To walk “2 000 000 kilometers to Love”, charming the Germans mastered a few thousand and did the same to Russia. This year the publishing house “Nike” for the first time released the famous autobiography in the Russian language.
- “The happiest man in Europe” and his path to Orthodoxy
- An incredible story of Klaus Kenneth
- Klaus Kenneth: I’ve tried everything – and chose Christianity
- When I was five years old, my father decided that we will no longer go to Church…
So who is this Klaus Kenneth? He has traveled the world, twenty times was on the verge of life and death, played in a rock band, robbing stores was filmed naked for tabloid publications. Klaus Kenneth six hours watching how in love with him girl dies from overdose of pills, not trying to help her. And then he just married her.
Apologized to the Pope, and Mother Teresa, he tried to convert to Hinduism. Klaus Kenneth lived in Buddhist monasteries, was a Hindu guru, practiced the occult, along with the Indians in Central America, but ended his spiritual quest was no ordinary German in Orthodox Christianity, wrote a shocking book that became an international bestseller.
Today I will talk with Klaus Kenneth, author of the publication, which in Russia is called “2,000,000 miles to love. Odyssey of the sinner.”
– Mr. Kenneth, why you wrote your book? This is a mission? Personal psychotherapy? Opportunity to become famous? Who is your reader?
– After my conversion to Christianity, I participated in one event in Lausanne. The organizers asked me to come on stage and tell an audience of several thousand people your story. This meeting was attended by the journalist of one of the largest radio stations in Europe. He was so stunned by what he heard, asked me for an interview. We agreed on 30 minutes, but in the end stream of this conversation turned into a series that was on radio for 3 weeks. After our broadcast on the radio station received more than 600 letters from listeners.
I was asked to write his story. It resulted in a book of 260 pages. But Archimandrite Sophronios (Sakharov) did not bless its publication. In this story I’m more of a “glorified” to my adventure, than talking about Christ. I had to rewrite it all over again, considering its way from the standpoint of a Mature person. It took me more than 15 years! Remember, even St. Paul had to “grow up” 14 years before starting to preach. In this we differ from Protestants: they often wrote the history of their treatment too early. Such stories can be interesting, but they are of no use to the reader. So, the book came 18 years later in 2000.
My story quickly found its readers. After reading it, someone was able to find my way to Christ. The people were inspired with faith, returning to Church “was healed.” She began her journey through cities and countries, it was translated into many languages. I still get wonderful messages from Afghanistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Korea, Alaska and South America.
So no, personal therapy was not. Why? Because in that moment, when Christ came into my heart, I completely and 100% healed! Now I’m doing “psychotherapy” of people around the world.
If I wanted to be famous? Of course not! But it still happened to me by the grace of God. The only thing I care is how not to become proud and not lose grace. Fortunately, I are under the prayerful protection and guidance of my spiritual father Zacharias, a follower of Sophronius (Sakharov) of Essex monastery.
Now you know who is my reader? Is the whole world: believers, people of different faiths, atheists, hippies, addicted to sins, Church critics, and provocateurs (I love them!) and other “seekers of spirituality”.
– You tried almost all religions of the world taste. Are you sure that Christianity is the destination in your spiritual quest? Why?
Only because I had experienced other religions, I am 100% sure that Christianity — this is the true faith. The proof of this is the Love that grows in my heart day by day. All religion — is the “opium of the people” (they were right, Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche), but Christianity — this is not religion, but revelation. Religion asks: “God, where are You?” And Orthodox Christianity — is, on the contrary, the answer “here I am!”
When your heart collides with true Love, you clearly understand that the truth is in Orthodoxy. People who don’t feel it, never met a real Orthodoxy, but was faced only with some of his surrogates. It’s very sad. It’s like that to prefer the gold brass.
