Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Battles of Kosovo and Chancellorsville, Being an Interpretation of Southern Religious History

The South, like any nation (and perhaps more than some due to her peculiar history), has studied her past to understand better who she is and how she ought to live in the future.  Certain events will reveal those truths to nations more clearly than others.  In the South, one of these revelatory events was the Battle of Chancellorsville of 1863, during which her great hero, General Stonewall Jackson, was mortally wounded.

In Serbia, by the mysterious providence of God, a similar battle of consequence also took place some 470 years prior to Chancellorsville, on the field of Kosovo, during which Serbia lost her great king and hero, Tsar Lazar (‘tsar’ signifies the title of ‘emperor’ or ‘king’ in the Slavic lands).

Both battles were turning points in the lives of these two nations, but each went in the opposite direction of the other:  Serbia chose the Kingdom of Heaven, while the Confederacy chose the Kingdom of Earth.  But through the experience of godly Serbia, and with the assistance of other Slavic writers, the South may now perceive how she also may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

I.  Serbia: Choosing the Heavenly Kingdom

The people of Serbia received the Holy Orthodox Faith in the ninth century A.D. from the missionaries Sts Cyril and Methodius (The Illustrated History of the Serbs, quoted in Fr Matthew Raphael Johnson, Heavenly Serbia and the Medieval Idea, p. 21), who also are the saints responsible for enlightening Russia with the Christian faith.  The grace of Our Lord brought forth fruit, as seen in the blossoming of holy saints among Serbia’s people (Notes 9-11 of St Nikolai Velimirovich, The Serbian People as a Servant of God, p. 41 of the html version).  However, the mature nation of Serbia did not arise until Tsar Stevan Nemanja (later St Simeon) brought peace and unity to the feuding Serbian clans with the indispensable help of his son St Sava, the Archbishop of Serbia, in the late twelfth century A.D.

The Serbia that flowered from the labors of Tsar Stevan and St Sava was avowedly Christian.  Its goal was and remains Theodulia - voluntary service to God - by every part of society:  the Church, the state, and all the people together (Serbian People, p. 7).  ‘Sava made a crystal clear expression of this at the Zica Monastery on the occasion of his brother Stevan's coronation as king of Serbia. In his sermons at that time he constantly emphasized in the presence of the king, the nobles, and the people, two indisputable realities: first that faith is the only blessed foundation for the life of an individual, for the life of a society, and for the organization of a state; and second, that the king, all the nobles, all the people as well as the clergy must serve the faith, or rather the Founder of the faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, so that we might all be called sons of God and enter into the heavenly kingdom’ (p. 9).

St Sava did not spend much time focusing on neat arrangements of social and political institutions but continuously emphasized the importance of faith:  ‘Why did the wise Sava not speak at that time about putting the individual home and the royal palace in order, about organizing the state, fitting out the military, and assigning tasks and duties? Why not this, instead of speaking only about faith again and again? Because faith is truth, and truth is light, and without light we can see neither our path nor our goal, nor can we discern a true brother from a false brother, nor can we know whence we have come or where we are heading, nor why we live or why we die, nor whom we are serving, nor how and in what way we shall perform our service.

‘Truth is the primary and principle foundation, everything else will come of itself. But truth, that is the Gospel of Christ, is faith in Christ. In accordance with the words of Christ Himself: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness"’ (p. 10).

St Sava also knew there could not be a strict separation between Church and state without a disastrous outcome:  ‘Whenever the Church was separated from the state, either the Church or the state or both stood to suffer. A separated Church and state implies service to two separate lords. And since there is only one sole true Lord whom one can conscientiously and honestly serve, i.e., the Lord God, it follows that one of the alienated and separated institutions, be it Church or state, must be serving God's adversary, the devil’ (p. 13).

Tsar Stevan for his part imbued Serbia with an extraordinary example that her future kings and rulers would follow, one of servant leadership and renunciation of the world:  ‘All of Nemanja's struggles and all his aims focused on his desire to unite the Serbian people and create a single Serbian state - but not a secular people, as modern historians explain, but a Christ-loving people, which would serve Christ, and a holy state, which would also serve Christ.

‘It was all to serve Christ just as he himself served until his last breath on his reed mat at Hilandar Monastery [Tsar Stevan freely gave up his crown to his son and became a monk late in life, taking the name Simeon (Note 12, pgs. 41-2).-W.G.]. His patriotism was an Orthodox Christian patriotism, and his state was a state that served God.

‘He set a seal on this fundamental concept of his by putting his sword into its sheath and by his death beneath the cross of Christ. For the sword is nothing without the cross, and the cross is ultimately victorious even without the sword. Nemanja never went to war with a mere sword without a cross, as the churches built by him to fulfill oaths testify’ (p. 7).

Such was the aim and tenor of life in Serbia between the time of Sts Simeon and Sava and St Lazar in the fourteenth century (and afterwards), though difficulties were, naturally enough, encountered at times.  In St Lazar, nevertheless, the work of Sts Simeon and Sava brought forth its greatest flowering (Fr Daniel Rogich, Great-Martyr Tsar Lazar of Serbia, p. 6).  ‘Yet who ever served Christ God with such holiness and righteousness as that amazing Lazar of Kosovo? Not only was he canonized a saint, but his wife, the Tsaritsa Militsa, and his son Stevan Visoki (Stephen the Tall) were canonized as well - a vine sprung from a holy root.

