Dr Joseph Farrell has said of Russia that she is the world’s first post-postmodern country, which is to say, that she has passed through all the terrors that complete rejection of God can bring and is passing now back into an age of Faith. As such, the South, and the West in general, can learn a lot from her if they would choose to do so, as they step ever more into a postmodern world. In particular, as the South grapples with enemies within and without who want to erase and/or re-write her history, Russia has some important things to say. For ensample,
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Radonitsa—so the day is called, is when we, according to ancient tradition, having prayed and communed of the Holy Mysteries of Christ in the church of God, go to the cemetery to visit those graves tender to our hearts, to tidy them up, and to see among the greenery the newly-sprouted and happy daisies, or to plant tulips or daffodils. Mentally, we exchange the triple kiss with the departed, receiving into our wide open and unveiled hearts, together with the breath of the spring breeze, their answer: “Indeed He is Risen!”
So, standing at the Panikhida with our red candle, we as if enter into mysterious communion with the reposed. Indeed, tidings are delivered heart to heart. After all, yet earlier, having communed of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, having tasted of the Most Pure Body and Blood of the Lord, we, as if little children, gather ourselves together at the Divine throne unseen, and both the heavenly and earthly branches of the Church interpenetrate one another—which is why at Radonitsa always “The soul believes, the tears break forth—And all is light, so light!”1 Because, devoting time to the remembrance of those who loved us, whom we loved, we as if meet their souls, which in Christ have the blessed means of seeing and hearing us, following us and before the Lord Jesus Christ interceding for timely help for those of us yet laboring in asceticism, in struggles, and in battles.
Today, on Radonitsa day, when we want to speak about the past and remember our grandmothers, and recall those who have contributed to our spiritual formation, I recall the thought of Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, who said, “The measure of a people’s savagery corresponds to the extent of their forgetfulness and oblivion to which they consign the departed.” And when today you arrive to our city cemeteries, hearts ever painfully sinking upon sight of the ancient, pre-revolutionary tombs with crosses to date unrestored, earlier destroyed by the hands of godless people.
Whence comes such truly demonic hatred, poured out upon our departed? Whence memorials disfigured, and granite slabs crushed and broken to be used as building material? Why was it necessary to extract the remains of Michael Nikiforovich Katkov2 in the Alekseevsky Monastery necropolis, where I now fulfill the obedience of confessor, and shove a cigarette into his mouth? It was some crazy komsomols that did it. What is this infernal, Luciferian, irrational hatred? It seems that behind these terrible phenomena stands, of course, a mystical sense of the unity of generations, and to obstruct this unity, to dismember and rend us from one another, the present age and the prior age, is the ancient dream of the spirit of evil—the spirit of negation and destruction. Because the Christian who is rooted in the past in his heart, the Christian who preserves the loving, reverent, and respectful memory of his ancestors, kings and queens, princes, and soldiers who gave their lives on the field of battle for the faith, the king, and the fatherland, is truly an unshakable edifice— he will not be dislodged by the winds of change. A Christian will never be cannon fodder in the modern pseudo-democratic “Maidans,” will never become a plaything or toy in the hands of demagogues, who first and foremost brainwash this or that ethnic or social group, turning them into mankurts,3 depriving them of their historical memory, and using them to destroy the cultural life of the remaining peoples.
But today, on this joyous day, let us recall that the great Russian poets, in particular Sergei Yesenin, have an entire early cycle of verse, “Radonitsa.” We, entering our humble Russian cemeteries, sitting for at least a while under the spreading crown of a willow or birch, can depart to the world of memories cherished in our hearts. All of you, of course, remember the Latin dictum, “De mortuis aut bene, aut nihil”—“Either speak well of the dead, or say nothing at all.” And on Radonitsa, dear friends, let us necessarily carve out some time and wrest but half an hour from the rapacious hands of this world, which turn the wheels of progress, carrying us away with tomorrow’s projects, and take a respite from the hustle and bustle and, in retrospective we will see and survey the thousand-year path traversed by our country, and spiritually meet and triply-kiss those through whom our beloved fatherland was created. Let us pray for the repose of princes, many of whom became victims of their own disunity, and for those who fell in battle at the Kalka River, or the Sit River, and let us pray for the heroes of the Russian spirit on Kulikovo Field, who against the godless hordes went out in white tunics, and Nepryadva,4 stained the color of red, which gave birth to the Russian people, consolidated and monolithic, as said our president about our thousand-year nation, composed of many tribes and peoples: “Monolithic and multi-faceted.”
