№ 3. 2008
THE APOLOGIA OF SHAKE-UP
By this material we start a cycle of informal conversations on relevant spiritual themes. The representatives of three professions – the priest, the politician and the writer – hold the conversations. We suppose to lead this cycle until the end of the year and promise you, dear reader, you will not be bored. All themes of Russia, its past and present are organically connected and closely interlaced. We will try to find out the main course of contemporary historical process and state the most interesting points of view on its spiritual aspects.
The following paradoxical phrase of metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov), well-known russian hierarch of the beginning of XX century and outstanding church writer, caused this conversation. He said: “If there is no revolution in Russia, Russia won’t survive.” He pronounced this verdict before the events of October 1917.
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The priest: If in 1917 bolsheviks had not fired the Kremlin in fratricidal shambles, the patriarchy probably would not have been elected. Russain inertness, as experience shows, can be broken only by the bellow of the cannon. Ideas of liberalism, democracy, antimonarchism were literally in the air. And only when bolsheviks intentionally started shooting at the relics of the Kremlin, then on the wave of sacred anger and protest Holy Patriarchy was elected. That is why Veniamin Fedchenkov said that in Russia only family remained from the belief . Church, patriotism turned into a certain habit, certain observance of foundations, that held the society, did not let it stagger heavily. But the spirit was coming out from the inside and something incomprehensible appeared. Humanism, nihilism, internationalism evolved from it. Everything could be understandable and reachable. Why do I need the God then if I can change the life for the better myself?
The politician: Well, it is, first of all, the illness of intellectuals.
The priest: Not only this, as Fedchenkov writes, even in seminaries there was such a state when the way of salvation in Christ stepped back and became something external towards temptation of materialism.
The politician: Yes, Fedchenkov says the same, if there were not Father Ioann Kronshtadsky, he would lose his belief.
The priest: But how did he meet this righteous man? Father Ioann was not invited to the Petersburg Theological Academy and almost no one out of professors and students was looking for him. But why? Just because ascetics was not on the list of subjects. Teaching was intellectual, theoretical, rational and even protestant-catholic. And it started a long time ago, in the time of Catherine, that is why Saint Illarion Troitsky tells about good and gone times, when a young priest coming to the parish used to have only two basic books – missal and prayer-book. And in them – all Orthodoxy. By 1917 there was already a number of seminarians reading Marks. Typical example is Stalin Dzhugashvili.
The politician: Did the translation of “Saint Fathers” start reviving in the middle of 19th century?
The priest: Exactly, Saint Paisey Velichkovsky, having come from Afon, did a lot in this walk of life. With his translations he regenerated the spiritual foundation of Russia that was dying down that time.
The politician: If we talk about external physical body, then when there is a fight of cells against desease, that we can not see, everything is really cruel: all these bodies, antibodies, red and white corpuscles, viruses are at war with each other. It is a real war over health. I think there is the same war in a spiritual body of the nation, ethnic group. Generations perish, sometimes millions wipe out. What is the spiritual state of those streams, vortexes. How do they arise? Why? Why is one annihilated by the other, thrown down to the precipice? Probably it is the process of treatment, understanding. By whom? By the Providence. We see this, but quite often we do not understand the core of what is going around. Human life is too short and it can not catch thousand-year “strokes” with which the God makes history. Moreover, the Providence sometimes uses scalpel, so that human on the level of his physical perception takes it for disaster, tragedy, crying injustice. But it is just scalpel’s work. The blood is running, metastases and affected parts of spiritual life are being cut out. And the scalpel is in the hand of Love, in the hand of Saviour.
The priest: Right! Why do Americans always meet one defeat after another? The same happened to us when we interfered in Finland. In a small country with population of five millions. Though it could defend itself. Because the God could not let us destroy this small independent nation. Then – Afghanistan… It does not matter that our soldiers carried the war better than Americans there, anyway they ended up with shame. And now let’s pay attention to american aggression in Vietnam. Were they beaten? They were… Were they beaten in Yugoslavia? They were… Were they beaten in Iraq? They were… But why? Just because if you interfere in any alien country with your rules you are supposed to suffer a defeat. On the alien territory you are always afraid of perishing and you will never win the war with this.
The politician: And that is why the spirit always wins.
The priest: Reverting to our topic, as we mentioned above, metropolitan Veniamin Fedchenkov writes: if there is no catastrophe in Russia, we won’t survive. Have I cited correctly? So, all these tough words can be applied to today!
The politician: In his book “About belief, hesitation and unbelief” he refers to words of the person that asserts if nothing catastrophic happens we will disappear.
The priest: It is because he spiritually supported revolution as well. Having come from peasants he saw all this barin’s arrogance and did not accept it. That is why in Krasnodar Extraordinary Committee he was not shot down but he was set free.
