By Theodore Shoebat
Individualism is one of the greatest enemies of the Church. Individualism isolates us from the universal, and hinders us from seeing the Mystery Of The Divine Destiny. Individualism says that what Christianity is all about is our personal relationship with Christ that is void and detached from the plan of God for Christendom. Christendom consists of the Church, the State, and the Prophet. Throughout the history of the Church, from Israel onward, we find all these three working together in emulation of the Holy Trinity. The Son does the will of the Father, and so the State does the will of the Church, God’s representative on earth, and the prophet — like the Holy Spirit — directs the nation. By the nations unifying under Christ, and becoming Christendom, it emulates the unity of the Trinity, and in becoming one with the Trinity, it brings the nations of the earth under the kingship of Christ, and into the Trinity.
What is the divine destiny of a nation? It is not the nation unto itself, but for the nation to go beyond itself, and to transcend into the eternal thought of God, to act in accordance to the mind of God, to not isolate itself with some vain secular concept of superiority, but to have identity in Christ, being in Him by Whom the pious nations are united, not for nothing, but rather for a unified Christendom.
For a nation to understand its divine destiny, is for the nation to understand its identity. If the nation’s identity is in Christ, then its destiny is sealed, to be an icon of God, and thus to advance the Faith to the nations under darkness, to unite them under the Crucified King, and bring them to that identity by which humanity is brought together, not to be left like a poor deserted creature, but as an organ in the Body of Christ, working with the other members for the glory of Heaven, and the victory of God over the principalities of evil. However, if the nation finds its identity in the diabolical, then it will do the will of the devil, saying with its father, “I will ascend to the heavens” (Isaiah 14:13), and with its predecessors, “let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4).
The builders of Babel wanted to make a name for themselves, they wanted superiority that sprung from itself; they did not want to deny the self, but worship it. It is the nation that places itself on the altar of the ego, that cannot resist the devil, but it is the nation, “whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12) that surrenders its will, and does not work to ascend itself to the heavens and overthrow God, but rather, strives to advance the Kingdom of Heaven and establish Christian civilization, that is carrying out the divine destiny bestowed upon it. With this can we say with Solomon:
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 13:34)
To build Christian civilization, and to bring the world into the Body of Christ, this is the divine destiny for Christendom. The modern heretics of our time love to reduce the Christian life to the individual, and to forsake anything to do with bringing Christianity to the national or universal level. Everything we do as Christians can never be done for the sake of the individual, but for the advancement of the Body of Christ, and thus for Christ Himself. “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)
All of the members rejoice, because they simultaneously work for the same purpose, and that is the majesty of the Savior, and for the erection of Christendom. All of the members suffer, because them being one in Christ, means that together they are crucified with Christ, suffering as He suffered, enduring the anguish for the one sublime cause of destroying evil and triumphing for the victory of eternal light. Is this cause one one of popularity? Is it one of the masses and the mob? No, it is the cause of the wandering pilgrim who stands alone.
You are truly free when you realize that you are truly alone. It is only in this state of aloneness that you come to nothingness, and from nothingness to the desire for total surrendering to the divine will, and in this, does our aloneness become identity in Christ, not in an individualistic sense, but in the universal sense, with the aim to expand eternal Christendom throughout the world.
There is no action for the sake of individualism, this obsession with the individual over the body, this fixation on isolation over the universal, is an idol that stand upon the altar of Mammon, and every day its insatiable thirst demands for the sacrifice of ego, and from this comes disunity, schism, cruelty and sadism, from this comes death. It is impossible for the denial of the self to bring about such evils, for from the sacrifice of the self comes the will to remain united under the One to Whom the self is surrendered, and that is Christ. The body is one under Christ, and thus it is absent of egoism, and so it is free from the desire to break away and start sects and cults. Schism is not the result of some divine revelation, but a consequence of being a slave to the flesh. Hence why St. Paul lists as two of the sins of the flesh, “dissensions, sects,” (Galatians 5:20), for it comes from the violent urge to cut oneself from the Body of Christ, and start some novel group, to establish power and dominate others.
