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Why, thank you, Ryan.

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Your welcome, Stuart.

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One point I would like to make is in regards to nationalism. I say this to help explain the point of view that some find offensive, not to make any claim about Orthodoxy and the Byzantine legacy of Russia being the Third Rome.

There were very destructive forms of nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th century. This sense of nationalism infected all schools of thought, especially with music, science, art, and philosophy. German Idealism from the late 1800s fueled the radical philosophy of the National Socialists and their pursuit of the purification of what they called the Aryan race. That extreme of nationalism, combined with observations of other extremes in China, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union, leaves very strong imprint on the West so that any strain of nationalism is questioned and presumed to be potentially dangerous.

Hearing Russia regarded as "The Third Rome" it can be difficult for an American to separate the Church from the State, so that a response to the State can also be seen as a distrust of the Church.

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I will say one of the things I like most about the Melkites is the absence of the nationalities nonsense.

As to Russia being the "Third Rome", it was polemical when first uttered, it is polemical today, and worse still, not true. Also, my main complaint about the Orthodox Church in Russia is not that it interferes in the activities of the state, but that it has subordinated itself to the state as though it was 1900 all over again. Russians may not remember, but we historians do, that the Orthodox Church was merely a department of the Russian civil service from Peter the Great until 1917.

Say what you want about Byzantium, the Church was never subordinate to the crown, but a real synergia existed which ceased to exist in Russia from the end of the 17th century.

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Originally Posted by StuartK

As to Russia being the "Third Rome", it was polemical when first uttered, it is polemical today, and worse still, not true. .


You will be happy to know that Russia as the Third Rome is not a serious idea in church circles and among the hierarchy in Russia.

Nevertheless there are possibilities for Russia to slowly emerge as the most important Church within Orthodoxy. But that will have nothing to do with airy fairy ideas of a Third Rome.

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Stuart, what is wrong with being a Russophile?

Just wondering...

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Originally Posted by Deacon Borislav
Stuart, what is wrong with being a Russophile?

Just wondering...


I was wondering that too, Father Deacon. There seems to be a lot more love of the fatherland among American youth. About 60,000 of them have been willing to die in overseas wars for their country.

Deaths in Vietnam were 58,000.

In Afghanistan, about a 1,000.

In Iraq, about a 1,000.


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Nothing is wrong with being a Russophile, provided you remain objective and keep a sound perspective. Russia is a country with very serious, possibly intractable problems, which it needs to face and address squarely. Because of its failure so far to do so, Russia has not lived up to the potential that opened when the Soviet Union collapsed. Putinism is not the answer, nor are attempts to resurrect an empire in the near abroad. Unless present trends are reversed, there will be fewer than 100 million Russians by 2025, and a quarter of those will be Muslims. Unless economic and political reforms are implemented, Russia will collapse economically and socially long before then, which is a global concern because of Russia's large nuclear stockpiles, which could easily wind up in the wrong hands. Were it not for its nuclear weapons, nobody would much care what happens to Russia, because its economy is only the size of New Jersey's--but it is New Jersey with 6,000 nuclear warheads.

As for the Russian Church, it has the potential to be the instrument of moral renewal in Russia, but its overly close association with the state continues to deprive it of moral legitimacy, as does its inability to face up to its own past actions in the Soviet era. Like everyone else in Russia, under Putin it not only wishes to forget what happened under communism, but is intent on recreating a glorious and largely fictitious history of that period. That means there will be no introspection, no metanoia, and no possibility of reform.

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