By Theodore Shoebat
Russia’s entering into Syria is a holy war; it is the latest crusade of our time. The Russian Orthodox Church declared this, when its senior cleric, Vsevolod Chaplin, said:
Whatever they are trying to justify terrorism with, it cannot be justified. Thus, any fight against terrorism is moral, we can even call it a holy fight
It is a holy fight to defend the brethren, to protect the holy sites and the churches in Syria. As Chaplin declared:
The active position of our country has always been connected with protection of the weak and oppressed, like the Middle East Christians who are now experiencing a real genocide. Russia’s role has always been in protecting peace and justice for all Mideast peoples.
Putin is the St. Constantine of our time, for like that priestly king of old, he has unsheathed the holy sword of the Church to strike down the enemies of God for the cause of humanity. Russia is following the Christian precept of loving God, honoring the state, and defending the brethren. The Russians are abiding by the teachings of St. Peter,
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)
They honor honor all men by defending humanity from the haters of humanity; they fear God by fighting for Him and that which God became in the Incarnation; they honor the king by obeying and supporting what the state is doing against the evildoers, being “the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:4)
As the Christians of the Roman Empire were being slaughtered by the heathens, as their women were being ravished by the evil Maxentius, as they were being fed to lions and sharks, as they prayed to God for redemption, God went to Constantine as he kneeled in prayer, and showed him the illuminating Holy Cross, and told him, Conquer by this. (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, 1.28)
The valiant Constantine made the Cross his standard for war, he raised up the Cross, and so it was — as still is! — the image of holy conquest; and bearing the image of the Sacred Wood, he resolved “to worship no other God save Him who appeared to him,” that is, the Crucified Warrior Jesus Christ, the One Who conquered by the image that the warriors held aloft. They engraved the Holy Cross upon their shields, and held them with firm grip; in their thralls were their swords tightly grasped; in their hearts lied “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17)
When Constantine was fighting the pagans in the Battle of Milvian of Bridge — in the midst of all combative chaos, with sword striking sword, shield slamming shield, blade cutting flesh and blood soaking the dark soils of Italy — we are told by Eusebius that “God stood by the one [Constantine] to protect him” (Life of Constantine, 1.38). God stood with Constantine; the holy king was in the divine presence of transcendent of Heaven, standing upon the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22), executing the judgement of God. King David said: “Let my sentence come forth from thy presence” (Psalms 17:2), and so the righteous action of the king is made from the presence of God. The righteous king is in union with God and in this do we say with King David:
“For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.” (Pslam 21:7)
Putin, a king who honors God and His Church, is striving for Christendom! God is with him, and he will not be moved in this sacred war for the Holy Faith. As long as he honors the Church, her Sacraments, and her power, God will be with him as He was with the Emperor Constantine. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12) Russia is the only nation of our time that has truly dedicated itself to God; its faith is that of the Church, and its God is the One Who told Israel,
“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.” (Leviticus 20:708)
God was telling this to a nation, not to individuals. The Church is a collective, not a cesspool of individualistic clatter. It is therefore the duty of the Church to not only bring individuals into the Ark of Salvation, but entire nations. King Asa “took away the sodomites out of the land” (1 Kings 15:12), and he “did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:11).
So when Russia oppresses the deviant sodomites and their satanic supporters, by beating them righteously in the streets and closing down their horrific houses of abomination and deviancy, it does right in the eyes of the Lord. The entire nation of Russia — with the exception of a few wicked persons — support the state punishing any attempt at advancing homosexuality. This is the result of the Faith being applied in a collectivist manner, not an individualistic one, as is so common in the West. The Christian nation is not a body of individuals, all thinking and upholding their own perspectives of “the Bible” and sparking dangerous factionalism, but one body (1 Corinthians 12:12) under the Cross, where everyone honours all men, loves the brotherhood, fears God, and honours the emperor (1 Peter 2:17). Of the ruler of the nation who stands in the sacred presence, the Scripture says, “The law of his God is in his heart” (Psalm 37:31).
When Christ took James, John and Peter to the high mountain, the Holy Savior illuminated as the sun before them, and He did transfigure and when they beheld the sublime glory, “there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” (Matthew 17:3) They saw Christ, and then next to Him, Elijah — the man who slew the prophets of Baal — and Moses — the monastic who slaughtered the calf worshippers; and this signified, in a very beautiful way, how grace and the law are united in Christ.
Christ brought grace and law together, and in the words of St. John of Damascus, “through His sacred mind He opened the way for us to ascend to God.” (Orthodox Faith, 3.24) Through Christ, the king ascends to God in the Holy Trinity, by enacting His divine laws on the wicked, and emulating Him by destroying works of the devil. As St. Gregory Nazianzus wrote to the king of his time, “You rule with Christ and you govern with Christ” ( Oration 17, 9). Thus when the king strikes the tyrants to defend the brethren, it is Christ striking through him. When the Persian pagans were trying to invade Christendom, the Roman general Theodore resisted them and we are told by Theophanes that “God worked with Theodore at the intercession of His all-exalted Mother” (Theophanes, Chronicle, Annus Mundi 6117).
God worked with Theodore in crushing the Persians. This is theosis, or God working with His children to destroy evil and advance justice. Man, then, participates in the justice of God, and since Christ is the Incarnation of Justice, and is our only Mediator, then man can participate in the mediation of Christ. In the womb of Mary, Humanity and God become one in the ineffable Hypostatic Union. Thus this is why Mary is esteemed as the Mediatrix; she participates in the salvation of humanity by being the bearer of the God-Man and the one in whose womb humanity and Divinity Unite.
