By Theodore Shoebat
This article is a call to Christendom to rise again, to take back its inheritance, to dominate the world, and to illuminate the world. It is explanation as to the mindset of the ancient Christian warrior, and how he saw himself as a weapon for God’s holy cause.
Holy war is a Christian bridging his soul with God, and committing himself to fight for God by manifesting the divine love through warring with the enemies of heaven, to “lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
This is that mountain upon which Christendom is built; this is the spirit of Christianity, and the spirit of the sacred militant.
Moses climbed the top of the lofty mountain of Sinai, to ascend the highest pinnacle of eternal truth, and now does glorious Christendom behold that heavenly Mount Zion with trembling reverence, approaching “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:23-24)
It is around this holy mountain that Christendom surrounds itself, and it in the God of this holy mountain, alongside His saints and “The chariots of God” who are “twenty thousand, even thousands of angels” (Psalm 68:17), where Christendom receives its strength.
The God-inspired David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6) before he charged into battle to fight the Amalekites and save the people who they oppressed. Truly was this a crusade, with David carrying up the cross of his suffering, and denying himself, and in so doing did his soul ascended heavenward and found strength in God Who “teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (Psalm 18:34)
David found strength in the Lord, because the strength of God was instilled in his heart so that, with fiery zeal, he could be directed by divine guidance to fight “the battles of the Lord” (1 Samuel 25:28) When David clashed with the Amalekites, and combated against them, he was not only used by God, but more sublimely than that, he was connected with God in a very profound way. He achieved what St. Peter said when he wrote in his inspired epistle:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (1 Peter 1:2-4)
By fighting against the tyrannical pagans, David was both fighting for and partaking in “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” through the divine power which granted to him such virtues, and in doing so, was he amongst the “partakers of the divine nature,” being the instrument of God “to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:4)
By fighting in a holy struggle did David participate in virtue, committing himself to the purest manifestation of love, to “lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) In the words of St. Maximus the Confessor:
It is evident that every person who participates in virtue as a matter of habit unquestionably participates in God, the substance of the virtues. (1)
To become a partaker in the divine nature, and be used to advance virtue, is part of a spiritual journey the ancient Christians called theosis, or to obtain the likeness to or union with God. In the Western Church this has been called divinization, not that one becomes God or divine himself (this would be blasphememy), but that one unites with God, becoming one of the “partakers of the divine nature,” to use the words of St. Peter, and an instrument for God’s justice.
King David fought the Lord’s battles, strengthening himself in God, and for this it can be said that he reached theosis, becoming like God that he emulated the Almighty in His justice and virtues. God uses both the bodies and the souls of His warriors to practice virtue, and that involves uprooting evil. We become His weapons. In the words of St. Maximus:
The soul becomes godlike through divinization [theosis], and because God cares for what is lower, that is the body, and has given the command to love one’s neighbor, the soul prudently makes use of the body. By practicing the virtues the body gains familiarity with God and becomes a fellow servant with the soul. (2)
The soul reaches God, and is indwelled with His eternal virtues, and the body is used to partake in those virtues. In the words of St. Paul:
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
David strengthened himself in the Lord, his soul sublimely indwelled with the virtues of God, and filled with “zeal for the lord,” (1 Kings 10:16), and his strong arm striking in the spirit of that same zeal. In such a state did David glorify God in body and in spirit.
The knights and crusaders who defended glorious Christendom glorified God in both soul and body, for their souls were filled with the divine virtues, and they used their bodies to fight for those very virtues. In the words of Ramon Lull, a Spanish knight who warred against the Muslims in Spain,
So then, just as all of these aforesaid practices pertain to the knight with respect to the body, so justice, wisdom, charity, loyalty, truth, humility, fortitude, hope and prowess, and the other virtues similar to these, pertain to the knight with respect to the soul. (3)
David and all of the warriors who fought for God and His Divine Law, illustrated the greatest indication of inspired virtue: perseverance. It is perseverance that is the sign of the Christian warrior, and it is the virtue that brings him to eternity. In the words of St. Bernard:
In truth, perseverance is a sort of likeness here to eternity hereafter. In fact it is perseverance alone on which eternity is bestowed; or rather, it is perseverance which bestows man on eternity; as the Lord says, “He that shall preserve unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (4)
The crusaders had perseverance, and thus fought and died, journeying to eternity. Meditation on the eternal heaven, and the divine majesty of God, in the words of St. Bernard, “fosters a spirit of long-suffering, and gives strength to perseverance.” (5)
It is for this reason that the zealous warriors of Christendom trained not only their bodies, but their souls and their minds, through contemplation on God, to connect with the King of Heaven and the Eternal Warrior.
This spiritual strength gained through contemplation was what the knight Ramon Lull wrote of when he described the Christian combatant pilgrimaging to a place of hermitage “to worship, contemplate and pray to God, to whom he gave thanks and blessings for the great honour that He had paid him throughout his life in this world.” (6)
Who is this God but the Holy Trinity? Not the unitarian devil of the Muslims, or the capricious and unstable demon of the modalists (or those who call themselves Oneness Pentecostals), nor the diabolical and deceptive devil of the Seventh Day Adventists, who blasphemously say Christ is Michael the Archangel, nor the concupiscent satan of the Mormons, who is absent of all virtues and eternally licentious, nor the double-minded Marcionite god, who uses the peace of the New Testament to disguise his schizophrenic callousness.