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Let us not forget, dear friends, today, on this Paschal day, on the day of Radonitsa, already towards evening, going off to sleep, perhaps again take to heart the name of our dearly departed relatives into our hearts, as we finger our prayer ropes, one bead after another, praying for our beloved ones. After all, doing so, prayerfully remembering the reposed, we, ourselves unaware of it, fulfill a cardinal commandment of the Decalogue: Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land (Ex. 20:12).
And I want to believe that we all today piously and duly, and heartily participate in the destiny of our departed ones, spending Radonitsa such that in our souls calmly and easily we receive the award for fidelity to the promises of God, which the Lord wants to give us: a peaceful life’s course, longevity, and that which is to us necessary—not for acquiring temporal treasures, but to serve without fear and without reproach, all of us equally precious to the Lord.
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Source: Fr Artemy Vladimirov, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/102943.htm, opened 26 April 2017
If Southerners can keep faith with their Confederate forebears through these difficult times, perhaps they will see new memorials to Lee et al. rise again, as is happening today in Russia and other Orthodox countries with their Christian heroes:
Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia opened a monument to the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, the Baptizer of Russia, on Borovitskaya Square, reports the president’s website.
The monument was erected by the initiative of the Russian Military-Historical Society and the Moscow government. The author of the project was the People’s Artist of Russia sculptor Salavat Scherbakov.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, members of government, deputies, representatives of public organizations, and figures of science, culture and art were all present at the unveiling ceremony.
“Today we live in a world where truth is blurred,” Patriarch Kirill emphasized in his word to those gathered. “The modern cult, which has many followers who themselves don’t even realize, is relative truth; it’s the quasi-religion of modernity: everything has the right to exist, because, in fact, inviolable and eternal truth does not exist,” he noted.
“If Vladimir thought the same way as some of our contemporaries,” said the patriarch, “he would never have made the choice he did. He would have remained as a pagan, or became himself a Christian, on a personal level, but without baptizing Russia. There would have been neither Rus’, nor Russia, nor the Russian Orthodox world, nor the great Russian Empire, nor modern Russia.
But he didn’t seek luxurious worship or the mental comfort that religion often gives. He sought Truth, with a capital letter, and found and loved the image of Christ and in holy Baptism came to know Him as Light, Truth, and Life.”
“This is a great, significant event for Mosow, and for our whole country, and for all of our Russian compatriots. It is symbolic that this is happening on the Day of People’s Unity and namely here, in the center of the capital, by the walls of the old Kremlin, in the very heart of Russia,” Vladimir Putin emphasized in his speech.
“This new monument,” the president noted, “is a tribute of respect to our distinguished ancestor, an especially revered saint, statesman and warrior, and spiritual founder of the Russian state.”
“Prince Vladimir has forever entered into history as a gatherer and protector of the Russian lands, as a visionary politician, having created the foundation for a strong, united, centralized state, thus incorporating various peoples, tongues, cultures, and religions into one great family.
His era knew many achievements, the most important and determinative, of course, and pivotal of them being the Baptism of Rus’. This choice became the common spiritual fountain for the peoples of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, and laid the foundation of moral values which define our lives even till now.
Precisely this sturdy moral support, cohesion, and unity helped our ancestors overcome difficulties, and live and triumph for the glory of the Fatherland, strengthening from generation to generation its power and greatness.
And today our duty is to stand together against modern challenges and threats, leaning on our spiritual precepts, on the priceless tradition of unity and harmony, to move forward, ensuring the continuity of our thousand-year history,” emphasized Vladimir Putin.
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Source: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/98384.htm, opened 6 June 2017
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð!
Anathema to the Union!