‘He performed all the works pleasing to God like the members of the Nemanjic dynasty, and ruled, or more accurately, served in times more difficult than the times of the Nemanjic dynasty.

‘He built many ecclesiastical foundations, of which Ravanica, Lazarica, and Gornjak are still in use today. He renovated the monastery of St. Roman from its ruins. He was a great benefactor of the holy places on the Holy Mountain of Athos. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, Christ's tomb. He was a father to orphans and a protector of the destitute.

‘And above all, he laid down his life on the field of Kosovo for the venerable cross and golden freedom. For this the Serbian people have cherished him and praised him in verse, and God has glorified him by making him a saint and crowning him with a double crown, as His servant and as His martyr (Serbian People, pgs. 18-9).

Fr Rogich resumes, ‘What was amazing is that prior to the Battle of Kosovo (1389), Holy Prince Lazar was able to bring peace and order in a divine manner both to the civil and ecclesiastical spheres in the entire Byzantine Empire.  It was as if he was preparing the Balkan peoples for the upcoming terror of the Ishmaelite-Hagarenes [Ottoman Muslim Turks - W.G.].  The Orthodox people were now ready for their Golgotha.  . . . The Orthodox soul of the people, through Holy Lazar, was now united spiritually and was ready to make the final commitment to Christ, unto the shedding of their own blood, according to the Serbian saying, za Krst Chasni i Slobodu Zlatnu (“for the Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom”)’ (Great-Martyr Tsar Lazar, p. 13).

The Turks were utterly devastating the surrounding countryside.  After several years of fighting in which the Serbs lost more and more territory to the Turks, the choice was made between the two nations to fight a decisive battle on the Field of Kosovo, ‘the cradle of Serbian Orthodox civilization’ (pgs. 13-4, 16 (quote)). 

Later, the South too would fight her most important battle against a similarly cruel and bloodthirsty foe in the cradle of her own civilization, Virginia.

Before the battle was to begin, the Tsar beheld a vision.  A heavenly messenger came to him with a question: 

‘“Lazar! Lazar! Tsar of noble family,
Which kingdom is it that you long for most?
Will you choose a heavenly crown today?
Or will you choose an earthly crown?
If you choose the earth then saddle horses,
Tighten girths- have your knights put on
Their swords and make a dawn attack against
The Turks: your enemy will be destroyed.
But if you choose the skies then build a church-
O, not of stone but out of silk and velvet-
Gather up your forces take the bread and wine,
For all shall perish, perish utterly,
And you, O Tsar, shall perish with them."
And when the Tsar has heard those holy words
He meditates, thinks every kind of thought:
"O, Dearest God, what shall I do, and how?
Shall I choose the earth? Shall I choose
The skies? And if I choose the kingdom,
If I choose an earthly kingdom now,
Earthly kingdoms are such passing things-
A heavenly kingdom, raging in the dark, endures eternally"’
(‘The Downfall of the Kingdom of Serbia’, The Battle of Kosovo: Serbian Epic Poems, pgs. 20-1 of the html version).

In the end, Holy Lazar chose the Heavenly Kingdom for himself and for his nation.  This is the great turning point in Serbian history.  As foretold, her army was destroyed by the Turks.  King Lazar fought heroically - ‘according to the Tronoški Chronicle, “he had been inflicted with sixteen wounds when they saddled him on his third horse, because two had already been slain from beneath him”’ (St Justin Popovich, ‘The Life of the Holy and Great Martyr Tsar Lazar of Serbia’, The Mystery and Meaning of the Battle of Kosovo, p. 27).  But he too gave his life as a martyr on the day of battle, Tuesday, 15 June 1389:  ‘By detaching himself from the earthen body and the earthly kingdom for the sake of Christ, he saved his soul and the soul of his people, obtained the immortal Kingdom of Heaven and brought to God a multitude of Martyrs’ (p. 29).

Yet this was not the end of Serbia in the world.  She has continued on, walking a path of suffering and purification, living under a series of oppressors - Turks and Austrians, Nazis and Communists.  And now the United States and NATO.  And so it will continue until her spiritual renewal is completed (St Nikolai Velimirovich, ‘The Tsar’s Testament’, Mystery and Meaning, pgs. 75-6).  But to her calling of Theodulia - sealed at the Battle of Kosovo - she has remained true, to which St Nikolai testifies in his sketch of Serbia’s Christian history: 

‘The highest form of drama is tragedy. The history of the Serbs is all tragic. The path of the Serbian people has led them along the edge of a sheer cliff above an abyss. Only a sleepwalker could travel this path without fear, for the horrors on that path are beyond number.

‘Had the Serbs gazed down into the chasm over which they were walking, they would have become terrified and would have slipped and fallen. But they looked upwards, toward heaven, to God who ordains destiny. Keeping their faith in Him, they kept up their pace unconsciously or barely semiconsciously. Consequently, they succeeded in passing over the path along such a cliff as no Caucasian people [i.e., people of the Caucasus region, not a reference to skin color - W.G.] has ever traversed to this day.

‘Sometimes the Serbian people would lose their footing and begin to slide down, but they managed to climb back up onto the narrow trail on the precipitous ledge. The Serbian people knew that there was only one correct path, the path of their destiny and salvation.

