Russia is resurrected from the dead, rising from the tomb in which communism had placed it. It is emerging as a Christian country at a time when other erstwhile Christian countries seem intent on abandoning their faith in order to embrace the suicidal culture of death…
Patrick Buchanan’s succinct and penetrating essay on President Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was devastatingly brilliant in its summarizing of the disastrous nature of U.S. foreign policy over the past twenty years or so. Those who haven’t yet read it are strongly encouraged to do so. Mr. Buchanan quotes President Trump’s placing of the blame for the poor relations between the United States and Russia on “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” which Mr. Buchanan interprets as the President’s repudiation of “the records and agendas of the neocons and their liberal interventionist allies, as well as the archipelago of War Party think tanks beavering away inside the Beltway.”
As for the record of the neocons and their liberal allies, Mr. Buchanan points to a catalogue of disastrous policy decisions. He considers the decision to move NATO forces into Russia’s backyard, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, as an act of aggression that could only be seen as a threatening provocation on the part of Russia. He questions the disastrous intervention of U.S. troops into Iraq on an alleged quest to rid the country of non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” He laments the interminable wars in the Middle East ever since, a direct consequence of this original quest for mythical weapons which set in motion a destructive domino effect that has cost half a million lives and has led to new levels of anti-Christian persecution. He enumerates other decisions, equally nonsensical and disastrous, which illustrate the destructive nature of what he calls “interventionism” but which might just as accurately be described as imperialism. One such imperialist, John Brennan, former Director of the CIA, described President Trump’s actions at the Helsinki press conference as “treasonous”, claiming that the President was “wholly in the pocket of Putin.”
It is ironic that self-styled Republican “patriots,” such as Mr. Brennan, find themselves in bed with dogmatic Democrats, such as Hilary Clinton, in their almost rabid hatred of Russia in general and President Putin in particular. This is, to be sure, a queer and frankly weird alliance, as bizarre as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviets and the Nazis at the beginning of World War Two. One can imagine why Clinton and her ilk hate Russia, the alleged election tempering notwithstanding. Vladimir Putin has defended the traditional family and has resisted and condemned the radical homosexism which is destroying traditional marriage in North America and Western Europe. It is a little more difficult to understand why so-called “conservatives” would share this hatred of Russia which is, by all counts, more authentically conservative than any country in the West. Take, for instance, the reaction of Russians to radical homosexist activists who stripped themselves naked and shouted obscenities at a cathedral in Moscow. They were arrested, put in prison, and the law was changed so that prison sentences would be longer should such anti-Christian shenanigans be attempted in the future. Compare this response with a similar scenario at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. After a group of homosexist activists, emulating the actions in Moscow, stripped themselves naked and shouted obscenities during the celebration of Mass, they went unpunished, neither the police nor politicians wishing to be condemned as being homophobic for defending Christians from such an outrage. Christians must learn to tolerate such attacks upon them, lest they be accused of intolerance. Such is the Alice-in-Wonderland world in which we in the West now find ourselves.
There is none of this nonsense in Russia. On the contrary, the rise of Christianity in the country, after seventy years of enforced atheism, is nothing less than astonishing. Some might say miraculous. Take, for instance, the commemoration on July 17 of the centenary of the assassination of the Russian royal family by the communists. Between 75,000 and 100,000 Russians attended a Russian Orthodox liturgy, which lasted from midnight until 2:30 in the morning, to coincide with the actual hour at which the Czar and his family were murdered. The divine liturgy was celebrated in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg at the “Church on the Blood,” which is so-called because it is built on the site of the house where the Romanovs were held as prisoners during the last weeks of their lives, and includes the area of the very basement room in which they were executed at about 2 a.m. on July 17, 1918. The church was literally built “on the blood” of the martyred family. During the liturgy, the bells of the church tolled at almost the exact moment in the night when the shots that killed the family had rang out a century earlier.
After the marathon liturgy, during which the tens of thousands of worshippers had stood, rank upon rank, Patriarch Kirill led the huge congregation on a procession through the city and into the countryside beyond, singing hymns to Christ. According to Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, who was present at the liturgy, it was “an extraordinary sight”:
Their voices floated over the air without loudspeakers, one group singing a hymn, another a prayer, or snippets from a prayer, then another group, and another, and another. It was a singing river of humanity, moving swiftly just as the first shimmering light of dawn began to soften the blackness of the horizon. For nearly four hours they walked, until they had completed their 13-mile pilgrimage.
Think about the depth and passion of the Christian faith of these tens of thousands of people. Having stayed up, forsaking the warmth and comfort of their beds, and having stood resolutely for a two-and-a-half hour liturgy, they then spent the remainder of the night walking for almost four hours over a distance of the equivalent of a half-marathon, following the exact route that the dead bodies of the Czar and his wife and children, lying dead in a cart, had followed, in the middle of the night, exactly a hundred years earlier. At the end of this pilgrimage, the pilgrims arrived at the place where the cart stopped and where the royal family were thrown without ceremony into a mine shaft, their first ignominious burial place.
In an inspiring display of real religious leadership, all too lacking among the hierarchy in western Europe and north America, the Patriarch walked the entire way, as did many of his bishops, including Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. At the site of the bolshevist butchery, the place of martyrdom, Patriarch Kirill reiterated what he had said during the press conferences on the previous day, the very day on which Presidents Trump and Putin were meeting in Helsinki. He said that he hoped that the memory of these tragic events would help those who have not been able to rethink history to do so. He hoped that “this rethinking leads to an increase of our common accord, national accord and reconciliation.”
One might hope that these words will also be heeded by those so-called “conservatives” who can’t “rethink” Russia into being anything other than the Soviet bogey-man. Russia is resurrected from the dead, rising from the tomb in which communism had placed it. It is emerging as a Christian country at a time when other erstwhile Christian countries seem intent on abandoning their faith in order to embrace the suicidal culture of death. In this light, and it is a true light, dare we echo the words of President Trump, regardless of whatever other differences we might have with him, that “peace with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing”? Dare we hope that the ice-cold hearts of warmongering neocons might melt so that they can finally put the Cold War to rest? Dare we hope, in communion with our Christian brothers and sisters in Russia, that our two countries can forge a peaceful alliance which would help to bring a measure of much-needed peace to the world? Should we give peace a chance?
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