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Another sign that the Holy Spirit is working in Russia!

Alexandr


http://www.russiaprofile.org/politics/2006/9/28/4475.wbp
September 28, 2006
Monarchist Past and Future
Comment by Andrei Zolotov Jr.
Russia Profile


Thousands of Petersburgers and millions of television viewers yesterday witnessed the culmination of a promotional campaign: A magnificent ceremony of reburial of the Danish-born Russian Empress Maria Feodorovna � the mother of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II. It is a fitting moment to speculate on the place of the monarchist idea in modern Russia.

First of all, I should state that I have not been part of any discussions of a monarchist plan with any group, however legitimate or even remotely proximate to the corridors of Russian power. Nor have I any evidence that such discussions have taken place or are under way.

Yet some recent occurrences suggest that the monarchist idea is not simply an element of the traditional Russian mentality. It is also a spice, if you will, in the country�s political kitchen in which the recipe for the next presidential term is being prepared. The reburial splendor is just the last episode in an ongoing row, which will not be settled soon.

About a month ago I received a strange package. Inside was a nicely printed, anonymous book with a gilded cover called Proekt Rossia, or Project Russia. It was mailed to me without a return address, but with a mysteriously self-important stamp: �To the leaders of public opinion. Special distribution.� Inside was a well-written, scathing, and intermittently very persuasive 380-page-long critique of democracy as a form of government. The main claim was that the power of the people is a myth, and in a democratic society, the blind masses are always ruled by mammon. The text then moves to an apology for monarchy in its authentic, autocratic form. �There is no greater authority than the power from God,� write the mysterious authors. �Whether or not we believe in God, such a conclusion is absolute.�

Above all, the authors argue that � in a sentiment shared by many Russians � the country needs a continuity of power rather than a constant change of government mandated by democracy. Such a change leads to a short planning horizon, theft, and further degradation of Russia. As an interim solution, until the society matures to the point where monarchy can be restored, it is worth keeping the current team rather than changing it. Sounds somewhat similar to those arguing in favor of President Vladimir Putin�s third term, doesn�t it?

The publisher, OLMA-Press, said in a preface that the book, which is rumored to have been conceived in the depths of the security services, was apparently written in 2004-2005 and distributed to the upper echelons of the Russian elite in September 2005, prompting a lively internal discussion in these circles. OLMA said it had failed to find the author but decided to go ahead with the publication, promising the authors a hefty fee were they to surface. The book is labeled to have a staggering print run for non-fiction in Russia -- 50, 000 copies.

A quick Internet search also located a website where the opus is published http://projectrussia.ru (allegedly on behalf of a young man who found the book on his four-star general father�s desk). I witnessed an alarmed reaction to the book from Alex Goldfarb, a pro-democracy activist and an associate of Boris Berezovsky. He cites CIA interest in Project Russia and suggests that Putin's Kremlin is connected to the initiative. Goldfarb has called on Russia�s liberals to rally against monarchist totalitarianism instead of mobilizing to oppose a bogus fascist threat.

I don�t know who the authors are and whether there is a connection to the Kremlin. But this monarchy promotion appears very well organized and well funded. Project Russia is a far cry from the amateurish monarchist leaflets of the early 1990s which were printed on bad paper, handed out by poorly dressed bearded men, quoting the motto from the early 20th century priest, St. John of Kronshtadt: �Democracy is in hell, and in the Heaven � Kingdom!�

Then last week the government-owned VTsIOM polling agency published figures stating the number of monarchy supporters in Russia has doubled over the past decade and now stands at about 10 percent. Twenty percent of Russians would support restoring the monarchy but don�t see a suitable candidate. A solid majority -- about 65 percent � are firmly against monarchy, saying that it is a past phase for Russia.

What is most interesting, however, is that younger, educated urbanites are more likely to favor the monarchy than their less educated elders, who were perhaps more influenced by Soviet anti-monarchist propaganda. This pattern is confirmed in similar polls conducted by other companies, such as the 2002 report from the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), which puts the number of monarchy supporters at around 20 percent. FOM found that representatives of higher socio-economic strata are most likely to be monarchists.

Some liberal commentators suggested the VTSIOM monarchy poll was requested by the Kremlin. I called a friend from VTSIOM. He said that the inclusion of monarchy questions into the standard regular poll reflects the personal interest of one VTSIOM researcher, who has been pushing for it for a long time. Colleagues were simply tired or resisting. �There was no order from above,� the friend said.

There is one identifiable pattern however: monarchy issues resurface in Russia towards the end of presidential election terms, when powers that be are preoccupied with the search for the successor.

I have heard from several sources that back in the 1990s monarchy was one of the scenarios seriously considered in the Kremlin as a means of ensuring continuity of power for Boris Yeltsin and his entourage. At one point, there was a plan to grant some official legal status to one of the branches of the Romanov family. In 1998, after a lengthy, controversial, and inconclusive identification process, remains believed to be those of Tsar Nicholas II and his family (but not recognized as such by the Russian Orthodox Church, despite strong government pressure) were ceremoniously interned in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in the presence of President Boris Yeltsin.

In the second half of the 1990s, Yevgeny Kiselyov, then an influential anchor on Vladimir Gusinsky�s NTV channel, produced several documentaries on the Romanovs, prompting allegations that he was orchestrating a Kremlin-ordered pro-monarchist campaign.

Kiselyov confirmed in a telephone interview that he had heard from several prominent figures (including film director Nikita Mikhalkov and oligarch Boris Berezovsky) that a constitutional monarchy would be the best regime for Russia. However, Kiselyov also said NTV coverage of the Romanovs simply arose on slow news days. He adamantly denied receiving any requests from Yeltsin�s inner circle asking him to popularize the idea of monarchy: �It is just a story that�s interesting and it sells well � it generates good ratings.�

So, maybe the answer is that there is no planning under way and monarchy keeps returning to the public scene simply because it sells well? Perhaps the explanation is that royal families are celebrities similar to pop stars? Maybe OLMA-Press simply wants to make money on Project Russia?

But why does the monarchist idea sell so well? How many miles of opinion columns discuss the lack of democratic tradition in this country? There is an opinion that Stalin saw himself as an emperor of a distorted Communist version of the Russian Empire; others note the disproportionately strong presidency and the fact that the 1993 constitution bestows upon the head of state more powers than Tsar Nicholas had after 1905! Or take the very concept of VLAST � that impersonal, top-down alien force, which weighs down upon everything in this country � without which no Russian political or business discourse can take place and which we struggle to translate into English inadequately, as �power� or �authority.� Doesn�t it speak of the essentially monarchist mentality of my compatriots?

