The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (2023)

Table of Contents
LECTURE 1: INTRODUCTION: ORTHODOX WORLDVIEW LECTURE 2: THE MIDDLE AGES Scholasticism Romance New Concept of Sanctity Joachim of Floris Three Ages: the foundation of all modern philosophies of progress and “new age,” chiliasm.16 Third age is the last: Chiliasm.17 Medieval Art Politics LECTURE 3: THE RENAISSANCE Fame Superstition Protestant Reformation Science Chiliasm Renaissance Art Summary LECTURE 4: THE ENLIGHTENMENT, PART 1 The “Brave new world:”Candide. Dreams for unity of mankind, discovery, mysteries of nature, happiness in earth, progress, golden age of art. Faith in Progress LECTURE 5: THE ENLIGHTENMENT, PART 2 Enlightenment in England Deism Against Miracles Attacking and Defending Religion Art and Music Progress LECTURE 6: THE FRENCH REVOLUTION Voltaire Rousseau Secret Societies b. Illuminati: (Adam) Weischaupt, born 1748; Jesuit training, but hated them, turned to French philosophers, Manicheans, and occult doctrines. Very similar philosophy to Rousseau, but addedsecret revolutionary society, May 1, 1776, a combination of freemasonry and Jesuitry.:9 Abolition of religion, absolute obedience11 Novices initiated step by step into the “higher mysteries.” Women were to be used and fools with money System of universal spying12 Anti-science and civilization in general: sciences are “the complicated needs of a state contrary to nature, the inventions of vain and empty brains” Sent “apostles:”13 Martinism also important: 1775 St. Martin called “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” the “sacred ternary.” c. 1782, Congress of Wilhelmsbod, Illumism and Freemasonry united to pursue common end, claiming 3 million members. The “tragic secret.”15 d. 1784, Elector of Bavaria prohibited all secret societies, 1785 Illuminati arrested and tried and their documents publicized—recipes for bombs, description of the goal.16 C. The Revolution 1. Calling of Sts.Gen because of financial difficulties: the pretext for Enlightenment ideas to work. The Revolution was radical from the beginning and had immense support from the “spirit of th age.” Wordsworth: “Bliss was it in that scene(?) to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.” 2. Jacobins: took the lead from the beginning, the only real party. Agreed beforehand on policy in National Assembly. Well organized: 406 affiliated societies in the provinces with 500,000 members by 1793. They take control, power from secret societies:18 The Jacobins’ orders were instantly obeyed.19They drink each others’ blood “to the death of kings.” Western fall of monarchy in 1792 destruction begins in earnest. 3. Violence: the usual interpretation: incidental, passions aroused, national defense, etc. But evidence points to deliberate use: when there are real grievances, they are exploited by clever politicians to promote the Revolution, Great role of agitators. (1) The “Great Fear” July 1789:20 Protest of women Oct. 5, 1789: women also dressed as men, many forced to go along. (2) The Reign of Terror under Robespierre: ostensibly invoked by foreign invasion, seeking “enemies of the people” inside; this a means of governing (cf. Communism). But deeper; there was a little-publicized plan of depopulization.” Report of the Committee of Public Safety, Aug. 8, 1795: “Be peaceful; France has enough for 12 million men: all the rest (12 million) will have to be put to death. And then you will no longer lack for bread.22 Revolutionary Tribunal discussed reduction of population to 1/3 or 1/2; Committee of Public Safety calculated how many heads to have in each town and district. Drowned, guillotined, or shot: perhaps 300,000, of which only 3,000 nobles, most peasants and workers. At Nantes 500 children of poor people were killed in one butchery; 144 poor women thrown into river, etc. (3) Killings and destruction especially fierce: Sept. 1792 massacres of priests and others in prisons: cannibalism and torture. The violence calculated: and Marx’s idea. Sieyes replies: “You speak to us always of our means, eh, Monsiuer, it is the end, it is the object and the goal that one must learn to see.”23 Saint-Just: “I will walk willingly with my feet in blood and tears.” 4. Babeuf, “Conspiracy of the Equals.” a. Disciple of Weischaupt, followed Robespierre’s Communist ideas. Said depopulization was the “immense secret” of the Terror (claimed it took 1 million lives). Formed his own masonic organization for bringing about “equality.” A Communist.24 Apr. 1796 finished his “Manifesto of Equals.”26 But people were not informed of this (à la Weischaupt), told only that the goods of the enemies of the people would be given to the needy. His admiration for Robespierre:28 His frenzy:29 The “Great Dy” of Revolution:30 Violence:32 Napoleon averted them and ended the last great attempt in French Revolution to realize the aim of Illumism. 5. Revolutionaries devoured each other33 France ruined by Revolution34 6. Religion a. De-Christianization: Nov. 1793:36 Temple of reason:37 Napoleon 4. Example: German Romantic poet Novalis.1 Chiliasm in early Socialist “Prophets” & the Utopian Socialists. 3. St. Simon 1760-1825 a. Life4 Religion of future20 Metternich Donoso Cortes4 De Maistre Tsar Nicholas I Orthodox Tsar, anti-Revolution35 Helped Austria without reward Idealist37 Recognized Louis Phil.38 b. Gogol39 C. Alexander III: St. John of Kronstadt at deathbed. Kirillov & later on new religion. (a) Ivan Karamazov’s philosophy (b) Grand Inquisitor LECTURE 9: REVOLUTION IX LECTURE 11: EVOLUTION LECTURE 12: MODERN ART & SPIRITUALISM LECTURE 13: ANTICHRIST Solovyov

The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (1)

This is the complete Orthodox Survival Course of Father Seraphim Rose.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following chapters are the complete Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose and Fr. Herman Podmoshensky in thirteen lectures. Fr. Seraphim and Fr. Herman originally taught this course in the 1970′s at the Saint Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California. The following text has been transcribed from audio recordings of the lectures and distributed throughsamizdat.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (2)

This course is to give one a perspective on those things which are happening in the world today which we come across in our daily experience, every one of which has a philosophical undercurrent. If one goes to any big city one will find that there are churches of every description and they all offer a different view, a different doctrine. The Catholics will tell you one thing, and the Mormons will give you something else; the Seventh-Day Adventists will give you something else quite definite; the Fundamentalists will say something else; the liberal Protestants will give you another current; the Theosophists will give you something else. And a person in search of truth goes perhaps from one to the other looking for the truth. Quite often people find, “I found it!”—something clicks. They find that Mormonism has the answer; or else they are very impressed by a speaker who knows how to get in touch with, well, the contemporary people.

There was one, for example, Alan Watts, who died just recently. I was a student of his. In fact, I was extremely impressed because I was an undergraduate looking for some kind of truth in philosophy, not finding it. I was very bored by Western philosophy, and all of a sudden he comes and gives a lecture on Zen Buddhism. And [I thought] that is the answer because it’s not a philosophy; it’s just the way things are. He said it's not the looking at the glass of water and defining it but—and he takes the glass of water and pours it out on the stage, very dramatic—that's what Zen Buddhism is, it’s the answer; it’s “IT.”

Of course, throughout the perspective of many years, we can see that this poor man is simply a very clever man. He was very much in contact with the way people were thinking; and he got onto one little sort of channel and followed it all the way and made his career out of it, made lots of money, got people as his sort of followers; and simply taught them. There were lots of things he said which were true, especially the negative part about what’s wrong with contemporary civilization. But in the end he just gave them some pitiful little shred of truth combined with a lot of his own opinions and in the end a great system of lies; and he destroyed souls including his own undoubtedly.

But Orthodoxy is not like one of these currents, systems of thought; it is not simply one among many. And that is why some might think, especially the newly converted will say, “Why haven’t I heard of Orthodoxy before, why isn’t it on television? Why can’t I hear it? Why aren’t there radio programs and newspaper articles and everything like that?” Well, if you look at the newspaper articles which there are about Orthodoxy, which happened occasionally—like when the weeping icons came to some cities, there were articles; or when even when Archbishop John died in San Francisco there was an article, various sort of events which stand out, become a part of the history, the whole event in the city, and look at what kind of newspaper articles are written—the view of Orthodoxy there is adapted to the readers. That is, this is a sect which is very colorful; it is like the Mormons or the Seventh-Day Adventists or something else. It’s different, it’s colorful. And if you read descriptions of the Pascha services, they will always say something like, “Amid clouds of incense and flowing robes and long beards,” and everything which is exotic and different from what the ordinary the American sees; that’s about what Orthodoxy is for them. That is, in that kind of view Orthodoxy is some kind of Christian philosophy which is mainly characterized by some kind of exoticness. If you want the exotic, you go there. But that is not what Orthodoxy is.

If you give your heart and soul to one of these teachings, the various Christian or non-Christian teachings, you will get from your sect—because all of them are sects, including Roman Catholicism—you will get from your sect what they think probably is a philosophy of life, they will give you the answers to many questions. They will give you answers which you will accept if you are on their wave-length—usually depends upon your background, your psychological strivings, how much education you’ve had. There’re all kinds of factors which enter in, which make you click, respond to the particular sect.

Once you give your heart and soul there, or at least part of them, you will begin to accept whatever they teach you, and form yourself on that basis. And then when somebody comes to you and asks why you believe, you give answers the way you’ve learned them. And a person from outside will look at those answers and be astonished at how a person can give such answers. It’s obvious they are a “party line.” They will quote you Scriptures in accordance with an interpretation which seems very far-fetched, and they will think that this is logical, the ordinary explanation. You talk to the Seventh Day Adventists who are our neighbors here, and you begin to ask them what they believe, and why they believe, and it turns out that the commandment about Saturday is the most important of all the commandments, the one that distinguishes the real people, the real church from everybody else. How can they get that, and how can they explain the fact hat Christ always appears on Sunday, the first day of the week? He rose from the dead on Sunday. After His Resurrection, it was early on Sunday—how it is that the Church didn’t believe this for two thousand years? And they will even tell you that there were Adventists and the Seventh Day people all the time. And they can even build up some kind of tradition for it, some kind of [saying something like], “Well, maybe this sect did exist throughout the centuries.” But what they will give you will not be a world-view, a philosophy. What they will give you will be asectarianview.

A sectarian view is, like the name implies, sect: it is something which is cut off. They will give you a piece of reality according to their interpretation. When it comes to any complicated issue, they will give you a very simple answer which is not satisfying to somebody who’s capable of thinking very much. They will, if anything comes up which seems to disprove their position or make it foggy, they will say, “Devil’s work” or, “That’s evil,” or [if] you ask them how they interpret the Scriptures, “literally.” They will give you extremely simple answers to questions which are very complicated. And you have to already be in that channel in order to accept it. And you will become -- as we indeed associate with sectarians—some kind of group cut off from the rest of society, keeping your own little view point, preserving yourself from everybody else, having your own schools and thinking that you are in the truth. But you will not have some kind of philosophy, world- view, which will enable you really to understand what goes on in the world, to explain those phenomena around you in a way which does not do violence to reason, is not just an interpretation according to a very whimsical interpretation of Scripture, but is something which is solidly based, and is perhaps not convincing right off to everybody, but at least respects reason which God gave us, and does not have an overly-simplified view of whatever is happening in the world, [a view that] whoever does not agree with my philosophy is either a devil or a person who’s completely deceived.

On the contrary, many things which happen in the world have their power: ideas have their power, political systems have their power, even art movements have their power because there is some seed of truth in them. And if you don’t understand what that seed of truth is and how it got mixed up with error, what it in it is genuine, what in it is fake, you will not be able to be living in the world today; and a Christian lives in the world. You must understand, that a sectarian saves himself, and he saves anybody he can keep away from reality, keep in his little corner some place. But if that person goes out in the world and starts asking questions, he loses his sectarian views because it’s not plausible. He has to keep his sectarian faith in a little corner someplace, a piece of society. An Orthodox world-view is not like that. Today, the true Orthodox Christians are very few. And therefore we are called by some, like Schmemann and the people who are up-to-date and want to be in step with Catholics and Protestants and contemporary thought -- they will say we are a sect. Therefore, we should know, are we a sect or not? If we have our Orthodoxy as something like Mormonism, that is, if we know the catechism, know the dogmas, and can expound the official teaching of faith, and everything outside of that is something hazy or given an over- simplified answer, then we are in danger of this very sectarianism.

Because then Orthodoxy will be for us something which is very narrow. The path of salvationisvery narrow, but Orthodoxy alone of all the religions is God’s religion; and therefore it does not deny those faculties which God gave us, especially reason which is the faculty by which we understand Truth.

And so it is that Orthodoxy is the one religion because it is the true religion, God’s religion, which has the answer to all, which understands everything which happens in the world. That does not mean that we have necessarily an absolute answer to everything, because that’s also a characteristic of sectarian mentality: they have an instant answer and they give it to you very simplified and there’s no argument. With Orthodoxy, rather, we open our minds because since we have the truth we are not afraid of whatever science may say, or philosophy or writers, artists. We are not afraid of them; we can look at them with our Orthodox understanding and with an open mind and with an open heart to see what really is positive and understand whether they are valuable or not valuable, whether they are beneficial, whether they are harmful.

And so we can look around us at any phenomenon. The sectarian will look around him and say, “That’s evil: cut it off.” And with many things, of course, you have to do that, because there are things which, now especially, are flagrantly inciting to sin. But even in turning away from them and not exposing ourselves to temptation as much as possible, we have to understand why they are that way, why, what is happening.

There are things which do not have an immediate answer to a person who has an Orthodox world-view. There are certain things which you cannot explain immediately just on the basis of knowing about God, the Holy Trinity and the basic teaching of the Church. For example, it’s characteristic now that our times is called “post- Christian” times; it’s also post-philosophical times, because there was a time when philosophy was very much alive in the West. In fact, [Ivan] Kireyevsky the nineteenth-century Russian writer says that up until the early to middle nineteenth century, philosophy wasthecurrent, the main current of European thought, because what the philosophers were thinking was the thing which was most exciting, most interesting, and was the thing which then went into the people. In a very short time, whatever one person had thought through in his cabinet some place in a city in Germany would, within a few years, already become the property of the whole people—until philosophy came to the end of its rope, which was in about the middle of the nineteenth century when Kireyevsky was alive. Because it so happened that after destroying the outer universe with the philosophy of Hume and Berkeley and so forth, the philosophy, in order to find some foundation on which to base itself, finally settled on Kant who said that all there is, is the individual, and I make my own universe; we don’t know what the thing in itself is, what is out there; but I am the one who puts everything in order, and if I understand myself, I can make sense of the universe. But this amounts to a very dangerous subjectivism, because in this system there’s no room for truth any more. There’s just room for some kind of conventional view of things. And after him there came fantastic people, Fichte and this Max Stirner and others who said that there’s nothing in the world but me, the “I” alone in the universe. And even Stirner came to the point where he said, “I am alone in the universe trampling on the tomb of humanity,” something to that effect.1Which is sort of the logical conclusion of people who released thought from any kind of restraints and decided to find where they could think things through to. And when you think things through without any kind of traditional basis, you come to a dead end.

After that, as Kireyevsky says, the main current of the West entered politics. And that’s why especially after 1848, and beginning in the French Revolution, and especially strong after 1848, the main thing that was happening in European and world history is the progress of the revolution, which we will discuss later on.

So a person who wants to have an Orthodox understanding must be prepared to look with an open mind and heart at what goes on in the world and use his mind to find out what is responsible for it, what underlies this. And we must do that now that the age of philosophy is passed and the views are very practically oriented. It’s amazing how even in universities, the mind is not used at all. Art criticism becomes just an excuse for your subjective taste; there’s no objective criteria left at all. In this kind of world, new philosophical beliefs and very dangerous ideas are presented no longer as some kind of truth which you can easily understand as being false, but they are presented as something else.

For example, people who take drugs will tell you: “I am uncovering new areas of reality. Are you against new areas of reality? Are you against the deeper area of the mind?” Actually, Holy Fathers talk about [the] deeper area of the mind -- and what are you going to say to that? He’s not giving you some kind of new truth to which you can say, “That’s false”; he’s giving you some kind of new outlook. And you have to stop and think, well, what does this mean? What is the deeper area of the mind? Who is there, what’s going on? You have to be able to evaluate what is behind this kind of statement and whether, in fact, it’s a very practical thing because a person might come to you and say: “Should I stop this or go on with it?” or “Is this evil?” And you have to know why. If you just say, “No, drugs are evil, that’s out,” then he very likely will not be convinced, because somebody else will give him a very plausible excuse. You have to tell him—’course you have to tell tell him, “You better stop because that’s very dangerous”; but [you] also have to be able to say, if you have a complete philosophy of life,whythis is not right and where it’s going to lead you.

There are also many kinds of advances in science to which there are hooked up philosophical views. For example, evolution, of course, is a big one; and it’s a very complicated thing to which you do not immediately get an answer. A sectarian will say, “Well, it’s against Genesis; it’s against the literal interpretation.” And that’s very easy to just pick to pieces because if you interpret Genesis absolutely literally, like they would like to, you come to ridiculous absurdities.

Or, also there’s such a thing as the idea that now we are able to govern our own future. Therefore, we will determine in test-tubes whether a child is going to be male or female and give him the brains of Einstein or something like that. You have to know if this is good or bad. What’s going on? On what basis can I criticize this?

And, of course, it’s very important to be able to see through what goes on in the political world because in free societies people go and vote. You have to know what value is voting or what is the whole thing behind politics. Is it worth while taking part in this? Is this good, evil? Let’s have some kind of view of it. The same way with music and art—music especially since it’s so all-pervading in society; you go to supermarket and you get music. There’s a whole philosophy in back of why you get the kind of music you do in the supermarket; and you have to understand what this music is trying to do to you, what is back of it. There’s a whole philosophy to it.

If you ask a sectarian to give you a world-view, a whole overview of what’s happening in the world, they will, again, give you a very narrow thing which has lots of points of truth in it because they read the Scriptures; and they can tell you about the end of the world, the Apocalypse, Antichrist, and give you even a plausible view of what’s going on in the world. And they can tell you that...

There’s this thing calledThe Plain Truth, this magazine which—he says, “It’s plain truth. I discovered the plain truth which was hidden for two thousand years. I discovered it, sitting down in my closet and thinking it through, and nobody else thinks these things through except me. And here it is. This is where it is, just plain and simpe.”2And he gives you a lot of hogwash, having his subjective view of things, where he can present this where it’s just “plain and simple,” nd that’s the way it is. And millions of people follow him; not all of them are his actual [followers], part of his cult, but many people take it very seriously and think it makes very great sense. And he will tell you all kinds of things: that Christ died on Wednesday and was resurrected on Saturday, according to deductions from everything—even though it says in the Scripture “early on the first day of the week.”3He has an explanation to explain that away, and how it was really not Friday, but Wednesday, and how to account for three days—not the third day, but three days, seventy-two hours.4And, well, he gives you all kinds of fantastic things like that, mixed in with all kinds of true things. And if you are not capable of discerning, you can get into all kinds of trouble. Even our sectarians look very much to him because they have a very similar outlook, they are the Seventh Day Adventists. And they will tell you that he talks about the—I forget what he calls it—but after the first sixty years or something of this era, some thirty years after the Resurrection of Christ, there is the “missing century” or something like that. All of a sudden truth went out, underground or away or something. It didn’tcome back again until this Armstrong appeared.

And the same thing is [true] with other sectarians: Ellen White has the same kind of philosophy. There are different varieties of it. Some will say that it was Constantine who did the bad things. Usually they date it much earlier so they don’t have to accept anything that comes after that. And they can’t explain very well how it is that it was a Council of the Church in the second, early third century that determined the canon of Scripture. So you have to get people to understand how a Council could determine that, if the Council was already in an apostate state. But they accept that decree of the Council. It’s very interesting, you can find it very illogical about that.

But for us, this is not some kind of very two-dimensional, simple thing to understand what goes on in the world. So, we must understand first of all what is world history, what are the forces that shape world history. And that is very simple, basically, because there is a God and there is the devil; and world history goes on between these two adversaries. And man, man’s heart is the field on which it is played out.

If you read the Old Testament, you will find a remarkable history which is different from the history of any other country. In other countries there are rulers [who] rise and fall: there is tyranny, there are democratic paradises, there are wars, sometimes the righteous triumph, sometimes the unrighteous triumph; and the whole of history is extremely skeptical. Historians will tell you their chronicle of crimes and savagery—and no meaning. And what happens to come out is some chance event which no one can see any meaning for. But in the History of Israel we see a very deep thing which is the history of the chosen people of God which is now following God’s commandments, and now falling away; and its history depends upon how it is, whether it’s following God or falling away from Him. It becomes very complicated when they are taken away from Egypt into the wilderness, and they are going at a very short distance away - which now you can do in a day and about a week, and then you could do it in a week or two—and they spent forty years in the wilderness and went through all kinds of adventures because they were wavering between right belief in God and falling away from Him, to such an extent that when Moses was gone for a short time to the mount to receive the commandments of God and meet God Himself, the people were worshipping a golden calf.

The whole history of Israel is this history between belief and unbelief, between following God and turning away from God. And the history of Israel becomes in the New Testament the history of the Church, the new Israel. And the history of humanity from the time Christ came to earth until now is the history of the Church and of those peoples who either come to the Church or fight against the Church, or come to the Church and fall away from it. World history, from that time to this, makes sense only if you understand there is some plan going on, which is the plan of God for the salvation of men. And you have to have a clear understanding of Christianity, of what Orthodoxy is, what salvation is in order to understand how this plan is manifested in history.

The history of mankind for the first millennium of the Christian era is the history of the spread of the Gospel to various lands. Some of them accepted, some with great readiness, some less readily. Usually the simple peoples accept much more readily. And sometimes temptations come, heresies come, which are the tares sown by the devil to upset people, bring them away from the truth. And therefore we have the Ecumenical Councils and the writings of the Fathers to teach us what is the right approach to truth and what is the wrong. And when there came dangerous errors, heresies, the Church condemned them. And those who were clinging to those errors against the Church were anathematized, and they went out from the Church. So very early there are groups, heresies which broke away from the Church, but the Church itself was the main group which survived even though at times it was reduced to very small numbers because of heresies. Always it came back, and for the first millennium it was the dominant belief in peoples from Byzantium all the way to Britain, and eastern—not so strong. In the East the peoples are more sophisticated, more philosophical; they had their own beliefs; it’s much more difficult to get through to them. The simple peoples accepted much more readily.

And then there was a very important event happening which determines the history of the next thousand years, but it gives a direction to it. Because, well, to understand what this is, we should look at our situation today.

Orthodoxy, according to an objective observer looking at it, is one view among many; it’s a minority view and it is very much against the spirit of the times. that’s why these Schmemanns and so forth are trying to update it, bring it back into the main current so they will not be laughed at. It is something which is very much out-of-date, it makes no sense in terms of pluralism or being at home with other faiths, and simply, it is not credible. There are many other faiths which, because they are more adapted to the times, seem much more credible, when a Catholic can get along with an up-to-date Lutheran or a Baptist or even a fundamentalist much better than he can with a genuine Orthodox Christian because they have much more in common. Kalomiros notes that Orthodoxy is distinguished from all these Westerners because they all have the same background, the same formation. But Orthodoxy is different from all of them. It stands against all of them, because all the rest of them—even though they are opposed to each other—stand together because they are formed from thesame mentality, the Western mentality.

The Western mentality was once Orthodox. And therefore we look at the whole history of the West of the last thousand years, which seems not to have contact with Orthodoxy. We look at art and from the very beginning, there’s a remnant of iconographic style, especially in Italy, but then very quickly it’s lost. And Western art is something quite autonomous, and we have no contact with it in Orthodoxy, and we can’t understand [? tape unclear] that there seems to be anything in common. Or, music, well, we Orthodox know our Church music. The West had a great development of secular music, sometimes religious music, but it’s not that same thing as we would call religious music.

We have the history of the rise and fall of nations, of monarchies, of the principle of monarchy, of the principle of democracy, all different political institutions, the history of Western philosophy from one system to the other. And all these manifestations of the life of Western man for a thousand years seem to have no common point with Orthodoxy. And therefore, how can we understand those things on the basis of an Orthodox point of view? What is in back of them? And this is where this important thing comes in that happened a thousand years ago, which is the Schism of the Church of Rome.

Many people in analyzing what goes on in the world today will go back to the Enlightenment period, to the French Revolution. And beyond that you can go back to the rise of science, the Renaissance, the Reformation. That seems to be more the beginning of modern times. People who think a little more deeply will go back further than that; and they will find that even at the end of the Middle Ages there are many currents and anomalies and so forth that were leading away from the Catholic synthesis, the Scholastic synthesis of the thirteenth century. But we have to go back further than that because, if you go back even then to the thirteenth century or even the twelfth century, you see something which is still quite foreign to Orthodoxy.

These Scholastic philosophers are quite different from Orthodox theologians. The art even of that time, Giotto, if you look at the paintings of Giotto who is supposed to be really primitive, as primitive as you can get almost in the West, you will see that the principles by which he paints are totally foreign to Orthodoxy, he introduces... He paints many pictures of Francis of Assisi and introduces an element of drama, of quaintness, of cuteness, which, of course, a person educated by icons will look at it and say, “This is not serious; this is some kind of folk art or something, it’s not serious.” But Giotto is an artist in the best Western tradition, very much appreciated for his primitivity and closeness to Byzantium tradition and everything else. But already this anecdotal, unserious feeling of his makes him totally foreign to Orthodox icons.

And, of course, the same way with Saints; they already—the “Western Saints” they’re called—are very different from Orthodox Saints. Already there’s something entered in. It’s very interesting, there’s a Catholic ecumenist, Dominican, Yves Congar, who wrote a book in 1954 calledNine Hundred Years Afterabout the Schism of 1054; and he said it is really unfortunate that the Orthodox Church broke away from Rome at that time, or vice versa, however he says, ...(tape break)

...the writings of Kireyevsky, who himself went through Western wisdom, rejected it, found Orthodoxy, and then came back, not to be Orthodox as against the world without understanding, but he found in Orthodoxy the key to understand the history of the West, and the understanding of what is happening in the West.


1. Cf.The Ego and His Own, Max Stirner, “My concern is neither the Godly nor the Human, is not the True, the Good, the Right, the Free, etc., but simply my own self, and it is not general, it is individual. For me there is nothing above myself.” Quoted inThe Great Quotations, comp. by Georges Seldes, Pocket Books, 1967, p. 859.

2. Armstrong, Herbert W.,The Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, Richard C. Nickels, ed., Giving and Sharing, Neck City, Missouri, 1996, p. 179, quoting fromThe Plain Truth1934 editorial: “The real TRUTH is simple and plain, not hard and difficult.”

3. Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1.

4. Armstrong,Early Writings, “Which Day is the Sabbath of the New Testament?” p. 49.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (3)

Now begins a series of lectures on the intellectual history of the modern age, that is, from the time of the Schism of Rome. This will not actually be a history of the intellectual currents. It will be a noting of the tendencies and movements which are of historical significance, which are symptomatic of the spirit of the age and point to future developments. We will try to distinguish the essential points from incidental ones, that is, the features which are characteristic of the underlying philosophy of the times which endure from age to age, from other views which simply depend on passing events. For example, we are not interested that some of the Franciscan spirituals thought that Frederick II was Antichrist or the world would end in 1260, or that in the nineteenth century William Miller thought the end of the world would occur on a certain day in 1844; but the chiliastic views which underlie these very foolish viewsarewhat we will be discussing and talking about, because these are the views which help to determine our outlook today.

I will repeat something I said in the introductory lecture that the reason we are doing this is not just to have a view of what is true and what is false, and throw out everything which is false and keep everything which is true, because everything I’m going to be talking about is false. But it will be extremely important for us to understand why it is false and how it went away from the truth. If we understand that, we have some idea of what goes on in the world today, and what is the intellectual structure against which we must fight.

Although, while saying that everything I’m going to talk about is false, I mean it’s false from the strictly Orthodox point of view. There, the whole, of course, is relative compared with what happens in the world today. All of these movements we talk about—Thomas Aquinas to Medieval art, to European Renaissance art and so forth—they all are very much more valuable than anything that has been happening in the world today. Nonetheless, there is a whole underlying world-view which produced these things, and we can see how it was departing from Orthodoxy.

The history of the West from the Schism of Rome is a logical and coherent whole, and the views which govern mankind today are a direct result of the views held in the thirteenth century. And now that the Western philosophy dominates the entire world, there is no other philosophy except the Orthodox Christian philosophy which has any strength to it, because all civilizations have been overwhelmed by the West, this means that what happened in the West in these last nine hundred years is the key to understanding what is happening in the whole world today.

The very term “Middle Ages” is an interesting one because it exists only in the West. All other civilizations, whether Christian, such as Byzantium or Russian, or non-Christian, such as the Chinese or Indian, can be divided into two periods, that is, the ancient period when these civilizations were governed by their own native philosophy, world-view, tradition, and the modern period when they became overwhelmed by the West. And there’s no noticeable shading from one to the other. It’s merely a matter of one being overwhelmed by the other.

But in the West, something special happened in the period called the Middle Ages, which is the transition between antiquity, that is, Christian antiquity, and the modern age. And the study of what happened when these changes were occurring, especially around the twelfth to thirteenth centuries, gives the key to what is happening in the present time. And we will try to see now how the modern world-view developed out of Orthodoxy, out of Christianity.

The root of the whole of modern history lies, as we have said, in the Schism of the Church of Rome, about which Ivan Kireyevsky speaks very nicely because, having himself been a son of the West and gone to Germany to study with the most advanced philosophers, Hegel and Schelling, he was thoroughly penetrated with the Western spirit, and then became thoroughly converted to Orthodoxy, and therefore saw that these two things cannot be put together. And he wanted to find out why they are different and what is the answer in one’s soul, what one has to choose.1

So he says, first of all, that of course Rome was once a part of the universal Church of Christ, and throughout the early centuries there’s no doubt the Roman Patriarchate is a perfectly legitimate Orthodox patriarchate, and even has a primacy of honor which is the same as the Patriarch of Constantinople had until recent times, and would have today if he were still Orthodox, which does not mean that he is some kind of Pope, but only that he is the chief among equals; that is, he presides over meetings of bishops and so forth.

But, as Kireyevsky says, now I quote: “Each patriarchate, each tribe, each country in the Christian world has not ceased to preserve its own characteristic features while at the same time participating in the common unity of the whole Church. Each people, as a result of local, tribal or historical circumstances, has developed in itself some one aspect of mental activity, so that it is quite natural that in its spiritual life and in the writings of its theologians it should hold to this same special characteristic, however enlightened by a higher consciousness.” that is, the world-view of Orthodoxy. “Thus the theological writers of the Syrian lands turn their attention chiefly it seems to the inward contemplative life detached from this world. The Roman theologians, on the other hand, were especially occupied with aspects of practical activity and the logical connection of concepts. But the spiritual writers of enlightened Byzantium, more than the others, were interested in the relationship of Christianity to the separate sciences which flourished around it, and at first made war against it, but then submitted to it.”2

And now he speaks in particular of the West: “It seems that the distinguishing feature of the Roman mind is precisely a conviction that outward rationalism outweighs the inward essence of things. Among all the features of the Roman man and all of the windings of his activities of intellect and soul, we see a single common feature, that the outward order of his logical concepts was for him more real than reality itself, and that the inward balance of his existence was known by him only in the balance of his rational conceptions or outward formal activity.”

Then he speaks in particular of Blessed Augustine: “No single ancient or modern Father of the Church showed such love for the logical chain of truths as Blessed Augustine... Certain of his works are, as it were, a single iron chain of syllogisms, inseparably joined link to link. Perhaps because of this he is sometimes carried too far away, not noticing the inward one- sidedness of this thinking because of its outward order; so much so that, in the last years of his life, he himself had to write refutations of some of his earlier statements.”

And we know, of course, that Augustine did go off on the question of free will because he himself felt so strongly the action of grace in his conversion that he did not fully appreciate the Orthodox Fathers’ patristic teaching on free will which John Cassian in the West did appreciate and taught.

Again Kireyevsky says: “Since the Roman mind’s special attachment to the outward chain of concepts was not without danger to the Roman theologians, even when the Roman Church was still a living part of the Ecumenical Church, when the common consciousness of the whole Orthodox world restrained each special characteristic in a lawful balance, it is understandable that after Rome separated from the Orthodox Church, this particular trait became decisive and dominant in the quality of the teachings of Roman theologians. It may even be that this attachment to rationality, this excessive inclination towards the outward thinking of concepts, was one of the chief reasons for the very falling away of Rome. In any case, the pretext for the falling away is not subject to doubt. The Latin Church added a dogma to the original symbol of faith, the Creed: an addition which was contrary to ancient tradition in the common consciousness of the Church and was justified solely by the logical deductions of Western theologians.”

And again he says, “It is quite clear to us why Western theologians with all of their logical scrupulousness could not see the unity of the Church in any other way but through the outward unity of the episcopate.” End of the quote from him.

Now again, he talks about another point: “And this also explains why they could assign an essential worthiness to the outward works of a man; why, when a soul was inwardly prepared but had an insufficiency of outward works, they could conceive of no other means of his salvation than a definite period of purgatory; why, finally, they could assign to certain men even an excess of worthy outward deeds and give this worthiness to those who had insufficient outward deeds.” This means the whole Latin system of indulgences and the supererogatory works of the saints of which there is a whole treasury of good deeds, which are added up like in a bank, and when they have too many for their salvation, they spill them out and the Pope distributes to other people, in a very legalistic way.

“When Rome separated from the Ecumenical Church, the Christianity of the West received into itself the embryo of that principle which was the common feature of the whole of Greco- pagan development: the principle of rationalism. The Roman Church separated from the Eastern Church by changing certain dogmas which had existed in the tradition of all of Christianity, for other dogmas which were the result of mere logical deductions.”

The result is the Middle Ages, that is, Scholasticism. And about this Kireyevsky says, “Such an endless wearying play of conceptions for the duration of seven hundred years. This useless kaleidoscope of abstract categories which ceaselessly whirled before the mental gaze inevitably had to produce a general blindness towards those living convictions which lie above the sphere of reason and logic. For a man ascends to convictions not by the path of syllogisms; but, on the contrary, when he strives to found his convictions upon syllogistic deductions, he only distorts their truth if he does not annihilate them altogether. And thus, the Western Church, even in the ninth century sowed within itself the inevitable seed of the Reformation which placed this same Church before the judgment of this same logical reason which the Roman Church had itself exalted. Even a thinking man could already see Luther behind Pope Nicholas I,” the Pope who was excommunicating St. Photius, and pretending to be the head of the Church in the later sense of the Popes. “Just as in the words of Roman Catholics, a thinking man of the sixteenth century could foresee behind Luther the Protestant rationalists of the nineteenth century.”

“The Roman Church fell away from the truth only because it wished to introduce into the faith new dogmas unknown to Church tradition and begotten by the accidental conclusions of Western logic. From this there developed Scholastic philosophy within the framework of faith, then a reformation in the faith, and finally philosophyoutsidethe faith. The first rationalists were the Scholastics; one might say the ninth and the last rationalists are the Hegelians of his day, one might say that nineteenth century Europe finished the cycle of its development which had begun in the ninth.”

That gives a very precise view which is a very plausible explanation of the mechanism by which Rome left the Church and developed the whole of the modern world-view which is so anti- Orthodox.

It’s very difficult to go deeper than that, to find any sort of deeper reasons because those things are hidden to us. The devil is constantly working. It may well be that the devil was trying time after time and when he found the Egyptians ready to go into the Monophysite Schism, perhaps he had plans to make them into the instrument he would use to form the apostasy, or maybe the Armenian mentality, and so forth; but it happened that it was the Roman mentality which worked, because once having taken it away from Orthodoxy, free to develop according to its own principles, it became a source of a whole new philosophy which had a power to overwhelm the world, which it did finally in our time.

So with the Schism which became final about, we say, with 1054, the excommunications of Rome and Constantinople, Roman logicalness is placed above the unity of the Church, above the consciousness of the Church, so that the Holy Spirit no longer guides it, as in the Orthodox Church, but now there is an outward authority, the Pope. And the Western historians themselves make it quite clear that at this time somethingnewentered into the Church, into the West. Before this there were temporary estrangements between East and West, [which] we see the time of St. Photius and Pope Nicholas I; there were even excommunications, but then a restoration of communion. Charlemagne himself, in making a rival empire in the West, also was the cause of friction; but it wasn’t until this eleventh century that the estrangement became now a separation.

And at that same time, there entered into the West this new principle which is described in the book by a Dominican ecumenist, Yves Congar,After Nine Hundred Years,talking about the possibilities of uniting with the East. He mentions precisely this as one of the things which will have to be overcome before there can be union. He says: “A Christian of the Fourth or Fifth Century would have felt less bewildered by the forms of piety current in the Eleventh Century than would his counterpart of the Eleventh Century in the forms of the Twelfth,” that is, in the West.3There was such a change already in this one century, the eleventh century, the century of the Schism and the twelfth, the height of the Middle Ages. “The great break occurred in the transition period from the one to the other century. This change took place only in the West, whereas sometime between the end of the Eleventh and the end of the Twelfth Century, everything was somehow transformed. This profound alteration of view did not take place in the East where, in some respects, Christian matters are still today what they were then—and what they were in the West before the end of the Eleventh Century.”

And here he thinks we have come to the very core of our subject. “In the period between the end of the Eleventh Century and the end of the Twelfth, a decisive turning point was reached in the West. It was a time characterized by several transitions. There was first, the transition from a predominantly essential and exemplarist outlook to a naturalistic one, an interest in existence. This is a transition from a universe of exemplary causality, in which the expressions of thought or of act receive their truth from the transcendent model which material things imitate, to a universe of efficient causality in which the mind seeks for the truth in things and in their empirical formulations. Secondly, there was the transition ‘from symbol to dialectic,’ or, as one might say with a greater precision, from a synthetic perception to an inclination for analysis and ‘questions.’ Here we have the beginning of Scholasticism... The difference between the two worlds is the difference between the attitude of synthetic perception in quest of the relation of the parts to the whole, and an analytical attitude,” that is, which takes things apart and analyses them. “Basically,” he says, “was it not against this analytical attitude of Catholics that the Slavophile religious philosophy aimed its criticism of Catholicism in the Nineteenth Century?” And here he means precisely Khomiakov and Kireyevsky.4

Another transition was that from a culture where tradition reigned and the habit of synthesis became ingrained, to an academic milieu where continual questioning and research was the norm, and analysis the normal result of study. The East followed the road of tradition, and we have shown how one of the principle differences among the various peoples of the Orthodox faith is in fact that they are not trained, as are the Latins, by the schools. The Latin theologians, inured to Scholasticism, have often been baffled at seeing the Greeks refuse to yield to their compelling arguments from reason, but instead taking refuge in the realm of Patristic texts and conciliar canons...” which was the way all Christians reasoned before the Schism. “But this remained foreign to the East which knew no Scholasticism of its own and was to experience neither the Reformation or the 16th-18th-century rationalism. In other words, the East remained foreign to the three influences that shaped modern Catholicism.” And that’s scholasticism, reformation and rationalism.

In the first half of the Thirteenth Century, a new kind of theological teaching and study appeared and established itself in the West. Until this time, the dominant type of teaching or study had been of a contemplative or monastic nature, linked with the liturgical life of the abbeys or cathedrals. Now, there was added a new type of teaching and study, of an academic and rational nature which was soon to take the place of the former... In the East, on the other hand, the teaching and studying of theology, and even of philosophy, kept its religious status.”

Now we will now try to examine now some examples of what he means. He speaks about a new spirit: a new spirit of interest in the world, of wanting to analyze, a whole new technique of study, dependence upon human reason, which the East never had. So we will examine now first of all the question of Scholasticism.


And poor Thomas Aquinas has been so much beaten by us Orthodox that we should really read him to see what he has to say in particular, because just reading a little bit of him reveals quite clearly the underlying world-view he has, what kind of questions he asks, how he answers them, and the way he reasons. He, of course, has a tremendous big book, of which I think the whole thing now is in English, in twenty volumes or something: theSumma Theologica, in which everything is supposed to be put: about God, about man, about the devil, the world, the end of the world, the beginning of the world, everything about which man has to know. And he has it all divided up into different questions, in categories.

And here is an example of how he reasons. For example, he asks the question: “Whether the devil is directly the cause of man’s sinning?”9We know that the devil acts on us and a man goes into sin, and he’s asking all kinds of questions about how this happens. And therefore he asks the specific question whether the devil is directly the cause of man’s sinning. Of course, an Orthodox writer would say, of course, we have to fight; the devil tries to tempt us, but we can’t be tempted against our power. We have many texts which can show that: Holy Fathers, the Scriptures and so forth. We know we are going to have now a systematic approach to this question.

First of all, in the Scholastic method you have to have objections, just like in canonizing saints, you have to have a devil’s advocate, who gets all the dirty, the news he can get about the saint, makes up things and tries to overwhelm the evidence. And that way supposedly by having both the positive and negative, you’ll be objective and come finally to the truth.

So we have “Objection One. It would seem that the devil is directly the cause of man’s sinning.” We have this objection because that’s exactly the opposite of the answer he wants to give. “For sin consists directly in an act of the appetite, but Augustine says that the devil inspires his friends with evil desires; and Bede, commenting on that, says that the devil draws the mind to evil desires. And Isidore says that the devil fills men’s hearts with secret lusts. Therefore, the devil is directly the cause of sin.”

Of course, this evidence can get thrown out because he’s quoting these people who said it didn’teven intend to mean what this objector wants to say. So already you see that you have to twist yourself and make a one-sided reasoning. And he allows it; he puts that in there as an argument, in order to refute it.

Then we have another objection: “Objection Two: Further Jerome says that as God is the Perfecter of good, so is the devil the perfecter of evil. But God is directly the cause of our good; therefore the devil is directly the cause of our sins.” It’s very logical: you have God on one hand; but, of course, we do good of our own besides having the help of God. So this is ridiculous.

But we’ll go on to a third objection: “Further, the philosopher says,” philosopher is the great authority, Aristotle, “in a chapter ofThe Ethics: ‘There must needs be some extrinsic principle of human counsel.’ Now human counsel is not only about good things, but also about evil things. Therefore, as God moves man to take good counsel and so directly is the cause of good, so the devil moves him to take evil counsel and consequently is directly the cause of sin.”

And now he is going to sweep everything aside and show what the truth is. So he says, “On the contrary, Augustine proves that nothing else than his own will makes man’s mind a slave of his desire. Now man does not become a slave to his desire except through sin; therefore, the cause of sin cannot be the devil, but man’s own will alone.”

And then he gives his answer: “I answer that sin is an action and so a thing can be directly the cause of sin in the same way that anyone is directly the cause of an action, and this can happen only by moving that action’s proper principle to act. Now the proper principle of a sinful action is the will, since every sin is voluntary. Consequently, nothing can be directly the cause of sin except that which can move the will to act.”

All this is not, there’s no sort of Holy Father; this is his logical proving to you on ABC, syllogistic reasoning. “Now the will, as we have stated above, can be moved by two things: first, by its object in as much as the apprehended appetible is said to move the appetite; second, by that agent which moves the will inwardly to will, and this is not other than either the will itself or God, as we’ve shown above. Now God cannot be the cause of sin as was stated above. Therefore, it follows that in this respect, a man’s will alone is directly the cause of his sin,” and so forth.

He goes on and then answers objections, all showing that he’s tried to split apart this question which is a very simple one about how sin acts in us. And the Holy Fathers will give you not, they won’t chop it up like that; they will tell you in general the question of how a man sins, and you will not have to divide it up like that because it’s a whole question; it’s avery existential question. We have to know about how sin acts, and whether, how the devil works on us. But when you chop it up, then you sit back very content that you’vw reasoned things through: and it’s quite different from the Orthodox Patristic approach. You’ve already asked questions which begin to split hairs quite a bit.

For example, there’s a question: “Whether if Eve, and not Adam, had sinned, their children would have contracted original sin?”6You know, if Eve had sinned and then Adam had not followed her, would we have fallen? Would we have original sin? Would man be immortal? It’s very sort of, well, an abstract question which who would ever think about? And we have the objection: “It would seem that if Eve and not Adam had sinned, then children would have contracted original sin anyway. For we contract original sin from our parents, in so far as we were once in them according to the word of the Apostle when he says, ‘in whom all have sinned.’Now a man pre-exists in his mother as well as in his father, therefore a man would have contracted original sin from his mother’s sin as well as from his father’s.”

Again, second objection, “If Eve and not Adam had sinned, their children would have been born liable to suffering and death, since it is the mother that provides the matter in generation as the Philosopher states,” Aristotle. “And death and liability to suffering are the necessary results of matter. Now liability to suffering and the necessity of dying are punishments of original sin. Therefore, if Eve and not Adam had sinned, their children would contract original sin.

“Objection Three: Further, Damascene,” St. John Damascene, “says that the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin, of whom Christ was to be born without original sin, purifying her. But this purification would not have been necessary if the infection of original sin were not contracted from the mother. Therefore, the infection of original sin was contracted from the mother, so that if Eve had sinned, her children would have contracted original sin even if Adam had not sinned.”

Thomas Aquinas is going to teach the contrary, so he says, “On the contrary, the Apostle says, ‘By one man sin entered into this world.’ Now if woman would have transmitted original sin to her children, he would have said that it entered by two, since both of them sinned, or rather that it entered by a woman, since she sinned first. Therefore, original sin is transmitted to the children not by the mother, but by the father. I answer that the solution of this question is made clear by what has been said, for it has been stated that original sin is transmitted by the first parent insofar as he is the mover in the begetting of his children, and so it has been said that if anyone were begotten only materially of human flesh, they would not contract original sin. Now, it is evident that in the opinion of philosophers, the active principle of generation is from the father, while the mother provides the matter. Therefore, original sin is contracted not from the mother but from the father, so that if Eve and not Adam had sinned, their children would not contract original sin. Whereas, if Adam and not Eve had sinned, theywouldcontract it.”

And then he answers the objections in a question which is obviously beyond our say, because God made it that way, that’s the way it is; it is not for us to speculate on these questions which are not for our salvation, which only show that you have time to sit in your university chairs and discuss idle questions. It’s a totally useless question, and he solves it and thinks he has the answer. In the way he reasons you can see that obviously this is very, very different from the spirit of Holy Fathers who do not go from one logical chain of reasoning. It’s all logic, and he comes sometimes to ridiculous conclusions simply by following logic.

So we can see that here – and he’s the pinnacle of Scholasticism—this is a systematization of Christian teaching, and actually subordinates Christian teaching to logic. But logic itself, of course, depends on the starting point. And they thought they were starting with basic Christian revelation. We’ll see soon that there are all kinds of other things entering in, which affect reason. In this Scholastic system logicalness becomes the first test of truth, and the living source of faith is placed in a secondary place. And that’s why later people hated it so much because they felt it to be a completely dead framework in which there’s no life left, idly discussing questions which no one is concerned about, and when you do discuss true questions, you flatten them out and deaden them. And a Western man, under this influence, begins to lose his living relation to the Truth. And thus Christianity is reduced to a system, to the human level. And this is one of the chief roots of the later errors in the West, which can actually be summed up as the attempt to make by human efforts something better than Christianity.

Dostoyevsky has a little story about this in the legend of the Grand Inquisitor,Brothers Karamazov, in which he very acutely describes what the Popes did, that is, the whole Western Church making something better than Orthodoxy, by their own powers.

You can see this, for example, in the celebrated “Proof of the Existence of God” in Anselm, who invented the new proof of the existence of God, which, as you can see, is extremely clever anddoesn’tprove a thing.7He says, “What is God? God must be that than which nothing greater can be conceived. And even an atheist will say, “Well, if there is a God, yes, He must be that greater than which nothing exists or can be conceived, because there’s nothing greater than God, according to those who believe in Him.” So, aha! you take the first point.

Secondly, existence is certainly a positive characteristic and something which must be possessed by something which is greater than anything else that can be conceived, isn’t it? And you think, well, of course, if a thing is really greater than anything else, it must have existence because that is a positive thing, and something which is non-existent will not be greater than something which is existent. Then he says, therefore , since that than which nothing greater can be conceived must have as one of these characteristics which make it greater than anything which can be conceived, existence. Therefore, it must exist. So God exists.

And as you see, you are being fooled by this man. If you already believe, you can say, aha! that’s very nice. You can prove it by the laws of the mind. But if you don’t believe in it, you feel you’ve been fooled by this so-called proof because you’re not willing to concede in the first place that this thing is anything more than an imagination; and we see in this already the seeds of the later subjectivism in the West.

This is really the very same thing that Descartes tried to do when he tried to prove his own existence by saying, “I think, therefore I am”; and is also something which later on Metoxis Makrakis was to do when he said that he was the first man in the history of Orthodoxy to prove the existence of the Trinity, as though before this time all the Fathers had been wasting their time, and he was the first one to have enough intelligence and understanding of philosophy to prove what the Holy Fathers couldn’tprove.

Makrakis has exactly that same mentality of, “By my own efforts, I will give you simple people who believed in sort of whatever you were told, I will give you the real explanation of things.” And this is exactly what people like Anselm are trying to do. This is again the spirit of trying to improve on Christianity, trying to acceptnotas Holy Fathers accepted in simple faith, but proving by means of – actually he’s nder the influence of all these new currents coming in, and especially of course Aristotle who was very influential in those times, because he seemed to have sort of the universal philosophy—except Christianity; his view of nature was considered to be absolutely the truth.

So, this is the first point: Scholasticism, human reason, becomes the measure instead of Tradition, and that is exactly where Rome went off. But this is only part of the whole picture of what happened in the Middle Ages.


Something else happened. And that is that Orthodox tradition is not only rationalized, it also becomes mixed with romance. The element of pagan legends entering into Orthodox Lives of Saints in this time made it so that there are some Lives of Saints which we have in our Orthodox sources, if you read the same Life of a Saint in a medieval Latin source, you will be completely astonished. We’ll take one example, the life of St. Christopher, which is known—not too much is known actually about him, but his Life is known: he was a soldier and he was martyred, put to tortures. And there are a number of miracles in the Life; he has a staff that sprouts: this was in the tradition of Orthodox Lives of Saints.

But there is a book written in the thirteenth century, the very thing which exists in English,The Golden Legend, which is a synthesis or a compilation of lives of saints, like we have daily readings of Dimitry of Rostov, Lives of Saints which is the same thing. Every day there is Life of a Saint.The Golden Legendmake something into being fairy tales or something, not just accounts of something. In the thirteenth century, the height of Middle Ages, before the Renaissance or anything, (when Joachim was doing all the changing?) and here he gives the life of St. Christopher, which is such a one that you won’t know what he’s talking about.

So it seems that according to this “life”, St. Christopher was some kind of barbarian who decided he wanted to go in search of the most powerful king in the world in order to serve him. And he finds some kind of powerful king, who’s big, as always happens, and he serves him and is very happy because he can then be manful and valiant and fight for him. And then there comes a minstrel to this court, you’ve probably seen these people going around, troubadours and so forth, and a minstrel comes to his court and begins to sing. And he sings about the devil, he mentions the devil, and every time he mentions the devil, the king makes the sign of the Cross; he seems to be some Christian. And St. Christopher is astonished. “Why did you make the sign of the Cross.” And he asked him, “Why did you make the sign of the Cross whenever he mentioned the devil?”

“Because I’m a Christian, I’m afraid of the devil.”

“Afraid of the devil! That means the devil must be a more powerful king than you are: I’m going to go and serve the devil.” So he goes off in search of the devil to serve the devil because he's a more powerful king. And he finally finds somebody on the road who says, “Who are you?”

“I’m the devil.”

“Good I want to serve you. You’re the most powerful king in the world.” So he undertakes the service of the devil, and he goes with him on his adventures to various places. And they come to a cross, and the devil all of a sudden falls back, hesitates and runs away. And Christopher says, “Why did you run away? I thought you were the most powerful king in the world.”

“No, I cannot stand the Cross.” “Why not?”

“I won’t tell you.”

He said, “No, if you don’t tell me I’ll go and search for some other powerful king, because you’re not so powerful.” And he explained that there was someone who died on the Cross, Whom he’s afraid of, and his name is Christ.

So he says, “Aha, that means there’s a more powerful king yet I will go and serve Christ.” And so he goes off in search of Christ. He comes to some kind of holy man, a monk or something. And he says, “Where can I find Christ?” he says. Well, he tells him about Christ. He says, “Oh, I want to serve him. How do I serve him?”

“Well, start fasting.”

He says, “Oh, I can’t fast.”

“Can’t fast? Well, then, start praying.” “Oh, I can’t pray.

“Well, you can’t pray. Well, in that case, go to a certain river and build a hut and sit in the river and wait for people to come and take them across the river, and that way you will serve Christ.” So he goes to the river, and builds his place and sits in there, and one night, stormy night he hears a small voice, “Christoper, Christopher!” Three times he goes out and sees no one, and the third time he goes out and sees a small child, very small child standing on the shore and saying, “Christopher, take me across the river.” So he puts him on his shoulders, goes across the river, and meanwhile the river rises up higher and higher and higher, and the child becomes heavier and heaver and heavier. He finally tells the child, “I feel as though I am carrying the whole world on my shoulders.”

And he says, “You’re carrying not only the whole world, you’re carrying the Creator of the world.” And so then he goes off and is martyred and so forth.

And you can see obviously this is absolute fairy tale introduced into a life of a saint, for whatever reasons we don’t know, maybe there’s pagan influences, the result of very good imagination. Well, anyway, this element of romance enters into even such a thing as the Life of a Saint, becomes a total made-up fairy tale. And that’s why you see Catholic and even some Orthodox people paint icons of St. Christopher with the Christ Child on his shoulder, because the word “Christophoros” means “Christbearer,” therefore they make a literal kind of interpretation and make up a story to suit it.

And many other cases we see that in the Roman Catholic sources even from the height of the Middle Ages in the thirteenth century, there are very many of these romantic elements enter in.

We cannot trust those sources. And this was the reason that later scholars came to distrust the sources. Also, there, of course, are such things as the legends of the Grail, which come up from Celtic legends, pagan legends,The Golden Legend...

New Concept of Sanctity

So we’ve seen in the Middle Ages the rationalism, logicalness, replacing faith or taking over and shaping now faith, becoming the criteria, romantic elements entering in. And now we come to a very important one which is maybe even more important than Scholasticism, because in the end this will do more to bring about Antichrist than Scholasticism. This is the concept of sanctity which becomes now different from the Orthodox concept of sanctity. And the best example of this is the life of Francis of Assisi.

The fact that this man became so popular, in fact, tremendously popular wherever he went, people went around, acted like Christ Himself coming to them; and they sang and accompanied him. He aroused great enthusiasm, which shows that he was very much in the spirit of his times.8But if we look at his life, we see that it is so strange from the Orthodox point of view; and we can say that it’s not at all an Orthodox Life of a Saint.