But in the Body of Christ, the members work as one, devoid of any idea of self-superiority, with all glorying the Holy Trinity, and all being honored by God. “But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:24-25)
There is something quite beautiful and profound in the life of the Church, for in everything we do, we do in God, in Whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). There is a mystical relationship between Christ and the Church, it is cosmic and surpasses all objective and materialistic understanding: the purpose of the Church, and all of there righteous actions, is all done as an image of Christ on earth, and ultimately, as an icon of the Holy Trinity. Read the beautiful words of our Lord and you will have a closer understanding: “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” (John 17:11) The Father provides the Son with His flock, and the Son prays that His servants will be one, as the Father and the Son are one.
The Church, thus, is to emulate the Trinity, but not in a figurative sense, rather, in a matrimonial relationship, in which the Body of Christ enters the Trinity in a mystical immersion that is beyond our mortal comprehension. The relationship between the Church and Christ is never figurative, it is real, with all of those who live in the Holy One being immersed in Christ. So real is this relationship, so absent is it of anything figurative, that St. Peter wrote that we, through Christ, “may be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). There is nothing metaphorical in this. The reason why this is so worthy of emphasis is to show you how sublime the Christian life is, and also, how this sublimity transforms us from our obsession with the individual self, to a will to bring the Holy Faith to the universal level, that is, Christendom.
It is this very mysticism of Christianity — in which the Trinity and the Church come together — that surpasses egoism and stirs in us the aspiration to build Christian civilization. This divine reality is ascertained in one of the most beautiful lines of our Lord, when He prayed to the Father:
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:20-21)
One of the most aesthetic aspects of Scripture, is how from one verse (or even half a verse, or even one line), one can ascertain divine truths that are deeper than any ocean. In these words, one can see the divine destiny of Christendom. The Body of Christ is one, as the Father and the Son are one, and so the Christian world emulates the Trinity, and at the same time the Church is unified in the Holy Trinity, in that it is literally in God. And from this unity, humanity believes in Christ. Thus, by imitating the unity of the Trinity, and living in the Trinity, the world is brought into the Trinity. This is the way and divine destiny of Christendom.
When we say that God became human, we should never say that He became a separate man, or a man amongst men, but that He became Man. We learn from the great father of the Church, St. Theodore the Studite, that “Christ did not become a mere man, nor is it orthodox to say that He assumed a particular man, but rather that He assumed man in general, or the whole human nature.” He continues on to say that Christ “is not one of the many, but God made man” (Theodore the Studite, On the Holy Icons, First Refutation, ch. 4, trans. Catherine P. Roth).
God became Man, He became Humanity, hence the Apostle says that “in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:17) Thus He became the absolute center in Whom all humanity is unified, and by Whom mankind becomes one.
Before Christ, in the era of paganism and darkness, the world treated human beings as not organs working together for a single body, but as separate organs that only live, not just for themselves, but for the pleasure of other individuals. When we read of the colosseums, and how they were used as killing fields to slaughter countless thousands, and how the crowd — in unison — screamed with insatiable bloodlust for the death of man, we do not read of true unity, but of true worship of individualism. Men were mangled and cut to pieces, not for a greater glory, but for the satisfaction of individuals enslaved to ego and self.
Christianity destroyed this disarray, for the God-Man established His Church, where there are no useless organs, but only members that work in a harmony for a mission outside of themselves. Pure individualism leads to mob violence. Self-denial leads to true unity.
It is the individualist who ceaselessly says, “I want more,” and in wanting more they gather together, and rage against mankind. While it is those who deny the self that work as one, not striving for vain glory, but for the glory of the mystical Body of the One Who sacrificed all. The musical union has no rivalries, for the mission is not the self — unlike in individualism — but Christ, for “there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:25)
It is because of Christ that we have true unity, for it is a unity that is within and in emulation of the Holy Trinity. In the Body of Christ each member is an organ with a purpose, with all working simultaneously for the eternal destiny of Heaven, for the expansion of Christendom and the destruction of the demonic.
