Voices from Russia

Monday, 9 April 2018

9 April 2018. A Point to Ponder… S M Solovyov on Progress

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Bear the above in mind whenever you hear rightwing asshats like Damick and Trenham claim that the Church blesses the Republican Party and its pro-oligarch greedster anti-life programme. It doesn’t.

S M Solovyov was one of the most famous Russian historians. His most influential work was History of Russia from the Earliest Times. Ironically, he’s almost unknown in the West, where he’s only known as the father of V S Solovyov.

BMD

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Religious Roots of Russia’s Mistrust towards the West

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Right-Believing Grand Prince St Aleksandr Nevsky stopped the absorption of Russia into Catholic Europe and thus saved the Russian Orthodox faith

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There’s something in the Russian collective memory that causes Russian mistrust towards the West. Does this mistrust have religious roots? I don’t disagree completely with some of the points made in the article Anti-Western Sentiment as the Basis for Russian Unity, heavily criticised by fellow RI contributor Eric Kraus. Russian identity has a deeper anti-Western sentiment than implied by the recent rise of anti-Western sentiment among Russians, primarily caused by what they perceive as American and NATO aggression. So what is one of the main causes of Russia’s historical mistrust towards the West? For centuries, the Vatican tried to convert Russian Orthodox Christians to Catholicism. They succeeded in doing so with Orthodox Christians in the Western Ukraine and in parts of the Western Balkans. Even today, Vatican zealotry is alive and well. The Vatican is trying to achieve a “church union with Orthodox Christians”, of course under the primacy of the Pope. Russians saw foreign invaders… the Vatican, together with Swedish and Polish forces, Napoleon, Hitler, and NATO… as violent symbols of Western civilisation.

However, Russian identity didn’t gel as a reaction or historical reflex to Western expansionism. In its nature, Russian culture isn’t anti-Western or based on antagonism towards foreign civilisations or concepts.Many Russians would argue that Russian identity belongs to a different civilisational “code” as a successor of the great traditions and civilisation of New Rome. That’s the reason the Russian Empire was for centuries considered the Third Rome. Orthodox civilisation differs from its Western counterpart in terms of values, tradition, religion, and so on. Just read Samuel Huntington’s A Clash of Civilisations. Huntington posits that people’s cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. Many would argue that this is exactly what’s happening in today’s world. Most of the recent conflicts have either religious or cultural causes. In addition, bloody civil wars in the Balkans, and now in the Ukraine, had a strong religious and civilisational dimension to them.

Let’s not forget that many American and European Christian conservatives support Putin because of his Christian vision and pro-family values. Maybe, could this be a reaction to their own governments’ openly anti-Christian and anti-family approach to social issues?

7 November 2014

Danmir Marinović

Russia-Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/culture_christianity_society/2014/11/07/09-33-37am/religious_roots_russias_mistrust_towards_west

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00 russia 01. Viktor Vasnetsov. Three Bogatyrs. 1898

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Here’s what Mr Marinović wrote to an interlocutor in the commboxes:

I was referring to the Vatican, not to ordinary Catholic believers. There’s a big difference between good ordinary Catholics on one side and the corrupted Vatican and “infallible” Pope on the other. Click here for an excellent article about Vatican and Russia. As Dostoyevsky pointed up, “Papism is more dangerous than atheism, since it presents to us a profane and desecrated Christ usurping the earthly throne”, the Pope took the sword and added, “lies, intrigue, deception, fanaticism, and villainy”. Papism is dangerous precisely because it offers a counterfeit Christ.

You obviously deceive yourself when you claim that the Popes didn’t want to subordinate Orthodox for centuries. Yes, they didn’t ask for the Latin Mass, but they did ask us to admit the primacy of the Pope and to consider him “infallible in matters of faith”, which is blasphemy. As far as the power-hungry Vatican is concerned, you can worship God as you want, as long as you subordinate yourself to the Pope. The Pope replaced Christ; he’s the God in the Vatican church. There’s no place for Christ next to the Pope; you just need to adore the Pope and you’ll be saved. In regard to theological and other important differences between Catholics and the Orthodox Church, please, click here, here, and here.

