Matthew Heimbach (far right) at a meeting of the neo-Nazi IKA (Imperial Klans of America) meeting. Note the Nazi swastikas present.
Many of you have read my previous open letters to Their Eminences Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, and Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese, Vice Chairman of the Assembly, urging them to take specific action to reiterate that Matthew Heimbach is not a member of the canonical Orthodox Church in America. In my hour long phone interview with him this morning, Heimbach freely admitted that he does not commune in America, but that his spiritual father is an unnamed priest of an unnamed jurisdiction in Europe (he would not specify which country). A senior ROCOR priest confirmed with me that he has spoken with Heimbach numerous times and that ROCOR does not have the authority to “lift” an excommunication put out by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. Here is my wide-ranging interview with Heimbach. Emphasis on my part is in bold.
Phone interview with Matthew Heimbach
June 26, 2015, 10:00-11:00am EST
1) RH: You’ve publicly said that you consider the suspected Charleston shooter Dylann Roof a “victim” of a society that supposedly hates white people. Isn’t it grossly offensive to the memory of the victims of the Charleston shooting to call the alleged killer of nine innocent people a “victim”?
MH: ABC News quoted me out of context. They showed thirty seconds, the inflammatory part, of what was a thirty minute interview.
RH: Still, you called the alleged killer a victim….
MH: The Charleston shooting is a tragedy being used for political cheap shot [by white liberals]. I actually went there [to Emanuel AME church] to lay flowers in front of the church and pray for the victims of the shooting. I met with members of the black community there and they were very respectful. They appreciated me talking with them. I didn’t see any other white people doing it. I see it as very important to condemn this tragedy. What Dylan Roof did was absolutely horrendous. I would say there is a moral equivalcy between young marginalized whites [who become radicalized] and marginalized Muslims who resort to radicalism and terrorism.
2) RH: You have publicly said you support “white power” in an ABC interview. What does this concept mean to you?
[Avoided answering the question directly]. I truly believe in local solutions to local problems. A majority black community should have a majority black police force that reflects the community, so the black community would be empowered in places like Ferguson, Missouri, so that they’re in charge of their own school systems, their own law enforcement…. that would stop racial tension. I want white people to be in charge of white communities.
3) RH: Why do you see the solution to racial tensions as dividing people, segregating them from each other?
What I’m asking for is not to force everyone to live separately, but freedom of association – to have the option of self-segregation. [Nationwide], we’re at some of the highest level of segregation ever now. When people have the opportunity, they generally choose to live among people like themselves. All I’m asking for is the right for white communities to be able to do the same. I’m just asking that whites be allowed to have homogeneous communities. There is no homogeneous white identity.
[White self-segregation is good because it enables you] to be able to not have your culture and your identity displaced. Good fences make good neighbors.
4) RH: In a public ABC interview, when asked “Are you a racist?”, you responded: “Sure? So what? It’s natural.” Are you a racist, Matt?
I asked them to specifically clarify what their definition of a racist was. The definition they gave me was if I believed that there were any differences [emphasis MH] between racial groups and if I had a special pride in my ethnic community, and for that, I said, “yes, under that definition, I consider myself a racist, it’s natural”. Every person I think should have pride in their ancestors, but not hate their neighbors.
5) RH: You were excommunicated from the Antiochian Orthodox Church in 2014. I have read Fr. Peter John Gilquist’s letter to that effect. A priest high up in the ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia] also confirmed that you are denied communion in ROCOR churches. Where, if anywhere, do you take communion?
What I can say is that I was excommunicated from Antioch. [I personally believe] my excommunication was lifted by ROCOR. My spiritual father is a priest in Europe who has the support of his bishop, so it’s sad that I have to go overseas
I’m not a Phyletist. Fr Peter John Gilquist saw that I brought non-white co-workers to Vespers and Liturgy to his own church. I’ve literally been bringing non-whites to his church in the hopes that they convert to the Faith. I’m not a Phyletist, I’ve never been a Phyletist. My political views are about changing things politically, not the Church. I don’t put ethnicity above the Church. It really bothers me that I tried to dialogue with Bishop Anthony for months, and he refused to speak with me. I’ve condemned phyletism on several occasions.
6) RH: It’s no secret, my bishop is His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR. Who is your bishop?
I won’t name names.
7) RH: You have publicly expressed your support for Romanian fascist activist Corneliu Codreanu. I have read numerous anti-Jewish statements made by Codreanu. He referred to Jews as mosquitoes. Do you agree with his anti-Jewish views?
[MH took issue with me calling Codreanu a fascist].
I think that Codreanu and his legions were actively supported by the [Romanian] Church at the time. If I’m standing on the same level with Fr Justin Parvu, who supported the Legions, then I stand behind Codreanu and I stand behind his statements. Fr Justin Parvu, on his way to sainthood, was a member of the Legion.
I’m not asking everyone to become a nationalist, I’m not asking to transform the Orthodox Church into my vision. What I’m asking for is to simply be allowed to exist in the Orthodox Church with my vision.
8) RH: Most Orthodox Christians worldwide do not support political Zionism, but we do not hate Jewish people. We support the State of Israel’s right to exist. You seem to believe in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy of some kind. Please tell me more about that.
In regards to ethnic Jews – I am an anti-Zionist. My inspiration to be anti-Zionist came from Middle Eastern Christians. I used to be an ardent Zionist who believed the Zionist narrative. It wasn’t til I met with Arab Christians that I changed my mind.
When it comes to the “Jews”, quote unquote, I pray for their salvation, I pray for their return to Christ, we’re called to bring the Gospel to all nations. Following St John Chrysostom and St John of Kronstadt, I have to acknowledge that the Pharissees have continued to wage a war against Christianity in rebellion against God for the past 2,000 years.
