The Church and Russia: Present and Future

Russia is a unique country with its own special path. The poet Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–1873) wrote that it is impossible to understand Russia—you can only believe in it. This country has experienced a great deal. How many times Russia could have disappeared! How many times it stood on the edge of an abyss and each time, like a phoenix, rose from the ashes. It was resurrected in order to continue its historical path. Where is Russia going? When we ask this question, we have in mind the national idea, which is much debated today, and in two ways—philosophical and religious. These were once united by the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyiov (1853-1900). He said that the national idea is not what the people think about themselves, but what God provided for the people in eternity. What is the historical path of Russia and the historical meaning of its existence? And what role does the Church play in this? Mitred Archpriest Andrei Tkachev, cleric of the Church of St. Basil the Great in the village of Zaitsevo of the Odintsovo District in the Moscow Region, a member of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church, has talked on this subject as part of the “Let’s Talk” project of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery’s Spiritual and Educational Center.

    

I suggest proceeding from the idea that the history of Russia can be understood only in comparison with Israel of the Old Testament. Because the history of France, for instance, tells us much about Russia, but only two centuries of its history and not more. The history of blessed Italy tells us nothing at all about the history of Russia, nor does the history of Latin America. But the history of Israel gives us a certain matrix of attitudes towards Russia. I am sure that the Russian people are the New Testament Israel. The history of the Russian nation can be viewed in the Bible as a pattern: who was punished and for what crime, who returned where, or did not return at all. If we “translate into Russian” the history of Israel from Moses to Samuel and from Samuel to the last king, the Babylonian Captivity, its end, the return of the Hebrews to their homeland and the rebuilding of the Temple, then our history will unfold. Therefore, I think that Russia is Israel of the Old Testament, and the Russians are the Old Testament Jews. We are a hated nation, and there is a very simple explanation for this: God is with us. We ourselves may not even know this, but He is with us.

However, not all Russians are Orthodox and not all Orthodox are Russians. I'll give you an example. A young Chinese lady came to Russia, discovered the Orthodox faith, was baptized, then married a Russian man, brought him to repentance, persuaded him to get married in church, and they had their children baptized. They became an Orthodox family thanks to the enthusiasm of a Chinese lady who had come to love Orthodoxy.

We should understand that today no one but Russia can defend Christendom in the international arena. All the other nations are either too small (like Serbia and Georgia), or too big but not Christian (like China). There is no greater power in the world that would put up a barrier for the antichrist. And this is not because we are so great, but because this is our mission. We must protect man, otherwise he will soon disappear. If a child is given sexual education lessons at an early age and is told that he can have a husband, although he was born a boy, then more is there to say? Now we have an opportunity to change the life of the world. Russia is such that if it changes, then the entire world will change. We have always been told that Russia’s share in global GDP is negligible. But now other countries are suddenly saying that they are short of fertilizers or gasoline... So our share is not so small.

There are many civilizations in the world. Western civilization is one of them. It should be understood that Russia is a distinct civilization that can adopt something from the West, say, the cellphone, but it can also invent the radio and give it to the West, as Alexander Popov did. After all, it was Russian civilization that invented the periodic table.

Russian civilization is Heaven and earth. There is a book by Blessed Augustine entitled, City of God, where he describes the history of the world as that of the construction of two cities: the city of Heaven and the city of earth, which are at war with each other and neither can yet win. There is a city of sin and pride, like Jericho or Sodom, which fires cannons into heaven and fights with the Heavenly Jerusalem, which is under construction. The walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem are living people. Each one of us must be a brick, a stone of this city. As the Apostle Peter writes: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5). Heavenly Jerusalem is being built of living people, such as the New Martyrs and Confessors, holy monks and righteous laypeople. The walls are growing, soon the construction will be over and Heavenly Jerusalem will come down to earth like a bride adorned for her bridegroom. And our earthly life is an earthly city that has weapons: Sin reigns here and does not want to reconcile with the Heavenly city, but wants to fight with it. Russia in this sense is a spy in the city of sin, which prevents it from being completed. But since Russia is very big, it is hard not to notice such a spy, which is why they hate us so much. If we were small, we would not be noticed. But there are plenty of us, and we were noticed long ago. We put obstacles in their way to put an end to the construction of one big satanic civilization on earth; so in the matter of earthly and Heavenly things we stand for Heaven.