On the one hand, the degree of monarchist sentiment within the Russian Orthodox Church is astounding. Although the Church has officially declared that it is not affiliated with a particular form of government, Nicholas II, who was canonized under vast popular pressure in 2000, is one of the most venerated saints today. The hierarchy is ineffectively fighting a heresy within the Church which sees the slain emperor as a �co-redeemer� on par with Jesus Christ. The situation is such that I have heard a prominent priest exclaim at an internal conference: �We are becoming Ceaserodox instead of Orthodox!�

For the state, on the other hand, there is a fundamental, long-term unsolved question of legitimacy. After all, the Russian Federation is a successor to the Soviet Union, itself the result of a coup d�etat. The quest for continuity with historical Russia recalls the �new old� flag and coat of arms, the rebuilding of a throne hall in the Kremlin and the reburial of the Romanovs. But it doesn�t address the actual issue, which the restoration of monarchy would have solved. It would give direction and meaning to Russia�s development; it suggests the elusive national idea which the country�s elite has been unable to formulate during the past 15 years.

Yet any discussion of the monarchist idea in Russia leads to several major stumbling blocks. First, are we talking about a constitutional or an absolute monarchy? In the 1990s, the talk was about the constitutional one (6 percent are in favor according to the latest VTsIOM survey). Project Russia calls for the absolute one (3 percent support it in the VTsIOM poll). In a 2002 interview, Putin ruled out the former, but jokingly defended the latter. Second, would the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church be sufficient to legitimize a new form of government in the eyes of the country�s non-Orthodox and atheist minority? And third, who would be the new Tsar, when the Romanovs are too remote and divided? How do you convene today the new Council of the Estates to elect the new Tsar and what should the criteria be? Or do you elect the Constitutional Assembly according to the laws of 1917?

Take these questions, add more than 60 percent of those opposed to monarchy, and you realize that no matter how attractive the idea might be, no matter how organic it appears for the Russians almost 90 years after they lost their monarchy, its restoration is largely unrealistic. Perhaps Russians' attitude to monarchy should be similar to that of the Jews to the Temple of Jerusalem: We should mourn its loss every day without trying to rebuild it.

But then again, as my monarchist friends say, when the right time comes, God will simply make manifest the Tsar.

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Good piece. I'm on board. God save the Tsar! (as long as we are talking about CHRISTIAN monarchy)!

Now, if we can just re-evangelize Western Europe, then we can restore the Hapsburgs! smile

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There seems to this trend in Eastern Christianity to miss monarchies. I'm not sure where this originated from -- perhaps Russia is such a disaster that people are simply getting desperate -- but monarchies, and dictatorial systems in general, are an inferior system of government to representative democracies (even with their flaws). One sign of this is that we simply don't have absolute monarchies anymore. There are dictatorships but they generally don't work out too well for their respective populations -- how many people do you know lining up to live in North Korea?

On an unrelated note, I can't believe the Eastern Orthodox cannonized Nicholas II. If that guy is a saint then standards must be pretty low in Moscow; nothing like gunning down peaceful protestors I always say. Incidently, Nicholas II is a good example of why monarchies are inadaquate. The guy was completely unqualified for, and uninterested in, ruling Russia.

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An Orthodox friend of mine, a American convert to ROCOR from Protestantism, told me how she was talking to her very young daughter about prayer. She asked her daughter, "Who do we pray to?" and her daughter immediately answered, "God!"

And wanting to make sure her daughter understood the wider world of Orthodoxy, and kept the Mother of God in mind, she next asked: "Who do we ALSO pray to?" - her daughter thought a second and answered loudly, "The TSAR!"

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We need to bring back a Justinian or Theodosius -let's go all the way. smile (Or at least find a Rurik to become Great Prince of Kyiv...)
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Matt,

as an Orthodox, i agree with you. I'm quite happy with democratic government smile (with a big D too!! smile
Rocor didn't but I believe the Moscow Patriarchate named Nicholas and his family, "Passion Bearers" which rings true and I can honor them that way and of course, St Elizabeth, the Tsarina's sister was a true Saint and warned her sister of her terrible mistakes. To no avail , of course.
tO BE fair to Nicholas, he had no hand in the shooting of the protestors led by Father Gapon on Balck Sunday. Actually, Father Gapon himself was an informant for the Ochrana. BTW, i LOVE Russian history!! smile

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To get serious for a moment on the issue of a Restoration in Russia:

The very idea of another absolute monarchy is ridiculous; one of the strongest planks in the monarchist platform is precisely that dictatorship and constitutional monarchy are mutually exclusive. Supporters of constitutional monarchy (including the undersigned) note that when the remaining Falangists staged a coup d'etat in Madrid the politicians faded into the woodwork but King Juan Carlos faced them down, quite successfully - he told them that they had the following choices: kill him, exile him, imprison him or back down, but that he absolutely would not tolerate another dictatorship attempting to mask itself behind the Crown. [He may have learned the lesson from King Constantine of Greece, who made the mistake of getting involved with the Colonels a few decades earler). Result: the monarchy in Spain is safe, for at least another generation.

The argument that a constitutional monarchy makes for stability is in principle a good one - the insistence of the victorious Entente in throwing out the Emperor Charles and the monarchies in the Germanies led straight to World War II. Not bright.

The absence of an authentic Romanov heir is a simple fact, acknowledged by the calmer members of the family. By far the best comment I've heard so far came from a monarchist convention in Moscow about ten years ago; during a press conference all the journalists wanted to know was what candidate the conference was proposing. The chairman of the conference responded that only God can send a King, and God is more likely to do so if people work to prepare the way and pray fervently for God to manifest His will, instead of attempting to force God's hand (never a good idea).

Nicholas II was no prize package, certainly. But I see no particular reason to have a brawl between Catholics and Orthodox over his canonization (his wife, now . . . ). As to the Grand Duke Alexis, it is worth noting that the USSR was the first nation-state to legalize abortion in the twentieth century, and they got their start with the cold-blooded murder of a child and his family.

I'ld love to see a Hapsburg restoration - but I'm by no means sure that this is an auspicious time for that to happen. Otto could have had the Hungarian Crown during the collapse of Communism, but wisely insisted that the monarchy was not an instrument of this or that political party and that he would accept a restoration only on the basis of a very substantial majority in a referendum.

Austria itself, sadly, is in great, urgent need of a re-evangelisation before there could be any serious thought of restoring a Catholic monarchy there. Meanwhile (and eternally) we may rejoice in the beatification of Blessed Charles, who is always available to us in our prayers. His predecessor, Franz Josef, famously said that the most important part of the Emperor's job description was protecting his people from the politicians - not such a bad idea at that!

So let us trust in God, keep to our prayers, and wait patiently upon the Lord.

Fr. Serge

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Quote
Originally posted by Matt:
There seems to this trend in Eastern Christianity to miss monarchies. I'm not sure where this originated from -- perhaps Russia is such a disaster that people are simply getting desperate -- but monarchies, and dictatorial systems in general, are an inferior system of government to representative democracies (even with their flaws). One sign of this is that we simply don't have absolute monarchies anymore. There are dictatorships but they generally don't work out too well for their respective populations -- how many people do you know lining up to live in North Korea?