– You never thought that your way that you describe in the book, despite its tragedy, is very attractive to many, including young people. Someone may want the same — first, to live a fun and colorful life and then in adulthood to come to Church? Your words about what you all this time, not enough love for the unbeliever not convincing…
– St. Paul says: “if we all sin to experience God’s forgiveness and love” (a free interpretation). Of course not! This is my answer! As I know, the youth no longer goes to Church, especially in Greece. They choose parties, drugs and other entertainment. It is a reality today. Why don’t they come? Because they do not see the “benefits” to their own lives. Clergy it’s time to think about what is happening in order not to “miss out” youth.
In fact, the Church gives many benefits for the believers. If I meet atheists among young people, that’s what I’m trying to show them. The point is to help them understand what they actually looking for in addictions, and to fill the vacuum of love and wisdom that we have in our Church.
– Mr. Kenneth, readers have learned much about your life before Orthodoxy from the book. Tell us a little about your family, what you live now?
– My life today is a constant journey through Europe and the USA, during which I meet with people and answer the numerous questions about my book on TV, radio and in the media. I have the support of regular prayer throughout the day, without it I wouldn’t have the strength and energy to carry out their activities.
My wife’s name is Steven, originally from Montenegro. Wife — my “gift from above”. Next to it I become simply “householder”, love to cook, enjoy doing housework, while she works as a physiotherapist. We met her at a meeting in Lausanne. For me this city is special: that’s where I first “met Christ” and later the father Sophronii (Sakharov), mother Teresa, and other important people. Steven just looked me in the eye, and from the second I got lost in time and space. And I’m still in love as 20 years ago. God’s love for us is boundless!
– In your book you speak very warmly about Mother Teresa. When you were in your spiritual walk, you were trying to convert Mother Teresa in Hinduism. If you met her today, you would have tried to tell her about Orthodoxy?
– Of course, I would talk to her about Orthodoxy! I know she would listen to me. From my personal experience, I can say that she was always “little Orthodox”: led prayer life was in constant communion with God and repentance. She loved Christ with all my heart.
– Experienced different religions, you came to Orthodoxy as to the truth. Outside of Orthodoxy there is no “salvation“? That is, Mother Theresa is not “saved“?
– The Bible gives the answer to this question. We must not judge or condemn other people because of their faith. People are not guilty of being born the “wrong” place. The Scripture says, “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will illuminate the hidden things of darkness and reveal the hearts”. God is love. I think we are very surprised, when we meet in Paradise the people there did not expect to see, and not see those who were confident. Fortunately, I am not God. I leave it to His discretion. “The wise thief” repented at the last second of his life on the cross. “Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise” — answered him Jesus. Beware to judge superficially.
– You are an Orthodox person in the Western world. They say that Russian Orthodoxy differs from Western Christianity in great formalism and love of the external manifestations of the faith. Have you noticed something similar? That shock you, surprise in Russian Orthodoxy? In Russia?
– The Orthodoxy in Western world completely unknown. Unfortunately. My task is to talk about it “to the victims of the Vatican” here in the West. People have a lot prejudices. I try to show that “formalism,” this is meaningful and valid tradition. Holy Liturgy — it is “perfection”, is our expression of gratitude to Christ. We can’t blame those who do not understand, but we can blame ourselves for what we are unable to explain it to others.
People who are an example of living faith, as the Holy father Sophronius, demonstrate the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov: “Save yourself, and around you thousands will be saved”. Saint Sylvanus, too, was a teacher in high school, and he taught the whole world with his life.
If I’m somehow “bothers” in the Russian Church, so is the connection with the state. I believe in the words of Christ: “My Kingdom is not of this world.”
Therefore, we must first take care of their souls, and not to seek new sources of influence and power. We can only pray that your President, Mr. Putin, revealed his persona a true Orthodox Christian.
– In one interview you said that when Antichrist shall come, it will be a hybrid of the American President and the Pope. Today in the West frequently demonized the image of Russia and Russian President. What do you think about Mr. Putin and Russia today?
