adventurism in Kosovo. When we tried to replicate it in Iraq we weren’t as successful.

      Now, because of Russia strength and the distaste for more such adventures, we can hope that globalism is on its last legs. Or so I hope.

      • What’s is the state of the Church in Greece today?

        • STAVROS. It’s mixed. There was a revival in 1980s onwards and Chrstodulos, the (+2008), Archbishop did alot. He was a bit of a street fighter ( identity cards and all that) but communicated well and did alot. Before his death there were efforts to implicate him in the Patrarch of Jerusalem scandal ( after Constantinople, there is another cess pit of corruption and entitlement) .
          Ieronimos has been a quiet very different man but good spiritual leader.
          The situation. mixed. Where are able clergy, good monastery, very alive. Also church doing alot in social Terms over current crisis.
          However great apathy on part of youth. A young greek student I met here in Veliko Tarnovo did not even know St Nicholas day and professed no knowledge or interest in church. This is not uncommon. But religious habit is common too.
          The over all picture? Not a disaster but not good. Certainly the picture of a Orthodox Greece and connection between church and race no longer holds for young at all.
          There is a shortage of clergy because paid by government so government not wanting too many and is atheist any way. Anyway you look at it Greek Orthodoxy is not at it’s best. Of corruption I do not know but the greek church not free of this.

          • Re Church of Greece. On good side the Zoe protestant mentality and lack of respect for monasteries and traditional worship that early immigrants brought to USA and powerful affected greek America, that has gone. Churches are built and decorated properly and worship at good standard in general.
            The Church has had to face over several generations a traditional peasant society becoming city based, joining EU and western secularization and all the issues you know in USA. .
            I will not say it is doom and gloom because that not so and Greeks often report critical of the Church while attending, me included!!. The future is there to take.

      • And of course wwii became a means for the Russian church rise from near death.

        The globalists are clever, they repeat and repeat the same mantra. Thst nothing can be different til people believe it.
        And their eternal war like in 1984!!

        They hate the Russian church with a vengeance.

      • George Michalopulos “Hitler had conquered every Orthodox land but one of those conquests (Greece) delayed him just enough so that his invasion of Russia proved to be his ruination.

        And Serbia

        • George Michalopulos says

          True. The Germans had 36 divisions stationed in Serbia and Greece that could have been used elsewhere.

        • Martin yes Serbia and how Serbia suffered but the actual invasion due to disparity in state of armies and croat betrayal, took under week. Greece however fought ( the germans, as at war from 28/10/40) from 6/4/41 to 27/4/41 when they entered Athens. Then Crete held out to end of May. So this two months pinning down of Men and equipment, delayed Russian invasion meaning germans before gates of Moscow in winter instead of in September. This I think meant they may have taken Moscow Certainly Stalin assumed Moscow might fall. The russians would have fought on for sure but may have been that much more handicaped to take offensive.

  2. From reading comments on this blog–newly discovered by me–I think other readers have had personal experience with schism. Although mine was long ago, it drove me from the Church for over 30 years. At my grandfather’s funeral, the conflict between the Serbian monastery and the church in the old country was hardening. I was still in grade school, but I could not help but notice that of the six pallbearers the day of his funeral, they divided themselves by which side they favored–three on one side of the coffin, three on the other. These were men I had known my whole life, friends and men that my Deda had helped get started in this new country. I had spent many a Sunday at the feet of these men during Liturgy (Translation: When I fidgeted, I was marched right over to the men’s side of the church to behave.) These were giant stalwarts of the faith or so I thought until they were estranged from each other by politics and divisions between the old and the new country. To my knowledge, the schism lived longer than each of them. For me, it was a long road home to Orthodoxy, but I now worship in a sister church, a GOA church where I live. But when our priest says, don’t worry, this (Ukraine, MP vs EP, GOA financial irregularities, you name it.) has nothing to do with me because it is not doctrinal, it is only ecclesiastical, still my heart aches and my stomach turns. Back in the day, adults had to choose sides. That day may be here again. I just remember an aching loss and sadness.

