Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Laying the Right Foundation

In the event that the Southern States are able to gain their independence from the American Empire, what ought to be the foundation stone upon which we build our society (or, perhaps, societies)?  Should it be the pursuit of never-ending wealth?  The absolute freedom of the individual to do as he pleases?  ‘Democratic values’?  ‘Family values’?  Religious devotion to a paper constitution?

If we would live to see good days as a truly free people, we must rather work first and foremost to be holy.  The writer Natalya Irtenina, by exploring the history of her own Russian people in ‘Holiness as a National Ideal’ (trans. Mark Hackard), helps us to see why holiness is the indispensable foundation for any nation.

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However strange it may be, we must explain that Russian saints are our national inheritance, along with statesmen, geniuses and folk heroes. “Their ideal sustained the life of the people for centuries; from their fire all of Rus lit their icon lamps.” (G.P. Fedotov) Holiness, striving for heaven and to God’s truth, gaining the Holy Spirit – all this was the primordial language of being understandable to all, from peasants to princes, and it united all in common service to a civilizational supra-value: the Holy Trinity of the Orthodox faith. Due to this language common to everyone, a genuine democratic ethos was possible as one of the auxiliary instruments of authority, and also possible was the symphony between people and authority. The people, through revered elders and monks, taught princes and boyars, engaged in conversation with them, and not simply about the weather, their health or the harvest, but about how to govern the land, how to live in the world with the people and one’s conscience, how to arrange a just trial, and how to build the Russian state.

Theodosius of the Caves, Sergius of Radonezh, Kirill of the White Lake, Pafnutius of Borovsk and Joseph of Volotsk were all interlocutors and authors of instructive addresses to princes, while in the imperial age we count Prelate Mitrofan Voronezhsky, whom Peter the Great rather highly respected, Metropolitan Filaret (Drozdov), to whom three emperors confided, Seraphim of Sarov, who wrote a letter addressed to Nicholas II – one that the Tsar would read seventy years after the Venerable’s passing. Quite often the saints were made to directly intervene in political matters, time after time proving that politics has no right to be a dirty affair, and that only a house built with stability over centuries in mind will have brotherly love and moral cleanliness set into its foundation. Holiness reconciled princes in their frequently bloody feuds and acted as a denunciation of untruth and lawlessness (Metropolitan Philip at the time of Ivan IV’s Oprichnina). The moral and spiritual authority of the saints was very high: they could give orders to rulers, and by the force of their words and personality subdue rebellious tempers. And, of course, it is impossible to compare anything with the spiritual and moral influence of the saints on the Russian people as a whole.

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Source:  ‘Holiness . . . (Part I)’,, posted 9 May 2014, accessed 16 May 2014

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The language of holiness speaks of man as a person open to God for cooperation with Him in overcoming evil (sinfulness) within himself, for the deification of man himself and the consecration of the world. In other words, holiness sees in a person the image of God. Sentimental humanism, having looked upon man, sees in him only man, just a reasoning animal.

The language of sentimentality speaks of man as a closed being, self-sufficient and atomized, in the grip of feelings and emotions, sufferings and endless implacable desires, and endowed with creative potential that is “god” in man – it is this “god” we must serve, to whom we must render honor and whose dignity we must cherish. Thus, on the one hand, it follows to endlessly nurture pride in a human being, and on the other, to pity him and love him with endless, compassionate love. But nothing other than the abysses of Satan’s depths can be uncovered by this combination of hubris and self-pity within sinful man. The language of sentimentality is frivolous and sufficiently primitive; it glides along the surface rather than delving inside and examines not the eternal – the immortal soul – but temporary manifestations of the human being: his conveniences and inconveniences, his opinions, whims and experiences.

In the language of holiness, love for man is reasoning and sober-thinking, and it divides good from evil within him; it demands that the former be strengthened and the latter overcome. In the language of sentimental humanism, pseudo-love is based upon pity, accepting man in his entirety while patronizing his evil, making no demands of his good, and finally blending both into conceptions of “personal freedom” and “human rights.” Holiness does not place earthly life and its comforts at the apex of the scale of values. Sentimentality above all else esteems the earthly and bodily and bows before the idol of comfort and a comfortable, easy life, and for this reason it fears death terribly – the spectacle of death captivates it like nothing else.

The cultivation of fallen man’s passions is now considered something correct, a cultivation of one’s nature, and this is enabled; that’s what our teachers have come to. But Christian faith teaches the crucifixion of the passions and whims of the flesh, for otherwise man will perish eternally.

