North, South, East, and West. Kent Clizbe, my intelligent friend, continuously looks to these directions, searching the horizons, seeking to understand the coming weather front. He never seems to realize that there are two other directions. The only two directions from which all truly human storms can approach.
What then are these other two directions? Where should I look to see? First, look up above. Second, look down below. Now draw a line between these two points. Notice the perpendicular nature of this direction. And realize that without this added vertical dimension, nothing horizontal can make sense. Not in the long run. And that’s all that concerns me.
Why is that? Because without these two additional points of reference, my friend’s understanding of the world-map is flat. Two-dimensional at best. His compass is of no effect. And he is lost in time, as the timeless approaches. Yet this friend truly is intelligent. He can comprehend vast quantities of horizontal data. He can quantify it, and thus feels he has comprehended the meaning of all visible events.
But in his counting of chariots, he has confused cause and effect. The continuous flow of time, chock-full of new data waiting to be counted, has hypnotized him. Yet time takes no pause, and so the task is endless. Until it ends. And the horizon disappears. That will leave the only two points that actually matter. Up and down. And the denizens of each have no desire to cross the abyss and visit each other.
I speak of things unseen, but which surely must exist. Things like love, faith, and fealty. Things that you cannot touch or see, but which surely have driven the true life of man throughout history. My friend may think religion is a byproduct of history, and thus cannot be the cause, rather only the effect of the things men say and do. I say the opposite. I say that history is the result of religion, and that religion is the cause of what men say and do. I say further that if you do not understand that, you will never understand the course mankind has trod, nor where it is headed in its long march through time. Ask your local Imam or Rabbi if I’m right. Or try your local priest.
After all, did some men become Hebrews because they left Egypt? Or did they leave Egypt because they were already Hebrews? I know, there are some that say that indeed, it happened the first way, and not the second. So then, why didn’t the Hebrews change again when they left Israel in the next Diaspora? Have they not remained steadfast in their stiff-necked faith, regardless of where they have found themselves? Why was this their only constant?
Would not Christianity have been different in every country, if my friend is right? After all, each new country was made up of men of a different culture. Yet was not Christianity one, with one tongue, one doctrine and one act, for over a thousand years, wherever it was seen and heard? No, the local cultures did not change the Church as it marched through the continents. The Church changed them. And made them one. And yet allowed each to remain distinct.
I could go on with generalities, but let’s not. At least for now. Instead, let’s look at some of the particular things my friend has recently said, and see if they bear the marks of what I have generally described above.
My friend writes that “In the early days of the struggle for world domination between the USA and global communism, American statesmen were clueless about the enemy they faced. They were clueless about the rules of the struggle. They were ignorant of the communists’ tactics. And they arrogantly refused to learn.
“Today, Briggs hosts the even more confused, confusing, and convoluted meanderings of Ianto Watts (sic). While Watts is surely expert in tangled webs, I’m not quite sure what his point is. His fascination with the Russian church, and its centuries of machinations is probably useful somewhere—maybe the Crimea, or Dagestan—but probably not for Americans trying to understand what happened to our country, and what’s happening now.”
Do you see what I mean? He feels that the Greco-Russian (Eastern Orthodox) Church and its doings and beliefs have meaning somewhere, but certainly not anywhere outside Russia, or its near abroad. And certainly not here in America.
He fails to see that while he starts his study with a truly concise analysis of Communism and the tactics she has used against the people of Russia, and then against the West, Russia today is not Communist. Yet he feels the danger has not passed. And indeed, it has not. As I have said, my friend is quite intelligent. He is right in so many microscopic ways. But he cannot see the big picture. He cannot connect the dots. Because he has a blind spot. He can’t explain the change in Russia, unless he claims it has not changed in the least. In which case, the original threat was not Communism, no?
Now I will claim that Russia has not changed in the least. But I also do claim that the original threat was not Communism. I claim that it was Russian chauvinism, and that it has manifested itself in various ways at least since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. And that the one constant in the story of Russia has been her schismatic Greek Orthodox heritage. Orthodoxy has formed Russia since her national beginnings. From the time of Vladimir the Great until now. But my friend cannot allow that this heritage drives Russian actions. He feels that this heritage is incidental to her acts.
