Archive for October 18th, 2004

How to get to us

Monday, October 18th, 2004

Coming from the airport?

Alkmaar is about a 50-minute train trip from Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport. The train station is an integral part of the airport. Stop at a train ticket window and buy a one-way ticket to Alkmaar. The price is about 10 euros per ticket. (While waiting for your baggage, use the bank office in the baggage hall to buy euros. It’s open day and night.)

Trains leave for Amsterdam roughly every 20 minutes starting at about 5 AM, less often in the small hours of the night.

If you happen to catch a train that stops at Amsterdam-Sloterdijk, a station on the west edge of Amsterdam, change there, go to platforms 1 and 2 on the lower level of the station, and catch the train to Alkmaar.

If your train doesn’t stop at Amsterdam-Sloterdijk, then change at Amsterdam Central Station. Intercity trains for Alkmaar normally leave four times per hour from Amsterdam Central Station, usually from platform 7A-8A. There are also two “stop trains” per hour — meaning they stop at all stations along the way, with the last being Alkmaar. On the intercity train, it’s just over a half-hour ride from Central Station. The “stop train” takes about 45 minutes.

Most Dutch people speak English. If you get confused, ask for help from anyone at hand. Many people will also be willing to let you make a quick call on their mobile phone.

Once in Alkmaar

As you leave the station, cross the street and walk to the right along Stationsweg. They are currently laying yellow-brick tiles along the route into the town center — just follow the yellow-brick road.

In two minutes you’ll be at a light on a T intersection. Go to the left along Scharlo. Straight ahead you’ll get a glimpse of the Grote Kerk (the Great Church; in pre-Reformation times Alkmaar’s cathedral). Walk on 200 meters or so to the bridge, the Bergerbrug. This takes you across the Singel, the canal that surrounds the old town. Once across, walk onto the first street to your right, Geest (the Dutch word for ghost or spirit). Kanisstraat is the first right off Geest — a short no-traffic lane with a park at one end and the Geest at the other. We live in house number 5.

Carrying too much? Or it’s raining?

There’s a taxi stand in front of the train station. The price of the ride to our address will be less than 10 euros.

Map of Alkmaar

Jim & Nancy Forest

Kanisstraat 5

1811 GJ Alkmaar

the Netherlands

tel: (31)(72) 511.4180; within Holland: (072) 515.4180

mobile: 06 – 510 11 250

Jim’s e-mail: jhforest@gmail.com

Nancy’s e-mail: forestflier@gmail.com

web page: http://www.jimandnancyforest.com

Table of Contents

Monday, October 18th, 2004

Note: The web version of the book has been copy-edited by John Brady, who corrected many spelling and punctuation errors and made many other improvements in the text. Our thanks to him for all his help. We ask readers to notify us of further corrections that may be needed.

For the Peace From Above: a Resource Book on War, Peace and Nationalism is dedicated to all Orthodox youth living in places of war and conflict, as a tribute to their courage and faith.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter 1: How to use this Resource Book

Chapter 2: Defining terms: definitions from dictionaries and Church authors

Chapter 3: Reference texts from Holy Scripture

Chapter 4: Canonical reference texts

  • 4.1. Canonical texts from the Apostolic period
  • 4.2. Canons from the Ecumenical Councils
  • 4.3. Canons from the Local Councils
  • 4.4. Canons from the Fathers of the Church

Chapter 5: Reference texts from the Holy Fathers

Chapter 6: Reference texts from contemporary authors

Chapter 7: Nationalism, War and Peace in Orthodox liturgical texts

  • 7.1. Prayer for Peace in the Liturgy Archimandrite Lev Gillet
  • 7.2. From the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
  • 7.3. Commentary on the Mysteries: St. Cyril of Alexandria
  • 7.4. Prayers by the Lake: Bishop Nikolai of Ochrid
  • 7.5. A Soldier’s Prayer
  • 7.6. Prayer for the Salvation of the Russian State: St. Tikhon of Moscow
  • 7.7. Prayers for peace in former Yugoslavia
  • 7.8. On the Issue of the blessing of weapons
  • 7.9. Prayer for the pacification of animosity

Chapter 8: Fact sheets

  • 8.1. Martyrs from among Roman officers of the first four centuries
  • 8.2. Monastic Peacekeeping in Kosovo

Chapter 9: Official statements

  • 9.1. The Local Synod of Constantinople 1872
  • 9.2. The Bosporus Declaration
  • 9.3. Statement on the situation in Armenia-Azerbaijan, 1993
  • 9.4. Statements on the events in Russia, October 1993
  • Appeal by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II, 29/9/1993
  • Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1/10/1993
  • 9.5. Statements on the War in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1994
    • Statement of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia to the participants at the WCC Central Committee meeting in South Africa, 20-26/1 1994
    • Message of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church from its extraordinary meeting in Banja Luka, 1-4/11 1994
    • Appeal for peace and understanding among all people, 4/9 1994
  • 9.6. Statements on the situation in Kosovo, March 1999
    • Kosovo Peace and Tolerance — Vienna Declaration, 18/3 1999
    • Peace Appeal of the Serbian Orthodox Church, 23/3 1999
    • Statement of the Orthodox Church of Albania, 29/3 1999
  • 9.7. Syndesmos Statements
    • Declaration of the Syndesmos War and Peace in Europe Seminar, 1-9/10 1994
    • A cry of World Orthodox Youth regarding the Kosovo and Methohija Crisis, VIth Syndesmos General Assembly, 24/7 1999

    Chapter 10: Essays and Texts

    Chapter 11: Study and action guide

    Introduction

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    In 1968, a Syndesmos General Assembly took place at the very moment that the established order in Western Europe seemed about to be shaken. In his address to the Assembly, Syndesmos President Mr. Albert Laham from Lebanon stated

    The world is not in peace. Neither is it in unity. The spirit of this world, which burns from the black ghettos of Chicago to the streets of Paris, from the Holy Land in the Middle East to the jungles of Africa, this spirit is not the Spirit of unity and peace. It is not a bond which can pacify and unite. It is a barrier which can only divide and destroy. But the firm belief of Syndesmos, and its only reason for existence, is that there is a Spirit, not as this world gives, which is a power, a unity and a peace. There is a Spirit which can burn in men and movements and can empower them to go beyond every spirit of this world. This is the Spirit which Christ gives, the fire which He has cast upon the earth. And Syndesmos desires, as its only consuming desire, to be alive and burning with this spiritual fire.

    In 1973, the Syndesmos General Secretariat had to be evacuated from Beirut following the Lebanese civil war. Ten years later, political turmoil still prevented Syrian and Lebanese delegates from taking part in the XIth Syndesmos General Assembly in Crete. The XVIth General Assembly of 1999 took place under the sign of tensions in former Yugoslavia, the Russian Federation, the Holy Land, Georgia and other places where Orthodox live.

    Many Orthodox young people today live near conflict areas or are directly touched by war. Every day, thousands of believers face some of the most difficult of questions: Am I allowed to kill in combat? May I fight injustice by violent methods? When the demands of my country seem at odds with the demands of the Kingdom of God, how do I respond to this conflict?

    Rarely do we find simple answers to such questions. Thus we search for help in Holy Scripture, the Canons, the writing of the Fathers of the Church, and reflect on the lives of the Saints.

    We hope this resource book can help, drawing as it does on the experience of our fathers and forefathers. They teach us examples to follow and attitudes to reject. The Tradition of the Orthodox Church has much to give to its faithful who are caught up in the vicissitudes of Twentieth-Century warfare.

    Nonetheless, we cannot simply copy what other have done in the past. Different eras have found different attitudes, and many of today’s problems never existed before. Yet knowledge of Sacred Tradition may help us find ways out of the dead ends that many communities experience today.

    His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, a former Syndesmos Vice-President, says: “All religious communities must turn to the very depth of their doctrine and to the best pages of their respective traditions in order to find the principles of a sacred anthropology which puts the emphasis on sincere respect of the whole human person.”

    This is the aim of this book.

    The present Resource Book attempts to provide original resource texts concerning Orthodoxy, War, Peace and Nationalism. In compiling the book, we have attempted to gather documents that express well the variety of points of view on the theme. These texts do not necessarily express the point of view of the editors or of Syndesmos.

    The Syndesmos Resource Book on War, Peace and Nationalism was supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

    Syndesmos expresses its deep gratitude to all those who have made this book possible. In the first place, we thank His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos for providing his speech at the 1994 Conference on Peace and Tolerance. We also thank His Beatitude Metropolitan George of Mount Lebanon, His Eminence Bishop Irineaus of Backa, Fr. Stanley Harakas, Archimandrite Grigorios (Papathomas), Mr. Olivier Clément, Mr. Tarek Mitri, Mr. Yevgeniy Petrovskiy and the Service Orthodoxe de Presse for their kind permission to use their texts. Finally, this book would not have been possible without the support of many others: Deacon John Sewter, Mrs. Hélene Klépinine-Arjakovsky, Mrs. Cathérine Aslanoff, Mr. Michael Bakker, Mr. Alexander Belopopsky, Mrs. Tatiana Bos-Arjakovsky, The Fellowship of Orthodox Youth in Poland, Syndesmos Secretary-General elect Ms. Rebecca Hookway, Mr. André Lossky, Syndesmos Secretary-General Mr. Vladimir Misijuk, Mr. Spiridon Tsimouris and Mrs. Svetlana Yerchova.

    November 1999

    Hildo Bos, Vice-President, Syndesmos

    Jim Forest, Secretary, Orthodox Peace Fellowship

    Next

    For the Peace From Above — Table of Contents

    Chapter 1

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE BOOK

    To whom the Book is addressed

    The Syndesmos Orthodox Resource Book on War, Peace and Nationalism was conceived for youth groups, lay associations and individuals wishing to study the issue. It does not claim to be a scientific work of reference, and is certainly not exhaustive.

    Aims

    The Resource Book aims to be a tool for study, discussion and action on the issues of war, peace and nationalism. It does not attempt to convey any particular opinion, but rather to indicate relevant sources to those who wish to clarify their understanding of the Church’s teaching on these and related subjects. In order to achieve this, we have followed a number of working principles:

    to provide a maximum of original sources;

    to prefer official Church documents to documents expressing private opinions;

    in choosing documents expressing private opinions, to represent various points of view;

    to provide a maximum of bibliographical references;

    to keep editors’ comments to an absolute minimum;

    to strive towards a balance between sources from the different Local Orthodox Churches.

    Sources

    Most sources used to compile the Resource Book are named in the Bibliography. The documents originate from a wide array of sources and vary strongly in their use of English. They range from XIXth-century editions of the Holy Fathers to modern translations from French, Greek, Russian and Serbian by a variety of translators. The editors have attempted to unify the text and to provide bibliographical references to each quoted text, allowing the reader to locate the source in the original language.

    How to Use this Resource Book

    There are many ways to use this book. Whether you wish to study the topic alone, discuss it in a youth group or undertake concrete action, you will find something useful here!

    Bible Study

    Formulate a question related to war, peace or nationalism, which will be your starting point

    Write down in a few sentences what you expect the answer to be

    Check the relevant sections of the Resource Book for Bible quotes

    Compare the quotes with parallel verses in your Bible

    Try to find other relevant quotes with the help of a concordance

    Try to find commentaries on the quotes that you have found, in the Patristic and Modern Authors’ sections of the Resource Book and in a study Bible (example: “Come, Receive the Light;” “The Orthodox Study Bible”)

    Take a look at the materials that you have found. Ask yourself the following questions:

    - Have I found most of the relevant Bible verses?

    - How can I summarize the spirit of these biblical texts on my question?

    - Do the commentators read the text differently than I do?

    Compare the outcome of your research with your initial expectations. Any discoveries?

    Write down your most important discoveries, new insights or useful reference texts. In this way you will start making your own resource book!

    Ideas for Bible Studies:

    The Old Testament teaching on the Promised Land and the Kingdom of God

    The love of enemies

    Can a Christian state really exist?

    What does Christ mean when He says “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mt. 10:34-36)?

    The New Testament’s attitude towards participation in armed combat

    Military images for spiritual life in the letters of St. Paul

    Martyrdom and self-defense

    Earthly and heavenly fatherlands

    Group Activities

    Reading a text with (or worse: in front of) a group can make the most interesting story become dull. But you can make texts come alive, too! Through many of the texts in the Reference Book, the Fathers of the Church or even our Lord Himself speak to us. So make them heard!

    Here are some ideas on how to use the Resource Book with groups:

    Presentations

    An easy way to make a text or topic come alive. A group leader or participant, or several, studies one of the texts of the Resource Book and presents an oral résumé to the group. Here, the Resource Book may be only the starting point of research and discussion. Offers an occasion of close reading to the presenter and acquaints participants with the content of texts they might not otherwise read.

    Pick the presenters and topics.

    Give the presenters sufficient time to prepare (one to several days) and indicate how long they can speak (not more than 15-20 min.).

    The presentations are given in front of the group and are followed by discussion.

    Carrousel Presentations

    This method is very stimulating and inspires people to familiarize themselves with the material in the Book. In a short time, they will be exposed to several reading reports. Each time, discussion will be broken off by the time signal, leaving participants in the end with a great impetus for study and exchange. Allow for free time afterwards to give an opportunity for discussion.

    Preparation: you need a venue with several spaces for small groups that are not too far away from each other. The group leaders ask some participants to read one specific text from the Resource Book (a chapter, essay, statement or even a Bible quote) and to prepare a short 5 to 10 minute presentation. The texts may be chosen according to a theme, their length, or picked by the “readers” themselves.

    Divide the group in as many small groups as there are readers; number the groups.

    Every group follows a reader to a separate place.

    Each reader gives a 5-10 minute presentation of what he/she has read to his/her group.

    Each group discusses the presentation for 10 minutes.

    After 10 minutes, each group moves on to another reader. The readers remain in place (so they find a new group in front of them).

    The readers repeat their presentations to the new group; 10 minutes of discussion follow;

    Continue like this until all groups have listened to all presentations.

    Round up with a 15-minute group discussion.

    Round Table

    A less interactive method which will stimulate study and raise questions. Pick a concrete topic which is well represented in the Resource Book. Invite three or four participants to prepare themselves for the round table well in advance. Allot to each of them a specific (and different) point of view to defend. During preparation, they should find a maximum of arguments for their position in the Resource Book. Another participant, or a group leader, should act as moderator of the round table, enforcing the following rules: 1) the round table participants should defend their point of view and attempt to convince others; 2) only documented positions are allowed (i.e. not “I think that…,” but “isn’t it written that…” 3) all round table participants should attempt to present an authoritative opinion of the Church.

    Introduce the aim of the Round Table: the guests have been invited to give their opinion on the topic. They should convince their opponents and the audience.

    Introduce the role of the moderator: assuring that only documented opinions are expressed.

    The moderator introduces the topic and invites the first guest to speak.

    After 3-5 minutes, he passes the word, and so on.

    When all have spoken, the moderator co-ordinates discussion.

    The moderator may decide to accept questions from the floor.

    After 45 minutes, stop the discussion; the floor is open and the entire group decides which point of view it considers closest to the position of the Church.

    Close the session with an evaluation.

    Bible Quotes Quiz

    Pick a number of topics well represented in the Resource Book. Allow participants sufficient time to acquaint themselves with the relevant sections. Either make teams or pick individual contestants. Make up a list of questions to which clear answers are possible (you may organize a workshop for the formulation of questions!). Appoint a jury which will decide whether answers qualify. Although it contains a competitive element, this game offers a direct impetus to familiarize oneself with texts. The quiz element may be underscored by the use of costumes, lights, prizes, a gong, and supporter groups. The rules are as follows: 1) the contestants or teams may use one or more non-annotated Bibles, but not the Resource Book; 2) answers to questions on Bible quotes qualify only if they contain both the correct text and reference; 3) if more than one quote is appropriate, each correct answer counts as one point; 4) wrong answers cost one point; 5) only one person per team will answer (advised by the team members). Modify the roles according to the needs and spirit of your group!

    Explain the rules of the quiz.

    Create teams or name contestants.

    Pose the questions and keep the score…

    Liturgical Workshop

    The Resource Book offers many ways to study liturgical texts. Make sure you have the necessary liturgical books in a language that the participants understand. Make small groups and assign a concrete task to each of them. This workshop may be followed by a session of carrousel presentations where the groups expose the results of their research. Some ideas for liturgical workshops:

    The theme of peace in the text of the Divine Liturgy

    Commemoration of wars, peace treaties and natural calamities in the Menaion

    Detailed studies of the synaxaria and services of the martyr soldiers mentioned in Chapter 8

    The stichera on “both now:” on “Lord, I cry unto Thee” in the Vespers of 25 December by Cassia

    The history and text of the Akathist

    The notion of spiritual warfare in the Lenten Triodion

    Peace and the Eucharist

    Prayers for the Emperor and the army in the history of the services of the Church

    The blessing of soldiers, arms and armies

    The feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God

    Enjoy using the Resource Book!

    Next

    For the Peace From Above — Table of Contents

    Chapter 2

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    DEFINING TERMS: DEFINITIONS FROM DICTIONARIES AND CHURCH AUTHORS

    Nation

    28. a. An extensive aggregate of persons, so closely associated with each other by common descent, language, or history, as to form a distinct race or people, usually organized as a separate political state and occupying a definite territory. In early examples the racial idea is usually stronger than the political; in recent use the notion of political unity and independence is more prominent.

    A number of persons belonging to a particular nation; representatives of any nation.

    2. The nations.

    a. In and after Biblical use: The heathen nations, the Gentiles.

    b. The peoples of the earth; the population of the earth collectively.

    4. a. The nation, the whole people of a country, frequently in contrast to some smaller or narrower body within it.

    Two nations: phr. used of two groups within a given nation divided from each other by marked social inequality; hence one nation, a nation which is not divided by social inequalities.

    Attrib. and Comb. (see also sense 1 a ad fin.), as nation-building, the creation of a new nation, spec. a newly independent nation; hence nation-builder; nation-state, a sovereign state the members of which are also united by those ties such as language, common descent, etc., which constitute a nation; nation-wide a., as wide as a nation; extending over, reaching, or affecting the whole nation; also as adv.