Everyone knows the word “jihad”. This means “to strive” or “to make an effort” in the Lord’s way. As you walk this path you make efforts. What efforts must you make? Any effort in the way of the Lord is war. For example, I decide to go jogging every morning to drop weight and make myself fit. This is also jihad. You struggle with your laziness, obesity, etc. Or you give some of the money you earn to a person who needs it. A true Christian is someone who earns money and sacrifices some of it, giving it to those in need. You wage a spiritual war against sin and support those who are less fortunate, thus saving them from despondency, thievery, and other sins. There is also jihad of knowledge when you study much to become competent and be able to defend the faith when necessary. There is also jihad of language when you say that abortion cannot be called a “voluntary termination of pregnancy”, because it is a slippery and loose euphemism. It can only be called the murder of an innocent baby. If you call a sin a sin, you do a jihad of language. And when you do a jihad of property, language or knowledge, all this is called “great jihad.” You struggle with your imperfections, you want to overcome anger, lust, etc.

Let’s switch from this Arabic term and replace the word “jihad” with “holy war”. All of us must always wage a holy war. For example, you go to the store after getting your paycheck and want to buy yourself more shoes, lipstick, and so on. You calculate how much it will cost you (say, several thousand rubles), and you change your mind and sacrifice this amount to someone who really needs it. There are many of such people. There are Church-affiliated social services, volunteers who help paralyzed old people, wheelchair users, etc. By donating money to them you pay for the work of a caregiver, and this is a very hard work. When you spend the money you earn not on yourself, but on those who need it, this means that you struggle with yourself and pray. If we keep waging such a war unceasingly, we will win a small jihad quickly.

    

Historical Russia was Rus’ under the Rurik Dynasty. Before Tsar Ivan the Terrible (ruled 1547–1584), Russia had been inspired by the ideals of asceticism; and the Russian version of holiness has mainly had an ascetic character. The Western type of holiness is to feed the hungry, treat the sick, and clothe the naked. The Russian type of holiness is to stand and pray on the top of a pillar and wear iron chains. This is solitude, isolation from the world in order to acquire Christ. Then the State leavened all this with the idea of great power, from Emperor Peter the Great (ruled 1682–1725) to Holy Tsar Nicholas II. The USSR had its own “asceticism”—internationalism, when there is neither Jew nor Greek. While in Belgium black people were led on a leash in cages like animals, our dark-skinned brothers studied at institutes. It was a global Soviet project to create this kind of a person. Today there must be a creative assimilation of the past and the understanding of the Church as the main treasure of Russian civilization. Because the Church was not always viewed as the main treasure of Russian civilization. Even when under Ivan the Terrible ten percent of our country’s population were monks, people believed that chains, prostrations and the Psalter were everything. Previously, we had an ascetic path, but now it is hard to find ascetics here.

Peter the Great subordinated the Church to the Tsar; he overlooked the mystical aspect of the Church, and in fact belittled the Church hierarchy. The Soviet Union changed Christian principles into an atheistic ideal and strove to do away with the Church, but God did not allow this, proving the Divine nature of the Church. Now we have already rebuilt most of the churches and we need to return to the Church, which is essentially Eucharistic and rests on the Word of God. I believe that priests have no right to not love the Bible. If a priest reads the Bible, he admires the millions of vivid examples that are briefly described on every page. He should convey this to people, organizing Bible study groups and delivering sermons during services.

Russian civilization is characterized by its “literature-centrism”. All Russians should now read the most important works of Russian literature and then re-read them. Now we, as in Gogol's Dead Souls, live in a world of lifeless people, or wax figures. A living human being is a person of the Eucharist. “Receive ye the Body of Christ. Taste ye the fountain of immortality.” Those who sing and take Communion are living people, while I am not sure about the others. Now everyone needs to read and re-read Dostoevsky, and you will feel like a different person. And when you take the prayer book again, it will be another book. Then you will understand what it means to say, “God, have mercy upon me, a sinner."