On an unrelated note, I can't believe the Eastern Orthodox cannonized Nicholas II. If that guy is a saint then standards must be pretty low in Moscow; nothing like gunning down peaceful protestors I always say. Incidently, Nicholas II is a good example of why monarchies are inadaquate. The guy was completely unqualified for, and uninterested in, ruling Russia.
This analysis fails to make the necessary distinction between "authoritarian" government, and "totalitarian" government. Generally, with some variations in history, "authoritarian" governments (Christian monarchies, Generalissimo Franco in Spain, etc.) tend to exercise a monopoly of power in the political realm only. The subjects are generally free in the area of economics, and in the social realm (assuming conformity with the law of the realm, which is usually rooted in the Gospels and the 10 Commandments)."Totalitarians", such as the National Socialists (Nazis) of Germany, and the Bolsheviks (like those in North Korea and Cuba), reject Christianity and it's principles, and seek to "remake" and "perfect" mankind according to a utopian image. Their governments seek to take total control over the subjects' lives in ALL facets of life, i.e., politics, economics (government ownership and control of the means of production; control of labor unions by the ruling party), social life (including destruction of family life to the point of promoting loyalty to the State as a higher good than loyalty to one's family), religion (substituting loyalty to the State, as opposed to loyalty to God; unemployment or demotion for those seen attending Church).
As a Catholic, I agree with the Church's point of view on the form government can take. ANY form of government can be acceptable, as long as it is obedient to the Gospels, and to the Natural Law. Obviously, this can (but doesn't always)include Republican forms of government, like our own. Many, probably not all, "authoritarian" governments would "pass muster" according to these principles, while I find it hard to conceive that any of the "totalitarian" ones would, since they invariably reject Christianity, and it's principles, and the very concept of Natural Law. We Americans now fall way short of the ideal upheld by the Church (one has only to think about the issues of abortion, pornography, God being removed from the school systems, nativity scenes disallowed on government property, 10 commandment displays under attack, and so on). Just my two cents.

In Christ,
Dn. Robert

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Quote
but monarchies, and dictatorial systems in general, are an inferior system of government to representative democracies (even with their flaws).
You've read Quanta Cura, correct? You're aware of the history of the Papal States, right? Familiar with Western European history? Just checking.

I can also tell you celebration of Bastille Day is a rather muted affair in the Vend�e.

Quote
On an unrelated note, I can't believe the Eastern Orthodox cannonized Nicholas II. If that guy is a saint then standards must be pretty low in Moscow; nothing like gunning down peaceful protestors I always say. Incidently, Nicholas II is a good example of why monarchies are inadaquate. The guy was completely unqualified for, and uninterested in, ruling Russia.
Oh good, I thought there might not be a thread today discussing how canonized Orthodox saints really aren't saints. Should we strike St. Constantine from the calendar as well?

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Blaming the Tsar for Bloody Sunday is a bit unfair, considering he wasn't anywhere near the place at the time and had nothing to do with giving the orders, and knew nothing about it until after the fact.

Incompetence in governing is no barrier to sanctity....and a good thing for the world it is not, for I doubt many of our saints would have been good administrators, and the good administrators in history have tended to be.......well..........rather less than holy. Some famous names come immediately to mind. I suspect everyone here might even recall them.

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Brian,

I'm glad we agree about democracy. smile Tradition itself is, as Chesterton said, very much the "democracy of the dead". I brushed off Nicholas II quickly because in my mind there is a great deal to be said against both him and his wife; so much so that it's almost not worth the time to re-hash it all. You are, of course, technically correct that Nicholas II did not directly order his troops to attack his own people. Nevertheless, one can certainly say that was his attitude toward dissent in general (kill and/or imprison them all); ask anyone carted off to Siberia by his secret police. Moreover, when he heard of the shootings he issued a statement in which he "forgave his people for rising up against him." What a magnanimus gesture -- truly the mark of a great saint. :rolleyes:

In defense of Nicholas II, and I hinted at this earlier, he was to some extent the victim of a broken system. He had no interest in governing Russia and his father did little to nothing to prepare him for it. He was a man of strong personal faith, but so were many who defended the institution of slavery in this country. That doesn't make them right, or worthy of cannonization. He harmed Russia greatly when a better man probably would have been able to save it.

I am actually not a big fan of Russian history; much of it is terribly depressing. Even great achievements such as St. Petersburg often have negative stories surrounding them which tarnish the success. As far as Eastern Orthodox countries go I will take Byzantium over Russia.

Andrew,

The reason that democracy is better is not because monarchy is incompatable with Christianity (I don't think I said it is). It simply doesn't work as well -- and in that sense it is inferior -- just as a Lexus is generally a better car than a Nissan Sentra. There is nothing immoral about my Sentra, but I'm not gonna put it toe-to-toe with the Lexus wink

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Matt:

Obviously you have not driven an Infiniti, especially the G or M series? :p

Amado

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Quote
Originally posted by Matt:
There seems to this trend in Eastern Christianity to miss monarchies. I'm not sure where this originated from -- perhaps Russia is such a disaster that people are simply getting desperate -- but monarchies, and dictatorial systems in general, are an inferior system of government to representative democracies (even with their flaws). One sign of this is that we simply don't have absolute monarchies anymore. There are dictatorships but they generally don't work out too well for their respective populations -- how many people do you know lining up to live in North Korea?

http://www.geocities.com/kitezhgrad/monarchy/sacrmon.html

SACRED MONARCHY AND THE MODERN SECULAR STATE


THE 20th century has brought an end to sacred monarchy. To be sure, several nations yet possess a king or queen, but with few exceptions, they reign without ruling. In the West, none of them pretend to hold their position by "the Grace of God," despite the liturgical rhetoric surrounding their coronations. As for the Arab Sheikdoms and the Ayatollah Khomeini, were it not for humanism (and their oil) they would be laughed out of the United Nations, for basing their life, laws and political policies on the Koran. To what extent the idea of "sacred kingship" does in fact influence them, one cannot always determine; nevertheless, nothing is more certain than the disappearance of "sacred kingship" from among so-called Christian nations.

In any case, there has never been a monarch who ruled in the East or in the post-Orthodox West by "the Grace of God," because the existence of true kingship depends upon true faith. Furthermore, we cannot speak of a heretical society as societas christiana. The Holy Russian Empire -- the last phase of the Roman Imperium, successor to Byzantine or Christian Rome - was the last Christian society and Nicholas II was the last Christian Emperor. His death brought the extinction of "the age of Constantine," the end to God's Plan concerning holy empires. 1

With the disappearance of Christian Rome, that which restrained world revolution, world atheism, world anarchy, world apostasy, is no more (cf. II Thess. iv, 6). Secularism characterizes the present age and nowhere is it more obvious than in the principles and policies of the modern democratic state, in which power ascends from the electorate to the elected, to officials and bureaucrats whose only concern, if any at all, is the material and earthly happiness of their constituents. If there is a place for religion in these "pluralistic societies," it does not inform their attitudes, aspirations and decision-making process. The self-styled "separation of church and state" is a political dogma because it is already a spiritual condition.

