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.

 

Preparatory Notes on Slavophilism as a Philosophy

From V. V. Zenkovsky’s History of Russian Philosophy vol 1:

The Return to the Ecclesiastical Worldview

After the European Enlightenment, with most countries falling away to secularism, while it can be said that the Russian intelligenstia broke from the Church, the Russian tendency towards “theurgy” kept it from fully breaking.  This allowed the Slavophiles a foothold for a counterattack.

Gogol: Prophet of Orthodox Culture (172)

Russia’s path was different from the West, since Orthodox Christianity was so different from Western Christianity.  Hoped for the transfiguration of culture.

General Remarks on Slavophilism

The early Khomyakov had visited St Petersburg with his brother and they thought they had visited an alien city (181).  This convinced Khomyakov to be a fearless proponent of truth.  He later ran away from home to participate in the Greek Wars of Liberation!

“Khomyakov, like the medieval knights standing watch in the temple of the Mother of God, slept armed” (181).

Influences on Khomyakov

The Church Fathers permeated his spirit (184).  For Khomyakov the Church is an organism; for the West it is an organization.

The Basic Point of Departure of Khomyakov’s Philosophy

  1. Ecclesiastical Consciousness as a Point of Departure (187). The Church is the fullness of truth and the source of light.
  2. The Church as Invisible?  True, Khomyakov subordinates the visible church to the invisible, but he does so in ways different from Protestantism. He rejects individualization principles, and he does not forget the importance of the visible church (see his essay “The Church is One”).
  3. The Church is not an Authority.  The Spirit of God acts within the Church; not a Pope over it.