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Try to reason with love and you will lose your reason.

French Proverb

As 2007 begins, many nations are in torment. Iraq explodes in civil war after the hanging of its monstrous ex-dictator. Afghanistan in turmoil. Somalia in anarchy. The Middle East always divided, with the continuing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by the Israeli State. The Lebanon in collapse. The Sudan in blood. The Congo in tatters. Nations with nuclear capabilities. Islamic Terrorism. Worries about energy supplies and climate change. There is fear in the world.

The fact is that the world has not known peace since 1914. Yet before that, between 1815 and 1914, historians speak of a century of peace in Europe. How and why then was that peace lost in 1914? And why did two European Wars become World Wars? What is this mystery?

After the defeat of the invader of Russia, Napoleon, whom St Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, called ‘a forerunner of Antichrist’, there was indeed relative peace in Europe between 1815 and 1914. In those hundred years there were only two international wars of importance involving Europe. The first was the Crimean War of 1854-1856, which began because Russia wanted to defend Christians in Turkish-controlled Jerusalem and the Balkans. The second was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, which began because Russia wanted to limit the aggressive ambitions of Western-armed, Imperialist Japan. Both wars thus concerned Russia.

In the first of those wars, supposedly Christian Powers, Great Britain and France, and a Muslim Power, Ottoman Turkey, declared war on Russia. In the second one, an Asian Power, Shintoist Japan, declared war on Russia. In both cases, Russia tried to maintain the balance of power between imperial rivals, both in Europe and in Asia, as befits a nation which looks both east and west.

All this was to end when the First World War was begun by the imperial rivals of Europe in 1914, because Russia decided to defend the Christians of Serbia. For instead of peace talks, old Europe chose to slaughter its youth. As the poet Wilfred Owen wrote in The Parable of the Old Man and the Young:

But the old man would not so, but slew his son
And half the seed of Europe one by one.

Great Britain and France must have regretted backing Turkey in 1854, as Great Britain faced catastrophe at Turkish-controlled Gallipoli in 1915.

In 1917, Russia fell out of the equation for peace on account of bloody revolution, ensuring that the Great War would by no means be 'the war to end all wars'. The downfall of the Russian Monarchy was financed, encouraged and welcomed, not only by Germany and Austro-Hungary, but also by supposed allies in the USA, Great Britain and France. And, as a result, the world balance of power was lost and 'the peace of the whole world' ceased. All that has happened in the world since 1917 was made inevitable by the overthrow of the Orthodox Monarchy in Russia. And that includes the catastrophe of World War II.

Below are some headlines from that Second Great War, which truly was a World War with all its interconnected elements. These headlines are all taken from between 1941 and 1942. Not a single one of these headlines could have been written, had Russia not been taken out of the world equation in 1917:

Hungary in Control in Ruthenia
Greeks Defend their Islands
Mongolian Cavalry Prepare
Canadians Raid Spitzbergen
Chilean Nazis Meet in Santiago
Echoes of War on the Road to Mandalay
From Finland to the Ukraine One Great Battle
Last Italian Stronghold in Abyssinia Falls
Free China Fights On
Historic Words in Washington and Ottawa
War Reaches India’s Eastern Gate
Poles Advance in Libya
Bagpipes Sound Defiance in Malta
Swedish Warships in the Baltic
U-Boats Take the War to the Dutch West Indies
Air Defence of Ceylon Ready
South African Bombers Fly Over Tobruk
The Flag of the Free French in the Congo
Royal Yugoslav Seaplane Squadron Formed
British Forestall the Foe in Madagascar
Czech Fighters Destroy Nazi Planes
Japanese Bomb Alaska
Mexico Joins Allies
Enemy Submarine Sunk in Sydney Harbour
Germans Surrender in Greenland
New Zealand Troops Will Remember Egypt
Brazil Declares War
Sierra Leone is Ready
Papua Fights Back

Great Britain and the USA must have regretted backing Japan in 1904, as they faced catastrophe in the Japanese-controlled Pacific in 1941.

Germany and Austria must have regretted attacking Serbia and Russia in 1914 and fostering the Bolshevik Revolution through Lenin's sealed train, as they faced the catastrophe engendered by the rout of their mad offspring in 1945.