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If you’d like to learn more what Catholic clergy did to “their Christian brothers”, to Orthodox Christians, in the Second World War, please, look at this documentary. Moreover, this documentary only relates the Vatican’s misdeeds in World War II; I’m not even mentioning any other tragic historical events related to the Vatican and Orthodox Christians. THE VATICAN’S HOLOCAUST isn’t a misnomer, an accusation, and even less a speculation. It’s a historical fact. Rabid nationalism and religious dogmatism were its two main ingredients. During the existence of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) as an independent Catholic State, over 700,000 men, women and children perished. Many were executed, tortured, died of starvation, buried alive, or were burned to death. Thousands were forced to become Catholic. Catholic padres ran concentration camps; Catholic priests were officers of the military that committed such atrocities. 700,000 in a total population of a few million, proportionally, would be as if a Catholic militia exterminated one-third of the American population.

The Ustaša slaughtered Serbs, Jews, and the Roma were in their villages after unspeakable tortures or burned alive in their churches. Those they didn’t murder, they expelled to Serbia proper after despoiling them of all their property or forcibly converting to the Roman Catholic faith by Franciscan and Roman Catholic clergy. Many suffered as slave labourers. The remaining people went to concentration camps where the majority perished. From gold and money stolen from these people, the Vatican enabled Nazis to escape to Argentina, on the so-called “ratlines”. Pope John Paul ll declared war criminal Alojzije Viktor Stepinac beatified in 1998.

I’d add that a good place to find some more intel on this is here, scroll down to “Dmitri Anatolyevich at the Radonezh Orthodox Gymnazia in Moscow”, then, scroll past the Vasnetsov painting and under the image of D A Belyukin, read that. There’s a lot of good stuff in that post… D A Belyukin is a People’s Painter of Russia, an Orthodox activist, a Russian patriot, and a world-class painter. Here’s the main quote:

Dmitri Anatolyevich asked, “Did you know that Prince Aleksandr Nevsky had a dilemma? He could go to war against the Horde or against the enemies from the West. Why do you think that he chose to face the latter threat?” The students replied, “Because they wanted to force Russia to convert to their faith!” Dmitri Anatolyevich replied, “The answer’s correct, harsh as it is. That is, the Tatars were content with tribute, they didn’t infringe upon the Faith, and they didn’t notice that Igumen Sergei of Radonezh had started to stir up the depths of the Russian land. The Westerners, on the other hand, wanted to bring their crusades to Russia, which, in many respects, the current popes carry out both covertly and openly. Therefore, it’s even more necessary for all of us to protect Orthodoxy as the mainstay and foundation of the unity of the nation”.

I also posted this… here’s the main quote:

It’s a frightening snapshot of the mindset of the Tea Party. They’re nothing but nativist Know-Nothings. It’s why we as Orthodox Christians can have nothing to do with them. They’re American Sectarians through-and-through. Their defining ideology is “Dominion Theology”, which states that the Bible (in its distorted and bowdlerised Proddie recension) trumps all civil law. Orthodox can’t have anything to do with that… our theology speaks of the symphonia of Church and State, each in its proper sphere, each with its own proper laws.

Many American Orthodox have succumbed to the siren song of American Sectarianism. After all, there are MILLIONS of them and only about a million Orthodox all told, of all “flavours”, in the USA. We must recognise that sectarianism is the greatest enemy to Our Lord Christ that exists in our country. Atheism doesn’t even come close to them… secularism is a pale opponent in comparison. A Russian priest wrote to me, “Sectarians use the name of Christ, but they aren’t of Him or in Him. They aren’t Christians, they’re of Satan”.

Orthodoxy isn’t defined “against” anything or anyone… it has its own positive dynamic. It stands alone… it’d exist even if there wasn’t a West or a Vatican or a Protestantism. We don’t define ourselves in comparison with anyone else. We are what we are… they are what they are… that’s what sober normal people think, any road. The same is true of Russian and Holy Rus… we aren’t Russian because we’re “not Westerners”… we’re Russians as Holy Rus is the successor of New Rome… we owe NOTHING to the West, and certainly not to drooling Anglo American toddler “conservatives” or “liberals” (both are two sides of a perverted neoliberal ideology that’s satanic to the bone). Russia has its own inner logic, wisdom, civilisation, faith, and folkways. We wish to live in peace with all people of good will… however… all those who march on Russia will be put to death! As it was, as it is, as it ever shall be!