    

There is a general lack of love for the Word of God in Russian civilization. Russian literature emerged after Peter I the Great as a global cultural phenomenon. Prior to that there had been practically no literature independent from the Church. In a secular sense, it appeared after Peter the Great and very quickly became the opposite of the Church writings. People did not read the Bible and did not consider it necessary to read it. They believed that they should read Lafontaine and Moliere, go to the theater, and listen to music. But the Bible was regarded as something big, complex and incomprehensible. The secular trend in society, including literature, music and theater, initially acted as an antithesis to Church Biblical culture. Then, since the soul of every person who is in love with something strives for comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the object of love, our literary scholars began to study literature with the persistence, immersion into details, and philosophical coverage, as a rabbi studies the Torah his entire life. If you ask, for example, Pushkin scholars what they know about Pushkin, they will tell you about his life minute by minute. Gradually, Russian literature became self-sufficient and interesting, and then it began to bring people back to the Bible and God. Russian literature walked this path for about 300 years. When Stalin published Pushkin’s complete works in the 1930s, the best people in the Russian diaspora said that Russia had just been saved. Today we already have “Orthodoxy and Russian Literature” courses, which explain Biblical motifs in literary characters’ attitudes and behavior. Today we cannot view Russian literature in any other way than in the context of Biblical world history. However, at first it was anti-Church, then it was studied instead of the Bible, and then it began to bring everyone to Christ. And now we admire not only the Bible, but also the architecture of Orthodox churches, which were built 300–500 years ago under inhuman conditions. Once you enter such churches, you want to bow down. So Russia is a country of paradoxes.

Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir. St. Andrei Rublev Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir. St. Andrei Rublev     

Undoubtedly, each nation has its own traits, similar to the personality traits of individuals. It depends on history. There is an expression: “a zone of risky agriculture”. If a person works hard on the land but does not reap a good harvest and has no guarantee there will be a harvest next year, he does not have the motivation that an Egyptian peasant has (every time the Nile floods, he harvests his crop). There are many factors that shape a personality. Religion, nature and history are of great importance. As a result, we often act not as we want, but as we are forced. Our people are no worse and no better than others. I would caution against thinking that we are the best in the universe. Pride will give place to shame. We are experiencing the same human tragedy.

Thinking in Biblical terms, we should understand that all people on earth experience Adam’s tragedy of losing Paradise and anticipation of Heavenly Jerusalem. In this sense, any Latin American, Aleut or Egyptian is close to us. True, they are different from us in appearance, habits and traditions, but we all experience the same tragedy. As a collective Adam, we experience the same trouble—the loss of Paradise and the desire to return to it. On this path the Lord Jesus Christ came to Adam: It is our communion, intimacy with and clinging to Jesus Christ. People believed that science would save us, but they have realized that this is not the case, especially after the coronavirus pandemic. Science is powerless to give happiness to man, although in the nineteenth century the whole world believed that science would give us happiness.