‘Some Serbs lost their footing, began to slide, and did not make it back up to the trail. They plunged to their deaths. But the majority of the Serbian people always managed to make it back to their path - the tragic path of suffering and resurrection, the path of Christ, with whom the Serbs had made a covenant of service’ (Serbian People, p. 27).

II.  The South: Choosing the Earthly Kingdom

The South had quite a different beginning than did Serbia, as chiefly an economic expedition.  (For an emphatic statement of this fact, see Allen Tate, ‘Remarks on the Southern Religion, I’ll Take My Stand, pgs. 166-7.)  Professor M. E. Bradford in his essay ‘First Fathers: The Colonial Origins of the Southern Tradition’ reproduces Michael Drayton’s poem ‘To the Virginian Voyage’, and from it one may see clearly this motive behind the settlement of Virginia and the other regions that would become the various Southern states.  Mr Drayton wrote:

‘And cheerfully at sea,
Success you still entice,
   To get the pear and gold,
   And ours to hold,
Earth’s only paradise.

‘Where nature hath in store
   Fowl, venison, and fish,
   And the fruitful’st soil
Without your toil
Three harvests more,
All greater than your wish’ (A Better Guide than Reason, p. 170).

On runs this theme throughout without any particular mention of Christianity.

Adds Prof Bradford, ‘For from the first the South was two things:  an arena for enacting and transplanting a slowly developed but well established English character and a demi-paradise, another (or almost) Eden where noble conduct would earn the noble reward of plenitude’ (p. 172).

And as the Serbs had Sts Simeon and Sava to provide their nation with a conscious direction, so too had the young South her helmsman in Captain John Smith.  A practical man, he stated, ‘ . . . I am not so simple to thinke, that euer any other motive than wealth, will euer erect there a commonweale; or draw companie from their ease and humors at home . . . to effect my purposes’ (p. 175).  Prof Bradford picks him up:  ‘These are plain words.  But to them the hearty Elizabethan adds notes pastoral and heroic:  descriptions of the physical perfections of Virginia’s natural wealth and expostulations to sluggards that they use their talents, test their mettle, and “imitate the vertues” of their ancestors to earn “honorable memory” of their lives’ (p. 175).

For stimulating a desire for worldly glory and wealth in men, such words are apt; but not for making them hunger and thirst after righteousness.  This is, again, very much a departure from Serbia whose motto, taken from St Sava, is ‘Give up everything for Christ, but Christ for nothing’ (Great-Martyr Tsar Lazar, p. 17).  This is not to say that the early South was devoid of Christianity.  It certainly was not.  (See, e.g., Professor David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed, subchapter entitled ‘Virginia’s Great Migration: Religious Origins’, pgs. 232-6.)  But the emphasis on money-getting and the religious conflicts of the Reformation in England, particularly Henry VIII’s fanatical policies, militated against a flourishing of Christianity in the early South, particularly among the lower classes who emigrated from England to the South.  On this latter point, Maurice Henry Hewlett comments, ‘So far as may be I have satisfied myself that the English peasantry went without a working religion for two hundred years—that is, from the time when King and Parliament had obliterated Catholicism to the time of John Wesley’ (The Song of the Plow, note to Book VII, l. 304, on p. 234).  That was precisely the time of emigration from England to Virginia and other areas of the South.

The upper classes were not immune from backsliding, however, and would later fall under the sway of Deism and skepticism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in addition to showing a penchant for other vices like cockfights and drunkenness (Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, The Mind of the Master Class, p. 410).

But the nineteenth century was in general a period of remarkable growth of Christianity in the South:  ‘In the 1850s and 1860s, Bishops William Meade of Virginia and Stephen Elliott of Georgia exulted in the decline of infidelity and the advance of evangelicalism.  [Thomas Roderick] Dew, Meade, and Elliott claimed victory in a long, hard-fought struggle that had begun with the great religious revival at Cane Ridge in 1801’ (pgs. 409-10).

In this way the Lord God prepared the South spiritually for the coming fury which the War of Northern Aggression was to unleash upon them, just as He had prepared Serbia for the Turkish onslaught.  Even in the midst of that storm the grace of God was active, as tens of thousands of Southern soldiers converted to Christianity - 140,000 in 1863 alone according to one estimate (Eugene Genovese, A Consuming Fire, 1998, p. 45).  And also out of that fire did God raise up for the South her mightiest Christian hero: Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.

In him one finds the attainment of many virtues: e.g., ‘conscientiousness’ (Reverend Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Campaigns, p. 87) and humble obedience to legitimate authority, whether ecclesiastical, military, etc. because of his great reverence for God and the harmonious order He created (pgs. 87-8).  He purified his mind and heart of sinfulness, which allowed him to make wise judgments in the heat of battle and elsewhere (p. 102). 

At home he was a devoted and affectionate husband and father, ‘intensely fond of his home’ and the rural farming life.  He daily led the morning prayers with his family and slaves and then attended to a private reading of the Holy Bible.  In the evening he enjoyed listening as a family member read to him from ‘the classic historians and poets of the English tongue’ (pgs. 117-20, quotes on p. 117 and pgs. 119-20, respectively).