This brings up my friend’s second inability. He sees time in segments instead of a continuum. Because of this, he sees peoples and tribes in the same way. That is to say, fractionally. Yet tongues and time are tied together, forever. We still have Latins. We still have Franks. We still have Teutons. We still have Angles and Saxons and Jutes. And we still have Slavs. And they never change unless they change their beliefs. Just ask Henry. Or Charlemagne. And Clovis.
Now my friend says that the Greek Orthodoxy of the Russian past is irrelevant today. Here are his words: “The details of their history and religion are interesting, no, fascinating. But useless in understanding the Russian influence operations against the USA. A brief overview of the background can be found below:”
My friend then goes on to describe the Communist tactics used against the West, and gives no hint that these tactics are the timeless means of destroying an enemy, any enemy. Tactics used by every Empire from day one. Yet he feels they are indigenous to Communism, which, unnoticed by him, seems to have disappeared from the Eurasian entity known as Russia. He is arguing circularly. Either these tactics are exceptionally Communistic, or else they are purely Russian. Which is it, my friend? Because if these tactics against the West supposedly began in 1917, in the guise of Communism, how can they continue today if the costume has changed? If Communism has fallen, was it really the true threat?
I will be the first to agree that the tactics continue and that the threat has not changed. But I do not believe that Communism was the real threat. I believe it was, and continues to be, Russian Exceptionalism. ‘Communism’ was simply a Russian ruse. The only constant in this Russian equation, apart from the Slavic racial element, is the cultural constant of Orthodoxy. Why? Because it is this exact belief system that has seized the Russian psyche from her earliest beginnings and whispered in her ears that she is the True Rome. Both Holy and Imperial. Which is why she has always called herself ‘Holy Russia‘.
I have said it before. This feeling of Exceptionalism is not new. It has been there from day one. Just look at the self-given name of these people: Slav. What does it mean? It means The Word. It means Glory. It means Fame. This exceptionalism came to its head in the early 1800’s with Fedorov and his doctrine of Russian Cosmism. Not Communism. Cosmism. In other words, the idea of Universal salvation for all mankind, through the Slavic nation.
This Russian Exceptionalism began with the Russian rejection of the West in the time of Vladimir the Great’s embrace of the Eastern Roman Empire that Vladimir married into. And to be the true descendant of this Empire (which Russia claims to be), she must adopt the same Imperial religion as the Byzantines of that day. That would be the Eastern Orthodoxy of the Photian Schism in 863. This schism, in new garb, continues to this day. The current (but long-standing) Orthodox objection to Holy Rome centers on the status of the Unia. But that’s a story for another day. Here’s the short point: the schism continues. And that supports the Russian claims to exceptionalism in the ecclesial sphere of life. Just as her political claims to the throne of the Roman Empire support her claims to secular exceptionalism.
The only question then, from the Russian perspective, is this: in what manner will Russian Exceptionalism save the world? Will Russia save mankind by military might (like Alexander I, defeating Napoleon, for example)? Or will it be scientifically delivered by Fedorov, and his physical resurrection of all the dead? Or will it be philosophically accomplished by Tolstoy, or rather Dostoyevsky? Or will it be theologically delivered, via Solovyev and his Divine Sophia? Or will it be economic salvation, as attempted by Lenin, and then Stalin? Or will it be monarchial in nature, as Putin resurrects the Autocracy?
Or will it be all of the above, in the person of the Patriarch of Moscow, as he brings unity (and then salvation) to all mankind? Now ask yourself this question. What was the common thread of Russian belief throughout this entire period, from Vladimir the Great until now, in the time of Vladimir the Greater? Yes, it was (and is) Greco-Russian Orthodoxy. In spite of the Bolsheviks. Lenin and Stalin were just speed bumps. Lezhashchii politseiskii. ??????? ??????????? They’re gone, and only stiff-necked Orthodoxy remains.