The secular state is always atheistic. St. Gregory the Theologian observed in the 4th century that there are three fundamental kinds of government: monarchy, the rule of one, is associated with belief in one God or, at least, one supreme God. Polyarchy (aristocracy, the rule of the few or best, is linked with polytheism; and the rule of the many, which the Saint called Anarchy (democracy), is bound with atheism. We Orthodox, be it said, hold monarchy "in honour", because it imitates the unity of God, whereas polyarchy implies a division or dispersion of His Power, a "severance of His Essence," that is, among many gods. Finally, anarchy, the government of the people, implies theologically that the Essence of God is pulverized; or, in other words, power is so completely spread out or distributed that He cannot be conceived to exist (Theol. Ora. III, 2). We ought not be confused by St. Gregory's explanation. He did not mean that nations always make conscious, philosophically elaborated choices, but that there is always a direct connection between theology and politics.

We can see this fact even more clearly in the "political theology" or "christology" of Christian Rome where the monarchy and the empire imitate the Incarnation. Thus, as Jesus Christ was both God and man, so Orthodox monarchical society likewise possessed two dimensions, one earthly and one heavenly, united as the two Natures in Christ. The Basileus or Tsar', the imperium, Emperor, represented the humanity of Christ and the priesthood or sacerdotium was the analogy of His Divinity. They collaborated in the perfection of Christian society even as "the Whole Christ" works for the salvation of the world. In very broad terms, the domain of the Emperor was the body while the priesthood cared for the soul. Of course, the Emperor's subjects were, like himself, members of the Church; for, in a real sense, the Empire was the Church.

Orthodox peoples have known only monarchy - whether pagan, Christian, Moslem or heretic. For a while, at least, the West was Orthodox and maintained the correct "political theology" and "christology." Falling away from the true faith, it has evolved those political forms about which St. Gregory spoke. Europe was divided among numerous kings while the Papacy pretentiously sought to replace the Byzantine Emperor whom it had deserted. Eventually, Catholic religious unity began to crumble, as the Renaissance writings of Meister Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa and Dante testify. By the time of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, both the political and religious unity of the West was totally disrupted. Transparently, many rulers with many religious creeds, Trinitarian and otherwise, sprouted everywhere to match the individualism and relativism which Protestantism had wrought.

Kingship and the idea of descending political power - that is, political power "descending" from God to the king for the benefit of the people - finally expired with the "republicanism" of the French Revolution. The year 1789 marks the traditional date for the beginning of the complete and radical secularization of the Western world. From this moment, "democracy" becomes its political ideal and atheism its political consequence. God is forever shut off from human affairs, dying a quiet death in the scientific madness of the 19th century, with no one to grieve him, as Nietzsche moaned. Now the universe was in the hands of man and, as August Comte proclaimed, he was its "god" and the love of humanity his religion.





II

In historical terms, the word "secularism" refers to that Western cultural enterprise whose end is to "liberate" mankind from the supernatural and the transcendent. The creature becomes the ruler of the creation. He is the caretaker of the only homeland, this world, he will ever know. It is his city, his everlasting grad, and he does not, as St. Paul wrote, look forward to that City which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. xi, 10). Everything man thinks or does has no other purpose than happiness in this life, a happiness which he will make for himself.

According to Jean Jacques Rousseau, the state originated in this hope. Individuals came together for mutual protection in a "social contract," a pact which would insure the permanent benefit of its signatories. Thus, the state and all its institutions (including religion) exist for the single purpose of achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Unlike the Christian State or Commonwealth which has both the restraint of evil and the promotion of its citizens� salvation as its raison d'кtre, the secular slate is completely indifferent to anything but their earthly happiness. As Machiavelli said, the state exists for man and, consequently, any price may be paid to achieve this goal raison d'etat. 2

The creed of the secular state is formulated in The Declaration of the Rights of Man, that formidable document of the French Revolution. No modern political announcement more clearly severs Western civilization from its traditional supernatural perceptions. The Russian philosopher, Alexei Khomiakov, condemned the Declaration as a surrender of all things good and holy that the West yet possessed. There is no hope for its salvation, he said, while its destiny rests in the hands of supercilious social reformers, godless ideologues and dreamy utopians. Western philosophers, however, were boasting of a new beginning for a new humanity.

The motto of the City of Man to come also derives from the French Revolution - "liberty, fraternity, equality". The "liberty" or "freedom"' about which these and other revolutionaries rhapsodize is not passionless. In fact, as the French philosopher, Helvetius maintained, the passions, skillfully managed, are the fundamental force in the formation of human character. If they are "evil", they are the "evil" of our "dark side" or, in the words of Lord Byron, the source of energy, boldness, strength and imagination. The "passions" provide the drive for perfection. Therefore, liberty, in one sense, is understood as the possibility of personal growth and, in another, it means the legal or social condition for it. Law exists to remove the obstacles that hamper man's earthly pursuits.

Of course, the single limitation on liberty is that no one may deprive another of the same right. Liberty for one is liberty for all. It is not the privilege of class, sex, race or religion. Everyone must have the opportunity to forge his own destiny, that is, no externally imposed standards of conduct, no moral absolutes, no foreign ideals, no selfishness, may be imposed which favors one person over another. The place of the state in the human experience is simply to guarantee, as we have already mentioned, "equal rights" to all, recognizing always that the first principle of life is amor sui, amour de soi . In other words, the teaching of the Christian Faith on "God, the flesh and the Devil" evaporates in the face of the secular "higher consciousness".

Man suffers the same fate as God: the life of the spirit vanishes from culture and history with Him. The result of God's banishment is the reduction of the human race, as Professor Erich Voeglin said, to "the fraternity of equal automata". Liberty and equality for all, - the two are connected, for only equals are free - according to their modern definition, presupposes the unity of all, a universal brotherhood. Men are brothers not because they possess a common Father and Mother, God and the Church, but because they spring from their earth, are subject to the same natural laws, suffer the same fate.

When a secularist employs the expression, "spiritual regeneration", he refers to an emotionally adjusted, humanitarian, self-fulfilled individual. In order for him to achieve this goal, society rears legislators and technicians, its priest and prophet. They provide the atmosphere in which men and women are permitted "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." In the first instance, this means "education", the inculcation of secular knowledge - preparation for living in this world. Public or secular education assumes that the individual is soulless and that his training is primarily adjustment to a changing material environment.

That such a program will succeed, that the entire secular enterprise will succeed, is assured by Progress - modernity's substitute for Providence. Such optimism, says Professor Tuveson, is belief in magic, the same kind connected with the secular dream for utopia. 3 Utopia, of course, is a heaven surrogate. Progress is that combination of human intelligence and cosmic design that insures that everlasting beatitude is mail's destiny. To be sure, there are temporary delays, disillusionment, suffering, but these are a discipline, a purging, a preparation for the golden age to come.

In the very simplest terms, we are living in a world hostile to the Christian Economy. Democracy or the secular state - the agent of Progress - is a political situation not congenial to Christ and His Church. In fact, democracy would not exist without secularization. There is a certain irony in all this, if the Marxists are right, because Progress will eventually eliminate democracy and all forms of the state. When there is complete moral responsibility and total freedom, there will be no need for any political institutions. The worker's paradise will have no need for them.