For one thing, he founded a new manner of life. He invented the rule of poverty because in church one day the Gospel was being preached about poverty, about the Apostles not taking anything with them when they preached, although later on, of course, the Apostles did take with them money and so forth. The first time they went out they went by two’s to the cities preaching to the Jews and took nothing with them. And he heard this in church and became inspired to invent a new rule, a new way of life, a rule of poverty based on the Gospel, as though there was no monastic tradition before him, which there was. And there were many great Saints at this time.

Of course, he could look around, perhaps the monasteries were corrupt and so forth, and he wanted something different. But there’s something already suspicious to think he’s going to do somethingnew, a whole new rule of life, based not on Holy Fathers. And if he didn’t like the recent Latin Fathers, he could have gone back to St. John Cassian, the Egyptian Fathers and so forth, but he didn’t. He went instead to the Gospel, like the Protestants. He went and invented himself a rule of poverty. Nothing special, of course—monks are poor—but he made something special out of it, just as later we’ll see that the Catholics are making something special about the Mother of God as though she’s some kind of unearthly being and so forth.

And he gave it and himself and his followers new names. They were not now to be called just monks, they were the “Penitents of Assisi,” or the ‘Lord’s Minstrels,’ they called themselves, going about singing. So already we see that they think they’re not like previous monks and ascetics, but somethingnew, a new spirit which is very much in accord with the spirit of the times.

There was a time, on Christmas in the year 1223, he decided to celebrate the Nativity in a new manner. And so he reproduced in the church were he was in Italy the stable of Bethlehem. And thus began the so-called devotion to the crib in the Latin Church and around this he had some kind of a play which is beginning of the mystery plays in Italy—and helping thus the rise of the drama. And the drama of course is something which, although it arose from this very same thing, we’re not going to talk about that. The mystery play, which comes from the Liturgy actually, was centered around the Mass and religious themes, and are an adaptation to the new spirit of the times to make religion more interesting, more in accordance with everyday life, more close to the believers, as though Orthodoxy is not enough.

Another aspect of his so-called “sanctity.” One historian of him says, “His very asceticism was often clothed in the guise of romance.”9So he woos the Lady Poverty, thinks about her as though she’s a real person, and keeps wooing her, as the bridegroom, and of course about Sister Death and all of these personifications.

And a very typical example of something new which is not at all Orthodox is what happened once when he was sick. He ate meat. And an Orthodox person who isn’t a monk maybe might eat meat during sickness or something. If he did he would feel repentant about it, ask God’s forgiveness, and feel that “I’m no good anyway,” and ask that if He would, God forgive him. But not Francis of Assisi. Instead, he went out to preach to the people. There was a large crowd, thousands of people as usual, and he said, “Stop. Everyone stay here until I come back.” And he went to the church nearby, and he forced two of his disciples to do whatever he told them out of obedience. One of them poured over his head ashes, a bucket full of ashes; the second put a rope around his neck and led him out before the people who were all waiting to see what’sg oing to happen. And here comes Francis of Assisi led by a rope with ashes on his black head, and he looks at them and says, “You consider me a saint, but I ate meat when I was sick.”10

By this, he’s making a public display that “I am really supposed to be very holy, and if I made a mistake I got to make up for it so they’ll still think I’m holy.” So we see that he’s already playing theroleof a holy man who must appear before the people as pure, whereas a genuine holy man would repent, and it’s all the better if people think he’s bad or evil.11

Fr. H: Well, here’s a good example: the general fools for Christ’s sake, they do exactly the opposite. They act crazy in order to be put down...

Fr. S: And of course, the people who are already having new ideas about sanctity say, “Oh, how humble this man is!”And actually there is fake humility; this is not humility. And in fact the key to his sanctity is pride. He is conscious of himself as being a holy man. He said, “I do not see in myself any sin which I have not expiated by confession and repentance. For the Lord in His mercy has presented me the gift of clearly recognizing at prayer that in which I have been pleasing to Him and that in which I have not been pleasing,” that is, spiritual self-satisfaction.12“I’m holy; I’ve sinned but I’ve made up for them by a certain number of penances, and making myself, dragging myself before the people, and now I know that I am pure.”

And we can contrast this with any number of Lives of Orthodox Saints, for example, St. Sisoes, who was preparing to die and then lived for a short time longer because, when his disciples asked him, “Why are you coming back?” He said, “An angel told me I was not ready; I must repent even more.” He’s supposed to have lived a holy life, and he said, “I have tried all my life to please God, and now at the end I do not know whether I have pleased Him or not.” And Francis knows that he pleased God. This is the spirit already of the Pharisee.

At his death-bed Francis says, “Behold, God calls me, and I forgive all my brothers both present and absent their offenses and errors, and I remit their sins in so far as this is in my power.” He was not a priest, so even in that indirect sense, he had no power; that is, he had some kind of recognizing in himself the power of sanctity by which he can remit the sins of people, which is totally un-Orthodox. And his last words were, “I have done what I had to do. I return to God. May He have mercy on you.” That is, “I’m perfect; I’ve done it, I’m finished, I’m perfectly justified.”

Prelest:(from Russian:прелесть) A spiritual delusion, spiritual deception, delusion, illusion, is a Orthodox Christian term referring to, according to Holy Fathers of Orthodox Church, a false spiritual state, a spiritual illness, "a wounding of human nature by falsehood" (St. Ignatius Brianchaninov).

Again, typical of this kind of sanctity is an incident in his life when Christ supposedly appeared to him at prayer and offered him whatever favor he might desire. Already this is romance and all fairy tales—three wishes and so forth. But this kind of familiarity of a saint with God is typical ofprelest, spiritual deception. And Francis asked, since he was very much burdened with his love for men, that a plenary indulgence be granted to all who confess and visit his chapel, at the center of his Order.13And Christ agreed, but said the Pope must ratify it. The Pope did this. And from that day to this on August Second you can get a plenary indulgence by going to his chapel, receiving confession, which means that you will not have to suffer the temporary or temporal consequences for your sins. A whole new system of indulgences of course is exact already in this thirteenth century; it’s already there.

Fr. H: In Metropolia magazine for children, they have a life of St. Francis, Metropolia magazine for children, calledYoung Life. And Orthodox children receiving this together with St. Seraphim and something else. Can we unite with them?

Fr. S: But there’s one thing more, which is the most striking characteristic of this so-called “sanctiry”; in fact, the most striking characteristic of his deception, that is, he imitated Christ in an outward manner. When he had his first, I believe, seven disciples or perhaps twelve—probably twelve and starts with seven. He took them together, and he sent them by two-and-two to go preach the Gospel: one, two, he went himself to France, supposedly to France, two to someplace else, England, Italy, and so forth. And he used the very words of the Gospel: I am sending you by two-and-two to go and preach the forgiveness of sins. First of all he sent them toChristiancountries and only later he sent to non-Christian countries, as if he is teaching a new Gospel, as if this had not already been done, as if he is a new Christ, sending out his own people who are preachinghisgospel; because these countries already have their bishops or their priests, the whole system, and he’s sending them into these same countries which already have their Christian government to preach his gospel. Indeed they go and they found the Franciscan Order.

Again, just before he died, he had bread brought to him. He blessed the bread, he had it broken, and it was given to his disciples, and the life of St. Francis says he remembered the sacred meal which the Lord celebrated with His disciples for the last time; consciously giving them a “last supper.”

Again, there is a very interesting thing which happened to him when he received the stigmata, which is the marks of the wounds of Christ, five marks in the hands, in the side, the feet. Before receiving this, which in the Catholic Church is accepted as a real sign of a saint, he prayed that he might suffer what Christ suffered in soul and body and, quote, “that I might as much as possible feel with all my being that limitless love with which Thou didst burn, O Son of God, and which caused Thee to endure so many torments for us sinners.”

This is a brazenness which is unheard of in true Saints: that they want to have God’s love itself, and they want to suffer what He suffered feeling the flesh. This is not spiritual striving. This is a search for bodily sensations and the great pride he felt at wishing to feel the very feelings of God. And you can contrast this with any—Christdoesappear to saints. He appeared to St. Seraphim as he was serving as a deacon in church, and St. Seraphim did not pray, “manifest yourself to me,” or “make me feel what You felt.” He was praying in church; Christ appeared to him. And he did not even want to speak about it.

And then when he [Francis] received the stigmata there was a vision of a seraphim with Christ crucified superimposed on it, which came to him and which we’ll show you in one of their icons of this, shoots out rays, sun rays and gives him the stigmata. And at this time, according to his Life, Francis felt himself totally transformed into Jesus, which is blasphemy. That is the root of the whole of Catholic spirituality: this sweetness that Jesus is approaching, “I am all one with Him and He’s with me”—all this isprelest.

And later, sure enough, his disciples call him the “new Christ.” In one life, it even says, which Ignatius Brianchaninov likes to quote, that when Francis died and was lifted to heaven, God beholding him did not know who was greater, Francis or His own Son.14

This kind of sanctity, spirituality is already much worse than the rationalism of Scholasticism, because this means that—you can have rationalists teaching in your seminaries and still be a holy person, still cling to the source of the spirituality—but when the standard of spirituality itself becomes this deceived, presumptuous thing full of pride, then the root is complete closed off. And so it is, obviously, that this kind of spirituality—and this is already 1200, the end of the eleventh, into the twelfth, even the thirteenth century, a hundred years after the Schism, 150 years later—the concept of spirituality is so different from the East, [that there is] no more contact possible. This is what we call a deceived person. This would be a classical example of a person who is living inprelest.

Well, it’s obvious that this was simply bound up with his, he had a very apparently strong power of imagination. And this we don’t even know the laws of all these kinds of things, but it’s on the side of the corrupt properties. It’s maybe not black magic itself, but it’s very bound up with all that darker realm of the psychic, in which tombs can appear and all kinds of things.

But there’s worse to come. The followers of Francis are very interesting because in them there comes out the logical conclusions of this new kind of spirituality, this new kind of sanctity. They see that there’s some kind of new, even calls him a “new Christ,” some kind of a new spirit enters into the world, new spirituality. And so, it is to one of his disciples, Joachim of Flores,15that there appears this, actually for the first time, the concept of the Coming of the “Third Age of the Holy Spirit” which is the foundation of all modern philosophies of progress, chiliasm and the New Age. He himself obtained this revelation about this—it was not by thinking it through—it was in a vision. This very interesting book onMeaning in Historygives a philosophy of history, of various people from the Middle Ages to modern times. And he says the following about this:

“It was a decisive moment in the history of the Christian church when an Italian abbot, a renowned prophet and saint and man trained in the most austere discipline of the Cisterican Order, after arduous study and meditations in the wilderness of his Calabrian mountains received an inspiration at Pentecost (between 1190 and 1195).” Actually he wasn’t a true disciple of Francis; he was at the same time “revealing to him the signs of the times in the light of St. John’s Revelation.” He says, “When I awoke at dawn, I took to the Revelation of St. John. There, suddenly, the eyes of my spirit were struck with the lucidity of insight, and it was revealed to me the fulfillment of this book and the concordance of the Old and New Testaments.” And he therefore has a whole new interpretation of what is the meaning of the Old and New Testaments.

“The general scheme of Joachim’s discriminating interpretation is based on the Trinitarian doctrine. Three different dispensations come to pass in three different epochs in which the three persons of the Trinity are successively manifested. The first is the dispensation of the Father, the second that of the Son, the third that of the Holy Spirit. [The latter is just beginning now, i.e., toward the end of the twelfth century] and is progressing toward complete ‘freedom’ of the ‘spirit.’ The Jews were slaves under the law of the Father. “The Christians of the second epoch were, though incompletely, spiritual and free, namely, in comparison with the moral legality of the first dispensation. In the third epoch, St. Paul’s prophetic words will come true, that we know and prophesy now only in part, ‘but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.’ (I Cor. 13:9-10)”

And he says, Joachim, “‘Already he can apprehend the unveiling of the final liberation of the spirit in its plentitude.’The first epoch was inaugurated by Adam in fear and under the sign of the law; since Abraham, it has borne fruit to become fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The second [was inaugurated by Uzziah in faith and humility under the sign of the gospel;] since Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, it had borne fruit to become fulfilled in future times. The third was inaugurated by St. Benedict”—because he was very monastically oriented—“in love and joy under the sign of the Spirit; it will come to pass with the reappearance of Elijah at the end of the world...” The ages overlap.

Joachim of Floris

Three Ages: the foundation of all modern philosophies of progress and “new age,” chiliasm.16

“The first dispensation is historically an order of the married,” Old Testament” dependent on the Father; the second an order of clerics dependent on the Son; the third an order of monks dependent upon the Spirit of Truth. The first age is ruled by labor and work, the second by learning and discipline, the third by contemplation and praise... The times which have passed before the law, and under grace were as necessary as the coming epoch which will fulfill those preparatory stages; for the fundamental law of the history of salvation is the continuous progress from the time of the Old and New Testament ‘letter’ to that of the ‘spirit’ in analogy to the miraculous transformation of water into wine.

“Thus the coming times of the Holy Spirit are successively prefigured in the first and second epochs of the Father and Son, which are strictly concordant, for each figure and event of the Old Testament, if understood spiritually, is a promise and signification of a corresponding figure and event of the New Testament. This correspondence is one of meaning as well as of succession, i.e., certain events and figures of the Old Testament are spiritually contemporary with certain events and figures of the New Testament by having a concordant historical position and significance. Thus, for example, John’s baptism by water reappears intensified in Elijah’s baptism by the fire of the Holy Spirit, which swallows everything carnal and merely of the letter. This whole process of a progressiveconsummatiois, at the same time, a continuous process ofdesignatio, invalidating the preceding promises and significations. The periods of each dispensation have to be reckoned, however, not by homogenous years but by generations which are concordant not by their length but by their numbers, each of them extending about thirty years. The number 30 has no natural, but a spiritual foundation. It refers to the perfection of the Trinity of the one Godhead and to Jesus who was thirty years of age when he gained his firstfilii spirituales. According to Joachim’s calculations, (chiefly based on Rev. 11:3 and 12:6; Matt. 1:17) his own generation is the fortieth, and the assumption of his followers was that, after a period of two further generations, that is, in 1260, the climax would be reached, revealing Frederick II as the Antichrist and the Franciscan Spirituals as the providential leaders of the new and last dispensation, which would end with hiatory’s definite consummation by last judgment and resurrection. Within historical time, the goal and meaning of the history of salvation is the uncompromising realization of the evangelical precepts and exhortations, in particular the Sermon on the Mount.

“What is new and revolutionary in Joachim’s conception of the history of salvation is due to his prophetic-historical method of allegorical interpretation. In so far as it is allegorical and typological, it is not new but only a coherent application of the traditional patristic exegesis. But this exegesis served Joachim’s amazingly fertile imagination not for static—i.e., moral and dogmatic—purposes but for a dynamic understanding of revelation through an essential correlation between Scripture and history and between their respective interpretations. The one must explain the other if history, on the one hand, is really sacred and full of religious meaning and if, on the other hand, the gospel is therotulus in rotaor the central axis of the world’s happenings. Granted that historyisa history of salvation and that the history of the church is its pattern, then the only fitting key to its religious understanding must be the Sacred Scriptures, the concordance of which proves to Joachim not an absolute doctrine but the meaningful structure of a historical process. On the basis of the simple belief in the inspired character of the Scripture, Joachim could extract from it a strictly religious understanding of history and, on the one hand, discover in actual history the hidden presence of purely religious categories. This attempt to explain history religiously and the Revelation of St. John historically is no more and no less than an intricate elaboration of the Christian presupposition that the church is the body of Christ and that therefore her history is intrinsically religious and not merely a department of the history of the world. And, since the history after Christ is still on its way and yet revealed as having an end, the fullness of time is not to be conceived traditionally as a unique event of the past but as something to be worked out in future, in the perspective of which the church, from Christ until now, is not an everlasting foundation but an imperfect prefiguration. The interpretation of history thus necessarily becomes prophecy, and the right understanding of the past depends on the proper perspective for the future, in which the preceding significations come to their end. This consummation does not occur beyond historical time, at the end of the world, but in a last historical epoch. Joachim’s eschatological scheme consists neither in a simple millennium nor in the mere expectation of the end of the world but in a twofoldeschaton: an ultimate historical phase of the history of salvation, preceding the transcendenteschatonof the new aeon, ushered in by the second coming of Christ. The Kingdom of the Spirit is the last revelation of God’s purpose on earth and in time. Consequently, the institution of the papacy and clerical hierarchy is limited to the second epoch. This implies a radical revision of the Catholic doctrine of succession from St. Peter to the end of the world. The existing church, though founded on Christ, will have to yield to the coming church of the Spirit, when the history of salvation has reached its plenitude. This ultimate transition also implies the liquidation of preaching and sacraments, the mediating power of which becomes obsolete when the spiritual order is realized which possesses knowledge of God by direct vision and contemplation. The real signification of the sacraments is not, as with Augustine, the signification of a transcendent reality but the indication of a potentiality which becomes realized within the framework of history.”

Third age is the last: Chiliasm.17

“Belonging himself to the second epoch, Joachim did not draw any revolutionary conclusions from the implications of his historico-eschatological visions. He did not criticize the contemporary church, nor did his interpretation of the angel of the Apocalypse (Rev. 7:2) and thenovus dux[new leader], entitled to ‘renovate the Christian religion,’ mean that he intended a revolutionary reorganization of the existing institutions and sacraments. To him it only meant that a messianic leader was to appear, ‘whosoever it will be,’ bringing about a spiritual renovation for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ, revealing but not abolishing what hitherto has been veiled in significant figures and sacraments. The revolutionary conclusions were drawn later by men of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, by the Franciscan Spirituals, who recognized in Joachim the new John the Baptist, heralding St. Francis at thenovus duxof the last dispensation, even as the ‘new Christ.’ To them the clerical church was indeed at its end. Rejecting the alleviating distinction between strict precepts and flexible counsels, they made a radical attempt to live a Christian life in unconditional poverty and humility and to transform the church into a community of the Holy Spirit, without pope, clerical hierarchy, sacraments, Holy Scripture, and theology. The rule of St. Francis was to them the quintessence of the gospel. The driving impulse of their movement was, as with Joachim, the intensity of their eschatological expectancy with regard to the present epoch as a state of corruption. The criterion by which they judged the corruption of their times and the alienation from the gospel was the life of St. Francis. And, since Joachim had already expected that within two generations the final battle would be fought between the spiritual order and the powers of evil, his followers could even more definitely interpret the emperor as the Antichrist—eventually, however, as the providential instrument for the punishment of an anti-Christian church which obstructed its own renovation by persecuting the real followers of Christ.”

...people, these people are on the very high level, they’re really crucifying themselves and struggling very hard. Francis didn’t talk much about that.

Then why is there this idea of a Third Age? It is obviously because with the coming of Christ, there is somethingnewin the world. That is, the whole of world history is divided into two epochs, before Christ and after Christ; the preparation of Christ and the consummation. But once one loses the Christian understanding of the spirit of Christ—Christianity as the preparation for the kingdom of heaven—then this newness leaves one free to speculate.

We see that the Scholastics are reasoning, whatever their logic tells them they come up with. And once you speculate on the idea of newness, you begin to say, “Why can’t we have something new now? Because Christianity itself becomes stale. Our monks have become corrupt.” That’s what Francis was rebelling against. He wanted to have himself a purer poverty. And therefore from the very idea of Christianity, once the idea of Christian tradition is removed, you logically have the idea of a “new” Christianity, some new flowering of wisdom, spirituality, and actually a new revelation. This, again, is the “Grand Inquisitor” of Dostoyevsky, the making of a new Christianity better than Christianity was.

And of course all that time released Protestantism and all the sects of today. And the source for this is no longer the Orthodox tradition, which is lost; the source is either reason or visions. At this time of course we have all these new things arising in the Catholic Church, the new orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, and all the rest, the very idea that this is the normal way. And so these two, Francis and Joachim, will be very influential in later times. People keep coming back to their ideas because they are in the seed period of the modern age.

There are a few other points which are less important but still reveal a very symptomatic outlook of the Middle Ages.

I forgot, about Joachim, he emphasized the fact that this Kingdom of the Spirit is thelastrevelation, that is, this is the millennium, or chiliasm, the chiliastic expectation. And he used even a phrase, “the Church of the Spirit which was coming.”

Medieval Art

We can look at art and see something very interesting, because although iconography, iconographic style never was completely developed in the West, in Italy it was. There was iconographic tradition; and they had many churches in Ravenna and so forth which are in iconographic style. But at this time whatever they had in Italy began to be transformed.

We see already in one who’s considered to be still very much in the Byzantium tradition, supposed to have a little bit of tradition left—there’s a painter called Duccio who lived at the very time of, no, a hundred years after Francis, end of the thirteenth century. We can see from this painting that Christ looks very nice—very serene and calm; it’s obviously Byzantium influence. And already there the faces are beginning to be introducing a little bit of human interest. They are very psychologically drawn nicely. But it was very pleasing compared with later, you know, bloody crucifixions and so forth; it’s very serene and calm, looks almost Byzantium. that’s Duccio who comes before this great change. And there’s another one of his, two more of his, Crucifixion and a Mother of God with Child. And you see already, look at these faces in the angels, they are people, you look at angels, not cherubs, havent’s got decadent yet, but they’re people who have very definite psychological characteristics, maybe somebody posed for the painting. And you see all kinds of human interest. You know. People are looking various, sad and looking around. And already the model, the type of iconography is being lost. There’s something, kind of new principle coming in.

But when you come to the next painter we’ll talk about, the one who was contemporary with, well, actually the same time, because he was preserving more the older sort of style. But there’s a painter who’s most typical of this time called Giotto, who was very closely bound up with Francis because he was commissioned to paint his life in the basilica of Assisi. But in him, one historian says: “Painting was no longer an echo of tradition, but rose at once to the dignity of invention... Art no longer worked on conventional models, abstract and ideal; its models were to be the realities of nature... Representation of real life was to become the object of all painting.”18And therefore it’s called an artistic revolution, and it’s quite fitting that the new saint, new kind of saint has already a new kind of icon, which is no longer an icon but a religious painting. False iconography; false saint gives rise to a false iconography.

He adds many elements from everyday life. This is the beginning of this thing which you see later in the Renaissance painting where all kinds of quaint scenes from everyday life. You even see a Crucifixion of Christ in the heart of Bologna or something like that; this is to show that we’re, combination of up- to-dateness and so forth. But you can see from these paintings of Giotto how far away he is even from Duccio. Here is one called the “Mourning of Christ;” if you look at the close-up especially you see that the faces are very...

Fr. H: Vicious.

Fr. S: Sort of vicious and very weird looking. It’s still a religious painting, recognizable,doesn’thave all the (sils?) later on, but already looks very strange, not at all iconographic style. And Francis receiving the stigmata, already it’s (a sort of prelest?); here’s the vision which he got directly from himself...

Fr. H: It’s demonic.

Fr. S: Christ on the seraphim, this weird thing, it’s this demonic thing, it’s an icon of Francis. And this is somewhat at the same time. You see already all these different kinds of faces. He’s obviously trying to capture psychological...

Fr. H: Earthly, earthly.

Fr. S: ...earthly aspects of these people. Christ is a still recognizable Christ, but it’s gets all the other people with these passions, these...

Fr. H: That’s not icons.

Student: There’s, there’s still a remnant here because you notice the three stars on the Mother of God, still a remnant hanging around.

Fr. S: But we’ll show in a later lecture how, what happened in the Renaissance when art completely went wild. You can see already here the principal of why it, how it starts to lose. The picturesque quaint elements begin to enter in, and the whole idea of an icon being the Saint as he is in heaven is lost. Instead, it’s the Saint as he is on earth, an earthly figure. He even begins to throw all kinds of earthly things in. And in Renaissance we’ll see that even religious art now becomes a vehicle for a different religion entirely.


And a final aspect is, we should touch on very briefly, is the political sphere. The idea of a Byzantium empire was lost. What is the empire? The empire is not some kind of mystical institution; it is rather that political institution which providentially allowed the spreading of Christianity. And once the empire was baptized, became Christian, the emperor was to protect religion for his people and to give the first example of religious life, so that the institutions became Christianized.

In this world, of course, there can never be any perfect Christianization of society, and there was no sort of the romantic idea of making things, you know, perfect society on earth; but, rather that there was an ideal, a heavenly ideal which everything on earth was to imitate. But this ideal was totally lost in the West; of course, there were the political imitations.

First of all, in the 800’s there was the rival empire of Charlemagne that was consciously set up as a rival. The Pope indeed chose Charlemagne over Irene the Easterner who was for the icons, and Charlemagne was against the icons, and also favored the Filioque. Already we see that this is very shaky. And this empire gave rise to what was called the Holy Roman Empire in the West.

And Kireyevsky notes, “We have a Holy Russia because there are holy men in it, called because of holy men, but the holy Roman Empire was holyin itself, because it was not holy men, holy emperors or holy men in it. It was called ‘holy’ because the institution itself was conceived as beinh holy.” And this is an attempt, which will come out very strongly later, atsanctifying the world, in which an earthly institution becomes conceived as something holy.

The Crusades at this time, were, although ostensibly undertaken to drive out the infidels from the East, in their practical effect, the function of them was to subdue the Byzantium Empire and make it in union with the Pope.

But the deepest political idea of all in the Middle Ages was that of the papacy. In fact, the universal monarchy of the Pope. As if from the period just before the Schism somewhere in the eighth to tenth century, there is this false document, “The Donation of Constantine,” at which Constantine supposedly gave the temporal authority to the Pope. And as a result of this, the popes, probably the document aroused, was made as a result of seeing that the Pope was already becoming a political figure. But the result of it was that the Pope himself becomes perceived as a temporal authority, and as a kind of emperor in the West, because the empire in the West was always very weak. And in the chief political authority is actually the Pope. And we even have the theories of medieval thinkers that all the land in the world belongs to the Pope. He only gives it to people, like in the feudal system. Actually, theoretically he owns the world, the land, not just the spiritual part.

The climax of this kind of a point of view is in the jubilee year of 1300. They’re having a jubilee year now [1975] also in Rome. In 1300 there was a jubilee year with the Pope Bonifice VIII who seated himself on the throne of Constantine, arrayed himself with sword, crown, and scepter, and shouted aloud, “I am Caesar. I am Emperor.”19This is not an accident, because this is an indication of something extremely deep in the whole of modern thought, which is the search for a universal monarch, which is Antichrist.

As a conclusion we can say that this spirit we looked at in the painting, politics, theology, philosophy, and spirituality is a spirit ofthis world, of deception,prelest; of the beginning of all those things which we find so strange in the Western saints, the post- schism so-called “saints.” This idle fantasies, sweetnesses, and all kind of sweet, you know, feelings, imaginations...

Fr. H: Earthly.

Fr. S: ...which belong to the earth, in which the religious imagination embroiders upon earthly interests. And these make the separation between, or the estrangement between East and West beginning already in the time of Photius and Charlemagne, as we come now to the final separation. And we simply cannot go back and unite with that church unless that church is going to desperately clean itself up. And how can it clean itself up when these things become very deep in their very mentality and the idea of what is a Saint?

At this dawn of modern history, the thirteenth century, all the seeds of modern mentality are present. And modern history follows logically from these seeds. Essentially, it is one thing—the search for a new Christianity which is better than Orthodoxy, better than the Christianity of the Holy Fathers, which Christ gave to us.

Later on, this will take forms which go through atheism and all kinds of wild beliefs, but essentially the search remains the same, and in the end the world will be Christian, because it’s Antichrist who gives them a new religion, which is not something foreign to Christianity. It will not be some kind of paganism. It will be something which everyone will accept as Christianity, but will be anti-christian. A substitute for Christianity which denies the very essence of Christianity.

And that is why the main history of the rebellion against Christ is no less than the apostasy which St. Paul talks about. It is not by means of persecution as it was in the beginning, but by means of taking Christianity and changing it so that it will no longer be Christian. And this is what we can call the “unfolding of the Mystery of Iniquity” in preparation for Antichrist.

Later we will see some of these main, central themes of the whole of modern history, some of which don’t appear too evident in some epochs. One is this striving for world monarchy, world ruler, bound up with the idea of papacy. Another one is the idea of the sanctification of the world, divinization of the world. That’s the idea of chiliasm, that this world achieves an importance which is spiritual. Holy Roman Empire, Francis with his feeling of being divine.

And the third one and most obvious one is that man replaces God as the criterion of truth. His feeling, his logic. Man replaces God as the criterion for Truth. Later on we will see how, to what extreme limit this goes in the Renaissance and later a whole religion of man; but already in these early ages, man puts himself above tradition, above the divine. And Francis places himself even right together with Christ; he becomes transformed into Christ.

All of this is the preparation for the next lecture which we’ll define, we’ll examine what happened in the Renaissance and Reformation when, as opposed to this thirteenth century, which is considered by the Catholic humanists of today as the peak, really the height of Christianity in the West, and the Renaissance anReformation as getting away from that. We see the Renaissance and Reformation as only proceeding logically the same apostasy which was started by all this new spirituality of the thirteenth century.


1. OW #52, Sept.-Oct. 1973, p. 205. Review ofEuropean and Moscovite: Ivan Kireyevsky and the Origin of Slavophilism, by Abbott Gleason, Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1972. “The mature Orthodox philosophy of Kireyevsky is contained chiefly in his three major essays: ‘In Reply to A.S. Khomiakov’ (1838), ‘On the Character of the Enlightenment of Europe and Its Relation to the Enlightenment of Russia’ (1852), and ‘On the Necessity and Possibility of New Principles for Philosophy.’ (1856.”

2. Kireyevsky, I.V. “On the Character of European Civilization,” inComplete Works of I.V. Kireyevsky, Moscow, 1911, in Russian, vol. 1, pp. 188-189; quoted inThe Orthodox Word, No. 79, Mar.-Apr. 1978, p. 69.

3. Congar, Yves,After Nine Hundred Years, Fordham University Press, 1959, p. 39. Here Congar is quoting Dom Wilmart.

4. Ibid., pp. 39-41.

5. Aquinas, Thomas,Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas,Christian Classics, Westminster, Maryland, 1981, Vol. II, p. 498.

6.Summa, Vol. II, p. 55.
7. Anselm’sProslogionII-IV, transl. M. J. Charlesworth,

Clarendon Press, 1965, Oxford, p. 119-121.

8. Cf. Paschal Robinson, “St. Francis of Assisi,”The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, Charles G. Herbermann et al, eds., Robert Appleton Co., New York, 1909, p. 227: “Francis was ever thoroughly in touch with the spirit of the age.”

9. Ibid., p. 228.

10. Cf.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, p. 228: “‘Dearly beloved,’ he once began a sermon following a severe illness, ‘I have to confess to God and you that during Lent I have eaten cakes made with lard.’”

11. Cf. Armstrong, April Oursler,St. Francis of Assisi, American R.D.M. Corporation, 1966, p. 54: “By chance, Francis was about to eat meat for dinner. Stephen showed him the new constitution that forbade Friars Minor to eat meat this particular day. Francis, laughing, asked Peter (the jurist)’s legal advice, Peter reminded him that he alone had the right to command the friars. “Then,” shrugged Francis, “let’s eat meat, as benefits the freedom the gospel allows us.”

12. Cf. Robinson, op. cit., p. 226: Francis’ last words: “I have done my part; may Christ teach you to do yours.”

13. Cf. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 62: “Lord, I ask two graces before I die: To experience myself, as far as possible, the sufferings of your cruel Passion, and to have for you the love which caused you to sacrifice yourself for me.”

14. Cf. Brianchaninov, Bishop Ignatius,The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, Holy Trinity Monastery, 1982, p 40: “‘When Francis was caught up in heaven,’ says a writer of his life, ‘God the Father, on seeing him, was for a moment in doubt to as to whom to give preference to His Son by nature or to His son by grace—Francis.’ What can be more frightful or madder than this blasphemy, what can be sadder than this delusion!” The greatest saint is only a brand snatched from the fire. Apart from Christ, God sees nothing good in him (I Cor. 1:30)

15. Editorial correction: Joachim of Flores livedbeforeFrancis; their lives are contemporary for a few years. Fr. Seraphim corrects himself below.

16. Lowith, Karl,Meaning in History, University of Chicago Press, 1949, Chicago, p. 148-150.

17. Ibid. p. 151.

18.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, Charles G. Herbermann et al., eds., Robert Appleton Co., New York, 1909, p. 565.

19. Cf. Boniface VIII, quoted in A.P. d’Entrèves,Dante as a Political Thinker, Oxford, 1952 p. 47: “Let not the French rise in their pride and proclaim that they do not recognize a superior authority. They lie, since by right—de jure—they are and must be under the rule of the Romans and Emperor.”


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (4)

The life of the saint which we just heard1, St. Paul of Obnora, gives us an insight into a civilization which is exactly the opposite of the civilization we are studying now—the Western civilization since the Schism, since the Middle Ages. In the traditional Orthodox civilizations such as that of Russia, very similar events repeat themselves. That is, there are barbarian invasions, monasteries may be laid waste, the monastic life at one time flourishes, at another time it grows lax, and then again it flourishes. Saints rise up, the devil is constantly attacking; there are invasions from outside. And all this happens without disturbing the basic harmony and equilibrium of the civilization. The same thing is true of Byzantium. The same thing is true in the West before the period of the Schism.

There is nothing that we could call “new,” because once Christianity had been proclaimed, once Christ came and established His Church, there is nothing more that can be new. This is the preparation for the end of the world, and people who are penetrated by the principles of Orthodox tradition do not expect anything new in this world.

In the West, on the other hand, beginning already, as we saw in the last lecture, with the high Middle Ages, with Scholasticism, Francis of Assisi, Joachim of Flores, the element of romance entering into religion, the new political ideas—there is already the idea that something new is happening. Christianity is being improved upon. There’s a search for some kind of “new Christianity” even though they do not use that word yet. And this emphasis is increased in the period we study now—that of the Renaissance, the period after the Middle Ages, roughly 1300-1600. We will find in this period that what began in the Middle Ages is already now becoming an epidemic. And there are things that happened which are totally new in the history of mankind; or, if they did exist before, now attain some kind of completely new level.

The purpose of these lectures, to repeat, why we should be studying the development of modern mentality, is so that we might understand why the world is the way it is today, what has gone into forming our own minds; so that we can be Orthodox by rising up against all false ideas, all false formation in our minds, and seeing what is the true Orthodox mentality and the true Orthodox teaching.

Unfortunately, the end of this modern period which begins with the Schism has produced a generation of people who are quite unaware of the past, and therefore a person who does not know what is his past, very easily becomes the victim of his environment which is based upon an anti-Christian philosophy. He becomes this by everything which is in the life around him. And we are trying to understand those things which are in the life around us from a deeper philosophical point of view, so that even the music in the supermarket becomes something philosophical. It has back of it an idea which is supposed to give us a certain feeling which takes us away from Christ.

And so the purpose of this study is Orthodox self-defense. This whole course is an examination of modern history from the point of view of Orthodoxy, which is rather a novel way to do it. Because all history books are written from other points of view; either they begin with the idea that there is a Dark Ages and then “enlightened” modern ages. And everything is criticized from the point of view of modern, enlightened scientific world outlook. Or else there’s another school which says that Christianity, Catholic Christianity is the standard; and the thirteenth century is the pinnacle, and everything else is a falling away from that. And there are other points of view.

But our point of view is Orthodoxy. And from the point of view of Orthodoxy, it should be said that the period of the Renaissance is actually much less significant than the period of the Middle Ages. [During] the period of the Renaissance we see the most spectacular changes and differences from the ancient

Christianity; but the actual period when the big changes occurred, which were later to lead to the Renaissance and beyond that, occurred, as we saw in the last lecture, in the period right after the Schism.

After this everything else becomes a logical deduction from that first change. Because once Orthodoxy has been left behind, there is nothing but the playing out of the new principles which came in. And all the principles which began in the Middle Ages will be worked out right up to the present day, so that actually today the forces which are shaping history are just the same as they were in the thirteenth century, only they have attained now a more advanced form.

The period after the Middle Ages is called the period of the Renaissance, the rebirth, that is, rebirth of antiquity. It is the age of so-called Humanism. And it’s very clear already what is the basis of this new epoch.

We saw that the period of the Middle Ages was dominated by Scholasticism, that is, the reason which becomes autonomous, reason which is placed above faith. And this reason, as Kireyevsky very well saw, in the nineteenth century when he was criticizing the West from the Orthodox point of view, very quickly turned against Christianity. First it was supposed to be the handmaiden of faith and serve Christianity and prove all the dogmas of faith and prove a great many other things also based upon authority, the authority both of Scripture, of some early Fathers, mostly Augustine, and Aristotle, since it was believed that Aristotle had the true view of nature.

But in the age of the Renaissance, this reason turnedagainstreligion. Because if it’s [reason is] autonomous, it’s able to develop its own principles; there’s no reason why it should be bound to the religious content. And also we saw in the Middle Ages that the great movements—Francis and Joachim—were very monastically, ascetically oriented. But in the Renaissance, there was a complete reaction against that. And again, this simple matter of the context in which the new ideas arose changed; and therefore no longer were people interested in either monasticism or having reason serve theology. And so we find in this period that the idea of monasticism and asceticism is treated extremely negatively, because the interest in the world has now been awakened.

And so it was natural that at this period Western man turned away from the Church to pagan Greece and Rome, the monuments of which were all over the West and especially in Italy. And one writer has even said that at this period, pagan Greece and Rome had their revenge on Christianity, because that pagan, antique, ancient civilization had been overthrown by Christianity. The ancient pagan civilization which placedmanfirst, was first overthrown by Christianity, and now when reason turned against Christianity, this ancient paganism had its revenge on Christianity, being united with reason. And in its turn this paganism gave a great impetus, a great push to an ideal of total worldliness.

So the ideal of the Renaissance is the ideal ofnatural manand also of a natural religion which is understandable to reason without any special revelation. One of the great humanists in the north, Erasmus, found in Greece what he called the philosophy of Christ, that is, in pagan ancient Greece. “‘When I read certain passages of these great men,’ he wrote of the Greeks, ‘I can hardly refrain from saying, “St. Socrates, pray for me.””2Of course he probably did not pray to the saints, and did not pray to Socrates. What he means to say is: these pagan people are taking the place of the saints.

So it is in this epoch thatmanwas discovered. And there is a tremendous interest inoneself, the individual. There is a very good book on the subject of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt, a nineteenth-century scholar. By the way, there are quite a few quite good scholars in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century who developed, studied quite thoroughly their subjects, which seldom happens anymore. And they, even when their viewpoint is usually quite agnostic or even atheist, because they so thoroughly investigate their subject, you can see quite clearly what’s going on. And he treats a lot of the ideas which were prevalent in this period in Italy, which is the first place of the Renaissance, which later spread to the north.


And he cites for example, he has one chapter on the modern idea of fame, which now first came out—the first time, that is, since the antiquity. He notes first of all that even Dante, who has something in common with Middle Ages, is the first one who can be called someone who is after fame. He says, “He strove for the poet’s garland with all power of his soul. As a publicist and man of letters, he laid stress on the fact that what he did was new, and that he wished not only to be, but to be esteemed the first in his own walks.”3Later there was another, elder, a later contemporary of Dante, Albertinus Musattus, or Mussatus, who was crowned poet at Padua by the bishop and rector, enjoyed a fame which fell little short of deification. Every Christmas day the doctors and students of both colleges at the university came in a solemn procession before his house with trumpets and, as it seems, with burning tapers, to salute him and bring him presents. His reputation lasted until, in 1318, he fell into disgrace...”4

“This new incense which was once offered only to saints and heroes, was given in clouds to Petrarch, who persuaded himself in his later years that it was after all but a foolish and troublesome thing.”5It’s obvious this is the lowest kind of worldliness – the desire to be remembered by, worshipped and now remembered by posterity...

“Amid all these preparations outwardly to win and secure fame the curtain is now and then drawn aside, and we see with frightful evidence a boundless ambition and thirst after greatness, independent of all means and consequences. Thus, in the preface to Machiavelli’s Florentine history, in which he blames his predecessors Leonardo Arentino and Poggio for their too considerate reticence with regard to the political parties in the city: ‘They erred greatly and showed that they understood little the ambition of men and the desire to perpetuate a name. How many who could distinguish themselves by nothing praiseworthy strove to do so by infamous deeds! Those writers did not consider that actions which are great in themselves, as is the case with the actions of rulers and of states, always seem to bring more glory than blame, of whatever kind they are and whatever the result of them may be.’ In more than one remarkable and dread undertaking the motive assigned by serious writers is the burning desire to achieve something great and memorable. This motive is not a mere extreme case of ordinary vanity, but something demonic,...”6This is an agnostic writing. What he means by demonic is something not understandable to human motives.

“...Something demonic, involving a surrender of the will, the use of any means however atrocious, and even an indifference to success itself. In this sense, for example, Macchiavelli conceived the character of Stefano Porcaro; of the murderers of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and the assassination of Duke Alessandro of Florence is ascribed by Varchi himself to the thirst for fame which tormented the murderer, Lorenzino de Medici.”7

Of course we know the history of, something of the history of the Italian princedoms of this period with these, the infamous De Medicis who even had Popes among them who are poisoning each other and killing off other families, and these tremendous rivalries going on. There was even a certain Lorenzino who brooded “Over a deed whose novelty shall make his disgrace forgotten,” and he was in some kind of disgrace. “And [he] ends by murdering his kinsman and prince. These are characteristic features of this age of overstrained and despairing passions and forces.”8

And, of course, we see in our own times people who are assassinating presidents; [they’re] unsuccessful in life; they want somehow to make themselves known, even if they have to go to prison, [or] be killed for it. The idea that they will somehow be immortalized, even by some kind of infamous deed, remembered, because they no longer believe in immortality of the soul.

But this attitude of exalting oneself which appears also in the life of Benvenuto Cellini who’s an adventurer running all around doing everything to make himself famous, comes directly from the Middle Ages. It comes from what we saw yesterday, in the last lecture, the preoccupation of Francis of Assisi with himself, with his self-satisfaction, with some kind of dramatic demonstration of how holy he is. Once the spirit of the times had changed, this same motive became twisted into a worldly, extremely coarse self- aggrandizement.

And this is extremely far away from Orthodoxy where even the icon painters usually don’t even sign their names. And it’s not just a matter of complete anonymity, because we sometimes find the hymns in the Church books, for example, say “this is written by a certain Germanus the Monk” or something like that. But there is no desire to establish oneself as a great poet, a great writer, a great icon painter who puts one’s [name], so one’s name will astonish one’s contemporaries. One enters into the tradition and carries on the tradition that has been before.

And now there is the desire that each artist is going to make a name for himself. And in the twentieth century, it becomes ridiculous. As we see, most of these artists have no talent; they think if they splash paint on the canvas as violently as possible to make a name for themselves.

This is a very deep thing because it involves also a deep layer of philosophy and even theology. In the traditional Orthodox world-view one begins with revelation, with tradition, with what has been handed down from the Fathers and ultimately with God. And if you ask someone how he knows something, he will say, “I know because that’s the way God made it, that’s the way the Holy Fathers have handed it down, that’s what Holy Scriptures say, and that’s the authority.”

In the new age there’s a desire to make something else, some kind of a new idea of certainty. And so a little bit after this period there comes the philosopher Descartes who is the first modern philosopher. And he bases his whole philosophy on one thing: “I think, therefore, I am.”9And everything else that we know for certain is based upon first intuition which, he says, is the only thing we can know for certain. Because the senses can be mistaken, we can have false revelations’ but one knows for certain that “I exist.” This shows how this preoccupation with the self becomes already a theological first principle. And later on it attains extremely fantastic development.


It is seldom noticed, because when we think of Renaissance, the books usually say this is the age, the beginning of modern enlightenment when the superstitions of the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages begin to be put away. And so it is seldom noticed what is very significant about this period—that it is accompanied by an increase of superstition. This is the great age of astrology, of whom Nostradamus is the most famous, of alchemy, Paracelsus and others, and of witchcraft and sorcery.

Burckhardt has a quote on this subject also. Burckhardt notes in this chapter called the “Mixture of Ancient and Modern Superstition;” He says, “...[I]n another way...antiquity exercised a dangerous influence. It imparted to the Renaissance its own forms of superstition. Some fragments of this had survived in Italy all through the Middle Ages, and the resuscitation of the whole was thereby made so much the more easy.”10But it was in this period of the Renaissance that it really came out.

“At the beginning of the thirteenth century, this superstition” of astrology, which had flourished in antiquity, “suddenly appeared in the foreground of Italian life.” Thirteenth century, that is, this very same period of the high Middle Ages. “The Emperor Frederick II always traveled with his astrologer Theodorus; and Ezzelino da Romano with a large, well-paid court of such people, among them the famous Guido Bonatto and the long- bearded Saracen, Paul of Bagdad. In all important undertakings they fixed for him the day and the hour, and the gigantic atrocities of which he was guilty may have been in part practical inferences from their prophecies. Soon all scruples about consulting the stars ceased.”11

And it should be noted that in Orthodoxy, the Fathers are very much against [this]. “Soon all scruples about consulting the stars ceased. Not only princes, but free cities had their regular astrologers, and at the universities, from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, professors of this pseudo-science were appointed, and lectured side by side with the astronomers. It was well-known that Augustine and other Fathers of the Church had combated astrology, but their old-fashioned notions were dismissed with easy contempt.” That is, there’s no longer an authority in these Fathers because they are looking for some kind of new religion. “The Popes commonly made no secret of their star-gazing, although Pius II, who also despised magic, omens, and the interpretations of dreams, is an honorable exception. Julius II,” the Pope, “On the other hand, had the day for his coronation and the day for his return from Bologna calculated by the astrologers. Even Leo X seems to have thought the flourishing condition of astrology a credit to his pontificate, and Paul III never held a consistory until the star-gazers had fixed the hour.”12

“In all the better families the horoscope of the children was drawn as a matter of course, and it sometimes happened that for half a lifetime men were haunted by the idle expectation of events which never occurred. The stars were questioned whenever a great man had to come to any important decision, and even consulted as to the hour at which any undertaking was to be begun. The journeys of princes, the reception of foreign ambassadors, the laying of the foundation-stone of public buildings depended upon the” astrologers’ “answer.”13

One might ask why these superstitions or pseudo-sciences now begin to increase at this time. The answer is because when Orthodox tradition prevails, there is a knowledge of good and evil. There is a knowledge of evil forces, how they operate, a standard to measure them by. And when this standard is abandoned, when you begin to have the idea that there is some new standard coming in, then there is room for ignorance and superstition to thrive. We will note later on about the question of superstition in our own times, which is by no means as simple as people think: the connection, for example, between socialism and spiritualism which is a very interesting one.

Protestant Reformation

The second great movement in this period of the Renaissance, as it is usually interpreted by historians, is the Protestant Reformation. This is only outwardly different from humanism; basically it is a part of the same movement. It is likewise a movement of reason which turns against Scholasticism and tries to devise a simpler Christianity which any believer can interpret for himself. This spirit was, later, as Kireyevsky very well says, of the spirit that was to destroy Protestantism itself. The enlightened observer, Kireyevsky says, could see Luther behind Scholasticism and the modern liberal Christians behind Luther. Luther himself was what would probably be considered a narrow fanatic, especially in his later years, but he opened the gate to total subjectivism in religion. And thereupon he gives us a key also to today because this same principle, the individual—whatever I believe, whatever I think has a right to be heard—then becomes the standard. He himself finally achieved some kind of dogmatic system and tried to force it on his followers. But the very idea which he fought for was that each individual can interpret for himself; and therefore from him come sects.

The religious wars which began in this period, because there now were two religions: first Luther in 1520’s who broke off, had already a separate organization, and Calvin and the other Protestants. And therefore these began to fight with the Catholic princes. And the religious wars of the sixteenth century came up, which really ended only about the middle of the seventeenth century. These wars are rather unimportant in themselves, and their main result was to discredit religion altogether, and lead in the next historical period, which we’ll discuss in the next lecture, to the search for a new religion beyondanykind of Christianity, which is the beginning of modern Free-masonry.

Both Humanism and Protestantism continue the work of Scholasticism and Francis of Assisi—the search to improve on Orthodoxy, to improve on Christianity as it has been handed down in the tradition. So they are continuing this work of Dostoyevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor.” Both Humanism and Protestantism are stages in the destruction of the Christian world-view. Later on there are more advanced stages.


Both the Renaissance and the Reformation, though they are the most spectacular movements of this period, are really not the most significant. They are only continuing the work of destruction which the Middle Ages began, the destruction of Orthodox Christianity. And both of them actually stood in the way of the main movement of the Renaissance period, which was that of therise of the modern scientific world-view. Humanism stood in the way of it because it was preoccupied with the ancient texts and was persuaded that the ancients were wiser than the moderns; and Protestantism stood in the way of science by its narrow dogmatism. It is the rise of the new science which is the new and important thing in this period, which will have the great consequences for the future centuries.

Science became important in this period because man, being set free from Orthodox tradition, turned his attention to the outer world. This attention to the outer world sometimes took forms which were notoriously pagan and immoral. But this worldly interest was also expressed in the rise of industry and capitalism and in the movement of exploration—discovery of America and so forth—these movements which were to change the face of the earth in future centuries. This one might speak of as the kind of leaven of worldliness which would penetrate the whole world and give the tone to today’s world which totally lacks the traditional Orthodox sense of the fear of God, and in fact is possessed by triviality.

Protestantism is full of this tone which can be observed by looking at the behavior of any Protestant minister to compare it with the behavior of an Orthodox priest. The Catholic priest also has this same worldly tone, worldly spirit; and Orthodox priests who are losing the savor of Orthodoxy enter into this very same light- minded, jazzy, up-to-date feeling which is the influence of worldliness, which makes possible such a thing as Disneyland and those things which any sane person in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance and, above all, in traditional Christian civilization, would have regarded as some kind of madness.

Now we come to the most important aspect of this period of the Renaissance, which is the rise of modern science. This is the discovery of a new key to knowledge and truth. And actually what it is, is a new scholasticism. The scientific method replaces the Scholastic method as the means of attaining truth. And just like Scholasticism it leads to the loss of all truths which do not fit into its framework which is a very narrow and rigid one.

It is extremely interesting that modern science is born in so-called “mysticism,” just as we shall see later on socialism was born in a kind of mysticism. This mystical outlook was the Platonism and Pythagoreanism which were revived together with ancient studies, which communicated the faith that the world is ordered according to number. The philosophy, the system of Pythagoras especially is based upon the harmonious order of the numbers which corresponds to the outward world. And we see in the modern world that the union of mathematics with observation has indeed changed the face of the earth, because it is true that the worldisordered according to number. But this in the beginning was known only dimly, and it was this faith of the Pythagoreans and Platonists that the numbers corresponded to reality and the investigation into the mysteries of nature which led to the discoveries which changed the world outlook.

Modern science also was borne on the experiments of the Platonic alchemists, the astrologers and magicians. The underlying spirit of the new scientific world-view was the spirit of Faustianism, the spirit of magic, which is retained as a definite undertone in contemporary science today. The discovery, in fact, of atomic energy would have delighted the Renaissance alchemists very much. They were looking exactly for power like that.

The aim of modern science is power over nature, and Descartes, who formulated the mechanistic/scientific world-view said that man is to become the master and possessor of nature. It should be noted that this is areligious faiththat takes the place of Christian faith. Even the rationalist Descartes who said that the whole of nature is nothing but a great machine and gave thus the mechanistic/scientific outlook which exists, even today predominates in scientific research—he himself in his youth had strange dreams and visions, and after he had devised his new science he had a vision of the angel of truth. Descartes. This angel of truth commanded him to trust his new science which would give him all knowledge. And knowledge, of course, had the purpose of making man the master and possessor of nature. This religious nature of scientific faith can be seen today when the breakdown of scientific faith, which has been dominant these last centuries, is leading now to a new crisis in religion. Because now men come to the question: what can one believe if even science, which is supposed to be the ultimate certainty, if it gives no certainty? And so, new irrational philosophies are born and the wish to believe in new gods.

This scientific world outlook which is now breaking down is producing this restlessness which we sense in the air today. And a number of people who are inspired by this restlessness are now coming to Orthodoxy. In fact, that is the position in very much of our converts. And it’s very important all the more, therefore, since we are trying to defend ourselves against false philosophies, to understand that if coming to Orthodoxy we do not fully understand the Orthodox world-view and enter into it, we will become the pawns of these new irrational philosophies which will take the place of the scientific faith.

The scientific texts of the Renaissance period are filled with Platonic and pseudo-Christian mysticism and with the conviction that the mystery of the universe is now being discovered. Because before the Middle Ages in traditional Christian times, in Byzantium, in the West before the Schism, in Russia and other Orthodox civilizations, there was no desire to unravel the mystery of the universe because we had the knowledge, sufficient knowledge of God for salvation. And we knew that the universe is—there are many aspects we don’t understand. We know enough to save our souls. And the rest of it is this sphere of magic, alchemy and all kinds of dark sciences. But now the Christian faith is being rejected, the religious interest is projected into the world. And therefore [we see] the idea that there’s a mystery of the universe which, by the way, is very much with many modern scientists.

At the present day, scientific knowledge is felt to be almost an intolerable weight upon men. And many people feel that the rise of modern science has as its ultimate aim the bringing of mankind to total slavery. And even today we have people seriously in American universities teaching that man is entirely determined, that scientists must sort of govern his future, that you can put a little calculator of some kind in the pocket, hook it up to the brain; and whenever anyone performs an act which is anti-social, against whatever the leaders want, they will get an impulse from the brain which will give them such a pain that they will stop acting contrary to society.

Student: You’re alking about Skinner?

Fr. S: Yes. Skinner and those people.

And so this scientific faith, this scientific knowledge is felt to be very cold and heavy today. And therefore it’s very interesting to understand how the first scientific, the ones who were discovering the new scientific view felt. And there were some at that time who felt a mysterious exaltation at this new religion of science.

A very good example of this is the astronomer and philosopher, Giordano Bruno, who was one of the typical wanderers of modern times. He was a Dominican monk who ran away from his monastery. He went to the north; he met Luther. He was very much attracted by Lutheranism, then by Calvinism. Then he became disillusioned. He was excommunicated by Luther. He was excommunicated by Calvin. He went to England and fell in love with Queen Elizabeth, and then discovered that he wasn’t so popular, and he cursed Oxford. Then he went to France, and the king invited him there to give lectures. He had special kind of techniques in memory training that people thought were something close to magic. But he was also teaching the new astronomy; that is, he was one of the first followers of the Copernican theory. But nowhere did he feel any kind of rest. He was full of this restless spirit of the age; but nowhere did he find peace.

But he was one who felt the consequences of the Copernican revolution, about which we’ll talk in a minute. That is, the fact that the earth goes around the sun and not the sun around the earth was for him a definite discovery which had religious consequences. He said as a result of this: “Man is no more than an ant in the presence of the infinite, and a star is no more than a man.”14That is very contemporary feeling that man is lost in the immensity of space. But he did not feel it to be something cold. Today we think of something horrible and cold, and man is lost in space. He did not believe that because he saw everywhere God, his idea of God. He said that nature is God in things. He had a kind of mystic pantheism. And he said that matter is divine. He said God, which has been lost because the Orthodox world-view has been rejected, is now projected into matter. He found God everywhere in the life of the universe. He believed that even the planets were alive—maybe not personal intelligence—but some kind of life was glowing through these stars and through these creatures. And perhaps this is not too far away from Francis of Assisi.

