In our conversation with Levan Vasadze, a Georgian community leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist, we will learn how to maintain peaceful spirit and develop positive agenda, even considering the events at Golgotha.
—Levan, have you been going to Church since childhood?
—No, I’m a neophyte. I have been going to Church for about twenty years now.
—How did you become a practicing Christian?
— I became a practicing Christian because of the emptiness I felt. I was successful, but the more successful I became, the more depressed I felt. Intellectual searching did not yield any results. Being a rational person, I saw the evidence of God’s existence, but this didn’t change my life in any essential way. The feeling of meaninglessness had to be overcome in a different manner. I should say that I was never faithless. As any Georgian, I was a believer since I was a child and always respected the Church.
However, now, when I think about your question about becoming a practicing Christian, I remember that once I brought a sick friend to a church, and as soon as I entered this sacred building, I felt that I was home! I burst into tears, feeling an inexplicable bliss. Probably one of God’s angels embraced me at that moment. It was the happiest moment of my life. I never experienced anything like that again. I even asked my spiritual father why. He answered, “It was enough for you.” And I thought that I’d feel this exaltation and bliss every time I enter the church… I was even willing to do something to achieve it, but it was a touch of God, and it had nothing to do with my actions at all. God decided that it should happen. One might say that this could have happened anywhere, for example in a car, but it was Christ’s will that it happened in the church! I didn’t do anything to deserve this mercy, God simply took pity on me.
—You became one of the most consistent supporters of traditional values. What is on your agenda today?
—I think that everybody in the international traditionalist movement must move from denouncement tactics to a positive strategy. For thirty to forty years we’ve been simply complaining that it is impossible to bear such things as gay parades and all that frenzy. It is high time we adopted a specific assertive agenda, voiced our concerns and achieved our goals.
Provoking denouncement is in fact a weapon that is used against us quite cunningly. In various intellectual forums or philosophical discussions, the liberals, after getting another portion of our criticism, simply start taunting and mocking us traditionalists, saying “We are sick and tired of you! We get it, you don’t like gay parades. But what do you want?”
This is our primary objective now: having denounced the Marxist and liberal paradigms, we must find our own intellectual platform that I call “the affirmative narrative of Tradition”.
—In simpler words, what do we want?
—Family! The subject of the liberal paradigm is an individual, while all our thoughts, wishes and concerns are focused on family. I am not an indifferent monad, I am a man created by God. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27)
We advocate for an implosion to change the paradigm accepted by modern society. All constitutions of western countries and their carbon copies currently used by other countries focus on so-called “human rights”. These rights are exercised by an individual (from Latin individuum meaning “undividable”). It is an artificial word made up by Descartes. In Greek, the word “atom” originated from Ancient Greek word ἄτομος meaning “undividable” or “uncuttable”, where ἄ is a negative particle and τομος means “a section or a piece).
But saying that an individual is undividable is a lie that is used as a basis for liberalism. Scientific research carried out some time ago demonstrated that the concept of the indivisible atom had run its course. In physics, nobody says that the atom is undividable anymore. I am a physicist myself, so I know that saying that the atom is undividable is wrong. It turned out that the atom is quite dividable and there is no end to such division, according to, among other things, the string theory. Science exposes the lies of liberalism, which, disregarding its own statement about the individual’s indivisibility, blindly tries to cut this individual into little pieces.
Like maniacs, the liberals mercilessly mutilate people, separating them from all forms of identity. At first from religious identity, then from national identity, and finally from sexual identity… Now they are even trying to separate people from their human identity, introducing the theory of so-called transhumanism. This is the latest fashion of liberal dehumanization.
People suffer from all that. Nowadays everyone is affected by this propaganda of fragmentary thinking. It is exactly as it is said in the Bible: God unites, while the devil separates (John 17:21 and others). Individualization leads to self-destruction. It turned out that individual is quite dividable, as they keep on cutting it into little pieces, searching for the finite undividable particle.
The epidemic of abortions that swept through the world became the symbol of liberalism. On our planet, forty-five million unborn children are killed in the womb every year. This number is greater than the number of people killed during both world wars. Instead of being heaven on earth, a mother’s womb is deliberately turned into hell.
—They say that when people are in a room where a murder had been committed, they feel ill at ease. Can you imagine how the unborn children would feel in the womb where their brothers and sisters had been brutally murdered…
—Nevertheless, the liberals devoutly profess themselves to be humanists. I wish they would watch that video on YouTube that shows what happens when a knife reaches an unborn child and how that little person shakes and kicks trying to stay alive… It is like a vile and cruel war!
Liberalism is an immoral diabolical cult based on a lie. Liber was a minor deity of plebeian triad of the Roman pantheon. He was known for his debauchery, perversions and drunkenness. People think that they are fighting for freedom, while in fact they become enslaved by the most revolting and humiliating passions.
—This is the devil’s trap: if you accept sodomy as a standard, you become morally paralyzed. If this is normal, then there is nothing more to be said!