    Oxford English dictionary, 2nd ed.

    Nationalism

    Theology. The doctrine that certain nations (as contrasted with individuals) are the object of divine election.

    Devotion to one’s nation; national aspiration; a policy of national independence.

    A form of socialism, based on the nationalizing of all industry.

    Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.

    Ethno-Phyletism (racism)

    Phyletism (from phyli — race, tribe) is the principle of nationalities applied in the ecclesiastical domain: in other words, the confusion between Church and nation. The term ethnophyletismos designates the idea that a local autocephalous Church should be based not on a local [ecclesial] criterion, but on an ethnophyletist, national or linguistic one. It was used at the Holy and Great ["Meizon" --"enlarged"] pan-Orthodox Synod in Constantinople on the 10th of September 1872 to qualify “phyletist (religious) nationalism,” which was condemned as a modern ecclesial heresy: the Church should not be confused with the destiny of a single nation or a single race; Orthodoxy is therefore hostile to any forms of racial messianism. Also, one should clearly distinguish between ethnicism (which has a positive content) and nationalism (which has a negative content and which in Greek is called ethnikismos [ethnicism]): the first should be considered the servant, the latter the enemy of the nation.

    Course of Canon Law — Appendix VI — canonical glossary, By Grigorios Papathomas, Paris 1995

    State

    a. A particular form of polity or government. the state, the form of government and constitution established in a country; e.g. the popular state, democracy (cf. F. état populaire). state royal: a monarchy. Obs.

    b. A republic, non-monarchical commonwealth. Obsolete.

    29. a. the state: the body politic as organized for supreme civil rule and government; the political organization which is the basis of civil government (either generally and abstractly, or in a particular country); hence, the supreme civil power and government vested in a country or nation.

    Distinguished from “the church” or ecclesiastical organization and authority. In the phr. church and state the article is dropped.

    30. a. A body of people occupying a defined territory and organized under a sovereign government. Hence occas. the territory occupied by such a body.

    (Without article.) All that concerns the government or ruling power of a country; the sphere of supreme political power and administration. The adjectival phr. of state (‘ F. d’état, It. di stato) is otherwise expressed by the attributive use (see 38) in state, in the sphere of government or politics.

    Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.

    Peace

    I. 1. a. Freedom from, or cessation of, war or hostilities; that condition of a nation or community in which it is not at war with another.

    (With article.) A ratification or treaty of peace between two powers previously at war. Also, formerly, a temporary cessation of hostilities, a truce.) In Hist. often defined by or with the name of the place at which it was ratified.

    With possessive or of (the peace of any one, his peace, etc.): A state or relation of peace, concord, and amity, with him; esp. peaceful recognition of the authority or claims, and acceptance of the protection, of a king or lord. Obs. (Has affinities with senses 2, 4, 10 a.)

    2. Freedom from civil commotion and disorder; public order and security. (See also 10.)

    3. a. Freedom from disturbance or perturbation (esp. as a condition in which an individual person is); quiet, tranquillity, undisturbed state. Also emphasized as peace and quiet(ness).

    In and after Biblical use, in various expressions of well-wishing or salutation. Following L. pax and Gr. eirini ‘peace’ often represents Heb. Shalom, properly ‘ safety, welfare, prosperity.

    4. a. Freedom from quarrels or dissension between individuals; a state of friendliness; concord, amity. (See also 11 a, 15.)

    Kiss of peace: a kiss given in sign of friendliness; spec. a kiss of greeting given in token of Christian love (see pax) at religious services in early times; now, in the Western Ch., usually only during High Mass.

    5. Freedom from mental or spiritual disturbance or conflict arising from passion, sense of guilt, etc.; calmness; peace of mind, soul, or conscience.

    6. a. Absence of noise, movement, or activity; stillness, quiet; inertness. (See also 13.)

    15. a. To make peace: to bring about a state of peace, in various senses:

    to effect a reconciliation between persons or parties at variance; to conclude peace with a nation at the close of a war;

    to enter into friendly relations with a person, as by a league of amity, or by submission;

    to enforce public order;

    to enforce silence.

    To make one’s, or a person’s, peace: to effect reconciliation for oneself or for some one else; to come, or bring some one, into friendly relations (with another). (In quot. c 1400, to admit a person to friendly relations with oneself.)

    Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.

    War

    I. 1. a. Hostile contention by means of armed forces, carried on between nations, states, or rulers, or between parties in the same nation or state; the employment of armed forces against a foreign power, or against an opposing party in the state. For civil, intestine, etc. war, see the adjs. war to the knife [after Sp. guerra al cuchillo], see knife n. 1 b; war to the death, see death n. 12 c.

    transf. and fig. Applied poet. or rhetorically to any kind of active hostility or contention between living beings, or of conflict between opposing forces or principles.

    3. a. In particularized sense: A contest between armed forces carried on in a campaign or series of campaigns.

    Freq. used with def. art. to designate a particular war, esp. one in progress or recently ended. Hence between the wars, between the war of 1914-18 and that of 1939-45 (cf. inter-war a.). Often with identifying word or phrase, as in the Trojan war, the Punic Wars, the Wars of the Roses, the Thirty Years’ War. holy war: a war waged in a religious cause: applied, e.g. to the Crusades, and to the jihad among Muslims. Sacred War in Gr. Hist., the designation of two wars (b.c. 595 and 357-346) waged by the Amphictyonic Council against Phocis in punishment of alleged sacrilege. War Between the States (esp. in the use of Southerners), the American Civil War. For servile, social war, see the adjs.

    Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.

    There are three very grievous kinds of war. The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies: The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another: The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all.

    Homily 7 on 1 Tim 2:2-4, by St. John Chrysostom

    War is a great evil, even the greatest of evils. But because enemies shed our blood in fulfilment of an incitement of law and valour, and because it is wholly necessary for each man to defend his own fatherland and his fellow countrymen with words, writings, and acts, we have decided to write about strategy, through which we shall be able not only to fight but to overcome the enemy.

    Byzantine Manual of Strategy (VIth c.), Anonymous

    War is the wing of death which overshadows the earth; war opens the gates of eternity for thousands and thousands of people; war crushes established the bourgeois order, coziness and stability. War is a calling, war opens our eyes.

    How war opens our eyes, by Mother Maria (Skobtsova)

    Without doubt, from the Christian point of view, war is an evil and a sin, against which the Church is obliged to struggle.

    The Church and national identity, by A. Kartachov, Paris, 1934

    Identity

    The world “identity” can be used in several ways. In its proper sense, as its etymology from the Latin word idem suggests, it means selfsameness, that which makes a given object to be one and the same yesterday, today and forever. But in everyday English (and possibly in other languages as well), it is also used in a looser sense, to mean individuality or personality, that which distinguishes a given subject from others, “the set of behavioural and individual characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognisable or known.”1 Thus, in the United States for example, we can speak of an underworld informant being given a new identity as part of a government witness protection program.

    When referring to the Church, Orthodox theologians most often have used “identity” in the former sense, to mean selfsameness. Consider this passage from an essay by Fr. George Florovsky:

    The Orthodox Church claims to be the Church… The Orthodox Church is conscious and aware of her identity through the ages, in spite of all perplexities and changes. She has kept intact and immaculate the sacred heritage of the early Church, of the Apostles and of the fathers, ‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ She is aware of the identity of her teaching with the apostolic message and the tradition of the Ancient Church, even though she might have failed occasionally to convey this message to particular generations in its full splendour and in a way that carries conviction.2

    What gives the Orthodox Church her identity, Florovsky continues, is “living tradition.” This is not “just a human tradition, maintained by human memory and imitation.” Rather:

    It is a sacred or holy tradition, maintained by the abiding presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The ultimate identity of the Church is grounded in her sacramental structure, in the organic continuity of the Body, which is always ‘visible’ and historically identifiable and recognisable, although at the same time it transcends and surpasses the closed historical dimension, being the token and the embodiment of the divine communion once granted and also the token and the anticipation of the life to come.3

    Most Orthodox theologians would accept this understanding of the identity of the Orthodox Church, though like Florovsky they would usually add some words of caution against triumphalism. For, as Florovsky observes:

    There is no pride and arrogance in this claim. Indeed, it implies a heavy responsibility. Nor does it mean ‘perfection.’ The Church is still in pilgrimage, in travail, in via. She has her historic failures and losses, she has her own unfinished tasks and problems.”4

    And like Florovsky, most Orthodox theologians would locate the ultimate identity of the Church “in her sacramental structure, in the organic continuity of the Body” — in her sacramental and spiritual life, which “has ever been the same in the course of ages”5 despite the “historic failures and losses.” They also would be able to point to times when this underlying sacramental structure has been determinative for the course of church history — to the Byzantine Empire, for example, where the institutional claims of patriarchs and emperors and the charismatic claims of monastics were equally subject to the test of the Church’s sacramental ethos.6

    A full account of how these distinctive characteristics have emerged and have gained prominence in Orthodox self-understanding would require many volumes. At the risk of oversimplification, we may identify two main ways in which this has occurred:

    by emulation, i.e., by imitation or appropriation for oneself of the claims, institutions or practices of another; and

    by contradiction, i.e., by rejection of the claims, institutions or practices of another and concurrent development of claims, institutions and practices more or less directly opposed to them.

    – The Formation of Orthodox Ecclesial Identity, by John H. Erickson Balamand, 1997

    Notes for chapter 2:

    1 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, [1992]), s.v.

    2 The Quest for Christian Unity and the Orthodox Church, Collected Works vol. 13 (Vaduz: Buechervertriebsanstalt, 1989) 136-44 at pp. 139-140, originally published in Theology and Life 4 (August 1961) 197-208.

    3 Ibid.

    4 Ibid.

    5 Ibid.

    6 On the role of liturgy in maintaining Orthodox ecclesial identity see, among others, J. Meyendorff, The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (Crestwood NY: SVS Press, 1982) 122-23, and also J. Erickson, “The Hermeneutics of Reconciliation. Perspectives from the Orthodox Liturgical Experience,” Reformed Liturgy & Music 30.4 (1996), 196-98.

    Marginal quotations from chapter 2:

    They [the Christians] dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign.

    The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapter 5

    We live in a time of savage, animal nationalism, of a cult of brute violence, we witness a genuine return to paganism. A process countering the christening and humanisation of human societies is taking place. Nationalism should be condemned by the Christian Church as a heresy.

    N. Berdyayev, 1935

    Pogroms are the victory of your enemies. Pogroms are a dishonour for yourself, a dishonour to the Church!

    Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, 1919

    For us Christians the Jewish issue is by no means a question of whether the Jews are good or bad, but a question of whether we Christians are good or bad. From a Christian point of view, racist anti-Semitism is absolutely intolerable, it clashes in an unequivocal manner with the universality of Christianity. Modern racism means de-christening and de-humanisation, a return to barbarism and paganism.

    N. Berdyayev, 1935

    One who is in haste to desert a secular condition and enter on an ecclesiastical office is not wishing to relinquish secular affairs, but to change them.

    Epistles, by St. Gregory the Great, Book 3, Epistle 65

    Absolute states on earth are the image of man deified, of anti-Christianity, they are the incarnation of the spirit of the prince of this world, from whom it is said: “and to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:2).

    The task of the State of Christians is: serving Christian morality. However, such a service presupposes a certain spiritual equilibrium, where the state does not go beyond its own, legal tasks. Still even this situation always remains unstable; when the state crosses these boundaries, it turns into the beast.

    Fr. Sergi Boulgakov, 1944

    War is one of the tools in the hands of God, as well as peace.

    War is a poison, which kills, but which at the same time cures and heals.

    It is better to have one great and mighty river than many small streams which easily freeze in frost and which are easily covered with dust and filth. A war which gathers an entire people for a great cause is better than a peace which knows as many tiny causes at it knows people, which divides brothers, neighbours, all human beings, and which hides in itself an evil and hidden war against all.

    Bishop Nikolai of Ochrid, 1929

    Next

    For the Peace From Above — Table of Contents

    Chapter 3

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    REFERENCE TEXTS FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE

    Nation, Nationalism

    The True Homeland of the Christians

    Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”

    – John 18:36

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

    – John 14:27

    I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    – John 16:33

    Let those who deal with the world be as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.

    – 1 Cor. 7:31

    Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

    – James 4:4

    We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.

    – 1 John 5:19

    For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

    – 1 Tim. 6:7-10

    And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

    – Job 1:21

    These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had an opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared them a city.

    – Hebr. 11:13-16

    So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

    –Eph. 2:18-22

    National Identity of the Christians

    For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

    –Gal. 3:26-29

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

    –1 Pet. 2:9

    The LORD is the strength of his people, he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

    O save thy people, and bless thy heritage; be thou their shepherd, and carry them for ever.

    –Ps. 28:8-9

    Peace

    Peace in Ourselves

    Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

    –1 Pet. 3:3-4

    Peace with Each Other

    Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

    –Mark 9:50

    For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

    –Rom. 5:10

    Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

    –Heb. 12:14

    Making Peace

    They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

    –Jer. 6:14

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    –Matt. 5:9

    Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

    –Rom. 14:19

    What man is there who desires life, and covets many days, that he may enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

    –Psalm 34:12-14

    Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war!

    –Psalm 120:6-7

    May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

    –Psalm 29:11

    Behold now, the Assyrians are increased in their might; they are exalted, with their horses and riders; they glory in the strength of their foot soldiers; they trust in shield and spear, in bow and sling, and know not that thou art the Lord who crushest wars; the Lord is thy name.

    –Judith 9:7

    For God is the Lord who crushes wars; for he has delivered me out of the hands of my pursuers, and brought me to his camp, in the midst of the people.

    –Judith 16:3

    God’s Peace

    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

    –Luke 2:13-14

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

    –John 14:27

    I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    –John 16:33

    On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”

    –John 20:19-21

    For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

    –Rom. 14:17-19

    For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

    –1 Cor. 14:33

    Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

    –2 Cor. 13:11

    For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

    –Eph. 2:14-17

    And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him.

    –Col. 1:20-22

    And to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.

    –Heb. 7:2

    For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

    –Is. 9:6

    Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    –Heb. 13:20-21

    Non-violence and Martyrdom

    Christians Should Not Revenge; Forgiveness

    You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

    –Matt. 5:38-41

    Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.

    Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”

    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    –Rom. 12:10-21

    Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it.”

    –1 Pet. 3:8-11

    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

    –Eph. 4:31-5:1

    For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.

    –1 Pet. 3:17

    You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbour, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the LORD.

    –Lev. 19:17-18

    They beset me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, even as I make prayer for them. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

    –Psalm 109:3-5

    Non-violence

    You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

    –Matt. 5:38-41

    And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

    –Matt. 26:51

    Test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    –1 Th. 5:21-23

    Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before me, who requires of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

    –Is. 1:10-20

    Martyrdom

    Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.

    –Heb. 11:35

    Love of Enemies

    Love of Neighbour

    You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

    –Matt. 5:21

    And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    –Mark 12:28-30

    Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbour.”

    –Rom. 13:8-9

    He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still.

    –1 Jn 2:9

    Love of Enemies

    You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    –Matt. 5:43-48

    But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

    –Luke 6:27-28

    And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

    –Luke 6:34-36

    War

    Inevitability of War

    Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.

    –Mt. 10:34-36

    You will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the sufferings.

    –Mt. 24:6-8

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

    –Eccl. 3:1-8

    Causes of War

    The harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

    –James 3:18-4:4

    O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have requited my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue me and overtake me, and let him trample my life to the ground, and lay my soul in the dust.

    –Psalm 7:3-5

    The Lord Grants Victory

    A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield.

    –Psalm 33:16-20

    Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war!

    –Psalm 120:6-7

    Behold now, the Assyrians are increased in their might; they are exalted, with their horses and riders; they glory in the strength of their foot soldiers; they trust in shield and spear, in bow and sling, and know not that thou art the Lord who crushest wars; the Lord is thy name.

    –Judith 9:7

    For God is the Lord who crushes wars; for he has delivered me out of the hands of my pursuers, and brought me to his camp, in the midst of the people.

    –Judith 16:3

    And Joshua said, “Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

    –Josh. 3:10

    Then you shall rise up from the ambush, and seize the city; for the LORD your God will give it into your hand. And when you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire, doing as the LORD has bidden; see, I have commanded you.”

    –Josh. 8:7-8

    Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s and he will give you into our hand.” When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; there was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

    –1 Sam. 17:45-51

    The Lord of Hosts

    The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “The people of Israel shall encamp each by his own standard, with the ensigns of their fathers’ houses; they shall encamp facing the tent of meeting on every side.”

    –Num. 2:1-2

    The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

    –Psalm 46:11

    How Should Soldiers Behave

    Soldiers also asked him (St. John the Baptist, ed.), “and we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

    –Lk. 3:13

    Killing and Bloodshed

    Who Has the Right to Kill

    You shall not kill.

    –Ex. 20:13

    If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples that are round about you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him; but you shall kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    –Deut. 13:6-10

    As they continued to ask him (whether or not to stone the woman caught in adultery, ed.), he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and do not sin again.”

    –Jn. 8:7-11

    Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.

    –Psalm 101:8

    In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

    –Ex. 12:11-13

    Bloodshed Calls for More Bloodshed

    And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

    –Matt. 26:51

    The Sin of Bloodshed

    You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.

    –Matt. 23:33-36

    Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation.

    –Luke 11:49-51

    Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. If any one has an ear, let him hear: If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

    –Rev. 13:710

    Church-State Relations

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due.

    –Rom. 13:1-7

    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.

    –1 Tim. 2:1 -2

    Spiritual Warfare

    The Real Enemy

    And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

    –Matt. 10:28

    You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the demon of noonday.

    –Psalm 91:5-6 LXX

    And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. If any one has an ear, let him hear: If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

    –Rev. 13:1-10

    The Judgement

    He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

    –John 12:48

    And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. … Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.’

    –Rev. 2:12-16

    Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

    –Rev. 19:11-15

    The Good Fight

    But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

    –1 Tim. 6:11-12

    Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.

    –2 Tim. 2:3-4

    Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.

    –Rom. 13:10-13

    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

    –Eph. 6:10-20.