When the earth is dislodged from the center of things, he saw, or thought he saw, all boundaries vanish. He believed that the universe is infinite. There’s an infinite number of worlds and an infinite number of intelligences upon these worlds, other kinds of humanity, these ideas which modern people very much are intrigued by.

According to him, to know nature is to know God. Each advance in science and the knowledge of nature is a new revelation, that is, something religious. He himself said that he was attracted by the darkness of the unknowable in the same way that a moth is drawn to the flame which devours it. And he, by that, unwittingly prophesied his own end, because he was arrested by the Inquisition and burned at the stake as a heretic. But he died like a martyr. He was very calm and said that he would not change his views; he believed what he believed.

Later on he was almost totally forgotten until around 1870 [when] his writings began to be published, and now he’s becoming more and more known, and books in English came out about him. There’s a pillar was built in Rome on the site of his burning.

This mysticism of nature which he had at the very beginning of modern science is very interesting because it is echoed by another kind of mysticism of science which occurs now when the scientific world-view has collapsed or where it is coming to its end, that is, the so-called “mysticism” of Teilhard de Chardin—[which we’ll look at in] a later chapter.

The Copernican Revolution

The key moment in the rise to power of the scientific faith, the scientific world-view, is the so-called “Copernician revolution.”

Giordano Bruno died in 1600. Copernicus died 1543, and his book came out in the year of his death, 1543. Before this time medieval astronomy and astronomy from ancient times had been based upon the geocentric theory that the earth was in the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. But there were certain irregular motions of the planets, in order to explain which, the astronomers developed all kinds of cycles within cycles to show that they were making irregular movements. And the new faith in Platonic mysticism—that the numbers correspond to reality, that God does things, nature does things in the simplest possible way—made some people dissatisfied with this. And Copernicus made all kinds of calculations and finally came to the discovery—which was based not on observation; it was based upon mathematical faith—that, to make the simplest possible explanation of the movements in the sky, one must assume that the earth goes around the sun together with the planets.

About this one should say two things: the discovery of this new truth—which seems to be true because you can aim a rocket and get it to the right place in the sky by believing this—the discovery of this new truth does not refute the fact that the heavenly bodiesdoin fact go around the earth because anybody can observe that every day. The scientific truth of heliocentricism, that the earth goes around the sun, only explains, on the scientific level, the complex movements which the heavenly bodies and the earth make with regard to each other in order to create the effect we see every day, which is that the sun goes around the earth.

In the same way the scientific explanation of greenness, as the joining together of sun, eyes, and a configuration of molecules in a plant, does not change the fact that I see a green forest. And if I am sound in mind and soul, I delight in it. I still see the forest. You can explain it on some kind of technical level and maybe even get a deeper understanding of the causes which produce this effect; but the effect is the same. And this failure to distinguish between these two things caused a lot of confusion at this period; because the scientific theory of heliocentricism does not explain the very essence of things; it only explains that some kind of complicated interrelationships which produce certain effects. And the effect remains the same.

And so the Copernican theory does not explain away either the Book of Psalms which talks about “the sun knoweth his going down” (Ps. 104:19) and does not contradict our daily experience of seeing the sun go around the earth. People who change their minds and think only in terms of this—that the earth going around the sun as a fact of everyday experience—are mixing up what is some kind of technical explanation with everyday experience. There are two different spheres.

The second thing to say about this Copernican revolution is that the so-called “new universe” which is opened up by the Copernican revolution, is not incompatible with Orthodoxy. Kireyevsky, in fact, says that Orthodox people can only be astonished that they wanted to burn Galileo at the stake for the fact that he said the heresy—they even called it the heresy—that the earth goes around the sun. And Kireyevsky says it’s incomprehensible to an Orthodox person how this can be a heresy. Because Scholastic rationalism had so taken possession of Western minds that all the syllogisms of Scholasticism whether based on Scripture or based on Aristotle were of equal value, and so the theories about whether the earth moves or stands still become on the level of dogma. Whereas Orthodoxy carefully distinguishes the truths which are of faith—the dogmas—from those which are outward and are open to various interpretations and speculations.

And in the writings on Hexaemeron of St. Ambrose Andrew the Great, St. Basil the Great and other Holy Fathers, they are very careful to distinguish what is revealed by God and what is only the speculations of men. And he says it’s unimportant for us to speculate about how all these things come to pass, what stands still, what moves, how the comets can be explained; all that is very secondary and does not effect our faith.

The Copernican revolution gave rise to new religious views of man dethroned and alone in a cold and infinite universe. But these religious views are not deducible from the new facts. The new facts themselves do not change anything in one’s religion. They only show that the primary impulse in this new scientific world- view was areligiousimpulse, that men were searching for some new faith which can be found by looking at the outward world. Men wished to have a new faith, and they used the facts which they discovered to help bring this about. The same thing happens all the time from then on in the history of the modern West.

The next thing we’ll discuss will be something which is perhaps not of direct historical significance, but it is something which is of very deep significance as revealing the philosophy of modern man and a forerunner of later movements. This concerns some of the religious movements of the Renaissance period, besides the Protestant Reformation.


One might say that the mainstream of religion at this time was Protestantism and the increasingly secularized Catholicism, both of which were reducing religion to reason and feeling. It might be said that Catholicism tried to preserve something of the past, but it was obviously making great concessions to the spirit of the age, which it itself had started; it was very much bound up with the new age. But in this period there are a number of underground currents in religion which are very symptomatic.

There were movements of chiliasm. And one classic book on this calledThe Pursuit of the Millennium, which is a study of the chiliastic movements of this period from the Middle Ages to the Reformation.

Norman Cohn says: “There seems to be no evidence of such movements having occurred before the closing years of the eleventh century.”15That is precisely the time when Rome left the Church. That same new spirit revealed itself in the rise of these new sects.

This is also the same period, by the way, that the practice of flagellation began—after Rome had left the Church. This author is very secularly oriented and says that this is because of the new social conditions, that is, the rise of trade and industry replacing agriculture. But we can say safely that the new mental conditions, the beginning, the opening of the possibility for a new kind of Christianity once Orthodoxy is left behind: this is more likely the dominant reason.

He even talks about this in this book, contrasting the attitude before the Middle Ages with the attitude in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: “...[I]f poverty, hardships and an often oppressive dependence could by themselves generate it, revolutionary chiliasm would have run strong amongst the peasantry of medieval Europe. In point of fact it was seldom to be found at all. A marked eagerness on the part of serfs to run away; recurrent efforts on the part of peasant communities to extract concessions; brief, spasmodic revolts—such things were familiar enough in the life of many a manor. But it was only very rarely that settled peasants could be induced to embark on the pursuit of the Millennium.”16

What he’s describing is the civilization of a traditional Orthodox place, land—but under new conditions, both under new outward conditions when trade and industry arise, and many of these new sectarians were in the weaving guilds where they had chance of unemployment when the foreign markets were closed and so forth. The unsettledness of their life had an influence on the religious views also, but also because this new spirit came in, which meant that Orthodoxy was not enough. And there was a beginning of a search for a new Christianity, a new religion.

In the traditional, tradition-oriented society, this same author says, “the very thought of any fundamental transformation of society was scarcely conceivable.”17And these new movements began to conceive of the idea of a fundamental transformation of society, that is, the beginning of what we will later find out is the movement of the revolution of modern times.

Some of these sectarians were called the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and they flourished from the eleventh century onward with a doctrine that God is all that is; every created thing is divine, that a new age of the Holy Spirit is coming, and when Joachim of Flores already proclaimed his teaching, they followed his teaching that each person has the Holy Spirit and is himself divine and, therefore, he can commit sin and still be pure. There is a certain Sister Catherine in the fourteenth century who had an ecstatic experience and then proclaimed: “Rejoice with me, for I have become God.”18This is not so far away again from Francis of Assisi.

Another movement is called the Taborite Movement in the fifteenth century which was a movement of communism, a return to the golden age where everyone is equal. There was at this time a certain Thomas Müntzer who was born just a few years after Luther who preached the millennium and the mass extermination of all those who were opposed to his doctrine. According to him, all things were to be held in common. But he was captured and killed after a revolt which he tried to lead. Interestingly enough, this very man Thomas Müntzer was idealized by Friedrich Engels who wrote a whole book about him, I believe. And the Communist historians down to the present day in Russia will say that he’s a forerunner of Communism, and we’ll see later on that his economic ideas have nothing to do with it. He was [, however,] in the same spirit as the Communist movement, which is a millennarian movement, chiliastic movement[, but unlike Müntzer,?] without talking about the Holy Spirit.

Then again in 1534 there are people who called themselves Anabaptists, that is, who were against infant baptism because each person has to know himself what he’s being, what he’s getting in for. They had an armed rising in Munster, which was preceded by wild men running in the streets calling for repentance; and there were apocalyptic visions right in the streets. This city of Munster was proclaimed to be the New Jerusalem. Most of the Lutherans left. And the Anabaptists through all the towns about came to this city of Munster which had a population of around ten thousand. They went through the monasteries and churches, looted them. And in one night, they got all the paintings and statues and books from the Catholic cathedral and destroyed them.

Two so-called Dutch prophets became their leaders, Matthys and Bockelson, and they turned this city into a theocracy. All Lutherans and Catholics who remained were condemned to be executed; but then they softened this and expelled them from the city.

After this a new law court was set up in which it was an offense to be unbaptized in the Anabaptist faith, which was punishable by killing. The only ones who were to be left in the city were to be the brothers and sisters, the “Children of God.” The Catholic bishop, of course, was opposed to this and besieged the town. At this time, a state of perfect so-called “communism” was established. All their property was confiscated by the leaders; all who disapproved of the doctrine or expressed any dissent were imprisoned and executed. And while actually they were executed they sang hymns. A reign of terror was established which is described in this book with some detail:

“The terror had begun and it was in an atmosphere of terror that Matthys proceeded to carry into effect the communism which had already hovered for so many months, a splendid millennial vision, in the imagination of the Anabaptists. A propaganda campaign was launched by Matthys...and other preachers. It was announced that true Christians should possess no money of their own but should hold all money in common; from which it followed that all money, and also all gold and silver ornaments, must be handed over. At first this order met with opposition; some Anabaptists buried their money. Matthys responded by intensifying the terror. The men and women who had been baptized only at the time of the expulsions were collected together and informed that unless the Father chose to forgive them they must perish by the swords of the righteous. They were then locked inside a church, where they were kept in uncertainty for many hours until they were utterly demoralized. At length Matthys entered the church with a band of armed men. His victims crawled towards him on their knees, imploring him, as the favorite of the Father, to intercede for them. This he did or pretended to do; and in the end informed the terrified wretches that he had won their pardon and that the Father was pleased to receive them into the community of the righteous. After this exercise in intimidation Matthys could feel much easier about the state of morale in the New Jerusalem.

“Propaganda against the private ownership of money continued for weeks on end, accompanied both by the most seductive blandishments and by the most appalling threats. The surrender of money was made a test of true Christianity. Those who failed to comply were declared fit for extermination and it seems that some executions did take place. After two months of unremitting pressure the private ownership of money was effectively abolished. From then on money was used only for public purposes involving dealings with the outside world, for hiring mercenaries to fight against the bishop, buying supplies and distributing propaganda. Artisans within the town...received their wages not in cash but in kind....”19

“The abolition of private ownership of money, the restriction of private ownership of food and shelter were seen as first steps towards a state in which...everything would belong to everybody and the distinctions between Mine and Thine would disappear.” Bockelsen himself expressed it thus: “all things were to be in common, there was to be no private property and nobody was to do any more work, but simply trust in God.’”20

A scholar from Antwerp wrote to Erasmus of Rotterdam, who of course did not like all these irrational movements because he believed men should be rational and liberal and tolerant,“‘We in these parts are living in wretched anxiety because of the way the revolt of the Anabaptists has flared up. For it really did spring up like fire. There is, I think, scarcely a village or town where the torch is not glowing in secret. They preach community of goods, with the result that all those who have nothing come flocking.’”21

You can see, of course, that there will be many secondary motives of people who come, but that also the fact that this movement could spread like wild-fire means there is a deep expectation, some kind of chiliastic new religion. “...In the middle of March Matthys banned all books save the Bible. All other works, even those in the private ownership, had to be brought to the cathedral-square and thrown upon a great bonfire.”22

Then this Matthys made a mistake. He had a divine command to go out and fight the enemy, and the enemy killed him. So then Bockelson took over and proclaimed himself to be king. His first act was to run naked through the town in a frenzy and fell into an ecstasy for three days. “When speech returned to him he called the population together and announced that God had revealed to him that the old constitution of the town, being the work of men, must be replaced by a new one which would be the work of God. The burgomasters and Council were deprived of their functions. In their place Bockelson set himself and—on the model of Ancient Israel—twelve elders...”

Sexual behavior was at first regulated as strictly as all other aspects of life. The only form of sexual relationship permitted was marriage between two Anabaptists. Adultery and fornication, which were held to include marriage with one of the ‘godless’ that is, married, marrying one of the godless, were capital offenses. This was in keeping with the Anabaptist tradition... This order came to an abrupt end, however, when Bockelson decided to establish polygamy....”23

“Like community of goods, polygamy met with resistance when it was first introduced. There was an armed rising during which Bockelson, Knipperdollinck and the preachers were thrown into prison; but the rebels, being only a small minority, were soon defeated and some fifty of them were put to death.”24This very city has about 10,000 people in it. “During the following days others who ventured to criticize the new doctrine were also executed; and by August polygamy was established... The religious ceremony of marriage was” eventually “dispensed with and marriages were contracted and dissolved with great facility. Even if much in the hostile accounts which we possess is discounted as exaggeration, it seems certain that norms of sexual behavior in the Kingdom of the Saints traversed the whole arc from a rigorous puritanism to sheer promiscuity...”25

“Bockelsom’s prestige was at its highest when, at the end of August, 1534, a major attack was beaten off so effectively that the bishop found himself abruptly deserted both by his vassals and by the mercenaries. Bockelson would have done well to organize a sortie which might perhaps have captured the bishop’s camp, but instead he used the opportunity to have himself proclaimed king.”26

There was a certain goldsmith who came now as a prophet. “One day, in the main square, this man declared that the Heavenly Father had revealed to him that Bockelson was to be king of the whole world, holding dominion over all kings, princes and great ones of the earth. He was to inherit the scepter and throne of his forefather David and was to keep them until God should reclaim the kingdom from him....”27

“The new king did everything possible to emphasize the unique significance of his accession. The streets and gates in the town were given new names; Sundays and feastdays were abolished and the days of the week were renamed on an alphabetical system; even the names of new-born children were chosen by the king according to a special system. Although money had no function in Munster a new purely ornamental coinage was created. Gold and silver coins were minted, with inscriptions summarizing the whole millennial fantasy which gave the kingdom its meaning.” Inscriptions included: “The Word has become Flesh and dwells in us;’ ‘One King over all. One God, one Faith, one Baptism.’ A special emblem was devised to symbolize Bockelson’s claim to absolute spiritual and temporal dominion over the whole world: a globe, representing the world, pierced by the two swords (of which hitherto pope and emperor had each borne one) and surmounted by a cross inscribed with the words: ‘One king of righteousness over all.’ The king himself wore this emblem, modeled in gold, hanging by a gold chain from his neck. His attendants wore it as a badge on their sleeves; and it was accepted in Munster as the emblem of the new state....”28

“In the market-place a throne was erected; draped with cloth of gold it towered above the surrounding benches which were allotted to the royal councilors and the preachers. Sometimes the king would come there to sit in judgment or to witness the proclamation of new ordinances. Heralded by a fanfare, he would arrive on horseback, wearing his crown and carrying his scepter. In front of him marched officers of the court, behind him the chief minister and a long line of ministers, courtiers and servants. The royal bodyguard accompanied and protected the whole procession and formed a cordon around the square while the king occupied his throne. On either side of the throne stood a page, one holding a copy of the Old Testament—to show that the king was a successor of David and endowed with authority to interpret anew the Word of God—the other holding a naked sword.

“While the king elaborated this magnificent style of life for himself, his wives and friends, he imposed on the mass of the people a rigorous austerity. People who had already surrendered their gold and silver”29now submitted to a requisition of their food and accommodations.

In the new works which now were written, “the fantasy of the Three Ages” of Joachim of Flores appeared in a new form. The First Age was the age of sin and lasted until the Flood, the Second Age was the age of persecution and the Cross and it lasted down to the present; the Third Age was to be the age of the vengeance and triumph of the Saints. Christ, it was explained, had once tried to restore the sinful world to truth, but with no lasting success.”30You see the new Christianity must improve upon the old Christianity.

“Terror, long a familiar feature of life in the New Jerusalem, was intensified during Bockelson’s reign. Within a few days of his proclamation of the monarchy, Dusentschur,” one of the ministers, proclaimed that it had been revealed to him that in future all who persisted in sinning against the recognized truth must be brought before the king and sentenced to death. They would be extirpated from the Chosen People; their very memory would be blotted out, their souls would find no mercy beyond the grave. Within a couple of days executions began.”31

They sent out emissaries, prophet[?] of the Apostles, to arouse other cities to the same revolution. “The aim of all these insurrections was the one appointed by Bockelson, and it was still the identical aim which had inspired so many millennial movements...:‘To kill all monks and priests and all rulers that there are in the world, for our king alone is the rightful rule.’”32

“...During these last, most desperate weeks of the siege,”—the Catholic bishop again was besieging them—“Bockelson displayed to the full his mastery of the technique of terror. At the beginning of May the town was divided for administrative purposes into twelve sections and over each section was placed a royal officer with the title of Duke and an armed force of twenty-four men.”33They were forbidden ever to leave their sections, so they couldn’thave a rebellion against the king.

“They proved loyal enough and exercised against the common people a ruthless terror... Any man who was found to be plotting to leave the town, or to have helped anyone else to leave, or to have criticized the king or his policy, was at once beheaded. These executions were mostly carried out by the king himself, who declared that he would gladly do the same to every king and prince. Sometimes the body was quartered and the sections nailed up in prominent places as a warning. By mid-June such performances were taking place almost daily. “Rather than surrender the town Bockelson would doubtless have let the entire population starve to death; but in the event the siege was brought abruptly to a close. Two men escaped by night from the town and indicated to the besiegers certain weak spots in the defenses. On the night of June 24th, 1535, the besiegers launched a surprise attack and penetrated into the town. After some hours of desperate fighting, the last two or three hundred male surviving male Anabaptists accepted an offer of safe-conduct, laid down their arms and dispersed to their homes, only to be killed one by a massacre which lasted for several days.”34

We see in the picture this King John of Leyden.35

These Anabaptists have survived at the present time in such communities as Mennonites, the Brethren and the Hutterian Brethren, but of course as an historical movement it lost its influence shortly after this time. But even this agnostic historian says an interesting thing. He finds that these movements he’s studying are very similar to the movements in twentieth century of Nazism and Communism. And he notes that: “Some suspicion of this has occurred to Communist and Nazi ideologists themselves. An enthusiastic if fanciful exposition of the heterodox German mysticism of the fourteenth century with appropriate tributes to Beghards, Beguines and Brethren of the Free Spirit, fills a long chapter of Rosenburg’sMyth of the Twentieth Century;”—he’s the leading apologist for Hitler—“while a Nazi historian devoted a whole volume to interpreting the message of the Revolutionary of the Upper Rhine. As for the Communists, they continue to elaborate, in volume after volume, that cult of Thomas Müntzer which was inaugurated already by Engels. But whereas in these works theprophetaeof a vanished world are shown as men born centuries before their time, it is perfectly possible to draw the opposite moral—that, for all their exploitation of the most modern technology, Communism and Nazism have been inspired by fantasies which are downright archaic.”36In any case, “in many respects,” they are both “heavily indebted to that very ancient body of beliefs which constituted the popular apocalyptic lore of Europe.”37

Looking at what is happening in the twentieth century, one could say more than that: that that chiliastic expectation, the desire for a new kind of Christianity which we realize in this world, is one of the dominant traits of the modern mentality. And this earlier explosion faded away, but later it on came out in a stronger form. And in fact today some half the world is in possession of people who think very much like these people and have the same elements of terror, of killing off all enemies, the same kind of frantic...

Fr. H: The Gulag.

Fr. S: Yes, the Gulag; the same frantic talking about the enemies who are about to destroy them, the bourgeoisie, the exploiters of the factory workers and so forth.

This man and there’s other ones like this, who led these millennial rebellions in the age of the Renaissance, which did not occur in the settled age before the Schism, are precisely forerunners of Antichrist. And now it becomes the case that whole cities, whole groups of people can follow these false leaders who have the most fantastic and wild expectations and descriptions of themselves—they are the rulers of this world. So this thing which began in the Middle Ages now becomes stronger, the search for a universal monarchy.

Renaissance Art

The art of this period which is, of course, some of the great art of Western man, reveals—some things we won’t go into: the resurrection of antiquity, the endless naked statues and all that, which are obviously a resurrection of the paganism of the body and this world. We’ll look at a few of the religious paintings.

These are, from the Orthodox point of view, blasphemy. We know that for many of the painters, they had a very loose life. They had their mistresses pose as the Virgin Mary. And you can go through painting after painting of this period and see nothing which is recognizable as a religious, really religious thing. There are a number of them which are simply pagan and even quite indecent. And others are more refined but still the same principles of... You can see the fat chubby child, kind of just naked, and the women are obviously worldly women. Sometimes they’re coarse, sometimes refined, but it’s the same kind of worldliness. And you can go through all these ones: the Rubens, the Tintoretto, the Rafael—they all have the same extremely worldly spirit. There are some, oh, we’ll talk about him in a minute. But you can glance at some of these pictures that are all sort different themes. Even one here by Caravaggio, it’s quite early, a little later, 1600. He has a picture of the ecstasy of Francis, which is very interesting. It fits in with all that...(sound fades)

There are some who tried to revive religious art, the chief of whom was Fra Angelico; but he was very much against all this paganism and tried to get back to real religious art. You can see that in some of these the people are trying to be pious. They aren’t just worldly; but if you look at them you can see that the spirit is a little different, but still the same worldly spirit has been entered very much in. The robes are extremely gorgeous. The painting’s extremely beautiful. And the attempt to make some kind of piety which is just plainprelest.Some of these are very Latin. Some of them like El Greco are just obviouslyprelest,some kind of distortions which are far from—he’s supposed to be Greek, that’s what he’s supposed to be. Historians say he has Byzantium influence; and of course, it’s nothing of the sort.

Question: Are those supposed to be Mary and Christ?

Fr. S: Yeah. Those are, those are the best of this period. Some of them, especially the ones in Spain or the north, become more and more bloody and ghastly. And some of them like these—Botticelli and Botticini, they’re very sort of lovely if you don’t look at the child, the chubby child. The Virgin and Christ make exquisite creatures. If we look at some of the paintings of Botticelli – we don’t have the one that’s in color, but here’s this painting of the birth of Venus which is an extremely lovely thing if you look at the colors. Here it’s just black and white, but you can see it’s extremely finely done. But it’s pure paganism; it’s the birth of Venus out of a shell. And it’s obvious this is some kind of a new religion. It’s very close to this thing which we mentioned about Bruno, that matter is divine, that matter is so lovely, the world has been discovered; and it is full of such lovely beauty and such mystery that the painter can somehow bring it out.

And likewise the same thing we feel from Michelangelo. You look at some of these sort of Promethean figures, obviously some kind of new religion, totally unchristian belief that man is divine...trying to capture some kind of beauty in this world. The other world is completely lost. In Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” it’s all some kind of drama, sort of an arranged pose, very nicely. You can see that whatever Giotto still had and those artists of the Middle Ages, whatever they preserved is totally lost now.

And here’s one which is Fra Angelico, who tried to get back to the religious meaning. You can see this is the typical Catholicprelest. The people are, it’s so lovely—pink and blue, and all these colors. And if you see the actual painting probably it’s stunning. But if you look at the people, such stupid expressions on their faces, so posed, so dramatic. It’s Christ crowning the Virgin, but it’s very—no religious meaning at all.

And there’s another one here. It shows the Crucifixion already now some kind of realism, the emphasis all on the symbolic. The icon, there’s nothing recognizable as an icon; it’s totally worldly. And those that are the religious are inprelest.

And very likely, there are some which are mixed up with all kinds of sectarianism. Here’s one by Hieronymus Bosch about paradise, Christ with Adam and Eve in paradise which is filled with all kinds of symbolism. He himself was supposed to be mixed up with one of those sects, the Brethren of the Free Spirit. Undoubtedly expresses all kinds of sectarian fantasies about Adam and Eve. We just read about St. Paul, the Life of St. Paul of Obnora, how he lived like Adam in paradise with the animals. And these people [had] lost that idea of the ascetic living like Adam and Eve. We should look at the rest of the pictures.

Some frightful pictures [some of] which aren’t very suitable. But this one shows how – well, it’s sort of sectarian. Because the sectarians believed at that time was to get back to the state of paradise, Adam and Eve. And that’s why they go naked and they have everything in common and think that they’re establishing a new reign of paradise on earth.

Here’s another one, a very lovely one by Fra Angelico with peacocks and all kinds of things which are so full of some kind of different religious spirit, It’sprelest...

Just looking at these paintings already reveals that between Orthodoxy and this, there is already a gulf which is so great it cannot be breached. If one is going to become Orthodox; if he’s already Orthodox, he can only be an individual who comes back to the truth and realizes what is truth, how far he’s gone astray. But to talk about union with people who have religious paintings like that shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s a different religion.


So in summary we will mention the main characteristics which come out in this period:

The first one is the rise of the self as the new god. It becomes, now it has not become expressed in this way, but in the later period already we will see people talking about the individual as being god. This is the meaning of Humanism and Protestantism: get rid of the religious tradition, the Orthodox tradition so that the new god can be born.

The second idea, very strong, is that just as the individual god is being born also the world now becomes divine. This is expressed by Bruno in so many words: if matter is divine, that God is in the world, the world is an alive breathing of God, that the soul of the world is the Holy Spirit. And you see it in some of these paintings, how much people like Botticelli believed something like this, that nature is divine. A pantheistic view. But something which invests the world with a significance which, according to Orthodox thought, it cannot have. The world comes from nothing; it is to go, it’s to vanish away and be recreated by God as a new world. But they want this world to last. And therefore they put a divine meaning into it. And this becomes very important doctrine later on.

Again, the search for the new Christianity results now in much more bizarre religious experiments: the Brethren of the Free Spirit, the new religions of the Third Age of the Holy Spirit, the Anabaptists. And these become stronger as the old religious standard fades more into the background. Later on the attempt to make a new Christianity becomes much less recognizable as Christian.

And finally there are now beginning to arise for the first time some serious candidates for Antichrist, that is, forerunners of Antichrist. These people like this John of Leyden set themselves up as Christ come back to earth. And this idea of the world monarchy, the world theocracy, although it is still underground, is also getting stronger and is able to move a whole city.

We will see what happens to all these movements in the next age, which is the age of the so-called Enlightenment, which, just like the age of the Renaissance, has, besides its main current of rationalism, this very distinct current, undercurrent of irrationalism.

This whole movement of the period of the Renaissance, therefore, shows the development of the seeds which were planted in the period of the Middle Ages by the departure of Rome from the Orthodox Church. And already in the period of Renaissance, what results is extremely different from Orthodoxy. If you look at the Middle Ages, there are some things which seem much closer. Outwardly they are much closer, but inside they have the seeds which are to produce all the things which are to come afterwards. So that the difference between Middle Ages and Renaissance is actually less than the difference between Orthodox Rome and Rome of the Middle Ages. And all these movements are growing. Some of them burst up like these apocalyptic movements. Some of them suddenly blaze up and then die down, but they still are part of the mentality which is being formed. And they come up later in extremely strange forms, which if you look at them philosophically, theologically, you can see that they are the same movement.

And so this man [Cohn] here who writes about the millennium is wrong when he thinks that you can show that one is either archaic or that the other is progressive. that’s beside the point. The point is they are both there as part of the mentality being formed. Sometimes they show a direct growth, like the growth of science; and sometimes they show, they flare up and die out. But there are certain things which are the basic recurring motives of modern thought, which are the things which we will concentrate on.

The next lecture will be examining the period of the eighteenth century, well, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the scientific world-view becomes dominant and there seems to be some kind of equilibrium established, some kind of harmony. And the history of the world since then is the history of the falling away from this harmony. We will try to show what this harmony consisted of, and why there had to be the falling away from it to produce the world of anarchy in which we live now. And the whole thing from Middle Ages to Renaissance to the Enlightenment Age to the Romantic Age and today, all follows a definite logical progression, showing us that once Orthodoxy is left behind, there is a certain natural process which works. And the devil of course is always there. And we’ll see over and over again that great leaders in modern thought will begin with some kind of a vision, and even some kind of—we can see that the devil is working. And they no longer have any idea that the devil can do things like that. And therefore they are much more inclined to accept their visions as some kind of revelation.


1. Read during monastic meal the day of this lecture.

2. Quoted in Randall, John Herman,The Making of the ModernMan, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1926, Boston, p. 134.

3. Burckhardt, Jacob,The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy,Vol. I, Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1958, p. 151.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid., p. 152.

6. Ibid., p. 162.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid., p. 162.

9. See note Lecture 2.

10. Burckhardt, Vol II, p. 484.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid., p. 485

13. Ibid., p. 486.

14. Randall, John Hermann,The Making of the Modern Mind, The Riverside Press, Houghton Mifflin Co., Cambridge, Massechusetts, 1926, p. 243.

15. Cohn, Norman,The Pursuit of the Millennium, Harper Torchbooks, 1961, New York, p. 22.

16. Ibid. p. 24.

17. Ibid.

18.Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue, transl. & intr. by Suzanne Noffke, O.P., Paulist Press, 1980, pp. 25-26. Catherine dictatedThe Dialogueduring a 5-day ecstatic experience, referring to herself in the third person or as “the soul:” “A soul rises up...she seeks to pursue truth and clothe herself in it. But there is no way she can so savor and be enlightened by this truth as in continual humble prayer, grounded in the knowledge of herself and of God. For by such prayer the soul is united with God, following in the footsteps of Christ crucified, and through desire and affection and the union of love he makes of her another himself. So Christ seems to have meant when he said, ‘If you will love me and keep my word, I will show myself to you, and you will be one thing with me and I with you.’ (John 14:21-23)

And we find similar words in other places from which we can see it is the truth that by love’s affection the soul becomes another himself. To make this clearer still, I remember having heard from a certain servant of God [Catherine referring to herself] that, when she was at prayer, lifted high in spirit, God would not hide from her mind’s eye his love for his servants. No, he would reveal it, saying among other things, ‘Open your mind’s eye and look within me, and you will see the dignity and beauty of my reasoning creature [the human person]. But beyond the beauty I have given the soul by creating her in my image and likeness, look at those who are clothed in the wedding garment of charity, adorned with many true virtues: They are united with me through love. So I say, if you should ask me who they are, I would answer,’ said the gentle loving Word, ‘that they are another me; for they have lost and drowned their own will and have clothed themselves and united themselves and conformed themselves with mine.’ It is true, then, that the soul is united to God through love’s affection.” p. 57: “The fire within that soul blazed higher and she was beside herself as if drunk, at once gloriously happy and grief-stricken. She was happy in her union with God, wholly submerged in his mercy and savoring his vast goodness... For her union with God was more intimate than was the union between her soul and her body.” p. 85: “You will all be made like him in joy and gladness;... your whole bodies will be made like the body of the Word my Son. You will live in him as you live in me, for he is one with me.” Also p. 295 [God speaking to her]: “That soul was so perfectly united with me that her body was lifted up from the earth, because in this unitive state I am telling you about, the union of the soul with me through the impulse of love is more perfect than her union with her body.”

19. Cohn, p. 287.

20. Ibid., p. 288.

21. Ibid., p. 289.

22. Ibid., p. 290.

23. Ibid., p. 292.

24. Ibid., p. 293.

25. Ibid., p. 294.

26. Ibid., p. 295.

27. Ibid., p. 295.

28. Ibid., p. 297.

29. Ibid., p. 297.

30. Ibid., p. 298.

31. Ibid., p. 300.

32. Ibid., p. 302.

33. Ibid., p. 304.

34. Ibid., p. 305.

35. Ibid., p. 306.

36. Ibid., p. 309.

37. Ibid., p. 309.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (5)

Now we come to the period which stands between the Renaissance and modern times which has a definite essence of its own. One of the classical works on this period, this Paul Hazard, calledThe European Mindstates: In this period a “moral clash took place in Europe. The interval between the Renaissance, of which it is a lineal descendant, and the French Revolution for which it was forging the weapons, constitutes an epoch which yields to none in historical importance.”1This is the classical age of modern Europe.

The same author states: “The classical mind, with the consciousness of its strength, loves stability, nay, if it could, it wouldbestability. Now that the Renaissance and the Reformation—big adventures these!—were over, the time had come for a mental stocktaking, for an intellectual ‘retreat.’ Politics, religion, society, art—all had been rescued from the clutches of the ravening critics. Humanity’s storm-tossed barque had made port at last. Long might it stay there! Long! Nay let it stay there forever! Life was now a regular, well-ordered affair. Why, then, go outside this happy pale to risk encounters that might unsettle everything? The Great Beyond was viewed with apprehension; it might contain some uncomfortable surprises. Nay, Time itself they would have made stand still, could they have stayed its flight. At Versailles, the visitor got the impression that the very waters had been arrested in their course, caught and controlled as they were and sent skywards again, and yet again, as though destined to do duty forever.”2

This period between the Renaissance and modern times is the first real attempt to make a harmonious synthesis of all the new forces which had been let loose by medieval and Renaissance and Reformation man. But the attempt was to do this without losing a spiritual base of some kind of Christianity. That is how it is quite different from what is being attempted today, to make a synthesiswithoutChristianity, or rather with Christianity much more watered-down. We will look at several aspects of this harmony and find there also the reasons why it could not last.

The first aspect of this new classical age, this new harmony, is the dominance of the scientific world-view which took the form of the “world machine” of Isaac Newton. “The age of Newton,” the early Enlightenment—he died in the 1720’s, I believe; his great book came out in the 1690’s—“when science and rational religion seemed to agree that all was right with the world, and the arts flourished in a way they were never again to flourish in the West. Before this time the West had known several centuries of intellectual ferment and even chaos as the medieval Roman Catholic synthesis collapsed and new forces made themselves felt and led to heated disputes and bloody warfare.”3The religious wars for all practical purposes ended with the, 1648, the end of the Thirty Years’ War which actually devastated Germany and it quite practically destroyed her two centuries.

“Protestantism had rebelled against the complexity and corruption in Roman Catholicism; there was a renaissance of ancient pagan thought and art, a new humanism had discovered the natural man and pushed the idea of God ever more into the background and—the most significant for the future—science replaced theology as the standard of knowledge. And the study of nature and its laws came to seem the most important intellectual pursuit.

By the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, however, a certain equilibrium and harmony was reached in Western thought. Christianity was not, after all, overthrown by the new ideas,”—in the next lecture we’ll see what kind of Christianity this was –- “but rather adapted itself to the new spirit. And the difficulties and contradictions of modern naturalistic and rationalistic ideas had not yet made themselves felt. Particularly in the most enlightened part of Western Europe—England, France and Germany—it almost seemed that a golden age had come, especially by contrast with the religious wars that had ravaged these countries up to the middle of the seventeenth century. The enlightened man believed in God Whose existence could be rationally demonstrated and in natural religion, was tolerant of the beliefs of others and was convinced that everything in the world could be explained by modern science, whose latest discoveries and advances he eagerly followed. The world was seen to be a vast machine in perpetual motion whose every movement could be described mathematically. It was one great harmonious universe ordered, not hierarchically as in the Middle Ages or in Orthodox thought, but as a uniform mathematical system. The classical work expressing these ideas, Newton’sPrincipia Mathematica, was greeted with universal acclaim when it appeared in 1687, showing that the educated world at that time was thoroughly ripe for this new gospel.”4

Another classical work on the modern thought, Randall’sMaking of the Modern Mind,discusses some of these elements that entered into this view of the universe. “The thirty years that had passed since Galileo published hisDialogue on the Two Systems,” that is, the heliocentric and the geocentric system, “had seen an enormous intellectual change. Where Gallileo was still arguing with the past”—and we see that he almost got burned at the stake until he recanted his error and then said under his breath, “Nonetheless the earth still moves.”—“Where Galileo was still arguing with the past, Newton ignores old discussions and looking wholly to the future calmly enunciates definitions, principles and proofs that have ever since formed the basis of natural science. Galileo represents the assault; after a single generation comes the victory. Newton himself made two outstanding discoveries: he found a mathematical method which would describe mechanical motion and he applied it universally. At last what Descartes had dreamed was true: men had arrived at a complete mechanical interpretation of the world in exact mathematical deductive terms. In thus placing the keystone in the arch of seventeenth-century science, Newton properly stamped his name upon the picture of the universe that was to last unchanged in its outlines until Darwin; he had completed the sketch of the Newtonian world that was to remain through the eighteenth century as the fundamental scientific verity.”5

The is the age, actually the end of this period is the age of the Encyclopedia in France, a great undertaking particularly by Diderot, to bring the whole of knowledge into one great book of many volumes. It should be understood first of all that this very idea of the encyclopedia is something quite new, that is, the idea of bringing the whole of knowledge into one place and arranging it, as in later encyclopedias, even alphabetically. So everything is sort of flattened out and placed just within the compass of a certain number of pages, so that if you want to find out about anything, you simply look up in the index or look up alphabetically and you find article on that subject.

It should be said that in other nations which had somewhat of an idea of universal knowledge such as China, there were also encyclopedias. But those encyclopedias were rather different because there, there was still the hierarchical idea and, for example, the great encyclopedias of China which date back quite, a thousand years back or more, all these great encyclopedias were arranged so that the first volume was always “Heaven,” then the “Emperor,” then the higher sciences, and gradually progressed until it came down at the very end to those things which deal with earth. Whereas [in] the new idea of encyclopedia, everything is flattened out. And you can know one page of the encyclopedia and know nothing about the rest of it but be an expert in that. Therefore this is a very fragmentary kind of knowledge. And perhaps only the person who puts it together—in fact, not one person puts it together, many people do, so actually nobody—knows the whole thing.

Diderot himself, although he underestimated mathematics, nonetheless his idea of knowledge, the ideal of knowing everything is the same as that of all the rest of the people of his age. He says:

“We are on the point of a great revolution in the sciences. Judging by the inclination that the best minds seem to have for morals, forbelles-lettres, for natural history, and for experimental physics, I almost dare to predict that before a hundred years are over there will not be three great mathematicians in Europe... [Science] will have erected the pillars of Hercules; men will go no further; their works will last through the centuries to come like the pyramids of Egypt, whose bulks, inscribed with hieroglyphics, awaken in us the awful idea of the power and the resources of the men who built them.”6We see that they had an idea that they are now going to have the final definition of nature, of science, and collect all the knowledge there is. And soon the task will be finished.

In this new synthesis, the idea of nature actually replaces God as the central idea, even though we will see that the idea of God was not thrown out until the very end of this period. One of the French thinkers of the late eighteenth century, Holbach, thus describes his worship of nature:

“Man always deceives himself when he abandons experience to follow imaginary systems. He is the work of Nature. He exists in nature. He is submitted to her laws. He cannot deliver himself from them. It is in vain his mind would spring forward beyond the visible world: an imperious necessity ever compels his return—for being formed by Nature, who is circumscribed by her laws, there exists nothing beyond a great whole of which he forms a part, of which he experiences the influence. The beings his imagination pictures as above Nature, or distinguished from her, are always chimeras formed after that which he has already seen, but of which it is utterly impossible he should ever form any correct idea, either as to the place they occupy, or their manner of acting—for him there is not, there can be nothing, out of that nature which includes all beings...”—that is,outsideof that nature which includes all beings. “The universe, that vast assemblage of everything that exists, presents only matter and motion: the whole offers to our contemplation nothing but an immense, an uninterrupted succession of causes and effects... Nature, therefore, in its most extended signification, is the great whole which results from the assemblage of matter under its various combinations, with that contrariety of motions which the universe offers to our view.”6

Voltaire also says, when he describes a dialogue between nature and the scientist. And nature says to the scientist: “My poor son, shall I tell you the truth? I have been given a name that does not suit me at all. I am called Nature, but I am really Art—the art of God,”7the deistic God at that period.

And one of Newton’s disciples says: “Natural science is subservient to purposes of a higher kind, and is chiefly to be valued as it lays a sure foundation for Natural Religion and Moral Philosophy; by leading us, in a satisfactory manner, to the knowledge of the Author and Governor of the universe... To study Nature is to study into His workmanship; every new discovery opens up to us a part of his scheme... Our views of Nature, however imperfect, serve to represent to us, in the most sensible manner, that mighty power which prevails throughout, acting with a force and efficacy that appears to suffer no diminution from the greatest distances of space or intervals of time; and that wisdom which we see equally displayed in the exquisite structure and just motions of the greatest and the subtlest parts. These, with perfect goodness, by which they are evidently directed, constitute the supreme object of the speculations of a philosopher; who, while he contemplates and admires so excellent a system, cannot but be himself excited and animated to correspond with the general harmony of Nature.”8

Again this Holbach says about nature: “‘O thou,’ cries this Nature to man, ‘who, following the impulse I have given you, during your whole existence, incessantly tend towards happiness, do not strive to resist my sovereign law. Labor to your own felicity; partake without fear of the banquet which is spread before you, with the most hearty welcome; you will find the means legibly written on your own heart... Dare, then, to affranchise yourself from the trammels of superstition, my self-conceited, pragmatic rival, who mistakes my rights; denounce those empty theories, which are usurpers of my privileges; return under the dominion of my laws, which, however severe, are mild in comparison with those of bigotry. It is in my empire alone that true liberty reigns. Tyranny is unknown to its soil, slavery is forever banished from its votaries; equity unceasingly watches over the rights of all my subjects, maintains them in the possession of their just claims; benevolence, grafted upon humanity, connects them by amicable bonds; truth enlightens them; never can imposture blind him with his obscuring mists. Return, then, my child, to thy fostering a mother’s arms! Deserter, retrace back thy wandering steps to Nature. She will console thee for thine evils; she will drive from thy heart those appalling fears which overwhelm thee... Return to Nature, to humanity, to thyself!... Enjoy thyself, and cause others also to enjoy those comforts, which I have placed with a liberal hand for all the children of the earth, who all equally emanate from my bosom... These pleasures are freely permitted thee, if thou indulgest them with moderation, with that discretion which I myself have fixed. Be happy, then, O man!”9

And again he says: “O Nature, sovereign of all beings! and ye, her adorable daughters, Virtue, Reason and Truth! Remain forever our revered protectors! It is to you that belong the praises of the human race, to you appertains the homage of the earth. Show us then, O Nature! that which man ought to do, in order to obtain the happiness which Thou makest him desire. Virtue! animate him with thy beneficent fire. Reason! conduct his uncertain steps through the paths of life. Truth! let thy torch illumine his intellect, dissipate the darkness of his road. Unite, O assisting deities! your powers, in order to submit the hearts of mankind to your dominion. Banish error from our mind, wickedness from our hearts; confusion from our footsteps; cause knowledge to extend its salubrious reign; goodness to occupy our souls; serenity to occupy our bosoms.”10

See what a harmonious ideal this was: of nature ruling over everything, the mysteries of nature being discovered, God still being in His heaven, although not doing much, and scientific knowledge progressing over the whole world. The naturalist Buffon even said that, in describing the early Babylonian astronomers, “That early people were very happy, because it was very scientific.”11The ideas of scientific knowledge and happiness were bound up; in our own day, it seems to be the opposite. And again he says, “What enthusiasm is nobler than believing man capable of knowing all the forces and discovering by his labors all the secrets of nature!”12

And so, the great philosophers of this period had only to discover the whole system of nature, and so we have at this time the great metaphysical systems when the philosopher could sit down in his easy chair before his desk, read all the results of scientific research and the writings of previous philosophers and devise his own system of what nature is. And so we have Spinoza sitting back and devising the idea that there are two parallel systems, mind and matter; and both of these are God. And Leibnitz comes up with the idea of the monad—it’s a primary atom which is the basis of everything else—which explains both mind and matter. And Descartes sitting back in his study and discovering that everything in nature proceeds from the knowledge, intuition of clear and distinct ideas.

All these systems, of course, were rivaling each other and eventually overthrew each other; other systems overthrew them. But the ideal of a real philosophy of nature was never realized. But in this period this is still not completely realized. And science was considered to be the kind of knowledge which would bring men to the truth.

This whole period is one of great optimism and is well summed up in the poet Alexander Pope who regarded Newton as the ideal. A few words summed up the spirit which people had, the feeling people had about the time they were living in and the true philosophy which was now being devised from modern science:

“All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
“Whose body Nature is and God the soul;...
“All Nature is but Art unknown to thee;
“All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
“All discord, harmony not understood;
“All partial evil, universal good:
“And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
“One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.”
“Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night:
“God said,LetNewtonbe!and all was Light.”13

The “Brave new world:”Candide.

“But in the Age of Reason ‘empiricism’ was employed by a Voltaire to destroy revealed religion and absolute monarchy and Christian asceticism, and by the same Voltaire ‘reason’ was used to erect a ‘rational’ theology and ‘natural’ rights and a ‘natural’ law.”14“Voltaire stated it definitely: ‘I understand by natural religion the principles of morality common to the human race.’ It contained nothing else. This creed was accepted, by orthodox and radicals together, as the essential content of the religious tradition of Christianity.”15

“With the problem of the moral governance of the world, the age-old problem of evil, they [the rational theologians] did no better than their predecessors; here, too, they could only have faith that a rational order must be a moral order. Some, like Leibnitz, took pages to prove that this is the best of all possible worlds... Pope’s ringing ‘Whatever is, is right,’ sounded even to the eighteenth century suspiciously like whistling to keep up one’s courage. Others, like Voltaire, were too keenly aware of the injustices wreaked by nature and man upon man not to be revolted by such a faith; Voltaire’s famous tale,Candide, is one long ridicule of Leibnitz’ position.”16

Voltaire’s “chief quarrel with patriotism is for the humanitarian reason that it seems to require hatred of the rest of the human race. To love one’s country, in the commn estimation, means to hate all foreign lands... Hence against the follies of the patriot Voltaire waged an unceasing war of ridicule. Every one remembers the satire in the first chapters ofCandide, where the hero is beguiled into the army of the King of the Bulgarians during his war with the Abarians. ‘Nothing was so fine, so smart, so brilliant, so well-ordered as the two armies... The canons began mowing down about six thousand men on each side;... Candide, trembling like a philosopher, hid as best he could during this heroic butchery...Brains were scattered on the ground side by side with severed legs and arms. Candide fled as fast as he could to another village;...Candide, walking over palpitating limbs, or through ruins, finally got outside the theatre of war.’”17

Dreams for unity of mankind, discovery, mysteries of nature, happiness in earth, progress, golden age of art.

Faith in Progress

“From the beginning of the century onward there rose one increasing paean to progress through education. Locke, Helvetius, and Bentham laid the foundations for this generous dream; all men, of whatever school, save only those who clung like Malthus to the Christian doctrine of original sin, believed with all their ardent natures in the perfectibility of the human race. At last mankind held in its own hands the key to its destiny; it could make the future almost what it would. By destroying the foolish errors of the past and returning to a rational cultivation of nature, there were scarcely any limits to human wealth where it might not be transcended.

“It is difficult for us to realize how recent a thing is this faith in human progress. The ancient world seems to have had no conception of it; Greeks and Romans looked back rather to a golden age from which man had degenerated. The Middle Ages, of course, could brook no such thought. The Renaissance, which actually accomplished so much, could not imagine that man could ever rise again to the level of glorious antiquity; its thoughts were all in the past. Only with the growth of science in the seventeenth century could men dare to cherish such an over-weaning ambition. To Fontanelle, whose long life stretched from the days of Descartes to those of the Encyclopedia, belongs the chief credit for instilling the eighteenth-century faith in progress. He was a popularizer of Cartesian science, and it was from science and reason that he hoped that Europe would not only equal, but far surpass antiquity. All men, he proclaimed, are of the same stuff: we are like Plato and Homer, and we have a vastly richer store of accumulated experience than they. Men reverence age for its wisdom and experience; it is we moderns who really represent the age of the world, and the ancients who lived in its youth. A scientist oday knows ten times as much as a scientist living under Augustus. So long as men continue to accumulate knowledge, progress will be as inevitable as the growth of a tree, nor is there any reason to look for its cessation.

“This opinion may strike us as almost platitudinous, but to Fontenelle’s contemporaries it seemed the rankest of heresies. He found himself involved in a furious battle, and all France took sides in the conflict between the Ancients and the Moderns... But of the ultimate outcome there could be no question; all the scientists, from Descartes down, despised the ancients and carried the day for the faith in progress. By the middle of the next century it was clearly recognized that only in literature could the ancient world hope to hold its own; and with the rejection of the classic taste by the rising romantic school, the ancients even here fought a losing battle.

“It remained for Condorcet to sum up the hopes and the confidence of the age.”18

At the end of the eighteenth century there’s one great philosopher of progress, Condorcet, who wrote a history of the progress of the human spirit in which he said: “‘The result of my work will be to show by reasoning and by facts, that there is no limit set to the perfecting of the powers of man; as human perfectibility is in reality indefinite; that the progress of this perfectibility, henceforth independent of any power that might wish to stop it, has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which nature has placed us. Doubtless this progress can proceed at a pace more or less rapid, but it will never go backward; at least, so long as the earth occupies the same place in the system of the universe, and as the general laws of this system do not produce upon the globe a general destruction, or changes which will no longer permit the human race to preserve itself, to employ these same powers, and to find the same resources.’”19

He believed that the principles of Enlightenment “will spread over the entire earth; liberty and equality, a real economic and social and intellectual equality, will be continually strengthened; peace will reign on earth. ‘War will come to be considered the greatest of pestilences and the greatest of crimes.’ Nay, more; a better organization of knowledge, and an intelligent improvement in the quality of the human organism itself, will lead to the disappearance of disease and an indefinite prolongation of human life, but to the actual attainment of the perfect conditions of human well-being.”20

And again he says, “What a picture of the human race, freed from its chains, removed from the empire of chance as from that of the enemies of its progress, and advancing with the firm and sure step on the pathway of truth, of virtue, and of happiness, is presented to the philosopher to console him for the errors, the crimes, and the injustices with which the earth is still soiled and of which he is often the victim! It is in contemplating this vision that he receives the reward of his efforts for the progress of reason, for the defense of liberty. He dares then to link them to the eternal chain of human destiny; it is there that he finds the true recompense of virtue, the pleasure of having created a lasting good, which fate cannot destroy by any dread compensation, bringing back prejudice and slavery. This contemplation is for him an asylum whither the memory of his persecutors cannot pursue him; where, living in thought with man established in his rights as in the dignity of his nature, he forgets him whom avarice, fear or envy torment and corrupt; it is there that he truly exists with his fellows, in a paradise which his reason has created, and which his love for humanity enriches with the purest of joys.”21

Another historian of this time wrote a history of philosophy, 1796, J. G. Buhle, who says, “We are now approaching the most recent period of the history of philosophy, which is the most remarkable and brilliant period of philosophy as well as of the sciences and of the arts and of the civilization of humanity in general. The seed which had been planted in the immediately preceding centuries began to bloom in the eighteenth. Of no century can it be said with so much truth as of the eighteenth that it utilized the achievements of its predecessors to bring humanity to a greater physical, intellectual and moral perfection. It has reached a height which, considering the limitations of human nature and the course of our past experience, we should be surprised to see the genius of future generations maintain.”22

And there’s an interesting message which was placed in the steeple knob of the church in Gotha, in Germany, in 1784 which was supposed to be read by posterity. This is the message, from 1784: “Our age occupies the happiest period of the eighteenth century. Emperors, kings, princes humanely descend from their dreaded heights, despise pomp and splendor, become the fathers, friends and confidants of their people. Religion rends its priestly garb and appears in its divine essence. Enlightenment makes great strides. Thousands of our brothers and sisters, who formerly lived in sanctified inactivity,” meaning monks, “are given back to the state. Sectarian hatred and persecution for conscience’s sake are vanishing. Love of man and freedom of thought are gaining the supremacy. The arts and sciences are flourishing, and our gaze is penetrating deeply into the workshop of nature. Handicraftsmen as well as artists are reaching perfection, useful knowledge is growing among all classes. Here you have a faithful description of our times. Do not haughtily look down upon us if you are higher and see farther than we; recognize rather from the picture which we have drawn how bravely and energetically we labored to raise you to the position which you now hold and to support you in it. Do the same for your descendants and be happy.”23

When we look at these views of nature, art, virtue, the idea, we see, remember the idea that there is such a possibility of man being happy on this earth, of knowledge being perfect, of the arts flourishing and of there being a harmonious, in fact, it even says here, paradise on earth.

This is the foundation for what has been happening in the world for the last two centuries. All the ideas by which people are living today, most of them, come from this period. And if now this early optimism seems quite naïve, we still have to understandwhyit is naïve, why it does not correspond to the truth. So we will have to look at the inside of all this positive philosophy to see what were the germs which existed already at this time which led to the negative, to the overthrowing of this optimistic philosophy.

But before doing that, we’ll have to look at one other very interesting thing. Although this seems—if one thinks it through—to be very superficial, to be a kind of mockery of Christianity; still it’s very true that at this period there was a great flourishing of the arts. In fact, many people would say that the arts in the West never again came back to the standard of this period; particularly in music, it is indeed true that this is a golden age of modern Western music.

And so we’ll have to see, we’ll have to look at the positive side to see why there can be a positive flourishing of the arts like that which seems quite profound also when the philosophy is based upon something which seems quite superficial. And that will be the subject of the next lecture.


1. Hazard, Paul,The European Mind, 1680-1715, Meridian Books, New York, 1963, p. xviii.

2. Ibid., p. 3.

3. Fr. Seraphim reading from his unpublished article on the Enlightenment, pp. 1-2.

4. Ibid.

5. Randall, John Herman,The Making of the Modern Mind,Houghton Mifflin Co., 1926, Boston, pp. 257-258.

6. Ibid., p. 265.

7. Ibid., p. 274.

8. Ibid., pp. 274-5.

9. Hazard, p. 275.

10. Randall, op. cit., p. 278-79.

11. Ibid., p. 279.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid., p. 275, quoting Alexander Pope’sEssay on ManinWorks.

