Putin’s Response to the New World Order

I think the New World Order primarily connotes a global economic market led by Anglo-American bankers.  I know some want to “mystify” it with connections of Cabbalism, Zionism, and Freemasonry.  Certainly, the last three should be resisted, and certainly they factor into the New World Order, but I think the primary goal and end-game is a single global market.  This market will relativise traditional communities, religions, and national identity.   I suspect there is a religious dimension to the New World Order, but I don’t want to say too much on it because there is so much that cannot be known right now.

A Triadic Look at Ethnos and the State

The following is taken from Fr. Raphael Johnson’s fine essay, “National Anarchism and the Old Faith

Old Russia was and is represented by the Old Faith and the Cossack uprisings under Bulavin and Pugachev. In short, their programs were identical: a popular monarchy, the free peasant commune and the Old Faith: the three ancient pillars of justice. In opposition is the “Egyptian” rule of technology, centralization and oligarchy, the three pillars of injustice. Such as view is echoed in early medieval Ireland and medieval Serbia. Society was divided up into self governing communes, who elected their clergy and were loyal to local custom. Local monastics offered spiritual guidance and sainthood, not to mention education and social welfare. The state, if it can be called such, was represented by a monarch with a tiny retinue of supporters. His role was purely to defend the faith from outside influences, as he had little role in the functioning of the mir or rod.

(emphasis mine).  I mean to contrast this (in the future) with the American “dialectic of opposition.”

Upcoming post on dialectic

Some have asked me what I (and others) mean by “the dialectic,” particularly its presence in American intellectual development (and particularly its absence in Russian development).  That request also dovetails with some Trinitarian and cultural posts I have wanted to make (from reading Slavoj Zizek).   I’m too buys for the next few days (coaching baseball, installing an air conditioner), but I should post on it this weekend as spring break is coming up.

Implications of the Hypostatic Union

From Meyendorff’s Byzantium and the Rise of Russia. This is in the context of monasticism as a unifying factor in the Eastern social mind, with obvious references to the Hesychast controversy.

Hypostatic Union and the patristic doctrine of deification implies that divine life becomes accessible through the human flesh of Christ and of the saints. The innumerable references of Palamas to such texts as the homily of the Transfiguration of St John of Damascus–the great defender of matter as a legitimate channel of grace during the icnoclastic controversy– or to the Christology of St Maximus the Confessor, clearly indicate a basic unity of theological inspiration.

Neo-Cyrillo Methodians

I found this jewel from Jaroslav Pelikan’s Spirit of Eastern Christendom.
But something new came into existence when Byzantine Christiantiy was imported to Russia. A Christian philosophy of history became a constituent element of Russian theology as early as Hilarion of Kiev, whose polemics against Judaism put special emphasis on the interpretation of history.

“It was ‘Cyrillo-Methodian’ because the Apostles to the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius, had brought not only the gospel of Christ, also its consciousness of national vocation, to their converts. This was true in some ways also of Western missionaries, but the dominance of the Latin Mass carried with it the obligation to impose on Western Europe a single–and foreign–liturgical language. By contrast, Cyril and Methodius were anxious to give to the Slavs the whole body of Byzantine liturgical texts in their own language. The national consciousness of the Slavs owed much to its origin to their conversion, and on the other hand Slavic theological thought was first awakened by meditation upon the religious destiny of the nation”

p. 297

In other words, in some way Orthodox Christianity created the Russian people. This has implications for nationalist discussions today. In the Protestant West it is common hear, “But Christ abolished nationalism and distinctions and all. After all, consider Galatians 3:28.” Fair enough, I shut my mouth in front of the Bible, if that’s what the Bible is actually saying.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Okay, I just want to ask some questions out of this passage, and if the absurd conclusions follow, then we can rule out that St Paul probably didn’t intend for the passage to be interpreted in the way that no ethnic/national distinctions are allowed.

1. If this passage rules out national and ethnic distinctions, then it also rules out sexual distinctions.

2. If (1), then the ideal “Christian” is a hermaphrodite because sexuality has been abolished in Christ.

3. However, (2) is absurd so we can probably drop the charge against nationalism. Let’s see what St Paul says about national distinctions in Acts 17.

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

I don’t want to read too much into the verse, but there you have it.