One last thing… Samuel K Huntington did NOT originate the idea of “civilisational blocs”… that goes back to S M Solovyov in the 19th century (he was the father of the famous religious thinker V S Solovyov). Sergei Mikhailovich was one of the greatest Russian historians, but how many Westerners are even aware of his existence?

BMD

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

4 September 2012. From My Mailbag…

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I wrote the following to a new acquaintance:

If you think that you have trouble reading the tealeaves… trust me, all the information in the world can’t help you when you throw human beings and their contradictory natures into the pot. Dear… the OCA is going down. Nobody knows the “how” or the “when”… none of us do. However, we all know that it “is” going down.

You see… Russia is the Centre of the Orthosphere… the Orthodox “civilisational bloc”, to use Sergei Solovyov‘s term (he was the father of the famous Vladimir Solovyov). Samuel P Huntington filched Solovyov’s thesis and published it in English as The Clash of Civilisations. The Orthosphere not only has a different faith from the West, it has a different ethos and cultural imperative. Most converts don’t understand this and think that they can “excise” the religion and graft it onto the Western tree. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. If you join Orthodoxy, then, a “new world” must grow in your mind. You must become “a citizen of the Orthosphere resident in the West”. All too many Westerners can’t make the leap. For instance, Orthodoxy is highly existential and experiential… it focuses on individuals rather than laws (the papists are the exact opposite). This is foreign to the Western mind. Besides that, it thrives on contradiction… we are the most Zen-like set in all Christendom.

I could go on for hours, but I don’t have the time, dear. Nevertheless, I’ve opened the door for you… but I’m not perfect, nor am I important. I’m not a guru or mistress… I’m a companion on the way. God willing, you can accept that.

It’s not an easy road… it’s not short… but no one who hasn’t made it to the New Shore can speak for us. THAT’S why I oppose Freddie, Dreher, Mattingly, and Reardon… they’ve refused to convert in their heart-of-hearts, “in their soul”, as we Russians say. That’s not only sad… it was all avoidable. However, what’s done is done, and I fear that those named are warped permanently. We must oppose them speaking for us… they’re not of us. Nasty world we live in, isn’t it? Pass me the jug…

BMD

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

11 January 2012. Gleanings From My Mailbag…

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Editor’s Foreword:

I’m in italics; my interlocutors are in plain type.

BMD

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How do you know that Ireland’s “Bushmills” is the most popular whiskey on the former Soviet space?

Simple… I have Russian friends… and Nicky and I are fans of the sweet nectar… we bought a wee bottle for our celebration. 

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Since the 1860’s, people in this country haven’t known war directly, except for the small percentage that actually went over (even smaller in today’s wars, which are so much more technologically-driven). Those who call for war don’t know what they’re asking… or, maybe, they do, but they know that they sure as hell won’t have to pay the butcher’s bill.

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Gotcha… I’m no expert in Greek (I got bits n’ pieces)… which is why I didn’t translate the whole megillah before. The older I get, the easier it is to say, “Y’know, I don’t know that”… it’s LIBERATING…

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Whew, I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes Robert Lentz‘s paintings! I have seen nothing but attacks against him for years… I have Christ of the Desert hanging up in my house, with the Aramaic writing.

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“Orthosphere”… I LOVE IT! Why not mention how Huntington’s ideas were the same as Sergei Solovyov’s (yes, the father of the mad-hatter Vladimir Solovyov) in re “Civilisational Spheres”. This is the driving ideology behind the MP (Vsevolod Anatolyevich often uses it publicly)… it makes me wonder why KMG made the Western-leaning Blunder the editor of the ZhMP. My only thought is that he did so in order to keep the brat busy and out of real Church affairs. It does mean that one has to take statements in it with a block of salt. Interestingly enough, the Blunder doesn’t control Tserkovny Vestnik, which is more grounded and anti-Western.

Be good… you got the ol’ juices flowing again… remember, if you feel it, they will too. Writing isn’t simply a matter of putting words on paper; it’s an extension of your soul. Above all… keep it as short as you can. It’s the surest sign that you know your topic…

“God created wine… not grape juice… to gladden the heart of mankind”.