14. Ibid, p. 272.

15. Ibid., p. 287.

16. Ibid. p. 297.

17. Ibid., p. 377-78.

18. Ibid. pp. 381.-382.

19. Condorcet quoted in Ibid., p. 383.

20. Ibid., p. 383.

21. Ibid., quoting Condorcet, p. 383.

22. Ibid., quoting Buhle, p. 384.

23. Ibid., p. 384.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (6)

The brave new world we described in the last chapter, and the faith in science and nature, has another aspect to it, which is the religious view of this age. And in all these philosophers and writers we will examine, we see something which is already becoming, which is already familiar to us. Because many of the arguments they use we ourselves have heard. This is already, you can say, the wave-length or the universe of discourse in which we also talk. Their arguments were a little bit different, they were more naïve than the enlightened scientist today; but still they’re talking basically the same kind of language, trying to prove things by science or reason, and so forth.

This age of the Newtonian system is also the age of the religion of reason. One can say that in the age of Renaissance and Reformation, Christianity was either neglected or it was boiled down to its essentials—simplified as the Protestants tried to do—but they still, those who believed in Christianity were still keeping somehow onto the past. Already in Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi we saw that the Christianity was becoming quite different, but still the basic content of the faith outwardly was quite similar to traditional Christianity, just that they were changing the whole approach to it, which would lead later on to a change in the content also.

But in this new age, the Age of Enlightenment, we see that the very content of the faith now is being changed, and quite new religious ideas appear. The reason for this is that religion is now subjected to the same standard which science is: the outward study of the outward world, that is, the standard of reason. And thus it continues the process which began with Scholasticism when reason was placed above faith and tradition. This was the time when men dreamed of a religion of reasonableness. We will quote a number of the writers of this time. They all have just a slightly different approach, but in the end have very similar philosophy.

For example, Diderot, the great encyclopedist, talks about the getting rid of prejudices in religion. In one of his works he has a speaker tell about the importance of keeping people in bondage to certain prejudices for public good. To this Diderot replies: “What prejudices? If a man once admits the existence of a God, the reality of moral good and evil, the immorality of the soul, future rewards and punishments, what need has he of prejudices? Supposing him initiated in all the mysteries of transubstantiation, consubstantiation, the Trinity, hypostatical union, predestination, incarnation and the rest,will he be any the better citizen?”1

So obviously the new standard being applied, is a very outward standard. Reasonableness and all these things which seem complicated by Orthodox tradition, the basic doctrines of the faith, now come to seem very, too complicated. Itdoesn’thelp us to live any better, according to this view; and it’s completely irrational. And notice that most of these people retain a few basic faiths, that is, articles of faith like the existence of good and evil, of God, and afterlife.

Enlightenment in England

In this period the leadership in the expressing the spirit of the age passes over to England. Because England was the place where after 1689 there was the Edict of Toleration where all religions and all the Christian sects are allowed to exist except for Catholicism and Unitarianism; that is, various kinds of Protestantism, Anglicanism became legal.

We see this combination of “broad-mindedness,” so-called, with continued intoleration, because the Catholics had a very difficult time in England for a long time right up to the nineteenth century; and even today the broad-minded Anglican persuasion is extremely narrow in some respects—so much so that when there was an Englishman in our church who wanted to be baptized and become a priest, he had to go to France where Vladika John ordained him because it was not allowed in England for an Anglican cleric to become Orthodox.

And even today our English mission is very much restricted. The Anglicans very much are against any kind of converts coming to Orthodoxy and there are even laws about clergymen becoming Orthodox. So there’s a combination of a narrow, bureaucratic mentality with freedom. You can believe whatever you want as long as you’re either in the Anglican Church or just don’t care about religion. But they’re very much against any other kind of strong belief having freedom.

And most of the people we’ll examine today are English writers who, although they of course are not profound philosophers, are in the English pragmatic school; but their ideas were very much in accord with the spirit of the times and they spread over to France and Germany, and especially in France they had even very radical followers. The English usually held back from the most radical consequences because they’re very practical. You can keep the past and still be a free-thinker without going all the way.

There was already in the seventeenth century a Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who died in 1648, who was one of the leading “theologians,” so-called, of this new naturalistic religion. And he also, like many people in the Renaissance, had heard a supernatural voice which sanctioned his natural religion. According to him there are five articles of faith which all Christians can agree upon regardless of their sect or their theological differences. So you see he’s going to make out of reason—sort of synthesize—the essence of Christianity. And these five articles of faith which everyone agrees on are, namely, that God exists, that He is to be worshipped, that He is worshipped chiefly by piety and virtue, that men are called to repentance, and that there is an after- life of rewards and punishments. He thought that these were reasonable, of course, not on the basis of reason but because the people he knew and the ordinary thinking people of that time still believed, they still kept this much of Christianity. But after him there would be much more radical views.

There is another thinker, John Toland, an Anglican clergyman—I believe he was clergyman—who died in 1722, who wrote a book called,Christianity Not Mysterious,wherein he wanted to explain how Christianity is really very reasonable; you don’t have to have any superstition to believe in Christianity. And he said that: “There is nothing in the Gospel contrary to reason, nor above it: and that no Christian doctrine can properly be called a mystery.” So everything is perfectly understandable. A good man of common sense will understand what Christianity is all about.

Another one of the same period, Matthew Tindal who died in 1733, wrote another book on the same kind of topic calledChristianity as Old as the Creation.And according to him, the Gospel is simply the law of nature. And any revelation above this is really quite useless. Christianity is reduced simply to what is natural.

There were at this time two schools of thought in England, that is, the conservatists who were called the “supernaturalists” and the radicals who became the deists. But they all had in common this faith that religion is nothing but what is natural. The upernaturalists thought that revelationdidadd something to natural religion, although not very much. It was thought it was used as a kind of stamp of genuineness like saying “24-carat gold.” Derive your belief from reason and nature and then revelation comes along and says, “This is true.” That’s about as much as it did. And these were the conservatives.2

For example, we have as an example of a conservative, John Locke, the philosopher, who said: “‘In all things of this kind,” religion, “there is little need or use of revelation, God having furnished us with natural and surer means to arrive at a knowledge of them. For whatsoever truth we come to a clearer discovery of from the knowledge and contemplation of our own ideas, will always be more certain to us than those which are conveyed to us by traditional revelation.’” It’s obviously the idea here that revelation comes from without as though it is forced on you, whereas the thing which comes from inside you, which really persuades you, are rational arguments.

In the New Testament this John Locke found that there are only really two conditions set down for salvation. “These two, faith and repentance, that is, believing Jesus to be the Messiah, and a good life, are the indispensable conditions of the new covenant to be performed by all those who would obtain to eternal life.”3So all we have to do is believe and lead a righteous life. Already Orthodoxy is quite reduced, quite blotted out. All that is left is a very narrow Protestantism. He wrote a book typically called,The Reasonableness of Christianity.

So Christianity became, even with the conservatives, really just a rational philosophical system which appealed to common sense. And those who didn’t like this, they didn’t have any rational arguments apparently; and so the main rebellions against this rationalism were the lower-class movements of Pietism, Methodism and so forth which based religion on feeling.

And among the intellectuals, it seems that only Paschal saw through all this and was very profound in his observations about this religion of reason. He said, if you want to prove religion by reason, you had better not take Christianity, because it’s too full of mysteries. You can more easily prove the truth of Islam because it has fewer mysteries.4

But the movement of reason, once they got started, you can’t stop it wherever you please. The Scholastics thought that they would accept the whole content of Christianity and simply make it logical. Those after them rejected many of the small points which they were arguing about and said there was a certain essence you could be retain. Then the essence grew smaller and smaller and finally they wanted to do away with mysteries altogether. And now we shall see that the idea of religionat allbegins to be attacked.


First of all, there was a movement of Deism which is perhaps the most typical one of this whole eighteenth century. The idea of Deism is that God exists, but He’s quite irrelevant. That is, He creates the world and steps back. And from that time on it has nothing to do with God. Newton himself believed that He couldn’t calculate quite everything correctly, as, for instance, the paths of comets and so forth. And he had an idea that the universe was like a great watch which God made, stepped back and once in a while He has to step in and correct it, kind of wind it up again. But later astronomers said no, this is not true. And there actually is a unified theory you can have which explains everything including comets and all irregular kinds of movements. And so, God is simply necessary only at the beginning. God creates and that’s all. And God becomes extremely vague. Thus miracles and prophecy are beginning to be called into question; and many writers already begin to say they’re just superstition. In this the French became more radical than the English.

The example of Diderot who says,—although he did not publish it, he said in a private letter; it was still not early enough to publishing such a thing—“The Christian religion is to my mind the most absurd and atrocious in its dogmas; the most unintelligible, the most metaphysical,’” metaphysical now becomes a bad word, “the most intertwisted and obscure, and consequently the most subject to divisions, sects, schisms and heresies; the most mischievous for the public tranquility, the most dangerous to sovereigns by its hierarchic order, its persecutions, its disciplines; the most flat, the most dreary, the most Gothic,” which is also a bad word—Middle Ages, “and the most gloomy in its ceremonies; the most puerile and unsociable in its morality, considered not in what is common to it with universal morality, but in what is peculiarly its own, and constitutes it evangelical, apostolic and Christian morality, which is the most intolerant of all. Lutheranism, freed from some absurdities, is preferable to Catholicism; Protestantism (Calvinism) to Lutheranism, Socinianism to Protestantism, Deism, with temples and ceremonies, to Socinianism.”5But he still keeps some religion, as you notice; he wants Deism with temples and ceremonies because it’s good for the people.

Voltaire has the same kind of spirit and even said,“Écrasez l’infâme”—blot out the infamous thing, Christianity. “Every man of sense, every good man, ought to hold the Christian sect in horror. The great name of Deist, which is not sufficiently revered, is the only name one ought to take. The only gospel one ought to read is the great book of Nature, written by the hand of God and sealed with His seal. The only religion that ought to be professed is the religion of worshipping God and being a good man. It is as impossible that this pure and eternal religion should produce evil as it is that the Christian fanaticism should not produce it.”6

Against Miracles

The last defense of people who were defending supernatural religion on anything except a purely emotional basis, was the existence of miracles. And there was one writer in England who took upon himself to finally demolish the whole idea of miracles. And that’s David Hume, a Scotsman, whom we will discuss later on as very important to our contemporary whole philosophy. And it’s interesting, this textbook on modern thought, which was written in the ’20’s by a typical enlightened man [Randall], who’s very precise about his quotes, analyzing the ideas, but he himself is very much a product of all these ideas. And so for him, Hume is very much the standard. He says, “In his famousEssay on Miracles, in 1748, he proved so conclusively that intelligent men have rarely questioned it since, that a miracle, in the sense of a supernatural event as a sign of the divinity of its worker, cannot possibly be established. Even could it be shown that the events recorded did actually take place, that they were supernatural, and that they sufficed to establish a religion, it is still impossible to demonstrate.”7

And he quotes Hume on this who says: “No testimony sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish... A miracle can never be proved so as to be the foundation of a system of religion... Suppose all the historians who treated England should agree [that Queen Elizabeth died and after being buried a month returned to her throne and governed England again]. I should not doubt of her pretended death, and of those other public circumstances that followed it: I should only assert it to have been pretended, and that it neither was, nor possibly could be real... I would still reply, that the knavery and folly of men are such common phenomena, that I should rather believe the most extraordinary events to arise from their concurrence, than admit of so signal a violation of the laws of nature. But should this miracle be ascribed to any new system of religion; men, in all ages, have been so much imposed upon by ridiculous stories of that kind, that this very circumstance would be a full proof of a cheat, and sufficient, with all men of sense, not only to make them reject the fact, but even reject it without farther examination... As the violations of truth are more common in the testimony concerning religious miracles, than in that concerning any other matter of fact; ...this must make us form a general resolution, never to lend any attention to it, with whatever specious pretense it may be covered.”8

And according to this man, this is already conclusive proof that miracles do not exist or at least cannot be proved. But, of course, it’s evident that this man had a very strong faith not to believe in miracles. And we’ll have to examine later on what, where he gets his faith and how it is that this seems so evident to him.

This is the kind of thinking whicheveryonewas doing in those days, all the people who were writing books. Some were defending a little more religion, some a little less; but they were all tending in this direction towards the getting rid of everything supernatural. And this whole mentality so took hold of men that they could not help but think in these terms. We’ll see later on that Hume also applied this same standard to science with results which were absolutely devastating.

Attacking and Defending Religion

But soon this very religion of reasonableness in which the only thing left is that there’s a God and men should be good—even this began to be attacked, because reason is not content as long as it has something more to attack. And now the attack begins, not against just the supernatural, but against religion altogether. And here, perhaps to our surprise, we find that two of the great defenders of religion are precisely the Voltaire and Diderot, that is, the new idea of religion.

Voltaire argues at a time when he was still holding onto his Deism and many French thinkers already had become materialists and atheists. And he said: “When I see a watch whose hands mark the hours, I conclude that an intelligent being has arranged the springs of this machine so that its hands will mark the hours. Thus, when I see the springs of the human body, I conclude that an intelligent being has arranged these organs to receive and nourished for nine months in the womb; that the eyes are given to see, the hands to grasp, etc.”9So this is called the “argument from design,” a proof of the existence of God.

And a second argument is that there must be a final cause of everything. Voltaire says: “I exist, hence something exists. If something exists, then something must have existed from all eternity; for whatever is, either exists through itself or has received its being from something else.” Already sounds like Thomas Aquinas. “If through itself, it exists of necessity, it has always existed of necessity, it is God; if it has received its being from something else, and that something from a third, that from which the last has received its being must of necessity be God... Intelligence is not essential to matter, for a rock or grain do not think. Whence then have the particles of matter which think and feel receive sensation and thought? it cannot be from themselves, since they think in spite of themselves; it cannot be from matter in general, since thought and sensation do not belong to the essence of matter: hence they must have received these gifts from the hands of a Supreme Being, intelligent, infinite and the original cause of all beings.”

You see he’s quite clinging on to the old fashioned way of things. And he says finally, “In the opinion that there is a God, there are difficulties; but in the contrary opinion there are absurdities.” And later on good thinking men with common sense will begin to say that, no, there’s no absurdity in thinking that the world evolved itself and so forth. We’ll see this in a later lecture on the whole idea of evolution.

And Voltaire even believed in the immortality of the soul. On the immortality of the soul Voltaire says, “Without wanting to deceive men, it can be said we have as much reason to believe in as to deny the immortality of the being that thinks.” And of course, here he is not depending upon science; he’s speaking on the old beliefs, which the more radical thinkers were already disproving, getting rid of.

But already with the materialists and the atheists in this period just before the French Revolution, we begin to come to some of the reasons why the whole Enlightenment world-view was destroyed. But the basic outlook of Enlightenment was optimism, that it’s possible to understand what the world was all about. There are no mysteries left. Even Christianity is reasonable.

Art and Music

Now one note on the art and music of this period.

In reading the philosophers and theologians of this period, one finds that they are very much dated, that is, out of date. You read them and you see that: how can people think like that? They’re so naïve. By reason alone you’re going to prove the existence of the soul, or the existence of the afterlife. It’s obvious they are believing this on some other basis and not understanding that they believe this out of faith, because on reason alone, what can you believe, if you’re left to reason alone?

But the music of this period and the art is still very much alive. And you can hear a concert of this music, Baroque music, and it feels, you are very much attuned to it. In fact, it is just as fresh now as it was then. And interestingly enough, this music is quite profound. And it is not, as music later became, more and more subject to romantic feelings and sentimentality; it’s quite sober and has very much feeling in it, very fresh, very alive, also of course very regular. Both the art, the painting was subject to certain classical rules of painting, and the music also after polyphony had developed out of the Middle Ages, out of the later Middle Ages. Certain rules of counterpoint were adopted which later composers would think were too restrictive. But out of these—this sort of a definite—this classical system of musical laws and artistic laws, a very living art came.

One man even said this was one of the pinnacles of human achievement. Whether one thinks of Handel or Bach, or Rameau, David, the English composers Purcell, Burke, or the Italians Corelli, Vivaldi—they’re all on an extremely high level. Of course, in Germany also there are others—Schütz also. They wrote both religious music: the Passions, various kinds of Passions, and cantatas and secular music.

This music of course is not spiritual music. Even in the religious music you can see that it is not the same as the Orthodox church services which arouses one to contrition, which has a definite function in one’s spiritual life. This is what the Russians callduchevni—that is, music of the soul, the lower part of the soul not the higher part, which is called the spirit. Thus, his does not have the supreme worth that true Christian art does, whether the icon or the church music, which leads the soul to heaven. This is more, you sit back and you contemplate, relax and enjoy, but kind of thinking about it—although there’s some extremely pious music. Bach wrote one piece called “I Rejoice on My Death” about a person ready to die. And it’s obvious he had deep religious feelings. But this music also is not something which should be just thrown out because it is very,extremely refined.

And those who are in the world, since they are going to be subjected to art and music of some kind, can’t help it. You go into a supermarket and you’re subjected to music. You go out in the street and you’re subjected to the art— the buildings, the billboards, everything in the streets is the art of our times. And therefore since one has to be subjected to that, it’s better to be subjected to good, refined art than the barbarism which exists today.

Later on we’ll discuss something about the falling away from this classical age of art, and how you can detect a definite progress the same way that reason was to destroy this faith in the deistic god and the universe that makes sense. The same way the new currents that came in were to destroy the whole classical idea of art and music.

But one might also ask a very interesting question of where does the spirit behind this art come from. Because if one reads these philosophers and theologians one sees that their thought is extremely superficial; that is, some kind of deeper dimension seems to be missing. They’re lost, and the further one goes on and the more logical they get, the more one feels they’ve lost the whole point of what religion is. And obviously this music does not express the philosophy of Deism.

And the reason why the music can be so profound is obviously because it lived on the basis of the capital of the past, that is, the Christian capital of the past which is still not exhausted completely. And even these, even Voltaire who still believes in God and the afterlife is still living on the basis of the past. There was still left some kind of belief, some kind of traditional values. And music and art still have contact with this, these sources, although of course they’ve come far away from the traditional Orthodox art.

Later we’ll discuss how this modern art fell away from this classic age the same way as modern philosophy did. And now before beginning the last series of lectures on the modern world which we know, forces which shaped it, we should ask a few questions on how is it that this world-view of the Enlightenment collapsed—because it collapsed very soon. Its philosophy and its theology seems now incredibly naïve and narrow. And its art is a kind of golden age which is impossible to go back to. You can play over again these great masterpieces but you can’t, there’s no one composing now like that.

And there are several reasons and they all perhaps overlap each other. One is the very thing which Kireyevsky talked about: that reason, once it is exalted above faith and tradition, continues and produces its own destruction. The reason which first produced Scholasticism then produced the Reformation because you were criticizing the religion itself; and finally – first it’s the Reformation is a criticism of the Medieval Catholicism and then the criticism of Protestantism produces the atheist agnostic philosophers of the nineteenth century. And after Kireyevsky we’ll see that it produced the actual suicide of reason.

Once one accepts reason as the standard of truth, you have to follow it all the way. And that is why, as we are examining these religious thinkers, we see that one generation holds on to more of the past and thinks that is rational. The next generation subjects that to criticism and holds on to less, but thinks there’s still something left. The next generation destroys all that, and thinks there’s very little left. And that generation resembles[overturns?] the next one. As long as you believe that reason is capable of giving you truth, you have no argument against it. And that’s why there was no one; even the ones who were defending Christianity were arguing on the same rationalistic terms.

It’s the same thing that Dr. [Alexander] Kalimiros talks about: that between Orthodoxy and the West there is this gulf because in the West they are all talking in the same language, the Protestants, Catholics, sectarians, atheists; it’s all the same language. They’re all used to taking reason as the standard, even when they do not take it all the way, because they’re scared to go too far, most people; still, they have this rationalistic atmosphere in common. And in that atmosphere you cannot escape. You have to admit that reason is capable of truth; and, therefore, when your enemy has a very good argument, you have to grant that that’s true. If it’s true, he explains away your faith. But in Orthodoxy, reason has an entirely different function which we’ll talk about later.

And so we’ll see also in one of the next lectures that the history of our world in the last 200 years is a continuation of a kind of dialectical process whereby reason overthrows everything in the past and finally destroys itself. That is, reason must destroy itself once it is given the license to be the standard of truth. that’s why this Enlightenment Age seems now so naïve.

Another reason which acted for the overthrowing of this world-view is that the loss of the whole spiritual tradition and spiritual experience which we can see by the very fact that reason is made the standard—which means they lost the spiritual tradition—this loss made men actually hopeless, helpless before the negative criticism of reason, which you see in Voltaire, being very pathetic in his defense of some small part of the old tradition. And also made them unaware of non-rational influences which actually act upon the rationalists themselves. Later on people will become more aware of this, and that’s when reason actually destroys itself, in our own time.

And also they did not see when demonic powers intervened because they don’t believe anymore in demons. There’s no—these people weren’teven arguing for the existence of demons anymore.

So this is why we discussed earlier some of the undercurrents of chiliasm and the mystical view of science. It’s obvious that there are many forces under the surface, irrational forces which dominate one’s behavior. And a person who thinks he’s very rational, very reasonable, who believes only in reason, obviously has a kind of mystical faith in this reason. And most of them at this time were totally unaware of that.

Again, this view of theirs was so one-sided. Once you start reasoning, you do away with all kinds of things which you used to believe in, or would wish to believe in. And you go a lot farther than you wouldfeellike going. And after a while, it’s natural that people will say, “Wait, wasn’t there something then, too?” And so this very one-sided rationalism led to a revolt against it, which is on the religious level. There was this underground, this Pietism and Methodism, and now—beginning also at the end of the period—occultism and the so-called Romantic revolt in which everything Medieval all of a sudden becomes very attractive because it seems much richer than this narrow Enlightenment philosophy.

The experimental ideal in science also had a function similar to that of reason because it is never satisfied. It always wants to test its conclusions and come to new conclusions. So scientific ideals, these theories are constantly changing and this helped overthrow this scientific synthesis of the time of Newton.


Again, the idea of progress which we saw in this period in the earlier part of the period, the idea of the ancient was kept very much alive because of the Renaissance, that the ancients were the ones who were for us the true standard. If we can only get back to them and away from the Middle Ages and superstition, we will be fine. But then is when the sciences begin to become the dominant form of thought, the scientific world-view. People begin to see that anyone living today has more scientific knowledge than someone living in antiquity. Now science for the first time is being pursued systematically, experiments and everything else.

And so the people defending the ancients finally have to say that only in literature do the ancients hold the supremacy. And then with the outpouring of great classical literature of this period, and music and art, even there they say that, no, the moderns are also superior to the ancients because now we have a superior philosophy; and art also is superior. And out of this battle between the ancient and the moderns came the development for the first time of the idea of progress which is actually quite a religious idea which we’ll examine later.

But the very idea of progress—that the present is building upon the past, the past and improving it and future generations will improve upon us, that there will be an unlimited progress and man will constantly go ahead—this obviously destroys the idea that there’s one standard, the classical standard from the past whether Christian or pagan or what. Therefore everything becomes a [living seed?] at first, but everything becomes quite relevant. And one exists actually just for the sake of the future people who are going to improve upon one. And where, after a while when a person begins to realize that this is a movement of philosophy of constant change, constant movement, then the soul begins to be upset. It’s a sign that there’s no peace, no security. In the nineteenth century this leads to the evolutionary world-view; it’s a quite distinct world-view, in fact, quite as powerful as the Newtonian world-view, but quite different.

Finally when these rationalistic ideas, people sitting in their cabinets and thinking out logically what is true, what is false, what can be retained from the past, and what has to be rejected—it is one thing for a philosopher in his cabinet, but when you go outside and say now let’s change society on the basis of these ideas, something quite different occurs. And you can see that actually a great disaster occurs.

And that brings us to the subject of the next lecture which will be the Revolution. The French Revolution and the whole revolutionary movement of our times, which is the application of rationalistic ideas to the changing of society, the changing of the whole outward order of life. And here we will begin also to examine more the source of some of these rationalistic ideas, where they came from, why people came to believe that reason is the one standard of truth.

This whole ideal of the Enlightenment Age, the idea of Deism was, of course, the atmosphere from which modern Masonry arose. The idea of the Grand Architect God, God Who is somewhere remote in the heavens and doesn’t touch us. But the whole subject of Masonry will come up next lecture on Revolution because it was the power which was very responsible for producing the Revolution, that is, the deistic idea. And there’s very important reasons why Deism—although it seems quite outmoded and disproved—lasted on in the Masonic lodges.

Because the whole of the modern world-view is not atheistic, and is not agnostic; it believes in God. It’s only a temporary period where agnosticism and atheism are replacing Christianity for a certain purpose—so as to come back and worship the true God according to the revolutionary philosophy, which the Masons still believe today: the Grand Architect is new God.


1. Ibid., quoting Diderot, p. 283.

2. Randall, op. cit., p. 287-89.

3. Ibid., quoting Locke, p. 288.

4. Randall, op. cit., p. 286: Fr. Seraphim marked this passage in his book: “Malebranche particularly attempted to prove by reason the truth of the religious ideas upon the firm Cartesian foundation of the method of reason.... Pascal, who almost alone of first-rate French thinkers felt the insufficiency of the purely rational proof of religion in general cannot be a proof of any particular religious revelation, and that Malebranche’s attempt might just as easily have established Mohammedanism or Judaism;—might have done so, in fact, since they contained fewer ‘mysteries’ than orthodox [sic] Christianity.”

5. Randall, quoting Diderot, p. 292.

6. Randall, quoting Voltaire, p. 292.

7. Randall, p. 293-4.

8. Ibid., quoting Hume, p. 293.

9. Ibid., quoting Voltaire, pp. 296-297.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (7)

Now after examining the ideas which have been replacing one another in modern times from the Middle Ages and forming the modern mentality, we come to our own day, that is, the history of the last two hundred years. Because everything which came before the French Revolution has a different spirit; what comes after has a new spirit. The period before 1789 was called the “Old Régime,” and the period after that is the “Revolutionary Age” which is the same now as it was in the 1790’s.

This will take a number of lectures because now we will continue both the historical description of the modern mentality, but at the same time we will now do something else. At the very same time we are doing this, we will stop and analyze what is the underlying unity of these ideas. That is, what is the basic philosophy; in fact, what is the basic theology of the revolutionary mind?

And what do we mean by saying the revolutionary “theology?” Just as Orthodox Christianity has its theology, a whole dogmatic structure, which, when one believes it, enters into and changes every aspect of one’s life; so too the modern mentality, which has achieved its final form in the Revolution, has a whole belief system which affects the whole of one’s life and molds history.

The idea that modern history is a chance play of conflicting forces is totally unrealistic. There is a definite pattern, a definite philosophy or theology that is being worked out, so much so that astute “prophets,” so-called, among the modernists have been able to predict in advance how man is going to change in accordance with this “theology.” We can cite, for example, a little later on we will give more and more examples. We can cite, however, here Nietzsche who says, I think inThe Will to Power, “What I am describing here is the history of the twentieth century, the triumph of Nihilism, because when the masses get the ideas which I am now proclaiming, there will be a revolution such as the world has never seen.” And indeed the ideas filter down from the philosophers to the masses and then tremendous changes are caused.

Or we could quote another one, who was a crazy one also, Heinrich Heine, a Jew from Germany, who was very much akin to all this revolutionary spirit. And he says a few things which show that he’s in tune with what’s coming up. He wrote a history ofReligion and Philosophy in Germanyin which he quite accurately saw what was behind Luther, what was behind Kant, Hegel and these modern philosophers. This was in 1834 already he wrote this. He says, “Mark this, ye proud men of action, ye are nothing but unconscious hodmen,” workers, “Of the men of thought who, often in humblest stillness, have appointed you yourr inevitable task. Maximilian Robespierre was merely the hand of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the bloody hand that drew from the womb of time the body whose soul Rousseau had created.”1

In another place he even makes a prophecy about his own country. He tells the French that the Germans also are going to make a revolution. He says, “The old stone gods will then arise from the forgotten ruins and wipe from their eyes the dust of centuries, and Thor with his giant hammer will arise again, and he will shatter the Gothic cathedrals... Smile not at the fantasy who one foresees in the region of reality the same outburst of revolution that has taken place in the region of intellect,” because Germany was indeed the avant guard of philosophy. “The thought precedes the deed, as the lightning the thunder. German thunder is of true German character: it is not very nimble, but rumbles along somewhat slowly. But come it will, and when ye hear a crashing such as never before has been heard in the world’s history, then know that at last the German thunderbolt has fallen. At this commotion the eagles will drop dead from the skies and the lions in the farthest wastes of Africa will bite their tails and creep into their royal lairs. There will be played in Germany a drama compared to which the French Revolution will seem but an innocent idyll. At present, it is true, everything is tolerably quiet; and though here and there some few men create a little stir, do not imagine these are to be the real actors in the piece. They are only little curs chasing one another around the empty arena, barking and snapping at one another, till the appointed hour when the troop of gladiators appear to fight for Life and death.

“And the hour will come. As on the steps of an amphitheatre, the nations will group themselves around Germany to witness the terrible combat.”2Later on we’ll see what happens in Germany when there was indeed great revolutionary storm released.

No one author or history book or historical event contains the whole of the philosophy or theology which produced modern history, revolutionary history. And therefore, we shall have to examine many different historical events, many different writers, philosophers and try to grasp the underlying thread of this whole philosophy.

And in fact it is exactly like [approaching] Holy Fathers. There’s no one Holy Father you can read to get the whole teaching of Christianity, because many Holy Fathers express different points of view, different aspects. And the whole of the Fathers contain the wisdom of the tradition. And modern historians would like to say that one contradicts the other and so forth, but if, once you enter into the Orthodox spirit you see that one rather compensates for the other. And there’s a marvelous harmony in all the writings of Holy Fathers.

In the same way, there’s the same kind of harmony in all these modern thinkers, the ones who are really in contact with the spirit of the times. You can read one and get one aspect; read another and you a get different aspect. You can see in the French Revolution one aspect, in Napoleon a different aspect. When you put them all together, you see there’s a marvelous harmony to it; it all makes sense. But this has not really been done before—such an analysis—and therefore we’ll have to look at very many different aspects.

With the revolution we must examine two aspects of the activity of the modern mentality: we call these the philosophers and the activists—the philosophers who have the ideas and the activists who produce the historical events. Or as one early historian of the French Revolution said, the one is called the “corrupting philosophers,” the ones who think the thoughts; the second are called the “massacring philosophers,” the ones who go out and massacre the people.3

This is the age, this modern age, this revolutionary age, when modern philosophy produces the most profound effects in every day life. Before, philosophy was largely a matter of the upper classes, sort of idle people who had the time to think. And from now on,everyoneis drawn into this, the modern philosophy because it changes the whole of life. These two aspects, the philosophy and activism, are not entirely separate but they intertwine. And so we have to understand first of all how they are related to each other.

First of all,the philosophy inspires the act. Without modern philosophy there would have been no revolution. In fact Napoleon even said, “Without Jean Jacques Rousseau I would never have existed.”4Secondly, philosophy is not something which comes first and they act afterwards; the philosophy continues while the act is going on. And we can say that it consolidates what the act has gained and keeps pushing on the activists to do more. The revolutionary acts are often the work of a small organized group, but they succeed because they have the support of the common mind, that is, the spirit of the times, which is willing to excuse any kind of excesses. Without this support of the common mentality of the times, the revolution, all revolutions would collapse as soon as the plotters are killed off.

Even today we see very clearly that Communism continues to exist and to have half the world precisely because the West shares the same basic ideas and, therefore, is willing to excuse the crimes of Communism.

In looking at the acts of the revolutions, it is not possible for us to untangle exactly everything that happens and see exactly who inspired each separate act, which secret society is at work, where there are charlatans, where there is somebody who is trying to make a name for himself. The secret societies themselves, who were very much involved in all of this, make a point of hiding themselves. And therefore, there’s no way we can untangle everything and say—as some people like to point out: they can spot every place where the Communist conspiracy is going on. It’s much deeper than that. That is a kind of “John Birch” mentality [in] which someone is seen with somebody who is a friend of a Communist, [therefore,] that means that the plot is right there—and [That’s] not necessarily [the case] at all. The only thing we can do is look much deeper and examine the ideas which are expressed, and the acts which come out, and see how significant they are and how faithful they are to the modern philosophy—the revolutionary philosophy—and which ones are in accordance with the spirit of the times and are going to produce results in the future.

Therefore, first of all, we will try to trace the progress of modern thoughtinthe revolution. And by revolution I mean, of course, the whole new concept of revolution, which is a universal thing, which begins with the French Revolution. We will try to show the unity of the whole revolutionary movement and analyze its theological philosophy and its psychology. This will give us an outward, unified view of the revolutionary age. And then in a later lecture we’ll turn to the inward, so-called “spiritual” striving of modern man which gives the inspiration for the final goal of the whole revolution.

In looking at the French Revolution, which is the place where we begin because this is where modern ideas have their first great outburst, we will have to have an approach which is different from most histories of the French Revolution. You can read... [historians explaining its events] though the revolution was made by well-meaning people and unfortunately there were sometimes some hot heads who got mixed up with it; and historical circumstances changed, outward dangers caused changes of plans, and the whole thing just didn’t come off the way it was supposed to be. And the idealists were somehow frustrated and have to come back and start again. And this, if we look at the actual history of events, is a very naïve view. It’s not that way at all. This is not to say that every single event is brought about by a conspiracy, because there are many other motives—there are many people who want themselves to take over, to kill off somebody else—and many byways in which the revolution gets sidetracked and then comes back to the main purpose. And so we have to look, as I said, to see what is the essence of the various changes which come about, and to follow the thread which occurs as a constant thread throughout all the revolutionary events.

In examining the revolution there is one book which is very great textbook of this. It is written by a person who was in Paris during the Revolution, during the 1790’s and wrote the book about 1797, I think. And this edition we have is 1818. It’s calledMemoirs to Serve for a History of Jacobinismby the Abbé Barruel. B-A-R-R-U-E-L. And he’s ery valuable because he was right there when this was all very fresh. And he was faced by the same kind of thinkers we have today who say that the whole thing was a noble experiment which did not come off. And he made great research into many texts – and we’ll see what kind of texts they were—and shows that there’s a single thread which goes through the Revolution; it’s not some kind of chance thing. And many things which now people and historians might say are accidental results, he says, “No, they planned it that way.” And he has the texts to back it up.

I’ll read part of the introduction to his book which shows his whole approach. He says: “Under the disastrous name of Jacobins,” who are the radicals who immediately took over the Revolution, “Under the disastrous name of Jacobins, a sect appeared in the first days of the French Revolution, teaching that men are all equal and free; in the name of this equality and this disorganizing liberty, trampling underfoot the altars and the thrones; in the name of this same equality and of this same Liberty, calling all the nations to the disasters of the rebellion and to the horrors of anarchy.

“From the first moments of its appearance, this sect found itself three hundred thousand members strong, supported by two million arms which it could set in motion throughout the whole extent of France, weapons of torches, pikes, hatchets, and of all the thunder-bolts of the revolution.

“It is under the auspices, it is by the movements, the impulsion, the influence and the action of this sect that were committed all the great atrocities which have inundated a vast empire by the blood of its bishops [pontiffs], its priests, its nobles, its wealthy, its citizens of every rank, every age, every sex. It is by these very men that King Louis XVI, the Queen his spouse, his sister Princess Elizabeth, battered by outrages and ignominy during a long captivity, were solemnly assassinated on the scaffold, and all the Sovereigns of the world were proudly menaced by the same fate. It is by these men that the French Revolution has become the scourge of Europe, the terror of powers vainly united to put an end to the progress of these revolutionary armies, more numerous and more devastating than the inundation of the Vandals.

“Who therefore are these men who come out, so to speak, from the bowels of the earth, with their dogmas and their thunder-bolts, with all their projects, all their means, and all the resolution of their ferocity. What is this devouring sect?...

“What might be their school and who might be their masters? What are their subsequent plans? This French Revolution brought to an end, will it finally cease to torment the earth, to assassinate the kings and to fanaticize the nations?”

“We have perceived them trying to persuade people that the whole revolutionary and conspiratorial sect, before this revolution itself, is only an imaginary sect. For those people, all the evils of France and all the terrors of Europe succeed one another, are connected by the simple concurrence of unforeseen circumstances, impossible to foresee. It seems to them useless to seek out the conspiracies and agents who had plotted the conspiracies and directed the chain of events. The ones [actors] who rule today do not know the plans of those who have preceded them; and those who will come after them will likewise be ignorant of the plans of their predecessors.

“Preoccupied with such a false opinion, filled with such a dangerous prejudice, these pretended observers will readily say to the various nations: let the French Revolution alarm you no longer. It is a volcano which has opened itself, without anyone being able to know the hot-bed where it was prepared; but it will wear itself out, with its fuel, on the counter-forces which have seen it arise. You announce that—due to causes unknown in your climates, due to elements less likely to ferment, due to laws more analogous to your character, the public fortune being more secure—the fate of France could not become yours;” And so you do not be afraid. [and if you must one day participate in it, in vain will you seek to avoid it. The coincidence and the fatality of circumstances will sweep you away against your will. That which you might have done to escape it might perhaps be called the plague, and will only hasten your misfortune.]

“I have in my hands the memoir of an ex-minister,” of Louis XVI, who was “consulted about the causes of this Revolution, and in particular concerning the principal conspirators whom it would be good to know, and about the plan of the conspiracy. I have read how he pronounces that it would be useless to search out either men or an association of men who could have planned the ruin of the throne and of the altar, or formed any plan which could be called a conspiracy. Unfortunate Monarch! When the very ones who should have been watching out for you are unaware of even the name and even the existence of your enemies and those of your people, is it very astonishing that you and your people would be the victims of it!...”

“...We will tell them: in this French Revolution, everything including its most horrible crimes, all has been foreseen, planned, contrived, resolved, decreed: all has been the result of the most profound infamy, since all has been prepared, brought about by the men who alone possessed the thread of the conspiracies long ago plotted in the secret societies, and who have known how to choose and hasten the moments propitious to their plots.

“If, in these daily events, there exist certain circumstances which seem to be less the result of plots, there is nonetheless one cause of them from the secret agents who would both invoke these events, who would know how to profit from these circumstances or even to call them into existence, and who would direct them all towards the principal object. All these circumstances could well serve as a pretext and occasion, but the great cause of the Revolution, of its great crimes, of its great atrocities, would always be independent;” of these incidental circumstances. “And this great cause exists all within the conspiracies plotted long ago.”

“[In uncovering the object and the extent of these conspiracies, I ought to dispel an error even more dangerous.] It exists in one fatal delusion among men who would not have difficulty agreeing that this French Revolution has been planned; but they are not afraid to add that in the intention of its original authors it was bound to lead only to the happiness and the regeneration of the Empires; that if great misfortunes have come to interfere with their plans, it is because they came across great obstacles;” and besides, “that one does not regenerate a great people without great agitations; but that, after all, these storms are not eternal: that the waves will subside and the calm will return; that then the astonished nations, rather than having to fear the French Revolution, instead will imitate it by holding fast to its principles.”

“This error is above all what the leaders of the Jacobins strive all the more to confirm.” This explanation “was given as the first implements of the rebellion to that whole band of Constitutionalists, who still regard their decrees about the rights of man as a masterpiece of public law, and who still do not lose the hope of one day seeing the whole universe regenerated by this political rhapsody.” This explanation “was given to all those men whose stupid credulity, with all their good intentions, sees only a necessary misfortune in the horrors of the 10th of August and in the massacre of the 2nd of September,” which we will discuss, “It is given finally to all those men who even today are consoled by three or four hundred thousand assassinations, by those millions of victims which the war, the famine, the guillotine, the revolutionary tribulations have cost France; [to] all those men who yet today are consoled by this immense depopulation, under the pretext that all these horrors will eventually bring about a better order of things.”

“Against this false hope, against all these supposed intentions of the revolutionary sect, I set forth its true plans and its conspiracies for realizing them. [I will speak, because it must be properly told at last, because all the proofs of it have been obtained:] The French Revolution has been what it had to be in the spirit of the sect. All the evil which it has done, it had to do; all its crimes and all its atrocities were but a necessary result of its principles and its systems. I will say even more, far from preparing in the distance a happy future, the French Revolution is only one attempt of the forces of this sect; its conspiracies extend over the entire universe.

“If among our readers there are those who conclude: the sect of the Jacobins must be eliminated or certainly the whole society may well perish, and that to our present governments everywhere without exception will come the convulsions, overturnings, massacres, and the infernal anarchy of France; I would reply, Yes, one must expect this universal disaster or totally abolish “[crush] the sect...”

“That which the Jacobins have shattered before a first time, they will shatter yet again. They will pursue in the darkness the great object of their conspiracies; and by new disasters will teach the nations that the whole French Revolution was only the beginning of the universal dissolution which this sect plans.”

“One has seen the delirium, the rage and the ferocity of the legions of the sect; one recognizes them readily enough as the instruments of all the crimes, of all the devastations, of all the atrocities of the French Revolution; but one does not know enough what masters, what school, what vows, and what successively savage plots there are.”

“The result of these investigations and of all the evidence which I have gathered, above all in the archives of the Jacobins and of their first masters, has been that their sect and their plots are in themselves but the joining together, the coalition of a triple sect, of a triple conspiracy in which, long before the Revolution, was plotted and is yet being plotted, the overthrow of the altar, that of the throne and finally that of the whole civil society.” It was already planned. The three points he has in mind are the philosophers, the Masons and the Illuminati.

“You have believed the Revolution to be finished in France, but the revolution in France is but a first attempt of the Jacobins; and the vows, the oaths, and the plots of Jacobinism extend to England, Germany, Italy, to all nations as it does to the French nation.”5


Now we will try to examine these ideas which before the French Revolution prepared the way for the Revolution. First of all, there is that thing which we already examined briefly in the previous lectures, that is, the philosophy of the Enlightenment. He finds the most significant philosopher of the Enlightenment to be Voltaire, in this respect, because when he was still a young man in England, he made a vow that he would devote his life to the destruction of Christianity, and from him comes this famous phrase,“Écrasez l’infâme,” to exterminate the infamous thing, that is, religion of Christ and replace it, of course, with his religion which is Deism.

He and his followers, as I said, are the ones that this Barruel calls thephilosophes corrupteurs, the corrupting philosophers. And the Jacobins are thephilosophes massaceurs, the massacring philosophers, the ones who were still have ideas; but they go out and chop people’s heads off. He finds also most significant Diderot and D’Alembert, among the other French Deists philosophers, and Frederick II, king of Prussia, who frequently met with Voltaire. And we see at that time, as later on with Bolshevism, that the wildest revolutionaries have the ability to persuade princes and high rulers to go with them in their plans.

We will later on say something about the Jews, but right now we’ll just mention that it’s interesting that both D’Alembert and Voltaire, in their hatred for Christianity, tried to persuade several princes to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem in order to prove that Christianity was false, the same way that Julian the Apostate tried to do it. He even wrote a Letter to Catherine II, “Please build the temple in Jerusalem.” But Catherine was rather smarter than that.

Many of the rulers, the small dukes in Germany, and the nobles in France were very much intrigued by these ideas; even the very wildest revolutionary ones were doing away with Christianity. And that’s, of course, one big reason why the Revolution had such support. But Catherine II in Russia, although she was German and so forth, was much smarter than the other rulers. And she even told Voltaire that she couldn’t go along with all his ideas, although she was a very good friend of his; and that if his ideas were going to be put into practice, she would no longer be able to have her salon and invite him to give talks. And later on when the French Revolution broke out, of course, she arrested all the Masons; and that was the end of revolution for her.


A second great stream—the first one is Voltaire and the Deist philosophers who arerationalists, that is, they reduce everything to their limit of their understanding—a second great current of philosophy, which was very influential in the Revolution, was that of Jean Jacques Rousseau, who is the philosopher offeeling. He said of himself that he had a romantic spirit. He was filled with great feelings. He had always found somebody who would support him in his love affairs and everything else. He would go in the woods, some great prince would support him, and he would ramble in the woods, and his heart would swell up with great feelings, and he would recognize God everywhere, and that was his religion. He lived in his emotions, in the realm of the vague and the indefinite. But in the same way as Voltaire reduced everything to his mind, Rousseau reduced everything to his feelings. And these two things—of course, very strong in man, two sides of our nature—both entered into the revolutionary spirit. And the religion of feeling is, of course, much more accessible to the common people than the religion of mind.

He had a philosophy of nature which is extremely influential on the Revolution. It is with him that we get the idea of “back to nature,” away with artificiality and civilization. Although he was not absolutely saying we should discard civilization, he even said once that since we are corrupt anyway, we might as well be a little educated than uneducated. But he contrasted the artificiality of civilized life with the simplicity of what he thought was primitive life. In fact, he said that the first time that someone said “This is mine,” that was the origin of our corruption.6He was even against the idea of private property.

He wrote a bookÉmilewhich describes the education of a young person, in which the person is supposed to be taught almost nothing at all, and nature is supposed to come out in him. And the teacher just removes obstacles to the development of nature in the child. There is no external authority. No religion is given; when he grows up, it’s time for him to choose his own religion. He will have no prejudices or habits or religion. And he even said that until the child is twelve years, he should not be able to tell the difference between his right hand and his Left hand so he will not be corrupted by knowledge.

And Voltaire, when he read this book, wrote to Rousseau that reading this book makes him feel like walking on all fours, ‘but as it is more than sixty years since I have done this, it is impossible for me to resume the habit.”7Nonetheless they were profoundly in agreement: one is destroying everything except his mind, the other everything except his feeling. So even [though they are] opposed in their basic outlook, since Rousseau also didn’t like this complicated rationalism, still their effect is even more powerful because it takes two strands and applies them to the revolutionary activists: they will be inspired by both of these in his politics he developed the idea thatsovereignty comes not from God, not from the upper classes, butit comes from the people. Of course, this is the big idea of Revolution. But, as we’ll see later on, his very philosophy already justifies the strange fact that those inspired by this idea end up by establishing tyranny, because he said that the general will is superior to individual will. He thought once kings were overthrown that everyone would spontaneously be happy and have the same will; but if they don’t, then the masses are to dictate to the individual.

He [Rousseau] was the one who said, “Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.”8Of course, the basic idea of the revolution adds up to Marx. He said...his religion is one of feeling. He was a deist like Voltaire, but his deism is not one that’s thought out; it’s just his own feeling about God. And he also believed in immortality. But all this is just his subjective feeling. All dogmas are subjected to his heart. His prayer is not any kind of petition because he did not believe that any God answers prayers; rather it was an outburst of enthusiasm, of joy in nature which became a hymn of praise to the Great Being, that is, the great God of Deism.

In his ideal commonwealth he said that no intolerant religion should be allowed, that is, Christianity, of course. There was to be a profession of faith which is purely civil and its articles are to be social sentiments, without which it is impossible to be a good citizen or a faithful subject—that is, a new religion which is rather autocratic. Those who do not accept this religion, since the whole society must have one religion, must leave the country. And if one accepts the religion and then acts contrary to it, he must be executed.

So these are the two philosophical strands which enter into the makeup of the revolutionary mind: one, the idea thatIby myself can think through a system whereby society will be more harmoniously ordered; and the other that myfeelingswill guide me to the truth. And in neither one is there any safeguard: the idea of revelation, of tradition, of God is out. The only God left is a very vague God, the God of Deism.

And we Orthodox Christians know that one who removes revelation, tradition, the Church, and accepts whatever his mind tells him, or whatever his feelings dictate to him, opens the way for what?—for satan to enter, because satan enters by means of thoughts, by means of feelings. And we’ll see that in these revolutionary outbursts you cannot explain what happens except by the fact that satan is directing things. He’s inspiring these people with all kinds of plots, all kinds of ideas.

Secret Societies

But to these two philosophical elements there is added now a third thing, which is thesecret societies. Of course, the secret societies have an underground existence throughout the period before the Enlightenment, but it is especially in the eighteenth century that there is born a new sect, or at least a reorganized [one], and that is Freemasonry, which was born in England in 1717, and very quickly spread to France and America and the rest of Europe. Later on we shall see that Freemasonry in England and in America became something rather different from Freemasonry on the continent, especially in the Catholic countries. And the reason for this is not so difficult to understand.

The English mentality which gave the world already the philosophy of deism is a so-called “conservative” mentality; that is, it’s capable of believing just about anything and being quite content, and not pushing its beliefs to any logical conclusions. Just as later on we’ll see David Hume destroys the whole of the world, and then sits back and enjoys himself, and drinks his coffee and smokes his pipe, not seeing that he’s given ideas which will drive people to despair.

In the same way, English Masonry was born out of the spirit of tolerance and seeking to find some kind of a religious belief which is neither Catholic nor Protestant, but which will bind together all men of goodwill. And they were satisfied with that. They had a deistic religion, the Grand Architect. There were no religious differences discussed in the Lodge—you have to put religion behind. And for the Englishman and later for the Americans this was considered to be sufficient. If you believe in God, you can go to your Protestant church or Anglican church and be happy.

b. Illuminati: (Adam) Weischaupt, born 1748; Jesuit training, but hated them, turned to French philosophers, Manicheans, and occult doctrines. Very similar philosophy to Rousseau, but addedsecret revolutionary society, May 1, 1776, a combination of freemasonry and Jesuitry.:9

The very ideas of Masonry, the ideas of a brotherhood of men—which is something above Catholicism or Protestantism – when they went to the continent they inflamed men’s minds and made them quite radical.

There is in particular one kind of Freemasonry, which apparently was evolved separately. And this is what is called Illuminism. This was the creature of one man, whose name is Adam Weishaupt. He was born in 1748, went through a Jesuit education, and later on came to hate the Jesuits, turned to the French philosophers, to Manichaean philosophy, and apparently had some kind of occult initiation in one of the many occult sects.

[Let us] examine here a few of his views. He says, in agreement with Rousseau, that civilization is a great mistake, and to this all the inequalities of human life were due. He says, “Man is fallen from the condition of Liberty and Equality, the State of Pure Nature. He is under subordination and civil bondage arising from the vices of Man. This is the Fall and Original Sin.” Notice he uses the Christian term here, “Original sin.” Later on we’ll see how this is all an imitation of Christianity.

According to him, all the arts and sciences must be abolished. He says, ‘“Do the common sciences afford real enlightenment, real human happiness? Or are they not rather children of necessity, the complicated needs of a state contrary to Nature, the inventions of vain and empty brains?... Why,’” he asks, ‘“should it be impossible to the human race to attain its highest perfection, the capacity for governing itself?’ For this reason,” he taught that “not only should kings and nobles be abolished but even a Republic should not be tolerated, and the people should be taught to do without any controlling authority, any law, or any civil code. In order to make this system a success it would be necessary only to inculcate in Man ‘a just and steady morality,’ and since Weishaupt professed to share Rousseau’s belief in the inherent goodness of human nature this would not be difficult, and society might then ‘go on peaceably in a state of perfect Liberty and Equality.’ For since the only real obstacle to human perfection lay in the restraints imposed on Man by artificial conditions of life, the removal of these must inevitably restore him to his primitive virtue. ‘Man is not bad except as he is made so by arbitrary morality. He is bad because Religion, the State, and bad examples pervert him.’ It was necessary, therefore, to root out from his mind all ideas of a Hereafter, all fear of retribution for evil deeds, and to substitute for these superstitions the religion of Reason. ‘When at least Reason becomes the religion of men, then will the problem be solved.’

“After deliverance from the bondage of religion, the loosening of all social ties must follow. Both family and national life must cease to exist so as to ‘make of the human race one good and happy family.’ The origins of patriotism and the love of kindred are thus described by Weishaupt in the directions given to his Hierophants for the instruction of initiates:

“At the moment when men united themselves into nations they ceased to recognize themselves under a common name. Nationalism or National Love took the place of universal love. With the division of the globe and its countries benevolence restricted itself behind boundaries that it was never again to transgress. Then it became a virtue to spread out at the expense of those who did not happen to be under our dominion. Then in order to attain this goal, it became permissible to despise foreigners, and to deceive and to offend them. This virtue was called Patriotism. That man was called a Patriot, who, whilst just towards his own people, was unjust to others, who blinded himself to the merits of foreigners and took for perfections the vices of his own country.

So one sees that Patriotism gave birth to Localism, to the family spirit, and finally to Egoism. Thus the origin of states or governments of civil society was the seed of discord and Patriotism found its punishment in itself... Diminish, do away with this love of country, and men will once more learn to know and love each other as men, there will be no more partiality, the ties between hearts will unroll and extend.

“In these words, the purest expression of Internationalism as it is expounded today, Weishaupt displayed an ignorance of primeval conditions of life as profound as that of Rousseau. The idea of Paleolithic man, whose skeleton is usually exhumed with a flint instrument or other weapon of warfare grasped in its hand, passing his existence in a state of ‘universal love,’ is simply ludicrous. It was not, however, in his diatribes against civilization that Weishaupt surpassed Rousseau, but in the plan he devised for overthrowing it. Rousseau had merely paved the way for revolution; Weishaupt constructed the actual machinery of revolution itself.

“It was on the 1st of May 1776 that Weishaupt’s five years of meditation resulted in his founding the secret society that he named, after bygone philosophical systems, the Illuminati.”10

Abolition of religion, absolute obedience11

“The grades of the Order were a combination of the grades of Freemasonry and the degrees belonging to the Jesuits. Weishaupt, as has already been said, detested the Jesuits, but recognizing the efficiency of their methods in acquiring influence over the minds of their disciples, he conceived the idea of adopting their system to his own purpose. ‘He admired,’ says the Abbé Barruel, ‘the institutions of the founders of this Order, he admired above all those laws, that regime of the Jesuits, which under one head made so many men dispersed all over the universe tend towards the same object; he felt that one might imitate their methods whilst proposing to himself views diametrically opposed. He said to himself: “What all these men have done for altars and empires, why should I not do against altars and empires? By the attraction of mysteries, of legends, of adepts, why should not I destroy in the dark what they erect in the light of day?’”

“It was in the training of adepts that Weishaupt showed his profound subtlety. Proselytes were not to be admitted at once to the secret aims of Illuminism, but initiated step by step into the higher mysteries—and the greatest caution was to be exercised not to reveal to the novice doctrines that might be likely to revolt him. For this purpose the initiators must acquire the habit of ‘talking backwards and forwards’ so as not to commit themselves. ‘One must speak,’ Weishaupt explained to the Superiors of the Order, ‘sometimes in one way, sometimes in another, so that our real purpose should remain impenetrable to our inferiors.’

“Thus to certain novices (thenovices écossais) the Illuminati must profess to disapprove of revolutions, and demonstrate the advantages of proceeding by peaceful methods towards the attainment ofworld domination.

“The passage then goes on to say vaguely that this is not the case and that the Order only demands of the initiate the fulfillment of his obligations. Nor must antagonism to religion be admitted; on the contrary, Christ was to be represented as the first author of Illuminism, whose secret mission was to restore to men the original liberty and equality they had lost in the Fall. ‘No one,’ the novice should be told, ‘paved so sure a way for liberty as our Grand Master Jesus of Nazareth, and if Christ exhorted his disciples to despise riches it was in order to prepare the world for that community of goods that should do away with property.’”