—Liberalism is a new form of fascism, and the worst part is that it goes against human nature. Liberalism was followed by Marxism focusing on class, then by fascism focusing on race, etc. Self-destruction of these doctrines is going on in reverse order.
—What do liberals want to achieve?
–They want to turn people into consumers. I firmly believe that there is a totalitarian quasi-religion behind it and its creators are promoting it in order to achieve hegemony over the entire planet. Social atomism and binding every person to a credit card and, subsequently, to a chip, is the preparation for coming of the anti-Christ (ad-Dajjal in Islam).
All traditional religions (although I believe that only Orthodoxy is the true faith), all Abrahamic religions (and even pagan cults!) agree that this world is imperfect, and it will come to an end.
Only communists, fascists and liberals do not believe in the end of the world. This reveals their anti-Christian essence and shows that they are ideological clones.
They all promise heaven on earth and quick and immediately available benefits to their followers, while no traditional religion lures people into such a deception. It’s time people understood what happens when you follow these false promises.
All these doctrines can be identified by their universal hatred toward Christians. And it is clear why. For Christ said to His disciples: Ye are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Communists, fascists and liberals pretend that they support Christians: Marxists claimed that they were building a society based on Christian principles; fascists carried crosses around; now liberals allegedly proclaim freedom of faith. However, at some point of their agendas they all fight the Church of Christ.
—They also oppose family values and sovereignty of governments…
—Yes! Because family is a reminder of paradise—a reminder that God left for us in this sinful world. Similarly to government’s goal, the family’s goal is to prevent hell on earth, while all three of the above-mentioned fanatical theories are pushing the mankind toward it.
Their other giveaway is a fanatical desire to dominate the entire planet.
After the demise of fascism and communism, we have no choice as we live under this crumbling liberalism. Whether we want it or not, we, Orthodox traditionalists, must come forward with a post-liberal socio-political paradigm.
The best brains of the world, in Russia as well, are looking for the subject of this paradigm. Various options are offered. I think that this new strategy must be focused on family, rather than nation, class or individual.
I hope to God that the first constitution would be written in Georgia or Russia that would cover not only human rights and freedoms, but also people’s family responsibilities. Possibly, this would be the answer to your question about what we want.
We are all tired of negative rhetoric and repeating the things we don’t want. There won’t be heaven on earth, but we still hope for a positive agenda.
As believers in Christ, we not only study the Gospel, we also know what is said in the Apocalypse. We can postpone the end of the world by fulfilling the Gospel commandments. Let us work hard for the sake of our children!
—Before the revolution of 1917, eight children in the family was a standard for people of the Russian Empire, and nobody would be surprised if a family had twelve or fifteen children. How did you manage to revive this tradition?
—One of the main factors that prevent people from having many children is urbanization. Considering that the twentieth century was a monstrous urbanization experiment, to re-populate our dilapidated homeland we must turn the twenty-first century into the century of resettlement on our ancestral lands.
—How can this be done?
—It is not only a matter of having a will to do it; it is also a tremendous intellectual challenge, because this is a matter of preserving our nations.
Europeans often have difficulties understanding us Orthodox people, including both Georgians and Russians. They believe that we are irrational ethnic groups. In a way, they are right. That is why sometimes I think that instead of promoting the rural way of life in various ways, including official statements, it would be better to prohibit all that somehow… Then I’m sure that Georgians and Russians will rush to settle on their lands! All Georgian and Russian men would want to live on their own piece of land with their wives and children.
I say this somewhat jokingly, but nevertheless it is not far from the truth. We have a particular way of thinking! Others have to look at things from a different angle to understand us.
We will only be saved by returning to country life. First some people will resettle, then the others will follow our example, seeing how we live wholesomely and self-sufficiently on our lands. Having tried living in the West and in the megalopolis of Moscow, we will be overjoyed when we are back in our own house in Georgia.
With only one child or maximum two children born in every city apartment, homo urbanus will simply become extinct. It was the Canaanites [i.e, the descendants of Cain.—OC.] who invented the cities! This is just another way to kill people!
God led His chosen people from those enclaves of perversion, where women were emancipated, men were feminized, and the youths were demoralized.
Russians and Georgians are brothers of a big Orthodox family. They are the sons of God (1 John 3:1). In their active faith, they are the heirs of Abraham. When you come to Georgia, you surely will get a warm welcome.
—Abraham is known not only for welcoming strangers, but for being brave enough to sacrifice his only son to God. And he heard, That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven… And then about possessing the gates of the enemies (Genesis 22:17). Maybe this is a recommendation to those who have only one child in their families to dedicate their children to God—after dedicating their own lives, of course.
