Last year I came across the life and story of Saint-King Olav II of Norway. His life gripped me in many ways, for many of my intellectual struggles and concerns about my own life and where I am looking into Orthodoxy coincided around St Olav’s life (and legacy). Several points about Olav before I elaborate on his and our war against paganism:
- He demonstrates that many Northern European countries, even until the time of the Schism, were quite Orthodox.
- Even though they were Orthodox, they were distinctively Western cultures and countries.
- Thus, Germanic and Scandinavian Orthodoxy was a specifically incarnational Orthodoxy, an Orthodoxy that took root in society’s most basic levels.
- Thus, those of us from Northern European stock have precedents, sometimes unknown to us, in Western Orthodoxy.
Olav died in battle defending Christian Norway
against those who would return it to Paganism. While America is not Christian (and even by the most vague standards, it’s debatable if she ever were), America, too, faces an onslaught of paganism. And perhaps even more than Olav’s Norway, this paganism has governmental and institutional authority.
“God is not separate from the Earth,”
Which means “God = Earth = Earth is God.”
Lest I am misunderstanding him, the pagan groups responded,
“We are Neo-Pagans — implying an eclectic reconstruction of ancient Nature religions, and combining archetypes of many cultures with other mystic and spiritual disciplines — and our beliefs and values are no different from those you describe as your own. Your book, Earth in Balance, is heralded by our People as a manifesto for all we hold dear…Know that there are half million NeoPagans out here who support you, and who voted for you, and who will rally to the aid of your policies for the salvation of the Earth and the reunification of the Great Family”
This was spoken almost fifteen years ago. No doubt the impetus is stronger. Let’s ponder St Olav’s last words before leaving,
“Fram, Fram, Kristmen, Korsmen, Kongsmen.” Forward, Forward, Christ-Men, Cross-Men, King’s-Men
May we, too, have a similar end.