Archpriest Andrei Tkachev
Translation by Dmitry Lapa

Sretensky Monastery

8/24/2022

Comments
Ivan9/1/2022 9:12 pm
Job: Sigh. Doesn't it ever occur to anyone to read a little history? The pogroms took place precisely in those areas of present-day Ukraine that gave birth to Stepan Bandera and the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Great Russia had no progroms, but Ukraine, where they did take place was part of the Russian empire.
Job9/1/2022 8:39 pm
Forgive me a sinner, but I have read articles just like this written by American protestants about america. Furthermore while he praised Russia's open mindedness he conviently chooses not to address the pogroms. This kind of nationalism is dangerous. Our focus is the kingdom of heaven not kingdoms of this earth.
Editor9/1/2022 1:09 pm
Daniel: We accept your point. While Fr. Andrei is extremely popular in Russian, he falls flat or even sharp on Westerners. He is a little like an Old Testament prophet, Micah for example, who says things that are deeply true but quite offensive to many. He has also seen things that people in the West have not seen and thank God for that—they were spared these things. Russians, however, appreciate writings that cut to the bone, as long as they are true. And profound thanks for your offer of help.
Daniel9/1/2022 11:17 am
To readers and the editor: Fr. Andrei does indeed take a rather emphatic stance on the role of Russia. I think that much of the confusion is that many people reading his thoughts are not actually his intended audience. Perhaps, even a case could be made that he shouldn't be translated into English. In much of his work, he's dealing with matters internal to the Russian church and with traumas specific to those in the post-Soviet space. Moreover, he does not adopt a neutral stance on many matters. Clearly, concerned readers have a duty to address heresies that they encounter, and they thus have every right to challenge the claims in Fr. Andrei's teaching. As a believer that spent a significant amount of time in the Russian space and almost only listens to Fr. Andrei in Russian, I indeed recognize what is controversial about his persona, but I think that much of the controversy could be avoided if his message was restricted to its intended audience. As a suggestion to the editors, perhaps this point about intended readership could be raised directly with Fr. Andrei (presuming you are in contact with him), so as to avoid causing difficulties for pious Orthodox believers outside the immediate context of the Russian ethnic space. Should any translation efforts be required for such, please know that with the blessing of my spiritual father, I would happily offer my services. If this could be of interest, feel free to reach out to me at the email address provided above. Best, Daniel Johnston
Editor8/30/2022 9:44 pm
David: Yes, we are also aware of the article on UOJ expressing their disappointment with Fr. Andrei for some statements he supposedly made. We looked for those statements in his writings, but didn't find them. Perhaps they were retracted. But Fr. Andrei is a prolific writer and speaker, and most of his writings are very good and edifying. So, we won't judge him for what the UOJ wrote about him, as much as we respect the UOJ.
David8/30/2022 1:29 am
Dear Editor: Thank you for your response to your readers. I am always gratified to see this, especially as other websites are not so gracious. Unfortunately, Father Andrei is a Russian nationalist (if Union of Orthodox Journalists is to be believed. Here is another link: https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/89871-svo-i-carstvo-zemnoje-nuzhna-li-verujushhim-pravoslavnaja-imperija) Part of the reason why people may have reacted so strongly is because your readers also likely follow UOJ, and are aware of this reporting. You posting articles by him can be interpreted as you "promoting him." Perhaps that is not your intention, but misunderstanding is too easy on the internet.
Panagiotis8/28/2022 7:46 pm
When a woman, many believe to be Mary Magdalene, was washing Jesus's feet with expensive oil, Judas Iscariot asked if it would be better to sell the oil and give the money to the poor. He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but rather because he wanted to steal the money for himself. Our Lord Jesus Christ replied: "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me." The woman continued to wash his feet with the expensive oil. The oil was not sold, and the proceeds were not given to the poor! There are plenty of non-profit entities and government organizations that feed the poor. Some of them will be perpetually poor because of their own vices, like drug use, alcoholism, and laziness. It is not the primary job of the Orthodox Church to feed the poor. The primary job of the Orthodox Church is to administer and take care of the spiritual needs of the parishioners, and to keep them strong in the Faith, to educate them in our Faith, to keep them from straying from our Faith, and to proclaim the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ and our Church. I speak the truth, and I could care less about political correctness. Glory be to our God! Just my humble opinion.