—This is how the revival starts, and I’m sure that we, Georgians and Russians, need each other to give consolidated responses to the challenges of the twenty-first century. Otherwise, even in experiments of a religious and national nature, if they are horizontally limited, may lay the foundation for future catastrophes …
Why was there a revolution in Russia in the early twentieth century? It happened because of overly self-centered, imperial pride developed ages ago. The Russians believed that they knew everything and the rest of the Orthodox world couldn’t tell them what to do… This caused the schism in Russian society in the seventeenth century, instigating reforms of Peter I that were monstrous in terms of national identity. These reforms irrevocably separated the nobility and the people. Defeating such a society is a matter of time, as people accepted the revolution imported from the West because they wanted to avenge the pro-western elite that was antithetical to them.
—In his day, St. Seraphim of Sarov used to say that God allowed Napoleon’s invasion of Russia to happen because the nobility was overly into the French secular culture. Was this like beating out a wedge with a wedge?
—Yes, the same thing happened in the early twentieth century.
This is a lesson to both Russians and Georgians. There cannot be any dialogue with a liberal West that betrayed its Christian foundation. No matter how they try to impose their total tolerance on us, the thing is that they aggressively reject our right to be ourselves.
For as long as a Georgian is a Georgian, you can never turn him into a sodomite.
Only returning to our own traditional roots on our own lands may we hope that our countries will prosper.
You can find common ground only with a friendly Orthodox nation. We, Russians and Georgians, ideally complete each other. Russia is an imperial vertically integrated hierarchical society, but it doesn’t have any horizontal structures. On the other hand, we Georgians mostly favour relationship between horizontal structures.
—This forms a cross! And it is always redemptive for wise people.
—Yes! Our alliance is synergistic. Fools and our enemies from both sides drove a wedge between us.
—Let’s not talk about enemies or fools… Tell us about the family philosophy.
—Family starts with very simple, but at the same time mysterious things. It starts with people considering their sinfulness. Propaganda, fanfares or passionate speeches cannot help forming a family. Family is like a very delicate spirit that is afraid of philosophic concepts and ideologemes. I personally always look for signs of any flaws in myself that all of us routinely develop under the pressure of post-modernity poisoning the modern world. When I start removing this toxic corrosion from my life, the family blossoms up right away.
For example, when I, acting like a typical lumpen, go to a fridge, put some food on my plate and go to my den to eat it without tasting it, while scrolling through Facebook (who of us doesn’t do it nowadays?), I understand that by doing so I am sinning against the family culture. At that moment I’m killing my family, contributing to mankind’s social atomism by undermining my own family.
No matter how inconvenient it is to me or how busy I am, at some point I tell my wife and children, “Let’s have dinner together” and gather them all at the table. Turning off all gadgets, TV sets and computers, so that nobody and nothing would get in the way. We’re just having dinner. Then a miracle happens. We all are cured. That is the way the family is saved.
There are dozens, even hundreds of moments like that, we just have to remember them. We need to have keen vision and pay attention to all the good and wholesome things, so that we can grow the life-giving wheat while removing the chaff from our routine life.
Family reading is very important. Simply reading. We get together and read A Knight In The Panther’s Skin.1 Practically every evening. And miracles happen again.
Only such priceless joint experiences may preserve the family. There is no other way to protect it, and if you don’t, demons ruin it.
That is all I can say about the family philosophy. It’s just daily family life with continuous removal of all superficial and rotten things that the world tries to give us. Just like bark beetles attack trees, there are always some distractions that undermine our spiritual endeavors under the pretext of giving us something fashionable… We have to constantly wash away that dirt and infection of pseudo-preoccupation and hustle and bustle; otherwise it prevents us from being family people.
Internally, the most important thing now is fighting separation. Family is the happiness of being together. This is what Russians and Georgians must remember! In this sense, family is a small Church, a gathering of people in Christ. For what is a Church? It is being together with God.
—And God is revealed to us in our neighbours.
—Of course! This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32). This is what Apostle Paul says about family.
—His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said in one of his homilies that Christians are called to change the world. How does it happen in practice?
—You know, as soon as this change acquires an outward nature, it becomes absolutely ineffective. During my twenty years of being a practicing Christian, my outward activities failed to persuade anybody to attend the services. But as soon as I remember that no propaganda is needed and I go and pray for a particular person, everything changes radically, and the results exceed my expectations.
The basis of our unity—whether we are in neighbouring dioceses, neighboring countries, or within one family—is the Lord’s Cross. In Gethsemane He prayed to His Father, That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21). Knowing about His Ascension, He promised on Golgotha, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20)
No matter what, in Christ we are one.
St. Ilia the Righteous (Chavchavadze), a martyr-prince and a classic writer of Georgian literature, wrote, “Christ was crucified for us and we are crucified for Him. This small country of Georgia blossomed when a citadel of Christianity was built there, the way a church is built on a rock. Bones were the building blocks and blood was the mortar that bound them, and the gates of hell did not prevail against it.”
Remember the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
—“Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.”
—This is our main objective. We, Orthodox Christians, are introverts full of love. My son, give me thine heart (Proverbs 23:26)—and if you give your heart to Christ, all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)