– Russia has always been Orthodox country, its faith survived even the Communist persecution because this belief is from the heart, not from the head, as in Roman Catholicism. The West is really a thousand years is “a victim of Vatican.” To bring people from the scholastic theology to the true experience of Christ is very difficult. But with this dispensation we will be able to recognize the Antichrist. Our brain, and we won’t help you. The demonization of Russia and its President — only a consequence of the blindness of the West. Mr. Putin, of course, should not be demonized, but I approve not all of his actions. And who is perfect except Christ? Maybe I should sometimes to give him advice… haha.
– You often speak very boldly of Christ and His presence in your life. Where is the line between personal relationship with God and the state, which in the Orthodox Church called “beauty”?
– Without a personal relationship with Christ, nothing will happen in your life. As Christ says: “without Me ye can do nothing.”
I have met people who have in the living room hung a hundred icons, but they could not forgive their neighbors. You can go to Church every day, like my mother, but not have peace in my soul.
Faith — it is not the Bible, not the Liturgy, not preaching, not tradition and not culture. Only a personal relationship with your Friend – Christ will be able to guide you with the Holy Spirit to save. This is exactly what I was missing in Hinduism and Buddhism: God as a Person. Only one Magisterium and imagination.
– You have such a rich experience of spiritual seeking. You never felt that this baggage in the form of long-term stay in other religions affect your understanding of Orthodoxy, makes it specific?
– No, honestly. Remember, father Sofroniy once told me how much he regrets the “lost” years, he spent in yoga and transcendental meditation. I am sure that, despite my previous experience, now I’m really in Orthodoxy.
I try not to waste another second, build your faith. I’m almost 74 years old… Let me hurry! In the monastery of the father of sophronia in Essex often joke, saying, “We are all Russian, are we in a hurry all day.” They know that the time you can’t spend it. So let me time to bring my gifts from Christ and in Russia, too.
– Who else of the outstanding Orthodox people have influenced you, in addition to Archimandrite Sophronios? Who are you thankful for?
– St. Nikolai (Velimirovic) of the Serbian is very close to me in spirit. Spiritually, I “met” him in Serbia, when talking with people in Valjevo, the town where he was born, and at St. Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania (USA), where St. Nicholas served as a Director. After his “prologue of Ohrid” many of the saints became for me the real “spiritual friends.”
I was influenced by the works of father Justin Popovic, as well as meeting with Saint Basil of Ostrog, thanks to whom I have struck up a close friendship with Archimandrite Amphilochius, his follower from Montenegro. I am very grateful to Bishop Anthony of Sourozh (bloom) who once physically healed me from back pain.
– If you’d met me twenty years, what would you have said? From what was doing it?
– I would first have listened very carefully to what “young Klaus” he wants to tell me. I would try to open his heart “to the suffering Klaus”, without precepts and advice, and just being around him. I would like to show him my love and respect, not for what he does but for who he really is. Christ loves the sinner but not the sin.
In order to “protect themselves”, I would have applied to people who possess true Love. Systems, institutions, rituals, and rules the Church, which is the only “club of the clergy”, where all indifferent to each other, in this case, it is useless, they will not help. Only true love can penetrate the heart of sinful man to lift him to revolt against his fallen nature. If a man who brought me to Church, I would have trusted him and followed him.
– In the book you say that your first wife, your good friend, Ursula, was one of the first people who have spoken to you of Christ. As was her fate? She came to Orthodoxy or Protestantism?
– I met Ursula a few days ago. We talked this morning by phone. Ursula became a nun in the monastery of father Sophronius. She came to Orthodoxy long before me and have helped me. In my life there are four God’s greatest gift — Christ himself, mother Teresa, father Sofroniy and Ursula. She now has a new name, but for the sake of her privacy I don’t want to publish it. She is very ill for many years, and readers can pray for her health.
– What would you like to say/wish your Russian readers?
– Let me meet you and talk to you! You can check how truthful I am. Even if we don’t meet in person, I implore you: if you want to gain true peace of mind and resolve your doubts, do like me, let yourself be curious! Take a chance! May the Lord visit you in any way possible. Ask Him to come into your life, your mind, your heart, your soul! And I guarantee — it will happen!