No — none of these hell bound devils do the Christian knights fight for. They only uplift their swords for the Holy Trinity, never for any heretical demon, nor do they tolerate the promulgation of these satanic and antichrist heresies. When we read the fourteen articles of chivalry, composed by the Spanish knight Ramon Lull, one of the requirements to being a knight was to believe in the Holy Trinity:
To believe in one God is the first article. To believe in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit are three articles, and it is proper to believe that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God alone in eternity, without end or beginning. (7)
The knights who defend Orthodoxy and God’s Church, and walk the path of the Spirit, fight for the Holy Trinity, and such zeal is only a sign of sublime conviction that can only be fostered as a result of intense contemplation of the Triune Godhead. In the words of St. Gregory:
“They will be welcomed by the ineffable light and will contemplate the holy and majestic Trinity that shines clearly and brightly and unites itself wholly to the entire souls.” (8)
The Holy Trinity unites with the souls of Christendom’s warriors, for they manifest and exemplify their zeal for the Holy Trinity with the highest sacrifice, that of their own lives. How glorious it must have been, to gaze upon those Christian combatants, who with hardy bodies and tenacious spirits, committed their entire beings to sacrifice their lives, to fight for the Holy Trinity in that glorious Battle of the Kulikovo Field, in which the Russian Orthodox fighters combated against the Muslim Tatars.
How profound it must have been, to see the Grand Prince Dimitry Ivanovich, who “strengthened his heart with the name of Christ,” (9) as David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6), and declared to his mighty army:
Brethren, better an honourable death than a life purchased by shame; and it were better not to stir against Tartars at all than, having come, to achieve nothing and go back. Let us now cross the Don and there lay our lives for the holy church and the Orthodox faith, for our brotherhood, for Christendom! (10)
Observe the zeal that flood his words, and the reverence that illuminates in his inspiring prose; what awe! what might! what strength! such is the prose of the knight, such is the epitome of the Christian spirit and the force of the divine love. For they lay down their lives for the Holy Trinity, for Orthodoxy, and for the brotherhood. They illustrate the highest point of love, to “lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) With the words of the holy precept within their hearts, they display the command of St. Peter:
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17)
Through their honor of all men, their love of the brotherhood, their fear of God, their exertion of virtue for Christendom, surely did they have the passage of St. Peter written on their hearts. Indeed, the verse of St. Peter should be inscribed on the banners of Christendom!
When we imagine the knights of old, we are seeing Christendom. And so let us imagine that profound example of a Christian prince, Dimitry Ivanovich, when he proclaimed the Holy Trinity and majestic Faith before fighting the Muslims, the upholders of Antichrist, that pernicious doctrine of unitarianism, who hate Christ and are enemies of the Holy Trinity. The grand prince declared
“For we are all brothers, from the least to the greatest, grandsons of Adam, one house and one tribe; one baptism is ours, one Christian faith; we have one God, our Lord Jesus Christ, glorified in the Trinity; so let us now lay down our lives for His holy name, and for the Orthodox faith, and for the holy church, and all our brotherhood, the whole Orthodox Christendom!” (11)
Take notice that he proclaims Christ as being “glorified in the Trinity”, and such was the arrow that pierced the soul of the Muslim, that trampled his false doctrine, and banished the devils that follow them. All of the crusades fought between Christian and Muslim, were done over one most holy declaration: the Nicene Creed, which defined the Trinity. The Muslims wanted to destroy it, but the Christians wanted to advance it. And so to this day is the war the same, with the acolytes of Antichrist warring against the saintly combatants of Orthodoxy.
But where are the nations that shall join together to form the confederacy of Christendom, and fight the Muslim confederacy of Antichrist? Let these nations rise, let the Holy Church illuminate its light upon them, and unite them together under “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5); let them place the crown of Christendom upon the holy mountain of self-denial and impenetrable martyrs, and let them be as the saints who laid the foundation for the sword of justice, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Hebrews 13:33-34)
Now these saints are “the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23), and they reside as royalty in the holy and heavenly mountain of Zion, “the city of the living God” from where the warriors of Orthodoxy receive their inspiration, and by which their very souls are ignited by the awe-inspiring will to advance virtue and justice.
(1) (St. Maximus, On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7, ii, 1081A, trans. Paul M. Blowers and Robert Louis Wilken)
(2) St. Maximus, On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, Ambiguum 7,iii, 1088B
(3) Ramon Lull, 2.11, trans. Noel Fallows
(4) St. Bernard, On Consideration, 5.31
(5) St. Bernard, On Consideration, 5.32
(6) Ramon Lull, The Book of the Order of Chivalry, prologue, 3
(7) Ramon Lull, The Book of the Order of Chivalry, 4.5
(8) Gregory, 16.9, in St. Maximus, On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, iii, 1088A, trans. Blowers and Wilkens
(9) The Tale of the Batlle of The Kulikovo Field, p. 86, trans. L. Sorokina and C. Cooke
(10) The Tale of the Batlle of The Kulikovo Field, p. 86, trans. L. Sorokina and C. Cooke
(11) The Tale of the Batlle of The Kulikovo Field, p. 102