Despite his military aptitude and success, ‘the calling which he most coveted for himself’ was ‘the honor of winning souls’ (p. 113), and it mattered not whether they were ‘his friends and relatives’ (p. 92), the slaves of his village (p. 93), or Confederate soldiers (pgs. 583-6).  As the General himself exclaimed in a letter on the work of the Rev. Dr. S— in his corps, ‘Oh, it is a glorious privilege to be a minister of the gospel of the Prince of Peace!  There is no equal position in this world’ (pgs. 585-6; quote on p. 586).  Such expressions help us to understand his tireless efforts to reform and strengthen the chaplain corps and to present the soldiers of the Confederacy with every opportunity to hear preaching, read the Holy Scriptures, sing hymns, pray, and so forth (pgs. 640-57).

He was completely humble and selfless (p. 113); grateful to God for the beauty of His creation (p. 121); devoted to unceasing prayer (p. 106); ever credited God for his victories in battle (e.g., pgs. 384-5); and sought a closer union of the disestablished Confederate government with the Christian churches (p. 644).

Much more could be said of General Jackson, but for present purposes this will suffice to end the recounting of his qualities:  ‘On every intelligent Christian who approached him at this time [1863, prior to the Battle of Chancellorsville - W.G.], he made the impression of eminent sanctity.  They all left him with this testimony:  that he was the holiest man they had ever seen’ (p. 655).

As Confederate forces faced loss after loss in early 1862, this great leader buoyed their hopes and that of the whole country as he went from victory to victory (pgs. 298, 429).  But the trial of Chancellorsville still remained before him and the South.  The Northern Army under General McClellan gathered 125,000 men against General Lee’s 45,000.  McClellan’s army was furthermore equipped with all manner of heavy munitions and guarded by earthworks about the Chancellor farm. 

Generals Lee and Jackson confronted this challenge in a most unusual manner:  Gen Jackson would take his corps (about two-thirds of the whole force present) and attack the Northern Army from the rear in the north and west.  After beginning thusly, Gen Lee and the remainder of the Southern Army would then join the attack.  What would normally have been risky proved the opposite under Gen Jackson, who knew the mind and character of his enemy well.  He swept along the backroads to the rear of the McClellan’s right wing and on 2 May 1863 proceeded to utterly rout his opponent’s surprised army in that vicinity.  But in the disorder in the Confederate ranks that followed this tremendous victory, and amid a renewed assault by the enemy, he received from friendly fire the mortal wound in his left arm from which he would die peacefully on 10 May 1863, his beloved Sabbath Day, on which he had expressed a desire on past occasions to depart from this life (pgs. 657, 664-86, 722).

What is the meaning of the brilliant and grace-filled life and the untimely death of Gen Jackson?  What befell the South at Chancellorsville that was beyond human sight?  We must allow Rev Dabney to be heard once more, and at some length (‘Stonewall Jackson’, Discussions, Vol. 4: Secular, pgs. 171-5):

Jackson prayed for the independence of his country; or, if that might not be, he desired not to survive its overthrow. God could not grant the former, for reasons to be seen anon, wherefore he granted the latter. The man died at the right time. He served the purpose of the Divine Wisdom in his generation. He went upward and onward upon the flood-tide of his fame and greatness, until it reached its very acme; and thence he went up to his rest. After that came the ebb-tide, the stranding, and the wreck. This, surely, is a singular mark of Heaven's favor, lifting him almost to the rank of that antediluvian hero "who walked with God, and he was not; for God took him." When his fame and success were at their zenith, never yet blighted by disaster; when the cause he loved better than life was most hopeful; when he had just performed his most brilliant exploit [Chancellorsville - W.G.], and could leave his country all jubilant with his praise, and glowing with gratitude for his deliverance; before the coming woe had projected upon his spirit even the fringe of that shadow which would have been to him colder than death—that was the time for Jackson to be translated.

The other thing, which alone would have been better—to lead his country on from triumph to triumph to final deliverance—to hang up his sword in the sanctuary, and to sit down a freeman amidst the people he had saved— that we would not permit God to effect; and that we were not fit to have such deliverance wrought for us, even by a Jackson, this God would demonstrate before he took him away; for the true great man is a gift from heaven, informed with a portion of its own life and fire. Some small critics have argued that great men are born in their times; that they are mere impersonations of the moral forces common to their contemporaries. This, be assured, may be true of that species of little great men, of whom Shakespeare writes, that "they have greatness thrust on them." The true hero is not made by his times, but makes them, if indeed material of greatness be in them. They wait for him, in sore need, perhaps, of his kindling touch, groping in perilous darkness towards destruction, for want of his true light: they produce him not. God sends him. There be three missions for such a true great man among men. If "the iniquity of the Amorites is already full," the Great Power, the wicked great man, Caesar or Napoleon, is sent among them to seduce them to their ruin. If they be worthy of greatness, and have in them any true substance to be kindled by the heroic fire, the good hero, your Moses or Washington, shall be sent unto them for deliverance. If it be not yet manifest to men whether the times be the one or the other, Amoritish, utterly reprobate, and fit only for anarchy or slavery, or else with seed of nobleness in them, and capable of true glory (though to Him who commissions the hero there be no mystery nor contingency which is not manifest), then will he send one, or peradventure several, who shall be touchstones to that people, to "try them so as by fire," whether there be worth in them or no. And then shall this God-sent man show forth an exemplar to his people, which shall be unto them a test, whether they, having eyes, see, or see not the true glory and right, and whether they have hearts to understand and love it. And then shall he bring nigh deliverances unto them, full of promise and hope, yet mutable, which are God's overtures saying unto them: "Come now and let us reason together. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Will ye, or will ye not? Thus was Jackson God's interrogatory to this people, saying to them: "Will ye be like him, and be saved? Lo, there! What would a nation of Jacksons be? That may ye be! How righteousness exalteth a people! Shall this judgment and righteousness 'be the stability of thy times, O Confederate, and strength of thy salvation?' " And these mighty deliverances at Manassas, Winchester, Port Republic, Chickahominy, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, were they not manifest overtures to us to have the God of Jackson and Lee for our God, and be saved? "Here is the path; walk ye in it."

