Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Russian Church sees reason where many of us do not

Moscow, June 20 (Interfax) - Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion believes that toppling of statues in the USA is an attempt to rewrite the history.

"We certainly should not project modern standards to the past. People of the past lived according to other rules, they spoke a different language, they acted in a different way, and just automatically transfer all acting standards, especially the existing in the West so-called liberal standards, to the past of humanity - it means to rewrite history permanently," the metropolitan said on air Church and the World program on Rossiya-24 TV.

According to the hierarch, it is impossible to rewrite the history and "it is necessary to pay tribute to outstanding figures of the past basing on the standards that existed that time and not artificially project modern standards to the past."

Thus the Russian Orthodox Church official responded to mass dismantling of monuments in America to people who had to do with slavery, which commenced on the back of the protests against murder of Afro-American George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis.

33 comments:

  1. Wisdom! Keep those Lenin statues up guys! (But where did all the Stalin statues go?!)

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  2. But what of the recent statement by BLM thug Shaun King that statues of Jesus are racist and should be torn down.

    The icon of the Harrowing of Hell in my parish depicts Satan as dark brown. An Afro-American lady on a tour many years ago implied that is racist.

    Where does it stop?

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  3. If I were Afro American and had only one exposure to that ikon i might very well draw that conclusion.

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    1. Archimandrite Gregory, granting your assumption entirely it was explained by the gentleman giving the tour what it actually meant (a really good tour guide). The lady left upset anyway. There is a process used in studying and writing history that ought to be our guide in living. It is called empathetic projection. The process 9f engaging the other person as a human being and trying to connect with that person putting aside (as much as possible) one's own experience, feelings and ideology. The link between evil and darkness is ancient, in fact it is primeval and a fundamental reality.

      But the iconoclasm of racism distorts that.
      The ideological culture I have lived in all my life attacks humanity and out ability to perceive each other with mercy and charity. Destruction is not the answer.

      Ideology is the disease as Solzhenitsyn warned us just 50 years ago. His message was rejected by the powerful elite and most others. A magnificent chance to repent as a people was squandered.

      We have instead followed the demonic impulses of our hearts. Thus it has come to this.

      The grandmother of my dear friend Fr. Moses Berry always told him human beings were God's flowers-each a different color but each beautiful.
      If you do not know Fr. Moses, educate yourself. He is ancestor of Nathan Boone through Nathan's son James and his slave Caroline.

      Sorry, I think it is lazy to say that seeing racism in the icon of the Harrowing of Hell makes sense and the product of the diseased imagination we take for granted.

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  4. We have already done the revisionism Metr. Hilarion decries when Civil War monuments to the losing seditionists were erected a century ago. The toppling we see now is a corrective measure.

    Russian and American culture have distinctly different textures, and parallels are hard to draw. I personally do not see a Bolshevik Revolution coming in America; we have no Tsarist regime to topple but instead govern ourselves with a Constitution based on a precedent of the Magna Carta. Truly radically different cultures.

    The 1920s in Russia saw the elaboration of the Soviet Union upon the ashes of the last Orthodox Empire; here it saw conservative Civil War revisionism and intensified KKK activism motivated the erection of monuments glorifying the southern sedition and its raison d’etre in slavery. We don’t owe it to the Lost Cause sentimentalists of the last century to be faithful to their reinterpretation of the south’s sedition. Granted, the mobs expressing a new intolerance toward even Gen. Grant and F. Scott Key seem to go too far, but their over-exuberance has resulted in exactly zero human lives being lost. I don’t like it, but in comparison to racist lynching and police execution of Blacks, it’s innocuous.