    Non-biblical quotations to consider:

    The hate of an entire people is a sin, it is murder of human beings and those that hate must bear responsibility for it.

    – N. Berdyayev, 1935

    This phrase confronts us with all that is absolute and — though one hesitates to say so — inaccessible in the Christian duty to love. To be merciful as the Father is merciful does not mean that our mercy could ever reach to the infinity of divine mercy; but, that in our own small measure, we should be inspired by the same feelings as the Father; it is from the ocean of the Father’s mercy that the minute drops of water which are our acts of mercy must come, and it is into this ocean that they must finally flow. We are not able to perform the merciful acts of the Father, but we can share in his spirit of mercy.

    – Archimandrite Lev Gillet; Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY

    “And the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshipped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast saying, ‘Who is like beast, And who can fight against it?’” (13:4). It is difficult to add anything to the simplicity of these words, which may be applied to the totality of world history. Today’s tsarism both the Russian and the Germanic type, in their own way are new and almost unexpected parallels of Roman absolutism, as is its victorious self-affirmation, which leads entire peoples which are under its power to a state of madness.

    – Fr. Sergi Boulgakov, 1948

    Next

    For the Peace From Above — Table of Contents

    Chapter 4

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    CANONICAL REFERENCE TEXTS

    4.1. Canonical texts from the Apostolic period

    Canons and rulings not having Conciliar origin but approved by name in canon II of the Synod in Trullo.

    The 85 Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles[1]

    CANON VI: Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, undertake worldly business; otherwise let him be deposed.

    CANON LXVI: If any clergyman shall strike anyone in a contest, and kill him with one blow, let him be deposed for his violence. If a layman do so, let him be excommunicated.

    CANON LXXXI: We have said that a bishop or presbyter must not give himself to the management of public affairs, but devote himself to ecclesiastical business. Let him then be persuaded to do so, or let him be deposed, for no man can serve two masters, according to the Lord’s declaration.

    CANON LXXXIII: If a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall serve in the army, and wish to retain both the Roman magistracy and the priestly office, let him be deposed; for the things of Caesar belong to Caesar, and those of God to God.

    4.2. Canons from the Ecumenical Councils

    First Ecumenical Council of Nicea

    The 20 Canons of the 318 Holy and God-inspired Fathers who gathered in the city of Nicea under Constantine the Great … in the year 325 A.D., before the 13th day of July.

    CANON XII: As many as were called by grace, and displayed the first zeal, having cast aside their military girdles, but afterwards returned, like dogs, to their own vomit, (so that some spent money and by means of gifts regained their military stations); let these, after they have passed the space of three years as hearers, be for ten years prostrators[2]. But in all these cases it is necessary to examine well into their purpose and what their repentance appears to be like. For as many as give evidence of their conversions by deeds, and not pretence, with fear, and tears, and perseverance, and good works, when they have fulfilled their appointed time as hearers, may properly communicate in prayers; and after that the bishop may determine yet more favourably concerning them. But those who take [the matter] with indifference, and who think the form of [not] entering the Church is sufficient for their conversion, must fulfil the whole time[3].

    Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon

    The 28 Canons and two more in the form of questions and answers, of the 630 Holy Fathers gathered in Chalcedon during the reign of Marcianus … , before the 8th day of November, 451 A.D.

    CANON III: It has come to [the knowledge of] the holy Synod that certain of those who are enrolled among the clergy have, through lust of gain, become hirers of other men’s possessions, and make contracts pertaining to secular affairs, lightly esteeming the service of God, and slip into the houses of secular persons, whose property they undertake through covetousness to manage. Wherefore the great and holy Synod decrees that henceforth no bishop, clergyman, nor monk shall hire possessions, or engage in business, or occupy himself in worldly engagements, unless he shall be called by the law to the guardianship of minors, from which there is no escape; or unless the bishop of the city shall commit to him the care of ecclesiastical business, or of unprovided orphans or widows and of persons who stand especially in need of the Church’s help, through the fear of God. And if any one shall hereafter transgress these decrees, he shall be subjected to ecclesiastical penalties[4].

    CANON VII: Those who have entered the clergy or have been tonsured into the monastic state may no longer serve in the army or accept any civil charge; otherwise those who have dared do so, and who have not repented and returned to their prior occupation for the love of God, shall be anathemised.

    4.3. Canons from the Local Councils

    The Local Council of Ancyra

    The 25 canons of the August Fathers gathered in Ancyra in 314 A.D., canons which precede the Council of Nicea but which come in second position given the authority of the Ecumenical Council.

    CANON XXII: Concerning wilful murderers let them remain prostrators; but at the end of life let them be indulged with full communion[5].

    CANON XXIII: Concerning involuntary homicides, a former decree directs that they be received to full communion after seven years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees; but this second one, that they fulfil a term of five years[6].

    The Local Council of Sardica

    The 20 canons of the Holy Fathers gathered in Sardica in 343 A.D., fathers who gathered after the fathers of Nicea.

    CANON VII: Bishop Hosius said: Our importunity and great pertinacity and unjust petitions have brought it about that we do not have as much favour and confidence as we ought to enjoy. For many of the bishops do not intermit resorting to the imperial Court, especially the Africans, who, as we have learned from our beloved brother and fellow-bishop, Gratus, do not accept salutary counsels, but so despise them that one man carries to the Court petitions many and diverse and of no possible benefit to the Church, and does not (as ought to be done and as is fitting) assist and help the poor and the laity or the widows, but is intriguing to obtain worldly dignities and offices for certain persons. This evil then causes murmuring, not without some scandal and blame to us. But I account it quite proper for a bishop to give assistance to one oppressed by some one, or to a widow suffering injustice, or, again, an orphan robbed of his estate, always provided that these persons have a just cause of petition.

    If, then, beloved brethren, this seems good to all, do ye decree that no bishop shall go to the imperial Court except those whom our most pious emperor may summon by his own letters. Yet since it often happens that persons condemned for their offences to deportation or banishment to an island, or who have received some sentence or other, beg for mercy and seek refuge with the Church [i.e., take sanctuary], such persons are not to be refused assistance, but pardon should be asked for them without delay and without hesitation. If this, then, is also your pleasure, do ye all vote assent.

    All gave answer: Be this also decreed[7].

    CANON VIII: Bishop Hosius said: This also let your sagacity determine, that — inasmuch as this was decreed in order that a bishop might not fall under censure by going to the Court — that if any have such petitions as we mentioned above, they should send these by one of their deacons. For the person of a subordinate does not excite jealousy, and what shall be granted [by the Emperor] can thus be reported more quickly.

    All answered: Be this also decreed[8].

    CANON IX: Bishop Hosius said: This also, I think, follows, that, if in any province whatever, bishops send petitions to one of their brothers and fellow-bishops, he that is in the largest city, that is, the metropolis, should himself send his deacon and the petitions, providing him also with letters commendatory, writing also of course in succession to our brethren and fellow-bishops, if any of them should be staying at that time in the places or cities in which the most pious Emperor is administering public affairs.

    But if any of the bishops should have friends at the Court and should wish to make requests of them as to some proper object, let him not be forbidden to make such requests through his deacon and move these [friends] to give their kind assistance as his desire.

    But those who come to Rome ought, as I said before, to deliver to our beloved brother and fellow-bishop, Julius, the petitions which they have to give, in order that he may first examine them, lest some of them should be improper, and so, giving them his own advocacy and care, shall send them to the Court.

    All the Bishops made answer that such was their pleasure and that the regulation was most proper.

    The Local Council of Carthage

    The canons of the 217 blessed Fathers who assembled at Carthage, 419 A.D.

    CANON XVI: Likewise it seemed good that bishops, presbyters, and deacons should not be “conductors” or “procurators;” nor seek their food by any base and vile business, for they should remember how it is written, “No man fighting for God cumbereth himself with worldly affairs.”

    CANON LXXV: On account of the afflictions of the poor by whose troubles the Church is worn out without any intermission, it seemed good to all that the Emperors be asked to allow defenders for them against the power of the rich to be chosen under the supervision of the bishops.

    CANON XCVII: That there be sought from the Emperor the protection of Advocates in causes ecclesiastical.

    It seemed good that the legates who were about leaving, viz., Vincent and Fortunatian, should in the name of all the provinces ask from the most glorious Emperors to give a faculty for the establishment of scholastic defensors, whose shall be the care of this very kind of business: so that as the priests of the province, they who have received the faculty as defensors of the Churches in ecclesiastical affairs, as often as necessity arises, may be able to enter the private apartments of the judges, so as to resist what is urged on the other side, or to make necessary explanations.

    Local Council of Constantinople “Prime-Second”

    The seventeen canons of the Fathers gathered in the church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, in the year 861 A.D.

    CANON XI: The divine and sacred rules submit priests or deacons to deposition, who take upon themselves worldly governing tasks or responsibilities, or who have the rank of director in the houses of worldly rulers. We then, confirming the latter for all members of the clergy, declare that if any member of the clergy enters into worldly civil office, or takes upon himself the rule of director in the houses of worldly rulers or in the cities: such will be deposed from their priestly rank. Since, according to the word spoken by Christ himself, our true God, no-one can serve two masters.

    4.4. Canons from the Fathers of the Church

    Canons of St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

    The Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory, Archbishop of Neocaesarea ( 270 A.D.), who is called Thaumaturgus, concerning them that, during the incursion of the Barbarians, ate of things offered to idols and committed certain other sins.

    CANON VII: That they who joined the barbarians in their murder and ravages, or were guides or informers to them, be not permitted to be hearers, till holy men assembled together do agree in common upon what shall seem good, first to the Holy Ghost, then to themselves.

    Canons of St. Basil the Great

    The first Canonical Epistle of our Holy Father Basil ( 378 A.D.), Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia to Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium.

    CANON VIII: He that kills another with a sword, or hurls an axe at his own wife and kills her, is guilty of wilful murder; not he who throws a stone at a dog, and undesignedly kills a man, or who corrects one with a rod, or scourge, in order to reform him, or who kills a man in his own defence, when he only designed to hurt him. But the man, or woman, is a murderer that gives a philtrum, if the man that takes it die upon it; so are they who take medicines to procure abortion; and so are they who kill on the highway….

    CANON XI: He that is guilty of involuntary murder, shall do eleven years’ penance — that is, if the murdered person, after he had here received the wound, do again go abroad, and yet afterward die of the wound.

    CANON XIII: Our fathers did not think that killing in war was murder; yet I think it advisable for such as have been guilty of it to forbear communion three years.

    CANON XLIII: That he who gives a mortal wound to another is a murderer, whether he were the first, aggressor, or did it in his own defence.

    CANON LIV: That it is in the bishop’s power to increase or lessen penance for involuntary murder.

    CANON LV: They that are not ecclesiastics setting upon highwaymen, are repelled from the communion of the Good Thing; clergymen are deposed.

    CANON LVI: He that wilfully commits murder, and afterwards repents, shall for twenty years remain without communicating of the Holy Sacrament. Four years he must mourn without the door of the oratory, and beg of the communicants that go in, that prayer be offered for him; then for five years he shall be admitted among the hearers, for seven years among the prostrators; for four years he shall be a co-stander with the communicants, but shall not partake of the oblation; when these years are completed, he shall partake of the Holy Sacrament.

    CANON LVII: The involuntary murderer for two years shall be a mourner, for three years a hearer, four years a prostrator, one year a co-stander, and then communicate.

    Canons of St. Athanasius the Great

    The Epistle of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria ( 373 A.D.) to the Monk Ammun (extract).

    … One might reasonably say no natural secretion will bring us before him for punishment. But possibly medical men (to put these people to shame even at the hands of outsiders) will support us on this point, telling us that there are certain necessary passages accorded to the animal body, to provide for the dismissal of the superfluity of what is secreted in our several parts; for example, for the superfluity of the head, the hair and the watery discharges from the head, and the purgings of the belly, and that superfluity again of the seminative channels. What sin then is there in God’s name, elder most beloved of God, if the Master who made the body willed and made these parts to have such passages? But since we must grapple with the objections of evil persons, as they may say, ‘If the organs have been severally fashioned by the Creator, then there is no sin in their genuine use,’ let us stop them by asking this question: What do you mean by use? That lawful use which God permitted when He said, ‘Increase and multiply, and replenish the earth,’ and which the Apostle approves in the words, ‘Marriage is honourable and the bed undefiled,’ or that use which is public, yet carried on stealthily and in adulterous fashion?

    For in other matters also which go to make up life, we shall find differences according to circumstances. For example, it is not right to kill, yet in war it is lawful and praiseworthy to destroy the enemy; accordingly not only are they who have distinguished themselves in the field held worthy of great honours, but monuments are put up proclaiming their achievements. So that the same act is at one time and under some circumstances unlawful, while under others, and at the right time, it is lawful and permissible. The same reasoning applies to the relation of the sexes. He is blessed who, being freely yoked in his youth, naturally begets children. But if he uses nature licentiously, the punishment of which the Apostle writes shall await whoremongers and adulterers.

    Canons of St. Gregory of Nyssa

    The Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa ( 395 A.D.), to St. Letoius, Bishop of Melitene.

    CANON V: Voluntary murderers shall be nine years ejected out of the church, nine years hearers, nine years prostrators; but every one of these nine years may be reduced to seven or six, or even five, if the penitents be very diligent. Involuntary murderers to be treated as fornicators, but still with discretion, and allowing the communion on a death-bed, but on condition, that they return to penance if they survive.

    Footnotes

    1 The 85 Canons of the Holy Apostles most probably originate from Syria in the IIIrd century. They were confirmed by the Quinisexte Ecumenical Council “in Trullo” (the Church where the Council took place) in 691, which issued the canons of the fifth and sixth Ecumenical Councils. The Canons of the Holy Apostles should not be mistaken for the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hyppolyte of Rome, which has not been confirmed by the Councils.

    2 Prostrators are one of the categories of penants.

    3 In his last contests with Constantine, Licinius had made himself the representative of heathenism; so that the final issue of the war would not be the mere triumph of one of the two competitors, but the triumph or fall of Christianity or heathenism. Accordingly, a Christian who had in this war supported the cause of Licinius and of heathenism might be considered as a lapsus [those who fell away from the Faith, ed.], even if he did not formally fall away. With much more reason might those Christians be treated as lapsi who, having conscientiously given up military service (this is meant by the soldier’s belt), afterwards retracted their resolution, and went so far as to give money and presents for the sake of readmission, on account of the numerous advantages which military service then afforded. It must not be forgotten that Licinius, as Zonaras and Eusebius relate, required from his soldiers a formal apostasy; compelled them, for example, to take part in the heathen sacrifices which were held in the camps, and dismissed from his service those who would not apostatize. Comment by the canonist Lambert.

    4 Two cases excepted, the undertaking of secular business was made ecclesiastically penal. This is not to be construed as forbidding clerics to work at trades either (1) when the church-funds were insufficient to maintain them, or (2) in order to have more to bestow in alms, or (3) as an example of industry or humility. It was not the mere fact of secular employment, but secularity of motive and of tone that was condemned. Comment from the canonist Bright.

    5 An ancient epitome of this canon reads: A voluntary homicide may at the last attain perfection.

    Constantine Harmenopulus the Scholiast in the Epitom. Canonum., Sect. v., tit. 3, tells the following story: “In the time of the Patriarch Luke, a certain bishop gave absolution in writing to a soldier who had committed voluntary homicide, after a very short time of penace; and afterwards when he was accused before the synod of having done so, he defended himself by citing the canon which gives bishops the power of remitting or increasing the length of their penance to penitents. But he was told in answer that this was granted indeed to pontiffs but not that they should use it without examination, and with too great lenity. Wherefore the synod subjected the soldier to the canonical penance and the bishop it mulcted for a certain time, bidding him cease from the exercise of his ministry.”. Comment by the canonist van Espen.

    6 Of voluntary and involuntary homicides St. Basil treats at length in his Canonical Epistle ad Amphilochium, can. viii., lvi. and lvii., and fixes the time of penance at twenty years for voluntary and ten years for involuntary homicides. It is evident that the penance given for this crime varied in different churches, although it is clear from the great length of the penance, how enormous the crime was considered, no light or short penance being sufficient. Comment of the canonist van Espen.

    7 Nothing is more noteworthy than how the first princes summoned bishops in counsel with regard to affairs touching either the estate of the Church or of the Realm; and called them to their presence in urgent and momentous cases, and kept them with them. Justinian, the emperor, in his Novels (Chapter II.) defines that no one of the God-beloved bishops shall dare to be absent any more from his diocese for a whole year, and adds this exception, “unless he does so on account of an imperial jussio; in this case alone he shall be held to be without blame.” On this whole matter of bishops interceding for culprits, and especially for those condemned to death, see St. Augustine (Epist. 153 ad Macedonium ). Comment of the canonist van Espen.

    8 This decree is threefold. First, that the bishop in going to Court should not fall under suspicion either at Court or of his own people that he was approaching the Prince to obtain some cause of his own. Second, according to the interpretation of Zonaras, “that no one should be angry with the Minister or Deacon who tarried in camp, as the bishop had departed thence.” And third, that the Minister could carry away what he had asked for, that is (according to Zonaras), the letters of the Emperor pardoning the fault, or such like other matters. Comment of the canonist van Espen.

    Next

    For the Peace From Above — Table of Contents

    Chapter 5

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    REFERENCE TEXTS FROM THE HOLY FATHERS

    Nation and Nationalism

    Disregard for the World

    As long as this body remains common with the rest, its corporal condition must also be common, and it is not granted the members of the human race to be separated from one another, unless there is withdrawal from this life. Meanwhile, we, good and evil, are contained within our house. Whatever comes within the house we endure with equal fate, until, when our temporal earthly period has been fulfilled, we are distributed among the homes of eternal death or immortality. So then we are not comparable and equal with you, because, while we are still in this world and in this flesh, we incur equally with you the annoyances of the world and of the flesh. For since all that punishes is in the sense of pain, it is manifest that he is not a participant in your punishment whom you see does not suffer pain with you.