Novices initiated step by step into the “higher mysteries.”

“It was not, then, until his admission to the higher grades that the adept was initiated into the real intentions of Illuminism with regard to religion. When he reached the grade of Illuminated Major or Minor, of Scotch Knight, Épopte, or Priest he was told the whole secret of the Order in a discourse by the Initiator:

“Remember that from the first invitations which we have given you in order to attract you to us, we commenced by telling you that in the projects of our Order there did not enter any designs against religion. You remember that such an assurance was given you when you were admitted into the ranks of our novices, and that it was repeated when you entered into our Minerval Academy... You remember with what art, with what simulated respect we have spoken to you of Christ and of his gospel; but in the grades of greater Illuminism, of Scotch Knight, and of Épopte or Priest, how we have to know to form from Christ’s gospel that of our reason, and from its religion that of nature, and from religion, reason, morality and Nature, to make the religion and morality of the rights of man, of equality and of liberty... We have had many prejudices to overcome in you before being able to persuade you that the pretended religion of Christ was nothing else than the work of priests, of imposture and of tyranny. If it be so with that religion so much proclaimed and admired, what are we to think of other religions? Understand then that they have all the same fictions for their origin, that they are all equally founded on lying, error, chimera and imposture. Behold our secret... If in order to destroy all Christianity, all religion, we have pretended to have the sole true religion, remember that the end justifies the means, and that the wise ought to take all the means to do good which the wicked take to do evil. Those which we have taken to deliver you, those which we have taken to deliver one day the human race from all religion, are nothing else than a pious fraud which we reserve to unveil one day in the grade of Magus or Philosopher Illuminated.

“But all this was unknown to the novice, whose confidence being won by the simulation of religion was enjoined to strict obedience. Amongst the questions put to him were the following:

“If you came to discover anything wrong or unjust to be done under the Order what line would you take?

“Will you and can you regard the good of the Order as your own good?

“Will you give to our Society the right of life and death?

“Do you bind yourself to absolute and unreserved obedience? And do you know the force of this undertaking?

“By way of warning as to the consequences of betraying the Order a forcible illustration was included in the ceremony of initiation. Taking a naked sword from the table, the Initiator held the point against the heart of the novice with these words:

“If you are only a traitor and perjurer learn that all our brothers are called upon to arm themselves against you. Do not hope to escape or to find a place of safety. Wherever you are, shame, remorse, and the rage of our brothers will pursue you and torment you to the innermost recesses of your entrails.

“It will thus be seen that the Liberty vaunted by the leaders of the Illuminati had no existence, and that iron discipline was in reality the watchword of the Order.

“A great point impressed upon the adepts—of which we shall see the importance later—was that they should not be known as Illuminati; this rule was particularly enforced in the case of those described as ‘enrollers...’”

Women were to be used and fools with money

“Women were also to be enlisted as Illuminati by being given ‘hints of emancipation.’ ‘Through women,’ wrote Weishaupt, ‘one may often work the best in the world; to insinuate ourselves with these and to win them over should be one of our cleverest studies. More or less they can all be led towards change by vanity, curiosity, sensuality, and inclination. From this can one draw much profit for the good cause. This sex has a large part of the world in its hands. The female adepts were then to be divided into two classes, each with its own secret, the first to consist of virtuous women who would give an air of respectability to the Order, the second of ‘light women,’ ‘who would help to satisfy those brothers who have a penchant for pleasure.’ But the present utility of both classes would consist in providing funds for the society. Fools with money, whether men or women, were to be particularly welcomed. ‘These good people,’ wrote Spartacus to Ajax and Cato, ‘swell our numbers and fill our money-box; set yourselves to work; these gentlemen must be made to nibble at the bait... But let us beware of telling them our secrets, this sort of peoplemust always be made to believe that the grade they have reached is the last.’

System of universal spying12

“Espionage formed a large part of Weishaupt’s program. The adepts known as the ‘Insinuating Brothers’ were enjoined to assume the role of ‘observers’ and ‘reporters’; ‘every person shall be made a spy on another and on all around him’; ‘friends, relations, enemies, those who are indifferent—all without exception shall be the object of his inquiries; he shall attempt to discover their strong side and their weak, their passions, their prejudices, their connections, above all, their actions—in a word, the most detailed information about them.’ All this is to be entered on tablets that the Insinuant carries with him, and from which he shall draw up reports to be sent in twice a month to his Superiors, so that the Order may know which are the people in each town and village to whom it can look for support.”

Anti-science and civilization in general: sciences are “the complicated needs of a state contrary to nature, the inventions of vain and empty brains” Sent “apostles:”13

“From the first year of his [Weishaupt’s] Illuminism, in his atrocious impiety, aping the God of Christianity, he conceived in these terms the orders he would give to Massenhausen to propagate his new gospel: ‘Did not Jesus Christ send forth his Apostles to preach throughout the universe? You who are my Peter, why would I allow you to be idle and quiet at home? Go then and preach.’”

Martinism also important: 1775 St. Martin called “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” the “sacred ternary.”

“In the book of Saint-Martin,Des erreurs et de la vérité, published in 1775, the formula ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraterniy’ is referred to as “le ternaire sacé.”

“The Martinistes, frequently referred to in French contemporary records as the Illuminés, were in reality dreamers and fanatics and must not be confounded with the Order of the Illunimati of Bavaria that came into existence twenty-two years later. It is by ‘terrible and formidable sect’ that the gigantic plan of World Revolution was worked out under the leadership of the man whom Louis Blanc has truly described as ‘the profoundest conspirator that has ever existed.’ [Weishaupt]”14

c. 1782, Congress of Wilhelmsbod, Illumism and Freemasonry united to pursue common end, claiming 3 million members. The “tragic secret.”15

But it was not until the Congrès de Wilhelmsbad that the alliance between Illuminism and Freemasonry was finally sealed. This assembly, of which the importance to the subsequent history of the world has never been appreciated by historians, met for the first time on the 16th of July 1782, and included representative of all the Secret Societies—Martinistes as well as Freemasons and Illuminati—which now numbered no less than three million members all over the world. Amongst these different orders the Illuminati of Bavaria alone had formulated a definite plan of campaign, and it was they who henceforward took the lead. What passed at this terrible Congress will never be known to the outside world, for even those men who had been drawn unwittingly into the movement, and now heard for the first time the real designs of the leaders, were under oath to reveal nothing. One such honest Freemason, the Comte de Virieu, a member of a Martiniste lodge at Lyons, returning from the Congrés de Wilhelmsbad could not conceal his alarm, and when questioned on the ‘tragic secrets’ he had brought back with him, replied: ‘I will not confide them to you. I can only tell you that all this is very much more serious than you think. The conspiracy which is being woven is so well thought out that it will be, so to speak, impossible for the Monarchy and the Church to escape from it.’ From this time onwards... ‘the Comte de Virieu could only speak of Freemasonry with horror.’”

d. 1784, Elector of Bavaria prohibited all secret societies, 1785 Illuminati arrested and tried and their documents publicized—recipes for bombs, description of the goal.16

“Public opinion had now, however, become thoroughly roused on the subject of the society, and the Elector of Bavaria, informed of the danger to the State constituted by its adepts, who were said to have declared that ‘the Illuminati must in time rule the world,’ published an edict forbidding all secret societies. In April of the following year, 1785, four other Illuminati... disgusted by the tyranny of Weishaupt, were summoned before a Court of Inquiry to give an account of the doctrines and methods of the sect. The evidence of these men...left no further room for doubt as to the diabolical nature of Illuminism. ‘All religion,’ they declared, ‘all love of country and loyalty to sovereigns,’ were to be annihilated, a favorite maxim of the Order being:

“Tous les rois et tous les prêtres “Sont des fripons et des traîtres.”

[“All the kings and all the priests Are rascals and traitors.”]

“Moreover, every effort was to be made to create discord not only between princes and their subjects but between ministers and their secretaries, and even between parents and children, whilst suicide was to be encouraged by inculcating in mens minds the idea that the act of killing oneself afforded a certain voluptuous pleasure. Espionage was to be extended even to the post by placing adepts in the post offices who possessed the art of opening letters and closing them again without fear of detection.’ Robison, who studied all the evidence of the four professors, thus sums up the plan of Weishaupt as revealed by them:17

“The Order of the Illuminati adjured Christianity and advocated sensual pleasures. ‘In the lodges death was declared an eternal sleep; patriotism and loyalty were called narrow-minded prejudices and incompatible with universal benevolence’; further, ‘they accounted all princes usurpers and tyrants, and all privileged orders as their abettors... they meant to abolish the laws which protected property accumulated by long-continued and successful industry; and to prevent for the future any such accumulation. They intended to establish universal liberty and equality, the imprescriptible rights of man...and as necessary preparations for all this they intended to root out all religion and ordinary morality, and even to break the bonds of domestic life, by destroying the veneration for marriage vows, and by taking the education of children out of the hands of the parents.’

“Reduced to a simple formula the aims of the Illuminati may be summarized in the following six points:

1. Abolition of Monarchy and all ordered Government. 2.Abolition of private property.
3. Abolition of inheritance.
4. Abolition of patriotism.
5. Abolition of the family (i.e. of marriage and all morality, the institution of the communal education of children).
6. Abolition of all religion.

Now it will surely be admitted that the above forms a program hitherto unprecedented in the history of civilization. Communistic theories had been held by isolated thinkers or groups of thinkers since the days of Plato, but no one, as far as we know, had ever yet seriously proposed to destroy everything for which civilization stands. Moreover, when, as we shall see, the plan of Illuminism as codified by the above six points has continued up to the present day to form the exact program of the World Revolution, how can we doubt that the whole movement originated with the Illuminati or with secret influences at work behind them?”

“It was on the 11th of October 1786 that the Bavarian authorities descended upon the house of Zwack and seized the documents which laid bare the methods of the conspirators. Here were found descriptions of a strong box for safe guarding papers which if forced open should blow up by means of an infernal machine; of a composition which should blind or kill if squirted in the face; of a method for counterfeiting seals; recipes for a particularly deadly kind of ‘aqua toffana,’ for poisonous perfumes that would fill a bedroom with pestilential vapors, and for a tea to procure abortion. A eulogy of atheism entitledBetter than Horuswas also discovered, and a paper in the handwriting of Zwack describing the plan for enlisting women in the two classes mentioned above:

“It will be of great service and procure much information and money, and will suit charmingly the taste of many of our truest members who are lovers of the sex. It should consist of two classes, the virtuous and the freer-hearted... They must not know of each other, and must be under the direction of men, but without knowing it... through good books, and the latter (class) through the indulging of their passions in concealment.

“...The fearful danger presented by the Illuminati now became apparent, and the Government of Bavaria, judging that the best manner of conveying a warning to the civilized world would be to allow the papers to speak for themselves, ordered them to be printed forthwith and circulated as widely as possible. A copy of this publication, entitledOriginal Writings of the Order of the Illuminati, was then forwarded to every Government of Europe, but, strange to say, attracted little attention, the truth being doubtless, as the Abbé Barruel points out, that the extravagance of the scheme therein propounded rendered it unbelievable, and the rulers of Europe, refusing to take Illuminism seriously, put it aside as a chimera.”

C. The Revolution

1. Calling of Sts.Gen because of financial difficulties: the pretext for Enlightenment ideas to work. The Revolution was radical from the beginning and had immense support from the “spirit of th age.” Wordsworth: “Bliss was it in that scene(?) to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.”

2. Jacobins: took the lead from the beginning, the only real party. Agreed beforehand on policy in National Assembly. Well organized: 406 affiliated societies in the provinces with 500,000 members by 1793. They take control, power from secret societies:18

“Conceived not many years before the French Revolution, in the thoughts of a man whose total ambition seemed absorbed at Ingolstadt in the chalk-dust of schools, how is it that Illuminism, in less than twenty years, became that formidable Sect which under the name of Jacobins, counts today as its trophies so many altars fallen to pieces, so many Sceptres broken or mangled; so many Constitutions overturned, so many Nations subjugated; so many Potentates fallen under its daggers or its poisons or its executioners, so many other Potentates humiliated beneath the yoke of a servitude called “peace,” or of a servitude even more dishonorable called “alliance”?

“Under this name of Jacobins, swallowing up simultaneously all the secrets, all the conspiracies, all the sects of sworn infidels, of seditious Plotters, of disorganizing Plotters, how is it that Illuminism sets up such a dominion of fear that, holding the universe in dismay, it permits not a single King to say: tomorrow I will still be King; and not a single people: tomorrow I will still have my laws and my religion; not a single citizen: tomorrow both my fortune and my home will still be mine; tomorrow I will not awaken beneath the tree of Liberty on the one side, and the tree of death, the ravenous guillotine on the other?

“Invisible authors, how it is that the secret adepts of modern- day Spartacus alone preside at all the crimes, at all the disasters of this plague of brigandage and of ferocity called Revolution? How do they still preside over all that the Sect plans, in order to consummate the desolation and dissolution of human societies?”

The Jacobins’ orders were instantly obeyed.19They drink each others’ blood “to the death of kings.” Western fall of monarchy in 1792 destruction begins in earnest.

“I found the letter. It was composed in these terms: ‘Your letter, my dear friend, has been read in presence of the whole Club. It was surprising to find so much philosophy in a village Curate. Never fear, my dear Curate; we are three hundred; we mark the heads, and they fall. As for that of which you speak, it is not time yet. Only keep your people ready; dispose your parishioners to execute the orders, and they shall be given to you in time.

“This letter was signed...Dietrich, secretary.

“To the reflections which this letter suggests, I shall add only that the club from where it was sent, had changed the place of its meetings to go to the suburb of Ste. Honore, and that there it remained unknown to the Court; until the moment of one of these orgies, whose object would be to again apprise the King of the fate that awaited him. After one of these repasts celebrated in the name offraternity, all the Brothers would prick their arms and drain their blood into their glass; all would drink of this blood, after having cried, ‘Death to the Kings,’ and this would be the last toast of their fraternal repast. This letter tells us also which men formed this legion of the Twelve Hundred, which Jean de Brie proposed to establish at the Convention, whose goal was to be spread into the Empires to assassinate all the Kings of the earth.”

3. Violence: the usual interpretation: incidental, passions aroused, national defense, etc. But evidence points to deliberate use: when there are real grievances, they are exploited by clever politicians to promote the Revolution, Great role of agitators.

(1) The “Great Fear” July 1789:20

To whatever agency we attribute it, however, the mechanism of the French Revolution distinguishes it from all previous revolutions. Hitherto the isolated revolutions that had taken place throughout the history of the world can be clearly recognized as spontaneous movements brought about by oppression or by a political faction enjoying some measure of popular support, and therefore endeavoring to satisfy the demands of the people. But in the French Revolution we see for the first time that plan in operation which has been carried on right up to the present moment—the systematic attempt to create grievances in order to exploit them...

“The most remarkable instance of engineered agitation during the early stages of the Revolution was the extraordinary incident known to history as “The Great Fear,” when on the same day, July 22, 1789, and almost at the same hour, in towns and villages all over France, a panic was created by the announcement that brigands were approaching and therefore that all good citizens must take up arms. The messengers who brought the news post haste on horseback in many cases exhibited placards headed “Edict of the King,” bearing the words “The King orders all châteaux to be burnt down; he only wishes to keep his own!” And the people, obedient to these commands, seized upon every weapon they could find and set themselves to the task of destruction. The object of the conspirators was thus achieved—the arming of the populace against law and order, a device which ever since 1789 has always formed the first item in the programme of the social revolution.”21

Protest of women Oct. 5, 1789: women also dressed as men, many forced to go along.

(2) The Reign of Terror under Robespierre: ostensibly invoked by foreign invasion, seeking “enemies of the people” inside; this a means of governing (cf. Communism). But deeper; there was a little-publicized plan of depopulization.” Report of the Committee of Public Safety, Aug. 8, 1795: “Be peaceful; France has enough for 12 million men: all the rest (12 million) will have to be put to death. And then you will no longer lack for bread.22

“It was she [the sect] that extinguished even the affection of a brother for his brother; of the child for his father, when the adept Chénier, at the sight of a brother delivered over to his executioners, coolly replied, ‘If my Brother is not in the sentiment of the Revolution, let him be sacrificed’; when the adept Philip brought in triumph to the Jacobins the heads of his father and mother. This is the Sect always insatiable for blood, which by the mouth of Marat, demanded yet two hundred and seventy thousand heads, which before long could only be counted by millions. She [the Sect] knew it; all the secrets of its equality could only be accomplished in its greatest events by depopulating the world; and the sect which replied through Le Beau, to the Communes of Montauban, terrified for want of provisions, “Never fear; France has enough for twelve million men; it is necessary that the rest, that is, the other twelve million Frenchmen must be put to death, and then you will no longer lack bread. (Report of the Committee of Public Safety, meeting of August 8, 17951)”

Revolutionary Tribunal discussed reduction of population to 1/3 or 1/2; Committee of Public Safety calculated how many heads to have in each town and district. Drowned, guillotined, or shot: perhaps 300,000, of which only 3,000 nobles, most peasants and workers. At Nantes 500 children of poor people were killed in one butchery; 144 poor women thrown into river, etc.

(3) Killings and destruction especially fierce: Sept. 1792 massacres of priests and others in prisons: cannibalism and torture. The violence calculated: and Marx’s idea. Sieyes replies: “You speak to us always of our means, eh, Monsiuer, it is the end, it is the object and the goal that one must learn to see.”23

“You speak to us always about our means; eh, Monsieur, it is the end, it is the object and the goal that you must learn to see...”

Saint-Just: “I will walk willingly with my feet in blood and tears.”

‘“I will walk willingly with my feet in blood and tears,’ said Robespierre’s coadjutor Saint-Just; and this, whether he admits it or not, must be the maxim of every revolutionary Socialist who believes that any methods are justifiable for the attainment of his end.”

4. Babeuf, “Conspiracy of the Equals.”

a. Disciple of Weischaupt, followed Robespierre’s Communist ideas. Said depopulization was the “immense secret” of the Terror (claimed it took 1 million lives). Formed his own masonic organization for bringing about “equality.” A Communist.24

“Unfortunately the confusion of mind prevailing amongst the advocates of ‘Equality’ was so great that the meetings—which before long consisted of two thousand people – became ‘like a Tower of Babel.’ No one knew precisely what he wanted and no decisions could be reached; it was therefore decided to supplement these huge assmeblies by small secret committees...and here the scheme of social revolution was elaborated. Starting from the premise that all property is theft, it was decided that the process known in revolutionary language as ‘expropriation’25must take place; that is to say, all property must be wrested from its present owners by force—the force of an armed mob. But Babeuf, whilst advocating violence and tumult as the means to an end, in no way desired anarchy as a permanent condition; the State must be maintained, and not only maintained but made absolute, the sole dispenser of the necessities of life. ‘In my system of Common Happiness,’ he wrote, ‘I desire that no individual property shall exist. The land is God’s and its fruits belong to all men in general.’ Another Babouviste, the Marquis d’Antonelle, formerly a member of the Revolutionary Tribunal, had expressed the matter in much the same words: ‘The State of Communism is the only just, the only good one; without this state of things no peaceful and really happy societies can exist.’”

Apr. 1796 finished his “Manifesto of Equals.”26

“Babeuf then decided that a ‘Secret Directorate’ must be formed, of which the workings bear a curious resemblance to those of the Illuminati. Thus Weishaupt had employed twelve leading adepts to direct operations throughout Germany, and had strictly enjoined his followers not to be known even to each other as Illuminati; so Babeuf now instituted twelve principal agents to work the different districts of Paris, and these men were not even to know the names of those who formed the central committee of four, but only to communicate with them through intermediaries partially initiated into the secrets of the conspiracy. Like Weishaupt also Babeuf adopted a domineering and arrogant tone towards his subordinates, and any whom he suspected of treachery were threatened, after the manner of the secret societies, with the direst vengeance. ‘Woe to those of whom we have cause to complain!’ he wrote to one whose zeal he had begun to doubt; ‘reflect that true conspirators can never relinquish those they have once decided to employ.’

“By April 1796 the plan of insurrection was complete, and the famousManifesto of the Equalsdrawn up ready for publication.

“‘People of France,’ this proclamation announced, ‘for fifteen centuries you have lived in slavery and consequently in unhappiness. For six years (i.e. during the course of the Revolution) you have hardly drawn breath, waiting for independence, for happiness, and equality. Equality! the first desire of Nature, the first need of Man and the principal bond of all legal association!

‘“Well! We intend henceforth to live and die equal as we were born; we wish for real equality or death, that is what we must have. And we will have this real equality, no matter at what price. Woe to those who interpose themselves between it and us!... The F roofs of our houses. We will consent to anything for that, to make a clean sweep so as to hold to that only. Perish if necessary all the arts provided that real equality is left to us!

‘“The agrarian law and the division of lands were the momentary wish of a few soldiers without principle moved by instinct rather than by reason. We tend to something more sublime and equitable, theCommon Happiness or the Community of Goods.No more private property in land, the land belongs to no one We claim, we wish for the communal enjoyment of the fruits of the earth: the fruits of the earth belong to every one.

‘“We declare that we can no longer endure that the great majority of men should work and sweat in the service and for the good pleasure of an extreme minority. Long enough and too long have less than a million individuals disposed of what belongs to more than twenty millions of their fellowmen, of their equals. Let it cease at last, this great scandal in which our nephews will not be able to believe. Vanish at last revolting distinctions of rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and servants, of governors and governed. Let there be no other difference between men than that of age and sex. Since all have the sarne needs and the same faculties, let there be only one education, one kind of food. They content themselves with one sun and air for all; why should not the same portion and the same quality of food suffice for each of them?...

‘“People of France, we say to you: the holy enterprise that we are organizing has no other object but to put an end to civil dissensions and to public misery. Never has a more vast design been conceived and executed. From time to time a few men of genius, a few sages have spoken in a low and trembling voice. Not one of them has had the courage to tell the whole truth. The moment for great measures has arrived. The evil is at its height; it covers the face of the earth. Chaos under the name of politics has reigned for too many centuries... The moment has come to found the Republic of the Equals, the great hostel open to all men... Groaning families, come and seat yourselves at the common table set up by nature for all her children...

‘People of France, Open your eyes and heart to the plenitude of happiness; recognize and proclaim with us the Republic of the Equals.’

“This document was destined, however, not to be displayed to the eyes of the public, for the Secret Committee finally decided that it would be inexpedient to admit the people into the whole plan of the conspiracy; particularly did they judge it inadvisable to publish the phrase which had been expressed in almost identical language by Weishaupt: ‘Perish all the arts, provided that real equality is left to us!’ The people of France were not to know that a return to barbarism was contemplated. Accordingly a second proclamation was framed under the title of ‘Analysis of the Doctrine of Babeuf’—a far less inspiring appeal than the former Manifesto, and mainly unintelligible to the working-classes, yet, as M. Fleury remarks, ‘The veritable Bible or Koran of the despotic system known as Communism.’27For herein lies the crux of the matter. No one reading these two documents of the Babouvistes can fail to recognize the truth of certain of their strictures on society—the glaring disparity between poverty and riches, the uneven distribution of work and pleasure, the injustice of an industrial system whereby, owing largely at this period to the suppression of trade unions by the revolutionary leaders, employers could live in luxury by sweated labor—but the point is: how did Babeuf propose to redress these evils?

Briefly, then, his system, founded on the doctrine “Community of good and of labor’ may be summarized as follows: “Every one must be forced to work so many hours a day in return for equal remuneration; the man who showed himself more skillful or industrious than his fellows would be recompensed merely by ‘public gratitude.’ This compulsory labor was in fact not to be paid for in money but in kind, for, since the right to private property constituted the principal evil of existing society, the distinction of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ must be abolished and no one should be allowed to possess anything of his own. Payment could therefore only be made in the products of labor, which were all to be collected in huge communal stores and doled out in equal rations to the workers. Inevitably commerce would be entirely done away with, and money was no longer to be coined or admitted to the country; foreign trade must therefore be carried on by coin now in circulation, and when that was exhausted, by a system of barter.”

But people were not informed of this (à la Weischaupt), told only that the goods of the enemies of the people would be given to the needy.

But the people were not in the secret of the movement. Just as in the great outbreaks of the Revolution the mob of Paris has been driven blindly forward on false pretexts supplied by the agitators, so once again the people were to be made the instruments of their own ruin. The ‘Secret Committee of Direction’ well knew that Communism was a system that would never appeal to the people; they were careful, therefore, not to admit their dupes among the working-classes into the whole of their programme, and believing that it was only by an appeal to self-interest and covetousness they could secure a following, they skillfully played on the people’s passions, promising them booty they had no intention of bestowing on them. Thus in the ‘Insurrectional Act’ now drawn up by the Committee it was announced that ‘the goods of theémigrés, of the conspirators (i.e., the Royalists), and the enemies of the people were to be distributed to the defenders of the country and the needy’; they did not tell them that in reality these things were to belong to no one, but to become the property of the State administered by themselves... The people then were not to be allowed to know the truth about the cause in which they were asked to shed their blood - - and that they would be obliged to shed it in torrents no sane man could doubt.”

His admiration for Robespierre:28

“...[W]hen it came to organizing the required insurrection Babeuf adopted a very different kind of language. In fact, the former denouncer of Robespierre’s ‘system of depopulation’ now asserted that not only Robespierre’s aims but his methods were to be commended.

“I confess to-day that I bear a grudge against myself for having formerly seen the revolutionary government and Robespierre and Saint-Just in such black colors. I think these men alone were worth all the revolutionaries put together, and that their dictatorial government was devilishly well thought out... I do not at all agree...that they committed great crimes and made many Republicans perish. Not so many, I think... The salvation of twenty- five millions of men must not be weighed against consideration for a few equivocal individuals. A regenerator must take a wide outlook. He must mow down everything that thwarts him, everything that obstructs his passage, everything that can impede his prompt arrival at the goal on which he has determined. Rascals or imbeciles, or presumptuous people or those eager for glory, it is all the same,tant pis pour eux[so much the pity for them]—what are they there for? Robespierre knew all that and it is partly what makes me adrnire him.

“But where Babeuf showed himself the intellectual inferior of Robespierre was in the way he proposed to overcome resistance to his plan of a Socialist State. Robespierre, as he well knew, had spent fourteen months ‘mowing down those that obstructed his passage,’ had kept the guillotine unremittingly at work in Paris and the provinces, yet even then had not succeeded in silencing objectors. But Babeuf hoped to accomplish his purpose in one day—that‘great day of the people’wherein all opposition should be instantly suppressed, the whole existing social order annihilated, and the Republic of Equality erected on its ruins.

If, however, the process were to be brief it must necessarily be all the more violent, and it was thus with none of the calm precision of Robespierre marking down heads for destruction that Babeuf set about his task.”

His frenzy:29

“We writing out his plans of insurrection, his secretary Pillé afterwards related at his trial, Babeuf would rush up and down the room with flaming eyes, mouthing and grimacing, hitting himself against the furniture, knocking over the chairs whilst uttering hoarse cries of ‘To arms! to arms! The insurrection! The insurrection is beginning!’—it was an insurrection against the chairs, said Pillé drily. Then Babeuf would fling himself upon his pen, plunge it into the ink, and write with fearful rapidity, whilst his whole body trembled and the perspiration poured from his brow. ‘It was no longer madness,’ added Pillé, ‘it was frenzy!’ This frenzy, Babeuf explained, was necessary in order to work himself up to the required degree of eloquence, and in his appeals to insurrection it is difficult to see where his programme differed from the brigandage and violence he had deprecated...”

The “Great Dy” of Revolution:30

“The following programme for the ‘Great Day’ was now drawn up by the Secret Directory: at a given moment the revolutionary army was to march on the Legislative Assembly, on the headquarters of the Army, and on the houses of the Ministers. The best-trained troops were to be sent to the arsenals and the munition factories, and also to the camps of Vincennes and Grenelle in the hope that the 8,000 men encamped there would join in the movement. Meanwhile orators were to hold forth to the soldiers, and women were to present them with refreshment and civic wreaths. In the event of their remaining proof against these seductions the streets were to be barricaded, and stones, bricks, boiling water, and vitriol thrown down on the heads of the troops. All supplies for the capital were then to be seized and placed under the control of the leaders; at the same time the wealthier classes were to be driven from their houses, which were immediately to be converted into lodgings for the poor. The members of the Directory were then to be butchered, likewise all citizens who offered any resistance to the insurgents. The insurrection thus ‘happily terminated,’ as Babeuf naïvely expressed it, the whole people were to be assembled in the Place de la Révolution and invited to co-operate in the choice of their representatives. ‘The plan,’ writes Buonarotti, ‘was to talk to the people without reserve and without digressions, and to render the most impressive homage to its sovereignty.’ But lest the people perchance, blinded to its truest interests, might fail to recognize its saviours in the person of the conspirators, the Babouvistes proposed to follow up their homage of the people’s sovereignty by demanding that ‘executive power should be exclusively confided to themselves’; for, as Buonarotti observed, ‘at the beginning of the revolution it is necessary, even out of respect for the real sovereignty of the people, to occupy oneself less with the wishes of the nation than to place supreme authority in strongly revolutionary hands.’ Once in these hands it would of course remain there, and the Babouvistes with all the civil and military forces at their back would be able to impose their system of State serfdom on the submissive people.”31


At a meeting of the committee, there was read aloud the finished plan of insurrection, to which further atrocious details had been added—every one attempting to exercise any authority was instantly to be put to death, the armorers were to be forced to give up their arms, the bakers their supplies of bread, and those who resisted hoisted to the nearest lantern; the same fate was reserved for all wine and spirit merchants who might refuse to provide the brandy needed to inflame the populace and drive it into violence.

‘All reflection on the part of the people must be avoided,’ ran the written directions to the leaders; ‘they must commit acts which will prevent them from going back.

“Amongst the whole of this ferocious band, Rossignol, the former general of the revolutionary armies in La Vendée, showed himself the most bloodthirsty: ‘I will not have anything to do with your insurrection,’ he cried, ‘unless heads fall like hail...unless it inspires so great a terror that it makes the whole universe shudder...”—a discourse that met with unanimous applause.

“The 11th of May had been fixed for the great day of explosion, when not only Paris, but all the cities of France worked on by the agents of Babeuf were to rise and overthrow the whole structure of civilization... [Meanwhile there was an informant] and the Government, warned of the impending attack, was ready to meet it. On the morning of the day appointed, a placard was found posted up on all the walls of Paris bearing these words:

“The Executive Directory to the Citizens of Paris

“Citizens, a frightful plot is to break out this night or tomorrow at the dawn of day. A band of thieves and murderers has formed the project of butchering the Legislative Assembly, all the members of the Government, the staff of the Army, and all constituted authorities in Paris. The Constitution of ’93 is to be proclaimed. This proclamation is to be the signal for a general pillage of Paris, of houses and as much of stores and shops, and the massacre of a great number of citizens is to be carried out at the same time. But be reassured, good citizens; the Government is watching, it knows the leaders of the plot and their methods...; be calm, therefore, and carry on your ordinary business; the Government has taken infallible measures for outwitting their schemes, and for giving them up with their partisans to the vengeance of the law.

“Then, without further warning, the police burst into the house where Babeuf and Buonarotti were drawing up a rival placard calling the people to revolt. In the midst of their task the arm of the law surprised and seized them, and on the following morning forty-five other leaders of the conspiracy were arrested likewise and thrown into the Abbaye. Alas for the support they had hoped for from the populace! The revolutionary army on which they had counted, impressed as the people always are by a display of authority, went over to the police in support of law and order. With the removal of the agitators the whole populace came to their senses and realized the full horror of the plot into which they had been inveighed.”

Napoleon averted them and ended the last great attempt in French Revolution to realize the aim of Illumism.

5. Revolutionaries devoured each other33

“Christ had no more Altar in France; the Kings had no more Throne; those who had destroyed the Altar and the Throne conspired against each other; the intruders, the atheists and the deists slaughtered the Catholics; the intruders, the atheists and the deists slaughtered one another. The Constitutionalists pursued the Royalists, the Republicans pursued the Constitutionalists; the democrats of theone and indivisibleRepublic, butchered the democrats of thefederateRepublic; the faction of the Mountain guillotined the faction of the Gironde. The faction of the Mountain divided into the faction of Hébert and of Marat, into the faction of Danton and of Chabot, into the faction of Cloots and of Chaumette, into the faction of Robespierre, which devoured them all, and which would be in its turn devoured by the faction of Tallien and of Fréron. Brissot and Gensonné, Guadet, Fauchet, Rabaud, Barbaroux and thirty others were sentenced by Fouquier-Tinville as they had passed sentence on Louis XVI; Fouquier-Tinville was himself judged as he judged Brissot. Pethion and Buzot, wandering in the forests, perished consumed by hunger, devoured by beasts; Perrin died in chains, Condorcet poisoned himself in prison, Valage and Labat stabbed themselves, Marat was murdered by Charlotte Corday; Robespierre is no more; of them Syeyes still remains, because France must yet have its plagues. L’enfer to establish the reign of his impiety, le Ciel to punish him for it, gave her [France] under the name of Directors her five tyrants or her Pentarques and her double Senate. Rewbel, Carnot, Barras, le Toureur, la Reveillere-Lepaux rob her of her weapons, drive out the Deputies of her equality and her liberty, batter her sections with cannon and mortars, squeeze her in his clutches and cause to hang upon her a yoke of iron. All tremble before them; they are frightened, envying one another, withdrawing from one another; only allowing new tyrants to arrive and join together; the deportations, the stupor, the terror and these Pentarques, at this moment those are the Gods who rule over France. The silence of the terror in her empire, where her vast prison, twenty million slaves all dumb with terror under the shaft, at the mere name of la Guiane, of Merlin, or of Rewbel; behold this people so often proclaimed equal and free and sovereign.”

France ruined by Revolution34

“...the condition of France at the end of the Terror...:

‘“France is demoralized. She is exhausted—this is the last trait of this country in ruins. There is no longer any public opinion, or rather this opinion is made up only of hatred. They hate the Directors (members of the Directory) and they hate the deputies; they hate the Terrorists and they hate thechouans(the Royalists of La Vendée); they hate the rich and they hate the anarchists; they hate the Revolution and they hate the counterrevolution... But where hatred reaches paroxysm is in the case of the newly rich. What is the good of having destroyed Kings, nobles, and aristocrats, since deputies, farmers, and tradesmen take their place? What cries of hatred!... Of all the ruins found and increased by the Directory—ruins of parties, ruins of power, ruins of homes, ruins of consciences, ruins of intellects—there is nothing more pitiable that this: ‘the ruin of national character.’

“Eight ears after the ending of the Terror, France had not yet recovered from its ravages. According to Redhead Yorke, even the usually accepted theory of agricultural prosperity is erroneous.

‘“Nothing can exceed the wretchedness of the implements of husbandry employed but the wretched appearance of the persons using them. Women at the plough, and young girls driving a team give but an indifferent idea of the progress of agriculture under the Republic. There are no farmhouses dispersed over the fields. The farmers reside together in remote villages, a circumstance calculated toretardthebusinessofcultivation.Theinteriors ofthehousesare filthy, the farmyards in the utmost disorder, and the miserable condition of the cattle sufficiently bespeaks the poverty of their owner.’

“Everywhere beggars assailed the traveller for alms; in spite of the reduced population unemployment was rife, education was at a standstill, and owing to the destruction of the old nobility and clergy, and the fact that the new rich who occupied their estates were absentee landlords, there was no system of organized charity. Yorke is finally driven to declare:

‘“The Revolution, which was brought about ostensibly for the benefit of the lower classes of society, has sunk them to a degree of degradation and misfortune to which they never were reduced under the ancient monarchy. They have been disinherited, stripped, and deprived of every resource for existence, except defeats of arms and the fleeting spoil of vanquishing nations.’

“In another passage Yorke asks the inevitable question that arises in the minds of all thinking contemporaries:

‘“France still bleeds at every pore—she is a vast mourning family, clad in sackcloth. It is impossible at this time for a contemplative mind to be gay in France. At every footstep the merciless and sanguinary route of fanatical barbarians disgust the sight and sicken humanity—on all sides ruins obtrude themselves on the eye and compel the question, “For what and for whom are all this havoc and desolation?”35

6. Religion

a. De-Christianization: Nov. 1793:36

...the church is desecrated. The same thing happened in this revolution. But in 1793 the new revolution to replace Catholicism became apparent. And this is one of the standard Lefebvre textbooks which is very objective and discusses this.

In 1793 “the festival of August 10th...” the proclamation of the republic, was purely secular. The new religion endowed itself with symbols and a form of liturgy, honored the ‘holy Mountain,’” that is, the place, the party of the Mountain, “and venerated its martyrs, Lepeletier, Marat, and Chalier. On the 3 Brumaire, Year II (October, 24, 1793)... the Convention adopted the revolutionary calendar.” The year one was to begin with August 10th, 1792, the republic. All the months are renamed in accordance with natural phenomena; that is, in the, I think December is called Pleuvoise which means rain, the rainy season, the rainy month and so forth. “It attempted to dechristianize daily life by replacing references to religious ceremonies and the saints with names borrowed from tools and products familiar to the French.” All feast days were abolished, and the seven-day week was abolished also in favor of a ten day week; that is, there’s no more Sunday. In 1793 November “a report”... concerning “civic festivals constituted the prelude to the official organization of the” new “national religion...”

“At Nevers on September 22, 1793... a festival was celebrated in the cathedral in honor of Brutus.” In this province in October of 1793 all ceremonies, all religious “ceremonies outside churches were abolished, and funeral processions and cemeteries were secularized.” Other local provinces adopted similar policies. “The district of Corbeil declared that the majority of persons under its jurisdiction no longer desired the Catholic form of worship.” In November 6th, 1793, the bishop of Paris resigned under compulsion and said that he had been deceived. “On the 17th” of November “he came with his vicars to the Convention to confirm his action officially. A Festival of Liberty was planned for 20 Brumaire, year II (November 10th, 1793). To celebrate the victory of philosophy over fanaticism, the Commune seized Notre Dame,” Cathedral, “a mountain was built in the choir, and an actress impersonated Liberty. Informed of this, the Convention proceeded to the cathedral—now called the Temple of Reason—and attended a second celebration of the civic festival.” By the way, they burned in effigy the image of atheism, because the revolution is not atheist; it’s deistic. “Some sections (provinces) followed this example. On the 30th (November 20) the citizens of the Unity section... adorned with priestly symbols, paraded before the Convention, singing and dancing.” And on November 23rd 1793 the churches were closed.

Temple of reason:37

We have some sources which show and give insight into the spirit of these celebrations of Reason. For example, in the city of Châlons-on-the-Marne, there’s the following description of the inauguration of a Temple of Reason: “The festival was announced in the whole Commune the evening before. For this purpose retreat was sounded by all the drummers and by the trumpeters of the troops in barracks at Châlons and all parts of town. The next day at daybreak it was again announced by general quarters which was likewise sounded in all parts. The former church of Notre Dame was for lack of time and means cleaned and prepared only provisionally for its new use, and in its former sanctuary there was erected a pedestal supporting the symbolic statue of Reason. It is of simple and free design,” this is an eyewitness account, “It is of simple and free design, decorated only by an inset bearing this inscription: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ It was flanked by two columns surrounded by two antique bronze perfume boxes which emitted incense smoke during the whole ceremony. In front at the foot of three steps was placed an altar of antique form on which were to be placed the emblems of the various groups composing the procession would put there. On the four pillars of the corners of the sanctuary were four projecting brackets to receive the bust of Brutus,” and he’s the enemy of tyranny, “the father of the republics and the model of republicans, of Marat the faithful friend of the people,” who was a vicious killer, “Of Lepelletier, who died for the republic, and the immortal Chalier. At precisely nine o’clock in the morning the general assemblage formed on the gravel promenade, otherwise called the Promenade of Liberty.

The military detachments and other groups destined to form the procession had their places indicated there. Commissioners from the society arranged them in order. A detachment of cavalry, national constabulary and Hussars mingled together to strengthen the bonds of fraternity, leading the march; and on their penant there were these words: ‘Reason guides us and enlightens us.’ It was followed by the company of canoneers of Chalons preceded by a banner with this inscription, ‘Death to the Tyrants.’ This company was followed by a cart loaded with broken chains on which were six prisoners of war and a few wounded being cared for by a surgeon. This cart carried two banners front and back with these two inscriptions, ‘Humanity is a Republican Virtue’‘They were very mistaken in fighting for tyrants,’”that is, these prisoners of war. “This cart was accompanied by two detachments of national guardsmen and regular troops fully armed. Other common people carried banners with the words, ‘Let us be united like it,’” like the tri-color flag, ‘“nothing can conquer us.’ Forty women citizens dressed in white and decorated with tri-color ribbons carried a large tri-color ribbon tied to each head. A liberty bonnet crowned this banner and young national guardsmen accompanied them carrying various pennants on which were written various mottos. In its train groups of children of both sexes carried baskets of fruit and vases of flowers accompanying a cart drawn by two white horses. In the cart was a young woman nursing an infant, beside her a group of children of different ages. It was preceded by a banner with this inscription, ‘They are the hope of the fatherland.’ From the cart flew a tri-color streamer with this inscription, ‘The virtuous mother will produce defenders for the fatherland.’

This van was followed by a chariot of antique type decorated with oak branches and bearing a sexagenarian couple with a streamer on which was written these words, ‘Respect old age.’ Again there was a group of national guardsmen united arm-in-arm singing hymns to liberty and bearing two banners bearing these inscriptions, ‘Our unity is our strenght’ and ‘We will exterminate the last of the despots.’ Next marched a group of women with tri-color ribbons bearing a standard with this inscription, ‘Austere morals will strengthen the republic.’ All who composed this group were dressed in white, as were the drivers of the cart, and all were bedecked with tri-color ribbons. Then followed the surveillance committes,” that is, the GPU, “grouped one after another. In front were four banners each bearing the name of a section and an emblem depicting a finger on the lips to indicate secrecy and another banner with this inscription, ‘Our institution purges society of a multitude of suspicious people.’

The republic section went first; it accompanied a chariot pulled by two white horses and led by two men on foot dressed in Roman style. In it was a woman dressed in the same way representing the Republic. On the front of this chariot appeared a tri-color ensign bearing these words, ‘Government of the wise.’ Next marched the Equality section accompanying a plough pulled by two oxen and guided by a cultivator in work clothes. A couple seated on it carried a standard on which were written on one side, ‘Honor the plough’ and on the other side, ‘Respect conjugal love.’ The principal inspector and all the employees in the military storehouses formed a group which followed the plough. Two standards were carried by this group. The first had the words, ‘Military Supplies’ and the second, ‘Our activity produces abundances in our armies’ Then marched the Fraternity section, consoling groups of convalescents whose physicians were close by. In the middle of this section was an open cart from the Montagne Hospital containing men wounded in the defense of the fatherland, who appeared to have been cared for and bled by health officers who were binding their wounds. They were partly covered by their bloody bandages. The front of this cart carried a banner with this inscription, ‘Our blood will never cease to flow for the safety of the fatherland.’

After the committees followed four women citizens dressed in white and adorned with tri-color belts decorated with the attributes of the four seasons. After the four seasons came the people’s representative in the midst of the constituted authorities, civil and judicial, wearing their distinctive insigna. Each citizen held in his hand a wheat stalk and on the banner which preceded the constituted authorities was this inscription, ‘From the enforcement of the laws come prosperity and abundance.’ These were followed by various staff officers of the national guard who were preceded by a banner saying, ‘Destroy the tyrants or die.’ Next the illegitimate children of the fatherland were led by a woman bearing a banner, ‘The atherland adopts us, we are eager to serve it.’ Finally the old people represented by veterans without weapons, preceded by two banners on which were the inscriptions, ‘The dawn of reason and liberty embellishes the end of our life,’ and‘The French Republic honors loyalty, courage, old age, filial piety, misfortune. It places its constitution under the safe keeping of all the virtues.’

“Finally there was a pause for singing patriotic songs. On the front steps of the city hall there had been built and painted a mountain, at the top of which was placed a Hercules defending a facies fourteen feet in height. A tri-color flag flew above it on which was written in large letters, ‘To the Mountain from the grateful French.’” That is, like saying “To the Bolsheviks.”

“At the foot of the mountain pure water flowed from a spring falling by various cascades. Twelve men dressed as mountaineers armed with pikes and with civic crowns on their heads were hidden in caverns in the mountain. As the procession arrived singing the last couplet of theMarseillaise,the mountaineers quietly came out of their caverns without fully revealing themselves, and when ‘To Arms Citizens’ was sung, they ran to get axes to defend their retreat, posted themselves on different sides of the mountain, but seeing the cart with feudalism and fanaticism drawn by donkeys with miters on their heads, they ran towards them, axe in hand, grabbed the miters, copes and chasubles which adorned them as well as the Pope and his acolytes and chained them to the chariot of liberty. During this the band played a military charge.

The mountaineers, seeing other carts arrive and feigning to believe that they were only the train following the one containing Fanaticism, advanced in their column to meet the first one they saw which was the chariot of Liberty. They lowered their axes as a sign of respect and the band played a march. Then a litter appeared supporting a chair decorated with garlands. The goddess descended from her cart, seated herself on the chair and was borne by eight mountaineers to the foot of the mountain. She was followed by two nymphs, one of whom was carrying a tri-color flag and the other the Declaration of the Rights of Man. They marched upon the trash remnants of nobility and superstition which were then burned to the great contentment of all the citizens and climbing the mountain with the people’s representative, Pflieger, then present at this festival, and mountaineers who represented his colleagues while the band played, ‘Where can one better be than in the bosom of one’s family’ reached the summit. The goddess was crowned by the graces. Then a tri-color flag was displayed and they sang, ‘Our country’s three colors.’ And still on the mountain they sang, ‘When from the mountain peeks the sun.’ The procession descended, the goddess stopped at the spring, a vase was presented to her by the president of the Commune. She drank some water from the mountain, then presented some to the people’s representative, to all the constituted authorities, citizens and officers of the different corps present, who all drank to the health of the republic, one and indivisible and of the Mountain, the party.

“The goddess again on her chair was borne to her chariot by eight mountaineers. Four others placed themselves at her side, axes raised to drive away the profane. The others took their places with the administrative bodies to indicate that public dignitaries are consistent with virtue alone. From there they went to the Temple of Reason. All the musicians gathered behind the altar with the singers. At the moment when the procession entered the temple, the organ blared an overture. And thesociété populaire, the constituted authorities, the surveillance committes,” GPU, “and the groups described above took places in rows facing the altar of Reason in a certain distance from it. The military band played hymns to Reason, to Liberty, to hatred for tyrants, and to sacred love for the fatherland, after which the president of thesociété populairedelivered the inaugural speech. The Commune president and others delivered speeches. After their harangues various patriotic hymns were repeated and accompanied by the military band, after which in front of the temple entrance, the trumpeteers announced that the inauguration festival and the ceremony were concluded.

“In the evening fireworks were displayed on the mountain, a bouquet marked the gratitude of all the French to the mountaineers present, who were solemnly recognized to be the saviors of the republic. Then a ball was held and so brotherhood was twice celebrated in a single day. Each citizen taking part in this fine day evidenced this civic spirit. All took the oath to live in freedom or to die.”

But this is very much in harmony with, of course, Communist celebrations of various kinds—very rational, very ordered, very artificial. The triumph of the abstract mind which is the sign of reason is the highest reality.

One asks how this all fits together, and we’ll see later on how it all fits together because we want to examine both the reaction against this in the nineteenth century and the further development of the revolutionary ideas.

Already we can gain one idea which is very central to all of this. And that is that this whole Revolution, with these various strands, is very much like a secular form of something we already saw in the Renaissance period, that is, the chiliastic sects. Now, there’s a goddess of Reason, the same idea there’s a new order of the ages; history is now coming to an end. So far we see no talk of the Third Age of the Holy Spirit, because it’s all couched in rationalistic terms; but this is very much an outbreak of that same spirit. Now it’s much broader and takes over the whole society. We’ll see later on how deep this chiliastic strain goes into modern man.


And now we come to the last aspect of the Revolution, which is that of Napoleon. With Napoleon the Revolution actually comes to an end, that is, this bloody part. The whole of Europe is convulsed; half of it is welcoming the Revolution until it sees all the blood and begins to get a little upset; but still many people are welcoming revolution, and another half of it is horrified by it; and they begin to fight. And the French armies go out beyond the borders carrying the Revolution abroad. They saw how the... Goethe, Beethoven and others think it’s a wonderful thing bringing liberty and equality to mankind.

And then comes one very talented and clever man, Napoleon, who takes over the whole thing and becomes over fifteen years the dictator for France. In many ways he offers a compromise, that is, he restores the church, in fact gives the church... He has a concordat with the Pope, which gives the Pope much more power over the French Church than he had before. He restores the churches; he even restores a new kind of nobility, and establishes an empire, a new monarchy, but preserving the advantages of the Revolution. That is, he has a new law code, he dissolves the whole idea that there are different castes in society. All are supposed to be equal at least theoretically before the law. And we’ll look at few aspects of his life, which are not too often talked about, which were...

There’s a book by [Dimitri] Merezhkovsky, a Russian, crazy Russian, who however was very much attuned to Napoleon’s mystical ideas, so he quotes from many of his letters. To begin with, he has a frontespiece the motto for the whole book, a quote from Pushkin, who calls Napoleon “The Fateful Executor of a Command Unknown.” That is, the idea that he is representing something he knows not what. He himself is very aware of being on the crest of some movement in history, and as long as that movement supports him, he can he go forward and conquer the world; and when it departs, he feels he loses everything. This Merezhkovsky calls Napoleon “the titan who bridled the chaos – the Revolution.” He took over and gave it order.38

There’s a Catholic thinker from the nineteenth century, Leon Bloy, who talks about Napoleon. He says, “Napoleon cannot be explained; he is the most inscrutable of men, because he is primarily and above all the prototype of Him Who must come and Who, perhaps, is not far distant; he is the prototype and forerunner, closely akin to us. Who among us, Frenchmen or even foreigners, living at the end of the nineteenth century but has felt the illimitable sadness of the consummation of this incomparable Epic?” “Who possessed with but an atom of a soul but was not overwhelmed by the thought of the verily too sudden downfall of the great Empire and its Leader? Who was not oppressed by the remembrance that but yesterday, so it seemed, men were on the highest pinnacle possible to humanity, because of the mere presence of this Beloved, Miraculous and Terrible Being, the like of whom had never before been seen in the world; and could, like the first human beings in paradise deem themselves lords of all God’s creation, and now immediately after must again be cast back into the age-long mud of the Bourbons” dynasty, because after Napoleon the monarchy was restored.39

He [Napoleon] himself speaks of himself as someone who is very much one of the people, even though he was himself from some kind of little nobility. He says “Popular fibre responds to mine; I am come from the ranks of the people, and my voice has influence over them...”40

“Great was my material power,” he said, “But my spiritual power was infinitely greater; it bordered on magic!”

When the people died for Napoleon they died for someone whom, as Victor Hugo writes, “Understanding that they were going to die..., they salutedtheir godwho was standing in the midst of the tempest,” that is, Napoleon as a deity.41

“On his return to Paris from Elba...” that is, when he was first banished to Elba off the coast of France and then came back for a brief period before Waterloo, he came “into the Palace of the Tuilleries” in Paris and, ‘“Those who carried him were frantic, beside themselves with joy, and thousands of others deemed themselves happy to be able to kiss or even touch the hem of his garments.’ ‘Me thought I was present at Christ’s resurrection,’” says one witness.42

“When I was a child,” writes this same Leon Bloy, “I knew old veterans who could not distinguish him (Napoleon) from the Son of God.”43Napoleon himself writes in his testament which he left, “I die in the Roman apostolical religion in the bosom of which I was born.” And in fact he lived, he was a member of the Roman Catholic Church, but in ideas, totally foreign to it. And he said, in fact, “I prefer Islam. At least it is not as absurd as our religion.”44

“Napoleon is adaimoniac being,’says Goethe using the worddaimonin its antique pagan sense, neither god nor devil but someone betwixt the two.”

There was an “apocalyptic strain which runs throughout the whole Napoleonic mystery. It originated earlier still with the Revolution, when at times it reached such a pitch that it is almost akin to the early Christian eschatology, a premonition of the world’s approaching end.” This, of course, is very accurate because this is a chiliastic movement. “‘The end of all things is at hand; there will be a new heaven and new earth.’”

“The ancient dream of paradise lost, of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven, together with a new vision of a human kingdom of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity drew men towards Napoleon... Napoleon is the soul of the Revolution...” ‘“I am the French Revolution,’ says he, as he begins the Empire; and at end he says, ‘The Empire is the Revolution.’”

‘“He was a bad man, an evil man!’—he says of Rousseau standing over his grave. ‘Without him there would have been no French Revolution... It is true that I, too, would not have existed... Perhaps that would have been better for the happiness of France. Your Rousseau is a madman; it is he who has brought me to this.’ ‘Time will show whether it would not have been better for the peace of the world if neither Rousseau nor I had lived.” Still he was very much the spokesman of the Revolution.

He says of himself, ‘“I closed up the chasm of anarchy. I put an end to Chaos. I cleansed the Revolution...’

‘“In spite of all its atrocities, the Revolution was the true cause of our moral regeneration. Thus the most foul-smelling manure produces the most noble vegetation. Men may restrain or temporarily suppress this progress but are powerless to crush it.’ ‘Nothing can destroy or efface the great principles of the Revolution. Its sublime truths will endure forever in the light of the wonderful deeds we have done, in the halo of glory with which we surrounded them, already they are immortal!... They live in Great Britain, shed their light in America; have become the heritage of the French nation. They are the torch which will illuminate the world... They will become the religion of all nations and, say what you will, this new epoch will be associated with my name, because I kindled the torch and shed a light on its beginnings and now through persecution, I will be forever acclaimed as its Messiah. Friends and foes alike will call me the first soldier of the Revolution, its champion leader. When I am no more I shall remain for all nations the beacon star of their rights, and my name will be their battle cry, the slogan of their hopes.’”

As to the dichotomy between liberty and equality which, as anyone knows, exclude each other, he says, “Better abolish liberty than equality. It is the spirit of the times, and I wish to be a son of my times!’ ‘Liberty is the need of the few elect... It can be constrained with impunity, but equality is pleasing to the majority.’”

This Merezhkovsky quite rightly notes that the Revolution seceded from Christianity in everything, save in the idea of universality. Dostoyevsky writes, “As a matter of fact the French Revolution was nothing more than the last variation and reincarnation of the same ancient Roman formula of universal unity,” which by the way we discovered earlier is one of the main themes of modern thought.

Napoleon says it himself, “My ambition? It was of the highest and noblest kind that ever perhaps existed—that of establishing and consecrating the Empire of reason and the full exercise and enjoyment of all human faculties.”