Editor8/28/2022 4:24 pm
Our apologies if this article or our comment offended anyone. This article is a translation, and perhaps it could even have been a better one. Fr. Andrei as far as we know doesn't read or write in English, so he can't answer you himself, and we won't answer for him. (Just an aside, a little background on the author. Fr. Andrei Tkachev was born and raised in Lvov, Ukraine, and received his religious education there. He later served in Kiev, and only started living in Moscow after he and his family received death threats for not supporting the Maidan revolution. So, it's actually odd to accuse him of Russian jingoism.)
David8/28/2022 7:23 am
Dear Editor and Jacob: This is not about being "triggered." This is about a very real problem that has manifested itself within Russian Orthodoxy. Is Sergianism really dead? I and an increasing number of non-Greek and Non-Russian Orthodox look to those "small" Orthodox Churches for examples of how to actually be Orthodox---who lead by example (for me in particular, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, Patriarch Daniel of Romania, and Patriarch Porphyrios of Serbia, who has done so much in his short tenure to heal wounds within the Serbian sphere). Both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate are caught up in geopolitical chess, of which Christ is far away (the history of both Patriarchates show this is just the latest iteration). To pretend otherwise is partisanship, and a rather crass, soccer hooligan one at that. See how quickly Metropolitan Onuphry and the UOC were thrown under the bus when they were no longer useful to the "Russky Mir" narrative and started to go against it. The Union of Orthodox Journalists called Father Andrei out for his Russian nationalist cheerleading (a source that could never be accused of being pro-NATO). The English version of this website has a pan-Orthodox readership. Their historical memories of Russia may be VERY different. The Russian Church was more humble and reserved about all of this, once upon a time.
Justina8/28/2022 7:14 am
"The Western type of holiness is to feed the hungry, treat the sick, and clothe the naked. The Russian type of holiness is to stand and pray on the top of a pillar and wear iron chains. This is solitude, isolation from the world in order to acquire Christ. " But the feeding the poor, etc. is what Christ talked about and james reminds us of. Asceticism isn't wrong, but the judgement will involve the issue of helping the poor. Matthew chapter 24.
Jacob8/27/2022 11:50 pm
Editor: I think "trigger" was the right word, and these readers are overreacting. But what did you expect? Although, if the author were to answer, he might point to the first paragraph: You can't understand Russia, you can only believe in it. Well, they don't believe in it.
Michelle8/27/2022 6:06 pm
Dear Editor, There is no need to defend Russia here. We all want the best for this persecuted country, especially those of us who continue to observe the effects of generations of tyrannical control, extreme poverty and economic inequality, propaganda, and national myth-making. The article itself was aggressive. Comments from observers such as Reader Daniel are generous in their self-control. If anything, the reaction to this unfortunate article has been understated. Due to your position, I urge you to think carefully before publishing ad hominem attacks to others' comments. Thank you for your prayers. Michelle
Rdr Daniel8/27/2022 5:03 pm
Dear Editor, I think this is the wrong approach to consider whether a comparison to Israel is flattering or not, this is not really here or there. Indeed that Russia is compared here with the Old Israel, whilst somewhat problematic if taken exclusively, is not the main problem or what is being criticized. It is that the author does not compare but states outright that Russia is the New Israel "I am sure that the Russian people are the New Testament Israel" which is a major problem. I don't think your accusation is fair it is important to fight heresy and lesser errors when they are presented. The fact is there are major problems in Russia and in the Russian patriarchate at present due to its close ties with the state and complicity in a form of Russian syncretism with imperialism and communism aimed at the glorification of Russia rather than repentance in Christ. This not only fails to reject the errors forced on the Russian Church by Peter I but even tries to absorb and reconcile with at least elements of the Communist yoke. (Whereas it is only by repentance and humility that Russia can once again fulfill its role as an Orthodox Christian nation and once again be holy Rus.) This is synchronisms is turning into a heresy comparable with that of Constantinople's greco-papism and this affects all Orthodox Christians as when one local church is tested we are all tested, it affects the whole Church. It is therefore our duty to not be indifferent but speak out against it, just like we do against the errors found amongst the Greeks. In Christ. Reader Daniel,
