I meant to write several appreciative posts of figures in Eastern Orthodoxy, but I never got around to it. Instead, on a post where I relayed numerous Protestant difficulties with verifying oral tradition, it then turned into polemics, of which I had no intention.
Fr Seraphim Rose
Had I entered Eastern Orthodoxy two years ago, it wouldn’t have gone over well (I suspect). I had read all of Fr Seraphim’s writings, including the magisterial biography done on him by Hieromonk Damascene (read it several times, actually). It is simply awe-inspiring. I soundly resonated with all of his stands. He mightily warned against several patriarchs compromising with Rome. He sounded the trumpet against the attacks on Creation within the “conservative” camp of Orthodoxy (interestingly, the Protestant lay-apologist Phillip Johnson endorsed both his book on Creation and the biography; this is an example of a proper ecumenicism!).
And then I find otherwise conservative Orthodox guys ridiculing him and his beliefs. One told me, “Anyone who believes what Fr Seraphim believed [presumably, the objector meant the positions on creation and toll-houses] is an idiot.” I then quoted St Athanasius on toll-houses and St Basil on creation. Stuff like that, you know?
“But people turn Fr Seraphim into a cult!” they respond. So? What of it? That is the case with numerous figures from history. If only more would imitate his life-style (didn’t St Paul say something like that?).
Lessons we can learn from Fr Seraphim:
- Eschatology: He constantly said, “The time is later than you think.” In the biography Fr Damascene documents how the world-system has converged in such a way that a one-world government is possible. Of course, in his lecture on the end-times, Fr Seraphim comes off as embracing something akin to the amillennial view, identifying this present age as the millennium. I think such a reading is problematic, but I agree with the essence of his talk.
- Agrarianism: This is another area that would make the bourgeoise uncomfortable. The Platina Monastery was largely self-sufficient. People ridicule agrarians. What they don’t realize is that agrarian warnings are actually trying to save your life. You are eating food that is pumped with all sorts of Monsanto death into it. Further, when food becomes scarce during the time of Antichrist, it is places like Platina that won’t be starving.
- Don’t embrace modernity: Fr Seraphim urged people to acquire the mind of the fathers. I tried. I read through all of Schaff’s NPNF Series II. The problem arose, however, when we try to make the fathers answer textual and cultural questions they weren’t asked. Still, it’s better than the mindless conservative endorsement of post-1950s American mindset.
- The Resurrection of Holy Russia: Yet another area in which the bourgeouise were nervous. NATO is the enemy of Orthodox Christian people’s everywhere. Slowly. Finally, are Orthodox Americans waking up to this fact. Yet most are still too nervous to endorse Putin’s Russia (whom I fully support). The reason is simple: they really think and believe in a Republican president, all of whom have sworn mortal enmity to Russia. We used to always pick on the Reformed people as living some mental contradictions. Perhaps this is an area where Orthodox are not yet–to quote Van Til–Epistemologically self-conscious.
The Orthodox Nationalist
Fr Raphael Johnson‘s podcast have been a continual feast for me for three years. In them I learned Plato’s Forms, Russian history, and late European philosophy. He opened my eyes to the doctrinal compromises and made me realize and ask the question, “Could I really commune with Freemasons?” (No, I couldn’t). I’ve probably listened to 80% of the podcasts at least four or five times each. Lessons learned:
- While Holy Russia must be supported, not all of Russian history–even Russian monarchist history–is worth defending. Peter the Great, as a Freemason, swore an oath to Lucifer. After +NIKON Russia ceased to be a light on a hill and became an empire. It ceased to be Jerusalem and became Babylon. It requires wisdom to discern this.
- Plato and the Forms: I really began to appreciate Augustine, Eurigena, and Gregory of Nyssa in listening to Johnson explicate the forms.
- Agrarianism: He gave some practical advice on why agrarianism is superior for the brain.
- Occult: Much good stuff here.
- Hegel: for a while, I was a Hegelian.
- True Orthodox and Calendar: I’ve always been sympathetic to the Old Calendarists.