And he wanted to march on Asia. Before he became emperor, he was in Egypt and came back to take over France. For him Europe was but the route to Asia. He said, “Your Europe is a mole-hill! Only in the East have there been great empires and mighty upheavals; in the East, where dwell six hundred million people.”

“The lure of the East,” says this Merezhkovsky, “grips him all his life. In Egypt before the Syrian campaign, young General Bonaparte, poring for hours on the ground over huge outspread maps, dreams of a march to India across Mesopotamia following the route of Alexander the Great.” He says, “With overwhelming forces, I shall enter Constantinople, overthrow the Sultan, and found the new and great empire of the Orient. This will bring me immortal fame.”

Now we see about how he surrounds himself with a mysticism. At St. Helena when he’s in final exile, he says, “I always realized the necessity of mystery... I always realized that my ends could best be served by surrounding myself with a halo of mystery which has such a strong fascination for the multitude. It fires the imagination, paves the way to those brilliant and dramatic effects which give one such power over men. This was the cause of my unfortunate march to Moscow. Had I been more deliberate I might have averted every evil, but I could not delay it. It was necessary that my movement and success should seem, as it were, supernatural.”

And about religion he says, “I created a new religion. Already I pictured myself on the road to Asia, riding on an elephant with a turban on my head and carrying a new Alcoran written by myself,” a new sacred book.

Napoleon realized that, as he said, “As soon as a man becomes king, he is a separate being from his fellow-men. I always admired Alexander’s (the Great) sound political instinct which prompted him to proclaim his divine origin.” “Had I returned from Moscow,” he says, “as a conqueror I should have had the world at my feet, all nations would have admired and blessed me. I might have withdrawn myself mysteriously from the world, and popular credulity would have revived the fable of Romulus; it would have said that I had been carried up to heaven to take my place among the gods!’...”

He realized that our life and time were not appropriate for calling himself God. He says, “Now were I to declare myself the son of the Father Almighty and order a thanksgiving service on the occasion, every fish-wife in Paris would jeer at me to my face. No, the people are too civilized nowadays. There is nothing great left for me to do!”

He used the Catholic faith, as he himself says, “Would you like me to invent some new and unknown religion according to my fantasy? No, I hold a different view on the matter. I need the old Catholic faith; it alone retains its grip on all hearts, and alone can turn the hearts of the people towards me and remove all obstacles from my path.”

But on St. Helena he notes that he had aims beyond conquering the world. He says, “I should have governed the religious with the same facility as the political world.” “I intended to exalt the Pope beyond measure, to surround him with grandeur and honors. I should have succeeded in supressing all his anxiety for the loss of his temporal power.I should have made an idol of him; he would have remained near my person. Paris would have become the capitol of Christendom; and I should have governed the religious as well as the political world.”

And so we see some of these mystical ideas of Napoleon and other important things. We have in him the first time in [the] modern age a world conqueror, someone who consciously wanted to conquer the world and even perhaps set himself up as a god. He saw himself as the successor of the Roman Empire, after he defeated the Russians at Austerlitz in 1807 and the Germans in 1806—in fact, the Germans were so afraid that he would take the crown of the Holy Roman Empire that the Emperor of Austria abolished the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Napoleon announced in 1807 after defeating the Russians that “I am now the Roman emperor because I have defeated the first Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, and the third Rome, which is Moscow, and I am now the heir of both.”

And a third aspect is his attitude towards the Jews. The age of revolution was preceded immediately by much agitation in favor of the Jews, especially on the part of very enlightened Jewish philosophers like Moses Mendelssohn and the liberal radical Jews who wanted to abolish the separate ghettos and so forth. In fact the Revolution gave a great deal of so-called “freedom” to the Jews, in every place the Revolution is usually accompanied by emancipation of the Jews. That, we’ll go back to that later on, that aspect.

The most interesting thing about Napoleon and the Jews is that after he had proclaimed himself Emperor, he called from all over the world a meeting of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish high court which condemned Christ to death and had not existed since the time of the fall of Jerusalem after the death of Christ. He called back this organization into existence for one purpose: so that the Jewish people would proclaim him to be emperor. There’s even an illustration of him at the Sanhedrin meeting in order to proclaim him Emperor; it is in a book I lost.

The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (8)
Napoleon's Grand Sanhedrin.

One asks the question how these—certainly there’s many enlightened and modern ideas here; he’s obviously a child of the Enlightenment—wonders how this whole idea of an empire, of a monarchy, a restored monarchy, fits in with the ideals of the Revolution which is a democracy, and a state of equality. How does it fit? And how could he be recognized as the carrier of the revolutionary ideal? In fact wherever he went his armies were tremendously enthusiastic because they felt they had an ideology; they were carrying the message of truth to other peoples. Obviously, it’s bound up with this chiliastic revolutionary ideal.

For now we won’t say much more about it. But we find later on other examples of this same phenomenon occurring again. But there are different strands of the Revolution; and the strand which Napoleon most evoked was this, which we’ve talked about before, the ideal of universal monarchy, which makes him one of the forerunners of Antichrist. The very thought that he could be proclaimed a god after conquering the world, that he would be conqueror of the world, one world ruler, that he is the Roman Emperor, and that the Jews proclaim him as the emperor, that is, almost messiah, shows that he has very definitely more than anyone before him in modern times is a forerunner of Antichrist. And we will see later there is one other person so far in modern history who had a similar function. In fact almost all these things have the same ideas, and that’s Hitler.

And this whole revolution beginning with the proclamation of the rights of man, and equality through the bloody massacres and deliberate depopulation, proclamation of Communism, the coming to power of one ruler who wanted to be ruler of the world. All of this is a rehearsal for a future kingdom of this world.

And once Napoleon was removed and the monarchy was restored—we’ll see that it was not a real restoration—these revolutionary ideas begin to be much more powerful; and the whole of the European intellectual class now becomes filled with these ideas. They change a few ideas but the basic ideal remains the same. There are some thinkers who go a little deeper into the question; some are more superficial. We will examine the views of the various ones and also the revolutionary outbreaks which they inspired. But to understand the Revolution we have to see it not as something which is complete in itself but as something which is an attempt of breaking through of the new forces, the new chiliastic forces. Later on these forces are able to take over not just most of Europe, but now most of the world, because meanwhile this process of apostasy, of the Mystery of Iniquity has gone much deeper and has entered into the lives of now everybody in the world.


1.Religion and Philosophy in Germany: A Fragmentby Heinrich Heine, transl. John Snodgrass, Beacon Press, 1959, Boston, p. 106.

2. Ibid., p. 160.

3. Barruel, Abbé,Memoirs to Serve for a History of Jacobinism, Vol. I, Lyons, 1818, French edition, p. 40:“Il ne fallut rein moinsque cet intervalle aux philosophes corrupteurs pour préparer les voies aux philosophes massacreurs.”

4. Merezhkovsky, Dmitri, trans. Zvegintzov, Catherine,Napoleon the Man, E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1928, quoting Holland, p. 39: “Without him [Rousseau] there would have been no French Revolution.... It is also true that I, too, would not have existed.... Perhaps that would have been better for the happiness of Europe.”

5. Barruel, Vol. I, pp. v-xx

6. Rousseau, Jean Jacques, “A Discourse on the Origin of Equality,” 1754, quoted in Seldes, George,The Great Quotations, Pocket Books, New York, 1967, p. 299: “The first man, who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of sayingThis is Mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”

7. Letter of Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire to Jean Jacques Rousseau, “In Defense of Civilization.” August 30, 1755,The Portable Age of Reason Readered. Crane Brinton, The Viking Press, New York, 1956, p. 600: “[T]o read your book makes one long to go on all fours. Since, however, it is now some sixty years since I gave up the practice, I feel that it is unfortunately impossible for me to resume it...”

8. Rousseau,The Social Contract, 1762.

9. Quoted in Webster, Nesta,World Revolution, Small, Maynard & Co., 1921, Boston, pp. 8.-10

10. Webster footnote: A German sect of this name professing Satanism, with which Weishaupt’s Order may have been connected, existed in the fifteenth century.

11. Ibid., pp. 11-13.

12. Ibid., pp. 15-16.

13. Ibid. p. 16; Barruel Vol. IV, p. 9.

14. Webster footnote: “The Martinistes, whose tendencies were purely scientific, passed frequently for madmen and despised politics” (Papus, President of the Supremem Coucil of the Martiniste Order (1895), Martines de Pasqually, p. 55)

15. Webster p. 19.

16. Ibid., p. 25.

17. Footnote in Webster: Robinson’sProofs of a Conspiracy, pp. 106, 107.

18. Barruel, Vol. IV, pp. 1-2.

19. Barruel, Vol. IV, p. 337

20. Webster pp. 32-33.

21. Bourne, Henry Elridge,The Revolutionary Period in Europe (1763-1815), The Century Co., New York, p. 100.

22. Barruel, Vol. IV, p. 335.

23. Ibid.

24. Webster p.56.

25. Webster footnote: “This word was first coined by Thouret, a member of the National Assembly, in a debate on the goods of the clergy in 1790.”

26. Ibid., pp. 57-58.

27. Webster footnote: Fleury, Edouard,Babeuf et le socialisme en1796, p. 111.

28. Webster p. 64

29. Ibid., p. 69

30. Ibid., pp. 67-68

31. See Buonarotti, Philippe.Conspiration pour l’égalité dite de Babeuf, i, 97, 114, 115, 213, 238, 271; ii, 130-134, 145, 252, 318; andAnalyse de la doctrine de Babeuf.

32. Webster, p. 70.

33. Barruel, Volume IV, pp. 338-9.

34. Webster pp. 49-50.

35. Webster footnote: Yorke, Redhead,France in 1802, pp. 28, 33.

36 Lefebre, Georges,The French Revolution from 1793 to 1799, Vol. 2, Columbia University Press, 1964, New York, pp. 77-8.

37. Quoted in Dawson, Philip,The French Revolution, Prentice- Hall, 1967, pp. 121-122.

38. Merezhkovsky, p. 6.

39. Bloy, Leon, quoted in Merezhkovsky, op. cit. p. 15-16.

40. Napoleon quoted in Merezhkovsky, p. 20-21.

41. Hugo, Victor, quoted in Merezhkovsky, p. 25.

42. Merezhkovsky, p. 29.

43. Bloy, quoted in Merezhkovsky, p. 30.

44. Napoleon quoted in Merezhkovsky, p. 30. The quotations that follow are taken from pp. 31-43.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (9)

We will begin this lecture with a quote from Metropolitan Anastassy, from his memoirs, which is called, well, it’s just a collection of hismemoirson various topics. We will begin this way because he was a profound churchman in the full tradition of Orthodoxy, in whom, as in other great churchmen, great hierarchs, the spirit of the Church is, as it were, incarnated; that is, they are the ones to whom we look for mature wisdom, not only on narrow Church questions, but on this whole question of the Revolution for example. He comes from a Russia which had a particular, special relation to the Revlution, as we’ll see in the next lecture. And what he says has particular weight because it comes from outside, as it were, the main place where the Revolution began. It comes from someone who was very deep, both in thought and feeling. And he has a very interesting observation to make about the French Revolution.

[From “Conversation with My Own Heart:”] He says, “In the French Revolution, as in a mirror, the light-minded character of this people was reflected. Its striving for posing, for beautiful phrases and gestures inspired by vainglory. All the heroes and the ordinary activists in this Revolution, even the most moderate and serious of them, the Gerondists, remind one of actors who stand before the face of a numerous audience and think only about what their contemporaries and their descendants will think of them. They gave themselves over to orgies on the eve of being beheaded so as to show by this their faked manliness of spirit. Many of them even strove to have themselves painted in the carts taking them to theguillotinewhich was for them the last “scene” in this world. Noneof them thought about their responsibility before God, before history or before their own conscience in this fatal moment for the country.”

This is a very profoundjudgment.And we’ll see that itiseven more true of the nineteenth century which is filled with these revolutionary agents who are so posed and so fake and you can look around you today and see the same thing. Everybody comes up with a new plan for society; everybody’sdreaming about who they are going to bomb, how they are going to make a name for themselves, how they are going to bring about the finalrevolution;and they’re allextremelyshallow and posing. Andthey have no basis, no idea of responsibility before God, no idea that they are going to be called to account for their life—nothing but this senseless fever they have to spread the revolution. And theydon’teven know what it’s all about. They’re obviouslyjust puppetsin a play which is being played. They don’t know whoisthe author or where it’s going. And when they’re finally shotdownthemselves, they just become, as even the Communists say, “manure” for the revolution, the future happiness of mankind.

But we now will follow the example of such as Metropolitan Anastassy who thought very deeply on the question of the Revolution, and try to get behind the ideas and the thoughts that are going on among people. And see if we can understand why these things happened, what the end of them is. We will see especially in the nineteenth century, an age of egotists which probably has never been equaled before. These posers and egotists. Everyone comes up with a new theory:it’s been revealedto him, it’s the latest thing and the mostfantasticidea. There wasa great feeling of freedom. You know, remember that Wordsworth talked about it being alive in the dawn of the French Revolution. Everybody was sooverjoyed;it’s a new age that’s coming. And this same feeling persists throughout this early part of the nineteenth century when everybody comes up with a new social system. And they come up with the most fantastic schemes. If you go back now and read, you can see this is a golden age for crackpots. They come up with ideas of theocracy. There was a fantastic thinker, Poplardolevie, who reconstructed the ancient Hebrew language and translated Genesis with a metaphysical interpretation of it. And then he came up with an idea of a great theocracy.

And, by the way, this very same spirit is reflected in Greece where it came a little bit later in the crackpot, Makrakis, at the end of the century, who thought he was first one to prove the existence of the Holy Trinity by reason and so forth—the same idea, some kind of spirit of overwhelming pride, at the same time extremely shallow. And this, of course, is totally foreign to Orthodoxy. And the reason it could come was because Christianity was lost.

The period we come to now, this period—actually it’s contemporaneous with the Revolution itself. In fact, it begins just before theRevolutionand carries on after theRevolution.It’stheperiod of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Here we have manyconflicting revolutionaryideas.We’ll examine afew of them in a minute. And one wonders how are we to tell which are the important ideas. And the key to that is looking at around us in the world today, because the revolution is the historical process which has produced the world of today. And we can see the key ideas by examining chiefly the one form of the revolution which is dominant today, that is, Communism, and even threatens to swallow up the whole world, and also by examining our own philosophical, spiritual environment in the free world to see what it is that moves people in the free world.

Much of the thought in the nineteenth century would have seemed the fantasies of some kind of crackpots, if Marxism had not conquered Russia and now half the world and shown us that these ideas are very much a part of the spirit of our own times. And there’s definite reasons why they’ve triumphed.

We will not try to trace any one revolutionary school, such is liberalism, or socialism, communism, or any of the secret societies, even if this were possible, because we want to understandthe mind that gave these birth, that is, the revolutionary mentality.

There are in this age, if possible, even more secret societies than existed in the eighteenth century. And it becomes even ridiculous, there are so many of them. And they, each one is involved with being a conspirator, or hiding its plan from the rest of them, trying to gain dominance. And the ones who are in the lower ranks are afraid there’s a higher secret that’s not beenrevealedto them. And they’re afraid that it’s not what they want.And they’re going from one to the next. There’s one kind of groupin Italy which sits before bonfires in the darkness in the moonlight thinking about how to unite Italy and make Italy the center of the world, revive the Roman Empire and all kinds of fantastic things—blood oaths, and all this kind of thing—which especially the young people of that Romantic Age were very inspired by.

It’s not possible to see how influential each one of these little sects was. Obviously they had a great part to play because in many of these revolutions, at the right time, there were people who came and inspired the people to march the right direction in order to get their revolutionary ideas across. But this is actually secondary importance because whatever they achieved by their conspiracies would not have been able to be preserved had it not been for the fact that the spirit of the times was receptive to it. And that’s what we want to examine,the spirit of the times,which is primary.

In the next lecture we’ll also look at the conservative reaction againsttheRevolutionto see if we can’t get apicture of the whole developing mentality of the nineteenth century which produced the present world which we live in, which has revolutionary ideas and governments standing against so-called “conservatism.”We will seewhetherthis can be called conservatismor not. In fact, we’ll see some veryinterestingrevolutionary ideas in the middle of these conservatives. This world, we’ll discuss chiefly the time of [the] post-Napoleonic age, because this is the time when thinkers had to stop and ask themselves what was the meaning of the Revolution and where do we go next.

The first thing that happened when Napoleon was overthrown and the Revolution was crushed—or so it looked, the whole of Europe presided over by the magnificent, romantic Alexander from Russia [who] came to the West and proceeded to reconstruct the society of Europe—there was a political reaction; it’s called the “age of the politicalreaction.”TheBourbon dynastywas restored under the brother of Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, who was quite willing to live under the new conditions. And it was not actually much of a restoration. It was a new idea, that is, a constitutional monarchy. It was not the old absolutism of the eighteenth century. Therefore the revolutionary ideas already gained somewhat of an acceptance.

This restoration meant that the churches were open; of course, they were already opened in the time of Napoleon, but there was no more Napoleon to be bringing the Revolution to everybody else. And there was somewhat the freedom of the press where all kinds of wild ideas could be expressed and also the conservative ideas. But underneath this whole society, the restored monarchy in France, there was a strong undercurrent of revolutionary unrest—not because the people were particularly unhappy with their lot, although of course there were many grievances especially because it was the age of rising industrialism and, of course, the lot of the workers got worse and worse—but mainly because these ideas werein the air. And just because Napoleon was defeated, these ideas did not go away. They formed the climate of the times, the spirit of the age.

In France there was one revolutionary outburst in 1830 in which the Bourbon dynasty was finally chased away. And the poor Charles X had to leave his slippers behind him as he fled in his coach to England. And the Orleans dynasty came in, I believe, a cousin of the last Bourbon king. And he was very much a man of the people, had even taking part in the Revolution, and called himself [king] “by the grace of God and the people,” that is,heput them bothtogether. He’sgoing to be both a traditionalist and arevolutionary.And we’ll see later on what Nicholas I in Russiathought about that. But he in turn was chased out, and I think he left his slippers behind, as the new Revolution in 1848 overthrew him.

We’ll look a little in the next lecture at what happened in that Revolution which is actually a repetition of 1789 to 1793 – and rather hilarious if you don’t count all the people that werekilled—and ended with the clown monarch Napoleon III who was one of the most lightheaded monarchs probably Europe ever had, [who] ended up by rushing off to defeat the Germans, leaving Paris open. He lost all his armies and Paris was taken by theGermansin the worst defeat France ever saw. But that’s already in the next lecture.

Most historians regard the history of the nineteenth century as the battle between reaction—summed up by the name of Metternich, the prime minister of Austria and the Holy Alliance, that is, all these nations who had the restored monarchs—against the revolution or freedom, as the workman and the bourgeoisie tried to gain their freedom from the nobles and the kings. But this is a very superficial view. The real battle is much deeper than that.

This time, not just the time after 1815 but the time before, a decade or two before, the whole time of the Revolution and afterwards through the first half of the nineteenth century, is the age of Romanticism. This is the time when the Enlightenment ideas of reason, of humanitarianism, of Voltaire and Diderot, the rights of man, the making [of] constitutions, thinking things through and coming up with logical deductions which will save mankind—all this is rejected. But it is rejected only for its one-sidedness, many of the more positive ideas—actually humanitarian ideal, and the overthrowing of the old system of the absolutism—are not so much rejected. But there’s rather a feeling, which actually comes straight from Rousseau, already in the middle of the eighteenth century, of a religion offeelingand a sympathy for all kinds of mysterious things andmysticism.But now this isreducedto this world. There’s a great of sympathy for the Middle Ages and for the national past of every country, whereas the Enlightenment age was an international age.

So you get people going around like the Grimm brothers to collect fairy tales, and the folk songs and tales of the people. And as far as the religion isconcerned,of course, there’s agreatrevival of Catholicism; and it becomes now fashionable to be seen at the Mass. But at the same time itbecomes somethingnew. It’s not exactly like it was in the old regime. It’s very much of athis-worldly atmosphere about it, and a great revival of occultism for severaldecades.It’s at the same time, from before the Revolution.And one can say that there is a search for some kind ofnewChristianity which will harmonize with the philosophy of the Enlightenment, keep the best features of the philosophy of the Enlightenment and reject theone-sidedness,such as, Voltaire’s anti-Christianity and the atheism of the later thinkers.

This is the age of the great Romantic poets, the search for marvels, religion of inspiration and enthusiasm, new revelations, and the poets being carried away by their imagination—poems and stories about ruins and moonlight and darkness and all kinds of the darker side of life, the mysterious side.

This is the time of Caliostro, who, by the way, was mixed up with one the plots to overthrow the king in 1789, and [Franz Anton] Mesmer the hypnotist. And in fact one of the French writers at this time, [Johann Kaspar] Lavater, said that Mesmer wentaroundand laidhandsonpeople’sheads,hypnotized themand healed them and all kinds of things. And this one man said that this is the modern equivalent of the Apostles laying on of the hands, which in our times comes out in the charismatic movement. And San Martin, the unknown philosopher, as he was called, was mixed up with one of these lodges actually which helped inspire the revolution, got mixed up very much with occultism. In fact, I met his son, Martiniste, some years ago, who was, claimed to be eighty years old and looked much younger and has the secret of long life and health and success; but theredoesn’tseem to be too muchthere,too much spirituality.

One can say that this is the second age of Romance in the history of Europe, the first one being the Middle Ages. In between these two ages there was the development of the scientific world-view and the age of reason. But now comes the reaction which produces back to something which something like the Middle Ages, only now it’s going to be not withinCatholicismthat this romanticism comes out, but beyond Catholicism.

There was a deep awareness in this period that the past, even though there was a political restoration and a longing for the past, and the poetry written about the Middle Ages, and everyone became enthusiastic about stained glass windows and so forth; still there was an awareness that the past could not be recaptured, the old Europe, the Old Regime wasgone. And there was a deep undercurrent at this time, a longing for a new unity, a new kind of golden age something like the Middle Ages where everyone was inspired by a common ideal and art would flourish and the sciences would progress harmoniously. And this very feeling, this desire for some kind of new unity is, as we’ll see, very much ofachiliasticidea. And in fact, we can say that this whole period including the Revolution and the romanticism of the poets and artists, and the mysticism of the sects and lodges, and as we’llalsosee even the Christian sects, is part of one great outburst of chiliastic fervor.

There are at this time so many prophets, so many people who’ve gotten theanswer.It’s beenrevealedto them what is the future of mankind, what is the truth. This is like the movement of the earlier Anabaptists we already looked at a little bit and those sects; only now it is on a much greater scale, because it enters not only the sectarian, religious sphere but enters into the main sphere of philosophy and politics.

In the eighteenth century there are many of these chiliastic sects, the Shakers, the Rappites, and so forth. And in this very time a little bit later there come other chiliastic sects, the Adventists, the Mormons and many, many others, the Irvingites, and so forth. We’ll look at a few of them in aminute.Andtheseare only a small reflection of this attitude of mind which deeply penetrated the men of this time and which goes on even today.

We will try to look at these all in a way together, because it’s usual to think that thesectarian mentalityis one thing;andthe mentality which enlightened men, people who to go to college and have degrees and so forth and are capable of rational thought, they are something else. But we’ll see here that inthistime all these currents are very much mixed up.

4. Example: German Romantic poet Novalis.1

We’ll give as an example of this chiliasticmentality, acouple of quotes from the German Romantic poet, Novalis, who wrote a novel, which I think is calledHans von Ertandinger, one of the early Romantic novels about the search for the mysterious blue flower, in which he wrote a few things about his chiliastic ideas. He, by the way, [and] the great“thinkers”who had a great deal to sort of inspire this movement were all born about 1770interestingly enough.It’s the very yearBeethovenwas born. We’ll see later on Saint-Simon, Owen, Fourier, these people, and Novalis was also born in 1772, I believe, and died in ’29, attheturn of the century.

He [Novalis] said, “Christendom had again tobecomeliving and active... As yet there is no Religion. We must first found a training school of genuine Religion. Think ye that there is Religion? Religion must be made and produced through the union of a number of men. The fullest germs of the new religion lie in Christianity, but they also lie comparatively neglected.’ And in another passage: ‘Who says that the Bible is finished? May it not be that the Bible is in the process of growing?’... [Novalis’ disciple wrote:] He wrote in 1797:‘Ohthese blind people who are talking about atheism! Does a theist as yet exist? Is any human intellect already master of the idea of divinity?’

“...Novalis...saw in the Christian religion the germ of democracy.”

“It is also, I think, highly significant that Novalis even anticipated the Utopian and Marxian Socialist expectation that there will be no need for a legal order in the society of the future, or at any rate that the number of laws will decrease, for: ‘Laws are the complement of imperfect characters.’

“...[In Novalis’] pamphletDie Christenheit oder Europa...We find in it the same emphasis on the paramount importance of religion: ‘It is impossible for secular powers to find their balance; a third element, secular and transcendental at the same time, can alone fulfil this task. ...Religion alone can again awaken all Europe, it alone can safeguard the nations.’ ...Novalis, like so many Utopians, turned his eyes to the far distant: ‘Princes referred their dispute to the father of Christianity [the Pope], and willingly cast down their crowns and dignities at this feet.’ Here we have a typical example of a Utopia attributed to a past period...’a new golden Period, with heavenly features, a prophetic wonder-working, wound-healing one, comforting us and enkindling hopes of eternal life.’ And in another passage: ‘The old and new world are engaged inwarfare... Perchance, in these events, as in the sciences, a more intimate and varied connection between the European States is at hand.’ And Novalis’ ultimate aim was that: ‘Europe may again awaken and the states form but one.’”2

Chiliasm in early Socialist “Prophets” & the Utopian Socialists.

1. Owen. 1771-18583

a. Life pp. 5-7

b. New Lanark (still exists unchanged today): Industrial community under benevolent capitalist. 20,000 visitors 1815-1825, including Nicholas I. Largest cotton spinning mill in Britain. 1500 employees. 12-hour day, low pay but many ol(occupational?) benefits & low rent, free medical care, schools, food at cost. Produced “Order, neatness and regularity.” Aspects of life: 158. But later he saw that the factory wasn’t the ideal.

c. Background of his further ideas in religious communitarianism & millennial sects of 18th-19th century: Ephrata Community, Moravian Brethren, (and later similar movements e.g. Mormonism, Adventism); especially influenced by Shakers and Rappites, and tried his experiments by buying the Rappite town of Harmony Indiana. Owen’s was asecularcontinuation of an establishedreligiousexperiment.

d. New Harmony

Idyllic agricultural community described by a disciple cf. 58-9. But radical ideas & end of family system p. 58-60. Sought, like other early Socialists, a “science of man.” Owenism did not degenerate into a sect & had sectarian tone from the beginning. Shakers and Swedenborgians became Owenites and Owenites became Shakers cf. ex. p. 108. One disciple wanted to be made “bishop” cf. 124. Owen felt himself [to be an] agent of a mission cf. 134.

e. Owen in America: 106. New Harmony described cf. 164-5. Enthusiasm quickly died out. Communism experiments in American in 1840 were Fourierist.

f. Illustrations cf. pp. 20, 84, 100 a-b, 116 a-b, 132 a-b. g. Owen is carried away by spiritism cf. 250-1.

2. Fourier 1772-1837

a. Life: Son of wealthy cloth-merchant, good education, trained in France, Germany, Italy. Inherited much property from his father, but lost it in the Revolution 1803, published article on European(?) politics which interested Napoleon. Became small businessman, spent leisure on his work on new organization of society.

b. Ideas: against individualism and competition (i. e., Liberalism), new theory ofcooperationfor the harmonious development of human nature. Free development of human nature through unrestrained indulgence of passions, which will result in harmony (this discovery he thought, ranked him with Newton, discovery of gravity - so St. Simon also). Wanted to reorganize all of society on this basis & society to be composed of phalansteres with 1600 people each, common building (phalanstere) and soil. Phalansteres of uniform design. Dirty work done by children, no one required to do anything he didn’t like. Marriage abolished, new arrangement substituted for it.

c. No one paid attention to his first two works, his third work 1829 “The New Industrial World” began to attract disciples; he attacked Owen and St. Simon in “The Charlatanism of Two Sects.” A disciple started a community in 1832, but it quickly failed; Fourier waited in vain for a wealthy capitalist to give money for new experiments.

d. Made fantastic prophecies of future paradise on earth: sea would turn into lemonade, men would be 7 feet tall, live to 144, have 120 years of free love. Men would progress, there would be 30 million scientists and great as Newton, and 30 million poets as great as Shakespeare.

e. Brook Farm in Massachusetts, started 1841 “to combine thinker and worker,” became Fourierist “phalanx” in 1845, but collapsed by 1847. Dostoyevsky and others influenced.

3. St. Simon 1760-1825 a. Life4

“Claude Henri de Rouvroi, Compte de Saint-Simon, who was born in 1760 and died in 1825, was in a sense the child of both the Old Regime and the philosophy of the Enlightenment.”

“Saint-Simon fought at the battle of Yorktown for ‘industrial liberty,’ and in his early twenties he devised plans for the building of canals to join the Pacific and the Atlantic in Nicaragua and to link Madrid with the sea. Upon his return to France, he used his wealth to gather as his tutors the most eminent scientists of France. His soon-spent wealth was restored during the Revolution when he speculated in church lands, though he consequently almost lost his head under Robespierre. Once more he surrounded himself with the savants of the time, traveled to Germany and England, and unsuccessfully tried to marry Mme. de Stael. Slowly his ideas on scientific method, industrialism, and the application of science to social organization took systematic shape; and from 1802 onward, they appeared in a steady stream of pamphlets and books. Falling again poverty-stricken, Saint-Simon became dependent on the charity of a former servant. After 1810, he was surrounded by a following of young engineers from the Ecole Polytechnigue, chief among whom were Augustin Thierry and Auguste Compte, who acted as his secretaries and collaborated in his writings. Apparently disappointed by his lack of success in persuading the rulers and the intelligentsia to support his proposal for social reconstruction, Saint-Simon attempted suicide in 1823. His last work, theNew Christianity, with its religion of human brotherhood, appeared in the year of his death, 1825.”

“Saint-Simon acknowledged [Condorcet] as one of the strongest influences on his own thought.” [In Condorcet’s writings] “Saint-Simon saw the perfection of scientific methodology as the basis of human progress... In a last phase, Saint-Simon in theNew Christianitycalled for a religion based upon brotherly love and concerned with achieving bliss on earth. The basic concern of religion was to be the speediest amelioration of the lot of the poor.”

“The term ‘Saint-Simonianism’ refers here to the disciples of Saint-Simon. It must be made clear that Saint- Simonianism, while maintaining certain basic tenets, from its beginning until its dissolution, continuously underwent changes in others. Yet a basic unity existed in its attempt to put an end to what was regarded at the revolutionary situation of the age.”

“The theory was expounded in a series of public lectures held biweekly after December 17, 1828, and known as theDoctrine of Saint-Simon. An Exposition. First Year (1828-29)...

While this second phase of the Saint-Simonian movement had a general unity of thought, there emerged slowly a stronger religious and political emphasis which tended to subordinate the earlier scientific and industrial interest... This new emphasis led to the establishment of a hierarchically organized Saint-Simonian church in late December, 1829. The doctrine was propagated through public ‘sermons’ and ‘teachings’ in Paris, by mission sent to the provinces and to Belgium, by pamphlets, an above all through the pages of the weeklyOrganisateurand the dailyGlobe. TheGlobehad been the famous liberal paper of the twenties and became Saint-Simonian in November, 1830, after the conversion of its manager, Pierre Leroux, to the new religion. In theGlobe, the Saint-Simonians received their greatest degree of attention...”

“The Saint-Simonian church foreshadowed the basic structure and philosophy of the Religion of Humanity of Compte in his later years. Buchez, the later Catholic socialist, was a member of the Saint-Simonian hierarchy. Heine and Franz Liszt regularly attended the Sunday meetings. Carlyle and Mill corresponded with the society. Sainte-Beuve and George Sand expressed their keen interest and approval, while Lamartine, Balzac, and Lamennais watched with mixed emotions. Stendhal, Benjamin Constant, and Fourier found the new philosophy sufficiently important to attack it. Even Goethe, while criticizing the Saint-Simonian collectivism...regularly received theGlobe... The new religion claimed over 40,000 adherents by the middle of 1831 and was well known to every educated person in Europe.”

The disintegration of this ‘second phase,’ during which Saint-Simonianism was concerned primarily with social reorganization, was precipitated by the conflict within the movement on the question of woman. While there had been general agreement that woman, traditionally exploited like the worker, should be emancipated socially, a new orientation emerged under the leadership of Enfantin which increasingly emphasized the importance of the question of woman, finally advocated free love, and identified the outcome of history with the ‘emancipation’ and ‘sanctification’ of the flesh. This heightened feminism led to a schism, to the rupture of Bazard with the movement, the consequent departure of other members, and to legal persecutions after January, 1832. On April 20, 1832, the last issue of theGlobeappeared, and the second phase of the movement’s history may be said to have ended.

“In the third phase characterized by heightened feminism and pantheistic religious thought after 1832, the concern with social and political problems lessened. The Saint- Simonians were now less interested in propagating the faith than in preparing for a more propitious time by the education of a hierarchy. They withdrew to a monastic life. The trials which resulted in the imprisonment of Enfantin further weakened the movement, which dissolved as an organized group after Enfantin’s departure to Egypt in search of the ‘Woman Messiah.’ Later in the century, the Saint-Simonians were to be prominent in financial and industrial projects, such as the creation of the Crédit Mobiler, the extension of theFrenchrailroad net, and the construction of the Suez Canal.”

b. Influences & secular chiliasm, especially Lessing [Gotthold Ephraim Lessing] with philosophy of eternal striving and religion of the heart (and through him, Joachim of Fiore). Lessing: “If God held concealed in his right hand all truth, and in His left only the ever eager impulse after truth, (even though coupled with the condition that I should ever and always err,) and said to me, ‘Choose!’, I should reverently take his left hand and say, ‘Father give unto me! The absolute truth is for Thee alone?” But believed in revelation which brought human race from lower to higher stages. Man will progress to the state of not requiring belief in future life to do good, but will to do good for itself & then will the eternal gospel, the 3rd Age of the Holy Spirit, come! Freemasons his ideal, who wait for the sunrise of the new age, and throw down barriers of religion, the state, and nationality.

(So: a romantic even in age of Enlightenment.) God is the soul of the world.

Thus: Owen influenced by sectarians; Fourier by revolutionaries, St. Simon by chiliastic tradition of Joachim of Fiore.

c. Philosophy: New Age5

“...There have been no more philosophic doctrines worthy of the name than there have been general states of mankind, but the phenomenon of an orderly social order has occurred only twice in the series of civilization to which we belong and which forms an uninterrupted chain extending to our own time, namely in antiquity and in the Middle Ages. The new general state which we proclaim for the future will form the third link in this chain; it will not be identical with its predecessors but will offer striking analogies to them with respect to order and unity. It will follow upon the various periods of the crisis that has been disturbing us for three centuries; it will appear finally as a consequence of the law of the development of mankind.”

Cause of today’s evil6

“...We shall state that the cause of evil is to be sought in the lack of unity in social outlook; and the remedy will be found in the discovery of this unity.”

We live in ruins of the Middle Ages7

“We dwell in the midst of the rubble, the living rubble of medieval society which continues to bemoan its fate.”

We must not just negate the Middle Ages8

“It was believed that the solution of the problem consisted in putting a minus sign before all the terms of the formula of the Middle Ages, but this strange solution could only engender anarchy.

“We, who accept neither the Middle Ages nor constitutionalism, leap beyond the limits of the present... The time is approaching when the nations will abandon the banners of a disorderly and thoughtless liberalism to enter lovingly into a state of peace and happiness, abandoning mistrust and recognizing that legitimate power can exist on earth.”

Unitary view of future9

“The doctrine that we are proclaiming is to take possession of the entire man, and to give the three great human faculties a common goal and a harmonious direction. By its means, the sciences will make unified progress towards the most speedy development; industry, regulated in the interest of all, will no longer present the frightening spectacle of an arena; and the fine arts, once more animated by ardent sympathy, will reveal to us the feelings of enthusiasm in a common life, whose gentle influence will make itself felt in the most secret joys of private life.”

Times are fulfilled10

“Rid yourselves of all fear, gentlemen, and do not struggle against the torrent which carries you onward to a happy future; put an end to the uncertainty which weakens your hearts and strikes you with impotence. Embrace the altar of reconciliation lovingly, for the times have been fulfilled and the hour is about to strike when, according to the Saint-Simonian transformation of the Christian word, all shall be called and all shall be chosen.”

Old must be destroyed11

“For the happiness of mankind requires that the work of destruction, to which this method has been applied with such effect, be completed.”

New and final state12

“...[T]oday mankind is traveling toward a final state which will be exempted from the long and painful alternatives and under which progress will take place without interruption, without crises, in a continuous, regular, and constant fashion. We are marching toward a world where religion and philosophy, cult and the fine arts, dogma and science will no longer be divided... The destruction of the former order of things has been as radical as possible in the absence of the revelation of the new order to be established.”

Goal: “universal association,” brotherhood13

“...[T]his continuous succession of seeming grandeur and apparent decline, commonly called the vicissitudes of mankind, is nothing but the regular series of efforts made by mankind to attain a final goal.

This goal isuniversal association, which is to say, the association of all men on the entire surface of the globe in all spheres of their relationships.”

Christianity failed14

Christianity, whose principle and expansive force have long since been exhausted, embraced in its love and sanctified by its law only one of the modes of human existence, and did not succeed in establishing its rule—now failing—over more than a portion of mankind.”

“The entire world is progressing toward unity of doctrine and action. This is our most general profession of faith. This is the direction which a philosophical examination of the past permits us to trace. Until the day when this great concept, born of the genius of our master, together with its general developments, can become the direct object of the endeavors of the human spirit, all previous social progress must be considered as preparatory, all attempts at organization as partial and successive initiations to the cult of unity and to the reign of order over the entire globe, the territorial possession of the great human family.”

Future isreligion15

“We certainly do not claim to be heroes for introducing the foundations of a new religion to you. In this indulgent, or rather indifferent, century, all opinions, as we know, can appear without danger, especially when they seem not to go beyond the narrow confines of a philosophic school. But we also know that we are speaking to men who consider themselves superior because they are unbelievers, and who smile scornfully at all religious ideas, which they regulate to the dark ages, to what they call the barbarism of the Middle Ages, and to the childhood of mankind. We do not fear to brave this smile. Voltairian sarcasm and the arrogant scorn of modern materialism can dispel from some men’s hearts the vague sentimentality common today. They can frighten away and confound that type of individual religiosity which in vain seeks forms to express itself, but they are powerless to destroy deep conviction.

“Yes, gentlemen, we have come here to expose ourselves to this sarcasm and scorn. For following Saint-Simon and in his name, we come to proclaim that mankind has a religious future; that the religion of the future will be greater and more powerful than all those in the past; that it will, like those which preceded it, be the synthesis of all conceptions of mankind and, moreover, of all modes of being. Not only will it dominate the political order, but the political order will be totally a religious institution; for nothing will be conceived of outside of God or will develop outside of His law. Let us add finally that this religion will embrace the entire world because the law of God is universal.”

Science and religion16

“Take the religious standpoint, but one more elevated and broader than any mankind has yet attained. As long as science preserves its atheistic character, which is considered essential to it, science will not give expression to man’s faculty to know successively and progressively the laws by which God governs the world: in brief, the providential plan. None of the discoveries upon which atheism, when threatened, relies will be able to escape the formula: ‘This is how God manifests himself.’

“No, gentlemen, it is not the destiny of science, as many seem to believe, to be the eternal enemy of religion and constantly to restrict religion’s realm in order some day entirely to dispossess it. On the contrary, science is called upon to extend and constantly to strengthen the realm of religion, since each of science’s advances is to give man a broader view of God and of His plans for mankind.”

“We foresaw a time, no longer distant, when the sciences, freed from the influence of the dogmas of criticism and viewed in a much broader and general fashion than they are today, would no longer be considered antagonistic to religion, but rather as the means given to the human mind to know the laws by which God governs the world; the providential plan.”

Tribute to Revolution’s work of destruction17

“We have shown previously that critical epochs can be divided into two distinct periods: one forms the beginning of those epochs during which society, united by a fervent faith in the doctrines of destruction, acts in concert to overthrow the former religious and social institution; the other comprises the interval separating destruction from reconstruction during which men, disgusted with the past and the uncertainties of the future, are no longer united by any faith or common enterprises. What we have said concerning the absence of morality in critical periods refers only to the second of the two periods which they include, but not at all to the first, or to the men who figure in it and who, through some sort of inconsistency, preach hatred through love; call for destruction while believing to be building; provoke disorder because they desire order; and establish slavery on the altar they erect to liberty. Gentlemen, let us admire these men. Let us pity them merely for having been given the terrible mission which they have fulfilled with devotion and love for mankind. Let us pity them, for they were born to love and their entire life was dedicated to hate. But let us not forget that the pity with which they inspire us should be a lesson to us; that it should increase our desires and confirm our hopes in a better future—in a future in which the men who are capable of love will ceaselessly be able to apply their love.”

Man must have faith18

“Mankind never lacks faith. One will no more have to ask whether man has the inclination to believe than whether he will some day renounce love. Rather, it is merely a question of knowing on which men and ideas he will bestow his confidence and for what guarantees he will ask before abandoning himself to them.”

New prophet19

“We do not hesitate to say with you that what is not atheism today is ignorance and superstition. But if we want to heal mankind of this wound, if we want it to abandon the beliefs and practices which we consider unworthy of it, if we want it to leave the Church of the Middle Ages, we must open the Church of the future. Let us stand ready, as De Maistre has said, for a tremendous event in the divine order toward which, as all must notice, we are marching in an accelerated speed. Let us say with him that there is no longer religion on earth and that mankind cannot remain in this state. But more fortunate than De Maistre, we shall no longer wait for the man of genius whom he prophesies and who, according to him, shall soon reveal to the world the natural affinity of religion and science. Saint-Simon has appeared.”

Religion of future20

“While proclaiming that religion is destined to assert its rule over society, we certainly are as far from holding that any of the religious institutions of the past should be re-established as we are from claiming to lead society back to the old state of war or slavery. We proclaim a new moral and political state. This is just as thoroughly a new religious state: for to us religion, politics, morals are merely different names for the same fact... The religion of the future is called upon to take its place in the political order; but to be exact, when considered in its totality, the political institution of the future must be a religious institution.”

d. Importance: saw new world view must bereligious. Socialism is not enough & there must be a synthesis of politics-science-religion (confined field theory of mind). Today we see the great defect of Marxism—it is not religious and mankindmusthave religion, as St. Simon saw. This “New Christianity” is a thorough attempt to complete the process begun in the Middle Ages: toimprove on Christianity


1. Schenk, Hans George Viktor,The Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, Howard Fertig, 1967, New York, pp. 13-15.

2. Schenk, pp. 14-15.

3. Source? Possibly G.D.H. Cole,Life of Robert Owen. (1965)

4. Iggers, Georg G., trans.,The Doctrine of Saint-Simon: An Exposition, Beacon Press, 1958, Boston. pp. xix-xxv.

5. Iggers, p. 4.

6. Ibid., p. 11.

7. Ibid., p. 18.

8. Ibid., pp. 22, 23, 24.

9. Ibid., pp. 24-25.

10. Ibid., p. 40.

11. Ibid., p. 50.

12. Ibid., pp. 56-7.

13. Ibid., p. 58.

14. Ibid., p. 60.

15. Ibid., pp. 202-203.

16. Ibid., pp. 206, 266

17. Ibid., pp. 208-209.

18. Ibid., p. 211.

19. Ibid., p. 213.

20. Ibid., p. 265.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (10)

Now, in order to get a full picture of the meaning of the revolution of our times, we will look at a number of thinkers in the nineteenthcenturywho were called“reactionaries,” peoplewho were against the revolution. Because, by seeing what arguments were brought against the revolution, and by seeing how a number of them themselves were influenced by deeper ideas which revolutionaries shared, we will get a deeper understanding of how deep this revolution goes.

The new order in Europe in 1815, after Napoleon was overthrown, was the reaction, the Holy Alliance, that is, the monarchs of Europe, were restored. And there was a definite reaction. Revolutionary movements were discouraged and even squashed. Russia took a leading part in this—even Tsar Alexander, who was [under a] very Masonic influence in his early years. Later on, after this time, after this Congress in Vienna, he began to understand that revolution was a serious business and that Christianity was quite other than he pictured it. And especially under the influence of the Archimandrite Photius who persuaded him the Masons were out to destroy his kingdom. And [warned him against] all these Protestants who were filtering in, and the Bible society. And when there was a rebellion in Spain, 1820, he volunteered to send a hundred thousand Cossacks to squash it. And the other powersof Europe decidedthis was too risky, that they’d better lettheFrench take care of it. And so the French did take care of it, and squashed the rebellion. But from that time on the Russian Tsars became very aware of their responsibility to fight the revolution, especially inside Russia and, where possible, outside Russia. With one exception, that is, when the Greek rebellion broke out against the Turks, the Russians supported it.

And later on in ’27-’28 when the Turks threatened to take over the Greek kingdom again, Tsar Nicholas, the arch-conservative, came to the aid of the Greeks, even though Metternich the great statesman warned him that they were also Masons and rebels just like the rest of them. And he said, “But, anyway, they’reOrthodox;and we come to the aid oftheOrthodox kingdoms.”1And owing to a great deal to the Russian Tsars, Greece has a kingdom today as an independent state; they’re notunderthe Turks.


The leading statesman of this time in the west of Europe was Metternich. M-E-T-T-E-R-N-I-C-H, the foreign minister of Austria who was the spokesman for the conservative movement,althoughhe himself was not quite asreactionaryas he’spainted tobe. There’s a briefdescriptionof his basicphilosophyhereinthese books on the post-revolutionary epoch.

He also was born in the ’70’s, 1773, and died in 1859.The offspring“Of a Catholic noble family in the Rhineland,he witnessedas a youth the Jacobin excesses,” that is,revolutionary excesses, “atStrassburgwhichconfirmedhiscontemptformob-democraciesand his faith in “European societyfoundedon Latincivilization consecrated by Christian faith and embellished by time.”He grew up with a deepreverencefor traditionn...The OldRégime in its last days produced in him its ablest if not its noblest representative. He was a fine flower of an age that is now only a memory: a polished and courtly aristocrat, cool, urbane and imperturbable, a patron of the arts, a diplomat of first rank, a lover of beauty, order and tradition, something of a cynic perhaps, but always polite and charming... [H]e entered the Austrian diplomatic service and made his reputation by worsting Napoleon in the critical days of 1813 after the retreat from Moscow. After theEmperor’sfall hereignedas “primeminister of Europe” until the”Revolution of 1848 overthrew him.2

He saw that he was living in an age of transition; the old order, which had seemed so firm and secure, was everywhere dissolving and none could divine what was to take its place. Before a new equilibrium was attained, a period of anarchy and chaos must intervene. Metternich’s life work was to staveoff collapse as long as possible and maintain stability for the time at whatever cost. He was fully alive to the impermanent character of his achievements, remarking bitterly that he spent his days in propping up worm-eaten institutions, that he should have been born in 1700 or 1900, for he never fitted into the revolutionary Europe of the nineteenth century. “The future,” he knew, “was with democracy and nationalism,” and “all that he held sacred—monarchy, Church, aristocracy, tradition—was doomed, but it was his duty to hold on, to retreat if need be to the very last line of defense before givingup."

So that’s this statesman,who wrote hismemoirsalso,avery conservative man. He was against what he called the “presymptuous men,” revolutionaries who were constantly rising up with their egotistic theories that they were going to remake society. He was overthrown in 1848 in the new wave of revolution which swept over the whole of Europe.

Another one of the chief—there are actually three chief conservative philosophers at this time, thinkers: one in England, one in France, one in Spain. In England, the conservative is Edmund Burke, who was one of the first ones to protest against the Revolution already in 1790 when he wrote these reflections on the Revolution in France, which is a book which inspired many of these new neo-conservatives. Briefly, some of his views are set forth here in one of his text books.

In this book,Reflections on the Revolution, he says: “Isit in destroying and pulling down that skill is displayed? Your mob,” that is, revolutionaries,“can do this as well at least, as yourassemblies. The shallowest understanding, the rudest hand, is more than equal to that task. Rage and frenzy will pull down more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation and foresight can build up in a hundred years... At once to preserve and to reform is quite a different thing. A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors... By a constitutional policy working after the pattern of nature,” that is, we English, “we transmit out government and our privileges, in the same manner in which we enjoy and transmit our property and our lives. The institutions of policy, the goods of fortune, the gifts of Providence are handed down to us, and from us, in the same course and order. Our political system is placed in a just correspondence and symmetry with the order of the world, wherein, by the disposition of a stupendous wisdom, molding together the great mysterious incorporation of the human race, the whole, at one time, is never old, or middle-aged, or young, but, in a condition of unchangeable constancy, moves on through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, and progression. Thus, by preserving the method of nature in the conduct of the State, in what we improve, we are never wholly new; in what we retain, we are never wholly obsolete... A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, will be my standard of statesman.”3

Of course these are very sensible words, spoken against people who talk about novelty for the sake of novelty and show that theydon’tknow how bring it about. And when they do bring it about, they really (?) upset the whole society. But, of course, he was an Englishman; what his idea of conservatism is, is preserving whatever we have. And whatever we have is the English monarchy with the developing already idea of democracy. At that time it was still quite conservative; only the aristocrats had the right to vote, the upper classes. And the parliament was not at all representative of the whole people, it was gradually evolving in that direction. And, of course, he was undoubtedly an Anglican, and already that’s a falling away even from Catholicism.Catholicism’s a falling away from Orthodoxy. And you can evolve a new religion of Anglicanism.

Itmeans,eventhough he’svery conservative, there’sno underlying principle which he can really rely on. And it’s only amatterof time until, as we see, this kindof conservatism can evolve into something which is quite democratic and already utopian. So, this kind of conservatism will not go very far.

Donoso Cortes4

But there’s a second thinker of this time a little bit later, born 1809, died in 1853, who lived in Spain. His name is [Juan] Donoso Cortes. I think he was a prince or a count or something. He is not too well known in the West, although one of his books has been translated into English. And he is the most philosophical of all the people in the West who wrote about, against the Revolution. He wrote his great book in 1852, calledEssays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism. He’s a marqués, Marqués of Valdegamas.

And he is most significant because he clearly saw that this revolution is not some kind of an aimless thing; it has definite purpose behind it. And he even said that the revolution is theological. In order to defeat it, you must have a different theology.5

He was especially against the great anarchist of his time,Proudhon,whom we’ll talk in the nextlecture. Proudhon,see, is quite profound, more profound than many other revolutionaries. And he [Cortes] quotes even Proudhon, at the veryopeningof this book. He says, it’s called “How a GreatQuestion of Theology is Always Involved in Every Great PoliticalQuestion:”

“In hisConfessions of a RevolutionistMonsieurProudhonhaswrittentheseremarkablewords: “It is wonderful how we everstumbleon theology in all our politicalquestions!”There is nothing here to cause surprise except the surprise of Monsieur Proudhon. Theology, inasmuch as it is the science of God, is the ocean which contains and embraces all sciences, as God is the ocean whichcontainsandembracesall things.” And this whole book is an exposure of liberal[ism], first of mainly socialism as being anti-God. Andliberalismhe doesn’t evenhave muchrespectfor at all,becausehe sees it’s only a halfway between socialism and monarchy.6

As Metternich called these revolutionaries the “presumptuous men,” Donoso Cortes called them “theself-worshippingmen. And he liked them better than the liberals because they had their own dogmas at least. You can fight against them on dogmatic grounds. He saw that the ending of religious influence on politics, that is, the atheist revolution, would produce in the future the most gigantic and destructive despotism ever known. In fact, in one of his talks before the Parliament in Spain, 1852, he told them that the end of the revolution is Antichrist, we can see on the horizon in the next century. In that respect he’s quite profound. Here he gives some general quotes on the liberals and socialists.

“The liberal school,” he said, “ placedbetween twoseas, whose constantly advancing waves will finally overwhelm it, between socialism and Catholicism... It cannot admit the constituent sovereignty of the people without becoming democratic, socialistic, and atheistic, nor admit the actual sovereignty of God without becoming monarchical andCatholic...”

“This school is only dominant when society is threatenedwithdissolution, and the moment of its authority is that transitory and fugitive one, in which the world stands doubting between Barabbas and Jesus, and hesitates between a dogmatical affirmation and a supreme negation. At such a time society willingly allows itself to be governed by a school which neveraffirmsnordenies, but is always making distinctions...

“Suchperiodsof agonizing doubt can never lastany great length of time. Man was born to act, and will resolutely declare either for Barabbas or Jesus and overturn all that thesophistshave attempted toestablish...The socialist schools”—whom we always think [of] as Marx, Proudhon, Saint-Simon, Owen, Fourier, and all those thinkers—“possess great advantages over the liberal school, precisely because they approach (to state) directly all great problems and questions, and always give a peremptory and decisive solution. The strength of socialism consists in its being a system of theology, and it is destructive only because it is a satanic theology.

“The socialist schools, as they are theological, will prevail over the liberal because the latter is anti-theological and skeptical. But they themselves, on account of their satanic element, will be vanquished by the Catholic school which is at the same time theological and divine. The instincts of socialism would seem to agree with our affirmations, since it hatesCatholicism,while it onlydespisesliberalism.”

And its history seems to prove him true, because indeed Communism takes over the world and democracy becomes more and more radical and more and more utopian in order to compete with socialism. Again, he says:

“The Catholics affirm that evil comes from man,andredemption from God; the socialists affirm that evil comes from society and redemption from man. The two affirmations of Catholicism are sensible and natural, namely, that man is man and performs human works, and that God is God, and performs divine acts. The two affirmations of socialism assert that man understands and executes the designs of God, and that society performs the works proper to man. What, then, does human reason gain when it rejects Catholicism for socialism? Does it not refuse to receive that which is evident and mysterious in order to accept that which is at oncemysteriousandabsurd?”

Now his reasoning is quite straight. He had a few thoughts on Russia also. He saw that he believed that Russia, he was very afraid of the Russian peril. He thought that Russia was going to overwhelm the West. And after overwhelming the West, it would drink the poison of the Revolution itself and die just like Europe.

De Maistre

We’ll see what the nextthinker thinksabout Russia. Thisnext one, who is probably the best known of the radical conservatives, the real reactionaries, is Josef de Maistre, D-E-M- A-I-S-T-R-E, who was actually not a Frenchman but a Sardinian,althoughhe spokeFrench, it’s a French-speaking kingdom. In fact he was ambassador from Sardinia to St. Petersburg, during the time of Napoleon, and after Napoleon.