In 1945, Russia saved Eastern and Western Europe from Hitlerism. But in 1945 Russia and Eastern Europe were not saved from Bolshevism. Although there was peace in Europe after 1945, this was only because war was taken elsewhere. After 1917 Russia, occupied by atheist usurpers, either because of its weakness or else because of its strength, became central to wars in the world, because the balance of power had been removed. Thus, whether in the Middle East or in Africa, whether in Asia or in Central America, the world was rent by wars after 1945, just as Europe had been rent by wars before 1945. Already by 1962, in Cuba, ‘a sword of Damocles’, in Kennedy’s words, was hanging over the world, not a nuclear ‘umbrella’, but the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. Wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and many other lands all followed.

The Western bloc must have regretted financing and welcoming the 'Russian' Revolution, when between 1945 and 1991, they were faced with their Soviet Cold War rival, armed to its nuclear teeth, and humiliated by it in Vietnam and elsewhere.

But then, some fifteen years ago, after three generations of national apostasy, Russia began her slow and painful return to the world scene, with the potential to restore the balance of power and give peace to the world once more, as it had done between 1815 and 1914. After three generations of spiritual hysteria, Russia began her return with the potential to give the world one last chance. How?

Just as Russia disappeared as a peace-giving factor in 1917, because she lost her faith, so Russia is reappearing as a peace-giving factor, because she is now beginning to regain her faith. Having seen the failure of atheist materialism that her empty-souled upper classes and half-baked intellectuals imported from the West before 1917, she is now beginning to realize that there is only one solution to her heavy, heavy post-Soviet inheritance - and that is in the renaissance of her millennial Orthodox Faith.

In this, Russia stands apart from the West. For the West has not experienced what Russia has experienced. For Russia adopted the ideology of reason of the West and took it to its logical extreme, the extreme to which the West itself has not yet quite taken it. The West is still obsessed with its homegrown secularism of reason, its atheist materialism, not yet realizing its futility and its folly. And after a thousand years, the West is now altogether casting aside even its secularized brands of Christianity, as its compromised churches are demolished one after another and Faith there quite dies out. Try to reason with love and you will lose your reason. In that was the tragedy of Russia. In that is still the tragedy of the West.

There will be no Resurrection of Christianity in the West, because the West has not yet been to its Golgotha. And this is why there is, however fragile as yet, a Resurrection of Christianity in Russia, because Russia has been to her Golgotha and is now rising from it.

In 2007, Russia can re-enter the world scene. She can begin to speak with authority in the Middle East, in Iran, in China, in Cuba, in North Korea. However, her place and authority on the world stage will depend on her veneration of her new martyrs and confessors. The blood of the martyrs is indeed ‘the seed of the Church’. And the blood of the martyrs is also the seed of ‘the peace of the whole world’ and of ‘the good estate of the holy Churches of God and the union of all people’. Russia is central to the future of the world and peace in it, but that centrality hangs by the thread of her still fragile new-found faith. Her faith is being renewed by her martyrs and confessors of the Marxist Yoke, the millions of victims of atheism, the greatest martyrdom in the universal history of the Church, heroically canonized in 1981.

And that is the meaning of the events on Sunday 20 May 2007, when, God willing, His Holiness Patriarch Alexis and his bishops and clergy, and the Most Reverend Metropolitan Laurus and bishops and clergy of the worldwide Orthodox Church Outside Russia will together consecrate the Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors on a site of martyrdom in Butovo outside Moscow and then concelebrate the Divine Liturgy.

Today, Russia begins to emerge from beneath the rubble of atheist materialism.

Satan shudders from the light, as he spies Christ’s throne in Russian hearts.

Today, the West submerges beneath the rubble of consumerist materialism.

Satan cackles with delight, as he spies the vacant throne in Western hearts.

In the struggle before 1917, it was found that the voice of the Western Powers coincided with that of those who sought to destroy Russia.

In the coming struggle that already is, it will be found that the voice of the True West coincides with that of those who seek Eternal Russia.

This is the history of the future, the struggle between those who seek to destroy Russia and those who seek Eternal Russia, those who deny holiness and those who seek holiness.

The struggle between spiritual regeneration and spiritual degeneration now faces the world.

The word is spoken.

Whose side are you on?

Fr Andrew

Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ
The Righteous John of Kronstadt
20 December 2006/2 January 2007

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