What creates violence is the illusion that people must be treated as separate organs without a purpose to the whole. Pagans treated humans as mere tool for the fulfillment of evil desires, while Christianity treated people as a part of the whole, the instrumental players in the divine orchestra. So many times do we catch ourself looking at the world through the eyes of ego, rather than the eyes of Spirit.
Through the eyes of the ego we do not see anything, we are blinded, living in the prison of the flesh and surrounded by the cold bars of bitter desires. Through the eyes of Heaven we look to the world and see God in the simplest of things, and behold all creatures as divinely created, and especially to man, who was “made him a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5), and see icons of God. I was sitting outside, and the color of the sky emanated this beautifully glowing orange hue.
As I beheld this I saw above me my bengal cat upon the edge of a ledge, rolling on the hard stone. I saw it for what it was: beautiful, with no bitter thoughts, and came to a realization that once we cease to look at the world through the eyes of the ego, and see the creation through the eyes of the spirit, in the most simplest things, we can see God.
Egoism says to the world: “I am of the superior people, you are of the inferior!” But the Holy Faith looks to the world says, “You are humanity. God became Man so that mankind can be unified as one, and be one with Him.” In this there is no superiority. As St. Paul wrote:
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
This unity spearheads much of the superiority complexes that we see in many churches. I remember going to a Maronite church, and frequently hearing of having Lebanese identity. And we see this evil all over the world. There are some Christians who think so highly of themselves because they are Jewish (or at least think they are).
We hear of Greek Orthodox Christians reducing the Faith to being Greek; Russians to being Russian; American Evangelicals to being American Evangelicals. Their identity is not on Christ, rather it is isolated to their nationality. And this is what happens when religion is conjoined with nationalist egoism. There is nothing wrong or evil with being proud of one’s country, of one’s history and culture (in fact, this should be encouraged), but there is something dreadfully sinister about equating or reducing the majesty of the Faith to one’s country. Christ never told His Disciples, “Go to this nation,” but rather, “teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)
Here in this verse we find the call for the formation of Christendom, by the bringing in of nations into the Holy Trinity. St. Vladmir — the king of Russia — was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and he brought his whole nation of Russia, which was at that time pagan, into the fold of Christendom, and thus into the Divine Trinity. Christ declared that St. Paul was “a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15) Notice that He says kings; to bring kings into the Faith, is to bring entire nations into Christendom, and thus to be one in the Holy Trinity.
The purpose of the Great Commission was to the nations, not to one particular people, for the Church surpasses all nationalistic prejudices, and is divinely appointed to be universal (hence the term Catholic). The Church, thus, denies the self to the cosmic identity in Christ, and by losing the self, loses all individualism, and becomes a player in the collective symphony of the divine destiny, with the harmony of the Faith playing to all the world, stirring the souls of entire peoples to join the orchestra of Christendom. The Empire is under Christ, and in Christ, and it dwells within the Holy Trinity.
The Father prophesied of the Son:
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)
This passage is speaking about the Gentile nations coming to Christ, that is, the nations of Christendom. When Christ ordered His Disciples to go to all the nations, He already knew which nations will be sheep and which will be goats. Thus, Christendom was already in the mind of God, and divinely destined to be His in His army. This is what it means to be in the eternal thought of God. For in the words of the Russian theologian, Solovyov, the true identity of the nations “is nothing other than their manner of being in the eternal thought of God.” (Solovyov, The Russian Idea, ch. iv, p. 16, trans. Fr. John P. Rickert)
Christ wanted not just individuals to be unified with Him, but entire nations. Christ came to form Christendom, to form Christian civilization. Again the Father says of Christ:
Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You. (Isaiah 49:7)
Is this speaking of individuals? No. It is speaking of multiple nations and their governments; it is speaking of Christendom and its formation. Again the prophet says:
“The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 49:7)
Christ came to create Christendom, but Christendom is dead, only waiting to be awakened from its gloomy sleep. What then is the divine destiny for the lands consecrated by the Blood of Christ? Are too always remain as secular nations, forever poisoned by the taint of modernism until Kingdom Come? I tell you, in the words of Scripture there is much hope, and there is prophecy for a restoration of the bright rays of Christendom’s fortresses. In the Book of Isaiah God the Son speaks of His coming to the gentile lands, the coastlands, or the people of Chittim, who live in the coasts of the Mediterranean, and who inhabit the nations of Spain, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus, to bring them from their state of weakness, and invigorate them under His authority and kingship, and their own governments:
Keep silence before Me, O coastlands,
And let the people renew their strength!