III

The historical evolution of the Western political system from monarchy to democracy is also a process of secularization. By that we mean not only that power was gradually transferred from the ruler to the ruled, the electorate, but also that God and Christian values has come to have less and less influence upon Western life and thought. Power no longer descends from God to His viceroy for the salvation of the people and, of course, the state no longer bears the image of Christ.

The modern political situation is antithetical to that condition which prevailed under the Christian Emperors - or, indeed, under kingship in general. St. Constantine initiated the Christian Roman Empire, the societas christiana in which two ministries, the imperium and sacerdotium, the government and the priesthood, governed one people, a single body politic. Hence, the double-headed eagle of Byzantium which was later adopted by the Tzars, that is, when Moscow "the Third Rome" succeeded Constantinople, "the Second Rome", on its fall to the Turks in 1453. 4

Christian Rome, Russian and Byzantine, bore the image of the divine-human Christ. The relationship between the Church and the Empire, after their mating, compared to the connection between the humanity and divinity in Christ as defined by the Council of Chalcedon (451). They were united without loss of identity, without loss of the truth that the Empire would eventually perish but the Church would not. Likewise, the Emperor and the priesthood ruled as a "symphony of powers," as the Emperor Justinian wrote in his 6th Novel. They collaborated in the governing of the Empire, albeit the Emperor did not meddle with doctrine and the Priesthood did not directly interfere with his political decisions.

Christian Romans believed they dwelt in an Empire which should encompass the whole world because that Empire was founded on a religion intended for all men. As a matter of historical fact, the claims of the Empire depended upon the truth of the Christian Faith. The loss of that Faith meant the loss of any claim to the Empire. Thus, for example, the medieval Popes denied to the "Greek Emperors" the title of "Roman" and the right to govern because, as they said, "the Greeks" did not hold the True Faith. In the same way, the Orthodox denied to "the Latins" or "Franks," as Westerners were sometimes called, any share in the Roman government, because they did not possess the Faith of Christ. Clearly, since the purpose of the Empire was the salvation of its subjects, not to have the true Faith implied the loss of the Christian monarchy.

The Christian Emperor was not an ordinary ruler. He was vicarius Christi. His coronation was a Sacrament, for he was anointed, as was Saul, David and Solomon, to protect and guide God's People. He was a "messiah," the Saviour, the Spouse of the Bride, the Empire, His Body or, as Professor Kantorwicz puts it, the Empire was his "mystical body," his "second body." 5 Incidentally, as the head of the Christian Roman Empire, the ruler had to be a man, even as Jesus of Nazareth was a man. Never could a woman rule in her own name and to my knowledge never did a woman legally succeed to the throne. Only after Peter the Great did a woman presume to rule in her own right. You will understand in a moment how such a violation of tradition was possible.

Furthermore, the Emperor was viewed as more than a layman. His robes resembled the priests vestments. The Russian Tzars claimed to have received their regalia from the Byzantine Emperor, Constantine Monomach in the 10th century. Also, the coronation of the Basileus or Tzar and the pageantry surrounding it compared to a liturgy. The Patriarch poured oil on his head, a sacramental oil, which signified the king�s or emperor's sacred and messianic character, his leadership of God's People. He was the very personification of the "lay priesthood" about which the Apostles spoke. His position as God's "servant" involved the privilege of entering the sanctuary during the Divine Liturgy to receive the Holy Communion in his hand as was the privilege of the bishop and presbyter. Clearly, then, his authority was not simply political or administrative but spiritual. He was expected to be holy that he might lead his nation into holiness.

He was "the father of his people" whose duties were more than the execution of justice, the prosecution of war and resistance to evil. He was obliged to help the widow and the orphan, to clothe and feed the poor and to defend the Faith. In other words, when he took his coronation oath, he also obliged himself to philanthropia, an imitation of Divine Providence. On the other hand, the people were expected to obey him as a child obeys his father. No Orthodox spoke of his "rights" - he humbly performed his duties: to Good, to the Emperor, to the nation. From the king or emperor, the people looked for encouragement in their common religion, not a tool in the pursuit of "life, liberty and property," to borrow John Locke's celebrated phrase.

Western historians and philosophers have never understood the Orthodox World. Their writings seem always to give a curious and sometimes cynical twist to the words and deeds of Orthodox rulers. They have taken the religiously moving Testament and Prayer of Vladimir Monomach, for example, or his pious letter to Oleg, son of Svyatoslav to be politically motivated. Likewise, when the Grand Duke, Vassily, arrested his emissary to the Council of Florence for betraying Orthodoxy, historians find fanaticism or irrational fear. Nothing else but lust for power can explain Ivan the Dread's crusade against the Tartars and Moslems at Astrakhan and Kazan'. And, later, the beautiful hymn of Feeder Alexeievitch to the Virgin Mary is viewed as superstition if not hypocrisy. And, of course, Western historians interpret the Crimean War as a failure of Russian imperialism. They would never concede that the actions of Nicholas I was a fulfillment of the Tzar's lofty calling.

Perhaps, it was Peter the Great who gave the West reason to judge the Russian monarchy with the same Machiavellian skepticisms they judged their own governments. Surely, it is accurate to say that the decline of spirituality among the rulers of Russia began with Peter. He initiated the process of "Westernization," that is to say, the process of secularization which culminated in the terrifying atheism of the Bolshevik Revolution. In order to give Russia a new direction, it was necessary for Peter to change the very nature of the monarchy itself. As Professor Cherniavsky tells us, Peter transformed and altered the "theology" of kingship. No longer did the Tzar resemble the humanity of Christ, but he mirrored now the sexless Creator. As it was in the West after the Protestant Reformation, a female might now sit upon the Russian throne. In fact, the 18 th century was dominated by the two Catherines, Anne and Elizabeth, the opposition of the Church notwithstanding. That they may have ruled well is not the point, Christian society was not the same as we observe, for instance, in the conflict between the classes.

In addition, the emperors and empresses became less and less paternal and Russia less and less a family. Power was not so much spiritual as it was legal. If administrators were not Frenchmen or Germans, they were Russians who had lost their faith. The autocracy of love and faith became the autocracy of force and cunning. The Freemasons, Bible Societies and theosophists invaded holy Russia. Her seminaries and academies spewed Western rationalism and skepticism. The people were confused and discontented.





IV

The Orthodox Church has lived with monarchy from the day the Lord established her nearly two thousand years ago. The first monarchy was Roman, sacred and pagan. Of course, some have argued that the Church is "in the world and not of it" and, therefore, it makes little difference what the political structure under which the Church lives; in fact, she ought to have no association with the world whatsoever. God wished to refuse the Hebrew nation a king and the Orthodox Church is the New Israel. Finally, it would seem that "democracy" would suit Orthodoxy far better than any other form of government, because it is secular. The Church is free to act without the encumbrances of an imperial hierarchy.