The literary man: We are talking about his analysis of this unbelief, that swallowed up the whole country, and about the need of some spiritual shake-up. And nowadays we have the same. The moral and criminal lawlessness that swamped Russia makes people indignant and regain consciousness. No, it is not an excuse of revolution but the orgy of debauch, drunkenness, drug addiction and it can not last long.
The priest: It is training of Russia for its future revival. The God, having set an iron curtain in its time – communism, set us apart from western democracy and terrorism, in other words, from universal chaos and degeneration. And he let communistic orthodox religion be there. Liberals were getting break-through ready. Workers' and Peasants' government believed in communistic ideology. Stalin knew that liberalism would lose in Russia. He knew he could win only with belief. And it appeared. Thus communistic belief was with anthem, relics, religious procession (demonstrations), in other words, with reiteration of Christian moments. Including commandments, the codex of communism’s builders. Though, it is clear there are no commandments of bliss. Russian people in the main, except annihilated intellectuals, keep believing in communistic ideology. The most important thing that they are not indifferent, that is positive. Indifference and unbelief is the worst that could be. It is spiritual death. The God did not allow masons and Temporary Government to set that life here.
Although, as says Father Ioann Krestiankin, our time is apocalyptic, Sacred Orthodox Church still remains, Its spirit. No one knows what is going to happen to the world tomorrow, but Russia as well as Serbia will stay the only guardian of Christian covenants in the world.
The literary man: By the way, events in Serbia are big politics as well, that can cause some processes inside Russia. I hope positive processes.
The priest: Only if Serbians will stand up to Orthodoxy, not liberalism. Their young people are playing for both sides. When I was a pray reader in the temple, we had a parishioner in our parish, he was a trade representative from Yugoslavia. It was 1982. My deceased senior priest often invited him to dinner. And he always said: “I am so happy in your temple. I am so impressed at how people pray.” I asked him: “How is it going at your place? Is it not so crowded?” He answered: “Our temples are empty. All young people left for West. We lost our belief”. “How could it happen? - I said - You have the lord Nikolai, Iystin Popovich”. “No one needs it”. It was said in 1982 by the person who was 60 year old at that time. And the country was still undivided. Today they experience the same that we did in 1917.
The politician: And they lived better than we did at that time because of the western market.
The literary man: Yugoslavian heritage of 1970th is pornography, absolute liberal freedom. How could we be jealous of them? We just did not understand that they experienced spiritual decay of Christianity.
The priest: They all go to the service in the temple of Saint Savva, he means to them the same as Reverend Sergey to us. He saved Serbia from its total destruction by Protestantism and Catholicism. Everything that is going there resembles our problems, I am watching this really closely.
The literary man: Solgenicin gave a wonderful speech on problematic separation of Kosovo. He was completely published in Serbia, but in Russia they quoted only extracts of his speech. None of central editions paid attention… Hushing up… He writes something wrong….
The priest: It is not by chance. And he said wonderfully: “God’s providence runs the world”. But only few people understand this. Because God’s will, human’s will and Satan’s will are in some brace. And it is clear where and which will appears. Why is America degrading? Just because there is a cult of golden sack, a cult of dollar, a cult of force, a cult of arms. It is the sermon of dead, demonic, fascist ideology: where force is, the power is…But it is not convincing anymore.
The politician: I deeply convinced that situation in Iraq is tragic for America. First, war defeat. Second, not only Near-Eastern people, but the whole world irreversibly changed their view on America. America is not scaring anymore, everybody is just disappointed with it. They stopped being afraid of it, because they understood that aggressors can not achieve anything on the earth. That is why even small nation with the certain state of the spirit and will of going until the end can fight with such a giant. Where did the phenomenon of Hugo Chaves, that says from the tribune of UN to the USA that it stinks of brimstone, come from? Could he say that 50 years ago? What about splash in Iran? It is the beginning of the end. The process started. And third, the collapse of regional model. If Iran put “Shiite hat” on Iraq, where 60 percent of population are Shiites, then close the question of The Bay, America will not be able to help with its “umbrella”. Because America turned from gendarme into scarecrow. And the process of Islamism and fundamentalism will go further, approach Israel and catch Syria which is inwardly ready to accept Islam. I am not just familiar with this, I was working there for 7 years. Only external political shell of Asad regime and special services restrain its growth. Then – fundamentalistic Libya. Algeria and two weak monarchies in Mediterranea. And then – Europe where all domestic communications, all shovels, all valves, all scrapers, services sector are in hands of Africans and Asians. Capillary system of Europe is imbued with Islamism, it remains only to hoist a flag. And today they start hoisting this flag on Near East.