    Many who decry the current mood of activism engage fictive storytelling to predict a coming Bolshevik Revolution. ROCOR’s bishop in Chicago focuses entirely on the excesses of protest without engaging the problems in American life, specifically now brutal racist and militarist policing, that provide the proximate instigation for protest. It’s almost as though the good bishop has never spoken with a Black person. To men like him, a spectre of some potential future loss is more real than the actual deaths of many in the past and present. I cannot call that leadership but rather fear-mongering. Such prophets of doom place themselves in a position of authority to interpret the unfolding of the present into the future, and to guide it. Most of them will be proven wrong like the false prophets of doomsday cults with their portentous calendars of apocalypse.

    So while I appreciate Metr. Hilarion’s work and erudition, and Bp. Peter’s piety, I do not look to either for a critique of my own country’s spiritual and social ills. Or course it is a mistake to attempt to erase or reinterpret the past wholesale, but we have epistemological and ideological divides here that already have done that interpretation. At this point we have to engage a long overdue reappraisal of what is right and wrong in our nation.

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    1. You realize the entire world, including African tribes, engaged in slavery as the normative economic practice, for the majority of human history, regardless of race? Should we tear down every statue in history? The founders of this country had slaves, should we tear down Mount Rushmore and torch the White House? Yale, that ultra liberal bastion, is named after the slave trader Elihu Yale, and the list goes on.

      There are calls to destroy images of Christ now from BLM as He represents white supremacy to them.

      Where do you end the iconoclasm? Clearly for those tearing down and defacing statues there is nothing and no one worth remembering as they’re even defacing the memories of those who fought to end slavery.

      We are in fact a very different country than Russia, we are far more divided in terms of religion, race, culture, language, etc and we lack the unifying factors necessary to pull back from a self destructive course.

      However the co-founder of BLM has declared they are ideologically trained Marxists, and their supporters are following the classic Marxist playbook. (I can provide a video interview link or you can google it).

      So I think it’s naive to believe this is simply a natural and necessary phenomenon.

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    2. The protest movement that arose after the murder of George Floyd proclaims black lives matter, and that is far broader than the Black Lives Matter organization. The broad movement is not monolithic or ideological beyond that fact that black lives should matter more (especially as it relates to the police) and all lives will not matter until black lives matter, too.

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    3. While Rome (Old and New) preserved pre-Christian ruins they also ("iconoclastically") removed them and/or transformed them according to Christian norms. Same with other Christian cultures.

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    4. Yes pagan idols were torn down. I suppose we should get rid of Abraham Lincolns statue since it’s designed after Zeus’ throne.

      I can’t seem to find a place in scripture that supports the idea of one set of lives being more important than others though sorry, going to have to label that under political/ideological slogan.

      So you don’t support the anti Christian groups BLM or Antifa? The people who are tearing down statues. But you’re okay with what they’re doing? It’s fine if you want to pick and choose what you support but realize that others won’t ignore it he inconsistencies or the dangers of such groups.

      I’m all for peaceful protests, without needless racial division rhetoric, or destroying churches and historical monuments. If a community wants to get rid of them there are peaceful and legal ways to do so.

      Absolutely no one has publicly defended the murder of George Floyd, no one. Police condemn it, politicians on both sides, the President, people of all races, have all condemned it. Because we all recognize what happened. Instead of using that as a uniting factor for real change, BLM and Antifa are taking advantage and spreading division. You say they don’t represent the movement, and you’re right, but they’re the ones receiving money and publishing demands, and you’re using their slogans.

      And again you didn’t answer my questions of where you draw the line on preserving history vs condemning it, given that most of it involves slavery.



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    5. Lance, up until a month ago I would have given your ignorance of American history a pass. Since then, it's clear to even a blind man that this was never about the Confederacy or the "correction" of history. It's only about this: the hatred of Christendom. In the eyes of these demoniacs, Christ has to go. Period. End of story.

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    6. "...At this point we have to engage a long overdue reappraisal of what is right and wrong in our nation..."