    – To Demetrian[1], by St. Cyprian of Carthage, Chapter 19

    If, as the Apostle Paul says (1 Cor 7.31), heaven, earth and anything else in the universe passes away, how can we praise the fertility of the earth and water? Although you may consider the place where you live or one similar to be surpassing, the [divine] word regards them as nothing.

    – The First Homily Concerning the Forty Martyrs[2] (part one), by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    It is a very serious consideration, that now at this time any are forbidden to leave the world; a time when the end of the world is drawing nigh.

    – Epistles3, St. Gregory the Great, Book 3, Epistle 65

    The Value of Earthly Homelands

    It is not virtue, therefore, either to be the enemy of the bad or the defender of the good, because virtue cannot be subject to uncertain chances.

    Moreover, to reckon the interests of our country as in the first place.

    What are the interests of our country, but the inconveniences of another state or nation? — that is, to extend the boundaries which are violently taken from others, to increase the power of the state, to improve the revenues, — all which things are not virtues, but the overthrowing of virtues: for, in the first place, the union of human society is taken away, innocence is taken away, the abstaining from the property of another is taken away; lastly, justice itself is taken away, which is unable to bear the tearing asunder of the human race, and wherever arms have glittered, must be banished and exterminated from thence.

    How can a man be just who injures, who hates, who despoils, who puts to death? And they who strive to be serviceable to their country do all these things: for they are ignorant of what this being serviceable is, who think nothing useful, nothing advantageous, but that which can be held by the hand; and this alone cannot be held, because it may be snatched away.

    The Divine Institutes, by Lactantius4, Book 6, Chapter 6

    You have exchanged the notion of the motherland for a vacuous internationalism although you know very well that when it comes to defending the motherland, the proletarians of all nations will be its faithful sons, not its traitors.

    – Letter to the Council of People’s Commissars, 13/26 October 1918, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow

    The Identity of the Christian Empire

    And they (the Jewish teachers) said once more: “if we accept that He (the anointed One) has already come, as you claim on the basis of the prophets and other arguments, then how is it that the Roman Empire is still in power?” The Philosopher answered: “It is no longer in power, for it has passed, like all empires at its likeness, for our Empire is not of Rome, but of Christ.”

    – The Life of Sts. Cyrillus and Methodius5, Chapter 10

    The New People

    I exhort you to have but one faith, and one preaching, and one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His blood which was shed for us is one; one loaf also is broken to all [the communicants], and one cup is distributed among them all: there is but one altar for the whole Church, and one bishop, with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants. Since, also, there is but one unbegotten Being, God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man; and one Comforter, the Spirit of truth; and also one preaching, and one faith, and one baptism; and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ, and by their own sweat and toil; it behooves you also, therefore, as “a peculiar people, and a holy nation,” to perform all things with harmony in Christ.

    – The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians6, Chapter 4

    The Roman emperors worshipped idols, but all the present — coming from this or that people or tribe — rule in the name of Christ.

    – The Life of Sts. Cyrillus and Methodius, Chapter 10

    Racism and Xenophobia

    This saying of Cicero is true: “But they who say that regard is to be had to citizens, but that it is not to be had to foreigners, these destroy the common society of the human race.”

    – The Divine Institutes, by Lactantius, Book 6, Chapter 6

    The whole of Russia has become a battlefield! And that is not all. Things are even more terrible. We receive rumours about pogroms against Jews, the beating of a race without concern for age, guilt, sex or convictions. Angered by the circumstances of life, man searches scapegoats for his mishap, and in order to throw upon them his offences, pain and suffering hits out so hard, that under the strikes of his hand, blinded by the thirst of vengeance, many innocent victims fall.

    – Pastoral Letter to the Faithful of the Orthodox Church of Russia, 8/21 July 19197, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow

    The True Homeland of the Christians

    I see, most excellent Diognetus, that thou art anxious to understand the religion of the Christians, and that thy enquiries respecting them are distinctly and carefully made, as to what God they trust and how they worship Him, that they all disregard the world and despise death, and as to the nature of the affection which they entertain one to another.

    For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practice an extraordinary kind of life. Nor again do they possess any invention discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some are. But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.

    In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world. The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through the divers cities of the world. The soul hath its abode in the body, and yet it is not of the body. So Christians have their abode in the world, and yet they are not of the world. The soul which is invisible is guarded in the body which is visible: so Christians are recognised as being in the world, and yet their religion remaineth invisible. The flesh hateth the soul and wageth war with it, though it receiveth no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hateth Christians, though it receiveth no wrong from them, because they set themselves against its pleasures. The soul loveth the flesh which hateth it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them. The soul is enclosed in the body, and yet itself holdeth the body together; so Christians are kept in the world as in a prison-house, and yet they themselves hold the world together. The soul though itself immortal dwelleth in a mortal tabernacle; so Christians sojourn amidst perishable things, while they look for the imperishability which is in the heavens. The soul when hardly treated in the matter of meats and drinks is improved; and so Christians when punished increase more and more daily. So great is the office for which God hath appointed them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline.

    – The Epistle to Diognetus 8, Chapters 1, 5 and 6 [information regarding authorship is in the endnote]

    The citizens of the heavenly city honour their (the martyrs’) success which brings joy to the entire assembly of heaven.

    – Second Homily concerning the Forty Martyrs, by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    Peace

    Interior Peace

    For what advantage is it, that the world enjoys profound peace, if thou art at war with thyself? This then is the peace we should keep. If we have it, nothing from without will be able to harm us. And to this end the public peace contributes no little: whence it is said, “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” But if any one is disturbed when there is quiet, he is a miserable creature. Seest thou that He speaks of this peace which I call the third (inner, ed.) kind? Therefore when he has said, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life,” he does not stop there, but adds “in all godliness and honesty.” But we cannot live in godliness and honesty, unless that peace be established. For when curious reasonings disturb our faith, what peace is there? or when spirits of uncleanness, what peace is there?

    – Homily 7 on 1 Tim 2:2-4, by St. John Chrysostom

    Christ Brings Peace

    Abel, peaceable and just, while he was sacrificing to God innocently, taught others also, when they offer a gift at the altar, to come with fear of God, with simple heart, with the law of justice, with the peace of concord. Worthily did he, since he was such in God’s sacrifice, himself later become a sacrifice to God, so that being the first to manifest martyrdom he initiated the Lord’s passion by his blood, who had both the justice and peace of the Lord. Finally, such are crowned by the Lord; such on the day of judgement will be vindicated with the Lord. But the discordant and the dissident and he who has not peace with his brethren, according as the blessed Apostle and the Holy Scripture testify, not even if he be slain for His name, shall be able to escape the crime of fraternal dissension, because, as it is written: Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and a murderer does not arrive at the kingdom of heaven nor does he live with God. He cannot be with Christ, who preferred to be an imitator of Judas rather than of Christ. What a sin that is which cannot be washed away by the baptism of blood; what a crime that is which cannot be expiated by martyrdom!

    – On the Lord’s Prayer, by St. Cyprian of Carthage, Chapter 24

    And when the Spirit of prophecy speaks as predicting things that are to come to pass, He speaks in this way: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” And that it did so come to pass, we can convince you. For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of God; and we who formerly used to murder one another do not only now refrain from making war upon our enemies, but also, that we may not lie nor deceive our examiners, willingly die confessing Christ. For that saying, “The tongue has sworn but the mind is unsworn,” might be imitated by us in this matter. But if the soldiers enrolled by you, and who have taken the military oath, prefer their allegiance to their own life, and parents, and country, and all kindred, though you can offer them nothing incorruptible, it were verily ridiculous if we, who earnestly long for incorruption, should not endure all things, in order to obtain what we desire from Him who is able to grant it.

    – First Apology, by St. Justin Martyr, Chapter 39

    We who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons,-our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage, — and we cultivate piety, righteousness, philanthropy, faith, and hope, which we have from the Father Himself through Him who was crucified; and sitting each under his vine, i.e., each man possessing his own married wife. For you are aware that the prophetic word says, ‘And his wife shall be like a fruitful vine.’ Now it is evident that no one can terrify or subdue us who have believed in Jesus over all the world.

    – Dialogue, by St. Justin Martyr, Chapter 110

    After the name of Christ was heard in the world, not only were wars not increased, but they were even in great measure diminished by the restraining of furious passions.

    If all without exception, who feel that they are men not in form of body but in power of reason, would lend an ear for a little to His salutary and peaceful rules, and would not, in the pride and arrogance of enlightenment, trust to their own senses rather than to His admonitions, the whole world, having turned the use of steel into more peaceful occupations, would now be living in the most placid tranquillity, and would unite in blessed harmony, maintaining inviolate the sanctity of treaties.

    – Against the Gentiles, by Arnobius9, Book 1, Chapter 6

    He (Christ) not only preached through His own disciples, but also wrought so persuasively on men’s understanding that, laying aside their savage habits and forsaking the worship of their ancestral gods, they learnt to know Him and through Him to worship the Father. While they were yet idolaters, the Greeks and Barbarians were always at war with each other, and were even cruel to their own kith and kin. Nobody could travel by land or sea at all unless he was armed with swords, because of their irreconcilable quarrels with each other. Indeed, the whole course of their life was carried on with the weapons. But since they came over to the school of Christ, as men moved with real compunction they have laid aside their murderous cruelty and are war-minded no more. On the contrary, all is peace among them and nothing remains save desire for friendship.

    Who, then, is He Who has done these things and has united in peace those who hated each other, save the beloved Son of the Father, the common Saviour of all, Jesus Christ, Who by His own love underwent all things for our salvation? Even from the beginning, moreover, this peace that He was to administer was foretold, for Scripture says, “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into sickles, and nation shall not take sword against nation, neither shall they learn any more to wage war.” Nor is this by any means incredible.

    The barbarians of the present day are naturally savage in their habits, and as long as they sacrifice to their idols they rage furiously against each other and cannot bear to be a single hour without weapons. But when they hear the teaching of Christ, forthwith they turn from fighting to farming, and instead of arming themselves with swords extend their hands in prayer. In a word, instead of fighting each other, they take up arms against the devil and the demons, and overcome them by their self-command and integrity of soul.

    – On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius the Great, Chapters 8, 51 and 52

    Peacemaking

    Moreover, you have many things to ponder. Ponder paradise, where Cain, who destroyed his brother through jealousy, does not return. Ponder the kingdom of heaven to which the Lord admits only those of one heart and mind. Ponder the fact that only those can be called the sons of God who are peace-makers, who, united by divine birth and law, correspond to the likeness of God the Father and Christ. Ponder that we are under God’s eyes, that we are running the course of our conversation, and life with God Himself looking on and judging, that then finally we can arrive at the point of succeeding in seeing Him, if we delight Him as He now observes us by our actions, if we show ourselves worthy of His grace and indulgence, if we, who are to please Him forever in heaven, please Him first in this world.

    – Jealousy and Envy, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 18

    Non-Violence and Martyrdom

    Non-violence and non-revenge is the Christian Norm

    We, a numerous band of men as we are, have learned from His teaching and His laws that evil ought not to be requited with evil, that it is better to suffer wrong than to inflict it, that we should rather shed our own blood than stain our hands and our conscience with that of another. An ungrateful world is now for a long period enjoying a benefit from Christ, inasmuch as by His means the rage of savage ferocity has been softened, and has begun to withhold hostile hands from the blood of a fellow-creature.

    – Against the Gentiles, by Arnobius, Book 1, Chapter 6

    Why, then, are you disturbed? I will never willingly desert you, though if force is used, I cannot meet it. I shall be able to grieve, to weep, to groan; against weapons, soldiers, Goths, my tears are my weapons, for these are a priest’s defence.

    I ought not, I cannot resist in any other way; but to fly and forsake the Church is not my way; lest any one should suppose I did so from fear of some heavier punishment. You yourselves know that I am wont to show respect to our emperors, but not to yield to them, to offer myself freely to punishment, and not to fear what is prepared for me.

    – St. Ambrosius of Milan, Sermon Against Auxentius, on the Giving Up of the Basilicas10

    Where the Saviour is named, there every demon is driven out. Again, who has ever so rid men of their natural passions that fornicators become chaste and murderers no longer wield the sword and those who formerly were craven cowards boldly play the man? In a word, what persuaded the barbarians and heathen folk in every place to drop their madness and give heed to peace, save the faith of Christ and the sign of the cross? What other things have given men such certain faith in immortality as have the cross of Christ and the resurrection of His body?

    – On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius the Great, Chapter 8, 50

    What a difficult, but yet elevated task it is for a Christian, to retain within himself the great joy of non-anger and love even when his enemy has been overthrown, when the persecuted martyr prepares himself to judge his recent persecutor and oppressor. The providence of God has already placed certain children of the Russian Orthodox Church in front of this temptation. Passions arise…

    Orthodox Russia, let this shame pass by you! Let this curse not touch upon you. May your hand not be reddened by blood, which cries out to heaven. Do not let the enemy of Christ, the devil, carry you away by the passion of vengeance and to besmirch the endeavour of your martyrdom from the hands of the violators and persecutors of Christ. Remember: pogroms are the victory of your enemies. Remember: pogroms are a dishonour for yourself, a dishonour to the Church! For the Christian, the ideal is Christ, who used no sword to defend Himself, who brought the sons of thunder to peace, having prayed for His enemies on the Cross. For the Christian, the guiding light is the command of the holy Apostle, who suffered much for his Saviour and who sealed his dedication to Him by his death: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God: for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; is he his thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’” (Rom. 12:19-20).

    Should we, Christians, embark upon this way (of vengeance, ed.)? O, let this not be! Not even if our hearts would break from the grief and oppressions inflicted upon our religious feelings, our love of our native land or our temporary well-being, even if our feelings would infallibly tell us who and where our assailant is. No, let better bleeding wounds be inflicted upon us, than that we move to revenge, or worse even, to pogroms, against our enemies, or those, whom we take to be the source of our suffering. Follow Christ! Don’t betray Him! Don’t fall into temptation. Do not allow your own soul to perish in the blood of vengeance. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

    – Pastoral letter to the faithful of the Orthodox Church of Russia, 8/21 July 1919, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow

    You detach yourself from the cross to which you have crucified yourself alongside the Saviour if you go and hit your brother.

    – Small Catechism, by St. Theodore the Studite

    Martyrdom Without Self-defence

    Hence (from the days of Cain and Abel) finally begin the first hatreds of the new brotherhood; hence the abominable parricides, when the unjust Cain is jealous of the just Abel, when the evil persecutes the good out of jealousy and envy… He was unjustly oppressed who had been the first to show justice; he endured hatred who did not know how to hate; he was slain impiously who while dying did not fight back. What other than the stimulus of jealousy provoked Saul the king also to hate David, to desire to kill that innocent, merciful man, patient with a gentle mildness, by often repeated persecutions? Because, when Goliath had been killed and so great an enemy had been slain by divine assistance and condescension, the admiring people burst forth into approbation unto praise of David, Saul through envy conceived the furies of hatred and persecution.

    – Jealousy and Envy, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 5

    For this reason it is that no one of us fights back when he is apprehended, nor do our people avenge themselves against your unjust violence though numerous and plentiful. Our certainty of the vengeance which is to come makes us patient. The harmless give way to the harmful; the innocent acquiesce in the punishments and tortures certain and confident that whatever we suffer will not remain unavenged, and that the greater is the injury of the persecution, the more just and serious will be the vengeance for the persecution. Long ago divine Scripture laid down and said: ‘Vengeance is mine, I shall repay, says the Lord,’ and let the Holy Spirit again warn us saying: ‘Say not: I will avenge myself on my enemy, but wait in the Lord so that He may aid thee.’ Thus it is clear and manifest that not through us but for us do all these things happen which come down from the anger of God.

    – To Demetrian, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 17

    They (the Christians) love all men, and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things. They are dishonoured, and yet they are glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect. Doing good they are punished as evil-doers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened by life. War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason of their hostility.

    The flesh hateth the soul and wageth war with it, though it receiveth no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hateth Christians, though it receiveth no wrong from them, because they set themselves against its pleasures. The soul loveth the flesh which hateth it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them. The soul when hardly treated in the matter of meats and drinks is improved; and so Christians when punished increase more and more daily. So great is the office for which God hath appointed them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline.

    – The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapters 5 and 6

    Spiritual Benefit of Martyrdom

    Our enemies do good when they are hostile and thereby cause no dishonour. The devil assists Job instead of harming him (Job 1+); the king of the Assyrians helps Daniel (Dan 3.1+); the three youths in the furnace profess God’s grace (Dan 3.24); Isaiah praises the Hebrews when he was sawed in half (cf. Heb 11.37); Zachariah blessed his murderers while standing between the temple and altar of incense (Mat 23.35-7); John proclaimed God’s help when Herod beheaded him (Mat 14.1+); the Apostles [blessed] those who bound and persecuted them; all the martyrs loved their persecutors and could not hold fast unless these athletes maintained their courage.

    – Second Letter Concerning the Forty Martyrs, by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    Love of Enemies

    From the sacrament of the cross you receive both food and drink; let the wood, which availed at Mara in a figure for sweetening the taste, avail you in truth for soothing the softened breast, and you will not labour for the remedy for increasing the health. Cure yourself at the source from which you had been wounded. Love those whom you hated before; esteem those whom you envied with unjust disparagements. Imitate the good, if you can follow them; if you cannot follow them, surely rejoice with them and congratulate your betters. Make yourself a sharer with them in a united love; make yourself an associate in a fellowship of charity and in a bond (Syndesmos) of brotherhood. Your debts will be forgiven you, when you yourself shall forgive; your sacrifices will be accepted, when you shall come to God as a peace-maker. Your thoughts and actions will be directed by God, when you ponder the things that are divine and just, as it is written: ‘Let the heart of man ponder just things, so that his steps may be directed by God.’

    – Jealousy and Envy, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 17

    They (the Christians) love all men, and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things. They are dishonoured, and yet they are glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect. Doing good they are punished as evil-doers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened by life. War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason of their hostility. In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world.

    The soul loveth the flesh which hateth it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them.

    – The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapters 5 and 6

    War

    Positive Service of War and Army

    Law of Constantine concerning the confessors of the Christian religion.

    Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to the inhabitants of the province of Palestine:

    Once more, with respect to those who had previously been preferred to any military distinction, of which they were afterwards deprived, for the cruel and unjust reason that they chose rather to acknowledge their allegiance to God than to retain the rank they held; we leave them perfect liberty of choice, either to occupy their former stations, should they be content again to engage in military service, or after an honourable discharge, to live in undisturbed tranquillity.”

    …Accordingly he called on God with earnest prayer and supplications that he would reveal to him who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his present difficulties. And while he was thus praying with fervent entreaty, a most marvellous sign appeared to him from heaven. About noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, Conquer by this. At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle. And while he continued to ponder and reason on its meaning, night suddenly came on; then in his sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens, and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.

    …Thus the emperor in all his actions honoured God, and exercised an unwearied oversight over His churches. And God requited him, by subduing all barbarous nations under his feet, so that he was able everywhere to raise trophies over his enemies: and He proclaimed him as conqueror to all mankind, and made him a terror to his adversaries: not indeed that this was his natural character, since he was rather the meekest, and gentlest, and most benevolent of men.

    …Indeed, wherever this appeared, the enemy soon fled before his victorious troops. And the emperor perceiving this, whenever he saw any part of his forces hard pressed, gave orders that the salutary trophy should be moved in that direction, like some triumphant charm against disasters: at which the combatants were divinely inspired, as it were, with fresh strength and courage, and immediate victory was the result.

    …The emperor, when he saw that he must meet his enemies in a second battle, devoted the intervening time to his Saviour. He pitched the tabernacle of the cross outside and at a distance from his camp, and there passed his time in a pure and holy manner, offering up prayers to God; following thus the example of his ancient prophet, of whom the sacred oracles testify, that he pitched the tabernacle without the camp. He was attended only by a few, whose faith and pious devotion he highly esteemed. And this custom he continued to observe whenever he meditated an engagement with the enemy. And then, as if moved by a divine impulse, he would rush from the tabernacle, and suddenly give orders to his army to move at once without delay, and on the instant to draw their swords. On this they would immediately commence the attack, fight vigorously, so as with incredible celerity to secure the victory, and raise trophies of victory over their enemies.

    …With full confidence in his Saviour’s aid, he raised his conquering standard against these enemies also [the Scythian and Sarmatian tribes], and soon reduced them all to obedience; coercing by military force those who fiercely resisted his authority, while, on the other hand, he conciliated the rest by wisely conducted embassies, and reclaimed them to a state of order and civilisation from their lawless and savage life. Thus the Scythians at length learned to acknowledge subjection to the power of Rome.

    …And not only so, but he also caused the sign of the salutary trophy to be impressed on the very shields of his soldiers; and commanded that his embattled forces should be preceded in their march, not by golden images, as heretofore, but only by the standard of the cross.

    …With regard to those (soldiers) who were as yet ignorant of divine truth, he provided by a second statute that they should appear on each Lord’s day on an open plain near the city, and there, at a given signal, offer to God with one accord a prayer which they had previously learnt. He admonished them that their confidence should not rest in their spears, or armour, or bodily strength, but that they should acknowledge the supreme God as the giver of every good, and of victory itself; to whom they were bound to offer their prayers with due regularity, uplifting their hands toward heaven, and raising their mental vision higher still to the king of heaven, on whom they should call as the Author of victory, their Preserver, Guardian, and Helper. The emperor himself prescribed the prayer to be used by all his troops, commanding them, to pronounce the following words in the Latin tongue:

    We acknowledge thee the only God: we own thee, as our King and implore thy succour. By thy favour have we got the victory. Through thee are we mightier than our enemies. We render thanks for thy past benefits, and trust thee for future blessings. Together we pray to thee, and beseech thee long to preserve to us, safe and triumphant, our emperor Constantine and his pious sons.” Such was the duty to be performed on Sunday by his troops, and such the prayer they were instructed to offer up to God.

    – The Life of St. Constantine the Great, by Eusebius of Caesarea11, Book 1, Chapters 24-33; Book 2, Chapters 7-12; Book 4, Chapters 5-20

    …You have taken from our soldiers everything for which they fought splendidly in the past. You have taught those, who not long ago were still brave and invincible, to abandon the defence of the motherland, to run from the battlefields12. You have extinguished in their hearts the conscience that “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).

    – Letter to the Council of People’s Commissars, 13/26 October 1918, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow

    War is one of the tools in the hands of God, as well as peace. War is a poison, which kills, but which at the same time cures and heals.

    It is better to have one great and mighty river than many small streams which easily freeze in frost and which are easily covered with dust and filth. A war which gathers an entire people for a great cause is better than a peace which knows as many tiny causes at it knows people, which divides brothers, neighbours, all human beings, and which hides in itself an evil and hidden war against all.

    We have to wish those, whom we love, both a good life and a good death. To die in the struggle for a great common cause is a good death.

    – Thoughts about War and the Military Endeavour, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic13

    Leaflets of St. Sergius”, nr. 10, 1929

    The Militant Church

    The people of Israel shall encamp each by his own standard, with the ensigns of their fathers’ houses; they shall encamp facing the tent of meeting on every side.” (Nr. 2:2)

    The Apostle Paul reveals to us that when the people of Israel, on its way towards the promised land, near Mount Sinai, under the burning fire, the cloud and the darkness, the storm and the mighty sound, received the Law from God and entered into covenant with Him, that then, for the establishment of this covenant, which we now name the Old, Christ Himself dominantly acted, and “His voice shook then the earth” (Hebr. 12:18-26). From this we have to conclude that Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his own orders through Moses at that moment established the so-called “tent of the meeting,” meaning the Temple of God.

    From this follows as well that Our Lord Jesus Christ also gave this commandment: “The people of Israel shall encamp each by his own standard, with the ensigns of their fathers’ houses; they shall encamp facing the tent of meeting on every side.” (Nr. 2:2). Further, in this order the exact position of the armies around the tent is determined.

    In this way, the army was spread out like the shape of a cross, and the centre of the cross was occupied by the “Tent of the meeting.”

    Behold the first church established on earth, behold it amidst hosts and armies, established in this position by the Lord of the Church Himself.

    – Sermon at the Consecration of a Military Church, by St. Philaret of Moscow, Leaflets of St. Sergius, nr. 10, 1929

    Christianity Brought the End of Wars

    Who, then, is He Who has done these things and has united in peace those who hated each other, save the beloved Son of the Father, the common Saviour of all, Jesus Christ, Who by His own love underwent all things for our salvation? Even from the beginning, moreover, this peace that He was to administer was foretold, for Scripture says, “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into sickles, and nation shall not take sword against nation, neither shall they learn any more to wage war.” Nor is this by any means incredible.

    The barbarians of the present day are naturally savage in their habits, and as long as they sacrifice to their idols they rage furiously against each other and cannot bear to be a single hour without weapons. But when they hear the teaching of Christ, forthwith they turn from fighting to farming, and instead of arming themselves with swords extend their hands in prayer. In a word, instead of fighting each other, they take up arms against the devil and the demons, and overcome them by their self-command and integrity of soul.

    – On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius the Great, Chapter 8, 52

    The Evils of War

    There are three very grievous kinds of war. The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies: The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another: The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all. For foreign war will not be able to hurt us greatly. What, I pray, though it slaughters and cuts us off? It injures not the soul. Neither will the second have power to harm us against our will; for though others be at war with us, we may be peaceable ourselves. For so says the Prophet, “For my love they are my adversaries, but I give myself unto prayer” (Ps. 109:4); and again, “I was at peace with them that hate peace”; and, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (Ps. 120:6, 7, LXX) But from the third, we cannot escape without danger. For when the body is at variance with the soul, and raises up evil desires, and arms against it sensual pleasures, or the bad passions of anger, and envy; we cannot attain the promised blessings, till this war is brought to an end; whoever does not still this tumult, must fall pierced by wounds that will bring that death that is in hell. We have daily need therefore of care and great anxiety, that this war may not be stirred up within us, or that, if stirred up, it may not last, but be quelled and laid asleep.

    – Homily 7 on 1 Tim 2:2-4 , by St. John Chrysostom

    For a little consider that you are being transported to the loftiest peak of a high mountain, that from this you are viewing the appearance of things that lie below you and with your eyes directed in different directions you yourself free from earthly contacts gaze upon the turmoils of the world. Presently you also will have pity on the world, and taking account of yourself and with more gratitude to God you will rejoice with greater joy that you have escaped from it. Observe the roads blocked by robbers, the seas beset by pirates, wars spread everywhere with the bloody horrors of camps. The world is soaked with mutual blood, and when individuals commit homicide, it is a crime; it is called a virtue when it is done in the name of the state. Impunity is acquired for crimes not by reason of innocence but by the magnitude of the cruelty.

    – To Donatus, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 6

    How do we count the fruits of earthly blessings? If we … add to our account those who have fared well in combat through inflicting defeats in battle and other recorded deeds, these examples do not suit our objective. A Christian is ashamed at anything contrary to the faith and rejoices at praise coming from persons who love Christ much like those in the shadow of a notable person exult in his victories. Let us be silent about this world’s glories despite their numerous accounts.

    – The first Homily concerning the forty Martyrs (Part One), by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    The Inevitability of War

    That wars continue with greater frequency, that barrenness and famine accumulate anxiety, that health is broken by raging diseases, that the human race is laid waste by ravages of pestilence, this too you should know was predicted, that in the last days evils are multiplied and adversities are diversified and presently with the approach of the day of judgement more and more is the censure of an indignant God roused to the scourging of the human race. For these things do not occur because your gods are not worshipped by us, but because God is not worshipped by you. For since He himself is the Lord and the Director of the universe, and since all things are done at His decision and nod and nothing can be done except what He Himself has done or has permitted to be done, surely when those things are done which show the anger of an offended God, these are done not on account of us by whom God is worshipped, but are inflicted because of your sins and merits, by whom God is neither sought nor feared, nor are empty superstitions abandoned and true religion recognised, so that He who is the one God for all is alone worshipped and sought by all.

    – To Demetrian, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 5

    Killing and Bloodshed

    The Sin of Killing and Bloodshed

    So long as the nature we at present possess is preserved, the moral nature is not able to bear a punishment commensurate with the more numerous or more serious faults. For the robber, or ruler, or tyrant, who has unjustly put to death myriads on myriads, could not by one death make restitution for these deeds; and the man who holds no true opinion concerning God, but lives in all outrage and blasphemy, despises divine things, breaks the laws, commits outrage against boys and women alike, razes cities unjustly, burns houses with their inhabitants, and devastates a country, and at the same time destroys inhabitants of cities and peoples, and even an entire nation — how in a mortal body could he endure a penalty adequate to these crimes, since death prevents the deserved punishment, and the mortal nature does not suffice for any single one of his deeds?

    It is proved, therefore, that neither in the present life is there a judgement according to men’s deserts, nor after death [but after the Resurrection, ed.].

    – On the Resurrection of the Dead, Treatise of Athenagoras the Athenian14, Chapter 19

    Hence (from the days of Cain and Abel) finally begin the first hatreds of the new brotherhood; hence the abominable parricides, when the unjust Cain is jealous of the just Abel, when the evil persecutes the good out of jealousy and envy.

    – Jealousy and Envy, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 5

    The world is soaked with mutual blood. When individuals commit homicide, it is a crime; it is called a virtue when it is done in the name of the state. Impunity is acquired for crimes not by reason of innocence but by the magnitude of the cruelty.

    On gladiator games: Man is killed for the pleasure of man, and to be able to kill is a skill, is an employment, is an art. Crime is not only committed but is taught. What can be called more inhuman, what more repulsive? It is a training that one may be able to kill, and that he kills is a glory. What is this, I ask you, of what nature is it, where those offer themselves to wild beasts, whom no one has condemned, in the prime of life, of a rather beautiful appearance, in costly garments? While still alive they adorn themselves for a voluntary death, wretched they even glory in their wicked deeds. They fight with beasts not because they are convicts but because they are mad. Fathers look upon their own sons; a brother is in the arena and his sister near by, and, although the more elaborate preparation of the exhibition increases the price of the spectacle, oh shame! the mother also pays this price that she may be present at her own sorrows. And at such impious and terrible spectacles they do not realise that with their eyes they are parricides.

    – To Donatus, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, chapters 6 and 7

    Public spectacles are the greatest incitement to vices; for they not only contribute in no respect to a happy life, but even inflict the greatest injury. For he who reckons it a pleasure, that a man, though justly condemned, should be slain in his sight, pollutes his conscience as much as if he should become a spectator and a sharer of a homicide which is secretly committed. And yet they call these sports in which human blood is shed. So far has the feeling of humanity departed from the men, that when they destroy the lives of men, they think that they are amusing themselves with sport, being more guilty than all those whose blood-shedding they esteem a pleasure. They are even angry with the combatants, unless one of the two is quickly slain; and as though they thirsted for human blood, they hate delays. They demand that other and fresh combatants should be given to them, that they may satisfy their eyes as soon as possible. Being imbued with this practice, they have lost their humanity. Therefore they do not spare even the innocent, but practise upon all that which they have learned in the slaughter of the wicked. It is not therefore befitting that those who strive to keep to the path of justice should be companions and sharers in this public homicide. For when God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare, since his warfare is justice itself, nor to accuse any one of a capital charge, because it makes no difference whether you put a man to death by word, or rather by the sword, since it is the act of putting to death itself which is prohibited. Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.

    If, then, it is in no way permitted to commit homicide, it is not allowed us to be present at all, lest any bloodshed should over spread the conscience, since that blood is offered for the gratification of the people.

    – The Divine Institutes, by Lactantius, Book 6, Chapter 20

    All who take the sword will perish by the sword.

    –Matthew 26:52

    The rivers of blood of our brothers, shed mercilessly at your orders, cry out to heaven and presses us to speak to you a bitter word of truth.

    …Celebrate your anniversary in power by liberating the prisoners, by stopping bloodshed, violence, destruction, the restriction of faith; turn not to destruction, but to the establishment of order and lawfulness, grant the people the desired and well-deserved rest from civil war. Or else all just blood that you have shed shall be required from you (Lk. 11:51), and from the sword you shall perish, who have taken up the sword. (Mt. 26:52)

    – Letter to the Council of People’s Commissars, 13/26 October 1918, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow

    We don’t even mention that bloodshed always calls for new blood. And vengeance — for new revenge. Constructing on enmity means constructing on a volcano. There will be an explosion, and once more there will be an empire of destruction and death…

    – Pastoral letter to the faithful of the Orthodox Church of Russia, 8/21 July 1919, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow

    Chapter 5 page 2

    Chapter 5 page 2

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    State-church Relations

    The Political Habits of the World

    But viewing the treacherous highways, the manifold battles scattered over the whole earth, the exhibition either bloody or vile, the infamies of lust offered for sale in brothels or enclosed within domestic walls, whose daring is greater in proportion to the secrecy of the sin, the forum perhaps may seem to you to be devoid of all this, that it is free of harassing outrages and is unpolluted by contacts with evil. Turn your sight in that direction. There you will find more things to abhor; from these you will the more turn aside your eyes. Although the laws are engraved on twelve tables, and the statutes are published on bronze set up in public, there is sin in the midst of the laws themselves, there is wickedness in the midst of the statutes, and innocence is not preserved where it is defended. The madness of those who oppose each other rages, and among the togas peace is disrupted and the forum roars madly with law suits. There the spear and the sword and the executioner are close at hand, the claw that tears, the rack that stretches, the fire that burns, for the one body of man more tortures than it has limbs. Who in such cases gives assistance? One’s patron? But he is in collusion and deceives. The judge? But he sells his sentence. He who sits to punish crimes commits them, and in order that the defendant may perish in innocence, the judge becomes guilty. Everywhere transgressions flourish, and in every direction by the multiform nature of sinning the pernicious poison acts through wicked minds. One counterfeits a will, another by a capital fraud gives false testimony; on the one hand children are cheated of their inheritance, on the other strangers are endowed with property; an enemy makes a charge, a calumniator attacks, a witness defames. On both sides the venal impudence of the hired voice proceeds to the falsification of charges, while in the meantime the guilty perish not with the innocent. There is no fear of the laws, of the inquisitor, no dread of the judge; what can be bought is not feared. Now it is a crime for an innocent man to be among the guilty; whoever does not imitate the evil gives offence. The laws have come to terms with sins, and what done in public begins to be allowed. What shame of events can there be here, what integrity, when those to condemn the wicked are absent, and only those to be condemned meet with you.

    – To Donatus, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 10

    The New Realities Brought about by Christianity

    He took with him also the priests of God, feeling well assured that now, if ever, he stood in need of the efficacy of prayer, and thinking it right that they should constantly be near and about his person, as most trusty guardians of the soul.

    Thus, the nations of the world being everywhere guided in their course as it were by the skill of a single pilot, and acquiescing in the administration of him who governed as the servant of God, the peace of the Roman empire continued undisturbed, and all classes of his subjects enjoyed a life of tranquillity and repose. At the same time the emperor, who was convinced that the prayers of godly men contributed powerfully to the maintenance of the public welfare, felt himself constrained zealously to seek such prayers and not only himself implored the help and favour of God, but charged the prelates of the churches to offer supplications on his behalf.

    – Life of St. Constantine the Great, by Eusebius of Csarea, Book 2, Chapter 4; Book 4, Chapter 14

    If all without exception, who feel that they are men not in form of body but in power of reason, would lend an ear for a little to His salutary and peaceful rules, and would not, in the pride and arrogance of enlightenment, trust to their own senses rather than to His admonitions, the whole world, having turned the use of steel into more peaceful occupations, would now be living in the most placid tranquillity, and would unite in blessed harmony, maintaining inviolate the sanctity of treaties.

    – Against the Gentiles, by Arnobius, Book 1, Chapter 6

    Christ not only preached through His own disciples, but also wrought so persuasively on men’s understanding that they learnt to know Him and through Him to worship the Father. While they were yet idolaters, the Greeks and Barbarians were always at war with each other, and were even cruel to their own kith and kin. Nobody could travel by land or sea at all unless he was armed with swords, because of their irreconcilable quarrels with each other. Indeed, the whole course of their life was carried on with the weapons. But since they came over to the school of Christ they have laid aside their murderous cruelty and are war-minded no more. On the contrary, all is peace among them and nothing remains save desire for friendship.