Let them come near, then let them speak;
Let us come near together for judgment.
Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, And made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, As driven stubble to his bow?
Who pursued them, and passed safely By the way that he had not gone with his feet?
Who has performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He.’
The coastlands saw it and feared, The ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came.
Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “Be of good courage!” (Isaiah 41:1-6)
The Christ will reinvigorate the lands of the Gentiles; He will renew the strength of the Christian people and order their leaders to keep silence and let the people speak, to speak in lands ruled by the anti-Christian censuring governments of secularism. And then, once the Christian peoples shall be under the Kingship of Christ, then shall they say amongst themselves “Be of good courage!” The nations of the Cross will be one in identity in Christ. Once Christendom is restored, the Christian nations will become icons of the Holy Trinity.
And how does this look like?
It does not take the face of secularism, but rather, Christendom is governed under three principles, and guided by three branches of authority. The three principles (as we learn from Solovyov), are piety, charity, and justice. All three of these work simultaneously, with each one balancing the other. Without piety, then you have empty charity and cruel justice; without justice, you have license, and without charity, you have cruelty and mechanical religion. One can most definitely say that the three precepts can be summarized as the Law of Love. The three principles are governed by three branches of government: the Church, the State, and the Prophet. All three work together in emulation of the Holy Trinity. The Son does the will of the Father, and so the State does the will of the Church. The Church is God’s representative on earth, hence in the Scripture it speaks of the priests as such:
Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High (Psalm 82:6)
The priests are called gods, not because they are divine, but because they are God’s representatives. And so the State obeying the will of the Church, is imitating the obedience of the Son to the Father. The office of the prophet in Christendom is extremely significant. Now, by prophet I do not mean these gluttonous women and these other ridiculous lunatics you see in today’s churches who are so quick to call themselves prophets while spewing out their heretical drivel. I am speaking of prophets who are both prudent and Orthodox, pious and monastic. Christendom has had numerous prophets, such as John the Monk of Egypt, St. Francis of Assisi and Pius V.
The prophet declares the will of God to the Church and the State, and keeps the nation in constant readiness to do the will of God. Without the prophet, the Church and the State become lax, and end up either in secularism or in dry and mechanical religion. The prophet is like the Holy Spirit in this image of the Trinity, for he directs and gives instruction. Once the Christian nations take up this cross, deny the self, unify under Christ, and begin to build Christian civilization, then will they enter the eternal thought of God, being under the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and become an icon of the Divine Trinity, entering into the Trinity, and unifying the world and bringing the world into the Holy Trinity, that “they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)
Let us break all nationalist hinderances, and let the wings of Christendom, fly to that part of the world that is under the idol of the devil, and worships the demon of unitarianism — that is, the Islamic lands — and unite them with the Trinity.
This is the destiny that mighty Heaven has for Christendom, to destroy evil and bring the nations of the earth to the enlightenment of Christ! Let all of the nations of Christ, let Russia, America, Greece, Spain, Italy, and all the peoples willing to become one with the Trinity, enter the eternal thought of God, enter Christendom, and expand the glory of the Trinity to all nations. With this, I will finish with a passage from Solovyov on the true destiny of the nations:
For each people to participate in the life of the universal Church, in the development of the great Christian civilization, and to participate according to the particular forces and capacities given to it. This is the true aim, the only true mission of every people.