When the United States acted so vulgarly and without foresight with Kosovo, with their own hands they created conditions hoisting this flag faster. Enfeebled, flabby in its liberalism Europe will have to obey powerlessly. And forth, process started and there is no reverse. It can only be speeded up. All these disorders in France, Belgium, Sweden are only trainings, and we have to understand that those who and why burn off cars in the streets of European cities. Islamic young people see all this wealth that is only at the distance of outstretched arm, that is why clear target is being formed in their minds. These young people are citizens and they can not be simply expelled or forbidden. Europe pays up for its colonial sins. And Providence serves up this payment on the dish of burning cars. America will have to pay up for Negros and Indians.
The priest: That is right. I enjoyed your recent article in one of Moscow magazines about finances. Especially the thought that financial pyramid arose in the times of Protestantism. Christian model failed and parasitic capital appeared. It cause family and moral decay, the cult of money. And now this model is failing.
The politician: The model of global world system is perishing in all its displays. Crisis of science, ecology, culture, political and philosophical forms, anything in the world.
The literary man: They are trying to “save” culture by thrusting pop culture. It is impossible. As for mentioned european valves, shovels, and communications that turned out to be in hands of Africans and Asians, I see that in Moscow those valves and all capillar system are not in hands of Muscovites. That is awkward. All is the same. Does it look like we are paying Kirghizes and Tajiks up for Soviet Union? Really interesting. The main thing, everything is as like as two peas. But in Russia it is quieter. No one burns off cars at least. Thanks to the peaceful character of Russian people who keep silently putting up with everything. Probably, that is nothing but common globalizing processes run by someone’s experienced hand…
The politician: Why are Americans pressing Kosovo? Don’t they know that it is narcotraffic? They do. They just want to suppress the rest of their consciousness with drugs. Why do they hold Afghanistan? Don’t they know there are plantations in Afghanistan? Who is transporting this? Whose airplanes? CIA does.
The priest: After the downfall of Byzantium Russia became the guardian of real Christian principles. But since Peter The Great’s times Holy Russia starts losing its meaning and great Russia rises. Enlarging of Great Russia lays the foundation of future separation between people and aristocracy which is drawn towards western absolutism. Finally, it brings to revolution. It was Dostoevsky who foretold this, and it happened. Christianity in schools, theological academies was just theoretical by this time. And as a result – revolution, that annihilated the most outstanding people of Russia with ranks and epaulets.
What is Russia of our times interesting for? The God let the evil ruin even very important things. What for? Just to create something much more important, more spiritual. In spite of scary structures such as C.P.S.U. and GPU created by Bolshevistic government, the Church stood up in the person of confessors, martyrs and mere believer women. Because the Church is Christ’s Corpus. As for nowadays, I think the time of unconcealed evil, its triumph has finished. It is my internal feeling. The consideration of spiritual principles is starting slow, but it is starting. They are to rescue human civilization. What for? To reunite with the God. That is my point of view. Small ferment, as it is said in the Gospel, sours the whole dough. We still have ferment. I saw those confessors and beautiful Christian women in the years of Khrushchev’s persecutions. It's quite another matter that in the Church internal perception of what is going on is needed. There is an excellent spiritual and moral capital in the person of Saint martyrs. Now the abbot Damaskin Orlovsky, “church Solgenicin” publishes his wonderful works, but I do not really know if people read them.
On 28th of February there was 70 years since my father was shot down. He was buried in Butovo. When I read church writer, the expert in studying heritage of the neo-martyrs, abbot Damaskin Orlovsky, I knew that on that day another 5 priests were shot down along with my father. And at all there were 53 people shot down, who were transported in 3 cars. I was happy spiritually. I thought my father was blessed for last torments. He was the officer of the tsar. To tell the truth, in my family we never talked about the God and I do not know if my father was believer. He sang a famous Russian song “The Robber” in the military school and he was honored with the praise of Grand Prince. But that time is in the past. I can not understand only one thing – German people not only repudiated Hitlerism but they wiped all memory about Hitler off. They did not name any street after Hitler, Hering and Hebbels. They did not set up a monument to any of them. In Russia we still have plenty of monuments to Ilianov and Sverdlov.
The literary man: The nationalism is arising there.
The priest: It is not really important. History is losing its meaning without nationalism. There is national self-consciousness. If German people lose it, they will become something incomprehensible. We mixed up the term of rational nationalism, that means love to your nation and respect to others, with zoological nationalism on purpose. As well as antisemitism. It has two faces: zoological and spiritual. If Jew openly abuses Christ, I will be antisemite. If he leaves peacefully and does not abuse Christ, acts decently, why should I condemn him. It is his own business, his spiritual freedom of conscience. The same here: if nationalism presents in national culture, its representatives will not be able to love other culture, other nation. That is what patriotism is founded on.
Publication was prepared by
перевод на англ. Марии Просвиряковой
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