    – On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius the Great, Chapter 8, 51

    Church Defiance Against Unjust State Decisions

    I see that you are unusually disturbed, and that you are closely watching me. I wonder what the reason is? Is it that you saw or heard that I had received an imperial order at the hands of the tribunes, to the effect that I was to go hence, whither I would, and that all who wished might follow me? Were you afraid that I should desert the Church and forsake you in fear for my own safety? But you could note the message I sent, that the wish to desert the Church had never entered my mind; for I feared the Lord of the universe more than an earthly emperor; and if force were to drag me from the Church, my body indeed could be driven out, but not my mind. I was ready, if he were to do what royal power is wont to do, to undergo the fate a priest has to bear.

    Why, then, are you disturbed? I will never willingly desert you, though if force is used, I cannot meet it. I shall be able to grieve, to weep, to groan; against weapons, soldiers, Goths, my tears are my weapons, for these are a priest’s defence.

    I ought not, I cannot resist in any other way; but to fly and forsake the Church is not my way; lest any one should suppose I did so from fear of some heavier punishment. You yourselves know that I am wont to show respect to our emperors, but not to yield to them, to offer myself freely to punishment, and not to fear what is prepared for me.

    – Sermon Against Auxentius on the Giving Up of the Basilicas, by St. Ambrosius of Milan

    By reason of their greatness, such men are soldiers of Christ armed with the Holy Spirit, champions of faith and towers of the divine city. Such persons who are in the flesh defeat the flesh and have contempt for death; they disdain all fear of tyrants and appear more noble.

    –Second Homily Concerning the Forty Martyrs, St. Gregory of Nyssa

    To the Emperor Mauricius Augustus: I received the law of my lords, in which the piety of my lords has ordained that it shall not be lawful for any one who is engaged in any public administration to enter on an ecclesiastical office. And this I greatly commended, knowing by most evident proof that one who is in haste to desert a secular condition and enter on an ecclesiastical office is not wishing to relinquish secular affairs, but to change them. But, at its being said in the same law that it should not be lawful for him to become a monk, I was altogether surprised. It is added in the same law that no one who has been marked on the hand (i.e. slaves and soldiers) may become a monk. This ordinance, I confess to my lords, has alarmed me greatly, since by it the way to heaven is dosed against many, and what has been lawful until now is made unlawful. For there are many who are able to live a religious life even in a secular condition: but there are very many who cannot in any wise be saved with God unless they give up all things. But what am I, in speaking thus to my lords, but dust and a worm? Yet still, feeling that this ordinance is against God, who is the Author of all, I cannot keep silence to my lords. For power over all men has been given from heaven to the piety of my lords to this end, that they who aspire to what is good may be helped, and that the way to heaven may be more widely open, so that an earthly kingdom may wait upon the heavenly kingdom. And lo, it is said in plain words that one who has once been marked to serve as an earthly soldier may not, unless he has either completed his service or been rejected for weakness of body, serve as the soldier of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    To this, behold, Christ will answer, saying; From a notary I made thee a Count of the bodyguard; from Count of the bodyguard I made thee a Caesar; from a Caesar I made thee Emperor; and not only so, but also a father of emperors. I have committed my priests into thy hand; and dost thou withdraw thy soldiers from my service? Answer thy servant, most pious Lord, I beseech thee; what wilt thou answer to thy Lord when He comes and thus speaks?

    It is a very serious consideration, that now at this time any are forbidden to leave the world; a time when the end of the world is drawing nigh.

    I indeed, being subject to your command, have caused this law to be transmitted through various parts of the world; and, inasmuch as the law itself is by no means agreeable to Almighty God, lo, I have by this my representation declared this to my most serene lords. On both sides, then, I have discharged my duty, having yielded obedience to the Emperor, and not kept silence as to what I feel in behalf of God.

    – Epistles, by St. Gregory the Great, Book 3, Epistle 65

    To Theodorus, Physician: My most serene Lord the Emperor enjoins that it shall be lawful for no one to become a monk who has been engaged in any public employment, or who has been marked in the hand, or enrolled among the soldiers, unless perchance his military service has been completed. This law, as those say who are acquainted with old laws, Julian was the first to promulgate, of whom we all know how opposed he was to God.

    Now it seems to me exceedingly hard that he should debar his soldiers from the service of Him who both gave him all and granted him to rule not only over soldiers but even over priests.

    – Epistles, by St. Gregory the Great, Book 3, Epistle 66

    The rivers of blood of our brothers, shed mercilessly at your orders, cry out to heaven and urge us to speak to you a bitter word of truth.

    It is not our business to judge earthly powers; any power that God has tolerated would attract our blessing, if in truth it would be “the servant of God” for the good of its subjects and would be “not a terror to good conduct, but to bad” (Rom. 13:3-4). Yet to you, who use your power to persecute your neighbours, we now express a word of caution: celebrate your anniversary in power by liberating the prisoners, by stopping bloodshed, violence, destruction, the restriction of faith; turn not to destruction, but to the establishment of order and lawfulness, grant the people the desired and well-deserved rest from civil war.

    – Letter to the Council of People’s Commissars, 13/26 October 1918, by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

    Positive Relations

    If in order to put an end to public wars, and tumults, and battles, the Priest is exhorted to offer prayers for kings and governors, much more ought private individuals to do it.

    – Homily 7 on 1 Tim 2:2-4, by St. John Chrysostom

    But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. … They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives.

    – The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapter 5

    Thus the forty soldiers under the Roman emperor’s authority served as Christians by obeying their faith and religion.

    – Second Letter Concerning the Forty Martyrs, St. Gregory of Nyssa

    Let governors be obedient to Caesar; soldiers to those that command them; deacons to the presbyters, as to high-priests; the presbyters, and deacons, and the rest of the clergy, together with all the people, and the soldiers, and the governors, and Caesar [himself], to the bishop; the bishop to Christ, even as Christ to the Father. And thus unity is preserved throughout.

    – The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians, Chapter 4

    Having cast themselves on the ground, they (the Christian soldiers) prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. …

    Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the provinces round about, and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.

    – Marcus Aurelius as quoted by Justin Martyr in his First Apology, chapter 6816

    Church Neutrality

    “In the summer of 1918, leaving Moscow, to which I was never to return, I went to bid farewell to the Patriarch. … I was heading south, to join the Voluntary Army, hoping to encounter all those who were linked with the hope of liberating Russia. I asked the permission of the Holy Patriarch to transmit in his name a blessing, in full secrecy of course, to one of these persons, but the Patriarch told me in the most delicate and at the same time firm way that he considered this impossible, since, remaining in Russia, he would want to avoid any reproach, both on the surface and in essence, of involving the Church in politics.”

    – St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, from the memoirs of the Russian émigré Gregory Trubetzkoy

    Spiritual Warfare

    The Real Enemy

    The Saviour has taught men what they could never learn among the idols. It is also no small exposure of the weakness and nothingness of demons and idols, for it was because they knew their own weakness that the demons were always setting men to fight each other, fearing lest, if they ceased from mutual strife, they would turn to attack the demons themselves. For in truth the disciples of Christ, instead of fighting each other, stand arrayed against demons by their habits and virtuous actions, and chase them away and mock at their captain the devil. Even in youth they are chaste, they endure in times of testing and persevere in toils. When they are insulted, they are patient, when robbed they make light of it, and, marvellous to relate, they make light even of death itself, and become martyrs of Christ.

    – On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius the Great, Chapter 8, 52

    Therefore, most beloved brethren, the mind stands ready and armed against all the deceitful plots or the open threats of the devil, always as prepared to repulse, as the enemy is always prepared to attack. And since his missiles which steal upon us secretly are more frequent and his casting of them more concealed and clandestine, and to the extent that this is not perceived, this attack is the more effectual and more frequent to our injury, let us also be alert to understand and repel these. Among these is the devil of jealousy and envy. If anyone should look deeply into this, he will discover that nothing should be avoided more by a Christian, nothing provided for more cautiously than that one be not caught by envy and malice, that one, being entangled in the blind snares of a deceitful enemy, when brother by envy turns to hatred of brother, not himself unwittingly perish by his own sword. That we may be able to gather this more fully and perceive it more clearly, let us recur to its source and origin. Let us see from what jealousy begins, both when and how. For more easily will so pernicious an evil be avoided, if both the origin and magnitude of the same is known.

    – Jealousy and Envy, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 3

    For what more fitly or more fully befits our care and solicitude than to prepare the people divinely committed to us and the army established in the heavenly camp with constant exhortations against the weapons and darts of the devil? For he cannot be a soldier fit for war who has not first been trained in the field, nor will he who seeks to obtain the contestant’s crown be crowned in the stadium, unless he first gives thought to the practice and skill of his powers. He is an old adversary and an ancient enemy with whom we wage battle. Almost six thousand years are now being fulfilled since the devil first attacked man. All kinds of tempting and arts and plots for his overthrow has he learned by the very practice of a long time. If he finds a soldier of Christ unprepared, if untrained, if he does not find him vigilant with a solicitous and whole heart, he besets him in ignorance, he deceives him incautious, he entraps him inexperienced. But if anyone guards the precepts of the Lord, and bravely adhering to Christ stands against the devil, he must be conquered, since Christ whom we confess is invincible.

    – Exhortation to Martyrhood, to Fortunatus, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 2

    Demons are distressed at the sight, and they readily acknowledge this fact. By reason of their greatness, such men are soldiers of Christ armed with the Holy Spirit, champions of faith and towers of the divine city. They resist every infliction of torture, fear, threats and foolish, shameful ridicule; they appear to offer their bodies to such outrages, but these are merely shadows. Such persons who are in the flesh defeat the flesh and have contempt for death; they disdain all fear of tyrants and appear more noble. How lovely are those trained in such bodily victories! How wonderful is their training when applied to combat against the devil! They are not armed with swords, shields, helmets nor leg protection; rather, they are armed with the full armour of God which the divine Apostle [Paul], the leader of the Church, illustrates: a shield, breastplate, helmet and sword (Eph 6.11 ff). These weapons are used against the enemy’s forces, but divine grace supports them against the devil’s troop which has the power to inflict death. This troop takes its stand in the tribunal, the place of decisive contest, where blood is shed; here [the devil's band] makes its threats and fights against those who patiently resist it.

    – Second Homily concerning the Forty Martyrs, by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    Inner War

    There are three very grievous kinds of war. The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies: The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another: The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all. From the third, we cannot escape without danger. For when the body is at variance with the soul, and raises up evil desires, and arms against it sensual pleasures, or the bad passions of anger, and envy; we cannot attain the promised blessings, till this war is brought to an end; whoever does not still this tumult, must fall pierced by wounds that will bring that death that is in hell. We have daily need therefore of care and great anxiety, that this war may not be stirred up within us, or that, if stirred up, it may not last, but be quelled and laid asleep.

    For what advantage is it, that the world enjoys profound peace, if thou art at war with thyself? This then is the peace we should keep. If we have it, nothing from without will be able to harm us. And to this end the public peace contributes no little: whence it is said, “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” But if any one is disturbed when there is quiet, he is a miserable creature. Seest thou that He speaks of this peace which I call the third (inner, ed.) kind? Therefore when he has said, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life,” he does not stop there, but adds “in all godliness and honesty.” But we cannot live in godliness and honesty, unless that peace be established. For when curious reasonings disturb our faith, what peace is there? or when spirits of uncleanness, what peace is there?

    – Homily 7 on 1 Tim 2:2-4, by St. John Chrysostom

    The evil is much lighter and the danger less, when the limbs are wounded by a sword. The cure is easy where the wound is manifest, and when a remedy comes to its assistance what is seen is quickly brought to health. The wounds of jealousy are concealed and hidden, nor do they admit the remedy of a healing cure, which have concealed themselves with blind pain within the lurking places of the conscience. Whoever of you are envious and malignant, you are seen as you are, crafty, pernicious, and hostile to those whom you hate. You are the enemy of no one’s well-being more than of your own. Whoever he is whom you persecute with jealousy, will be able to escape and avoid you. You cannot escape yourself. Wherever you are, your adversary is with you; the enemy is always in your heart; destruction is shut up within; you are tied and bound with an inescapable chain of links; you are captive with jealousy as your master; and no solaces come to your relief. It is a persevering evil to persecute a man who belongs to the grace of God; it is a calamity without a remedy to hate one who is happy.

    – Jealousy and Envy, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 9

    The greatest and most perfect thing a man may desire to attain is to come near to God and dwell in union with Him.

    …In order to succeed in this, you must constantly oppose all evil in yourself and urge yourself towards good. In other words, you must ceaselessly fight against yourself and against everything that panders to your own wills, that incites and supports them. So prepare yourself for this struggle and this warfare and know that the crown — attainment of your desired aim crown — is given to one except to the valiant among warriors and wrestlers.

    But if this is the hardest of all wars crown — since in fighting against ourselves it is in ourselves that we meet opposition crown — victory in it is the most glorious of all; and, what is the main thing, it is most pleasing to God.

    …Finally, after learning what constitutes Christian perfection and that to achieve it you must wage a constant cruel war with yourself, if you really desire to be victorious in this unseen warfare and be rewarded with a crown, you must plant in your heart the following four dispositions and spiritual activities, as it were arming yourself with invisible weapons, the most trustworthy and unconquerable of all, namely: a) never rely on yourself in anything; b) always bear in your heart a perfect and all-daring trust in God alone; c) strive without ceasing; and d) remain constantly in prayer.

    – Unseen Warfare, as edited by St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by St. Theophan the Recluse, Crestwood 1987, p. 77-81

    The Good Fight

    You have desired, my very dear Fortunatus, that I bring together from the sacred Scripture exhortations with which I might animate the soldiers of Christ for the spiritual and heavenly struggle. I have felt obliged to obey your so compelling wish, so that, in so far as our mediocrity is able, prepared with the aid of divine inspiration, certain arms, as it were, and defences might be brought forth from the Lord’s precepts for the brethren who are about to fight. For it is a minor matter that we arouse the people of God with the trumpet call of our voice, unless we confirm by divine reading the faith of believers and their courage dedicated and devoted to God.

    Those words alone must be set down which God speaks, by which Christ exhorts His servants to martyrdom. The divine precepts themselves must be supplied as arms for those who fight. Let those be the incitements of the military trumpet; let those be the clarion call for those who fight. By those let the ears be made erect; by these let the minds be made ready; by these also let the powers of mind and body be strengthened for the endurance of every suffering. Let us only, who with the Lord’s permission gave the first baptism to believers, prepare each one for another baptism also, urging and teaching that this baptism is greater in grace, more sublime in power, more precious in honour, a baptism in which the angels baptise, a baptism in which God and His Christ exult, a baptism after which no one sins again, a baptism which brings to completion the increases of our faith, a baptism which immediately joins us with God as we withdraw from the world. In the baptism of water is received the remission of sins; in that of blood the crown of virtues. This thing is to be embraced and longed for and sought after with all entreaties of our prayers, so that we who were servants of God may also be His friends.

    – Exhortation to Martyrdom, to Fortunatus, by St. Cyprian of Carthago17, Chapters 1 and 4

    Do you, whom already the heavenly warfare has designated for the spiritual camp, only keep uncorrupted and chastened in religious virtues. See that you observe either constant prayer or reading. Speak now with God; let God now speak with you. Let Him instruct in His precepts; let Him dispose you in them. Whom He shall make rich, no one will make poor. There can be no want, when once the celestial food has filled the breast.

    – To Donatus, by St. Cyprian of Carthago, Chapter 15

    These adversaries who want us to renounce our faith in the Lord or to suffer death are resisted by strong men who remain faithful unto death. Although they threaten them with fire, cast them into pits and inflict other torments, they have one voice and holy confession which Christ hears. Resistance against this torment of the enemy’s appalling insults troubles his heart and is like a stone in David’s hand slung at the enemy’s helmet (1 Sam 17.49+). We behead the enemy when as noble soldiers we cast, as it were, our confession in Christ. But the [martyrs'] account continues and leaves these matters behind while jumping over any obstacle. It boldly advances to matters which are unutterable and mentions them as if they were visible because a bold confession in Christ is encouragement and praise from above. The citizens of the heavenly city honour their success which brings joy to the entire assembly of heaven. This is the marvel which the angels behold among men and which these spectators of our lives saw in that conflict between the devil and men. How different is this marvel compared to that first struggle when the serpent vanquished Adam (Gen 3.1+)! One person did not sustain this evil attack which sought to do harm through a sound pretext; rather, everyone was affected by this assault and fell. However, all these conflicts of the enemy were reduced to nothing and were ineffective. [The devil] offered hope but they spurned it; he terrorised them but they scorned it; he threatened them with fear but they overcame it. Their one fear was to be separated from Christ, for to be with Christ was their only value since everything else seemed like laughter, shadows, nonsense and fanciful dreams.

    Now is the time. These are the days of struggle. We are at the threshold of the Paschal feast and the mystery of the holy Forty Days. These days are a time of propitiation and closely resemble the saints’ crowns.

    – Second Homily concerning the Forty Martyrs, by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    The adversary looks with evil intent upon [the martyrs'] good deeds and struggles. He sees sound bodies adorned with restraint, the armed chorus leading them in battle array to God, a beautiful sight to behold. Their spirits are exultant; they are quick footed, powerful, trained, and in every circumstance they triumph by reason of the soul’s virtue which is visible through their physical splendour. He [the adversary] jealously follows them as he wanders throughout the world. Not only does he see one sincere man, but the divine assembly of all those who are true, just and reverent. He first attempts to persuade the army’s leader to worship idols. If he fails by not slaying those who worship Christ’s name, the barbarians are not victorious.

    – First Homily concerning the Forty Martyrs, by St. Gregory of Nyssa

    To the Emperor Mauricius Augustus: There are many who are able to live a religious life even in a secular condition: but there are very many who cannot in any wise be saved with God unless they give up all things. … And lo, it is said in plain words (in the law, ed.) that one who has once been marked to serve as an earthly soldier may not, unless he has either completed his service or been rejected for weakness of body, serve as the soldier of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    It is a very serious consideration, that now at this time any are forbidden to leave the world; a time when the end of the world is drawing nigh.