Since it is by God becoming Man that Humanity has the Way to God, Mary — in whose womb God becomes Humanity — is an intercessor between man and Christ. Therefore, God worked with the fighter “at the intercession of His all-exalted Mother”, for by the prayers of the Mother the Head of the Lord’s armies came to defend His warriors.
The actualization of humanity comes from its unity with God in Jesus Christ. All nations are in the eternal thought of God. They are thus in union with His mind. This idea becomes incarnational in the Incarnation of God, when humanity itself goes into union with the Divine. The Mind of God states, teach all nations (Matthew 28:19), for it is in the eternal thought of God to be one with mankind, to be one with nations, to have the nations of mankind unite in Christ and under the victorious blade of the cosmic Cross.
The priests of the Universal Church must never remain static, but must work with the state, to guide it to the right path, and exhort its rulers to “to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” (1 Peter 2:14) They must exhort the ruler to participate in Christ, and participate in the cosmic battle in which in all of humanity takes part.
The Church, in the words of Valdimir Solovyov, “having in the priesthood the organ of its fundamental religious unity and in temporal power the organ of its current national pluralism, should manifest in this way the absolute totality, its unity both free and perfect through the instrument of prophets spontaneously brought forth by the spirit of God to bring light to peoples and their leaders in maintaining before them the complete ideal of human society.” (The Russian Ideal, ch. 9, p. 42) In the Church lies the two swords of St. Peter. Christ said:
“And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)
St. Peter then says, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” (Luke 22:38) When St. Peter struck off a man’s ear, Christ told him, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11) Christ did not order him to throw sway his sword, but to put it back in his sheath. Thus it was not the use of the sword that was condemned, but the using of the sword to hinder the divine plan of mankind’s redemption.
If, then, the sword is used for the good of mankind, and not to its determent, then it is just. That our Lord told Peter to keep his sword signifies that his sword still remains in the sheath of the Church, and that she can use is for the cause of justice. One sword represents the spiritual power of the Church while the other signifies the temporal authority of the Church. The latter sword cannot be used by the priest, but by the state of the nation; unsheathed at the command of the Church and wielded by the hand of the state. The state utilizes the temporal sword to protect the spiritual sword, that is, the light of the law that the Church conveys to the world. This is truly the destiny of Christendom, and the role of any nation that places itself under the Cross.
Now imagine to yourself the glorious Constantine, after killing so great a number of pagans and preserving the lives of so many saints, and restoring and protecting a multitude of churches, walking through the streets of Rome hailed by the citizens for defeating so evil a tyrant; and imagine to yourself the beautiful Cross being presented as an image of victory in Rome, held in the hand of the statue of Constantine, with these engraved words:
“By virtue of this salutary sign, which is the true symbol of valor, I have preserved and liberated your city from the yoke of tyranny.” (Life of Constantine, 1.40)
Through the Holy Cross humanity reaches God and enters the sacred presence, through the Sacred Wood the nation destroys wickedness and tyranny. “We will rejoice in they salvation,” says the holy David, “and in the name of our God we will set up our banners” (Psalm 20:5). And what is the banner of Christendom but the Holy Cross, by which the nations of Christ conquer? Let Russia arise and fulfill its destiny; let her soldiers march with strength; let her priests guide the warriors with the Holy Cross, and let the whole body of the nation live in the will of God, in the mind of God, with the Cross in their hearts and their very existences in the Cross!
Christ stood in the desert in a monastic state; depriving Himself of all comfort, and in discomfort, communing with His Father. The Monk of all monks, our Lord, fought the devil in hesychastic beauty, responding to every one of his attacks with the blade of the Spirit. There was no negotiating, no reasoning, no compromising — no — there was only the robust response of the Word of God. Christ conquered. The devil left him (Matthew 4:11). It was a battle between holy mysticism and materialism, and the Way to Heaven was victorious.
The story of Christ in the desert shows us the way of the internal battle — the most important of battles, for it is the battle of our salvation. It is the unseen warfare, the internal conflict, of peace versus rage, selfishness versus selflessness, charity versus avarice. Christ showed us the way to victory in this story, and thus the unseen warfare is the journey of every Christian, and the battle that every Christian must undergo. In the words of the Russian mystic, Theophan the Recluse,
“you must ceaselessly fight against yourself and against everything that panders to your own wills, that incites and supports them.” (The Unseen Warfare, ch. 1, p. 80)
The story of Christ in the desert is the internal war, while the stories of battles in the books of the prophets, show the external war. The words of Christ and the apostles are the spiritual teachings of the warriors. The mystical teachings of Christianity are there to assist us in the conquest of ourselves, while the stories of battle in the Scriptures illustrate to us the external battles of the saints. The mystical teachings are for the soul, and Holy War is done for the protection, preservation, and advancement of these teachings over evil. One must conquer himself before he can conquer others. St. Peter was told by Christ to, “strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32) St. Peter surely strengthened the Church after being given the keys of authority by Christ, and after he reached full enlightenment by knowing that Christ lives forever, and by this did Peter conquer the devil.
Let Russia sanctify itself, and illuminate to the world the light of Christianity, and let her strengthen her brethren by defending them. For this is the destiny of Russia. To finish, let us read the words of Solovyov:
“The Russian people is a Christian people, and consequently, to know the true idea of Russia it is not necessary to ask what Russia will do by herself and for herself, but what she should do in the name of the Christian principle which she recognizes, and for the good of the whole of Christianity to which she is reckoned to belong. She should, in order to fulfill her mission truly, enter with heart and soul into the common life of the Christian world and employ all her national forces to bring about, cooperatively with the other peoples, this perfect and universal unity of humankind, of which the immutable base is given to us in the Church of Christ.” (The Russian Idea, ch, 5, p. 19)
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