Just as the Confederate Greys were unsuccessful in their war against the invading Yankees in the War of Northern Revolution, so Russia’s White Army (those who defended the centuries-old Russian way of life embodied in the Orthodox Christian Faith, the Tsar, and the fatherland) was unable to physically defeat the Soviets on the field of battle during the Russian Revolution of 1917.
But as Allen Tate, Ivan Ilyin, and others have pointed out, the earthly plane is not the only one on which the battle is carried out. The battle for
Russia continued throughout the 20th century on the spiritual plane, and the same is true of the South since the surrender at in April 1865. Appomattox
About this spiritual battle in
, Mr Ilyin writes: Russia
But the fates of nations and states have yet a different, deeper dimension open to the religious spirit and closed to the heart without God. And to abide in this dimension allows the discovery of unique meaning behind all strategic, historical and political events…
First, we shall establish that the entire struggle of Russian patriots, both military and civilian, who attempted to prevent Russia’s defeat in the Great War and her complete decomposition in the Revolution, who attempted by armed force to overturn the power of internationalist adventurers, did not reach its direct goal. The war prematurely ended with the opening of the front, and the Revolution flooded into the entire country and sank, both in quality and intensity, to the very bottom. All of Russian culture, all Russian people, and all the land were made to stand face to face with revolutionary possession: with the blasphemy of the godless, the assault of bandits, the shamelessness of the madman, the attempts at murder. All of us had to look into the eyes of Satan, tempting us with his latest seductions and frightening us with his newest terrors.
Behind the entire external appearance of the Revolution- from documentation to execution, from the ration to the tribunal, from round-up to exile and emigration, from torture by hunger, cold, degradation and fear to stolen wealth and pretension to world power – behind all this is concealed the Revolution’s single and central reason, in relation to which all of these phenomena are but changing forms, a shell, the outer shape of things. This reason is given through the words spiritual seduction and religious inquiry.
The secret and deepest meaning of the Revolution is held in the fact that it is most of all a great spiritual seduction; a harsh, cruel test; it burns through souls and tempers them by fiery trial.
This test posed to every Russian soul the same direct question: Who are you? By what do you live? What do you serve? What do you love? Do you love that which you “love”? Where is the center of your life? And are you devoted to it, and are you loyal to it? The hour has struck. There are no more delays and there’s nowhere to hide. And there are not many paths before you- only two: to God or against God. . . .
And if you are against God, then you’ll be left to live. They won’t take everything from you, and they’ll make you serve the His enemies. They’ll feed you, indulge you and reward you; they’ll let you harm others, torment them and take away their property; they’ll give you power, profit and all the appearance of disgraceful esteem.
And if you are for God and choose the path to God, then your property will be seized, and your wife and children will be disinherited. And you will be wearied with deprivations, humiliations, darkness, interrogations and terror; you’ll see how your mother and father, your wife and children slowly, like a candle, melt away in hunger and disease- and you can’t help them. You will see how your obstinacy will not save your Motherland from downfall, souls from corruption, or churches from abuse. You will gnash your teeth in powerlessness and slowly grow feeble. And if you openly resist, then you will be killed in a basement and buried, unrecognized, in some unmarked pit.
Choose and decide…
No one in
escaped this trial; this test overtook every man: from the Tsar to the soldier, from the Most Holy Patriarch to the last atheist, from the rich to the destitute. And each was put to an unprecedented test- to stand before the face of God and testify: either by the word, which became equivalent to the deed, or by the deed, which became equivalent to death. Russia
The ordeal was fiery and deep, for what began and took place- and what still takes place- is not based upon party or class, or even the whole people, but is an inquiry of man across the world, a spiritual division, a religious selection, a religious differentiation of humanity. This differentiation is still far from finished, and it has only just begun;
Europe, already associated with it, will sooner or later see it roaring through her own depths. The twentieth century has only just begun its business of purification and settling accounts.
In this religious trial, taking the form of a world cataclysm, the victor will be neither the man who seizes power for a time somewhere, nor he who occupies some territory; for power can expose, can compromise and ruin an invader. And the occupation of territory can turn out to be fatal for the occupier. But the one who resists, who has already withstood the storm; that endured the trial and remained loyal; who found within himself love and the force of love for his choice; that found within himself a word equivalent to action, and committed an action equivalent to the resolve to die.
. . . the victor is he who rose against: rose against seduction, not falling to it, and rose against terror, not taking fright.
It is he who in that terrible moment of choosing, that moment of great solitude- when no one will decide for you, and no one will notice when another’s advice is of no help- in that moment of great solitude, when man stands, longing- choosing between a shameful life and an honorable death; when man inquires into his own last darkness and depth- and instinct begs for life, even a shameful one, and the spirit demands loyalty, even in death; so the victor is he who in this moment of solitude before the face of God would not accept the dishonor of life.