He was born in 1753, died in 1821. He is the apologist for the divine right of kings, in the eighteenth century tradition. In fact, he even got somewhat embarrassed because his book on the divine right of kings was published without his knowledge. He wrote it several years earlier and [it] was published just at the time when the restored Bourbon king, Louis XVIII accepted the Constitution. And therefore this king thought he was against him. And of course he accepted and compromised finally, but he set forth the principle of divine right. The aim of his philosophy, and of conservative philosophy, according to him, is absolutely to kill the whole spirit of theeighteenth century.You see,he’s quitebold. No compromise with Voltaire, Rousseau, the Revolution, nothing. The answer to the Revolution, he says, is the Pope and the executioner.

In fact, he has a whole page in one of his books in which he praises the man, the executioner with the axe in his hand who comes home at night to his wife with a clean conscience because he has done the duty of society.7

He is actually quite, himself,rationalistic.It’s just that he starts in a different place. He starts with absolute Catholicism. And he’srathera coldthinker,but veryastute,very clear thinking.He can see that these other rationalists, or, atheist rationalists,begin without God and therefore they end in absurdity.

He wrote one book on God in society, came out during Napoleon’stime. And there’s a fewexcerptshere we’ll quote fromhim:

“One of the gravesterrorsof a century which embraced them all,” see howimmediatelyhe leaps on the eighteenthcentury,“was to believe that a political constitution couldbewritten and createda priori, whereas reason and experience agree that a constitution is a divine work and that it is precisely the most fundamental and most essentially constitutionalelementsin the a nation’s laws that cannot be written.”8

[This] quote is very profound because obviously these countries of Europe had an orderly government, their own traditions. An absolute monarch is, of course, not absolute because he is always hedged about, first of all by the church, then by his nobles, then by what the people want; and no absolute monarch was ever just some kind of absolute despot except for the revolutionary despots, who have no kind of tradition to stop them. And, of course, the constitution is not a piece ofpaper.It’s something which comes out of the experience of a whole nation, based largely on religion. Again he says, “Everythingthereforebrings us back to the general rule:Man cannot make a constitution, and no legitimate constitution can be written.[Emphasis in original] The corpus of fundamental laws that must constitute a civil or religious society have never been written and never will be written. This can only be done when a society is already constituted, yet it is impossible to spell out or explain in writing certain individual articles; but almost always these declarations are the effect or the cause of very great evils and always cost the people more than they are worth.”9From that point of view,he’squite wise. These people, who think they’reall of a sudden going to put down a whole new government on paper, always end up by creating despotism, having to revise the constitution, finally abolishing the constitution, [and] establishing some kind of new monarch like Napoleon.

But we see in this De Maistre, who was the most fanatical anti-revolutionary, we see a very interesting thing. Because he was so very anti-revolutionary and the same time was very rational, he came to new conclusions which were not in the European philosophy of the past. He saw that revolution was a very strong movement, and you had to have something very strong to oppose it. And therefore, he became the apologist for the Pope. And in fact, he said, “Withoutthe Pope[SovereignPontiff] there is no [real] Christianity.”10In fact, he said, “ThePopein himselfis Christianity,”11as if the Pope in himself entirely represents Christianity.

So his position of being an anti-traditional, being menaced by the revolution, leads him to a new kind of rationalist absolutism—the absolutism of the Pope. In fact, he was one of the chief people whose ideas related to, lead to the doctrine of papal infallibility, proclaimed in 1870, which is something new. The Catholics didn’t have it before. They say itdevelopedoutof the past. It was only then against the Revolution that they had to proclaim something new: that is, the Pope himself is the one outward standard you can see, which will protect you from the Revolution. It is quite a long book. I have the French edition of the book on the Pope by De Maistre.

He talks about all kinds—the Russian Church also is here. And we’ll see what he said about theRussianChurchishere. But this is one of the leadingtextbooksof “Ultramontanism,”so-called, that is, theabsolute infallibility ofthe Pope. But it’s something new even in Catholic tradition as an outward, absolutely external and clear standard which you can oppose to revolution, because he saw the tradition is dying off, the Catholic tradition’s dying off, and you have to have some kind of an absolute monarchto save it. And it’s very logical. We’ll see later on whatDostoyevsky has to say about this.

This book of his, on the Pope, was conceived as an answer to another book which was printed at that time 1816 by the Russian minister Sturdza, S-T-U-R-D-Z-A, in which he printed in French, declaring, to the great chagrin of De Maistre, that the Roman Church was schismatic and only the Orthodox Church was the true Church of Christ. And he was so upset by this, because for him Catholicism is the one thing which is against revolution. And these Russians, this barbarous country, dares to say that they are the one Church. In fact, he described Russia as a country constantly lying in laziness, which only wakes up, stirs once in a while, in order to throw out some kind of blasphemy against the Pope. He felt that the Western peoples—in fact, he accused the Russians of having missed the whole development of Western civilization. And he does not see that that whole development is what led to the Revolution, because he puts it back only to theRenaissance.The Middle Ages is fine; that’sthevery peak as far as he is concerned. And he says the one big thing missing in Russia is the idea ofuniversalism, which isrepresentedby the Pope. We’ll see what Dostoyevsky says—[a] very profound thing—about this very universalism.

Tsar Nicholas I

Now we have a different kind of thing, because now we discuss the question of the traditionalism, anti-revolutionism in Russia. We’llstartfirst with Nicholas I, and later on havesomemore general comments on this anti-revolutionary tradition in Russia.

As I said in the last lecture, Nicholas I was an exemplary monarch in the pure tradition of Russian absolutism. There is no constitution, no parliament. The king reigns supreme, Tsar reigns supreme. He was familiar with the Revolution. He went to see Owen, his experiment. He was very interested in making better the lot of the people. In this time [the] Industrial Revolution was even slightly coming to Russia, but much more in the West. And he studied the Revolution carefully and studied the doings of Louis XVI and already had a quite conscious view of what he was going to do.

We will quote some of the statements here from this book by [Nicholas] Talberg, who was a late professor in Jordanville. And as we now come to Russia, we’ll seesomething differentbecause these Western thinkers, they’re all in the Catholic tradition or even Anglican tradition, and they’re very clear thinkers. They see through the Revolution pretty well, but they’re still participating in this Western atmosphere whichis rathr rationalistic.And they’re lacking some kind ofdeeperrootedness in tradition. And these people, even this person [Talberg] who died just some years ago, you can see by what he writes, that he is himself deeply rooted in Orthodox tradition. And therefore his conclusions are not just conclusions of somebody who has thought the thing through, but are conclusions of somebody whofeelswhat is the tradition of religion, Orthodox religion and the tradition, of the political tradition also.

Most of what he says will come of quotes from contemporaries of Nicholas I, who, when he’s writing also you cansee that he’s very deeplyconservative,not just in mind buthis whole life, his whole heart is that way. And there are many Russians like this left.

“ForEmperorNicholas I,” he writes, “in the very firsthours of his reign, there began his ardor”(striving)“tomanfully hold up Russia against those frightful misfortunes which were threatening it by the criminal light-mindedness of the so-calledDecembrists.Thisenthusiasm” struggling“Of the Tsarended thirtyyears later” (when he defended the Fatherland—this time from external enemies – who hated Russia) “in theCrimean Warwhen hedied.”12

He was above all a man ofprincipleand duty. “EmperorNicholas was entirely penetrated with the consciousness of duty. During the time of the war for the fatherland,”that is, Napoleon’s invasion, “when he was sixteen years old, he was terribly anxioustogo to the army. “I amashamed,”he said, “to see myself useless,auseless creature on the earth, not even fit to be able to die a brave death.”13

“Six years before heascendedthe throne, he wasterriblydistressedto the point of tears when Emperor Alexander,” his older brother, “told him of hisintentionto leave the throne which he would hand over to Nicholas,”althoughthere was one brother older than Nicholas,Constantine,“as aconsequenceof the factthat Tsarevitch Constantine did not wish to reign. Nicholas[Pavlovitch]wrote in his dairy later,” the emperor,“This conversation finished, but my wife and I were left in the situation which may be the feeling which must strike a man who is going peacefully along a pleasant road which is sown everywhere with flowers and from which one sees everywhere the most pleasant views, when all of a sudden an abyss opens up before his feet, towards which an unconquerable power is pushing him without allowing him to step aside or to turn [back].”14

This is the way he felt from the very beginning that he was going to be Tsar. And he felt this was a terrible burden; he did not want to be the Tsar. You see the difference already: revolutionaries struggled just to beat everybody else off so they can be the head; and here this government which is based upon hereditary authority—the person who does not want the kingdom gets it, and he has to rule. But we see already there’s a much better possibility for a just rule under such conditions.

His kingdom, his reign began with the rebellion of theDecembrists,who wereinfectedby therevolutionaryideas.Thisis the way he spoke to the senior officers of the guard gathered by him on the morning of December 14th when the rebellion had become knownalready,and he said to them, “I am peacefulsince my conscience is clear. You know, sirs, that I did not seek the crown. I do find that I have neither the experience nor the needful talents to bear such a heavy burden, but since the Lord entrusted this to me, and as it is likewise the will of my brothers and the fundamental laws of the land, therefore I shall dare to defend it, and no one in the world will be able to wrest it away from me. I know my obligations and I shall be able to fulfill them. The Russian emperor in case of misfortune must die with his sword in his hand. But, in any case, without foreseeing by what means we will be able to come out of this crisis, I will in that case entrust my son [to you].”15

[During] this rebellion of the Decembrists, which was not a bloody thing like happened in France—just a number of officers who began to demand a constitution and was easily dispersed because of the boldness of the Tsar—[he] went right out in the midst of them at the head of his troops. I believe the five ring leaders were hanged and the rest were sent into exile. And when he was asked about having mercy on them, he said, “‘The law dictates punishment for them, and I will not make use of the right of mercy that belongs to me regarding them. I will be unwavering, I am obliged to give this lesson to Russia and toEurope.”15

Studying history in his youth, he was especially interested in theFrench Revolution.At that time he said, “King Louis XVI did not understand his obligations, and for this he was punished. To be merciful does not mean to be weak. The sovereign does not have the right to forgive the enemies of the government.”16And in 1825 these enemies were the Decembrists. And so the emperor subjected them to punishment. “But at the same time that he kept astrictness,the Sovereignrevealed also great concern with regard to these rebels, which was bound up...with the general laws concerning prisoners.”17

We’ll see now what acontrastis herebetween this,[and] not only revolutionaries who simply kill people off without mercy, but even the liberals.

“In his ownhandwritingtheemperorgave tothecommandant of the Peter-Paul Fortress prison...the following words: “The prisoner Ryleyev should be placed in the Alexeyevsky Prison, but his hands should not be bound. He should be given paper for writing, and whatever he will write to me in his own hand is to be given to me every day. The prisoner Karhovsky is to be kept beter than ordinary prisoners. He’sto be given teaandeverything else that he wants. I will undertake the keeping of Karhovsky on my own income. Since Batenkov is sick and wounded, his condition is to be made as easy as possible. Sergei Muraviev is to be kept under strict arrest according to your judgment; he is wounded and weak. He is to be given everything he needs. There is to be every day a doctor’s examination of him and hiswoundsare to berebound.”Then all the arrested and prisoners were ordered by the Tsar to be given a better type of food, tobacco, books of religious content, and a priest was to be allowed to come to them for spiritual conversation. They were not to be forbidden to write to their relatives, of course, only through the commandant,” that is, he would read the letters.

“On the nineteenth of Decemberthe Sovereign sent the wife of” oneof theserevolutionaries, “Ryleyev two thousand rublesanda[reassuring] letter from her husband. She wrote to Ryleyev,” that is, her husband, “My friend, I do not know with what feelings[orwords] to express the unutterable mercy of our monarch. Three days ago the emperor sent your letter and right after it two thousand rubles. Teach me how to thank the father of ourhomeland.”After the guilty ones werecondemned,in a year,hemade their condition even easier. The chief means of his mercy was through secret decrees. The fulfilling of them he entrusted to hisauthorizedagent, General Leparsky. “Go withthecommandant to Nerchinsk” Serbia “and ease the lot of the unfortunate ones there,”he told him.“Igive you full authority in this. I know that you will be able to harmonize the duty ofservice,”that is, the fact that they’reprisoners, “with Christian compassion.”Leparsky fulfilled exactly the directions of the Sovereign and by this earned the love of the Decembrists and their wives. And all the good things which he did [for] the prisoners and their wives [they] thought were owing to his own good heart without understanding that he was only doing with great joy what had beencommandedhim by the Sovereign.”18

We see here a spirit of Christian compassion which is totally foreign to Communism, to socialism, to liberalism, and to these even these ordinary monarchs in the West.

There were a few incidents in the life of Tsar Nicholas which reveal a different attitude to the whole process of governing and the attitude of the king toward his subjects. There was in 1849 “during themonthof May a parade in which 60,000 troops took part. Many spectators were present. When at the time of the ceremonialmarch”—of course, the Tsar is standing there ready to salute the soldiers—“the second battalion of the Yegersky legion in which Lvov was the leader, the Sovereign with hisinimitablevoice, which was quite loud, commanded, “Parade stop!” “The wholeregiment stoppeddead in their tracks. The sovereign with a sign of his hand stopped the music and called Lvov,” the leader, “Out of theranks.In thehearingof all,heturned to him and said, “Lvov, by an unfortunate mistake, youhaveunjustlyandcompletely innocently suffered.”Becauseearlier he had accused him of taking part in this very conspiracy that Dostoyevsky was caught in: these people studying the writings of Fourier and talking about the overthrow of the government. And he was mistaken for somebody else by the Sovereign. And here and before sixty thousand troops and manythousandsofspectators,he apologizes. “I begforgivenessof youbefore the soldiers and the people. For the sake of God, forget all that hashappenedto you andembrace me.”With these wordsbending down from his horse, the Sovereign three times kissed Lvov strongly. Having kissed the hand of the emperor, Lvov, who was thus made so happy, returned to his place. At the command of the Sovereign themarchagain began.” “This moment,” says an eye witness, “for those who saw it andheardthe voice oftheirSovereign, the feelings that filled their heart at that time cannot be called ecstasy. This was something beyond ecstasy. The bloodstoppedinone’s veins”19to see the Sovereign of all Russia stop and ask forgiveness of simple officer.

But we see on another occasion what happened. There was a certain woman whose husband was imprisoned also in... [a] revolutionary affair of some kind. And she stopped him some place where he was looking at various institutions, and he allowed her to come and present a petition to him, and he began to read it. There was here a request to have mercy upon her husband who had taken an active part in the Polish rebellion which had occurred recently and for this had been sent to Siberia. And by the way, they were sent to Siberia under very easy conditions. They had their own houses, were well fed and everything else.

“The Sovereign listened heedfully and the woman sobbed. Having read the petition the sovereign returned it to the petitioner and sharply declared,“Neither theforgivenessnorevenalighteningof the punishment of your husband can I give.”And he cried out to the chauffeur to go further. When he returned the Sovereign with drew into his office. Immediately after his return, there was a need for” this one officer “Bibikov to go to the Tsarwith a report. There was a double door into this office. Having opened the first door and intending to go into the second, Bibikov stepped back in indescribable astonishment. In the small corridor between the two doors, the Sovereign was standing and was all shaking from stifled sobs coming out of him. Great tears were coming out of his eyes. “What is wrong with you, yourmajesty?”Bibikov mumbled.“Oh Bibikov,”he said, “If you only knewhow difficult, [how terrible] it is to be “unable to forgive”! I cannot forgive now this man, that would be weakness, but after some time make another report to me about him.”20

We see here the combination of absolute strictness because he knows that weakness leads to overthrow ofgovernment.And that’s exactly what therevolutionaries arefeeding upon, this liberalism which creeps into their governments and allows them to constantly say, “Well, we really believethesame thing as you—almost.We’re working for the same end, and we’ll forgive you andeverythingwill be fine.” Andinsteadhe wasvery strict, at the same time very merciful. And when the conditions were such that this weakness would not cause atemptationto people to say that he’s soft on therevolutionaries—and therefore the revolutionaries can develop themselves—thenhe’s extremelykind. And you can see hisheartis filled with compassion for them; but his sense of duty would not allow him to do what would be for the harm of the whole people.

His attitude towards his whole people is not like in the West where they let the representatives have [an] entirely cold relation to the subjects, to the citizens, or even the Western kings who are obviously governing people of all kinds of different beliefs, and there's no kind ofparticular warmth.InsomeWestern states there still was—in the monarchies perhaps. This is rapidly being lost.

But the reign of Nicholas I “wassomethingquite likeafamily, very patriarchal. And from him there was something paternal in his relationship towards his subjects. Being very severe and threatening towards the enemies of the kingdom, he was at the same time merciful and filled with love for his good and faithful subjects. In his addresses to the people and hissoldiers,he would oftenaddressthem as “my children.”21

Once, he was travelling, he wanted to have a special word to say to certaintroops.“He came to the tents wherethey were and he commanded, “my troops, my children, come to me, everyone just as hedressed.”This order was fulfilledprecisely: some in their dress uniforms, some in overcoats, and some just in their underwear. And many of them lined up around the Sovereignand thetsarevitch.“And where is CononZabuga?”theTsar asked. This was a non-commissioned officer...who had recently distinguished himself. “Here I am, your imperial majesty,”resounded over the head of the Sovereign the loud voice of Zaboga, who, dressed only in his underwear, had climbed a tree to see the Tsar better. The Sovereign ordered him to climb down. And when he almost fell head over heels to the ground and stood up in the front, the emperor kissed him on the head andsaid,“Give this to all your companions for their braveservice.”Thecaptain of the general headquarters, Philipson...who was aneyewitnessof this, said, “This whole scene, so sincereandunprepared, produced upon the troops a much deeper impression than any kind ofeloquentspeech would have.”22

Of course, under the old fashioned system, this waspossible,that there’s such ahumane relationship between theking and his subjects. Of course, the main thing about his spiritual makeup was his Orthodox faith. Here he describes in his dairy, the Tsar’s own dairy, what he did on the 14th of December when he was faced with therebellionof the Decembrists.“Being left alone, I asked myself what to do and, crossing myself, I gave myself over to the hands of God, and decided to go myselfwhereverthedanger threatenedgreatest.” And he admitted later that at this time besides this decision, he had no definite plan of action, but to trust in God.”23

Another time he was traveling and fell down off his horse and broke his shoulder and he was left with only one of hisorderlies.And this is what he said to the orderly. “I feel that I’vebroken my shoulder. This is good; this means God is waking me up. That one does not need to make any kind of plans without asking His help first.”24For a king to be thinking like this, of course, shows that he places—he is absolute ruler, theoretically, but above him is God.

Concerning his heir, Alexander, who became AlexanderII,he says, “We werespeaking[also] about Shasha,” Alexander, “and we boththoughtthat he was showing greatweaknessinhischaracter, and was allowing himself to be easily given over to distractions. I am hoping all the time that this will pass as he grows up so that, because the foundations of his character are so good, one can expect a great deal. But without this,” strength of character, “he will fall; for his work” as emperor “will benolighter than mine. And what is it that saves me? Of course, not my talents. I am a simple man, but my hope in God and my firm will to act—that is all I have.”25

And when he was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his reign, and when people were surrounding him and giving him glory, hisdaughterwent up to him and said, “Aren’t you happy now, papa? Aren’t you satisfied with yourself?” And he said, “Withmyself?”Andpointinghis hand to heaven, he said, “I am justa splinterof wood.”26That is, this very thing that we Americans have so strong—satisfaction with ourselves—the Tsar himself did not even have it. He is so aware that he is serving something else.

I have here the comments of a certain Spanish writer in the 1850’s writing about Tsar Nicholas, acertainVidal.“Ingeneral,” he says, “theEastern question,”which the Westerndiplomatswere sooccupiedwith then, thequestionof Turkey, “it is not strange that this question cannot be solved by those who so often allow themselves to be blinded by the disorderly theories of our so-called government representatives. But if we look with some heedfulness and dispassion at the character of Russian diplomacy, we will immediately see an enormous contrast which has always been presented, on the one hand, by the ability of the Moscow government, and on the other hand, by the paradoxes of our own government people.

“Intriguesand money are the agents which, more than now being threatened by the senselessness andarroganceof this fierce Emperor Napoleon III.”30

This is interesting as a testament from outside of Russia. Of course, inside of Russia he was greatly loved by all except the revolutionaries. Now let us examine how such a one as this dies. I have a full account of his last days. The doctor who attended him said the following: “From the time when I began mymedical practice, I have never seen a death anything like this death. I did not even consider it possible that the consciousness of precisely fulfilled duty joined with an unwavering firmness of will should to such an extent be dominant even at the fatal moment when the soul is freed from its earthly shell, so as to go to eternal repose and happiness. I repeat, I would have considered this impossible if I have had not had themisfortuneto live to see all this mandie.”

“TheEmpress Alexandra Feodorevnaoffered totheTsar,” as he was dying, “that he should receive holy Commuion.He was disturbed that he should have to receive the Holy Gifts lying down and not fully clothed. His confessor, the Protobresbyter Vasilli Vazhanoff, said that in his life he had instructed many poor people as they were dying, but never had he seen such a one, such faith as in Emperor Nicholas I, which triumphed over the approaching death. Another eyewitness of the last hours of the life of the Sovereign expressed the opinion that had an atheist been brought into the room of the Tsar then, he would have become a believer. After Communion the Sovereign pronounced the words, “O Lord accept me in peace.” The Empress recited “Our Father.” After the pronouncing of the Emperor’s favorite words, “Thy will be done,”he said, “Always, always.”Several times he then repeated the parayer, “Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, OMaster, accordingto Thy word.”

“Then the Sovereign gave allnecessaryinstructions concerning his burial. He demanded that there be as little expense as possible for the funeral. He forbade that the hall be decked with black where his body would be,” for this was not according to Orthodox custom, “He asked that there be placed in the coffin with him, the icon of the Mother of God Hodigitrea, [with] which at his baptism the Empress Catherine had blessed him,” that is, his grandmother Catherine II. “He blessedhischildren and those who were absent, he blessed from a distance. Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna, whom he loved so much, felt his paternal blessing at her place in Stuttgart. He called his nearest friends. To the heir to the throne he specially recommended CountAlderburgsaying, “This counselor has been a close friend to me for fortyyears.”Concerning Count Orloff, he said, “You yourself knoweverythingthat needs to be done. Idon’tneed torecommend anythingto you.”He gave his great thanls to theEmpress’favorite maid, Madame Rorburg for her care fortheEmpress in her recent, which he shared with her. And in his bidding farewell to her, he said, “Greet my dear Peterhoffor me...”

“All the reports which came from the armyhecommanded to be given over to the tsarevitch. Then he asked that he be left alone for a while. “Now,” he said, “I must be left alonesoas to prepare myself for the final moment. I will call you when the time comes,”hesaid.

“Later the Emperor called certain of the grenadiers, bade farewell to them, asking them to give his final greeting to those who were not there. He asked the tsarevitch to give his greetings also to the guards, to the army, and especially to those whohadbeendefending Sebastopol,” becausehe was dying at the very timewhen Russia was losing theCrimeanWar. “Tell them thatIwillcontinueto pray for them in the other world.”He commanded that final telegrams be sent to Sebastopol and to Moscow withthese words, “The Emperor is dyin and bids farewell to Moscow.”At 8:20 hisconfessor, FatherBoris began to read the prayer of the departure of the soul from the body. The Sovereign listened attentively to [the words of] these prayers, making the sign of the Cross over himself [from time to time]. When the priest blessed him and gave him the Cross to kiss, the dying Sovereign said, “I think that I never did evil in my life consciously.”

Notice howFrancissays, “I do not recognize any sininmyself;” and he says, “Ithinkthat I never consciously didevil,” that is, he confessed all his sins and realizes that he is full of sins but he thinks that he never actually did evil consciously.

“He held the hand of theEmpressin his andthetsarevitch also, and when he could no longer speak he bid farewell to them with a glance. At ten o’clock the Sovereign lostthecapability of speaking. But before his repose he began to speak again. He commanded the tsarevitch to raise one of the princesses from her knees since this was bad for her health. Some of his last words were,speakingto thetsarevitch, “Hold on to everything,hold on to everything,”accompanyingthis withadecisive gesture. Then the agony began and the Liturgy ended in the palace church.

“The wheezing before hisdeath,”wrote Tyucheva, keptgetting stronger. His breathing became more and more difficult and sporadic. Finally, convulsions passed across his face and his head was thrown back. They thought that this was the end and already those around let out a cry of despair. But the Emperor opened his eyes, raised them to heaven, smiled and then it was all over. Seeing this death, so firm and so pious, one must think that the Emperor had for a long time foreseen it and had prepared himself for it.”31

Archbishop Nicanor of Cherson, about the death of theEmperorsaid, “Hisdeathwas the image of thedeathofaChristian, for he was a man of repentance, in full possession of his faculties and ofunwavering manliness.”32

In histestamenthe wrote, “I die with agrateful heartfor all the good things by which God has been pleased to reward me in this world which passes away, with ardent love for our glorious Russia which I have served to my last to the best of my understanding with faith and righteousness. I regret that I could not do the good things which I so sincerely desired. My son will take my place. I shall entreat God that He will bless him for such a difficult work unto which he now enters, and will grant him to confirm Russia on the firm foundation of the fear of God. O, grant her,” that is, Russia “to come to fulfill itsinwardgood orderandhe will push away all danger from without. In Thee, O Lord, I havehoped;let me not beashamedunto theages.”33

Again he tells in his will to thetsarevitch,“Keepstrictly all that our Church proscribes. You are young and inexperienced, and you are in those years when the passions are developing, but always remember that you must be an example of piety, and conduct yourself in such a way that by your life you might serveasa living example” to the people. “Be merciful and accessibletoall the unfortunate ones, but do not spend money above thetreasury.”Very pious. “Despise all kinds ofslandersand rumors, but fear to go against your conscience. May the All merciful God bless you. Place all your hope in Him [alone]. He will not leave you as long as you will constantly turn to Him.”34Tsar Nicholas...

Orthodox Tsar, anti-Revolution35

“He faithfullycomprehendedand precisely definedthetriune origin of our historical existence: Orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality. He strictly and consistently steered it in his personal politics—not only internal, but external as well. He believed in Holy Russia, in her calling in the world, he labored for her benefit and stood untiring on the guard of her honor and dignity.’—the historian, S. S. Tatishchev.

“T. I. Tyutchev, in his notes,Russia and Revolution, wrote, ‘At this opportunity, allow me to make the observation: In what way could it have happened that, among all the sovereigns of Europe, and equally among the political figures that guided her in recent times, only one could be found who, from the very beginning recognized and proclaimed the great delusion of 1830 and who, from that time alone in Europe, and perhaps alone amongst all those around him who constantly refused to yield to it. At that time (1848) fortunately, there was a Sovereign on the Russian throne in whom was embodied “the Russian idea,” and in the present world situation it was “the Russian idea” alone that was so distinct from the revolutionary environment, and which could evaluate the facts that manifested themselves in it. Had Nicholas died in 1850 he would not have lived until the disastrous war with France and England which cut short his life and cast a gloomy shadow over his reign. But this shadow exists only for contemporaries. In the light of dispassionate history it vanishes, and Nicholas stands in the ranks of the most celebrated and valiant kings in history.’” (Russ. Arch. 1873)

Helped Austria without reward

“In hisThoughts and Recollectionsprince Otto Bismark says, ‘In the history of European states one can barely find another example of a monarch of a great power showing a neighboring state favor like that which Emperor Nicholas showed to Austria. Seeing the dangerous situation in which she found herself in 1849 he came to her aid with 150,000 troops, suppressed Hungary, reestablished the king’s power and recalled his troops, without demanding for this from Austria any kind of concessions, any kind of compensation, and without even touching upon the disputed Eastern or Polish questions.

“In Hungary and in Olmutz(?) Emperor Nicholas acted with the conviction that he, as a representative of the monarchist principle, was called by fate to declare war on the revolution, which approached from the West. He was an idealist and remained faithful to himself in all historical moments.”


“The famousgeneralA. 0. Dyugamel wrote: ‘Thethronehad never yet been occupied by a more noble knight, by a more honorable man. He never consented to any trace whatever of the revolution, and even liberalism aroused his suspicion. In his capacity as the autocrat of all Russia, Emperor Nicholas came early to the conviction that there was no other salvation for the Empire than a union with conservative principles, and in the course of his thirty-year reign he never deviated from his pre-ordained path.’”

Recognized Louis Phil.38

“Confirmationof what has been said may be found in the Sovereign’s relationship to the July revolution of 1830 in France and to the seizure of the throne by King Louis-Phillipe of Orleans, in violation of the lawful rights of the grandson of King Carl X. The Emperor for a long time did not agree to recognize him despite the arguments of the ambassador in France, Count Pozzo-Di-Bobro. Finally, to the arguments of the latter were joined those of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Count Nesselrode, who presented the Tsar with a corresponding report. On it the resolution was placed by the Sovereign: ‘I know not which is more to be preferred—a republic, or a similar so-called monarchy.’ Then he added, ‘I surrender to your arguments, but I call Heaven to witness that this is and always will be against my conscience, and that this is the most painful effort I have ever made.’”

b. Gogol39

“‘We are in possession of a treasure which cannot be valued,’—he thus characterizes the Church, and continues: ‘This Church which, like a chaste virgin, is the only one that has preserved itself from the time of the Apostles in its innocent original purity; this Church which, complete with its profound dogmas and its most minute external rituals, was as it were brought down from Heaven for the Russian people’ which alone has the power to resolve all the intricacies of our perplexities and questions. And this Church, which was created for life, we, even up to now, have not brought into our life.’”

“Gogol loudly and with conviction declared that the Truth is in Orthodoxy and in the Orthodox Russian autocracy; that the historical ‘to be or not to be’ is resolved by Orthodox Russian culture, and that the immediate fate of the whole world depends on its preservation. The world is at the point of death and we are entering the pre-apocalyptic period of world history.”40

“Having been made indignant by the fact that Gogol dared to see the salvation of Russia in religio-mystical, inward activities, in ascetic podvigs and prayer; and that he therefore considered the work of preaching to be higher than all the works—Belinsky, in this connection, wrote in his letter: ‘Russia sees salvation neither in mysticism, nor in asceticism, nor in pietism, but in the success of civilization, enlightenment, and humanity. She needs neither sermons (she has heard enough of them) nor prayers (she has had enough of their endless repetitions), but the awakening in her people of a sense of human worth.’”41

C. Alexander III:

a. His tutor Pobedonostsev—gave him straight Orthodox, anti-revolutionary education, acquainted him with past(?) in Revolution—Rachinsky (developed parish schools), Dostoyevsky, Melinkov and Pechersky.

b. Voices calling him to anti-liberal course

From a letter of Pobedonostsev to Alexander, March 6, 1881, 5 days after themurderof Tsar Alexander II: “‘Iamresolving to write again, because things are terrible, and there is no time to lose. If they will sing you the old siren song, that you need to be calm, that you need to continue in a liberal direction, that you need to yield to so-called public opinion—O, for God’s sake, don’t believe them, Your Majesty; don’t listen. This would be ruin—the ruin of Russia and of you. This is as clear as day to me. Your safety would not be protected by this, but would be further diminished. The insane villains that killed your father will not be satisfied with any concessions, and will only become more violent. And it can be suppressed—the evil seed can be torn up—only by fighting against it to the death, by iron and blood. To be victorious is not difficult—until now all have wished to flee the struggle and have deceived the reposed Sovereign, you, themselves, and everyone and everything in the world, because they were not people of reason, power and heart, but flaccid eunuchs and conjurers. No, Your Majesty—the only one sure, direct way is to stand on your feet and begin, not slumbering for a moment, a most holy fight, as there has only been in Russia. The whole nation awaits this authoritative decision and as soon as they sense the sovereign will, all will rise up, all will be revived and will regain their healthy color in the air.’

“On that day he received a note from the Sovereign: ‘I thank you from my whole soul for your heartfelt letter, with which I am in full agreement. Drop by to see me tomorrow at 3 o’clock and I shall be happy to have a talk with you. All my hope is in God.


[This is not included in the outline, but the last half of it is marked by Fr. Seraphim in his copy of Talberg’s book, and one sentence is even underlined. This is from a letter of Pobedonostsev published in a magazine calledRussian Archive.]

“Loris-Melikov had the intention to do Russia the “favor” of giving it a constitution or by setting a beginning to it by summoning deputies from all Russia.’ In this connection a conference took place in February with Emperor Alexander II. ‘On March 2 the Council of Ministers was appointed to be at the Sovereign’s for a final decision, but in the meantime Loris-Melikov had already prepared the triumphant publication of this, which was to have appeared in the “Government Herald” on the 5th. And suddenly the catastrophe. From the 2nd of March the magazines began, in connection with the regicide, to demand a constitution. Loris-Melikov sent to ask them that they be silent, if only for fifteen days. And then they gathered us in the Council of Ministers with Sovereign on Sunday at 2 p.m. They invited me, the elderly S. G. Stroganov, and the grand dukes. The Sovereign, having declared what the business was, added that it had not been decided by the reposed and that it was in doubt and he asked all to speak without constraint. Loris-Melikov began to read the protocol and the draft declaration already prepared in the name of the new Sovereign in which he considered it as it were his sacred duty to fulfill the testament of his father. And imagine—they had the shamelessness to leave in this declaration now all the same motives that had been placed in the previous one: that public order had been established everywhere, the uprising had been suppressed, the exiles had returned, and so on. There is no time to describe all this in detail. The first one to come out against it was Stroganov, briefly but energetically. Then Valuyev, Abaza and Milyutin gave bombastic speeches about how all Russia is waiting for this blessing. Milyutin at this time made a slip of the tongue, referring to the people as irrational masses. Valuyev, instead of the word ‘people,’ used the word ‘peoples.’ There further spoke Nabokov, Saburov, and the rest. Only Posyet and Makov came out against it. But when they turned to me, I could no longer hold back the waves of my indignation. Having explained all the falseness of the institution, I said that shame and disgrace covered my face when thinking of what a time we were discussing this, when the body of our Sovereign lay still unburied. And who was guilty in this? His blood was on us and on our children. We were all guilty in his death. What had we been doing all this time and during his reign? We talked and talked, listened to ourselves and to one another and everything from his institution was turned under our hands into a lie, and the freedom granted by him had become false. And in recent years, in years of explosions and mines, what had we done to protect him? We talked—and only that. All of our senses should have been concentrated in the fear that he might be murdered, but we allowed into our souls so many base, despicable fears and began to tremble beforepublic opinions, that is, the opinions of contemptuous journalists, and what Europe would say. And we know that through magazines.

“‘You can imagine with what thunder my words fell. Those adjacent to me, Abaz and Loris-Melikov, could barely contain their fury at me. Abaz replied quite sharply: “From what the Ober-procurator of the Synod has said, it would follow that everything done in the past reign was of no use whatever—the freeing of the serfs and the rest—and that the only thing left for us to do after this is to request our dismissal.” The Sovereign, who at my words “His blood is on us” interrupted me with the exclamation, “This is true,” supported me, saying that really all were guilty, and that he did not exclude himself. We spoke further. Pitiful words were heard, that something should be done, but that something meant the institution (constitution).’”43

c. Most ministers were for “liberalism,” reforms in government, but Pobedonostsev and others were for autocracy. Alex, resolved to go against the spirit of the times, not give himself over to “unrealizable fantasies and scabby liberalism.” Against Constitution: why? nationalism; Russian already had a constitution inOrthodoxy, ancient institution and trust of Tsar and people.

d. Pobedonostsev stands up against liberalism and constitutionalism, Tsar’s mournful. Disturbances disappeared but heavy weight on the Tsar.

On April 29, 1881 the decisive word of the Tsar rang out in a manifest, in which it was said: ‘The voice of God commands us to embark vigorously upon the matter of governance, hoping in Divine Providence, with faith in the power and truth of autocratic rule, which we are called to uphold and preserve from any encroachment upon it, for the good of the people.

“‘May the hearts of our faithful subjects—of all who love the fatherland and are dedicated to the royal authority, inherited from generation—who have been confounded by anxiety and terror, be encouraged. Under it’s protection, and in indissoluble union with it, our land has more than once survived great strife and has reached a state of power and glory in the midst of grievous trials and misfortunes, with faith in God, Who establishes her fate. Dedicating ourselves to our great service, we summon all our faithful subjects to serve us and the state in faith and righteousness in uprooting the revolts which have disgraced the Russian Land, in the confirmation of faith and morality, in the good upbringing of children, in the annihilation of falsehood and thievery, in the establishment of truth in the activities of the institutions granted Russia by its benefactor, our beloved father.

“‘And here the darkness of sedition, cut through by the light, bright as lightning, of the Tsar’s words, began quickly to disperse’—writes Nazarevsky. ‘The revolt, which seemed invincible, melted like wax before the face of fire, vanished like smoke under the wings of the wind. Sedition in people’s minds began quickly to be replaced by Russian sensibility; dissoluteness and self-will gave way to order and discipline. Freethinking no longer trampled upon Orthodoxy like some kind of ultramontanism, or upon our dear Church like clericalism. The authority of the indisputable and hereditary national Supreme rule stood again upon its historical, traditional height.’

“But it was not easy for the Autocrat to bear this difficult yoke for the benefit of Russia. On December 31, 1881, in a letter of reply to Pobedonostsev, the Sovereign wrote: ‘I thank you, most gracious Constantine Petrovich, for your kind letter and all your wishes. A terrible, frightful year is coming to a close; a new one is beginning, and what awaits us ahead? It is so frightfully difficult at times, that were it not for my faith in God and His limitless mercy, of course, I would have no other choice than to put a bullet through my head. But I am not fainthearted, and the chief thing is that I have faith in God and I believe that there will come, at last, happy days for our dear Russia. Often, very often I recall the words of the Holy Gospel:Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God and believe in Me. These powerful words act salutarily upon me. With full hope in God’s mercy, I close this letter: “Thy will be done, O Lord.”’44

St. John of Kronstadt at deathbed.

Repose of Tsar Alexander III

“A description of his last days is given by Nazarevsky, who was able to receive proper notification. ‘On the 5th of October a bulletin carefully composed by Zakharyn and Professor Leiden (who was recalled from Berlin), concerning the serious illness of the Sovereign, made not only all Russia, but even the whole world wince. Everyone, in fear for the life of the Emperor, who had gained a powerful influence absolutely everywhere, began to pray for his recovery. It became clear to everyone, and to the sufferer himself, that the end was approaching. The bright mood and manly calmness of the sick Tsar were striking. Despite his weakness, insomnia and heart palpitations, he still did not wish to take to his bed and strove to continue his occupation with matters of state, of which the last were written reports concerning matters in the Far East, and Korea in particular.

“‘By the 9th of October the invalid told his confessor for certain that he sensed the closeness of death and with great joy heard his suggestion that he receive the Holy Mysteries. He was only sorry for one thing—that he could not as before, as is usually done during Great Lent, prepare himself for this great Sacrament. At his confession, which took place soon thereafter, the Sovereign knelt and made full prostrations like a healthy man. But for Communion he was now no longer able to raise himself up. He was raised up by the Empress and his confessor. With profound reverence the Sovereign communed the Body and Blood of Christ.

‘On the next morning, on October 10, the Sovereign cheerfully and sincerely met Fr. John of Kronstadt, who had arrived at Livadia; and in the evening, he met the fiance ofhisfirstborn, Princess Alix of Hesse, who had hastened to the Crimea. ‘When he greeted the respected pastor the Sovereign, with the meekness that distinguished him, said: “I myself did not dare to invite you to take such a long journey, but when Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna suggested that I invite you to Livadia, I happily agreed to it, and I thank you for coming. I implore you to pray for me—I’m quite unwell.” As Fr. John related, “Then he went into the other room and asked me to pray together with him. He knelt, and I began to recite the prayers. His Majesty was praying with deep feeling; his head was bowed and he was immersed within himself. When I had finished, he arose and asked me to pray in the future.”

“‘In the evening, to meet his son’s bride, he gave order to be given his dress coat and put it on and, despite the swelling in his feet, went to meet her. He expressed his paternal feelings to her, accepting her as a dear daughter, close to his heart.

“‘The excitement of that day evidently had a good effect on him, and he began to feel better. This continued until October 18. This kindled the hope in those around him that the Sovereign would recover.

“‘On a memorable day, October 17,Fr. John of Kronstadt gave the Sovereign the Holy Mysteries for the second time. After the Liturgy he went in to the sick man with the Holy Chalice in his hands. The Tsar firmly, clearly, and with deep feeling repeated the words of the priest:I believe, 0 Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christand he reverently received Communion from the Chalice. Tears of contrition fell upon his breast. He again felt an upsurge of energy, and the Sovereign was just about to set about his business again and even to work at night. But he became worse and an inflammatory process of the lungs came to light, along with expectoration of blood. The dying man manfully struggled with his infirmity and displayed the power of his will. On the 18th a courier was sent to Petersburg for the last time with resolved business. On the following day once again he endeavored to work on several reports and wrote for the last time: ‘In Livadia. Read.’ But this was already his last day of service to Russia—the great toiler of the Russian Land became severely weakened and now awaited his approaching passage to the other world.

“‘The Sovereign spent the night without sleep, earnestly waiting for the dawn and, arising from his bed, sat in an armchair. The day came, dismal and cold. A strong wind came up; the sea groaned with violent choppiness.

“‘At seven o'clock the Sovereign sent for the Tsarevich and spoke privately with him for about an hour. After this he summoned the Empress, who found him in tears. He told her: “I sense my end.” The Empress said, “For God’s sake, don’t say that—you’ll be well.” “No,” the Sovereign firmly replied, “this has dragged on too long. I feel that death is close. Be at peace. I’m absolutely at peace.” At 10 o’clock his relatives gathered around the dying man and he, fully conscious, tried to say an amiable word to each one. Recalling that the twentieth was the birthday of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the Sovereign wanted to congratulate her. Conversing with his close ones, he did not forget about his soul and asked that his confessor be summoned to say prayers and desired again to commune the Holy Mysteries.

“‘Having communed the Sovereign, the confessor wished to withdraw so as to leave the dying man among his family, but the Sovereign detained him and thanked him sincerely. The pastor, leaning towards the Sovereign, thanked him on behalf of the Holy Church, for the fact that he was always her unwavering son and faithful defender, on behalf of the Russian people, for whom he sacrificed all his strength and, finally, he expressed the firm hope that in the heavenly dwelling places there would be prepared for him an imperishable kingdom of glory and blessedness with all the saints.

“‘At 11 o’clock the condition of the sick man became especially difficult; shortness of breath increased, the activity of his heart declined, and he asked that Fr. John of Kronstadt be summoned who, having come, anointed the body of the Sovereign with oil from the lampada and, in accordance with his request, placed his hands upon his head. Fearing that the respected pastor was becoming tired, the dying man asked him to rest, and when the latter asked him whether he was tiring him by holding his hands on his head, he heard, “On the contrary, it’s very easy for me when you hold them there.” And he added, touchingly, the Russian people love you.” With his weakening voice the Sovereign began to express his farewell affection, first to the Empress, then to the children. They stood near him and the Empress held his hand. At 2 o’clock his pulse increased. The last minutes had come. The royal sufferer, held up by the shoulders by the Tsarevich, leaned his head upon the Empress’ shoulder, closed his eyes and quietly reposed. It was 2:15 in the afternoon. So ended his life this “good sufferer for the Russian Land,” as in ancient Rus they called his holy heavenly protector, the Right-believing Alexander Nevsky.’

“The ever-memorable Fr. John thus described these sorrowful days: ‘On October 17, by the wish of the reposed-in-God Sovereign Emperor he was given communion of the Holy Mysteries by me. I celebrated the Liturgy daily, either in the Livadia church, or occasionally in “Oreand,” and on the aforementioned day, directly after celebrating the Liturgy in the latter church, I hastened with the Cup of life to the August (sick one), who received with reverent feelings, from my hands, the life-creating Mysteries.

“‘On October 20, the Sovereign Emperor again wished to see me. I hastened to appear immediately after celebrating the Liturgy and remained in the Imperial presence right up to the blessed repose of the Sovereign. By wish of the Empress I read the prayer for healing for the sick one and anointed his feet and other parts of his body with oil. This oil from the lampada of a revered miracle-working icon, by wish of zealous people, was provided by one of the priests of Yalta, Fr. Alexander, for the anointing of the August (sick one), which was done. Receiving with sincere faith this reverent zeal, the Sovereign Emperor expressed the wish that I lay my hands on his head, and when I held them there, His Majesty said to me, “The people love you.” “Yes,” said I, “Your Majesty, your people love me.” Then he deigned to say, “Yes—because they know who you are and what you are.” (His exact words). After this, the August (sick one) felt a strong attack of shortness of breath, and oxygen was continually pumped into his mouth. He was in great pain. On the left of the August (sick one) was the Empress; before him stood his two eldest sons and the bride of the Tsarevich; on the right were Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Olga Alexandrovna; and I stood by the headrest of the armchair. “Is it not painful for Your Imperial Majesty that I’m holding my hands on your head?” “No,” the Sovereign deigned to answer, “It’s easier for me when you hold your hands over me.” This was because I had appeared immediately after serving Liturgy, and in the palms of my hands held the Most Pure Body of the Lord and had been a partaker of the Holy Mysteries.

“‘Kronstadt “‘November 8, 1894 “‘Archpriest John Sergiev’”44

d. Pobedonestsev—

[Notes from Fr. S’s “Revolution” chapter of “Anarchism” manuscript:

“Only, however, in the supremely ‘reactionary,’ autocratic Russian Empire did the political order itself retain—for all its weakening in the period of ‘Westernization’—some sense of its old, absolute foundation; and even in Russia it was only, perhaps, a very few statesmen like Pobedenostsev who were seriously concerned to preserve this foundation.” Also in his notes for the “Empire, Old Order” chapter, Fr. S. lists a quote by Pobedenostsev: Russia “has been strong thanks to autocracy, thanks to the unlimited mutual trust between the people and its tsars.”]

(1) Russian tradition unique & not influenced by Revolution or liberalism45

(2) Quotes46

(3) Watched over new literature and philosophy and art, admired Tsar against Solneyei(?), Tolet, blasphemous paintings of Ge, Opera during Lent against what is revolting and propagandistic.

e. Dostoyevsky

(1) Radical youth caught in Fourierist group, condemned, Siberia, then became Tsarist. Having himself been deeply infected by revolutionary disease, he saw deeper than anyone its meaning and end.

[Taken from Fr. Seraphim’s “RussianLiterature”taped lecture]

Dostoyevsky lived, well he died 1881 or 2, and his life was, in his youth he was at the very time when Gogol was beingconverted,in the 1840’s, Dostoyevsky was taking partindiscussion groups. There was one group called Petrochevsky Group, which was discussing the socialist ideas of Fourier. But this group was not serious as a, they were not trying to overthrow the government, whenever they talked about things like that, it was on a very naïve level. They had no organization, no thought at all about overthrowing the government or taking over. They just had idealistic notions about how wonderful it would be if everybody was peaceful and harmonious, it were a perfect government and nobody oppressed anybody else, and Fourier seemed to point to that.

Fourier was just a crazy man who lived in the West, crazy, that is, according to, but he was in the spirit of the times. And later on he bequeathed this to people like Marx who made this whole idea much more serious, made it so-called “scientific.” But Fourier was dreaming about paradise with lemonade fountains and all kinds of images like that. But this spirit of egalitarianism and socialism sort of was in the air, that was the way the Western ideas were largely coming in from Europe.

And Dostoyevsky was discussing these and dreaming about the bright future, already writing novels. And then he wascaught.That is, this group was found out by the Tsar’s police.They broke in and arrested him together with other people from his group. And he was then sentenced to death. They thought it was a serious thing; they were going to execute them and cut off the revolution at the root. But the Tsar had in mind—Tsar Nicholas I who had a very patronizing attitude towards his subjects—that is, he had a very personal interest in the fate of each subject. And he did this, he allowed this death sentence to be given, intending to, not to carry it through, so that his people would—when they found themselves in front of the executioners and then the sentence was postponed or abrogated—come to their senses and repent.

And in the case of Dostoyevsky, it had just that effect. The other ones, Idon’tknow how they ended up. But he wentthrough, of course, his whole life comes to an end—he’s stillayoung man in his 30’s, even late 20’s, and he sees the rifles drawn in front of him—his life comes to its end. What has he done? He has’t thought much about religion up till then. And then all ofasudden they say the Tsar has pardoned you. You will have eight years in Siberia instead.

So he went to Siberia, and he’s written in some ofhisbooks his experiences in Siberia. He lived eight years in Siberia, he lived a very hard life. They slept on hard boards, many people in a room. The food was poor, although Solzhenitsyn makes a point of comparing accounts like the ones Dostoyevsky describes with accounts of Communist prisons. And what sounds to us like a terrible time, after he describes Communist prisons, then he describes Tsarist prisons—it’s obvious that the Tsarist prisons were quite luxurious compared to the Communist prisons. Of course, Dostoyevsky, being a lower class, did not have a comfortable exile that many of the upper-class people did, who just lived like free citizens in exile. But he went through this experience which, from the political side, made him, after eight years in Siberia under very difficult times under a difficult regime, come out a Tsarist, Orthodox Christian, and converted to the whole idea of Tsarism. It means that there was something deep happening in him, and he reformed his whole ideas about life, about Christianity, about where he was going, about themeaningof life. But at the same time, that’s fromthephilosophical side, his whole ideas are going to about the Grand Inquisitor and the meaning of modern history and so forth. On the Christian side, I’d like toemphasizetoday, he went through some kind of a special thing. He was converted to Christianity, Christian ideas, and he began to write stories... [End 1980 Russian Literature Tape passage]

QuoteThe Possessed& analyzes revolutionary mentality, both its stupidities and deep thinkers: the “Quintets.”

“Virginsky himself was rather unwell that evening, but he came in and sat in an easy chair by the tea table. All the guests were sitting down too, and the orderly way in which they were ranged on chairs suggested a meeting. Evidently all were expecting something and were filling up the interval with loud but irrelevant conversation. When Stavrogin and Verkovensky appeared there was a sudden hush.

“But I must be allowed to give a few explanations to make things clear.

“I believe that all these people had come together in the agreeable expectation of hearing something particularly interesting, and had notice of it beforehand. They were the flower of the reddest Radicalism of our ancient town, and had been carefully picked out by Virginsky for this ‘meeting.’ I may remark, too, that some of them (though not very many) had never visited him before. Of course most of the guests had no clear idea why they had been summoned. It was true that at that time all took Pyotr Stepanovitch for a fully authorized emissary from abroad; this idea had somehow taken root among them at once and naturally flattered them. And yet among the citizens assembled ostensibly to keep a name-day, there were some who had been approached with definite proposals. Pyotr Verkovensky had succeeded in getting together a ‘quintet’ amongst us like the one he had already formed in Moscow and, as appeared later, in our province among the officers. It was said that he had another X province. This quintet of the elect were sitting now at the general table, and very skillfully succeeded in giving themselves the air of being quite ordinary people, so that no one could have known them. They were—since it is no longer a secret—Liputin, then Virginsky himself, then Shigalov (a gentleman with long ears, the brother of Madame Virginsky), Lyamshin, and lastly a strange person called Tolkatchenko, a man of forty, who was famed for his vast knowledge of the people, especially of thieves and robbers. He used to frequent the taverns on purpose (though not only with the object of studying the people), and plumed himself on his shabby clothes, tarred boots, and crafty wink and a flourish of peasant phrases. Lyamshin had once or twice brought him to Stepan Trofimovitch’s gatherings, where, however, he did not make a great sensation. He used to make his appearance in the town from time to time, chiefly when he was out of a job; he was employed on the railway.

Every one of these five champions had formed this first group in the fervent conviction that their quintet was only one of hundreds and thousands of similar groups scattered all over Russia, and that they all depended on some immense central but secret power, which in its turn was intimately connected with the revolutionary movement all over Europe. But I regret to say that even at that time there was beginning to be dissension among them. Though they had ever since the spring been expecting Pyotr Verkovensky, whose coming had been heralded first by Tolkatchenko and then by the arrival of Shigalov, though the had expected extraordinary miracles from him, and though they had responded to his first summons without the slightest criticism, yet they had no sooner formed the quintet than they all somehow seemed to feel insulted; and I really believe it was owing to the promptitude with which they consented to join. They had joined, of course, from a not ignoble feeling of shame, for fear people might say afterwards that they had not dared to join; still they felt Pyotr Verkovensky ought to have appreciated their heroism and have rewarded it by telling them some really important bits of news at least. But Verkovensky was not at all inclined to satisfy their legitimate curiosity, and told them nothing but what was necessary; he treated them in general with great sternness and even rather casually. This was positively irritating, and Comrade Shigalov was already egging the others on to insist on his ‘explaining himself,’ though, of course, not at Virginsky’s, where so many outsiders were present.

“I have an idea that the above-mentioned members of the first quintet were disposed to suspect that among the guests of Virginsky’s that evening some were members of other groups, unknown to them, belonging to the same secret organization and founded in the town by the same Verkovensky; so that in fact all present were suspecting one another, and posed in various ways to one another, which gave the whole party a very perplexing and even romantic air. Yet there were persons present who were beyond all suspicion. For instance a major in the service, a near relation of Virginsky, a perfectly innocent person who had not been invited but had come of himself for the name-day celebration, so that it was impossible not to receive him. But Virginsky was quite unperturbed, as the major was ‘incapable of betraying them’; for in spite of his stupidity he had all his life been fond of dropping in wherever extreme Radicals met; he did not sympathize with their ideas himself, but was very fond of listening to them. What’s more, he had even been compromised indeed. It had happened in his youth that whole bundles of manifestoes and of numbers ofThe Bellhad passed through his hands, and although he had been afraid even to open them, yet he would have considered it absolutely contemptible to refuse to distribute them—and there are such people in Russia even to this day.

“The rest of the guests were either types of honorable amour-propre crushed and embittered, or types of the generous impulsiveness of ardent youth. There were two or three teachers, of whom one, a lame man of forty-five, a master in the high school, was a very malicious and strikingly vain person; and two or three officers. Of the latter, one very young artillery officer who had only just come from a military training school, a silent lad who had not yet made friends with anyone, turned up now at Virginsky’s with a pencil in his hand, and scarcely taking any part in the conversation, continually made notes in his notebook. Everybody saw this, but every one pretended not to. There was, too, an idle divinity student who had helped Lyamshin to put indecent photographs into the gospel-woman’s pack. He was a solid youth with a free-and-easy though mistrustful manner, with an unchangeably satirical smile, together with a calm air of triumphant faith in his own perfection. There was also present, I don’t know why, the mayor’s son, that unpleasant and prematurely exhausted youth to whom I have referred already in telling the story of the lieutenant’s little wife. He was silent the whole evening. Finally there was a very enthusiastic and tousle-headed schoolboy of eighteen, who sat with the gloomy air of a young man whose dignity has been wounded, evidently distressed by his eighteen years. This infant was already the head of an independent group of conspirators which had been formed in the highest class of the gymnasium, as it came out afterwards to the surprise of every one.