I would reference the Black Hundreds, supported by St John of Kronstadt and St Tsar Nicholas II…
Regarding the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I do believe it is a genuinely accurate portrayal of tactics used against Christian civilization. St Tsar Nicholas II is the one that backed the printing of hundreds of thousands of copies of the pamphlet throughout Orthodox Russia. The Crown was directly funding groups like the Black Hundreds to get Russians to support the monarchy against Bolshevism. The Protocols were an important document in Russian history that the Tsar thought the people should read.
9) RH: Tell me about your immigration views. Aren’t we a nation of immigrants? Your last name is German, at some point your ancestors immigrated here. Even the first Native Americans crossed the Bering land bridge thousands of years ago.
[Never directly answered the question]. America as a proposition nation is truly the first proposition nation in human history. Prior to America every nation was based around a single tribe with shared values. America is truly an aberration. By indulging in these Enlightenment era philosophies – the Enlightenment era that was anti-monarchy, anti-hierarchy, anti-nation – we see that with the spread of the French Revolution and America to a certain extent. America from the beginning as in rebellion against traditional forms of government, traditional community. America seems to be in rebellion against the civilizational basis of every other society.
What I would say first and foremost is that we [white separatists] have totally lost, the battle for immigration is already over. What I want to see – what I truly believe will bring racial reconciliation – is to allow communities and states and regions – to Balkanize and have their own nation-states on the American continent. Many regions, especially the Southwest or the Deep South – that if they were to create their own independent nation-states would have a pretty ethnically homogenous population. I’m not asking for change within the church, but a political change.
I support the right of self-determination which I believe could lead to secession. While I support Russia in most things [such as the Crimean annexation], I support the Chechens’ right to secession. [Mentions the Scotland independence vote, the Catalans in Spain]. This isn’t a fringe idea. My people – white people—and all people should have this right [to secede]. Specifically, I identify as a Southerner from a small Southern town in Maryland.
10) RH: You identify as a “White separatist”, meaning you support white people’s self-segregation from non-whites. Doesn’t this interfere with Christ’s Great Commission to baptize and make disciples of all people? I know many Orthodox Christians who are non-white. What would you say to them?
I support a political solution to these problems which would allow for the right of self-determination. I want to see the entire world become Orthodox. What I’m asking for is a political solution. I am an Orthodox Christian, yes, but at the same time, say in Greece, Golden Dawn members can go to liturgy with PKE, the communist party in Greece, and they remember the important line of the liturgy “lay aside all earthly cares”. I want the church to be open to everyone of political persuasion and ethnic background. God-willing, all of the American continent will become Orthodox.
We couldn’t have black Orthodox churches, we are a catholic Church, a universal Church. I don’t want to bar anyone at the door,. I don’t want to stop interracial couples from coming into the Church. If I were to ever push to deny someone the mysteries of the Church, that’s putting so much judgment on my soul.
If we had separate nation-states, I believe if Orthodoxy were to grow in America, the idea of having autocephalous churches – Southerners have a very distinct culture, and to be able to dream of an autocephalous Dixie Church would be amazing. That would depend on conversion and the politics of the time. The Church is not supposed to be political.
11) RH: You have attended numerous events with Neo-Nazis present. Do you consider yourself a neo-Nazi? You say you support the fascist Codreanu. Why, if you don’t consider yourself a neo-Nazi, do you praise them?
I don’t consider myself a neo-Nazi. Codreanu is my largest inspiration and the Legions. The Legion’s mission was to save souls through the revitalization of the Orthodox Church in Romania.
I do not identify as a neo-Nazi. I consider my biggest spiritual inspiration to be the Legion of St Michael the Archangel. When I went to Romania with my wife, when I got to talk to some old timers who remember the Legion, I saw humble and loving Orthodox Christians who were willing to suffer torture for decades in prison.
12) RH: People aren’t trying to hurt you. No one is trying to force you out of the Church. We want you, we want everyone, in the Church. All we are praying for is that you abandon your racism. If you do that, the Church will show you mercy. Would you consider abandoning your racist views and conforming your mind to the Church?
First and foremost, it’s most important to be able to find a way to reconcile myself to the Church in America. I feel like the biggest problem has been miscommunication. Not a single bishop has sat down with me and discussed these issues.
13) RH: Why, if you claim you are not a phyletist, did Fr Peter John Gilquist publicly excommunicate you?
I can’t speak for Fr Gilquist, — the call for my original excommunication came from Bishop Anthony, Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. He was the one who ordered my excommunication. A prayer vigil that my group was holding in Bloomington, Indiana, in which there was a slut walk walking down the street, the local anti-fascist activists attacked us….we were attacked on the street. My friend, Thomas Buhls, an Iraqi war veteran, was physically attacked. I grabbed the attacker off of my friend. He was literally punching my friend in the face, and I grabbed him in a headlock to pull him off of him. Then, after we had been attacked by these people, they took my cross, spit on it, and broke it. I have video evidence of this. We stood on the corner for the next hour and prayed the rosary for these men. We did not respond with more violence, but with prayer. I never beat him with the cross. The man was wearing a mask.
14) Will you try to be reconciled to the Church? Would you consider changing your views, which the Church has condemned as racist and unacceptable?
If I’m in heresy, I want to know it and repent. If I’m not, let me in communion. I had gone to Greece and Romania and visited several monasteries in both countries, to meet with different priests. My wife and I honeymooned in Greece and Romania. We stayed with a priest who put us up with his family in one of those countries. What I was told over and over again was that this would not be happening in Romania. They said you sound like you live under communists.