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Emotions and feelings have finally crushed everything under their weight, and it is wholly unimportant what evokes them, whether the dark or the radiant aspects of life – our main concern is that these powerful impressions reside with us. A horror film has the same energy conversion efficiency as a good comedy. In terms of the power of emotions evoked, the seizure of hostages by terrorists is equal to a football game or a television game show. The media have long understood this and activate in their work the means capable of “switching on” feelings, “tear-jerking,” and giving the public the most diverse basic emotions. Even news reports and information bulletins are turned into either sugar-coated childish prattle or somber ventriloquism to frighten us with bad weather over the coming days.

A man in his right mind, one who does not suffer from an excess of sentimentality, perceives such a presentation of information as appalling banality and the retardation of the populace. Yet for a person who understands no language other than that of liberal humanism, this seems the norm. He will not be made to recoil by the behavior of a television reporter who, doing a segment on a train crash, sticks her microphone into the faces of bloodied victims and asks them to tell what they felt when their carriage derailed.

The language of infantile sentimentalism makes real life an endless soap opera; Santa Barbara can go on seasonal break.

In the paradigm of a language declaring democracy a goal in itself rather than an auxiliary means of authority, an authentic and natural democratic ethos is impossible. Although the masses and the state speak in one language today, the falsity and artificiality of sentimental humanism is well understood at the upper levels of society. In this language, it’s easy to deceive and manipulate, as it appeals to the emotions, the most capricious human element. The times of honest dissidents who called for “adherence to the Constitution” are long gone.

The “development,” or more specifically the degradation, to which sentimental language was subject during its seventy years of non-being in Russia, consisted of the continuing and active reduction of the individual. Just as man was equated to his labor in the Soviet revelation, liberal humanism limited him through an opposite ideal – consumption. It even adapted his creative potential to expand the circle of consumption: “If you’re so smart, than make more money.” The simplification of this language and man’s debasement will continue until we reach the level of mumbling, and after that, total muteness.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” At the basis of the language of holiness is Christ the Word, the Divine Logos, Wisdom. God’s image in man, the Logos, is Wisdom.

When human language completely switches black and white, men lose the Logos. They become mindless and speechless, without creative powers. Man is made into a zero. He will converse as a parrot does, repeating a confined set of catch-phrases (which are already actively formed and used by liberal-oriented “talking heads” in the media). Yet this will be not a man but a vegetable, fit only for consuming as a meal – and we can hardly exclude that cannibalism might flourish and become the norm, just as sodomy now thrives and is considered the norm. All previous historical experience and all classical culture, science, art, etc. would be pointless; no one would understand them. All of this shall die at that moment when evil will finally be declared as good, and good evil. How can one understand anything when viewing everything from upside-down?

If holiness is the uncovering of God’s image and likeness in oneself, then the muteness of future humanity is the uncovering of the image and likeness of the devil. Christ is replaced by Antichrist.

 . . .

A people unable to resurrect the image of God within itself is historically doomed.

The language of holiness must be completely restored in the consciousness of Russians, the inheritors of the great saints.

Speaking for ourselves, this is the genuine Russian language, the language of national consciousness. Just as for the Serbs it is genuine Serbian, for Greeks authentic Greek, for Georgians Georgian, and so forth.

Source:  ‘Holiness . . . (Part II)’,, posted 16 May 2014, accessed 24 May 2014

The South, too, has spoken this language of holiness in the past, though it was long ago in the lands of our forefathers before the Roman Catholics and Protestants (and now their offspring, the secular humanists) corrupted her tongue with new words not of the Holy Ghost.

But if we in humility and love cry out to our holy mothers and fathers who knew the True Faith and kept it free of spot and blemish, and likewise purified their souls and bodies of every stain of sin with the help of God - St Ælfred the Great, the South’s patron saint,

St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, the great intercessor for all the English peoples before the throne of the Lord, St Brigid of Kildare in Ireland, St Moses the Ethiopian, and all the rest of that great host - then we too will be able to become ourselves - banishing all darkness, filling ourselves with Light - to uncover our true national character, and to contribute what the Lord God would have us to give, as a mature Christian nation, to the rest of the world to bring about salvation, theosis, for all of the peoples and blessings for all the creation.

May it be so!


For a discussion of theosis, please see this essay by Archimandrite George of the Holy Mountain, Mt Athos:

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