Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Towards Christian Politics

As we climb ever more deeply into the black widow’s nest of another corporate-controlled national election in America full of the hatred, envy, anger, bitterness, and discord of millions of self-centered individuals contending against one another for dominance, it behooves us to consider what Christian politics might truly resemble.  St Nikolai Velimirovich, a Holy Father ever concerned for the West, has some words that may help us in this.



As a man of faith, you are troubled by the thought - what will Providence do with Gandhi?  And what is the meaning of the appearance of this strange person among the statesmen and politicians of our time?

A warning from God - that is surely the meaning of the leader of the great Indian nation.  Through that person, Providence is showing politicians and the statesmen of the world, even Christian ones, that there are other methods in politics other than skill, wiliness and violence.  Gandhi’s political method is very simple and obvious - he does not require anything except the man who cries out and the God who hearkens.  Against weapons, ammunition and army, Gandhi places fasting; against skill, wiliness and violence - prayer; and against political quarrel - silence.  How puny and pathetic that looks in the eyes of modern men, right?  In the modern political textbooks, these three methods are not even mentioned in footnotes.  Fasting, prayer and silence!  There is hardly a statesman in Europe or America who would not ironically see these three secrets of the Indian statesmen as three dry twigs pointed on the battlefield against a heap of steel, lead, fire and poison.  However, Gandhi succeeds with these three “spells” of his, he succeeds to the astonishment of the whole world.  And whether they want to or not, political lawmakers in England and other countries will have to add a chapter into their textbooks, “Fasting, prayer and silence as powerful weapons in politics”.  Imagine, would it not be to the fortune of all mankind if these methods of the unbaptized Gandhi replaced the methods of the baptized Machiavelli in political science?

But it is not the Indian’s method in itself that is such a surprise to the world, as is the person using the method.  The method is Christian, as old as the Christian faith, and yet new in this day and age.  The example of fasting, prayer and silence was shown by Christ to His disciples.  They handed it down to the Church, along with their whole example, and the Church hands it to the faithful from generation to generation until this day.  Fasting is a sacrifice, silence is inward examination of oneself, prayer is crying out to God.  Those are the three sources of great spiritual power which makes man victorious in battle and excellent in life.  Is there a man who cannot arm himself with these weapons?  And which crude force in this world can defeat these weapons?  Of course, these three things do not include all of Christian faith, but are only a part of its rules, its supernatural mysteries.  Sadly, in our time among Christians, many of these principles are disregarded, and many wonder-working mysteries are forgotten.  People have started thinking that one wins only by using steel, and that the hailing clouds are dispersed only by cannons, and diseases cured only by pills, and everything in the world explained only through electricity.  Spiritual and moral energies are looked upon almost as working magic.  I think that this is the reason why the ever-active Providence has chosen Gandhi, an unbaptized man, to serve as a warning to the baptized, especially those baptized people who pile up one misfortune upon another upon themselves and their peoples by using ruthless and harsh means.  The Gospel also tells us that Providence sometimes uses such warnings for the good of the people.  Your eminence will immediately realize that I am alluding to the Roman captain from Capernaum (Matt. ch. 8).  On one hand, you see the elders of Israel who, as chosen monotheists of the time, boasted of their faith, meanwhile rejecting Christ, and on the other hand you see the despised Roman pagan who came to Christ with great faith and humility, and asked Him to heal his servant.  And when Jesus heard it, He was astonished and said to those who followed Him, “Truly I say to you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.”  The Christian world is the new, baptized Israel.  Listen!  Is Christ not telling the same words today to the consciences of the Christian elders by pointing to today’s captain of India?

Peace and health from the Lord to you (pgs. 171-3).

Works Cited

Velimirovich, Saint Nikolai.  A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Vol. VI: Missionary Letters of Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Part I.  Fr Milorad Loncar, ed.  Hierodeacon Serafim Baltic, trans.  Grayslake, Il.: New Gracanica Monastery, 2008.


  1. What a great blog! It's rare to find someone with whom I can agree with totally (Long live the Third Rome!).

    I'm just wondering what your thoughts were on a few things. First, I find American Orthodoxy very strange since it seems to deny all the traditionalist ideals which Orthodoxy has always been associated with. Is there a reason for this? I just find it really strange that although Orthodoxy is actually very conservative, so many Orthodox are more liberal than Catholics and even sometimes praise democracy.

    Secondly, what are your thoughts on the Roman Catholic and traditional Protestant churches (traditional Anglican--Robert E. Lee was an Anglican if I remember correctly)? Are they totally outside the church? Or do they still have grace and are in some sense part of the church but have been attacked viciously by heresy to their very core. I know St. Philaret of Moscow thought this. And what do you think of salvation outside the church? I know that many of the modern Orthodox constantly say that even pagans can go to heaven without confessing Christ but I myself find this hard to believe especially because the Church Fathers, so far as I have read them, seem to reject this. They seem to say that if one has good will God will enlighten them before they die and they will be baptized.

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      As to your questions:

      1. I would not presume to speak for all American Orthodox. Perhaps there has been some in-creeping of progressive thought that makes them more likely to accept the new and reject good, necessary traditions. The culture surrounding us can have a strong impact on us, knowingly or unknowingly.

      2. As to those outside the Orthodox Church, we do not know the state of their souls, only God knows. It is generally accepted, though, that Catholics and Protestants are not denied God's grace in some way (and many of their lives reflect this). Whether this will continue in the long run, as more and more come to know about Orthodoxy, we cannot say.