And what said our people? Many honestly answered, "Yea, Lord, we will"; of whom the larger part walked whither Jackson did, and now lie with him in glory. But another part answered, "Nay," and they live, on such terms as we see, even such as they elected. To them, also, it was plain that Jackson's truth and justice and devotion to duty were the things that made him great and unconquerable. Even the wicked avouched this. Therefore a nation of such like men must needs be unconquerable and free. But they would not be free on such terms. Nay; they preferred rather to walk after their own vanities. Verily they have their reward! Let the contrast appear in two points. Jackson writes thus to his wife:

"You had better not sell your coupons from the" (Confederate) "bonds, as I understand they are paid in gold; but let the Confederacy keep the gold. Citizens should not receive a cent of gold from the government when it is so scarce."

Set over against this the spectacle of almost the many, except the soldiers, gone mad at the enhancement of prices with speculation and extortion, greedy to rake together paper money, mere rags and trash, while such as Jackson were pouring out money and blood in the death grapple for them. Take another: He writes to his wife, Christmas, 1862, in answer to the inquiry whether he could not visit her, and see the child upon which he had never looked, while the army was in winterquarters:

"It appears to me that it is better for me to remain with my command so long as the war continues, if our ever-gracious Heavenly Father permits. The army suffers immensely by absentees. If all our troops, officers and men, were at their posts, we might, through God's blessing, expect a more speedy termination of the war. The temporal affairs of some are so deranged as to make a strong plea for their returning home for a short time; but our God has greatly blessed me and mine during my absence; and whilst it would be a great comfort to see you, and my darling little daughter, and others in whom I take special interest, yet duty appears to require me to remain with my command. It is most important that those at headquarters set an example by remaining at the post of duty."

Look now from this picture of steadfastness in duty to the multitudes of absentees and of stalwart young men shirking the army by every slippery expedient. So these answered back to God's overture: "Mammon is dearer than manhood, and inglorious ease than liberty." The disclosure was now made that this people could not righteously be free, was not fit for it, and that God was just. Jackson could now go home to his rest. He in the haven, the ebb-tide might begin; he safely housed, the storm of adversity might burst (emphasis mine - W.G.).

The thing to be most painfully pondered then, by this people, is: Whether the fate of Jackson, and such like, is not proof that we have been weighed in the balances and found wanting? How readeth the handwriting on the wall? Not hopefully, in verity of truth, if Truth, which heroes worship, be indeed eternal, and be destined to assert herself ever. Jackson, alas, lies low, under the little hillock in Lexington graveyard, and Lee frets out his great heart-strings at this worldwide vision of falsehood and vile lucre, cruel as sordid, triumphant, unwhipped of justice; while the men who ride prosperously are they who sell themselves to work iniquity, and who say "Evil, be thou my good." Yea, these are the men whom the people delighteth to honor; to whom the churches and ministers of God in this land bow down, proclaiming: "Verily success is divine; and Might it maketh right; and the Power of this world, it shall be God unto us." And while the grave of heroic Truth and virtue has no other memento than the humble stone placed there by a feeble woman's hand, pompous monuments of successful wrong affront the skies with their altitude, "calling evil good and good evil, and putting darkness for light and light for darkness." We fear that when Truth shall re-assert herself it will go ill with this generation.

Truly the South had grown in grace from her early days, but something unregenerate remained, sins unrepented of.  Richard Weaver muses, ‘Somewhere there was a tragic fault—a fault compounded of pride, exclusiveness, and self-absorption (The Southern Tradition at Bay, p. 258).  Others during the War warned that sinfulness would bring about the downfall of the Confederacy.  ‘[I]mpiety, selfishness, corruption, and profiteering’ and other such vices were ‘railed against’ by many leaders, secular and churchly (A Consuming Fire, p. 47).  Slaveholders were enjoined to treat the men and women entrusted to their care in accordance with Biblical commands and warned of the dire consequences for disobedience (pgs. 51-61).

The Southern people, however, as Rev Dabney revealed, had made their decision:  They chose the Kingdom of Earth rather than the Kingdom of Heaven, and at the Battle of Chancellorsville the Lord sealed that decision by withdrawing his servant Gen Jackson from the War and shortly afterwards from this world.  The South was absorbed by the Northern nation, just as many a smaller nation of that century was violently and forcibly joined to a larger in Europe and elsewhere as a prelude to the one world government of the Antichrist (Southern Tradition at Bay, p. 258; Life and Campaigns, pgs. 159-60; Father Andrew Phillips, e-mail to author).

