Re: Church services in St. Petersburg
- Dear Viacheslav,
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit",
You write: "And my answer to that was that Russia is a secular state.
We are Orthodox Christians seeking Salvation individually in the
Orthodox Church (not a state). Note, that being Orthodox still does
not get us there automatically. I rejected the idea that states or
nations (countries, governments, or ethnic groups) may be redeemed
corporately, as a whole".
Russians know that Russia is not a State, secular or religious.
Russia is a country and a Nation that has got a State among other
things, the legitimacy of which is disputable. As a Russian, I would
never even think of equating Russia with the "Russian Federation"
(Bozhe sokhrani), nor with Putin's, Yeltsin's, Gorbachev's or
Stalin's governments. Russia is a spiritual concept. I suppose this
is easier to understand for Russians.
Man is not an individual being. Considering that he is just an
individual who must free himself from his community generally viewed
as primitive tribalism is "liberal", western, enlightenment-
romantic, capitalistic, New-World-Order-like thinking. Man belongs
always to a community. Man is essentially a social being. His
existence as an isolated individual is meaningless. All of us exist
only inasmuch we are part of a community. Even hermits in the desert
(St Anthony, whose feast we celebrated last Sunday, for instance) do
not live as individualistic beings. They are more than anyone in
close community with us, they pray God for us. Our community is our
family, our nation, our Church,...
A nation is a nation, not an "ethnic group". The Russian nation is
made of innumerable "ethnic groups". Among those who consider
themselves as the most loyal "Serbs" (God knows that this is
meaningful in our days of persecution of the Serb nation, especially
since the last wars) are ethnic Valachians. Among the most patriotic
Russians are the Baltic Germans who served Russia and his emperors so
well. The painter of "Vyechniy pokoy", Levitan (a Jew), is among the
most "Russian" people. When my children became reasonable, I told
them : "I give you Russia, and I give you to Russia". When I die, I
hope that my epitaph will mention that I was a faithful son of Russia.
You say: "I rejected the idea that states or nations (countries,
governments, or ethnic groups) may be redeemed corporately, as a
On my dyptics, I put the names of my family. In my prayers, I ask God
to save those who are dearest to me: my family, my Church and my
nation. In message 13516, I mentioned places in the scriptures about
collective salvation or condemnation.
I know perfectly what you say. This is what we keep hearing in
the "democratic" West. It is however in total contradiction with the
Russian tradition and with the idea of a Christian orthodox monarchy.
In the latter, the monarch is answerable in front of the Creator, of
his people's salvation, as a parent is responsible about his family
before God. Families and peoples have been created by God.
We know that the Soviet regime has done all it could to eradicate the
idea of "Holy Rus". Only revolutionaries and their heirs such as the
Marxist, the Capitalist, the consumerist etc. see nations in
bureaucratic, political or biological-ethnographical terms (State,
passport, government, ethnic group,...). Holy Rus does not correspond
to any of those.
Father Basil's last message "THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA AND THE END OF THE
WORLD" is an illustration (by the American Father Seraphim Rose) of
the deep consciousness of being one nation before God in the Russian
orthodox tradition. There was a time when "Russian" and "Christian"
were synonymous, in Russia.
--- In email@example.com, "vjb" <tompkins440@v...> wrote:
> >Forgive me, but sometimes you give me the impression that you are
> >playing with words and refusing the evidence.
> Some of the ideas expressed on this list (in my own opinion) are
based on false premises. In some instances, a question incorrectly
formulated produces a wrong answer. Clarifying the question solves
> >Your two statements contradicted one another because in the first
> >say you do not want to get into "Yes, you did - No, I did not"
> >of discussion and in the second, when Vladimir writes that he
> >was against reconciliation, your answer is «It sounds as if you
> >which is the same as «yes, you are».
> This is the type of discussion I was trying to avoid.
> >When I say that "Russia will never be redeemed if she keeps the
> >symbols over her", it seems quite clear to me that accepting evil
> >symbols (i.e. as part of a country's history) is refusing God, or
> >us say, not understand quite clearly that God cannot compromise
> And my answer to that was that Russia is a secular state. We are
Orthodox Christians seeking Salvation individually in the Orthodox
Church (not a state). Note, that being Orthodox still does not get us
there automatically. I rejected the idea that states or nations
(countries, governments, or ethnic groups) may be redeemed
corporately, as a whole.
> >In this context I do not speak about the Orthodox people (who
> >are certainly rejecting the symbols) but about the country's
> >attitude towards them.
> We can only pray that more Russians (rossiiane) convert to
Orthodoxy and that the country is delivered from any atheistic
authorities, as we do in our prayer "for the Salvation of Russia."
> >I quote Michael Bulgakov (who, as we all know perfectly well,
> >compromised somewhat with the regime) because, though he was a
> >sinner, his instinct was correct when he uttered: "God is not
> >looking at us any more!" He knew it in his heart. You do not
> >to be a theologian to assert such a thing.
> It was an understandable emotional statement and an expression of a
private opinion of a great Russian writer. However, it was not in his
power or authority to speak about the limits of God's Grace or to
limit God in where "He is looking at." God has no limits and He sees
everything and will render each according to their deeds. However,
there is a common idea expressed in the Church that God allows
certain things to happen (rus: popushcheniem Gospodnim, Gospod
popustil, etc.) That is something that I find more acceptable.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
This entire discussion has a very strong political connotation and most of it concerns issues outside the Church. It happens very often that some of us (Russians) bring our political ideas to Church because we are likely to find an audience there. ROCOR does not represent the entirety of Orthodox Christianity. It is a part of a historical Russian Church. I am sure you are aware that Orthodox Church is a community of Churches and those Churches are ethnic. That is why you are likely to encounter some cultural issues. Unless you are interested in Russian politics/history/culture I would suggest to stay away from "all of this" and focus on Salvation. It sounds as if you left Orthodoxy. I am sorry to hear that. Despite its ethnic character (the word Russia appears twice in the name of the Church) ROCOR was very successful as a missionary church in America. I have seen many communities composed entirely of non-Russian converts.
On Tue, 1 Feb 2005, vkozyreff wrote (small excerpts):
> Russia is a spiritual concept. I suppose thisIs there any place for non-Russians in all of this? If I were to
> is easier to understand for Russians.
> There was a time when "Russian" and "Christian"
> were synonymous, in Russia.
try to come back to Orthodox Christianity, would there even be a place
for me, a non-Russian, in ROCOR? Is Orthodox Christianity bigger and
more inclusive than merely Russia?
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