Russia’s View Of Itself In The World: Sobornost — Guest Post by Ianto Watt

Russia’s View Of Itself In The World: Sobornost — Guest Post by Ianto Watt

A very close friend asked me a question. He read some blog article about Russia and the Consecration, and the part that Vladimir Solovyov played in this saga.

My friend wanted my take on this question. I told him that’s pretty simple. None. Why? Because Solovyov pre-dated Fatima. Died in 1900. But does Solovyov have relevance here? Absolutely. He’s crucial to understanding our future. Our mutual future. As explained in a very important but rather obscure work by Egbert Munzer, Solovyov – Prophet of Russian-Western Unity.

The key to understanding this predicted unity is found in the concept of Sobornost. But not the Nationalistic version I wrote about in my last post. No, Solovyov raised this Russian concept to the Universal level by his decision to live as a Catholic Russian. Which is akin to treason in nationalist Russia.

And yet, he is their most revered philosopher. Even Putin reads him, and asks his colleagues to do the same. Go figure. Please, let me explain.

Now, anyone currently alive these past five years knows this idea of Russian-Western unity to be nearly impossible. At least, from the common-wisdom perspective. Which is sad, because this predicted unity will happen. In one fashion or another. Which is what Fatima is really all about. Russia will rule the world. And rather soon. But for good, or ill? That’s the question Our Lady was driving at. Unless something (in Russia and us) changes, it won’t be for the good. No, it will end up just like we did, for the past 500 years. We (the Anglish heirs of Imperial Rome) didn’t change our ways either, and look what’s happened. To all of us. So, in all fairness, it’s somebody else’s turn. Right? But it ain’t gonna be Paraguay up next. And it ain’t gonna be purtty.

Alright, back to Solovyov. Spoiler alert. This could be long. I’m in a bad mood, and I’ve been drinking again. My fixation with Solovyov began years ago when a Freakin’-Super-Smart-Polymath (FSSP) priest told me I had to read a PDF printout of one of Solovyov’s earliest works, The Russian Idea. But it was in French. So, for his penance, I made him translate it (see the link) and it finally appeared in English. It’s a small book, but of huge importance, if you want to understand Russia. And to sense what’s just over the horizon.

Here’s the gist. Solovyov asked the question ‘What is the purpose of Russia?’ No, not in Russian minds, nor our own Western minds. Rather, what was God thinking when he made this thing called Russia? It’s obviously important, because His Mother has taken an unusual interest in this same question. Rather recently, I might add. And as she pointed out, things could get pretty dicey if we didn’t come to Russia’s aid. Peace will depend on it.

Look around, Komrade. Seen anything peaceful lately? Anywhere? OK, let’s say it. Whether you believe the Consecration was done or not, it evidently wasn’t done according to the recipe we were given. Or the fervor it called for. Or even done at all. And the results taste rather bitter, I’d say. If anyone reading this actually perceives we’re in a time of peace resulting from it, well, been to the West Bank lately? You know, the Holy Land. Oh yeah, and Ukraine? As in Little Russia?

Get my point? Given the number of national and imperial players involved in just those two places, how can any of this be reconciled with Solovyov’s unity-vision? Or the Beautiful Lady’s promise of peace? Well, it can’t. Not today, anyway. But soon. The only question is, what flavor? Russia as in Purgatory? Or Russia as in Paradise? Well, let’s think with Solovyov.

He posits that Russia has a gigantic role to play in world history. Why? Because Russia’s gigantic! The question can’t be answered fully, however, until you understand Solovyov’s fixation with the concept of One-ness. No, not just the one-ness of humanity. Rather, the oneness of the entire creation. It’s all One Thing. And Solovyov’s perception of the concept of God-Manhood. As in Jesus Christ. And finally, Man-Godhood, if you’re smart enough to get the message. The Universal message. It’s available, for the asking. Have you asked?

Now, Solovyov’s idea is not about pantheism. It is as far from that as possible. It’s really about the Russian idea of Sobornost. But on steroids. I’ve told you about this word before, Peter Chaadaev, who also had a fairly succinct vision of Russia. When he became the first person anywhere to be convicted of criminal insanity. In Russia, of course. For saying (and I paraphrase here), ‘What the Hell has Russia ever done for the world?’ This thought, as explained in his work Apologia of a Mad Man did not go down too well with the Tsar in 1826. Even less so today. Except at the White House, of course.