God’s Revelation to the Human Heart

God’s Revelation to the Human Heart by Fr. Seraphim Rose

Fr Seraphim gave this as an address to a group of college students in California around 1980.  In many ways it summarizes all of Fr Seraphim’s writings (which is kind of impressive for only 50 pages).  Fr Seraphim’s message is the human heart opens itself up to the truth of God—this is revelation.    It is often when the Scriptures are expounded with the right interpretation—this is intensified in times of acute suffering.

Fr Seraphim gives many examples from the lives of the saints, most notably St John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco.  St John’s life was one of humility and suffering and as a result God blessed him with miracle-working.  More importantly for this story, he received revelation to appear to a woman (in the flesh) despite the fact that it was impossible by the laws of physics for him to do so.   (Think of St Philip and the Ethiopian).   Fr Seraphim then surmises that many of the disciples who traveled to Russia, southern Africa, and China did so by the same means that St Philip did in Acts.

Fr Seraphim warns his audience not to search for religious experiences, but for truth.   As an example he gives the chilling story of St Niceta of the Kievan Caves.   We accept that miracles and spiritual gifts are real, but we must test our religious experiences not by ourselves, and not even by our reading of the Bible, but by submitting it to the discipline and wisdom of the Church.

The end of the book is a Q and A session.   Other reviewers and the editor were dismayed at the questions asked.  They feared that the audience missed Fr Seraphim’s main point.  The audience probably did miss it, but their questions do reveal that Fr Seraphim indeed “touched” something within their hearts.   Fortunately for later readers, Fr Seraphim’s answers are very clear and short answers to difficult questions.

This book is one of those written with rare power.   Fr Seraphim writes with the same message the book contains.    It is like all of Fr Seraphim’s books:   practical, urgent topics met with the wisdom of the ancient church.  He is always serene and clear.  Fr Seraphim’s life was one of suffering and seeking to acquire the mind of the Fathers.   Doing so brought him “pain of heart,” as the Fathers would say.   This pain of heart, this suffering, gifted him to speak to audiences such as these.

The most helpful essays of 2010

The most helpful essays of 2010 (or in the past few years)

Azkoul, Fr. Michael. “Sacred Monarchy and the Modern Secular State.”   Decent job in demonstrating the worldviews that underlie both sacerdotal monarchy and modern democracy.  I do not often agree with Fr Azkoul, but this is a good read.

Bradshaw, David.  “Augustine the Metaphysician.”  Orthodox Readings on Augustine.  Eds. Papanikolaou, Aristotle and Demacopolous, George.  Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008.  A summary of his Aristotle East and West.  While Bradshaw has been ridiculed, and his detractors have done little more than simply chant “De Regnon is debunked,” he has offered one of the more powerful critiques of the limitations of Western theological thought.

Farrell, Joseph.   “A Theological Introduction to the Mystagogy of St Photios.” A summary of the neo-Palamite critique of Western theology.  While people ridicule Farrell because of his Giza Death Star theory, Farrell’s summary of St Maximus has actually been quoted in the leading theological work on St Maximus, which the author notes few critics of neo-Palamism have actually interacted with Dr. Farrell.  ‘Sup?

Farrell, Joseph.  “Prolegomena:  God, History, and Dialectic: The Theological Foundations to the Two Europes.” The arguments in this book have had a powerful impact on me.   Farrell outlines how the dialectical tensions within the Filioque have an effect on all of Western society.    Also shows how Russia did theology without relying on the dialectical tensions of Aristotle and Plato.

Milbank, John.  “An Alternative Protestantism.”  Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academics, 2005.  I actually read this a few years ago, but Christology has been the reference point in my theological journeys, and Milbank’s essay pointed out some major problems in Reformed Christological thought.

A lot of Fr. Matthew Raphael Johnson’s essays continue to challenge me.  Unfortunately, his rusjournal.com site is no longer running, and not all of his essays have been transferred to The Orthodox Nationalist.

Trifkovic, Srdja.  “Orthodoxy versus Modernity.”  If I may employ a van Tillian term, Trifkovic nicely outlines the antithesis between the globalist elite and what an Orthodox outlook should be.   Or in any case, he demonstrates why the Globalists hate traditionally Orthodox countries–and these reasons why should make conservative Protestants pause, for they should realize they are next on the globalists’ agenda.

Is Elder Macarius among the NPP?

Seriously, I know Elder Macarius of Optina was not part of the New Perspective on Paul.  That said, it’s now obvious that the New Perspective on Paul is not new.   Many Reformed polemicists would respond, “Of course, it’s simply repackaged Pelagianism and Roman Catholicism.”  Of course, such a remark is silly because the NPP denies merit theology and much of the heart of Roman soteriology, but many of NPP’s moves are certainly within the patrum consensus.

