St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

Excerpt From Fidelity to Historical Russia

In the Editorial of the jubilee 800th issue of "Pravoslavnaya Rus'" (No. 15, 1964), Archimandrite Konstantin (Zaitsev) wrote: "A single word exhausts all that can be said here: fidelity. To what? To our holy past, which has found embodiment in what we call historical Russia."

Further on, Father Konstantin explains that we consider historical Russia to be pre-revolutionary Russia -- the Russian Orthodox Tsardom, which received its office from Byzantium and became "the support of Orthodoxy and, thereby, of all Christianity, of all humanity, of the entire universe." When the Russian Tsar' was overthrown, the thousand-year-long existence of that Russia was broken-off; but even the catastrophe of October 1917 failed to awaken any understanding of the universal significance of what had occurred as being a betrayal of its providential appointment by the overwhelming majority of the Russian nation. Nearly everyone dreamed of some sort of "bright future" -- some, of a socialistic one; some, of a democratic one; and some, of a renovated-monarchical one. Almost all felt themselves to be free from their own historical obedience.

Father Konstantin points out that what happened in Russia is very closely bound together with the universal process of creating the new order of antichrist. "What can be set up in opposition to all this?" Father Konstantin asks. And he answers: "Only one thing: a calm and sure stand in steadfast fidelity to the holy past, as it has established itself in the Church." ... [for h]istorical Russia is unthinkable without Orthodoxy. ...

... In the aforementioned article, Father Konstantin prophetically predicts: "If the Russian nation is reborn -- will not heavenly help return to it?" Although the Russian nation is still very far distant from complete spiritual rebirth, nevertheless, even now, as Father Konstantin foresaw, the wondrous signs of heavenly assistance are everywhere to be seen throughout the Russian Land. Lost relics [of Saints] are being found; destroyed shrines are being rebuilt; hundreds of ikons are exuding myrrh; etc. But this heavenly help, which has been manifested for the past ten years, although it is given for free, nevertheless places an obligation on the Russian nation. There is even less justification for those who do not wish to be roused from their spiritual slumber; those who, instead of holy Orthodoxy, consciously choose a false faith, or the modern "ideology of abundant pragmatism." And it is for this reason that ikons in Rus' not only exude myrrh, but that they also weep, and shed blood. The ikons weep, because we do not shed tears for our sins. The ikons shed blood, because our hearts have become hardened toward the suffering of our own people. ...

Of what, then, does the weeping and shedding of blood by such ikons speak to us? Is it not a reminder of the podvig borne by the holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia? Does the blood of the New Martyrs not cry out to the heavens about what is presently transpiring in Rus'?

But, they will ask: what is it that is so frightening about what is taking place? Is it not dreadful that, with all the external signs of Russia's renascence, there still looms ominously in her very heart -- Moscow's Red Square -- that abominable devil's-temple of the twentieth century: Lenin's mausoleum. How many words have already been spent on the necessity of removing this mausoleum, but it continues to stand, as before, in the form of a gray block [of granite], as if nefariously mocking the sacred symbol of historical Russia: Moscow -- the Third Rome. Does the presence of this devil's-temple not bear clear witness as to who, in reality, the true masters of Russia are today? We are not speaking here of the communists, of course, although these enemies of Russia also have not yet been entirely vanquished. We are speaking of those hellish forces which, successively metamorphosing their servants, continue the work of destroying historical Russia. It is specifically these forces, presently disguised as democrats, who, for some reason, still need the mausoleum on Red Square. Perhaps there will be a time when it, too, will be essential -- just as soviet military symbolism and the music of the soviet anthem have become essential?

God grant that this dismal prognosis not come true; yet, while the ulcer of the mausoleum, replete with the false relics being preserved in it, continues to rot in the heart of our native-land, we do not have the right to remove the subject of a communist threat from the agenda. ...

How can we manifest our fidelity to historical Russia, in practice? We will answer, again, in the words of Archimandrite Konstantin's already quoted essay, which remain astonishingly of Archimandrite Konstantin, which remain astonishingly relevant in our own day.

"Divine Providence calls the free Orthodox folk of Russia to incessantly steadfast activity -- of the most various kinds. Political activity -- not excluded. Except that it bears the nature of service: it must not claim to be an end in itself; rather, it must be born organically from out of the salvific process of spiritual self-restoration. Truly super-human activity is demanded from a relatively insignificant little handful of faithful [folk] abroad. For, you see, our spiritual self-restoration within the "free" world system is not merely a podvig of personal salvation, this podvig naturally takes the form of diverse activity, directed, alike, both to the "free" world without, and to the Russian world within. It is only by steadfastly perceiving ourselves, in such activities, as being the last Christians -- those who are preparing to meet Christ the Judge and Giver Of Recompense -- that we will be able, through the power of God, to discover ourselves in the number of the first Christians to be beginning some new era of historical Russia -- except, for what period of time, and in what form, God alone knows!

"Let him who will, save his own soul!" If this commandment, from out of the depths of Christian centuries and directed toward latter-day Christians, should give wings to the Russian people, then -- for some period of time -- historical Russia will also be reborn, for the salvation of the rest of humanity. It is only by saving our own souls, that we will be able actually to assist this most excellent of endeavours!"

-- Editor

Translated into English by G. Spruksts, from the Russian text of "Vernost' istoricheskoi Rossii" ["Fidelity To Historical Russia"], which appeared on pp. 1-2, of issue No. 12 (1681), for 15/28 June 2001, of Pravoslavnaya Rus' [Orthodox Rus']. English-language translation copyright � 2001 by The St. Stefan Of Perm' Guild, The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, and the Translator. All rights reserved.

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