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Re: [orthodox-synod] LET HOLY RUS' ARISE and the original message of ROCOR

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  • Rev. Sergei Overt
    Christ Is Risen! This Epistle of Metropolitan Anastasy proves the point I keep making about why ROCOR was established and why it is supposed to exist. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 27, 2004
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      Christ Is Risen!
      This Epistle of Metropolitan Anastasy proves the
      point I keep making about why ROCOR was established
      and why it is supposed to exist.
      The ROCOR was always predominantly interested
      in fighting the great evil of Bolshevism and the communists.
      The Russian emigration believed that the greatest threat,
      the greatest evil that there ever was on planet earth
      was Communism. Not Ecumenism, not modernism,
      not any other political system or religious philosophy.
      Some Russian emigrants were perfectly comfortable
      with Ecumenism in their personal lives and assimilation
      with non-Orthodox as long as the fight against communism
      and the mistrust of anything Soviet continued.
      This is what kept ROCOR and the Russian emigrants united.
      Even though the children and grandchildren were marrying
      Protestants and Catholics. These zealous anti-communists
      never thought that it was important to convert their new
      relatives to the truth of Orthodox Christianity.
      Many thought all Christian religions were just fine,
      after all, Communists rejected all religion and faith in
      God. All good people were people who belived
      in "a God". It did not matter if they were Protestant,
      Catholic or anything else and as long as they
      sympathized with their anti-communism.
      This was particularly apparent during the 1950's
      and 1960's when most of the ROCOR Russian parishes
      in North America were established.
      The only conclusion that can be made is that
      ROCOR existed because of the threat of Communism
      to the Russian Orthodox Church. This was the most
      tyrannical and ruthless persecution of the Orthodox Church
      history had seen in a long time, and ROCOR was the part of that
      persecuted church that escaped to tell the rest of the
      non-Orthodox world the truth about
      Communism. This is the original message of ROCOR.
      Fr. S.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <byakimov@...>
      To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 6:28 PM
      Subject: [orthodox-synod] LET HOLY RUS' ARISE

      > The 1940 Paschal Epistle
      > Of the Most-Blessed Metropolitan Anastasii,
      > the First-Hierarch Of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
      > Dear brothers and sisters, near and far, abiding both in the Diaspora and
      > in our Fatherland. Pascha, this festival of life, of light, of love and of
      > brotherhood unites us anew into one family of Christ, enlivening the hope
      > within us of the soon-resurrection of Russia. When the sun rises, it first
      > of all gilds the tops of the hills, and of the trees, and of other tall
      > objects; then it illumines the entire surface of the earth, penetrating
      > even into the chasms of the earth, into mountain gorges, and into the
      > clefts of rocky cliffs.
      > The same can be said of the quickening rays of the feast of Christ's
      > Resurrection -- they fall first of all upon those whosee hearts are always
      > directed fixedly towards the heavens -- towards those spiritual peaks of
      > Christian humanity; after which they embrace all other people with their
      > gleam, not excluding even such as have generally become accustomed to
      > slithering about in moral quagmires, without lifting up their eyes to
      > heaven. And everywhere, wheresover the light of Pascha might extend, it
      > gives rise to life and joy.
      > We -- wanderers and newcomers amidst other peoples that we are -- are
      > fortunate indeed in having brought with us this precious pledge from our
      > Native Land, which from of old so came to love and so profoundly to
      > assimilate the grace-endowed suspiration of this festival. From the moment
      > that Rus' came forth from out of her baptismal fount, she began to burn
      > brightly with the light of Pascha, which ceased not to illumine the whole
      > of her thousand-year-long history. Nowhere in the world does Pascha so
      > obviously manifest its royal merit as the holiday of holidays and the
      > triumph of triumphs as in the Russian Land. The latter truly was
      > transfigured in those bright days; and, as the Bride of Christ, she did
      > gleam then with joy and spiritual beauty.
      > As it once "was good" for the Apostles who found themselves in the rays of
      > the Lord's Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, in like manner did the heart of
      > the Russian people take sweet delight in glorifying the risen Savior, and
      > burned, as it were, with a radiance; and when the Bright festival would
      > finally draw to a close and the triumphant paschal peal of bells -- of
      > wondrous heavenly music which had poured forth upon the unencompassable
      > expanses of our Native Land -- would finally fall mute, then would our
      > Russian folk return to their daily round of life, feeling a reluctance --
      > and even, as it were, some degree of sadness -- not unlike what the
      > Apostles experienced in their descent from Tabor after the Transfiguration
      > of their Divine Teacher.
      > It was in the light of Paschal radiance that there came into being that
      > entire philosophy of life of the Russian nation which had become
      > to seeing the entire world from the point-of-view of the eternal victory
      > procured for us by the Risen Savior, Who had vanquished the power of hell
      > and death. From hence sprung its (the Russian people's - ed.) moral
      > fortitude; its exclusive serenity in enduring the blows of fate; the inner
      > harmony of its heart; its peaceful resigned attitude to death; its
      > unwavering faith in the final triumph of righteousness -- however much it
      > might sometimes be scorned and abused on earth; this enlightened love of
      > nature and of all men, whom [the Russian] considered to be his brothers,
      > even though they might be alien to him by blood. It is here that one
      > seek the main key to the solution of all the mysteries of the Russian
      > which has not ceased from arousing the curiosity of the western world.
      > However much the temptations of the world might delude and seduce him, the
      > Russian believes unwaveringly that Christ alone is the Way, the Truth and
      > the Life, and that outside Him, and without Him, there is no true
      > happiness; and life itself loses its meaning, becoming an oppressive
      > to its bearers. Humanity can live only to the degree to which it is
      > of renewing itself and being reborn in Christ, Who constantly repeats the
      > miracle of resurrection over it.