Herman8/27/2022 3:15 pm
Editor: it doesn't matter if the comparison is "flattering" or not. The comparison is wrong and misleading, and as Rdr. Daniel and myself have pointed out, it is heretical to identify the Church (the Israel of God) with an ethnic group or nation. Before Christ the Messiah came to us, Israel was essentially limited to the Hebrew tribes, but even then, we read of the primacy of faith over that of birthright, most notably in the Psalms. After Christ came, the covenant expanded from an ethnic nation to the Church, which all men of any and all ethnic identity can join. Israel is NOT the Greek people, or the Russian people. It is all people who are baptized and believe, and are joined together in the Church, the Body of Christ. Also - the Church as the New Israel is indeed strictly an Orthodox concept, or rather, truth. There is ONE Church, and the Apostles recognized the Church that was founded in their presence as the continuation of the pre-Pentecost faith (as Paul discusses in the letter to the Galatians). The Church is Israel. If other Christian groups and cults have adopted/stolen that idea for themselves, well, that doesn't make it any less of Orthodox and Apostolic origin... Lastly, I don't think Rdr. Daniel was "triggered" by anything, but like myself, felt the pressing need to correct the errors, for the record, that were set forth in this unfortunate sermon by Fr Andrei.
Editor8/27/2022 9:52 am
Rdr. Daniel, etc.: Clarification: If you read the article, it is not necessarily flattering to the Russian people. In fact, comparing a nation with Israel is not necessarily flattering. If you read the Old Testament you will see how many times Israel fell short of God's plan, even to the point of angering Him and incurring His terrible punishment. Moreover, "the Church as the new Israel" is not an Orthodox concept strictly speaking. There is the idea of a "New Jerusalem", but let's not confuse these things. You seem to be emotionally triggered by any discussion of Russia in any other light than what you expect to hear.
Rdr Daniel8/26/2022 11:46 pm
As others have themselves stated Russia is not the New Israel of God. The identification of a nation with Israel is a protestant heresy historically applied most often to the USA and always leads to madness. Just as Jacob was properly the Old Israel to whom he gave his people according the the flesh the name Israel, so Christ is the New Israel and we His Church are, now spiritually, the New Israel. I'm sure Russia does have an important perhaps primary role to play as a Christian nation in the last times but this should not lead to any wild claims or national chauvinism. Certainly with the continued subjection of church to state which as the author noted began under Peter I it is not currently fulfilling that role. It should also be noted certain prophecies of the modern saints and elders saying that Russia will first be brought low to stop the Russian people's sin of trusting in earthly leaders rather than God. The idea that Russia is in some way specially heaven and earth, is also rather strange and verges on heretical. The attempt to bring in Saint Augustine's City of God and the notion of Russia as a some kind of poorly qualified holy spy seems rather ill thought out and confused. How the ishmaelites notion of jihad is brought into is likewise quite odd, and not necessary for Christians. But to be honest the most troubling paragraph is that on ascetism. "The Western type of holiness is to feed the hungry, treat the sick, and clothe the naked. The Russian type of holiness is to stand and pray on the top of a pillar and wear iron chains." These very things which Christ says we will be judged on is to feed the hungry, care for the sick and clothe the naked, these are Christian virtues of holiness not western ones. Also Stylites have there origin in Syria and like all ascetism this is a means and form of the spiritual life it does not replace or contrast with the everyday love of others. It is also practiced by the few, it is not part of most peoples lives, and does not represent an entire nation. "This is solitude, isolation from the world in order to acquire Christ." Of the stylite to draw near to God not of a nation. It is also a rather strange image to use to portray Imperial Russia given it was an expansionist power on the one hand and replaced its own culture with a Western European imitation on the other, even the Church was affected with holy icons replaced with papal art and holy chants with papal choral music. "Then the State leavened all this with the idea of great power, from Emperor Peter the Great (ruled 1682–1725)" Which of course corrupted and secularized holy Rus leading to it worldly pursuits of conquest even subjecting other Orthodox