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12757Re: [orthodox-synod] MP nachala sud! Bozos in the woodwork!

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  • Russell Martin
    Oct 22, 2004
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      Someone, just who it was is in dispute, wrote:

      <Please submit your evidience that Monarchies possess Divine Right.
      <Please submit your evidence that Monarchial Rule is inherently
      santified
      <over other types of government?

      This is, I think, not a very useful approach. Protestants like to ask
      us to prove that the wine and bread in the cup is the Body and Blood of
      Christ; atheists ask us to prove that God exists; amateur historians
      like to ask for proof of the single-bullet theory.

      If we ask for evidence in one thing, we open the door to that question
      being thrown at us in all things.

      So, perhaps the question about monarchy is poorly put in the first
      place. All creation is good. All that is, is God's will. Salvation is
      possible in democratic America, in the Soviet Union, in despotic Cuba,
      in pagan Rome of the first century or Orthodox Russia of the nineteenth.
      The world is, if you'll excuse the expression, "lousy" with salvation.
      It lays before us incessantly, invisibly. We are alas often unable to
      latch hold of it, on account of our sins. But the Church is there,
      always. Through it comes our salvation.

      To pine away for something, like a monarchy, may be pointless to our own
      salvation. To pray for the election of Bush or Kerry or anyone else is
      equally distracting, I think. Salvation comes to each of us
      individually through the Holy Sacraments of the Church, and through the
      life lived, day in and day out, emulating Christ (something I do not
      hesitate to say I fail to do horribly).

      And is life for Christians better in a country that is Orthodox and
      ruled by a just king? Perhaps so. I myself remember the odd serenity
      and exuberance I felt celebrating a couple of years worth of Church
      feastdays in Russia in the early '90s and amazed how easier it was to
      fast and pick myself up and go to church when I knew so, so many others
      around me were doing the same thing. A whole society celebrating
      Nativity and Paskha at the same time! No calendrical distractions.

      But these things happened in barely-democratic Russia, not Royal Russia
      and certainly not sviataia Rus'. And that's my point. The life of a
      Christian can be difficult or easy in any kind of political environment.
      Provided the gov't isn't overtly hostile to the faith of believers,
      what really does it matter what the constitution says or who the ruler
      is? Would Jesus have lived his life and taught his message any
      differently if it were the Jews, and not the Romans, who were the
      masters of Judea?

      Humble obedience to the Church and prayerfulness.

      Having said all this, monarchs and monarchies are special. The Church
      considered coronation something of a sacrament on a par with any of the
      other traditionally numbered sacraments. Monarchs were accorded a
      status in the ecclesiology of the Church that permitted them to summon
      and attend Church councils, to commune not as laity, to officiate over
      many of the Churches major feasts (Epiphany, e.g.), to be annointed at
      coronation. The Church's historic attitude is the best "evidence" (if
      such is something we're really interested in) for monarchy's
      specialness.

      But as for salvation, it comes whether there be a president, a khan, a
      general-secretary, a dictator, an emir, or a king.

      Seems to me.

      Roman Martin

      Russell E. Martin
      Assoc. Professor of History
      Westminster College
      New Wilmington, PA 16172-0001
      phone: 724.946.6254
      fax: 724.946.7256
      webpage: http://www.westminster.edu/staff/martinre/
      other email: remartin@...
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