III.  The South: A People Without a Religion

In Serbia, the nation fell at Kosovo because of the corruption of the aristocratic elements of the country.  Here is how St Nikolai explained it via an imagined dialogue between Tsar Lazar and an angel:  ‘As is the case with individuals, O Prince, so it is also with a group of related individuals—i.e., with nations.  Your state has already grown old, and must fall.  It has not fallen because of a chronological old age, but because of the poison that it has been taking accumulating in itself.  This poison has worn it out and caused it to wrinkle.  For the feudal lords of Serbia, the country has outgrown the soul.  Therefore the Spirit of God has abandoned them and has withdrawn into the soul of the people.  The smoke of passion . . . has even begun to spread among the people.  . . . It was in order to save your people spiritually, therefore, that your state had to fall (‘The Tsar’s Testament’, Mystery and Meaning, pgs. 67-8).

The Confederacy, on the other hand, as Rev Dabney remarked above, fell because the people at large had become corrupted.  The soldiers of the Confederacy, it seems, became the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit as He left the greater part of the Southrons.  About this the Reverend wrote, ‘The strange spectacle was now presented, of a people among whom the active religious life seemed to be transferred from the churches at home—the customary seats of piety—to the army; which, among other nations, has always been dreaded as the school of vice and infidelity.’  ‘[T]his new marvel’ he called it, ‘an army made the home and source of the religious life of a nation’ (Life and Campaigns, p. 657).  These were the men whose thoughts were stopped by the War and its loss ‘as an earthquake stops a clock’, in the words of Walter Hines Page (quoted in Southern Tradition at Bay, p. 356); these, the men who had to be moved aside so that many of their Southern brethren could go about creating the ‘New South’ in the image of the Yankee North - politically, economically, and religiously.

But the fall of the Confederacy and of the antebellum Southern religious orthodoxy that fell with her (A Consuming Fire, p. 87) has opened a door of the greatest significance and blessing that otherwise would have remained closed.  For the dominant Protestant faith, as Allen Tate wrote in 1930, was in unseen opposition to the Southerners’ settled, agrarian way of life; it was more in line with the restless Yankee commercial spirit.  The South, as he put it, lacked ‘its appropriate religion’:  ‘Its religious impulse was inarticulate simply because it tried to encompass its destiny within the terms of Protestantism, in origin, a non-agrarian and trading religion [‘aggressive and materialistic’ he also calls it in an earlier passage - W.G.]. . . .  Because the South never created a fitting religion, the social structure of the South began grievously to break down two generations after the Civil War; for the social structure depends on the economic structure, and economic conviction is the secular image of religion.  No nation is ever simply and unequivocally beaten in war; nor was the South.  But the South shows signs of defeat, and this is due to its lack of a religion which would make her special secular system the inevitable and permanently valuable one’ (‘Remarks on the Southern Religion’, I’ll Take My Stand, pgs. 167 & 168).

Thus the extraordinary depth of God’s mercy is revealed to the South:  Though she would not live up to the mainly Protestant standards of holiness demanded of her and was allowed to be conquered, the Lord, using this fall, has shown her the shortcomings of that faith.  Now, in these latter days, she is free to embrace the fulness of the Faith found in the Holy Orthodox Church, of which she knew scarcely anything for so much of her life and to which she might have remained altogether antagonistic or apathetic to this day had she won her independence and retained her confidence in her old religious order.

Rightly did the Reverend James S. Vance speak in 1897 when he said, ‘The period of struggle was the period of discipline.  It was providence placing the idle ore in flame and forge.  God said, “Go up and die,” but already the South has learned that the summons to death was a summons to live.  It was a call to transformation rather than to a grave, and so, lying down on the rugged summit of her defeat and despair, the South is awakening to an inheritance that eclipses her past’ (quoted in Southern Tradition at Bay, p. 337).

Yes, a transformation from Protestantism to the unbroken tradition of the Faith kept without error from the Apostles to today in the Orthodox Church.  Truly, an inheritance of the deepest and widest and broadest treasures that will amaze her, that will ‘eclipse her past’!

But one might object, ‘What about Roman Catholicism?  Does it not offer a goodly home for the religiously wandering South?’  The answer, regrettably, must be in the negative, for Roman Catholicism is itself protestant, the original rebellion against the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church a thousand years ago.  But to understand this, we must step back even further in history to the fall of ancient Rome.  The nineteenth century Orthodox Russian philosopher and theologian Ivan Kireevsky wrote, ‘The living ruins that had survived the destruction of ancient Roman civilization had an all-embracing influence on the newly emerging civilization of the West.  . . . If we were to describe the dominant feature of the Roman civilization in one general formula, we would not go far wrong if we said that the distinctive cast of the Roman mind consisted in the predominance of superficial rationality over the inner essence of things’ (‘On the Nature of European Culture and on Its Relationship to Russian Culture’, On Spiritual Unity, p. 200).  ‘In . . . all the characteristics of the Romans, . . . we find the same common trait: that the superficial harmony of their logical concepts was more essential to them than the very essence of the concepts, and that the internal equilibrium of their being, as it were, consisted for them solely in the balance of rationalistic ideas and of external, formal activity’ (p. 201).

This character penetrated every aspect of life in Western Europe, ‘shaping and transforming all other influences to a greater or lesser degree in conformity to its dominant trend’ (p. 200).  ‘This special fondness of the Roman world for formal coherence of ideas represented a pitfall for Roman theologians even at a time . . . when the shared consciousness of the entire Orthodox world maintained a reasonable balance between all special traits’ (p. 202). 