      > The experience of these present times convinces us of this truth with
      > especial clarity; although, unfortunately, in the main, it does so in a
      > negative way. Observing world events around us, as they rush along in such
      > a mad headlong dash, we see that the farther people depart from Christ,
      > farther they depart from the sources of life, and the more quickly do they
      > draw near to death; or, to re-phrase it in a better way: they themselves
      > draw her to them. We have examples of this before our eyes.
      > Turn your attention to those monstrous weapons which belch forth a
      > deaths; to those frightful explosives and poisonous gases capable of
      > destroying multitudes upon multitudes of people, like insignificant
      > insects, and of turning an entire region into a desert; is not all this
      > enlargement of the domain of death and hell -- poised, at present, to
      > consume the entire world, which had been redeemed by means of the death
      > resurrection of Christ, the Giver of Life.
      > If the time has not yet come "to turn swords into plough-shares, and
      > into sickles" -- for war is frequently inevitable as a restraining
      > principle against the spread of evil, violence and injustice on earth --
      > then, in any event, Christian nations should hasten to soften its horrors,
      > rather than multiplying for it its means of destruction and widening the
      > very sphere of its murderous action, adding a so-called total character to
      > it. These manifold underground shelters, with the construction of which
      > states so occupy themselves during a war -- do they not speak clearly of
      > the fact that people, by their cruelty, have deprived themselves of any
      > right to live freely in the world, to take delight in the sun's radiance;
      > and that they must, instead, hide themselves away in underground warrens
      > from pursuing foes, in the manner of lizards and other creeping things?
      > Thus, departing away from Christ as the Source of Light, we again immerse
      > ourselves into the chaos and darkness of barbarism. The very conquest of
      > the elements: of the sea and air -- wherewith our age so prides itself --
      > by no means makes of man a true king over nature; rather, it makes him the
      > victim of the latter. Having become accustomed to following her
      > mechanistic, mortifying norms, he is prepared to surrender his whole life
      > and culture to those selfsame laws of soulless mechanics, and not only
      > aspect thereof which is external and material, but even that which is
      > internal and spiritual, sacrificing toward that end the royal freedom of
      > his person and the autocracy of his creative reason. He desires to create
      > not only a governable household, but governable thought, as well; and even
      > conscience, applying to them that very same principle of compulsion which
      > he applies to other spheres of life.
      > "Fraternity or death" -- this fearsome slogan of the French revolution,
      > this "brotherhood of Cain" -- as one of the activists of the latter so
      > accurately defined it, is being reborn anew in the XXth century, finding
      > its reflection -- especially so -- in the theory and pracctice of
      > communism, which attempts to inject this pernicious principle into the
      > universal human consciousness. Having quenched in itself the luminary of
      > the eternal commandments of Christ, contemporary cultured humanity has
      > the measure of absolute truth and righteousness, having replaced them with
      > conditional human truth, and sometimes even with outright falsehood.
      > It is not surprising that the world, having lost a firm moral foundation
      > beneath its feet, is teetering to every side and submitting itself to the
      > chance dictates of the moment: to considerations of benefit and advantage,
      > first of all, which currently dominate all the loftier motives of human
      > actions. Russian bolshevism brought the entirety of this sorry wisdom of
      > the present age to the most extreme and crude degrees of its development;
      > hence, our soul, as before, is repulsed by it, sensing the breath of hell
      > and corruption in it.
      > However much we might thirst for the sooner rebirth of our Native Land, we
      > would not want to see the kingdom of a Ching'his-khan or of a Tamerlane
      > established there in place of Holy Rus' -- although each of these, to a
      > certain degree, was more sublime and more humane than the merciless and
      > corrupting ruling-organization of the Soviets; nor would we want to see an
      > ant-hill of labor come into being there, descending deep into the earth
      > and, as it were, become as one with it.
      > We desire to see our renewed Native Land as none other than free, radiant,
      > joyful, peaceful, spirit-bearing, strong with the righteousness and love
      > Christ, rising aloft, like Jacob's ladder, from the earth to the heavens,
      > in order to unite them, the one with the other. And we know that the risen
      > Savior has the power to re-establish her as such, even were she to stink
      > badly as Lazarus, four days in his tomb. Although, to our consolation, she
      > has not yet reached a state of total corruption, which usually bears
      > witness to the onset of death.
      > Those who had the opportunity, in the newly-united Russian regions in
      > Poland or in Finland, to meet face to face with the red-army boys who had
      > come from simple peasant surroundings, bear witness with one heart and
      > one soul to the fact that the venom of communism has not yet had a chance
      > to penetrate into the depths of the folk-organism and to poison its
      > governing nerve-centers. Today's Russian has not yet forgotten the faith
      > his fathers, although he is forced to conceal it from the zealous gaze of
      > the godless authorities. The Russian Orthodox soul yet lives in our
      > and can easily put forth the shoots of new life, if the grace of
      > resurrection but breathes upon it.
      > Arise, then, O Lord, our God; may Thine hand be lifted up. Forget not Thy
      > wretched, miserable ones to the end. Let God also arise in the hearts of
      > all the other nations of the present day, that they might extend to one
      > another a mutual, brotherly embrace, having forgiven everything by the
      > resurrection, and having ceased from the bloody fray; and that they might
      > again acquire their spiritual strength, their happiness, and their true
      > life in Christ, the Victor over hell and death.
      > April 1940. Belgrade. The title has been added by the editors.
      > ( "Pravoslavnaya Rus'" ["Orthodox Rus'"], No. 9, 1940)
      > Translated into English by G. Spruksts, from the Russian text appearing in
      > "Pravoslavnaya Rus'"
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