And it is possible that death will not come, and that he will keep living, but namely then and therefore his life will not be shameful, and he will be a conqueror…
He triumphs who agrees to lose everything to save something of God’s.
Source: Ivan Ilyin, ‘The White Army’, speech of 19 Nov. 1923 in
, http://souloftheeast.org/2013/12/27/ivan-ilyin-the-white-army/, trans. Mark Hackard, accessed 12 Feb. 2014 Berlin
How many similarities between
and the South after their great wars! And while acknowledging that events in the South never got quite so bad as they did in Russia , the essential character, however, of the ongoing spiritual battle here is the same as it was there: one of spiritual seduction and religious inquiry. Will we serve God or the world? Will we struggle to live a truly Christian life of self-emptying humility, or will we live selfishly and comfortably? Will we be faithful to the secular trinity of the corporation, government, and entertainment (others could be used here - e.g., science, industry, and technology), or face mockery or worse for true worship of the Christian Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Russia
The way events are progressing, Mr Ilyin’s warning of a ‘religious trial’ for Western man may well be on the way, and not without martyrs and confessors. But whether in severe trials of that sort or simply in the soft seduction of a life of compromise, comfort, and ease, the ultimate victory of the South and other Western nations will be in faithfulness to God.
This is how
ultimately triumphed. After decades of suffering under the brutal atheistic materialism of the Soviets, the Russian people, through their repentance and through the prayers of the tens of millions of her New Martyrs and Confessors, began to be renewed, to return to the Orthodox Faith they had spurned. And because of their sincere repentance the Lord granted them freedom from their oppressors without their having to raise another army of men or similar actions. Russia
So it must be in the South. We will not triumph in the end due to our strength in numbers of men and arms, but because we have faithfully overcome the seductions, whatever their form, to serve the devil instead of God. It will be just as Mr Ilyin prophesied in his speech above:
One of the most genuine and spiritually significant victories accomplished in the history of man is the triumph of the Russian White Army. If we can take everything from this victory that was laid into it, then
will soon be reborn in power and glory and evince still unseen greatness. And this greatness will be a living edification and support for the rebirth of other nations. Russia
In Honor of the New Martyrs and Confessors of
Today we commemorate the uncounted millions of faithful who suffered and died at the hands of the Soviet atheists. These include the Tsar-martyr Nicholas II and the rest of the Russian Royal Family (July 4); Patriarch Tikhon (March 24); Grand Duchess Elizabeth (July 5); thousands of martyrs, both clergy and laity, whose names are known; but also millions upon millions of simple believers whose names have been lost to history. The number of the New Martyrs of Russia far exceeds all those from the "Age of the Martyrs," the first three centuries of Christianity. May their memory be eternal.
The date of this commemoration was first set by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1981, then adopted by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1992. About 1050 new martyrs were glorified by the Patriarchate in 2000, and many more are expected to be recognized in coming years.
Source: Entry of 7 Feb. at http://www.abbamoses.com/months/february.html, accessed 12 Feb. 2014
An Ensample of How to Respond to Persecution, Should It Come to the South
Hieromartyr Haralambos (Charalampus), bishop of Magnesia (202)
"This great saint was bishop in Magnesia, and suffered for Christ at the age of 113. When a violent persecution broke out under the Emperor Septimus Severus, the aged Charalampus did not hide from his persecutors, but freely and openly preached the Christian faith. He endured all tortures as though not in the body, and when they flayed the living flesh from him, the godly saint said to the Emperor's soldiers: 'Thank you, my brethren, for scraping off the old body and renewing my soul for new and eternal life.' He performed many wonders and brought many to the Faith. Even the Emperor's daughter, Gallina, repudiated the paganism of her father and became a Christian. Condemned to death and led to the place of execution, St Charalampus raised his arms to heaven and prayed for all men, that God would give them bodily health and salvation of soul, and that He would grant them the fruits of the earth in abundance: 'Lord, Thou knowest that men are flesh and blood; forgive them their sins and pour out Thy blessing on all.' After praying thus, the saintly elder gave his soul to God before the executioner had laid his sword to his neck. He suffered in 202. Gallina took his body and buried it." (Prologue) . . .
Source: Entry of 10 Feb. at http://www.abbamoses.com/months/february.html, accessed 12 Feb. 2014
Through the prayers and help of the Most Pure Mother of God, of the saints of our Southern forefathers in the British and Irish Islands, Africa, and elsewhere, and of all the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Lord have mercy on us sinners in the South!