      This sort of moralism hardly ever leads to even relatively "good" results, let alone The Good. It's almost as if you don't believe the Northern War of Aggression is complete - You want the ideological and symbolic purges of southern culture, history, and self understanding that comes with Total War. The Russian Church and ROCOR are all too familiar with this sort of ideological/cultural purging and rightly warn against it. You yourself Lance H. seem to understand its inherent violence, yet you also want at the same time to set up (false) comparisons and label it "innocuous". Sojourner is exactly right to reject your (American and southern cultural/historical) "iconclasm"

      As a Christian I should bless you Lance H., but I am not a very good Christian so I will curse you with a relatively innocuous curse: May you hear a David Allan Coe at least once a day for the rest of your life...

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    7. Soujorner, obviously we will need a ministry of truth to daily make sure that what we hear and see are appropriate--like in the novel 1984.

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  5. Police condemn it because they were caught on video, then showed egregious violations of rights from coast to coast.

    You don't see in Scripture, one set of lives being more important than others? Really? What exactly were the Chosen People of the Old Covenant but more important people? Anyway, in this particular instance, BLM has stated again and again, that saying one set of lives matter is not denying that All Lives Matter, since BL are a subset of All. Replying that All Matter to someone who's not denied it, but wants to highlight the specific grievance of what's happening to BL, is supposed to do what exactly, other than ignore, downplay or oppose that those set of lives are part of All?

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    1. Perhaps “important” was the wrong descriptor as the Theotokos is obviously more “important” than me or you. However relative importance or lack thereof, does not denote a difference in value of human life as we are all created equal. If the equality of value in human life can change then we can be justified in treating people cruelly if their lives don’t matter at a given time.

      Nevertheless the “all lives matter” versus “Black lives matter” argument isn’t very helpful since they’re just slogans being used by various groups with a variety of personal interpretations. Notice that I didn’t say “All lives matter, stop saying Black lives matter” I merely pointed out that the BLM slogans dont match the Gospel’s message.

      BLM is an openly Marxist and anti-Christian organization. The original comment I responded to was denying any fear of communist influence etc and claiming that the destruction of American history is justified if it has any connection to slavery. I simply couldn’t help but point out that these are literal Marxists by their own words, and that you can go ahead and destroy our entire history if you think any ties to slavery must be wiped out. History is messy, we dont have to honor all of it but there are consequences for censoring it and blindly destroying it. And Marxism is perhaps the worst political ideology to ever influence history, we shouldn’t be so foolish as to think we are immune to it when the most influential group in America right now, BLM, is openly Marxist.

      Anyways its a loaded topic so I realize very few minds will be changed about anything at the moment. I bid you adieu

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    2. They were most important because from them would spring forth the salvation of the whole world.

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    3. "BLM is an openly Marxist and anti-Christian organization."

      Right. Syrian Church's assessment is naive at best. I reply with "Blue Lives Matter"...

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    4. Humans are not created equal. They differ radically in intelligence, looks, physical ability, impulse control, etc. The Church herself is rigorously hierarchical, as is Heaven.

      "All men are created equal" is probably the most ballyhooed phrase in human history. Jefferson was surely referring to the narrower context of hereditary aristocratic privilege and not the patently false generalization that all humans are created equal.

      Equality does not exist in the cosmos and egalitarian framing of the debate should be rejected.

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    5. We’re all made in the Image and Likeness of God, we’re all equal where it counts. If you value lives based on intelligence or beauty or strength or race, or position and treat them differently that’s your business, but it’s not what Christians are called to do.

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    6. Do you treat the mentally impaired the same way as anybody else?

      Do you treat other people's family members the same as your own family members?

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    7. ”For there is no respect of persons with God”

      “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.”

      I treat people with love and respect, when I’m not failing as a Christian which happens all too often sadly. For me to treat someone based on arbitrary values which I’ve assigned to them in my own mind, which may be far from accurate, is totally in Christian. “Ah you’re a sinner, I can treat you like dirt” “Well this is a black man so I will treat him as befitting of his racial value” “Well this is a police officer so I will treat him as a tool of the State”

      Notice that when the Centurion, the police officer, came to Christ and asked Him to heal his servant, i.e his slave, He didn’t treat him based on his rank, or his race, or the fact that he was an infidel. He didn’t even chastise him for owning slaves. He treated him the same way God treats all of His creatures, with love.