    – Epistles, by St. Gregory the Great, Book 3, Epistle 65

    I do not ordain these things as an apostle: for “who am I, or what is my father’s house,” that I should pretend to be equal in honour to them? But as your “fellow-soldier,” I hold the position of one who [simply] admonishes you.

    – The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians, Chapter 4

    If the soldiers enrolled by you, and who have taken the military oath, prefer their allegiance to their own life, and parents, and country, and all kindred, though you can offer them nothing incorruptible, it were verily ridiculous if we, who earnestly long for incorruption, should not endure all things, in order to obtain what we desire from Him who is able to grant it.

    – First Apology, by St. Justin Martyr, Chapter 39

    endnotes for chapter 5:

    1 In this treaty, written approximately during the plague that ravaged Carthago in 252 AD, St. Cyprian answers the accusation of the pagans, that the Christians are responsible for the epidemic, by stating that it is, on the contrary, the crimes and persecutions of the latter that have brought it about. He underscores the attitude that Christians should take during persecution.

    2 The feast of the Forty Martyrs of Sebastea (9 March) is one of the principal and most ancient feasts of the Orthodox Church. The following homily by St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) shows that already in the IVth century, it was a major feast. The 40 Martyrs were soldiers of several nationalities of the twelfth Roman “Thunder-Struck” Legion serving in Armenia. When in 320 AD, the Emperor Licinius commanded all Christians in the East to repudiate their faith, the soldiers refused. They were then stripped naked, driven into a frozen pond and held there until the following day. The following morning, the few still alive were killed and all the bodies burnt in a furnace. Some ashes were, however, retrieved, and St. Gregory pronounced this sermon near Ibora, the place were the relics were held at the time.

    3 This letter is supposed to have been written in a.d.592-3; it complains of a law issued in the previous year, prohibiting civil servants and soldiers to become monks. The epistle, which follows, to the Emperor’s physician on the same subject, shows how much St. Gregory had it at heart. Some five years later it appears from a letter to divers metropolitans, dated December, a.d. 597 (8.5), that an amicable agreement had meanwhile been come to, both the Emperor and the Pope having made some concessions. Cf. also the end of Ep. 24 in Book 10.

    4 Lactantius was the tutor of the son of St. Constantine the Great. He lived approximately from 260 to 339 AD.

    5 In 858, in Cherson (on the Crimea), St. Methodius (“the Philosopher”) enters into debate with the Judaic teachers of the Khazar people. The discussion gives a precious testimony to the “ethnic self-understanding” of the Byzantine Empire.

    6 St. Ignatios of Antioch (20 December), also known as the Theoforos, or God-Bearer, is one of the earliest martyrs of the Christian Church. The second or third bishop of Antioch, St. Ignatius was sentenced to death around 107 AD and escorted to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts. On the way, he wrote seven letters: to the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, Smyrna and to St. Polycarp of Smyrna. The letter to the Philadelphians was written from Lystra in Asia Minor.

    7 This letter refers to actions in the parts of Russia that had been reconquered from the Red Army by the White armies during the civil war.

    8 Written by an anonymous author in the late second-early third century (although the Tradition has long attributed it to St. Justin Martyr), the epistle to Diognetus is one of the oldest witnesses of the self-understanding of the early Church. Diognetus, a pagan, has enquired about the religion and customs of the Christians, and is particularly instructive concerning their understanding of the place of Christians in their homelands and the world.

    9 Arnobius of Sicca (260-303), one of the Apologetic Fathers, lived in Numidia between the IIIrd and IVth centuries. His “Against the Gentiles” refutes the accusations of the pagans, that the Christians are the cause of all mishap on earth.

    10 A protege of the Empress Justinia, the Arian bishop Auxentius used an Imperial decree in 385 ordering that the basilicas of Milan be handed over to the Arians. St. Ambrosius of Milan leads the people in protest over this decree. Challenging his opponents to a discussion in the church, he says that he is not terrified at their weapons.

    11 Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (265-340 AD) was a contemporary of St. Constantine the Great and witnessed many of the events described in the Life of the Emperor. Having witnessed the last persecutions of the Church, he welcomes the reign of St. Constantine as a gift of God and the beginning of a new era.

    12 Reference to the treaty of Brest-Litowsk between the Bolsheviks and the German government (3 March 1918), which abandoned large parts of Tsarist Russia and ended the Russian participation in the First World War.

    13 Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic of Ochrid ( 1956) is regarded by many as a saint of the Serbian Orthodox Church yet to be canonised. He is best known for The Prologue from Ochrid, a four-volume work on the lives of the saints. Little by little his writings are being translated into English.

    14 In this Treatise, written around 176-177 AD, the Apologetic father Athenagoras of Athens claims that the resurrection is necessary, since neither the body nor the soul can separately bear the judgement over the sins committed during life.

    16 Justin Martyr attributes the letter to Marcus Aurelius; the event described is verified in other historical records, though they do not give credit to the role of prayer by Christians.

    17 The Exhortation to Martyrdom is probably the last work of St. Cyprian of Carthago (Bishop from 249 to 258), written during the persecutions of Valerian in 257-258. It is a compilation of biblical texts, aimed to inspire the persecuted Church in Northern Africa.

    marginal quotation from chapter 5:

    St. Boris refused to fight his brother Svyatopolk for the throne. His decision was in no way strategic; it made no sense in the eyes of the world. He was resigning his chances as a Grand Prince: more than that, he was putting his life in danger. For “I believe my brother is obsessed by worldly cares,” he says in the Tale of his life, “and thinks of killing me.” It was true enough; Svyatopolk had already despatched men of Vyshgorod with orders to kill him. Yet Boris was well aware of what his course of action ought to be. “If he attempts to kill me” continues the Tale “I shall be a martyr to my Lord, since I shall not resist…. For the Apostle says: ‘If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar’”.

    – Fr. Sergi Hackel, 1994

    If, after all, we were losing this war, after having begged God to grant us victory in name of His Justice, what would there remain to be said? One out of two things: either our cause was not the just cause, or God is unjust… Yes, He is unjust, if you please, because He is greater than justice, because His justice is not our justice, because His ways are not our Ways. Because in face of His justice, which one day will immerse the foundations of the universe, our poor justice is nothing else than injustice… We should have prayed for victory bearing in mind this formidable justice, in the face of which we are always unjust, with tears and great contrition: we should have invoked not Justice, which is beyond our measure, which we could not have endured, but infinite mercy, which has made the Son of God descend from heavens.

    – Vladimir Lossky, 1998

    Violence calls for more violence. Thus a vicious circle is created which has the innocent and the weak as its victims. We pray God that peace and justice may once more reign in the Balkans”

    – Archibishop Anastasios of Albania

    The beast in the given case clearly indicates the state, not just in the sense of the state’s organisation of legal order, which assists mankind on its ways (about which the Apostle speaks, when he says “there is no authority, except from God”, Rom. 13:1), but totalitarian statehood, attempting to become the sole determining and all-fulfilling principle of human life. Such a state that falsely exaggerates its own importance, constitutes by the very same not just a pagan principle, but a demonic one, the earthly face of Satan or the multitude of his faces. Such a state as an earthly kingdom affronts the Kingdom of Christ, wages war against it, and by the force of things constitutes — consciously or unconsciously — an anti-Christian force, a tool of the “prince of this world,” his kingdom, and the heads of such states become his masks.

    – Fr. Sergi Boulgakov, 1944

    Next

    For the Peace From Above — Table of Contents

    Chapter 6

    Monday, October 18th, 2004

    REFERENCE TEXTS FROM CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS

    Nation, Nationalism

    Ethno-phyletism (Racism)

    There have always been two races in the world; they exist today, and this division is more important than all other divisions. There are those who crucify and those who are crucified, those that oppress and those who are oppressed, those who hate and those who are hated, those who inflict suffering and those who suffer, those who persecute and those who are persecuted. It needs no explanation on whose side Christians should be.

    – Christianity and Anti-Semitism (the religious destiny of Judaism), by N. Berdyayev, Paris, 1935, p. 30

    Who Is Jesus Christ for Us?

    When the question of the national (ethnic) origins of our Saviour comes in first position and overshadows the essence of the Christian teaching, a question naturally appears: who is Jesus Christ for us? A tribal leader, whose authority should facilitate national unification, or God, who saves us from malediction and death? For the believing mind the answer is self-evident, and those for whom Christianity is merely an ideology prefer, as Dostoevsky said, to stay with their own “truth” rather than with Christ.

    For the leader of RNU, Jesus Christ is the tribal god of the Indo-Aryans, which will help us to establish a mighty national state, having placed us above all peoples. Remember: it was exactly this kind of Messiah that the majority of the Jewish people were expecting, because they had wrongly understood the prophecies of the Old Testament by giving them an exclusively earthly sense. Such an understanding fundamentally contradicts the preaching of Christ on the Kingdom of God, which is spiritual and above nature, a Kingdom which begins on earth and has no end.

    By attempting to give a national character to Christianity, the leader of the RNU willingly or unwillingly attacks the very essence of Christ’s preaching. Christianity is not the national religion of the Indo-Europeans, nor is it an ideology. Christ is neither a national leader, nor a tribal chief. We believe in Christ, the God who saves us, the true, living God, the God of love. He says to us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt. 11:28-30). And, in the reply of the human soul top this appeal, in our striving towards Him, in the words of St. Paul, already “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:28-29).

    Who needs such patriotism?

    Patriotism is love for our motherland, our people with its customs and traditions, its sanctuaries and its faith. The patriotism of Mr. Barkashov has nothing in common with genuine patriotism, since it tramples on the foundations of the Orthodox faith of our people.

    – In Whom Do We Believe?1, by Evgeniy Petrovskiy

    (Syndesmos Eastern Europe Regional Representative)

    From: Vstrecha Orthodox Student Journal, Nr. 3 (9), 1998

    Ethno-phyletism and Orthodox Unity

    As well as being a perversion of normal patriotic sentiment, racism is a real obstacle to cooperation between the Orthodox churches in the world and the worst enemy of the unity of the churches of the Orthodox East.

    The predominance in the locally formed churches of the national character must be seen as responsible for … the dividing of peoples and churches. In principle such a division does not contradict the spirit of Christianity. But the principle of division by race, which came to prevail widely, assumed its worst possible form among some of these groups: that of pure racism or chauvinism, the worst enemy of peace, which destroys unity between the local Orthodox churches.2

    … In reality, the Church organisation is based not on autocephaly, but chiefly on the principle, that one bishop stands for one church in one place. This, the local principle, makes quite plain by the unity and concord of the local church the unity of the new People of God, in which there is neither Jew or Greek, but a new creation in Christ.

    – The Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Orthodox Church, by Metropolitan Maximus of Sardes, Thessaloniki, 1976

    Orthodoxy and Identity

    From a dogmatic and mystical point of view, the issue of Church and national identity is only a part of the great question of the relation of the Church with human history and cultural creation. However strange this may seem, after two thousand years of Christian history this question, notwithstanding its greatness and its actuality, has not yet found a conciliar answer within the Church. It has not found it, because it has not been raised in the Church. It has not been raised, because it has not been envisaged.

    … The Eastern Orthodox non-humanistic world view experiences the tragedy of the “refusal of the world” with incomparably greater strength (than Western Christianity). Orthodox consciousness and the mysticism of Orthodox piety are deeply and essentially ascetic. The spirit of Palestinian, apostolic, eschatological Christianity, torn away from the concerns of history and resurrected in the spirit of monastic asceticism, still dominates in the heart of Orthodoxy. The century-long national-political inter-connectedness of Orthodox churches with Byzantine-style states didn’t shatter this intimate non-historicity of Orthodoxy.

    … This radical asceticism of Orthodoxy seems to have little in common with its factual external history as a confession which is linked primarily, with almost pagan naivety to the life of specific nations, states and cultures. This cannot be explained by some positive inspiration of Orthodox mysticism and Orthodox ascetic piety on the tasks of human earthly history, but rather by a certain weakness and defenselessness of asceticism as such in all its forms. Christian asceticism knows an element of refusal of violent defence against evil.

    … The Church should consider the values of national life according to the elementary analogy of the primacy of the spirit over the flesh. For Christianity, all is in second place to the mysteries of divine Revelation and the aims of the Kingdom of God. All other values are secondary and subject to spiritual and godly life, which is guarded by the Church. Lesser, relative values stand in opposition of the one greater and absolute value. The value of national origin is indisputable as well as the value of the self-affirmation of every individual personality, but they are relative values, easily changing into sinful egoism. They find their justification in their submission to the rule of absolute measures, the measures of the Church. From this point of view, relative values are unstable. In the judgement of the Church they may change into negative entities. Personal, natural egoism as well as national self-affirmation may from a relative good change, as a result of an orientation away from Christianity, into evil paganism.

    What do we see in the reality of today? The patriarchal times when the national life of peoples would flourish and prosper under the good influence of the Church, have gone forever. The XIXth and particularly the XXth centuries have proved to be centuries of a new and stormy flourishing of national enthusiasms, but in a secular, lay and often simply an anti-Christian spirit. The recent self-affirming pathos of all small nations, not only in Europe but on all continents, is nothing but pagan nationalism. XIXth-century nationalism, although pagan in essence, in the great European nations still was only neutral in regard to the Church; it was anti-clerical and anti-church only as a result of practical and tactical clashes with the organised forces of the Church. (…) In the XXth century we witness a rather unexpected solidification of this anti-Christian lay spirit in some sort of religious paganism, with its own sort of mysticism, diametrically opposed to Christianity. Such is German racism with its resurrection of the religion of Thor, Odin and Wodan and Italian Fascism with its hysteric and artificial idolatry of the state and the physical Rome.

    … In the face of this primitive and spiritually war-waging nationalism in the spirit of racism and fascism, the Church already has no grounds whatsoever for noble concessions. She is obliged to wage a tense war, if even defensive, against this demonic and perverse nationalism.

    … The organisational task of the Orthodox churches is the gathering of the individual autocephalous churches, spread over tiny national areas, de facto submitted and sometimes enslaved by the state, into organised conciliar unions, capable of lifting up individual churches somewhat above the level of their nations. Fragmented as it is, Orthodoxy, particularly in our “communist” and “fascist” time, which loses no time being kind to any, let alone religious freedom, must hastily acquire some extra-territorial strength in its great ecclesial “monarchies” and ecumenical councils, as prescribed by the canons. The present moment demands for the Orthodox East to re-enter into the conciliar practice, mutual contact and extra-territorial unification, as a start by means of permanent inter-conciliar synods. This need is prescribed by the tasks of the Church as regards national life and the new dangers in this field which appear out of the forces of pagan nationalism.

    – The Church and National Identity, by A. Kartachov, Paris, 1934

    … While economic logic pushes in the direction of globalisation, interdependence and regional integration, political logic moves, in numerous regions, towards national fragmentation. This process is not accompanied by the decline of nationalisms. We are obliged to note that the global market and the universal Homo economicus don’t dissolve distinctive ethnic identities, either intra-national or supra-natural.

    The paradox of globalisation, accompanying the development of a society of consumption and planet-wide entertainment, is that in producing homogenisation and uniformisation it exacerbates the need for distinction and recognition. The more individuals — and peoples — look alike, the more they will seek to underline their differences. The smaller the real differences are, the more their significance is underlined. To deny a similarity with the other may serve as a means for resurrecting a lost distinctive feature.

    Citizenship is less and less a space for free encounters between persons. Men and women are often reduced to the roles assigned to them by the forces of the market or by those of neo-tribalism: from the one side, individuals defined by their needs and consumer capacities, from the other, the subjection of the individual to the interests — often pretended — of a community which is structured, in its head, by opposition to others.

    Between relativist consumerism, including the religious level, and the re-appearance of ethnic or communitarian fanaticism, Orthodoxy is called to make its way to the future.

    – Reflections on the Orthodox Identity in Today’s World, by Tarek Mitri3, Speech at the 10th congress of the Orthodox Fellowship in Western Europe, Paray-le-Monial 1999

    Movements for the reaffirmation of religious identity have undergone a considerable change between 1975 and 1990. In fifteen years they have succeeded in transforming the confused reaction of their adherents to the ‘crisis of modernity’ into plans for rebuilding the world, and in those plans their holy scriptures provide the basis for tomorrow’s society. These movements have arisen in a world which has lost the assurance born in scientific and technological progress since the 1950′s. Just as the barriers of poverty, disease and inhuman working conditions seemed to be yielding, the population explosion, the spread of AIDS, pollution and the energy crises burst upon the scene — and all of these scourges lent themselves to presentation in apocalyptic terms. During the same period the great atheist messianic ideology of the twentieth century, communism, which had left its mark on most of the social utopias, went into its death throes, and finally succumbed in the autumn of 1989 when its most potent symbol, the Berlin Wall, was destroyed.

    The Christian, Jewish and Muslim movements we have been observing are to be viewed in this dual perspective. Their first task was to fix labels on to the confusion and disorder in the world as perceived by their adherents, breathing fresh life into the vocabulary and the categories of religious thought as applied to the contemporary world. Next they conceived plans for changing the social order so as to bring it into line with the commands and values of the Old Testament, the Koran or the Gospels; for as they saw it, nothing else could ensure the advent of a world of justice and truth.

    These movements have a great deal in common beyond mere historical simultaneity. They are at one in rejecting a secularism that they trace back to the philosophy of the Enlightenment. They regard the vainglorious emancipation of reason from faith as the prime cause of all the ills of the twentieth century, the beginning of a process leading straight to Nazi and Stalinist totalitarianism.

    This radical challenge to the foundations of secular modernism is uttered by its own children, who have had access to today’s education. They see no contradiction between their mastery of science and technology and their acceptance of faith not bounded by the tenets of reason. In fact, people like Herman Branover consciously symbolise the fact that a ‘God fearing Jew’ can also be a ‘great scientist’. And the self-image favoured by Islamist militants is that of a girl student, muffled in a veil with only a slit for the eyes, bent over a microscope and doing research in biology.

