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We are seeing some impressive examples of the reawakening of Christian civilization in Eastern Europe, indicative of the re-traditionalization that’s going on all over the world in response to the virulently anti-cultural, anti-traditional dynamics of secular globalization…

kingstatue

Statue of Jesus in Świebodzin, Poland

Recently, there have been some impressive examples of the reawakening of Christian civilization in Eastern Europe.

Poland

First, let’s look at what happened recently in Poland. In a ceremony at the Church of Divine Mercy in Krakow last November 19th, the Catholic Bishops of Poland, in the presence of President Andreiz Duda and many Catholic pilgrims, officially recognized Jesus Christ as the King of Poland and called upon Him to rule over their nation, its people and their political leaders.

At Mass, they prayed “Immortal King of Ages Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, bowing our heads before You, King of the Universe, we acknowledge Thy dominion over Poland, those living in our homeland and throughout the world. Wishing to worship the majesty of Thy power and glory, with great faith and love, we cry out: Rule us, Christ!”

This ceremony was repeated at many Polish cathedrals and parishes on the following Sunday, which was the feast of Christ the King on the Catholic liturgical calendar. The liturgical prayers dedicating the nation to Jesus Christ involved litanies such as: “In our hearts, Rule us, Christ! In our families, Rule us, Christ!… In our schools and universities, Rule us, Christ!… Through the Polish nation, rule us, Christ!” The priest went on to pray: “We pledge to defend Your holy worship and preach Thy royal glory,” and the people responded: “Christ our King, we promise!” Again: “We pledge to do Your will and protect the integrity of our consciences, Christ our King, we promise! We pledge to care for the sanctity of our families and the Christian education of children, Christ our King, we promise!”

The fact that this liturgy was conducted with the President of Poland in attendance was the fruit of the most recent rounds of elections that put Polish nationalists in charge, who emphasized Poland’s sovereignty in light of European Union and Eurasian pressures. And this re-Christianization of Poland is currently accompanied with a brand-new effort to ban abortion almost entirely from the nation.

Hungary and Croatia

Of interest as well are the pro-life, pro-family revolutions going on in Hungary and Croatia. Since coming into office in 2010, the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, has led the way in ratifying Hungary’s constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman; he’s been on the forefront of pro-life legislation and has brought religious education back to Hungary’s public schools.

And in Croatia, a recent study found that belief in God among Croats has risen from thirty-nine percent in 1989 to seventy-five percent in 1996 and eighty-two percent in 2004. Further, even though Croatia’s population has for a number of reasons declined over the years, the amount of priests studying in seminary has actually remained unchanged. And we further see the moral maturity of Croats in their overwhelming support to amend their national constitution to defined marriage as between a man and woman–nearly sixty-five percent of the population voted to keep so called same-sex marriage permanently out of Croatia.

Georgia

In Georgia, there was a relatively recent backlash against the pro-Western, pro-EU government that sought to take Eastern Orthodox curriculum out of the public schools, a development that galvanized Orthodox groups such as the Orthodox Parents’ Union. When the elections of 2012 came along, a far more traditionalist government was elected that reinstituted Eastern Orthodox education into the public schools, where icons and Orthodox crosses are displayed throughout the school buildings. And this has been accompanied by the Georgian Orthodox Church’s campaign to revitalize the family, with significant results: Georgia has gone from having one of the lowest birthrates in Eastern Europe to having one of the highest.

Russia

In Russia, there have been more than 15,000 churches rebuilt since the end of Communist rule. Article 148 of the Russian criminal code, which Vladimir Putin signed in June of 2013, threatens prison sentences of up to three years for “insulting the feelings of Christian believers.” And on the very day that law was passed, a law was approved that prohibits so-called “homosexual propaganda.” And of course, the laws against offending the church were used to incarcerate the punk rock band Pussy Riot when they desecrated two churches with lewd and inappropriate behavior. Mr. Putin has banned abortion ads, and signed legislation banning abortion after twelve weeks of pregnancy, all while the Russian Orthodox Church is calling for an outright ban of abortions.

So, we are seeing some very impressive examples of the reawakening of Christian civilization in Eastern Europe, indicative of the re-traditionalization that’s going on all over the world in response to the virulently anti-cultural, anti-traditional dynamics of secular globalization. I think we can expect only more examples of this re-Christianization throughout Eastern Europe in the foreseeable future, with an eye toward comparable re-traditionalizing trends in Western Europe and the U.S. as well, increasing significantly prospects for a post-secular future on the horizon.

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5 replies to this post
  1. Meanwhile, in the West, the descent into the maelstrom has not been stopped, though it may have been slowed a bit. Further updates pending on the success of the recent series of elections.

    In my diocese, perhaps a quarter of our priests are from Africa, and we are grateful to have them. The church is growing there, and they need all they can get, yet they know in what straits America is suffering, and willingly lend for our aid. The wonderful irony of African missionary societies sending priests to America is lost on no one.

    The Western secularists will soon learn, as the Soviets learned, that it does no good to oppress religion. It simply burns away those who look on it as a club and refines the serious believers. We see in Eastern Europe the fruit of nearly a century of refining. (And I sincerely hope we do not also go through such a furnace, the murmurings of the Benedict Option folks aside.)

  2. It would be surprising if there were no reaction to the bland and empty positivism of the EU. It is too soon to just whether it will obtain any momentum beyond the former communist bloc. The irony of those countries providing the last bastion of robust Christian belief in Europe is profound. What truth can be taken from such facts? Perhaps that repression of the faith is better for the Church than its being incorporated into the state, at least in the long run. Of course, if that is true much of what the article celebrates is likely to be misdirected.

  3. I rather like this essay as it simplifies everything. You are either with Christ or against Him. There are clear guidelines as to how we are to conduct our lives especially with regard to sexuality, an area where human beings are exceptionally weak unless fortified through prayer and the sacraments and some degree of idealization of the opposite sex (chivalry and romance which have been stifled by Hefner’s easygoing and seductive Playboy philosophy and of course, oral contraception) God also created two sexes not a half dozen or more. A marriage is a sacramental union between a man and a woman. Killing the unborn because they are inconvenient (because the contraception failed) is a rotten thing to do and once casually accepted as normal coarsens the wider society’s responses to other issues, the care of the elderly for instance. A recent story in a UK tabloid (Daily Mail, 27 January, 2017)tells of a Dutch female doctor helping to restrain an elderly Alzheimer’s patient who had decided to fight back against being euthanised. She fought in vain, of course. Clearly, the culture wars in the USA are merely a secular version of a war in heaven. What amount of sophistry could ever gloss over the 67 million souls aborted since Roe v Wade.

  4. Thanks for the great article!

    It seems to me that societies really don’t understand or appreciate the blessings of a truly Christian culture until it has been entirely taken away from it. I think eastern European countries have seen the full fruit of secular humanism and what it has done to their societies, their cultures and the ethical implications that resulted.

    I hope that western countries will learn from the lessons of our eastern brethren. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem this is the case. I think a country needs to hit rock bottom before it realizes the damage done before it seeks to get back to its Christian roots. I also hope that countries that are adopting Christianity again will not become fanatical in forcing people to convert or accept Christianity. I believe that Christianity should be lived with humility, faith, love and freedom. It should not be used as a stick to oppress others to force homogeneity. We want to follow Jesus, as He is our master and role model. We don’t want to punish those who have punished Christians in the past. That would go against the Christian ethos and push others who don’t believe further away from Jesus and eternal salvation.

  5. Just curious. How long a book and who would be included in a book entitled, “Great American atheists and Muslims.” How many would I recognize and celebrate?

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