First of all, it is important for Orthodoxy to live under a form of government, which is not hostile to Her, even more one, which would encourage Her spiritual and physical growth. The world belongs to Her, as it belongs to Her God. She must, therefore, associate Herself with it in order to sanctify it, to recover it from the Devil. Thus, when the Lord commanded that all creatures be converted and baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt xxviii, 18), we must assume that those nations would have governments and that these governments themselves must also become Christian. It is useless to argue that the Church is "in the world but not of it," because that nation converted to Christ is no longer "of it," no longer "from it." Consequently, if God hoped to deny the request of the ancient Israelites for a king, it was because He did not wish His People to imitate their neighbors. In any case, they had a government whose ruler was God Himself, directing them with a Law from Above through His appointed Judges - Joshua, Samson, etc.

And this leads us to the last point in question. It is difficult for me to conceive an Orthodox democracy, especially a modern democracy which is, as you know, pluralistic, individualistic and secular. 6 In the first place, no democracy complies with the words of the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." If God is King in heaven, he must likewise be King on earth. If all of heaven and earth belong to the Lord, then, similarly the Lord's viceroy is governor of the earth. This explains, in another way, why those not subject to the Orthodox emperors were also heretical and pagan.

Let us say, then, that no Orthodox worth his salt can live comfortably in a society where the Will of God is not accomplished. How, for example, can we be reconciled to a society in which self-interest is the first principle of all action and where confusion, heresy and skepticism are described as good and creative? How do we share in a government whose authority is human and sometimes deliberately anti-Christian? One cannot imagine a democracy in which the people humble themselves before the bishop. Worst of all, there is no secular society in which Christ, as a cultural fact, is recognized as God. Moreover, if the state must resemble Christ and the state is secular; then, Christ must he viewed as totally human.

In any case, the modern world does not allow for "sacred democracies" and the president is not anointed with "the oil of gladness." Thus, it would seem to me that an Orthodox Christian is faced with the dilemma of living in a society which is basically hostile and alien to him. Of course, we must honor the president, obey just laws and do no harm to any man. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to become an intrinsic part of secular society. The early Christians were accused of being "anti-social" because they would not become involved in the affairs of the pagan Roman Empire, so we must expect the same reproach. Furthermore, we must understand that nothing exists to protect us, no Tzar. We will be threatened even more with the appearance of the Anti-Christ. He will be the product of secular society. He will, almost ironically, establish a secular monarchy, an ecumenical or world kingship. In the end, of course, he will be overthrown by Christ whose kingdom will have no end.

Alexandr

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Quote
Originally posted by Matt:
There seems to this trend in Eastern Christianity to miss monarchies. I'm not sure where this originated from -- perhaps Russia is such a disaster that people are simply getting desperate -- but monarchies, and dictatorial systems in general, are an inferior system of government to representative democracies (even with their flaws). One sign of this is that we simply don't have absolute monarchies anymore. There are dictatorships but they generally don't work out too well for their respective populations -- how many people do you know lining up to live in North Korea?

http://www.geocities.com/kitezhgrad/monarchy/sacrmon.html

SACRED MONARCHY AND THE MODERN SECULAR STATE


THE 20th century has brought an end to sacred monarchy. To be sure, several nations yet possess a king or queen, but with few exceptions, they reign without ruling. In the West, none of them pretend to hold their position by "the Grace of God," despite the liturgical rhetoric surrounding their coronations. As for the Arab Sheikdoms and the Ayatollah Khomeini, were it not for humanism (and their oil) they would be laughed out of the United Nations, for basing their life, laws and political policies on the Koran. To what extent the idea of "sacred kingship" does in fact influence them, one cannot always determine; nevertheless, nothing is more certain than the disappearance of "sacred kingship" from among so-called Christian nations.

In any case, there has never been a monarch who ruled in the East or in the post-Orthodox West by "the Grace of God," because the existence of true kingship depends upon true faith. Furthermore, we cannot speak of a heretical society as societas christiana. The Holy Russian Empire -- the last phase of the Roman Imperium, successor to Byzantine or Christian Rome - was the last Christian society and Nicholas II was the last Christian Emperor. His death brought the extinction of "the age of Constantine," the end to God's Plan concerning holy empires. 1

With the disappearance of Christian Rome, that which restrained world revolution, world atheism, world anarchy, world apostasy, is no more (cf. II Thess. iv, 6). Secularism characterizes the present age and nowhere is it more obvious than in the principles and policies of the modern democratic state, in which power ascends from the electorate to the elected, to officials and bureaucrats whose only concern, if any at all, is the material and earthly happiness of their constituents. If there is a place for religion in these "pluralistic societies," it does not inform their attitudes, aspirations and decision-making process. The self-styled "separation of church and state" is a political dogma because it is already a spiritual condition.

The secular state is always atheistic. St. Gregory the Theologian observed in the 4th century that there are three fundamental kinds of government: monarchy, the rule of one, is associated with belief in one God or, at least, one supreme God. Polyarchy (aristocracy, the rule of the few or best, is linked with polytheism; and the rule of the many, which the Saint called Anarchy (democracy), is bound with atheism. We Orthodox, be it said, hold monarchy "in honour", because it imitates the unity of God, whereas polyarchy implies a division or dispersion of His Power, a "severance of His Essence," that is, among many gods. Finally, anarchy, the government of the people, implies theologically that the Essence of God is pulverized; or, in other words, power is so completely spread out or distributed that He cannot be conceived to exist (Theol. Ora. III, 2). We ought not be confused by St. Gregory's explanation. He did not mean that nations always make conscious, philosophically elaborated choices, but that there is always a direct connection between theology and politics.

We can see this fact even more clearly in the "political theology" or "christology" of Christian Rome where the monarchy and the empire imitate the Incarnation. Thus, as Jesus Christ was both God and man, so Orthodox monarchical society likewise possessed two dimensions, one earthly and one heavenly, united as the two Natures in Christ. The Basileus or Tsar', the imperium, Emperor, represented the humanity of Christ and the priesthood or sacerdotium was the analogy of His Divinity. They collaborated in the perfection of Christian society even as "the Whole Christ" works for the salvation of the world. In very broad terms, the domain of the Emperor was the body while the priesthood cared for the soul. Of course, the Emperor's subjects were, like himself, members of the Church; for, in a real sense, the Empire was the Church.

Orthodox peoples have known only monarchy - whether pagan, Christian, Moslem or heretic. For a while, at least, the West was Orthodox and maintained the correct "political theology" and "christology." Falling away from the true faith, it has evolved those political forms about which St. Gregory spoke. Europe was divided among numerous kings while the Papacy pretentiously sought to replace the Byzantine Emperor whom it had deserted. Eventually, Catholic religious unity began to crumble, as the Renaissance writings of Meister Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa and Dante testify. By the time of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, both the political and religious unity of the West was totally disrupted. Transparently, many rulers with many religious creeds, Trinitarian and otherwise, sprouted everywhere to match the individualism and relativism which Protestantism had wrought.

Kingship and the idea of descending political power - that is, political power "descending" from God to the king for the benefit of the people - finally expired with the "republicanism" of the French Revolution. The year 1789 marks the traditional date for the beginning of the complete and radical secularization of the Western world. From this moment, "democracy" becomes its political ideal and atheism its political consequence. God is forever shut off from human affairs, dying a quiet death in the scientific madness of the 19th century, with no one to grieve him, as Nietzsche moaned. Now the universe was in the hands of man and, as August Comte proclaimed, he was its "god" and the love of humanity his religion.