    All these movements agree that the modern secular city is now completely lacking in legitimacy. But while Christians, Muslims and Jews all consider that only a fundamental transformation in the organisation of society can restore the holy scriptures as the prime source of inspiration for the city of the future, they have differing ideas of what that city will be like. Each of these religious cultures has developed specific truths which, insofar as they provide the basis for a strong reapportion of identity, are mutually exclusive.

    – The Revenge of God: the Resurgence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the Modern World, by Gilles Kepel

    Peace

    I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and I wish that it were already burning.” (Luke 12:49)

    Jesus Christ claims that his mission is to cast fire upon the earth. This fire has come and it is burning. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace and truth, of peace and joy, of justice and all embracing love. This Spirit has come. And where He breathes, there is freedom. “For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17).

    The organisation Syndesmos exists to be a “bond” which binds together many men and movements in the single unity of the one divine Spirit, in the single burning flame of the one divine Fire. As a World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth, Syndesmos takes its name from the apostolic words: “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond — Syndesmos — of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

    The world is not in peace. Neither is it in unity. The spirit of this world, which burns from the black ghettos of Chicago to the streets of Paris, from the Holy Land in the Middle East to the jungles of Africa, this spirit is not the Spirit of unity and peace. It is not a bond which can pacify and unite. It is a barrier which can only divide and destroy.

    But the firm belief of Syndesmos, and its only reason for existence, is that there is a Spirit, not as this world gives, which is a power, a unity and a peace. There is a Spirit which can burn in men and movements and can empower them to go beyond every spirit of this world. This is the Spirit which Christ gives, the fire which He has cast upon the earth. And Syndesmos desires, as its only consuming desire, to be alive and burning with this spiritual fire.

    – Jesus Christ in a Changing World, report of the VIIth, Syndesmos General Assembly, Introductory message, by Albert Laham, Syndesmos president, Rattvik 1968

    War

    The Role of the Church in Wartime

    … Without doubt, from the Christian point of view, war is an evil and a sin, against which the Church is obliged to struggle. Here the Church, listening as a doctor with a stethoscope to the sick heart of the nation, should gather all the strength of its super-human impassivity and evangelic purity of consciousness, in order to show, when in moments of passionate nationalistic taking up of arms, by its non-earthly, prophetic judgement and its authoritative voice, both to its own people, to the enemy and to all mankind the way towards higher justice and towards better, nobler means to achieve it than the iron ultima ratio. This is the super-humanly difficult service the Church must render.

    – The Church and National Identity, by A. Kartachov, Paris, 1934

    “Just,” or “Holy” Wars

    Our Church insists that religion is like a “secret balm” which should not be used by just anyone or in order to spark armed conflict. This balm is a gift of God, given to soften hearts, to heal wounds and to help persons and peoples establish bonds of brotherhood among them.

    – “We pray God that peace and justice may once more reign in the Balkans”, Archibishop Anastasios of Albania, Tirana, 1999

    There was another heresy as well — spiritualist this time — which tried to juxtapose itself to the materialism of the “equipment war,” to infuse it with an artificial soul. This was the ideology of a “holy war,” or a “crusade.” It had several nuances; the struggle for democracies, for freedom, for human dignity, for Western culture, for Christian civilisation, eventually for divine justice. I say “heresy,” because these ideas, although often justified by themselves, were not founded upon a living experience, They did not spring forth of a deep and healthy spring which only could have transformed them into “ideas-forces.” These words also sounded false, as all that is abstract. They sounded false especially because they wanted to present as absolute secondary and relative concepts and values. For even Christian civilisation, as a civilisation, is nothing but a product, a realisation, the exterior manifestation of an absolute reality, which is the faith of the Christian people. Holy wars are not waged over cathedrals, theological summae or missals. These are but the clothing of the Church — the clothing of Christ that was divided by the soldiers at the feet of the Cross. As for the Church, which is the source of these secondary goods, she has no need of our material defence, of our childish sword. It is useless to renew the naive gesture of Peter who cut the ear of the slave in the garden of Getsemani… War is not waged over absolute values: this was the great error of all wars we call “religious,” the main cause of their inhuman atrocities. It is not waged either over relative values which are tried to make absolute, over abstract concepts which are granted a religious character. Whether we oppose the idol of the “pure race” by the other, more humane idols of rights, liberty, humanity, — all the same these would be idols as well, hypostated and absolutised concepts; it would always remain a war of idols, not a human war… Human war, the only just (for as far as a war may be called just), is a war over relative values which are known to be relative. It is a war in which man — a being called to an absolute destiny — sacrifices himself spontaneously, without hesitation, for a relative value, which he knows to be relative: the soil, the earth, the motherland. And this sacrifice acquires an absolute imperishable value for the human person.

    – Seven Days on the Roads of France (June 1940), by Vladimir Lossky4, Paris, 1998, p. 21

    Conlict Between Ethnic and Religious Communities

    Civilisation identity will be increasingly important in the future, and the world will be shaped in large measures by the interaction among seven or eight major civilisations. These include Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African civilisation. The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilisations from one another.

    … The processes of economic modernisation and social change throughout the world are separating people from long-standing local identities. They also weaken the nation state as a source of identity. In much of the world, religion has moved in to fill this gap, often in the form of movements that are labelled “fundamentalist”. Such movements are found in Western Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as in Islam. In most countries and most religions the people active in fundamentalist movements are young, college-educated, middle-class technicians, professionals and business persons. The “unsecularization of the world,” Georges Weigel has remarked, “is one of the dominant social facts of life in the late twentieth century.” The revival of religion, “La revanche de Dieu,” as Gilles Kepel labelled it, provides a basis for identity and commitment that transcends national boundaries and unites civilisations.

    … Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones. In the former Soviet Union, communists can become democrats, the rich can become poor and the poor rich, but Russians cannot become Estonians and Azeris cannot become Armenians. In class and ideological conflicts, the key question was “Which side are you on?” and people could and did choose sides and change sides. In conflicts between civilisations, the question is “What are you?” That is a given that cannot be changed. And as we know, from Bosnia to the Caucasus to the Sudan, the wrong answer to that question can mean a bullet in the head. Even more than ethnicity, religion discriminates sharply and exclusively among people. A person can be half-French and half-Arab and simultaneously even a citizen of two countries. It is more difficult to be half-Catholic and half-Muslim.

    … As people define their identity in ethnic and religious terms, they are likely to see an “us”versus “them” relation existing between themselves and people of different ethnicity and religion. The end of ideologically defined states in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union permits traditional ethnic identities and animosities to come to the fore.

    … The fault lines between civilisations are replacing the political and ideological boundaries of the Cold War as the flash points for crisis and bloodshed. The Cold War began when the Iron Curtain divided Europe politically and ideologically.

    The Cold War ended with the end of the Iron Curtain. As the ideological division of Europe has disappeared, the cultural division of Europe between Western Christianity, on the one hand, and Orthodox Christianity and Islam, on the other, has re-emerged. The most significant dividing line in Europe, as William Wallace has suggested, may well be the eastern boundary of Western Christianity in the year 1500. This line runs along what are now the boundaries between Finland and Russia and between the Baltic states and Russia, cuts through Belarus and Ukraine separating the more Catholic western Ukraine from Orthodox eastern Ukraine, swings westward separating Transylvania from the rest of Romania, and then goes through Yugoslavia almost exactly along the line now separating Croatia and Slovenia from the rest of Yugoslavia. In the Balkans this line, of course, coincides with the historic boundaries of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires. The peoples to the west and north of this line are Protestant or Catholic; they shared the common experiences of European history — feudalism, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution; they are generally economically better off than the peoples to the east; and they may now look forward to increasing involvement in a common European economy and to the consolidation of democratic political systems. The peoples to the east and south of this line are Orthodox or Muslim; they historically belonged to the Ottoman or Tsarist empires and were only lightly touched by the shaping events in the rest of Europe; they are generally less advanced economically; they seem much less likely to develop stable democratic political systems. The Velvet Curtain of culture has replaced the Iron Curtain of ideology as the most significant dividing line in Europe. As the events in Yugoslavia show, it is not only a line of difference; it is also a line of bloody conflict.

    … On the Eurasian continent, the proliferation of ethnic conflict, epitomised at the extreme in “ethnic cleansing,” has not been totally random. It has been most frequent and most violent between groups belonging to different civilisations. In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilisations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Birma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.

    – The Clash of Cultures, by Samuel Huntington, from: Foreign Affairs, Volume 72 No.3, Summer 1993

    Killing and Bloodshed

    Not only the Jews crucified Christ. By their acts, Christians, or those who call themselves Christians, have in the long course of history crucified Christ, they have crucified Him by their anti-semitism as well, they have crucified Him by their hate and their acts of violence, by their service to the powerful of this world, by their changes and deformations of the truth of Christ in the name of their own interests. … [I]t is better, when Christ is directly and openly denied, then when His name is used as a cover to act in the interests of one own’s kingdom. When people curse and persecute Jews for having crucified Christ, they clearly stand on the point of view of blood feuds, which was characteristic of ancient peoples, including the Jewish people. But blood feuds are absolutely unacceptable for the Christian consciousness; [replacing comma with semicolon] it fully contradicts the Christian understanding of human personality, of personal dignity and personal responsibility. Moreover, the Christian consciousness accepts no form of vengeance, neither personal or hereditary. Feelings of vengeance are sinful and we should repent of [for "in"] them. Heredity, blood, vengeance; all this is completely alien to pure Christianity and is introduced into it from outside, from ancient paganism.

    – Christianity and Anti-semitism (The Religious Destiny of Judaism), by N. Berdyayev, Paris, 1935, p. 20

    State-Church relations

    Incompatibility of the Church with Absolute Statehood

    Ap. 13:1: The beast in the given case clearly indicates the state, not just in the sense of the state’s organisation of legal order, which assists mankind on its ways (about which the Apostle speaks, when he says “there is no authority, except from God”, Rom. 13:1), but totalitarian statehood, attempting to become the sole determining and all-fulfilling principle of human life. Such a state that falsely exaggerates its own importance, constitutes by the very same not just a pagan principle, but a demonic one, the earthly face of Satan or the multitude of his faces. Such a state as an earthly kingdom affronts the Kingdom of Christ, wages war against it, and by the force of things constitutes — consciously or unconsciously — an anti-Christian force, a tool of the “prince of this world,” his kingdom, and the heads of such states become his masks.

    Only in the Revelation of the New Testament the antagonism and struggle between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the prince of this world reach their final incompatibility, and this is specifically expressed in the Revelation of St. John. Other texts of the New Testament, such as the letters of the Apostles Paul and Peter (Rom. 13:1-7, Tit. 3:1, 1 Tim. 2:12, Petr. 2:13-17) search and find a certain measure of reconciliation with the state, its recognition as the rightful order of things, which guarantees external peace. The state, here, serves humanity as a means and is not an end in itself; it is submitted to the norms of morality. In this sense, indeed, it was possible to say: “There is no authority, except from God.” (…) When considering the Christian state — for as far as it has ever existed and can possibly exist — or more precisely, the state of the Christians, new boundaries and tasks appear, namely: serving Christian morality. However, such a service presupposes a certain spiritual equilibrium, where the state does not go beyond its own, legal tasks. Still even this situation always remains unstable; when the state crosses these boundaries, it turns into the beast.

    In general, absolute states on earth are the image of man deified, of anti-Christianity, they are the incarnation of the spirit of the prince of this world, from whom it is said: “and to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority” (13:2). Even though in the days when the Revelation was written, this apparently referred to the Roman Empire as the image of state absolutism, today this may be applied to all varieties of this principle, to Bolshevism and racism (without even mentioning Japanese pagan deification of the Emperor and others). (…)

    “And the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshipped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast saying, ‘Who is like beast, And who can fight against it?’” (13:4). It is difficult to add anything to the simplicity of these words, which may be applied to the totality of world history. Today’s tsarism, both the Russian and the Germanic type, in their own way are new and almost unexpected parallels of Roman absolutism, as is its victorious self-affirmation, which leads entire peoples which are under its power to a state of madness.

    – Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John, by Fr. Sergi Boulgakov5, Paris, 194, p. 100-104

    Compliance with Existing National and State Structures

    Christianity and the Christian churches in many ways are obliged to repent, not only on (their handling of) the Jewish issue, but also on social matters, on war, on the constant compliance to the most negative state systems.

    – Christianity and Anti-semitism (the religious destiny of Judaism), by N. Berdyayev, Paris, 1935, p.6

    Using all forces of the spiritual battle with the sinful world for the defence of the soul from the attacks of sin, for the endeavour of passive suffering, asceticism renounces active participation in the things of this world; it accepts them as inevitable fact in the way that the laws of nature, harmed by sin, an the worldly sinful will of men arrange them. Accepting this, asceticism finds some consolation in nations and states that accept baptism and the seal of Christianity. Under this condition, their sinful earthly national existence finds an ideal and hope, just as every individual sinner: to throw from oneself, by means of repentance and asceticism, the weight of sin, to free oneself from corruption and to approach the boundaries of a kingdom which is neither earthly nor fleshly, but already heavenly and spiritual.

    This is the logic of asceticism, in its every-day, prosaic historical existence, which creates the acceptance, typical for the Orthodox churches, of all existing local national regimes and even the submission to them. In fact, a compromise is achieved which is perceived by the majority as sufficiently founded in Orthodox dogma and mysticism. meanwhile, no clear motivation for such a compromise is provided for the theological consciousness.

    Thus an internal paradox in the attitude of the Orthodox Church towards the interest of national life is created; having a tragic (negative towards things of the world, ed.) ascetic principle, we see a non-tragic, passive cohabitation with national interests. In addition, simple psychology, dominated as it is, speaking in biblical terms, by “flesh and blood”, easily brings forth the leading type of ecclesial nationalism and justification of narrow, local politics by the blessing of the Church. Instead of a tragic demand posed by an ascetic Church to the pagan and natural sphere of national motives and passions, we witness not only the forbearance and tolerance of morally imperfect ways of national politics by the Church, but even a direct service to these politics, going to the extremes of the temptations of opportunism and enslavement.

    – The Church and National Identity, by A. Kartachov, Paris, 1934

    Spiritual Warfare

    For the first time, doubt took hold of my heart. The territory of France, its expanse in space and time is restricted, limited. Is there another stronghold, another soil, unchanging and fixed for ever, a space impenetrable by enemy invasions? Hasn’t is been said: “Do not fear enemies who can kill only the body, but rather fear those who, with the body, kill your soul?” Therefore, our only expanse free of enemy invasions, our only vital space, infinite in its richness and forces, we find in God. And thus our combat will be transposed to another terrain, it will become unlimited in new resources, forgotten for centuries but always present in our spiritual sub-soil. And then it will no longer be a material war which we will have lost, it will not even be the human war we have not yet lost, but which we may lose (for man may well be a hero, he always remains limited in his forces); it will be an interior combat where God will fight on our sides, against ourselves in a purifying and salutatory combat.

    – Seven Days on the Roads of France (June 1940), by Vladimir Lossky, Paris, 1998, p. 34

    endnotes for chapter 6:

    1 The article reacts to the claims by the leader of the organisation “Russian National Unity,” Alexander Barkashov, that real Orthodoxy proclaims Christ to be the national, Aryan leader of the Russian people.

    2 Schmemann writes that “Admitting the positive value of nationalism in Christianity, we must not fall into the trap of idealising history, fixing our eyes on the light, and shutting out what is dark. The progress and earthly life of the Church is not an idyll. On the contrary, it requires struggles and a vigilant ecclesial conscience… The danger of nationalism lies in its subconsciously altering the hierarchy of values, so that the nation no longer serves Christian justice, truth or itself, and no longer evaluates its life in accordance with these qualities. Instead, Christianity itself and the Church begin to be assessed and evaluated by the extent to which they serve the state, the nation, etc.” (A. Schmemann, Tserkov’ i tserkovnoye ustroistro, in Messager de l’Exarchat du Patriarche Russe en Europe Occidentale, March 1949, XIV). H. Alivizatos was no less perceptive when he wrote : “National and nationalistic theories and an exaggerated emphasis upon nationalism in the Church have caused the individual autocephalous churches to commit unacceptable acts which destroy the ecclesiastical organism by simply making it share the nationalistic inclinations of their own people… There is no doubt that exaggerated stress upon national churches has been detrimental to the integrity of Orthodoxy, and the various churches’ unrestricted involvement in national antagonisms has damaged the great basic principles of the Orthodox consciousness in the whole of ecclesiastical life and has deeply and seriously wounded the internal unity of Orthodoxy” (H. Alivizatos, Peri tis enotitos en tis orthodoxo Ekklisia), pp. 169-170

    3 Tarek Mitri is Professor of Sociology at Balamand Orthodox University in Lebanon and Head of the Office on Inter-Religious Relations of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of Syndesmos.

    4 This book, published in 1988, contains the notes taken by one of the leading Orthodox theologians of the XXth century, Vladimir Lossky, during his attempts to join the retreating French army in June 1940. The present passage starts denouncing the “heresy” of those who tried, during those first days of the war, to reduce the “war to an industrial enterprise, a matter of capital.”

    5 Fr. Sergi Boulgakov, Dean of St. Sergius’ theological Academy in Paris, wrote this commentary of the Apocalypse during the first half of the Second World War. Started as notes for his lectures, he finished a draft of the book version shortly before his death in 1944.

    marginal quotation from chapter 6:

    The point of view idea that there is a latent conflict between Islam and Christianity in Kosovo, and that this conflict has become one of the cause of the war, is completely wrong. Those responsible for this crisis have not acted in the name of a given religion. On the contrary, they have been raised and educated under a regime which had a deep contempt for religion. On the other hand, everyone knows that the vast majority of the NATO member countries belong the Christian tradition. It is very dangerous to exploit religious ideas and words in armed conflict. Any crime committed in the name of a religion is a crime against religion itself. Our Church insists that religion is like a “secret balm” which should not be used by just anyone or in order to spark armed conflict. This balm is a gift of God, given to soften hearts, to heal wounds and to help persons and peoples establish bonds of brotherhood among them.

    – “We pray God that peace and justice may once more reign in the Balkans”, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania

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