    I have not gone back to educate myself on the details of this dark time when I heard first heard murmurs of Communism and a red patriarch, but what I believe is that when things appear most disordered, given time, it becomes clear that the way was never irretrievably lost and that a suffering church can indeed be a guardian at the gate. Just had to get that off my chest, I guess.

    May our Lord ever hold His Church in His grace and mercy.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I know what you mean, Susan. Lots of heartache, severe disappointment, and sadness.

    • I am greek and am struggling. Thank you. God bless.

      • Nikos, but you write with such passion! It’s going to be a long slog, don’t you think? We will all need to marshall our strength and rely on the Lord.

        • Yes Susan. I feel exactly same re greek church much much pain. Thank you for sharing. We must somehow stay strong.
          There is a little book ( St valdimir seminary press) called Light in the darkness,Sergei Fudel, thst is worth it’s weight in gold, that i often mention. He talks of dark side of the Church. He was the son of fr Fudel charismatic Moscow priest of 1920s who went to Gulag. Sergei spent many yrs in one too, married man dying in 1970, but what he writes in this slim book is a massive help to us now.
          I will be at the liturgy in a short time. I feel so much pain because here I have a good young priest, good people, who attend from belief. They have no money even to clean the blackened walls of the Church or anything else but much faith and love and feeling that goes into the liturgy. Moves me every time. God bless.

    • “The Church is the Opium for the people” said once one Wise man.

  3. Hello, atheist! Nice to see you here.

  4. Atheist ““The Church is the Opium for the people” said once one Wise man.”

    In his times opium was understood primarily as a painkiller. Unfortunately the religion coming from Bart and his ilk, does not give any consolation, only pain and confusion. 😉

    • Bartholomaios and manuella and their ilk do more for atheism that Marx in 200 yrs. Or Dawkins etc

  5. Well, the Macedonian Orthodox Church isn’t recognised by others because Serbia won’t give it autochephaly. But if Serbia gave it autocephaly, wouldn’t other churches recognise it? Indeed they would. So, why doesn’t Serbia give it autocephaly?

    Moreover, what’s now called Northern Macedonia was hung out to dry after the Balkan wars, split three ways to ensure it would remain a poor, land locked country. Let’s call that state of affairs a vacuum of desperation that’s just ripe for exploitation. Are those who helped create and maintain this situation – Serbia among them – partly responsible for anything silly the Northern Macedonians might now allow in that area?

    • Speaking from Bulgaria some truth in that. All have failed in falling back on narrow nationalism

  6. Joe Tombras says

    Learn from the Serbs, Listen to Bart, come to Pope now.

  7. Mel Cambuz says

    If you love Russia, please move. For your own safety. We are at war. We don’t want your religion here. We don’t even want it in the Balkans because it risks soviet control of the Besant Straits. Soviet Kanyon UUV nuclear torpedo is designed to dig underground canals linking the Azov and Capsian Seas to the Pacific, collapsing them in time of war to create an artificial river. Putin will spare nothing for world domination. If you are his ally, you are the enemy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yeah, I’m really worried about them Russkies spreading their pernicious Orthodox propaganda here. Good Lord! what could happen? No gay pride parades? Two genders? No rats in the streets of Los Angeles or piles of feces and needles in Portland or Seattle?

      Have you no decency Sir?

      • Estonian Slovak says

        It’s worse than that, George. Old Vlad might help resurrect Dixie. Of course, when Uncle Sam sticks his nose into Ukraine, THAT is ok. Hmm.

    • Mel what you on? And Soviet union died in 1991!
      A rant not a good look.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Mr. Mel, China and the new silk road is more of a clear and present danger I think.

    • Antiochene Son says

      “Russia wants war! Look how close they put their country to our military bases!”

    • John Sakelaris says

      To Mel Cambuz: Maybe you made your posting as a lark, a joke. But assuming the possibility that you could actually be serious, let us get some clarification from you. If a US citizen who also happens to be an Orthodox Christian publicly supports the idea of better relations with Russia, and criticizes America’s anti-Russia policy of recent years, just what should be done about those Christians?

      This is a First Amendment test for you.

  8. Thanks Antiochene Son, good belly laugh just when I needed it