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    8. "[Ne]ither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free" is another one of the most ballyhooed phrases in human history. St. Paul returned a fellow Christian to slavery, so apparently the phrase doesn't mean what us moderns would like it to mean.

      What do you tell your Jewish friends at their kids' mitzvahs when they get welcomed into the nation of Israel--do you tell them that the Jewish ethnic nation doesn't exist? Do the Greek Orthodox believe Greeks don't exist?

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    9. You really don’t get it do you? I’m clearly not going to be able to help you understand over the internet. God bless

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    10. Anyone here ever read Animal Farm? "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others".

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  6. Modern Russia does offer an insight in this matter. During the revolution, monuments to tsars were torn down. In recent years, many have re-created from old photographs and put back up. In the 1990s, all the thousands of statues of Stalin were removed. Now some of those are going back up. This reflects new political fashions, but also just the love of art and history. Russians particularly love both, and would rather live with statues than without. They are comfortable with the complexities of historical figures. Meanwhile they are swiftly erecting new statues, mostly of saints and medieval heroes.

    So from the Russian perspective, our statue removal looks old-fashioned, fanatical and short-sighted. They know there is some chance that the winds will change and society will want them back up again.

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  7. Anti-Gnostic refuses to distinguish between "created equal in value and importance" and "created with differing attributes". He or she makes weak arguments, although common ones.

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    1. Who's more valuable and important, Kim Jong-Un or +Kallistos (Ware)? Your child or my child? Syrian Christians or Syrian Sunnis? The distinctions are endless, and we draw them all the time, every day. The egalitarian ideal is a poor framework for debate.

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  8. If we Orthodox want to be considered as varied in virtue and not all christian heretics, we're going to have to allow that good people can transform themselves, and good movements can do the same thing. I think in fact that's the substance of our belief in the Holy Church as we live lives which aspire enfleshment as its members in "the liturgy after the liturgy"... that we become more than how we start, that through Christ we are even now more than our attributes as we see ourselves even. And it begins in allowing and praying that all the struggles of the day transform rather than rile our lives. Anger is the root of all evil. Perhaps it's fruitless to point that out in the ultimate anger medium... the internet... but it could be true.

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  9. Jake, your Christian love for the Fugates of Kentucky is commendable but I don't believe they are the target of any recent discrimination.

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    1. Look up the stat's Syrian Church on for example, how most blacks are murdered - it's not white/black/polka dot "racist" cops doing 99.9999% of the killing.

      Who was the most significant/influential women in American history, who also happens to be the most significant racist in American history as well? If you guessed Margaret Sanger, you would be right. She and her philosophy/organization(s) are responsible for the death of 20 million (20 million!!) black people since 1973 alone.

      Your talk of "discrimination" is so shallow, so much bourgeois moralism, so much inconsequential media manipulated emotivism...that your actually part of the problem.

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  10. You can call whatever names you want, it pay to listen to other people sometimes. There are plenty of minority/black/etc Christian Orthodox, Catholic and protestant who recognize the negative effects of abortion and oppose them on moral grounds - its not an either/or, you can actually be against police abuse and abortion.


    There's a post above this one that recognizes "The Chinese Martyrs", does that title mean one doesn't recognize "ALL MARTYRS" or that mentioning "Chinese Martyrs" is discriminating against "non-Chinese martyrs"?? Do the martyrdom of non-Chinese count less, by recognition of the Chinese Martyrs? Of course not.

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    1. Hacking at the leaves of evil are we?

      Blue Lives Matter!

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  11. I agree with you - Lives of the Blue Fugate Family of Kentucky matter, as do Black Lives. Can you state the latter without bursting into blue flames?

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