II

In historical terms, the word "secularism" refers to that Western cultural enterprise whose end is to "liberate" mankind from the supernatural and the transcendent. The creature becomes the ruler of the creation. He is the caretaker of the only homeland, this world, he will ever know. It is his city, his everlasting grad, and he does not, as St. Paul wrote, look forward to that City which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. xi, 10). Everything man thinks or does has no other purpose than happiness in this life, a happiness which he will make for himself.

According to Jean Jacques Rousseau, the state originated in this hope. Individuals came together for mutual protection in a "social contract," a pact which would insure the permanent benefit of its signatories. Thus, the state and all its institutions (including religion) exist for the single purpose of achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Unlike the Christian State or Commonwealth which has both the restraint of evil and the promotion of its citizens� salvation as its raison d'кtre, the secular slate is completely indifferent to anything but their earthly happiness. As Machiavelli said, the state exists for man and, consequently, any price may be paid to achieve this goal raison d'etat. 2

The creed of the secular state is formulated in The Declaration of the Rights of Man, that formidable document of the French Revolution. No modern political announcement more clearly severs Western civilization from its traditional supernatural perceptions. The Russian philosopher, Alexei Khomiakov, condemned the Declaration as a surrender of all things good and holy that the West yet possessed. There is no hope for its salvation, he said, while its destiny rests in the hands of supercilious social reformers, godless ideologues and dreamy utopians. Western philosophers, however, were boasting of a new beginning for a new humanity.

The motto of the City of Man to come also derives from the French Revolution - "liberty, fraternity, equality". The "liberty" or "freedom"' about which these and other revolutionaries rhapsodize is not passionless. In fact, as the French philosopher, Helvetius maintained, the passions, skillfully managed, are the fundamental force in the formation of human character. If they are "evil", they are the "evil" of our "dark side" or, in the words of Lord Byron, the source of energy, boldness, strength and imagination. The "passions" provide the drive for perfection. Therefore, liberty, in one sense, is understood as the possibility of personal growth and, in another, it means the legal or social condition for it. Law exists to remove the obstacles that hamper man's earthly pursuits.

Of course, the single limitation on liberty is that no one may deprive another of the same right. Liberty for one is liberty for all. It is not the privilege of class, sex, race or religion. Everyone must have the opportunity to forge his own destiny, that is, no externally imposed standards of conduct, no moral absolutes, no foreign ideals, no selfishness, may be imposed which favors one person over another. The place of the state in the human experience is simply to guarantee, as we have already mentioned, "equal rights" to all, recognizing always that the first principle of life is amor sui, amour de soi . In other words, the teaching of the Christian Faith on "God, the flesh and the Devil" evaporates in the face of the secular "higher consciousness".

Man suffers the same fate as God: the life of the spirit vanishes from culture and history with Him. The result of God's banishment is the reduction of the human race, as Professor Erich Voeglin said, to "the fraternity of equal automata". Liberty and equality for all, - the two are connected, for only equals are free - according to their modern definition, presupposes the unity of all, a universal brotherhood. Men are brothers not because they possess a common Father and Mother, God and the Church, but because they spring from their earth, are subject to the same natural laws, suffer the same fate.

When a secularist employs the expression, "spiritual regeneration", he refers to an emotionally adjusted, humanitarian, self-fulfilled individual. In order for him to achieve this goal, society rears legislators and technicians, its priest and prophet. They provide the atmosphere in which men and women are permitted "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." In the first instance, this means "education", the inculcation of secular knowledge - preparation for living in this world. Public or secular education assumes that the individual is soulless and that his training is primarily adjustment to a changing material environment.

That such a program will succeed, that the entire secular enterprise will succeed, is assured by Progress - modernity's substitute for Providence. Such optimism, says Professor Tuveson, is belief in magic, the same kind connected with the secular dream for utopia. 3 Utopia, of course, is a heaven surrogate. Progress is that combination of human intelligence and cosmic design that insures that everlasting beatitude is mail's destiny. To be sure, there are temporary delays, disillusionment, suffering, but these are a discipline, a purging, a preparation for the golden age to come.

In the very simplest terms, we are living in a world hostile to the Christian Economy. Democracy or the secular state - the agent of Progress - is a political situation not congenial to Christ and His Church. In fact, democracy would not exist without secularization. There is a certain irony in all this, if the Marxists are right, because Progress will eventually eliminate democracy and all forms of the state. When there is complete moral responsibility and total freedom, there will be no need for any political institutions. The worker's paradise will have no need for them.





III

The historical evolution of the Western political system from monarchy to democracy is also a process of secularization. By that we mean not only that power was gradually transferred from the ruler to the ruled, the electorate, but also that God and Christian values has come to have less and less influence upon Western life and thought. Power no longer descends from God to His viceroy for the salvation of the people and, of course, the state no longer bears the image of Christ.

The modern political situation is antithetical to that condition which prevailed under the Christian Emperors - or, indeed, under kingship in general. St. Constantine initiated the Christian Roman Empire, the societas christiana in which two ministries, the imperium and sacerdotium, the government and the priesthood, governed one people, a single body politic. Hence, the double-headed eagle of Byzantium which was later adopted by the Tzars, that is, when Moscow "the Third Rome" succeeded Constantinople, "the Second Rome", on its fall to the Turks in 1453. 4

Christian Rome, Russian and Byzantine, bore the image of the divine-human Christ. The relationship between the Church and the Empire, after their mating, compared to the connection between the humanity and divinity in Christ as defined by the Council of Chalcedon (451). They were united without loss of identity, without loss of the truth that the Empire would eventually perish but the Church would not. Likewise, the Emperor and the priesthood ruled as a "symphony of powers," as the Emperor Justinian wrote in his 6th Novel. They collaborated in the governing of the Empire, albeit the Emperor did not meddle with doctrine and the Priesthood did not directly interfere with his political decisions.

Christian Romans believed they dwelt in an Empire which should encompass the whole world because that Empire was founded on a religion intended for all men. As a matter of historical fact, the claims of the Empire depended upon the truth of the Christian Faith. The loss of that Faith meant the loss of any claim to the Empire. Thus, for example, the medieval Popes denied to the "Greek Emperors" the title of "Roman" and the right to govern because, as they said, "the Greeks" did not hold the True Faith. In the same way, the Orthodox denied to "the Latins" or "Franks," as Westerners were sometimes called, any share in the Roman government, because they did not possess the Faith of Christ. Clearly, since the purpose of the Empire was the salvation of its subjects, not to have the true Faith implied the loss of the Christian monarchy.