Yes, you can touch and count all the noses you want. You can cite all the surveys you can find that tell us that only a minority of Russians still identify with the Orthodox Church. But you can’t explain away the fact that throughout her millennial history, the rulers of Russia have always depended upon this very same institution for their legitimacy and support. Even Stalin had to acknowledge this in his time of deepest danger from the West. And that is what Orthodoxy has always delivered; protection from the West.
Throughout every age, in the face of every threat (and opportunity) to their nation, the rulers and people of Russia have always taken their final refuge in the Russian Church. Regardless of how many actually attended church each Sunday, regardless of the relationship between the throne and altar, and in spite of any hostilities between the people and the Patriarchs, one thing has remained constant. Refuge in the Church. Vlad Putin is no exception. Patriarch Kyrill has the keys to that Church. So, be nice, Vlad. Be nice.
So when my friend says that Greco-Russian Orthodoxy is simply an interesting but historically anachronistic detail of Russia history today, and that by extension, religion is only a small (and not the decisive) factor in the life of most nations today, he is whistling past the graveyard. How can I say this? Simple. It’s because the abandonment of a religion is a theological move in and of itself. Even atheism is a religion. Religion is everywhere. Even if you can’t see it.
Do I need to remind anyone that the greatest weakness of the West is theological in nature? And that the danger the West faces had its origins in the long-standing opposition of the Orthodox towards Holy Rome that culminated in 1962, in the form of Vatican II? Ostpolitik was what we called it in the Sixties. They called it Jiu-Jitsu. For it was here that the East overcame the West, by the subversive means my friend describes in exquisitely accurate detail. They used our own force, our own freedoms, against us. We failed to understand that freedoms must have limits. Otherwise, they can be used against us. Subversively, as Kent has shown so well.
Yet these subversive means were primarily directed most effectively at the Universal Church, and not towards any particular Western government. Ask your self this simple question: is the crisis of will in the West the result of the same governmental mistakes in every single western country? Or is it the result of the monumental shift that occurred when Holy Rome let down her guard in her feckless attempt (aggiornamento) o ‘accommodate’ the modern world by ‘updating; the Church? Where was the largest segment of the Church in that day (as it still is now)? The Western hemisphere (Brazil, Mexico and America).
After all, all of the tactics Clizbe has described, from the control of the media, to the collapse of educational discipline and to the loss of filial bonds to faith, family and fatherland, were all directed primarily at Holy Rome. Why? Because Holy Rome was the single greatest constant in the life of all the nations of the West. Weaken Holy Rome and you have weakened all the rest. Wouldn’t this be the most efficient means of subversion? Why would anyone on a budget do otherwise? And isn’t this exactly what has happened? Just look around you. On any Sunday.
Yes, I know. Clizbe says that this was a Communist plot. But ask yourself this. Did the Communists really refuse to allow the Russian Orthodox Patriarch to attend Vatican II, if it would be used as a platform to denounce Communism? Or was it really the Patriarch who used the Communist Party as his foil to avoid coming to Rome if Pope John XXIII decided to reveal the Third Secret of Fatima and to call for the Consecration of Russia? Yes, Fatima. You know, that crazy apparition of The Beautiful Lady, when she asked (before the Revolution) that we pray for the conversion of Russia. Conversion from what? From Orthodoxy. What else could it be?
Seriously, what else could it be?
Ask yourself these simple questions before you say religion is simply an interesting but minor detail of any nation’s life and direction. Is Russia officially a Communist nation today? Or is she an officially Orthodox nation today? And is Russia unified and growing stronger today? What then is the source of her unity and strength?
Now ask the same things about the West. Is the West still officially Christian today? Or is it operationally Communistic? And is the West still strong and unified today? What then is the cause of her dissolution and weakness?
If you say it’s Communism, don’t blame Russia, because we are the Commies now. And if you say it is Russia, don’t blame Communism, because she isn’t Communist anymore. It has to be something else. But whatever else we may disagree on, I do agree with this. The danger we face is Russian in nature. And the timeless nature of Russia is schismatic Greek Orthodoxy.
So there it is, my good friend. It’s all I know to tell you. I don’t know what else to say. And if it is still all Greek to you, then all I can say, in the end, is this: Kyrie eleison!