He mentions the break of Rome with the Orthodox Church, the fruit of Rome’s insistence on adding the Filioque clause to the Nicene Creed without consulting the whole Church.  On what may have inspired Rome’s decision in this matter, Kireevsky added ‘ . . . what is not open to doubt is the actual pretext for defection—the new addition of a dogma to the earlier creed, an addition that, contrary to the ancient tradition and shared consciousness of the church, was justified only by the logical deductions of the Western theologians.

‘We make special mention of this fact because, better than any other, it helps to explain the character of Western civilization, where, from the ninth century on, the isolated rationality of Rome penetrated into the very teaching of the theologians, destroying with its one-sidedness the harmony and wholeness of their inner speculation.

‘ . . . In this way, having subordinated faith to the logical conclusions of rationalistic understanding, the Western Church, already in the ninth century, sowed within itself the inescapable seed of the Reformation, which later summoned it before the court of that very abstract reason that it had itself elevated above the shared consciousness of the Universal Church . . . ’ (p. 203).

Aleksei Khomiakov, another Orthodox Russian philosopher-theologian of the nineteenth century, said on this point, ‘What was the inevitable logical consequence of this usurpation?  . . . [A] protestant anarchy was established in practice.  Every diocese could appropriate vis-à-vis the Western patriarchate the right that the latter appropriated vis-à-vis the totality of the Church; every parish could appropriate this right vis-à-vis the diocese; every individual could appropriate it vis-à-vis all other individuals’ (‘Some Remarks by an Orthodox Christian Concerning the Western Communions, on the Occasion of a Letter Published by the Archbishop of Paris’, On Spiritual Unity, p. 68).

And from the resulting nightmare of conflicting and distorted dogmas of the Roman protestants and the Northern European protestants has come many of the troubles that afflict us today, such as the Scholastic nominalism that has given quantity the victory over quality, and matter over spirit (Tate, ‘Remarks’, I’ll Take My Stand, pgs. 164-6), or the apathy toward and unbelief in any unchanging truth (Kireevsky, ‘On the Necessity and Possibility of New Principles in Philosophy’, On Spiritual Unity, p. 239).

Summing up the two churches of the West, Khomiakov said, ‘An external unity, which rejects freedom and is therefore not a real unity—that is Romanism.  An external freedom, which does not bestow unity and which is therefore not real freedom—that is Protestantism’ (‘Some More Remarks by an Orthodox Christian Concerning the Western Communions, on the Occasion of Several Latin and Protestant Religious Publications’, On Spiritual Unity, p. 127).

For these reasons, then, neither the Roman Catholic nor the Protestant confessions will serve the South well as her religious foundation.

In saying the foregoing, however, the Orthodox Church does not say that Catholics and Protestants are without salvation:  She does not seek to limit the mercy of God.  Nor does she say the Holy Scriptures and the traditions of these sects are devoid of grace:  only that ‘From Tradition alone, or from Scripture or works, people can receive only external and incomplete knowledge, which contain truth for it issues from truth, but is at the same time necessarily false, because it is not complete’ (Khomiakov, ‘The Church Is One’, On Spiritual Unity, p. 35). 

Nor, further, does she wish for the destruction of European culture (and by extension Southern culture), bur rather the permeation of ‘the beliefs of all estates and strata’ of it by ‘the principles of life that are preserved in the doctrine of the Holy Orthodox Church’, ‘that these lofty principles . . . should . . . embrace it in their fullness, thus granting it a higher meaning and bringing it to its ultimate development’ (Kireevsky, ‘On the Nature’, On Spiritual Unity, p. 232).

The acceptance of Orthodox Christianity would be the crowning achievement for the South in her religious life, which is the only true life of a nation or of an individual man or woman.  From it would come the full flowering of Southern culture, as the darkness of error gave way to the light of the Truth in every heart and mind and soul. 

From Pentecost to the Battle of Kosovo to the Battle of Chancellorsville and beyond, the call to choose the Kingdom of Heaven has sounded forth.  Ye faithful sons and daughters of the South, accept with joy and humility the invitation given to you by Our Most Merciful Lord Jesus Christ, the invitation to join His One True Body, ‘the pillar and ground of the truth’ (I Timothy 3:15), the Holy Orthodox Church.

‘Freedom and unity—these are the two forces upon which was worthily bestowed the mystery of human freedom in Christ, saving and justifying the creature by His perfect union with it.  The result of these forces is, by the grace of God, neither belief nor analytical knowledge but inner perfection and divine wisdom:  it is faith that, in both its character and its principle, is unassailable by disbelief.

‘The West has rejected the fundamental doctrine of mutual love that alone constitutes the life of the Church.  As a consequence of this error, the very principle of Christianity is subjected to judgment, as once was the man-God from whom Christianity originated . . . .

‘In the East, the Church, which is faithful to the whole apostolic doctrine, which embraces in an inner communion all the faithful of the present time and the elect of past ages, and which extends the beneficence of her prayers to future generations who will, in turn, pray for their predecessors—the Church summons into her bosom all the nations and awaits with hope the coming of her Savior’ (Khomiakov, ‘Some More Remarks . . . on the Occasion of Several Latin and Protestant Religious Publications’, p. 134).