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“Coercion will avail us nothing…” the Centre learned that the hard way from Nikon Minin... all that coercion ever leads to is Avvakum Petrov and ever-splintering “Old Ritualism”. We ARE going to lose some, no doubt. It’s inevitable. A konvertsy-led “Rump OCA” (hat-tip to Alex Riggle) is very possible; Fathausen would be its “First Hierarch”… it would be the polar opposite of HOCNA… and, thus, exhibit many of the same properties. Eric Hoffer was correct… “The extreme right and the extreme left are identical, ‘we few are going tell you many what to do’”.  

Be good… Christmas is Saturday… Ded Moroz is making a special trip for you guys… break open the jug and cheer! We haven’t gotten our first real winter snow in Albany yet (unusual)… we did get a freak snowstorm in late October, but it only lasted a day or two. What’s more, there’s been no snow up in the Adirondacks or Berkshires (both low mountain regions) either. 

“Winter is acumen in… but when, God only knows…”

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I stand with you… the Red Rose symbol is beautiful…

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It’s only a thought… but do pass it on to any friends at the Centre… Fathausen’s a wily bastard… he’s not intelligent, but he’s clever enough to know how to put people off their guard. Remember, he’s Podmoshensky’s disciple… and he allows a bishop nicked by the coppers for DUI to serve (Peterson in CA). I think that you’re overoptimistic concerning this SOB… and I say so openly.

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As for Paffhausen, he’s obviously rather stupid and the Centre has his number. The policy is to give him rope. He will either save himself with the rope or else hang himself. Your guess is as good as mine which one, it all depends on the degree of his stupidity. I’m not over-optimistic; I’m just giving him extra rope… to do what he wants with it.

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I make typos of this sort DAILY. It’s a function of how much I write and how quickly I do it. It’s a disease endemic amongst journalists (it’s why I NEVER harp about typos… my own plate is full of ’em).

As for “Old Calendarism”, I’m told (and I believe), “You can’t deny anything that’s Orthodox. You can disagree with it, but you can’t deny it. The New Calendarists are still Orthodox… no Council has anathematised them. You can’t leave a parish simply because they use the New Calendar”. It’s one of those things that I wish I had said… that’s what humility is all about (it’s NOT being “meek n’ ‘umble”… such sorts are the most prideful servants of Satan out there). In any case, in the diaspora, sometimes one has no choice… and that’s that. I simply don’t go to my parish on Christmas… we go out of town for Orthodox Christmas (7 January). Oh… I make NO fuss about the calendar… it’s not my place to do such and I’ve no warrant from anyone to do it. That’s how I feel and that’s the way it is… fanatics of either side don’t like me.

As for Russophilia… I’d simply say that I deny nothing that’s truthful. That being said, to be Russian Orthodox is different from being Greek Orthodox. They’re two very different worlds… both are Orthodox, but both are what they are, and you can’t mix the two. I love the Greeks, and often worship with them, but they’re not “family”. If you look at the Christian art that’s survived from the First Millennium, you find a common spirit in all of it. That spirit lasted into the 14th century… you can see it in Giotto di Bondone (the greatest of the pre-Renaissance Christian artists)… look at his Betrayal and the Raising of Lazarus, and you’ll know what I mean. After that, Western art descended into sensuality and sentimentality. There were still “religious” depictions out there… but they were fewer and rarer.

I’d say that this artistic transformation marked the real acceptance of the Great Schism in the West. The West was Orthodox in spirit until the 14th century… and if you go to Spain, Italy, Latin America, Bavaria, or Québec, the ordinary believers are indistinguishable from their Orthodox confrères.  I’m NOT talking the theology that they parrot… I’m talking about the way they incarnate their faith… I’ve been to the shrine at Ste-Anne de Beaupré, I know (eating in a Quebecois diner, the waitresses all had funny stories of some of the more woolier “pilgrims”… and a waggish priest was eggin’ ’em on). Have you been to Santiago de Campostela? Then, you’d know what I’m talking about, too.

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Editor’s Afterword:

Thank God, for my “kitchen cabinet”, they keep me going; they keep me honest and they keep me focused on what’s truly important. I talked with Matushka Nina Stroyen today on the phone… she appeared to be doing well. She’s a wonderful sort, and I’m glad to have her in my life. Keep the faith… the night won’t last forever… it’ll just SEEM that way at times…

BMD

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