nations and Churches such as Georgia. If Russia is the be a holy nation again it must "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened." "The USSR had its own “asceticism”—internationalism, when there is neither Jew nor Greek." Internationalism was not asceticism it was an ideology and used rather more cynically to gain control over former colonial processions of the former great powers often by supporting terrorists. "Today there must be a creative assimilation of the past" No this leads to a synchronism with Communism which is currently rife in Russia, and abominations such as the new armed forces church which is full of demonic communist symbolism. There must be a rejection of all this and in its place true repentance. I am sorry but article brings disrepute to the author who is a priest of God and should not have been published by the editors.
John B.8/25/2022 10:21 pm
@Herman : I am an American who became Orthodox through ROCOR. I've never heard a hierarch or priest talk about Russia as you claim. So just take a deep breath and chill, bro! Your points are good. I was speaking with nuance. I do, however, find it disturbing how so many people, including certain Orthodox, have anti-Russian sentiments, when the real enemy is not Russia. Peace!
Herman8/25/2022 4:13 pm
John B: does any nation or country NOT have a "God-given role" to play in these "latter times" or any other times? Everyone does. Some are bigger and louder than others are... To state this plainly - the Orthodox Church is the New Testament Israel, we are the continuation and fulfillment of the Old Testament religion of the Hebrews - not the Russians, not the Greeks, not the Jews, but the members of the Church. The Orthodox Christian people (of any and all ethnicities) are the Israel of the New Testament. The fact that numerically there may be more baptized Orthodox Christians in Russia, or Ukraine, or Serbia, or wherever doesn't matter so much, especially when the leadership and government of Russia is decidedly NOT Orthodox, and definitely pursuing the same globalist path as the west is (albeit under a different guise, that of "Eurasianism" and "multipolarity"). Regardless, the book I recommended in my comment below has a chapter called "the New Israel" and deals with this concept that certain Russian nationalists had before the revolution that the Russian people were the New Israel, such as Archbishop Nikanor of Kherson in his 1860 sermon titled "Русский народ - новый Израиль" (the Russian People Are the New Israel). This is an extreme error that many protestant cults also adopted, such as the Anabaptists and Judaizers under Bokelzoon 500 years ago... it's sad to see Russians falling into this same heretical position in modern times, as our ecclesiology should be clear to all - the Christian Orthodox Church is the New Israel, and NOT any new ethnicity of people. The Russian Empire served as the guardian of the Church, as did the Byzantine empire - both of these have fallen. The second Rome, Constantinople, fell in 1453 and the third Rome, Moscow, fell in 1917 and Imperial protection of the Church by the Roman emperors came to an END with the murder of the Romanovs. The New Israel is not the Russian people, the New Israel is the old Greek grandmother with piety and faith, or the young American man who strives to save his soul, or any serious Orthodox Christian that puts their faith first and foremost and seeks the Kingdom of God. It is this faith that now restrains the Antichrist, and not the political actions of the Russian Federation or any other cheap pseudo-democratic government entity... It really is very simple, and to see Russian priests publicly distorting the teachings of our Church in favor of a cheap jingoistic nationalism in times of war is disappointing, and sad. I know everyone wants a rebirth of Holy Rus' and wants a new Tsar and all of that, but be careful - the world is anticipating Antichrist, who will come in the place and in the guise of Christ, ready to solve all our problems, and may well present himself as an Emperor, a Tsar, a King...
John B.8/25/2022 6:20 am
Despite past mistakes and present blunders, it is clear that Russia has a God-given role to play in these latter times. There's a reason why all the worldly powers hate Russia so much and seek to undermine and destroy it at every foreseeable opportunity. The Devil is the prince of this fallen world, and those nations that have chosen secularism and technocracy are doing the Devil's bidding, even though they will ultimately bring about their own demise.
Panagiotis8/25/2022 3:54 am