The Christian Emperor was not an ordinary ruler. He was vicarius Christi. His coronation was a Sacrament, for he was anointed, as was Saul, David and Solomon, to protect and guide God's People. He was a "messiah," the Saviour, the Spouse of the Bride, the Empire, His Body or, as Professor Kantorwicz puts it, the Empire was his "mystical body," his "second body." 5 Incidentally, as the head of the Christian Roman Empire, the ruler had to be a man, even as Jesus of Nazareth was a man. Never could a woman rule in her own name and to my knowledge never did a woman legally succeed to the throne. Only after Peter the Great did a woman presume to rule in her own right. You will understand in a moment how such a violation of tradition was possible.

Furthermore, the Emperor was viewed as more than a layman. His robes resembled the priests vestments. The Russian Tzars claimed to have received their regalia from the Byzantine Emperor, Constantine Monomach in the 10th century. Also, the coronation of the Basileus or Tzar and the pageantry surrounding it compared to a liturgy. The Patriarch poured oil on his head, a sacramental oil, which signified the king�s or emperor's sacred and messianic character, his leadership of God's People. He was the very personification of the "lay priesthood" about which the Apostles spoke. His position as God's "servant" involved the privilege of entering the sanctuary during the Divine Liturgy to receive the Holy Communion in his hand as was the privilege of the bishop and presbyter. Clearly, then, his authority was not simply political or administrative but spiritual. He was expected to be holy that he might lead his nation into holiness.

He was "the father of his people" whose duties were more than the execution of justice, the prosecution of war and resistance to evil. He was obliged to help the widow and the orphan, to clothe and feed the poor and to defend the Faith. In other words, when he took his coronation oath, he also obliged himself to philanthropia, an imitation of Divine Providence. On the other hand, the people were expected to obey him as a child obeys his father. No Orthodox spoke of his "rights" - he humbly performed his duties: to Good, to the Emperor, to the nation. From the king or emperor, the people looked for encouragement in their common religion, not a tool in the pursuit of "life, liberty and property," to borrow John Locke's celebrated phrase.

Western historians and philosophers have never understood the Orthodox World. Their writings seem always to give a curious and sometimes cynical twist to the words and deeds of Orthodox rulers. They have taken the religiously moving Testament and Prayer of Vladimir Monomach, for example, or his pious letter to Oleg, son of Svyatoslav to be politically motivated. Likewise, when the Grand Duke, Vassily, arrested his emissary to the Council of Florence for betraying Orthodoxy, historians find fanaticism or irrational fear. Nothing else but lust for power can explain Ivan the Dread's crusade against the Tartars and Moslems at Astrakhan and Kazan'. And, later, the beautiful hymn of Feeder Alexeievitch to the Virgin Mary is viewed as superstition if not hypocrisy. And, of course, Western historians interpret the Crimean War as a failure of Russian imperialism. They would never concede that the actions of Nicholas I was a fulfillment of the Tzar's lofty calling.

Perhaps, it was Peter the Great who gave the West reason to judge the Russian monarchy with the same Machiavellian skepticisms they judged their own governments. Surely, it is accurate to say that the decline of spirituality among the rulers of Russia began with Peter. He initiated the process of "Westernization," that is to say, the process of secularization which culminated in the terrifying atheism of the Bolshevik Revolution. In order to give Russia a new direction, it was necessary for Peter to change the very nature of the monarchy itself. As Professor Cherniavsky tells us, Peter transformed and altered the "theology" of kingship. No longer did the Tzar resemble the humanity of Christ, but he mirrored now the sexless Creator. As it was in the West after the Protestant Reformation, a female might now sit upon the Russian throne. In fact, the 18 th century was dominated by the two Catherines, Anne and Elizabeth, the opposition of the Church notwithstanding. That they may have ruled well is not the point, Christian society was not the same as we observe, for instance, in the conflict between the classes.

In addition, the emperors and empresses became less and less paternal and Russia less and less a family. Power was not so much spiritual as it was legal. If administrators were not Frenchmen or Germans, they were Russians who had lost their faith. The autocracy of love and faith became the autocracy of force and cunning. The Freemasons, Bible Societies and theosophists invaded holy Russia. Her seminaries and academies spewed Western rationalism and skepticism. The people were confused and discontented.





IV

The Orthodox Church has lived with monarchy from the day the Lord established her nearly two thousand years ago. The first monarchy was Roman, sacred and pagan. Of course, some have argued that the Church is "in the world and not of it" and, therefore, it makes little difference what the political structure under which the Church lives; in fact, she ought to have no association with the world whatsoever. God wished to refuse the Hebrew nation a king and the Orthodox Church is the New Israel. Finally, it would seem that "democracy" would suit Orthodoxy far better than any other form of government, because it is secular. The Church is free to act without the encumbrances of an imperial hierarchy.

First of all, it is important for Orthodoxy to live under a form of government, which is not hostile to Her, even more one, which would encourage Her spiritual and physical growth. The world belongs to Her, as it belongs to Her God. She must, therefore, associate Herself with it in order to sanctify it, to recover it from the Devil. Thus, when the Lord commanded that all creatures be converted and baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt xxviii, 18), we must assume that those nations would have governments and that these governments themselves must also become Christian. It is useless to argue that the Church is "in the world but not of it," because that nation converted to Christ is no longer "of it," no longer "from it." Consequently, if God hoped to deny the request of the ancient Israelites for a king, it was because He did not wish His People to imitate their neighbors. In any case, they had a government whose ruler was God Himself, directing them with a Law from Above through His appointed Judges - Joshua, Samson, etc.

And this leads us to the last point in question. It is difficult for me to conceive an Orthodox democracy, especially a modern democracy which is, as you know, pluralistic, individualistic and secular. 6 In the first place, no democracy complies with the words of the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." If God is King in heaven, he must likewise be King on earth. If all of heaven and earth belong to the Lord, then, similarly the Lord's viceroy is governor of the earth. This explains, in another way, why those not subject to the Orthodox emperors were also heretical and pagan.

Let us say, then, that no Orthodox worth his salt can live comfortably in a society where the Will of God is not accomplished. How, for example, can we be reconciled to a society in which self-interest is the first principle of all action and where confusion, heresy and skepticism are described as good and creative? How do we share in a government whose authority is human and sometimes deliberately anti-Christian? One cannot imagine a democracy in which the people humble themselves before the bishop. Worst of all, there is no secular society in which Christ, as a cultural fact, is recognized as God. Moreover, if the state must resemble Christ and the state is secular; then, Christ must he viewed as totally human.

In any case, the modern world does not allow for "sacred democracies" and the president is not anointed with "the oil of gladness." Thus, it would seem to me that an Orthodox Christian is faced with the dilemma of living in a society which is basically hostile and alien to him. Of course, we must honor the president, obey just laws and do no harm to any man. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to become an intrinsic part of secular society. The early Christians were accused of being "anti-social" because they would not become involved in the affairs of the pagan Roman Empire, so we must expect the same reproach. Furthermore, we must understand that nothing exists to protect us, no Tzar. We will be threatened even more with the appearance of the Anti-Christ. He will be the product of secular society. He will, almost ironically, establish a secular monarchy, an ecumenical or world kingship. In the end, of course, he will be overthrown by Christ whose kingdom will have no end.

Alexandr

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,186
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Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,186
Amado,

I'd love to drive one. Are you offering to let me?

CDL

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