Here’s how I see Solovyov: he is to the Catholic Church what Dostoyevsky was to the (Russian) Orthodox Church. In other words, Solovyov sees Sobornost in a Universal Us (‘Kata-Holos’) way, whereas Orthodox Russians (like Dostoyevsky) see it in a National Us way. That is, Us, versus Them.

Catholic Solovyov says there can be no peace in a nationalistic vision of Sobornost. Only war, and a resulting despotism. A bad despotism, that is. I’m actually all in on despotism, don’t get me wrong. But as I always ask my Anglish friends, ‘Who’s your daddy’? Is it Papa, or is it Rex? That’s the sum difference between Canterbury and Rome, you know. That’s the only thing Henry changed (in the Canon of the Mass) when he bolted from the fold. Sure, his weasels (Cranmer, Cromwell et al.) did a lot of further damage, but that was all above the waterline. Henry was the torpedo that hit from below, and we can all see the results. An abandoned wreck, drifting aimlessly, rainbow flags aflutter. And, please, refrain from citing the existence of bad Popes to me, I’m tired of that. I’m talking about the Barque of Peter and Rome’s unchanging doctrinal standards. Popes die. But not the eternal Church. Which, by the way, has weathered quite a few of these near-death experiences.

Will the coming rule of Moscow be truly paternal? Or will it be infernal? Don’t snicker. They’re listening. Along with Alexi and Siri. And the CIA/FBI/DEA/IRS. Maybe your neighbors. How well do you know them, by the way? Anyway, there’s the choice we’re going to face. So, let’s think about this, in light of Solovyov’s vision.

He said (in his many works) that One-ness is the root of peace. A One-ness that sees everything as being integral to the whole. Every last atom of it. The creation, apart from Mankind, is all of a piece. And Mankind, created last, in the image and likeness of God (in the being of The Son) is the capstone of the six days. It is to rule the other outward (but lower) parts of the creation, for the greater glory of the Creator.

The creation then is One, and the part Mankind plays in it is supposed to be One. In other words, we are all members of one body. The Body of Christ. And the human body has many parts to it. Each part has a specific systemic role to play in the life of that body. That’s where the role of the nations comes in. (I’m talking here about the 70 nations that emerged from the plains of Shinar, at the foot of the failed rebellion of Babel.)

Each nation has a legitimate and organic (in the original sense) role to play in the life of Mankind. Solovyov sees each authentic nation as being an organ in this single body of Mankind. Oy, we all know which nation claimed to be the designated brain. And we can infer that the four Empires Daniel saw, (Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome), were the skeletal infrastructure that supports the internal organs. So, where does Russia fit in? Judging by their imitation of the outer wear of Aaron and his Levitical gang, Russia too claims to be the brain. Since we’re talking about Man (and not Woman), we can’t be of two minds here. The skull is only so big. What is Russia if she isn’t the brain? Well, how about the heart? No, sorry, that’s was claimed by New and Universal Israel. The Church. Which universally serves the entire body, at every moment.

What’s left? The spleen? Sorry, America has claimed that. We’ve been venting it for the past quarter millennium. And so on, down the line. Everybody is jockeying for position. Every nation is trying to avoid being the Exit sign. But wait. What organ covers the whole? The skin, of course. The largest of all organs.

What is the biggest nation? In area, that is. And who holds the vast majority of the creation’s mineral wealth hidden below her? Who can claim that distinction? Da. Russia is holding it all together. But is the body beneath her mantle malignant, or healthy? That is the real question. The answer depends on the flavor of the Sobornost that prevails in the coming times. National, or Universal. Let me ask something here: is it metaphysically possible for a Nationalistic church to lead the Universal Church? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Solovyov, like Chaadaev, knew the answer. Which led them both to First Rome. But because of his understanding of Universal Sobornost, he knew the importance of the Russian Church as a needed part of the whole Body of Christ. Which is why Solovyov accepted his last blessing and communion from an Orthodox priest. He accepted that priest’s legitimacy (from a doctrinal standpoint) to show him the need to accept Peter’s legitimacy.

Listen to me Komrades, forget Third Rome, and their endless chanting of the Litany of National Sinners. Instead, start chanting in the Universal Latin of First Rome, and her Litany of the Universal Saints. Every nation has her share in this glory. Every nation is equal in God’s eyes. Every nation can achieve Man-Godhood. If only they don’t claim to be the God-head.