I believe that Orthodox Brother Herman is correct that the Church is the New Testament Israel. Now which Church? Obviously it is our Orthodox Church since we are the original true conservative Church that has never changed, I.E. we have not been infested by the no good liberals. We are the true faith and the true Church - period. Therefore, if the Orthodox Church is the New Testament Israel, then the Orthodox People are the Chosen People of God! Russia is the largest of the Orthodox Nations and the most powerful. The Russian People are the most numerous of all the different Orthodox People. Therefore, my friends, the Russian Orthodox People occupy a special position among the Orthodox People, all of whom are God's Chosen People. That is why the prophecies of our people state that it is Russia and the Russian people that will liberate Constantinople! Russia will also be the dominant force to resist the Antichrist, and Patriarch Kirill is 100% correct that it is the Russian Orthodox Church that is holding back the Antichrist or false Messiah. Common sense and knowledge tells you that this is true. Put the pieces of the puzzle together, and use the brain that Almighty God gave to you. There are also Muslim Scholars who state that in the end times there will be an alliance between the Muslim People and the Orthodox, primarily the Russian Orthodox, I.E. Russia, that will resist the Antichrist or false Messiah, who the Muslims call Dajjal. They will form an alliance and Jesus will return and Jesus will kill the Antichrist Or Dajjal, per these Muslim Scholars (but unlike us, they do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God). As far as nationalism, historically among the Russian People, the fact of the matter is that they were not nationalist enough under the Romanov Monarchy, and that is why the powerful internationalists brought bolshevism and communism to Russia and overwhelmed the Russian People. That is why most of the top Bolsheviks and Communists were non-Russians (many changed their names to conceal their non-Russian ethnicity from the Russian People). Before someone calls me a Russian puppet, obviously from my name, that I was baptized as a baby, you can see, and I have had healthy conversations in the past on this website with my Russian Brothers who disagreed with me, and some may have believed that my ethnicity was more important to me than my faith. So I am not anyone's puppet or a hypocrite. I just state the truth and I hope our people wake up. So wake up, straighten up, and be a Strong Orthodox Christian! Glory be to our God! Just my humble opinion.
James8/25/2022 2:49 am
do you have a stomach for hard truth? consider viewing Father Tkachev's videos that are hosted on various popular online platforms. There are many with quality, accurate english translations. take effort to view his material and literally feel darkness dissipate.
David8/25/2022 1:17 am
The tone-deaf and utterly incomprehensible decision to publish this article has me at a loss for words. One positive is that it presents very clearly to everyone else the "Holy Rus" complex, a Russian Messianism which has been labeled as "the Russian World Heresy" by others. This marriage of Russian nationalism and our Faith is disturbing enough (just as deplorable as any chauvinist Greek), but for it to be presented this way and at this moment is reprehensible. Another quote from this same priest, as quoted by the Union of Orthodox Journalists: “The enemy wants total war. He will receive it and be crushed to dust." None of this has anything to do with Christ.
Dionysius Redington8/24/2022 10:45 pm
If this is typical of current Russian Orthodox theology, Russia is in as much trouble as the Hellenosphere. It can't be called be called racism or phyletism exactly -- Fr Andrew acknowledges Russia has flaws, he mentions 'blessed Italy', he acknowledges that 'Latin Americans, Egyptians, and Aleuts' are human, as though that were in doubt -- but its insistence on the uniqueness of Russia verges on the insane. (I mean, really, 'jihad'!?) At first I tried to justify it by reminding myself that Russian has no definite or indefinite articles: maybe he meant that Russia is *a* New Israel, and so is every country, or every Orthodox country. But the more I read, the harder it became to see this article as lying within the traditional parameters of Christian thought. I am on record as saying that the people who speak of a 'Russky Mir' heresy are wrong, but now I am having second thoughts. Perhaps Orthochristian could ask Fr Andrew to clarify his stance? --Dionysius Redington
Michelle8/24/2022 7:42 pm
That this article supports something akin to "jihad" or "holy war" in the context of Russian Christian Nationalism is terrifying. We should instead struggle for repentance and, with the grace of God, prayer for our enemies. Lord have mercy.
Herman8/24/2022 1:29 pm
The Church is the New Testament Israel, not the Russian people. It was this exact error and arrogance that helped lead to the Bolshevik revolution in the first place, a nationalist exceptionalism just as the Jews had (we are children of Abraham)... there is a great book about exactly this topic which refutes on its face these bizarre claims from this Russian priest here called "The Making of Holy Russia: The Orthodox Church and Russian Nationalism Before the Revolution" by Fr John Strickland, published by Jordanville.
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