And the Spirit and the bride say to the South, Come!  (Revelation 22:17)

Works Cited

The Battle of Kosovo: Serbian Epic Poems. Matthias, John, and Vladeta Vuckovic, trans.  Athens:  Swallow Press/Ohio UP, 1987.  Accessed 17/30 July 2013.  Retrieved at http://www.kosovo.net/history/battle_of_kosovo.html.

Bradford, M.E. ‘First Fathers: The Colonial Origins of the Southern Tradition’. A Better Guide than Reason: Federalists and Anti-Federalists. New Brunswick, Nj.: Transaction, 1994 [1979].

Dabney, Rev Robert Lewis. Life and Campaigns of Lieut. Gen. T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson. Harrisonburg, Va.: Sprinkle Publications, 1983 [1866].

--.  ‘Stonewall Jackson: Lecture’. Discussions, Vol. IV: Secular. Harrisonburg, Va.: Sprinkle Publications, 1979 [1897].

Fischer, David Hackett.  Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York, Ny.: Oxford UP, 1989.

Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth, and Eugene Genovese. The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.

Genovese, Eugene. A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South. Athens, Ga.: U of Georgia Press, 1998.

Hewlett, Maurice Henry. The Song of the Plow: Being the English Chronicle. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1916.  Accessed 17/30 July 2013.  Retrieved at http://books.google.com/books?id=Us4kAAAAMAAJ.

The Holy Bible.  King James Version.  Nashville, Tn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1972.

Johnson, Fr Matthew Raphael.  Heavenly Serbia and the Medieval Idea.  Deipara Press, 2009 [2007].

Khomiakov, Aleksei.  ‘Some Remarks by an Orthodox Christian Concerning the Western Communions, on the Occasion of a Letter Published by the Archbishop of Paris’. On Spiritual Unity: A Slavophile Reader. Bird, Robert, and Boris Jakim, trans. Hudson, Ny: Lindisfarne Books, 1998.

--.  ‘Some More Remarks by an Orthodox Christian Concerning the Western Communions, on the Occasion of Several Latin and Protestant Religious Publications’. On Spiritual Unity: A Slavophile Reader. Bird, Robert, and Boris Jakim, trans. Hudson, Ny: Lindisfarne Books, 1998.

--.  ‘The Church Is One’. On Spiritual Unity: A Slavophile Reader. Bird, Robert, and Boris Jakim, trans. Hudson, Ny: Lindisfarne Books, 1998.

Kireevsky, Ivan.  ‘On the Nature of European Culture and on Its Relationship to Russian Culture’. On Spiritual Unity: A Slavophile Reader. Bird, Robert, and Boris Jakim, trans. Hudson, Ny: Lindisfarne Books, 1998.

--.  ‘On the Necessity and Possibility of New Principles in Philosophy’. On Spiritual Unity: A Slavophile Reader. Bird, Robert, and Boris Jakim, trans. Hudson, Ny: Lindisfarne Books, 1998.

Phillips, Fr Andrew.  E-mail to author.  16 June 2013.

Popovich, St Justin. ‘The Life of the Holy and Great Martyr Tsar Lazar of Serbia’. A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Vol. III: The Mystery and Meaning of the Battle of Kosovo. Skokie, Il.: Great Lakes Graphics Inc., 1999.

Rogich, Father Daniel M.  Great-Martyr Tsar Lazar of Serbia: His Life and Service.  Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2001.

Tate, Allen.  ‘Remarks on the Southern Religion’.  I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition.  Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 2006 [1930].

Velimirovich, St Nikolai. A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Vol. I: The Serbian People as a Servant of God.  Micka, Fr Theodore, and Fr Steven Scott, trans. 1988.  Accessed 17/30 July 2013.  Retrieved at http://www.sv-luka.org/library/ServantOfGod.html.

--.  ‘The Tsar’s Testament’. A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Vol. III: The Mystery and Meaning of the Battle of Kosovo. Skokie, Il.: Great Lakes Graphics Inc., 1999.

Weaver, Richard M.  The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought.  Eds. Core, George and M. E. Bradford.  1st ed.  Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1989.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Manufacturing and Oil Drilling Likely to Make a Comeback in the States

But not because of any great lessening of governmental power, but rather because the Elite’s plan to back the U.S. dollar with GMO food in place of petroleum has backfired badly.  Their plans for further integration of the world’s countries into a single world state (through a kind of food control) suffered a serious setback, with nation after nation rejecting GMO food.  So the Elite have to shore up their strongholds by increasing their wealth in America and in other countries they control with an increase in oil production (aptly named black gold) and an increase in manufacturing (thanks to 3D printing).  Dr Farrell has more details in his latest news video.

But the increased prosperity could be short lived for the average American (and Southerner).  As proof, one simply has to look at the so-called free trade agreements that are being negotiated with huge blocs of countries along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  The cheaper labor available outside the States usually has the effect of harming our farmers and craftsmen.

Even if the negative effects are avoided, an America flush with a (spiritually and physically destructive) high economic growth rate is an America that will be united all the more powerfully in pompous Yankee/secular Puritan egotism (‘Look how exceptional we are!’), making it more difficult for Vermont, Texas, Colorado, or any other state (because of internal and external pressure) to separate from the glorious Empire.  Why would anyone want to mess with ‘success’, after all?

So let your joy at the coming economic recovery be tempered (if indeed the plan does go forward).  It is not what the propagandists will portray it to be.