Yet, there must still be a visible head of a visible Church. But not a National head. It has to be a Universal head. That means an Ecclesial head, and not Civil head. Because a civil head is always national. And Oy, maybe that is in Jerusalem. But there can only be one mouth, and only one tongue. And that is (and always will be) First Rome. Even in her fevered synodal state today, she cannot officially speak heresy. Remember, synods are a hallmark of Orthodoxy. The mark of many heads. And many tongues. El Diablo approves of this message.

So, remember, Citizens of Heaven, there’s still time. But how much time? That’s the only real question. So then, Komrade, what is to be done?

The only way to win out is to have some skin in the game. (And who’s got more skin than Russia?) Well, you’ve got to risk something here Komrade. Otherwise, it’s just a mind game. You’ve got to place your bet. As Pascal taught us, any bet is better than no bet. And since none of us (except El Diablo) has total knowledge, we’re gonna have to go on Faith. Ask yourself this question: if God wanted to save the whole world, why would he choose a vehicle that denied Universal Sobornost? Solovyov understood this.

Do you?


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  1. Hagfish Bagpipe

    “As explained in a very important but rather obscure work by…”

    Perfect. One line that sums up your writing. You might have it chiseled on your headstone:

    Very Important but Rather Obscure

    …or pig Latinized:

    Importans ut Obscurum

  2. Jovan Dragisic

    Briggs, the usefulness of Watt for promoting fear ended when you had the character predict Russia nuking its way to Rome via China. Just retire him.

  3. Michael Dowd

    What is Ianto talking about? What is the point? Maybe someone can enlighten me.

  4. Cary D Cotterman

    Glad to see I’m not the only one wondering what that was all about. I’ve read Henry James novels that were clearer.

  5. If alternate universes existed there would be one in which Petro Mohyla’s ghost hung around for about 500 years, read this, and tweeted (X’ed out?) “LMAO”.

    p.s. You should read Clancy’s “The bear and the dragon” – From the Russian perspective Obama’s belief in himself as the 12th (?) Imam means the Clancy scenario won’t happen and that’s why Putin et al are keeping the A divisions east of the Urals (but rotating mid level command staff through the republics) while making nice with China (recall the def of diplomacy as the art of saying “nice doggy” while reaching for a big stick.).

    You’re right to the extent that it (Russia, [newly secular] Iran, and Anglosphere join up) should happen, and with Trump would be sufficiently likely to happen that the necessity would not arise anytime soon.

  6. Hagfish Bagpipe

    You naysayers, come, come. I find Mr. Watts’ essays, while delightfully obscure, important and thought provoking. I thank him for writing them, and our host for giving him a platform.

  7. cdquarles

    Well, that’s interesting and I find it convincing.

  8. cdquarles

    Also, I find it that we missed a great opportunity some 30 years ago; but the West was too arrogant (and ignorant, or both) to justly avail themselves of it.

  9. I think he’s saying Russia has some kind of scheme to rebuild the Tower of Babel. That didn’t end well last time.

  10. Fr. John Rickert, FSSP

    “Which, by the way, has weathered quite a few of these near-death experiences.”

    Dare we say, now, even out-of-body experiences?

    Thanks for the extraordinarily kind reference.

  11. There will be no hope for the salvation of Roman Catholicism/Protestantism unless the West becomes Russian Orthodox and rejects Papal Infallibility and the Filioque Heresy and Purgatory and Justification by Faith Alone and Sola Scriptura and the Five Points of Calvinism. Which is to say they take responsibility for birthing the West Filioque World which gave America the Mormon Religion the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, and the Herbert W. Armstrong British Israel cults.

  12. Vladimir Soloviev Papist heretic denied the fact that Roman Catholicism denies Universal (Catholic) Sobornost and replaces it with Romano-Frankish (German/Carolingian) Hegemony (2nd Europe Carolingian Filioquism). As long as Roman Catholicism and Protestant make Charlemagne their standard of Christian-political Western European orthodoxy, there can be no salvation for Papal Rome and the followers of Martin Luther and of John Calvin.

  13. Fr. John Rickert, FSSP

    Luther’s biggest (but not only) error was in adding “alone” to the Sacred Scripture saying, “The just man walks by faith.”

    The Orthodox error adds “alone” to Sacred Scripture about the Holy Spirit, “Who proceeds from the Father.”

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