I am finishing the biography of Elder Macarius and the end of the book has a series of letters written to a young seeker.   Concerning faith and works Macarius writes,

For our salvation one needs not simply faith alone, but works also.  The words of the Apostle Paul:  By the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified (Romans 3:20) refer to the works of the Old Testament Law and not to the commandments of grace. (317).

This seems like it was taken from a page of James Dunn’s theology, but it predated Dunn 100 years.

Proshloe ne Proshloe

At the start, this page is considering sacerdotal monarchy as a superior alternative to the representative governments of today.  Side issues considered are the role of Russia in today’s geopolitics and the promise of aSlavophile epistemology.

While I don’t consider myself the vanguard of the Slavophile movement (yes, it’s still around), it pains me that most of the critics of the “Regime” today lack the philosophical and theological background to offer a cogent enough analysis and deconstruction.  Perhaps I do as well–I am under no illusions of grandeur.  However, I have some philosophical training (and years of fairly intensive reading) and I am aware of basic philosophical moves and movements.

Most of the criticisms of the Regime (Regime = Bilderbergers, CFR, NATO, EU, UN, you get the idea) have a lot of good ideas, and do a fairly good job of summarizing multiple strands of analysis (I refer the reader to Jim Marrs work in the field, particularly The Rise of the Fourth Reich), yet these people either a) are unaware of basic philosophical categories–and are simply cannon fodder for the academics, or b) are committed to compromised philosopies like the New Age movement (I think Jim Marrs is in this category).

Slavophilism offers the serious student of history and philosophy a cogent manner of presenting the faith, standing against nihilism, and positing a clear, thoroughly Christian and ancient alternate social vision.

What is Slavophilism?

Slavophilism should not be primarily read as a romantic throwback to some non-existence “Holy Russia.”  It is simply stating the obvious:  given that Russia stopped the military power of the West, and later outnumbered 3-1 by the West (e.g., the Crimean War), fighting them to a standstill, it makes sense to say that Russian philosophers would articulate a narrative different from the West.  Every culture does this.  This “narrative” is Slavophilism.

My Remarks

Slavophilism is interesting today because many of the same characters are there: nihilism vs a resurgent (if often bumbling) Christian faith; globalism vs localism, and again The West (NATO, EU) vs. the East.  Stating this is not pining for some nostalgic Third Rome, though that is a legitimate area of discussion.  It is simply point out the facts.

But what of us who are not Slavic and will probably never reside in Russia?  Interestingly enough, the same publisher who is releasing Slavophile material is also releasing materials that point back to a Celtic Orthodoxy.  (yes, I know they also release some pagan materials).

Perhaps there is a connection between the two…?  It is worth finding out.

Penultimate Review of *Elder Macarius*

I received a copy of Elder Macarius of Optina this summer.  I decided to buy it because I was looking for material on the Slavophile philosopher Ivan Kireevsky, who was footnoted in The Life of Fr Seraphim Rose.

I was initially disappointed.  The book did have a section on Kireevsky–more than most books would have, in fact–but the rest of the book seemed tedious to read.  I made it about 200 pages through the book this summer, but soon put it down.  The cares of the school year, along with the difficulty of the book, put the issue from my mind.

I decided to finish it, though.  Fr Seraphim Rose’s life has been on my mind recently.  I gather that many Orthodox do not like him–or at least are “passively annoyed” with his work.  I am not in a position to judge, except that he seemed to have successfully acquired the mind of the Fathers–a point many of his detractors refuse to challenge directly, quite tellingly.

Rose is a spiritual descendant of the Optina elders.  The Optina elders passed down their spirituality through many sons after the satanic Bolshevik Revolution–many of these sons and daughters came to America.  The Konzetevichs were one such group.  They introduced Frs Herman and Seraphim to the Optina elders (and to Kireevsky).

While my own future is unknown to me, Rose’s development and passing down of the Tradition plays powerfully on my mind.  Therefore, I decided to finish the book, a book Fr Seraphim recommended.

Themes of the book:

  • beware of spiritual delusion (prelest).  Very good sections on the Jesus prayer (and how not to engage in it) and of doing spirituality outside the wisdom of your elder.
  • Holy Russia is real and is passed down to her adopted children.