“I haven’t mentioned Shatov. He was there at the farthest corner of the table, his chair pushed back a little out of the row. He gazed at the ground, was gloomily silent, refused tea and bread, and did not for one instant let his cap go out of his hand, as though to show that he was not a visitor, but had come on business, and when he liked would get up and go away. Kirillov was not far from him. He, too, was very silent, but he did not look at the ground; on the contrary, he scrutinized intently every speaker with his fixed, lustreless eyes, and listened to everything without the slightest emotion or surprise. Some of the visitors who had never seen him before stole thoughtful glances at him. I can’t say whether Madame Virginsky knew anything about the existence of the quintet. I imagine she knew everything and from her husband. The girl- student, of course, took no part in anything; but she had an anxiety for her own: she intended to stay only a day or two and then to go on farther and farther from one university town to another ‘to show active sympathy with the sufferings of poor students and to rouse them to protest.’ She was taking with her some hundreds of copies of a lithographed appeal, I believe of her own composition. It is remarkable that the schoolboy conceived an almost murderous hatred for her from the first moment, though he saw her for the first time in his life; and she felt the same for him. The major was her uncle, and met her today for the first time after ten years. When Stavrogin and Verkovensky came in, her cheeks were as red as cranberries: she had just quarreled with her uncle over his views on the woman question.”47

“Shigalov wenton.

“‘Dedicating my energies to the study of the social organization which is in the future to replace the present condition of things, I’ve come to the conviction that all makers of social systems from ancient times up to the present year, 187-, have been dreamers, tellers of fairy-tales, fools who contradicted themselves, who understood nothing of natural science and the strange animal called man. Plato, Rousseau, Fourier, columns of aluminum, are only fit for sparrows and not for human society. But, now that we are all at last preparing to act, a new form of social organization is essential. In order to avoid further uncertainty, I propose my own system of world-organization. Here it is.’ He tapped the notebook. ‘I wanted to expound my views to the meeting in the most concise form possible, but I see that I should need to add a great many verbal explanations, and so the whole exposition would occupy at least ten evenings, one for each of my chapters.’ (There was the sound of laughter.) ‘I must add, besides, that my system is not yet complete.’ (Laughter again.) ‘I am perplexed by my own data and my conclusion is a direct contradiction of my original idea with which I start. Starting from unlimited freedom, I arrive at unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social problem but mine.’

The laughter grew louder and louder, but it came chiefly from the younger and less initiated visitors. There was an expression of some annoyance on the faces of Madame Virginsky, Liputin, and the lame teacher.

“‘If you’ve been unsuccessful in making your system consistent, and have been reduced to despair yourself, what could we do with it?’ one officer observed warily.

“‘You are right, Mr. Officer,’ Shigalov turned sharply to him—‘especially using the word despair. Yes, I am reduced to despair. Nevertheless, nothing can take the place of the system set forth in my book, and there is no other way out of it; no one can invent anything else. And so I hasten without loss of time to invite the whole society to listen for ten evenings to my book and then give their opinions of it. If the members are unwilling to listen to me, let us break up from the start—the men to take up service under government, the women to their cooking; for if you reject my solution you’ll find no other, none whatever! If they let the opportunity slip, it will simply be their loss, for they will be bound to come back to it again.’

“There was a stir in the company. ‘Is he mad, or what?’ voices asked.

“‘So the whole point lies in Shigalov’s despair,’ Lyamshin commented, ‘and the essential question is whether he must despair or not?’

“‘Shigalov’s being on the brink of despair is a personal question,’ declared the schoolboy.

“‘I propose we put it to a vote how far Shigalov’s despair affects the common cause, and at the same time whether it’s worth while listening to him or not,’ an officer suggested gaily.

“‘That’s not right.’ The lame teacher put in his spoke at last. As a rule he spoke with a rather mocking smile, so that it was difficult to make out whether he was in earnest or joking. ‘That’s not right, gentlemen. Mr. Shigalov is too much devoted to his task and is also too modest. I know his book. He suggests as a final solution of the question the division of mankind into two unequal parts. One-tenth enjoys absolute liberty and unbounded power over the other nine-tenths. The others haveto give up all individuality and become, so to speak, a herd, and, through boundless submission will by a series of regenerations, attain primeval innocence, something like the Garden of Eden. They’ll have to work, however. The measures proposed by the author for depriving nine-tenths of mankind of their freedom and transforming them into a herd through the education of whole generations are very remarkable, founded on the facts of nature and highly logical. One may not agree with some of the deductions, but it would be difficult to doubt the intelligence and knowledge of the author. It’s a pity that the time required —ten evenings—is impossible to arrange for, or we might hear a great deal that’s interesting.’

“‘Can you be in earnest?’ Madame Virginsky addressed the lame gentleman with a shade of positive uneasiness in her voice, ‘when that man doesn’t know what to do with people and so turns nine-tenths of them into slaves? I’ve suspected him for a long time.’

“‘You say that of your own brother?’ asked the lame man. “‘Relationship? Are you laughing at me?’

“‘And besides, to work for aristocrats and to obey them as though they were gods is contemptible!’ observed the girl-student fiercely.

“‘What I propose is not contemptible; it’s paradise, an earthly paradise, and there can be no other on earth,’ Shigalov pronounced authoritatively.

“‘For my part,’ said Lyamshin, ‘if I didn’t know what to do with nine-tenths of mankind, I’d take them and blow them up into the air instead of putting them in paradise. I’d only leave a handful of educated people, who would live happily ever afterwards on scientific principles.’

“‘No one but a buffoon can talk like that!’ cried the girl, flaring up.

“‘He is a buffoon, but he is of use,’ Madame Virginsky whispered to her.

“‘And possibly that would be the best solution of the problem,’ said Shigalov, turning hotly to Lyamshin. ‘You certainly don’t know what a profound thing you’ve succeeded in saying, my merry friend. But as it’s hardly possible to carry out your idea, we must confine ourselves to an earthly paradise, since that’s what they call it.’

“‘That’s pretty thorough rot,’ broke, as though involuntarily, from Verkovensky. Without even raising his eyes, however, he went on cutting his nails with perfect nonchalance.

“‘Why is it rot?’ The lame teacher took it up instantly, as though he had been lying in wait for his first words to catch at them. ‘Why is it rot? Mr. Shigalov is somewhat fanatical in his love for humanity, but remember that Fourier, still more Cabet and even Proudhon himself, advocated a number of the most despotic and even fantastic measures. Mr. Shigalov is perhaps far more sober in his suggestions than they are. I assure you that when one reads his book it’s almost impossible not to agree with some things. He is perhaps less far from realism than anyone and his earthly paradise is almost the real one—if it ever existed—for the loss of which man is always sighing.’

“‘I knew I was in for something,’ Verkovensky muttered again.

“‘Allow me,’ said the lame man, getting more and more excited. ‘Conversations and arguments about the future organization of society are almost an actual necessity for all thinking people nowadays. Herzen was occupied with nothing else all his life. Byelinksky, as I know on very good authority, used to spend whole evenings with his friends debating and settling beforehand even the minutest, so to speak, domestic, details of the social organization of the future.’

“‘Some people go crazy over it,’ the major observed suddenly.

“‘We are more likely to arrive at something by talking, anyway, than by sitting silent and posing as dictators,’ Liputin hissed, as though at last venturing to begin the attack.

“‘I didn’t mean Shigalov when I said it was rot,’ Verkovensky mumbled. ‘You see, gentlemen,’—he raised his eyebrows a trifle—‘to my mind all these books, Fourier, Cabet, all this talk about the right to work, and Shigalov’s theories—are all like novels of which one can write a hundred thousand—an aesthetic entertainment. I can understand that in this little town you are bored, so you rush to ink and paper.’

“‘Excuse me,’ said the lame man, wriggling on his chair, ‘though we are provincials and of course objects of commiseration on that ground, yet we know that so far nothing has happened in the world new enough to be worth our weeping at having missed it. It is suggested to us in various pamphlets made abroad and secretly distributed that we should unite and form groups with the sole object of bringing about universal destruction. It’s urged that, however much you tinker with the world, you can’t make a good job of it, but that by cutting off a hundred million heads and so lightening one’s burden, one can jump over the ditch more safely. A fine idea, no doubt, but quite as impractical as Shigalov’s theories, which you referred to just now so contemptuously.’

“‘Well, but I haven’t come here for discussion.’ Verkovensky let drop this significant phrase, and, as though quite unaware of his blunder, drew the candle nearer to him that he might see better.

“‘It’s a pity, a great pity, that you haven’t come for discussion, and it’s a great pity that you are so taken up just now with your toilet.’

“‘What’s my toilet to you?’

“‘To remove a hundred million heads is as difficult as to transform the world by propaganda. Possibly more difficult, especially in Russia,’ Liputin ventured again.

“‘It’s Russia they rest their hopes on now,’ said an officer.

“‘We’ve heard they are resting their hopes on it,’ interposed the lame man. ‘We know that a mysterious finger is pointing to our delightful country as the land most fitted to accomplish the great task. But there’s this: by the gradual solution of the problem by propaganda I shall gain something, anyway—I shall have some pleasant talk, at least, and shall even get some recognition from government for my services to the cause of society. But in the second way, by the rapid method of cutting off a hundred million heads, what benefit shall I get personally? If you begin advocating that, your tongue might be cut out.’

“‘Yours certainly would be,’ observed Verkovensky. “‘You see. And as under the most favorable circumstances you would not get through such a massacre in less than fifty or at the best thirty years—for they are not sheep, you know, and perhaps they would not let themselves be slaughtered—wouldn’t it be better to pack one’s bundle and migrate to some quiet island beyond calm seas and there close one’s eyes tranquilly? Believe me’—he tapped the table significantly with his finger—‘you will only promote emigration by such propaganda and nothing else!’

“He finished evidently triumphant. He was one of the intellects of the province...”48

“[Verkovensky speaking]...To cut the matter short—for we can’t go on talking for another thirty years as people have done for the last thirty—I ask you which you prefer: the slow way, which consists in the composition of socialistic romances and the academic ordering of the destinies of humanity a thousand years hence, while despotism will swallow the savory morsels which would almost fly into your mouths of themselves if you’d take a little trouble; or do you, whatever it may imply, prefer a quicker way which will at last untie your hands, and will let humanity make its own social organization in freedom and in action, not on paper? They shout ‘a hundred million heads’; that may be only a metaphor; but why be afraid of it if, with the slow day-dreams on paper, despotism in the course of some hundred years will devour not a hundred but five hundred million heads? Take note too that an incurable invalid will not be cured whatever prescriptions are written for him on paper. On the contrary, if there is delay, he will grow so corrupt that he will infect us too and contaminate all the fresh forces which one might still reckon upon now, so that we shall all at last come to grief together. I thoroughly agree that it’s extremely agreeable to chatter liberally and eloquently, but action is a little trying... However, I am no hand at talking; I came here with communications, and so I beg all the honorable company not to vote, but simply and directly to state which you prefer: walking at a snails’ pace in the marsh, or putting on full steam to get across it?’

“‘I am certainly for crossing at full steam!’ cried the schoolboy in an ecstasy.

“‘So am I,’ Lyamshin chimed in.”

‘There can be no doubt about the choice,’ muttered an officer, followed by another, then by some one else. What struck them all most was that Verkovensky had come ‘with communications’ and had himself just promised to speak.

“‘Gentlemen, I see that almost all decide for the policy of the manifestoes,’ he said, looking round at the company.

“‘All, all!’ cried the majority of voices.”49

“Shigalov is a man of genius! Do you know he is a genius like Fourier, but bolder than Fourier; stronger. I’ll look after him. He’s discovered “equality”!’

“‘He is in a fever; he is raving; something very queer has happened to him,’ thought Stavrogin, looking at him once more. Both walked on without stopping.

“‘He’s written a good thing in that manuscript,’ Verkovensky went on. ‘He suggest a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others. and it’s his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all to every one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases he advocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. To begin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A high level of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and they are not wanted. The great intellects have always seized the power and been despots. Great intellects cannot help being despots and they’ve always done more harm than good. They will be banished or put to death. Cicero will have his tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out eyes, Shakespeare will be stoned—that’s Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never been either freedom or equality without despotism, but in the herd there is bound to be equality and that’s Shigalovism. Ha ha ha! Do you think it strange? I am for Shigalovism.’...

“‘Listen, Stavrogin. To level the mountains is a fine idea, not an absurd one. I’m all for Shigalov! Down with culture. We’ve had enough science! Even without science we have material enough to go on for a thousand years, but one must have discipline. The one thing wanting in the world is discipline. The thirst for culture is an aristocratic thirst. The moment you have family ties or love you get the desire for property. We will destroy that desire; we make use of drunkenness, slander, spying; we’ll make use of incredible corruption; we’ll stifle every genius in its infancy. We’ll reduce all to a common denominator! Complete equality! “We’ve learned a trade; and we are honest men; we need nothing more,” that was an answer given by English working-men recently. Only the necessary is necessary, that’s the motto of the whole world henceforward. But it needs a shock. that’s for us, the directors, to look after. Slaves must have directors. Absolute submission, absolute loss of individuality, but once in thirty years Shigalov would let them have a shock and they would all suddenly begin eating one another up, to a certain point, simply as a precaution against boredom. Boredom is an aristocratic sensation. The Shigalovians will have no desires. Desire and suffering are our lot, but Shigalovism is for the slaves.’

“‘You exclude yourself?’ Stavrogin broke in again. “‘You, too. Do you know, I have thought of giving up the world to the Pope. Let him come forth on foot, and barefoot, and show himself to the rabble, saying, “See what they have brought me to!” and they will all rush after him, even the troops. The Pope at the head, with us around him, and below us –

Shigalovism. All that’s needed is that theInternationaleshould come to an agreement with the Pope, so it will. And the old chap will agree at once. There’s nothing else he can do’.”50

Kirillov & later on new religion.

[Taken from 1980 Survival Course Lecture on Nietzsche]

And then he has this man, this character Kirillov, who is the philosopher who is thephilosopherwho came to theconclusionsince there’s no God,I must be god. And if I’m god, I have to do something that proves I’m god. And you can’t just live anordinarylife.Therefore,youmust do something which is spectacular. It must be something which is absolute and proves that you have authority overyourself.’Course the main proof that you have authority is over your own life—therefore to prove that I am god—I must kill myself. That’s the logic. To us it makes no sense. That maniscrazy. But it makes perfect sense, and once you reject Christianity, that’s very logical. [End 1980 quote]

“‘I am bound to show my unbelief,’ said Kirillov, walking about the room. ‘I have no higher idea than disbelief in God. I have all the history of mankind on my side. Man has done nothing but invent God so as to go on living, and not kill himself; that’s the whole of universal history up till now. I am the first one in the whole of human history who would not invent God. let them know it once for all.’

“‘...Do you understand now that the salvation for consists in proving this idea to every one? Who will prove it? I! I can’t understand how an atheist could know that there is no God and not kill himself on the spot. To recognize that there is no God and not to recognize at the same instant that one is God oneself is an absurdity, else one would certainly kill oneself. If you recognize it you are sovereign, and then you won’t kill yourself but will live in the greatest glory. But one, the first, must kill himself, for else who will begin and prove it? So I must certainly kill myself, to begin and prove it. Now I am only a god against my will and I am unhappy, because I amboundto assert my will. All are unhappy because all are afraid to express their will. Man has hitherto been so unhappy and so poor because he has been afraid to assert his will in the highest point and has shown his self-will only in little things, like a schoolboy. I am awfully unhappy, for I am awfully afraid. Terror is the curse of man... But I will assert my will. I am bound to believe that I don’t believe. I will begin and make an end of it and open the door, and will save. That’s the only thing that will save mankind and will recreate the next generation physically; for with this present physical nature man can’t get on without his former God, I believe. For three years I’ve been seeking for the attribute of my godhead and I’ve found it; the attribute of my godhead is self-will! that’s all I can do to prove in the highest point my independence and my new terrible freedom. For it is terrible. I am killing myself to prove my independence and my new terrible freedom.’”51

[Taken from 1980 Survival Course Lecture on Nietzsche]

Therefore,finally, since he has human nature he’s scaredof killing himself andhe’s constantly hesitating,then along comes a character like Lenin, who’s this Verkhovensky, who uses this, tries to persuade him to kill himself and then blame it on somebody else in order to gain some kind of a disorder so that his revolutionary circle could begin to take over. And he finallypersuadeshim. He says, “All right, go on, kill yourself. Sign thispaperthat says that you’ll down with thecapitalistsand so forth,and then kill yourself. I’ll stand right here and hold the dooropenfor you.” And he says, “No, I can’t. I must do it on a big scale.Imust do it in front of everybody.” He says, “No, no, just do itquiethere. And the note is allwrittenhere.” And I think he finally pushes him, finally kills himself. These kind of people are with us. They’re all over the place. [End 1980quote]

(2) Crime and Punishment: on man who want to be beyond good and evil, kills for an idea cf. Napoleon & Superman. But ends in repentance and opening of Christian life.

[Taken from Fr. S’s taped lecture on Russian literature]

...although a large part of the book [Crime and Punishment] is before he kills the woman, he is constantly thinking that he should do it, and he goesthroughthese, it’s basically Nietzsche’sidea that if there is no God, then everything is permitted. And this of course has its philosophical, political form, but from the Christian point of view this means that I can do anything. And he keeps thinking of Napoleon. Here’s a man who comes from theranks,and he goes out,becomesthe leader of a country.And he’s allowed to kill whoever he wants, just because he’s the head of the country. That means there must be a class of Supermen.

It’s based uponentirely,in fact, this is, thekingdoms of this world vs. the kingdom of Christ. According to the kingdom of Christ we all must humble ourselves before God. And according to the philosophy of the world, of the power of this world, there are some people who arestrong.If you’restrongyou havetheright to trample onothers. He’s Machiavellian: government cando ups(?) as long as the prince has the power. Or Nietzsche: that you can do anything you want as long as you are one of these Supermen.

And sohe’sgoingthroughthese agonizingdialogueswith himself. He goes and visits the woman. He sees how shebehaves. He’scasing the joint, seeing how he will do it, where she goes, where she keeps the money. And there’s a second woman, her sister, it is? And the one he begins to build in his mind animagethat she’s hateful, she’s just like an insect. All theseactually un-Christian things that they come from rationalistic ideas which were coming from the West. And you look at what Marx came up with in the West, actually the idea that you can go and do whatever you want just as long as you take over, make people violent. It’s part of the idea that while therevolutiongoesonwhen people kill somebody else, it makes them violent. And therefore they can be tools for the revolution. In other words people are to be used asthings. That’sexactly the oppositeof Christianity.

But hisconscienceisthere;he can’t help it. Andtherefore he keepshesitating,and hecondemnshimself, “Are youso weak, you can’t do it?”He’saccusing himself. “You’re supposed to be a Superman and you can’t do it, you can’t gothrough with it!” And finally he gets the nerve, and goes and hits, I think debates whether he should kill them both or just one. Finally he gets...

...[The other woman] comes in or something at the lastminute. He didn’twant to kill her and he gets all upset by that, and decides he has to kill her too. And then he’s stuck. I thinkhetakes hardly any money—just a little. He gets so hysterical he goesand hides itsomeplace.And then begins his torments Ifhe’s Supermanhe should feelabsolutelycool and calm. She’s just a flea, some kind of insect. Shedoesn’tneed to live, and I’m the Superman. I’m going to prepare myself by collegeeducationsoIcan help the Western ideas to come to enlighten Russia. But meanwhile his conscience begins to operate and he cannot understand whyhe’snot at peace. For one thing he faultshimselfbecausehedidn’tget enough money. But then, something happens inside of him, and shows this Christianity cannot be, the conscience planted by God and developed by the Christian Church cannot be silenced. And then begins this terrible duel between him and this interrogator who is investigating the case, and he never knows whether he knows he did it, suspects he did it, whether he suspects somebody else, but is constantly...if he didn’t have a badconscience,he woudn’thave any problem.

And in the end it turns out that this interrogator is just waiting for him to confess. And he finally says, “Who do you think it is? Tell me.” And he said, “Why, it’s you, Rodya Romanovitch. You killed her. But I’m waiting for you to come by yourselfandtell us.” And so he almost goes crazy. What should he do? Should he run away?

And then he meets this girl Sonya, who is a prostitute, that is the lowest element of society, and outside Christianity, Christian sympathy or anything. Why is she a prostitute? Because she has to support her mother. And she didn’t want to do it;shehasChristianfaith. But she has to; it’s the only way she can getmoney. In other words this absolutely helpless, pitiful creature. Andshe’sgoing to be the one that saves this man who isdeluded by these Western ideas. And he begins to talk to her. She shows the Gospel. “Oh. Gospel,anythingbut the Gospel!” Andshebegins to talk about Jesus Christ. And gradually his heart begins to soften. And finally he goes to her, I think at the end, to decide whether he should give himself up. And he says, “What shall Ido?They’ll send me to Siberia andfinished.”And she said, “Oh, I’ll come with you to Siberia.” And he went, how can this besomeonelike that, the lowest dregs of society? And she, she lovesme? That she’ll come to Siberia to be with me?” And he finally is socrushed,he finally got, he gets on his knees before the police station and says, “I DID IT! Kill me, take me away!”

And this is a very strong thing, by the way, in the Russian temperament.

Well, with [Sophia], the case was that she preserved her Orthodoxy, her Christianity, even though externally she was asinner,she couldn’t receive Communion, she was constantly inastate of sin. And he of his own free will went away from it, and therefore this purity, actually the purity of Christianity remained in her even though she was, in fact, the fact that she was a sinner probably even increased it because she knew that she was no good, the last dregs of society, she was a hopeless case. And yet she retained Jesus Christ, and therefore she could preach the Gospel to thissophisticated, althoughhe wasn’t too sophisticated, just a student, but still he had these high ideas, and eventually melt his heart and convert him. And then it says they went to Siberia, and he begins I think to describe a little of it, and then he says the rest of the story is adifferentstory. He doesn’t tell youwhat happened in Siberia. Because he went to Siberia and came back a converted man himself.

That’sprobablythe, the most perfect as a work of art of Dostoyevsky—it’s all completein one, one volume; hedoesn’tjust sort of go over his head. [End Russian Literature Lecture passage]

(3) Grand Inquisitor:

[Taken from the 1980 Survival Course Lecture on Nietzsche]

The Brothers Karamozovpresents the same cold, calculating Western mentality. Ivan Karamazov is theorizingaboutsort of his ideas of the Grand Inquisitor, it’s presented as his idea. By the way Dostoyevsky makes clear there that there’s some kind of a little man in the stove pipe who keeps coming to him, it’s an image of the devil, the fact that he was incontactwithsome other power, who gives him his wonderful ideas and he comes up with this idea about—he keeps thinking Christianity can’t, he has adebateswith Alyosha, the young brother who’s supposed to be the hero. Alyosha wants true Christianity, and he sees his brothers are tormented. They don’t have peace, andhisfather’s a rascal, old-type devoshid (?), and his children are, this Ivan who is cold, calculating type, no faith in Christ, hecan’tbelieve everything Alyosha says about Christ.

(a) Ivan Karamazov’s philosophy

“To begin with, for the sake of being Russian. Russian conversations on such subjects are always carried on inconceivably stupidly. And secondly, the stupider one is, the closer one is to reality. The stupider one is the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence wriggles and hides itself. Intelligence is a knave, but stupidity is honest and straightforward. I’ve led the conversation to my despair, and the more stupidly I have presented it, the better for me.’

“‘You will explain why you don’t accept the world?’ said Alyosha.

“‘To be sure I will, it’s not a secret, that’s what I’ve been leading up to. Dear little brother, I don’t want to corrupt you or to turn you from your stronghold, perhaps I want to be healed by you.’ Ivan smiled suddenly quite like a gentle child. Alyosha had never seen such a smile on his face before.

“‘I must make you one confession,’ Ivan began. ‘I could never understand how one can love one’s neighbors. It’s just one’s neighbors, to my mind, that one can’t love, though one might love those at a distance. I once read somewhere of John the Merciful, a saint, that when a hungry, frozen beggar came to him, he took him into his bed, held him in his arms, and began breathing into his mouth, which was putrid and loathsome from some awful disease. I am convinced that he did that from “self-laceration,” from the self-laceration of falsity, for the sake of the charity imposed by duty, as a penance laid on him. For any one to love a man, he must be hidden, for as soon as he shows his face, love is gone.’

“‘Father Zossima has talked of that more than once,’ observed Alyosha, ‘he, too, said that the face of a man often hinders many people not practiced in love, from loving him. But yet there’s a great deal of love in mankind, and almost Christ-like love. I know myself, Ivan.’

“‘Well, I know nothing of it so far, and can’t understand it, and the innumerable mass of mankind are with me there. The question is, whether that’s due to men’s bad qualities or whether it’s inherent in their nature. To my thinking, Christ-like love for men is a miracle impossible on earth. He was God. But we are not gods. Suppose I, for instance, suffer intensely. Another can never know how much I suffer, because he is another and not I. And what’s more, a man is rarely ready to admit another’s suffering (as though it were a distinction). Why won’t he admit it, do you think? Because I smell unpleasant, because I have a stupid face, because I once trod on his foot. Besides there is suffering and suffering; degrading, humiliating suffering such as humbles me—hunger, for instance,—my benefactor will perhaps allow me; but when you come to higher suffering—for an idea, for instance—he will very rarely admit that, perhaps because my face strikes him as not at all what he fancies a man should have who suffer for an idea. And so he deprives me instantly of his favor, and not at all from badness of heart. Beggars, especially genteel beggars, ought never to show themselves, but to ask for charity through the newspapers. One can love one’s neighbor in the abstract, or even at a distance, in the ballet, where if beggars come in, they wear silken rags and tattered lace and beg for alms dancing gracefully, then one might like looking at them. But even then we should not love them.

But enough of that. I simply wanted to show you my point of view. I meant to speak of the suffering of mankind generally, but we had better confine ourselves to the sufferings of the children. That reduces the scope of my argument to a tenth of what it would be. Still we’d better keep to the children, though it does weaken my case. But, in the first place, children can be loved even at close quarters, even when they are dirty, even when they are ugly (I fancy, though, children never are ugly). The second reason why I don’t speak of grown-up people is that, besides being disgusting and unworthy of love, they have a compensation—they’ve eaten the apple and know good from evil, and they have become “like god.” They go on eating it still. But the children haven’t eaten anything, and are so far innocent. Are you fond of children, Alyosha? I know you are, and you will understand why I prefer to speak of them. If they, too suffer horribly on earth, they must suffer for their fathers’ sins, they must be punished for their fathers, who have eaten the apple; but that reasoning is of the other world and is incomprehensible for the heart of man here on earth. The innocent must not suffer for another’s sins, and especially such innocents! You may be surprised at me, Alyosha, but I am awfully fond of children, too. And observe, cruel people, the violent, the rapacious, the Karamazovs are sometimes very fond of children. Children while they are quite little—up to seven, for instance—are so remote from grown-up people; they are different creatures, as it were, of a different species. I knew a criminal in prison who had, in the course of his career as a burglar, murdered whole families, including several children. But when he was in prison, he had a strange affection for them. He spent all his time at his window, watching the children playing in the prison yard. He trained one little boy to come up to his window and made great friends with him... You don’t know why I am telling you all this, Alyosha? My head aches and I am sad.’

“‘You speak with a strange air,’ observed Alyosha uneasily, ‘as though you were not quite yourself.’

“‘By the way, a Bulgarian I met lately in Moscow,’ Ivan went on, seeming not to hear his brother’s words, ‘told me about the crimes committed by Turks and Circassians in all parts of Bulgaria through fear of a general rising of the Slavs. They burn villages, murder, outrage women and children, they nail their prisoners by the ears to the fences, leave them so till morning, and in the morning they hang them—all sorts of things you can’t imagine. People talk sometimes of bestial cruelty, but that’s a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel. The tiger only tears and gnaws, that’s all he can do. He would never think of nailing people by the ears, even if he were able to do it. These Turks took a pleasure in torturing children, too; cutting the unborn child from the mothers’ womb, and tossing babies up in the air and catching them on the points of their bayonets before their mother’s eyes. Doing it before the mother’s eyes was what gave zest to the amusement. Here is another scene that I thought very interesting. Imagine a trembling mother with her baby in her arms, a circle of invading Turks around her. They’ve planned a diversion; they pet a baby, laugh to make it laugh. They succeed, the baby laughs. At that moment a Turk points a pistol four inches from the baby’s face. The baby laughs with glee, holds out its little hands to the pistol, and he pulls the trigger in the baby’s face and blows out its brains. Artistic, wasn’t it? By the way, Turks are particularly fond of sweet things, they say.’

“‘Brother, what are you driving at?’ asked Alyosha. “‘I think if the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.’

“‘Just as he did God, then?’ observed Alyosha.

“‘It’s wonderful how you can turn words,” as Polonius says inHamlet,’ laughed Ivan. ‘You turn my words against me. Well, I am glad. Yours must be a fine God, if man created Him in His image and likeness. You asked just now what I was driving at. You see, I am fond of collecting certain facts, and, would you believe, I even copy anecdotes of a certain sort from newspapers and books, and I’ve already got a fine collection. The Turks, of course, have gone into it, but they are foreigners. I have specimens from home that are even better than the Turks. You know we prefer beating—rods and scourges —that ‘s our national institution. Nailing ears is unthinkable for us, for we are, after all, Europeans. But the rod and the scourge we have always with us and they cannot be taken from us. Abroad now they scarcely do any beating. Manners are more humane, or laws have been passed, so that they don’t dare to flog men now. But they make up for it in another way just as national as ours. And so national that it would be practically impossible among us, though I believe we are being inoculated with it, since the religious movement began in our aristocracy. I have a charming pamphlet, translated from the French, describing how, quite recently, five years ago, a murderer, Richard, was executed—a young man. I believe, of three and twenty, who repented and was converted to the Christian faith at the very scaffold. This Richard was an illegitimate child who was given as a child of six by his parents to some shepherds on the Swiss mountains.

They brought him up to work for them. He grew up like a little wild beast among them. The shepherds taught him nothing, and scarcely fed or clothed him, but sent him out at seven to herd the flock in cold and wet, and no one hesitated or scrupled to treat him so. Quite the contrary, they thought they had every right, for Richard had been given to them as a chattel, and they did not even see the necessity of feeding him. Richard himself describes how in those years, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, he longed to eat of the mash given to the pigs, which were fattened for sale. But they wouldn’t even give him that, and beat him when he stole from the pigs. And that was how he spent all his childhood and his youth, till he grew up and was strong to go away and be a thief. The savage began to earn his living as a day laborer in Geneva. He drank what he earned, he lived like a brute, and finished by killing and robbing an old man, He was caught, tired, and condemned to death. They are not sentimentalists there. And in prison he was immediately surrounded by pastors, members of Christian brotherhoods, philanthropic ladies, and the like. They taught him to read and write in prison, and expounded the Gospel to him. They exhorted him, worked upon him, drummed at him incessantly, till at last he solemnly confessed his crime.”52

“What comfort is to me that there are none guilty and that cause follows effect simply and directly, and that I know it—I must have justice, or I will destroy myself. And not justice in some remote infinite time and space, but here on earth, and that I could see myself. I have believed in it. I want to see it, and if I am dead by then, let me rise again, for if it all happens without me, it will be too unfair. Surely I haven’t suffered, simply that I, my crimes and my sufferings, may manure the soil of the future harmony for somebody else. I want to see with my own eyes the hind lie down with the lion and the victim rise up and embrace his murderer. I want to be there when every one suddenly understands what it has all been for. All the religions of the world are built on this longing, and I am a believer. But then there are the children, and what am I to do about them? That’s a question I can’t answer. For the hundredth time I repeat, there are numbers of questions, but I’ve only taken the children, because in their case what I mean is so unanswerably clear. Listen! If all must suffer to pay for the eternal harmony, what have children to do with it, tell me, please? It’s beyond all comprehension why they should suffer, and why they should pay for the harmony.

Why should they, too, furnish material to enrich the soil for the harmony of the future? I understand solidarity in sin among men. I understand solidarity in retribution, too; but there can be no such solidarity with children. And if it is really true that they must share responsibility for all their fathers’ crimes, such a truth is not of this world and is beyond my comprehension. Some jester will say, perhaps, that the child would have grown up and have sinned, but you see he didn’t grow up, he was torn to pieces by dogs, at eight years old. Oh, Alyosha, I am not blaspheming! I understand, of course, what an upheaval of the universe it will be, when everything in heaven and earth blends in one hymn of praise and everything that lives and has lived cries aloud: “Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed.” When the mother embraces the fiend who threw her child to the dogs, and all three cry aloud with tears, “Thou art just, O Lord!” then, of course, the crown of knowledge will be reached and all will be clear. But what pulls me up here is that I can’t accept that harmony. And while I am here on earth, I make haste to take my own measures. You see, Alyosha, perhaps it really may happen that if I live to that moment, or rise again to see it, I, too, perhaps may cry aloud with the rest, looking at the mother embracing the child’s torturer, “Thou art just, O Lord!” but I don’t want to cry aloud then. While there is still time, I hasten to protect myself and so I renounce the higher harmony altogether. It’s not worth the tears of that one tortured child who beat itself on the breast with its little fist and prayed in its stinking outhouse, with its unexpiated tears to “dear kind God”! It’s not worth it, because those tears are unatoned for. They must be atoned for, or there can be no harmony. But how? How are you going to atone for them? Is it possible? By their being avenged? But what do I care for avenging them? What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price. I don’t want the mother to embrace the oppressor who threw her son to the dogs! She dare not forgive him! Let her forgive him for herself, if she will, let her forgive the torturer for the immeasurable suffering of her mother’s heart. But the sufferings of her tortured child she has no right to forgive; she dare not forgive the torturer, even if the child were to forgive him! And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, what becomes of harmony? Is there in the whole world a being who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? I don’t want harmony. From love for humanity I don’t want it. I would rather be left with the unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation,even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a price is asked for harmony; it’s beyond our means to pay so much to enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And that I am doing. It’s not God that I don’t accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return Him the ticket.’

“That’s rebellion,’ murmured Alyosha, looking down.

“Rebellion? I am sorry you call it that,’ said Ivan earnestly. ‘One can hardly live in rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me yourself, I challenge you—answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making man happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.’

“No, I wouldn’t consent,’ said Alyosha softly. “‘And can you admit the idea that men for whom you are building it would agree to accept their happiness on the foundation of the unexpiated blood of a little victim? And accepting it would remain happy for ever?’

“No, I can’t admit it. Brother,’ said Alyosha suddenly, with flashing eyes, ‘you said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything, You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud, “Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy way are revealed!”’

‘Ah! the One without sin and His blood! No, I haven’t forgotten Him; on the contrary I’ve been wondering all the time how it was you did not bring Him in before, for usually all arguments on your side put Him in the foreground. Do you know. Alyosha—don’t laugh! I made a poem about a year ago. If you can waste another ten minutes on me, I’ll tell it to you.’

“‘You wrote a poem?’

“Oh, no, I didn’t write it,’ laughed Ivan, ‘and I’ve never written two lines of poetry in my life. But I made up this poem in prose and I remembered it. I was carried away when I made it up. You will be my first reader—that is, listener. Why should an author forego even one listener?’ smiled Ivan. ‘Shall I tell it to you?’

“‘I am all attention,’ said Alyosha.

“‘My poem is called “The Grand Inquisitor”; it’s a ridiculous thing, but I want to tell it to you.”53

(b) Grand Inquisitor

[Taken from the 1980 Survival Course Lecture on Nietzsche]

Therefore he devises this idea of the Grand Inquisitor which is meant to be the idea of Antichrist, but based upon the ideas of the Roman Church, and that is all the bad ideas of the Roman Church which produced the Inquisition and this whole idea of calculation, taking over from the true Christianity of the heart. So he produces this very somehow, sort of revolutionary idea of a dictatorship in which people are given bread and circuses with, and maybe even given religion but there’s no realitybehind it, that is,there’s noeternallife, no God. And the people are fooled to keep them quiet...

“He came in softly, unobserved, and yet, strange to say, every one recognized Him. That might be one of the best passages in the poem. I mean, why they recognize Him. The people are irresistibly drawn to Him, they surround Him, they flock about Him, follow Him. He moves silently in their midst with a gentle smile of infinite compassion. The sun of love burns in His heart, light and power smile from His eyes, and their radiance, shed on people, stirs their hearts with responsive love. He holds out His hands to them, blesses, them, and a healing virtue comes from contact with Him, even with His garments. An old man in the crown, blind from childhood, cries out, “O Lord, heal me and I shall see Thee!” and, as it were, scales fall from his eyes and the blind man see Him. The crowd weeps and kisses the earth under His feet. Children throw flowers before Him, sing, and cry hosannah. “It is He—it is He!” all repeat. “It must be He, it can be no one but Him!” He stops at the steps of the Seville cathedral at the moment when the weeping mourners are bringing in a little open white coffin. In it lies a child of seven, the only daughter of a prominent citizen. The dead child lies hidden in flowers. “He will raise your child,” the crowd shouts to the weeping mother. The priest, coming to meet the coffin, looks perplexed, and frowns, but the mother of the dead child throws herself at His feet with a wail. “If it Thou, raise my child!” she cries, hold out her hands to Him. The procession halts, the coffin is laid on the steps at His feet. He looks with compassion, and His lips once more softly pronounce, “Maiden, arise!” and the maiden arises. The little girl sits up in the coffin and looks around, smiling with wide-open wondering eyes, holding a bunch of white roses they had put in her hand.

“There are cries, sobs, confusion among the people, and at that moment the cardinal himself, the Grand Inquisitor, passes by the cathedral. He is an old man, almost ninety, tall and erect, with a withered face and sunken eyes, in which there is still a gleam of light. He is not dressed in his gorgeous cardinal’s robes, as he was the day before, when he was burning the enemies of the Romans Church—at that moment he was wearing his coarse, old, monk’s cassock. At a distance behind him come his gloomy assistants and slaves and the “holy guard.” He stops at the sight of the crowd and watches it from a distance. He sees everything; he sees them se the coffin down at His feet, sees the child rise up, and his face darkens. He knits his thick grey brows and his eyes gleam with a sinister face. He holds out his finger and bids the guards take Him. And such is his power, so completely are the people cowed into submission and trembling obedience to him, that the crowd immediately make way for the guards, and in the midst of death-like silence they lay hands on Him and lead Him away. The crowd instantly bows down to the earth, like one man, before the old inquisitor. He blesses the people in silence and passes on. The guards lead their prisoner to the close, gloomy vaulted prison in the ancient palace of the Holy Inquisition and shut Him in it. The day passes and is followed by the dark, burning “breathless” night of Seville. The air is “fragrant with laurel and lemon.” In the pitch darkness the iron door of the prison is suddenly opened and the Grand Inquisitor himself comes in with a light in his hand. He stands in the doorway and for a minute or two gazes into His face. At last he goes up slowly, sets the light on the table and speaks.

“‘Is it Thou? Thou?” but receiving no answer, he adds at once, “Don’t answer, be silent. What canst Thou say, indeed? I know too well what Thou wouldst say. And Thou hast no right to add anything to what Thou hadst said of old. Why, then, art Thou come to hinder us? For Thou hast come to hinder us, and Thou knowest that. But dost Thou know what will be tomorrow? I know not who Thou art and care not to know whether it is Thou or only a semblance of Him, but tomorrow I shall condemn Thee and burn Thee at the stake as the worst of heretics. And the very people who have today kissed Thy feet, tomorrow at the faintest sign from me will rush to heap up the embers of Thy fire. Knowest Thou that? Yes, maybe Thou knowest it,” he added with thoughtful penetration, never for a moment taking his eyes off the Prisoner.’

“I don’t quite understand, Ivan. What does it mean?’ Alyosha, who had been listening in silence, said with a smile. ‘Is it simply a wild fantasy, or a mistake on the part of the old man—some impossiblequi pro quo?’

“Take it as the last,’ said Ivan laughing, ‘if you are so corrupted by modern realism and can’t stand anything fantastic. If you like it to be a case of mistaken identity, let it be so. It is true,’ he went on laughing, ‘the old man was ninety, and he might well be crazy over his set idea. He might have been struck by the appearance of the Prisoner. It might, in fact, be simply his ravings, the delusion of an old man of ninety, over-excited by theauto-da- féof a hundred heretics the day before. But does it matter to us after all whether it was a mistake of identity or a wild fantasy? All that matters is that the old man should speak out, should speak openly of what he has thought in silence for ninety years.’

“And the Prisoner too is silent? Does He look at him and not say a word?’

“‘That’s inevitable in any case,’ Ivan laughed again. ‘The old man has told Him He hasn’t the right to add anything to what He has said of old. One may say it is the most fundamental feature of Roman Catholicism, in my opinion at least. [Fr. S’s notes in “Anarchism” on the Grand Inquisitor begin here:] “All has been given by Thee to the Pope,” they say, “and all, therefore, is still in the Pope’s hands, and there is no need for Thee to come now at all.” [Not in Fr. S’s notes:] Thou must not meddle for the time at least.” that’s how they speak and write too—the Jesuits, at any rate. I have read it myself in the works of their theologians. “Hast Thou the right to reveal to us one of the mysteries of that world from which Thou hast come?” my old man asks Him, and answers the question for Him. “No, Thou hast not; that Thou mayest not add to what has been said of old, and mayest not take from men the freedom which Thou didst exalt when Thou wast on earth. Whatsoever Thou revealest anew will encroach on men’s freedom of faith; for it will be manifest as a miracle, and the freedom of their faith was dearer to Thee than anything in those days fifteen hundred years ago. Didst Thou not often say then, “I will make you free”? But now Thou has seen these ‘free’ men,” the old man add suddenly, with a pensive smile. “Yes, we’ve paid dearly for it,” he goes on, looking sternly at Him,” but at last we have completed that work in Thy name. For fifteen centuries we have been wrestling with Thy freedom, but now it is ended and over for good. Dost Thou not believe that it’s over for good? Thou lookest meekly at me and deignest not even to be wroth with me. But let me tell Thee that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at out feet. But that has been our doing. Was this what Thou didst? Was this Thy freedom?”’

“‘I don’t understand again,’ Alyosha broke in. ‘Is he ironical, is he jesting?’

“‘Not a bit of it! He claims it as a merit for himself and his Church that at last they have vanquished freedom and have done so to make men happy. “For now” (he is speaking of the Inquisition, of course) “for the first time it has become possible to think of the happiness of men. Man was created a rebel; and how can rebels be happy? Thou wast warned,” he says to Him. “Thou hast no lack of admonitions and warnings, but Thou didst not listen to those warnings; Thou didst reject the only way by which men might be made happy. But, fortunately, departing Thou didst hand the work on to us. Thou hast promised, Thou hast established by Thy word, Thou hast given to us the right to bind and to unbind, and now, of course, Thou canst not think of taking it away. Why, then, hast Thou come to hinder us?”’

“‘And what is the meaning of “no lack of admonitions and warnings”?’ asked Alyosha.

“‘Why, that’s the chief part of what the old man must say.’

“‘The wise and dread Spirit, the spirit of self-destruction and non-existence,” the old man goes on, “the great spirit talked with Thee in the wilderness, and we are told in the books that he ‘tempted’ Thee. Is that so? And could anything truer be said than what he revealed to Thee in three questions and what Thou didst reject, and what in the books is called ‘the temptation’? And yet if there has ever been on earth a real stupendous miracle, it took place on that day, on the day of the three temptations. The statement of those three questions was itself the miracle. If it were possible to imagine simply for the sake of argument that those three questions of the dread spirit had perished utterly from the books, and that we had to restore them and to invent them anew, and to do so had gathered together all the wise men of the earth—rulers, chief priests, learned men, philosophers, poets—and had set them the task to invent three questions, such as would not only fit the occasion, but express in three words, three human phrases, the whole future history of the world and of humanity—dost Thou believe that all the wisdom of the earth united could have invented anything in depth and force equal to the three questions which were actually put to Thee then by the wise and mighty spirit in the wilderness? From those questions alone, from the miracle of their statement, we can see that we have here to do not with the fleeting human intelligence, but with absolute and eternal. For in those three questions the whole subsequent history of mankind is, as it were, brought together into one whole, and foretold, and in them are united all the unsolved historical contradictions of human nature. At the time it could not be so clear, since the future was unknown; but now that fifteen hundred years have passed, we see that everything in those three questions was so justly divined and foretold, and has been so truly fulfilled, that nothing can be added to them or taken from them.”54

“‘Judge Thyself who was right—Thou or he who questioned Thee then? Remember the first question; its meaning, in other words, was this: ‘Thou wouldst go into the world, and art going with empty hands, with some promise of freedom which men in their simplicity and their natural unruliness cannot even understand, which they fear and dread—for nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom. But seest Thou these stones in this in this parched and barren wilderness? Turn them into bread, and mankind will run after Thee like a flock of sheep, grateful and obedient, though for ever trembling, lest Thou withdraw Thy hand and deny them Thy bread.” [Fr. S’s notes continue:] But Thou wouldst not deprive man of freedom and didst reject the offer, thinking, what is that freedom if obedience is bought with bread? Thou didst reply that man lives not by bread alone. But dost Thou know that for the sake of that earthly bread the spirit of the earth will rise up against Thee and will strive with Thee and overcome Thee, and all will follow him, crying, ‘Who can compare with this beast? He has given us fire from heaven!’ Dost Thou know that the ages will pass, and humanity will proclaim by the lips of their sages that there is no crime, and therefore no sin; there is only hunger? ‘Feed men, and then ask of them virtue!’ that’s what they’ll write on the banner, which they will raise against Thee, and with which they will destroy Thy temple. Where Thy temple stood will rise a new building; the terrible tower of Babel will be built again, [not in Fr. S’s notes:] and though, like the one of old, it will not be finished, yet Thou mightest have prevented that new tower and have cut short the sufferings of men for a thousand years; for they will come back to us after a thousand years of agony with their tower.

[Fr. S’s notes continue:] They will seek us again, hidden underground in catacombs, [not in Fr. S’s notes:] for we shall be again persecuted and tortured. [Fr. S’s notes continue:] They will find us and cry to us, ‘Feed us, for those who have promised us fire from heaven haven’t given it!’ And then we shall finish building their tower, for he finishes the building who feeds them. And we alone shall feed them in Thy name, [not in Fr. S’s notes:] Oh, never, never can they feed themselves without us!

[Fr. S’s notes continue:] No science will give them bread so long as they remain free. In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, “Make us your slaves, but feed us.” They will understand themselves, at last, that freedom and bread enough for all are inconceivable together, for never, never will they be able to share between them! [not in Fr. S’s notes:] They will be convinced, too, that they can never be free, for they are weak, vicious, worthless and rebellious. Thou didst promise them the bread of Heaven, but, I repeat again, can it compare with earthly bread in the eyes of the weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man? And if for the sake of the bread of Heaven thousands and tens of thousands shall follow Thee, what is to become of the millions and tens of thousands of millions of creatures who will not have the strength to forego the earthly bread for the sake of the heavenly? Or dost Thou care only for the tens of thousands of the great and strong, while the millions, numerous as the sands of the sea, who are weak but love Thee, must exist only for the sake of the great and strong? No, we care for the weak too. They are sinful and rebellious, but in the end they too will become obedient. They will marvel at us and look on us as gods, because we are ready to endure the freedom which they have found so dreadful and to rule over them—so awful it will seem to them to be free. But we shall tell them again, for we will not let Thee come to us again. That deception will our suffering, for we shall be forced to lie. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] “‘This is the significance of the first question in the wilderness, and this is what Thou hast rejected for the sake of that freedom which Thou hast exalted above everything. Yet in this question lies hid the great secret of this world.

[Fr. S’s notes continue:]

Choosing ‘bread,’ Thou wouldst have satisfied the universal and everlasting craving of humanity—to find someone to worship. So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship. But man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] For these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the other can worship, but to find something that all would believe in and worship; what is essential is that all may betogetherin it. This craving forcommunityof worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship they’ve slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one another, ‘Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods!’ And so it will be to the end of the world, even when gods disappear from the earth; they will fall down before idols just the same. Thou didst know, Thou couldst not but have known, this fundamental secret of human nature, but [Fr. S’s notes continue:] Thou didst reject the one infallible banner which was offered Thee to make all men bow down to Thee alone—the banner of earthly bread; and Thou hast rejected it for the sake of the freedom and the bread of Heaven. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] Behold what Thou didst further. And all again in the name of freedom! I tell Thee that man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.

But [Fr. S’s notes continue:] only one who can appease their conscience can take over their freedom. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] In bread there was offered Thee an invincible banner; [Fr. S’s notes continue:] give bread, and man will worship thee, for nothing is more certain than bread. But if someone else gains possession of his conscience—oh! then he will cast away Thy bread and follow after him who has ensnared his conscience. In that Thou wast right. For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living, and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] That is true. But what happened? Instead of taking men’s freedom from them, Thou didst make it greater than ever! Didst Thou forget that man prefers peace, and even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil? Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering. And behold instead of giving a firm foundation for setting the conscience of man at rest for ever, Thou didst choose all that is exceptional, vague and enigmatic; [Fr. S’s notes continue:] Thou didst choose what was utterly beyond the strength of men, acting as though Thou didst not love them at all [not in Fr. S’s notes:]—Thou who didst come to give Thy life for them! Instead of taking possession of men’s freedom, Thou didst increase it, and burdened the spiritual kingdom of mankind with its sufferings for ever. [Fr. S’s notes continue:] Thou didst desire man’s free love, that he should follow Thee freely, enticed and taken captive by Thee. In place of the rigid ancient law, man must hereafter with free heart decide for himself what is good and what is evil, having only Thy image before him as his guide. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] But didst Thou not know he would at last reject even Thy image and Thy truth, if he is weighed down with the fearful burden of free choice? They will cry aloud at last that the truth is not in Thee, for they could not have been left in greater confusion and suffering than Thou hast caused, laying upon them so many cares and unanswerable problems.

“So that, in truth, Thou didst Thyself lay the foundation for the destruction of Thy kingdom, and no one is more to blame for it. Yet what was offered Thee? [Fr. S’s notes continue:] There are three powers, three powers alone, able to conquer and to hold captive for ever the conscience of these impotent rebels for their happiness—those forces are miracle, mystery and authority. [not in Fr. S’s notes:] Thou hast rejected all three and hast set the example for doing so. When the wise and dread spirit set Thee on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Thee, ‘If Thou wouldst know whether Thou art [end of p. 264, but Fr. S’s Anarchism notes continue:] Man seeks not so much God as the miraculous. And as man cannot bear to be without the miraculous, he will create new miracles of his own for himself, and will worship deeds of sorcery and witchcraft, though he might be a hundred times a rebel, heretic and infidel... Thou wouldst not enslave man by a miracle, and didst crave faith given freely, not based on miracle... Man is weaker and baser by nature than Thou hast believed him!... By showing him so much respect, Thou didst, as it were, cease to feel for him, for Thou didst ask far too much from him—Thou who hast loved him more than Thyself! Respecting him less, Thou wouldst have asked less of him. That would have been more like love, for his burden would have been lighter... Canst Thou have simply come to the elect and for the elect? But if so, it is a mystery and we cannot understand it... We have corrected Thy work and have founded it uponmiracle,mysteryandauthority... Did we not love mankind, so meekly acknowledging their feebleness, lovingly lightening their burden, and permitting their weak nature even sin with our sanction? ...we took from him what Thou didst reject in scorn, that last gift he offered Thee, showing Thee all the kingdoms of the earth. We took from him Rome and the sword of Caesar, and proclaimed ourselves sole rulers of the earth... but we shall triumph and shall be Caesars, and then we shall plan the universal happiness of man... all that man seeks on earth—that is, someone to worship, someone to keep his conscience, and some means of uniting all in one unanimous ant-heap, for the craving for universal unity is the third and last anguish of men.

Mankind as a whole has always striven to organize a universal state... Oh, the ages are yet to come of the confusion of free thought, of their science and cannibalism. For having begun to build their tower of Babel without us, they will end, of course, with cannibalism. But then the beast will crawl to us and lick our feet... And we shall sit upon the beast and raise the cup, and on it will be written, “Mystery.” But then, and only then, the reign of peace and happiness will come for men. Thou art proud of Thine elect, while we give rest to all. And besides, how many of those elect, those mighty ones who could become elect, have grown weary waiting for Thee, and have transferred and will transfer the powers of their spirit and the warmth of their heart to the other camp, and end by raising theirfreebanner against Thee... Freedom, free thought, and science will lead them into such straights and will bring them face to face with such marvels and insoluble mysteries, that some of them, the fierce and rebellious, will destroy themselves, others, rebellious but weak, will destroy one another, while the rest, weak and unhappy, will crawl fawning to our feet and whine to us: “Yes, you were right, you alone possess His mystery, and we come back to you, save us from ourselves!”

...And all will be happy, all the millions of creatures except the hundred thousand who rule over them. For only we, we who guard the mystery, shall be unhappy... Peacefully they will die, peacefully they will expire in Thy name, and beyond the grave they will find nothing but death. But we shall keep the secret, and for their happiness we shall allure them with the reward of heaven and eternity.

“‘[The Grand Inquisitor will] lead men consciously to death and destruction, and yet deceive them all the way so that they may not notice where they are being led, that the poor blind creatures may at least on the way think themselves happy.’”55

[Continued from Nietzsche lecture tape:] The GrandInquisitorsays, how can you love humanity?It’s just awful,or,loathsome kind of creature, this fallen creature? You can take care of them and give them everything they need, but how can you love them? And Christ is the one who loves humanity.


1. Fr. S. is paraphrasing the letter to Emperor Franz-Joseph, January 4/16, 1854, quoted in Talberg, p. 188: “Are you allowing yourself, an apostolic emperor, to make interests of the Turks your own? Will your conscience permit this? If this happens, Russia will proceed alone under the protection of the holy Cross to its holy purpose.” Saunders, J.J.,The Age of Revolution: A Survey of European History Since 1815, Hutchinson & Co., Ltd., no date, p. 19.

2. Ibid., p. 20.

3. Quoted in Randall, op. cit., p. 433.

4, Cortes, Don Juan Donoso,An Essay on Catholicism, Authority and Order, Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., New York, 1925, reprinted by Hyperion Press, Inc. Westport, Connecticut, 1979, Book II, pp. 165-168, 197.

5. Fr. Seraphim’s notes for “Order” chapter of Anarchism book includes quote fromEnsayo Sobre el Catolicismo, el Liberalismo y el Socialismo,Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism, J.F. Wagner, New York, 1925, Book I, Chapter 1, p. 13: “He who...speaks explicitly of anything,...speaks implicitly of God, or...speaks explicitly of any science,...speaks implicitly of theology.” “Theology, considered in its most general acceptation, is the perpetual subject of all sciences, as God is the perpetual subject of all human speculations. Every word which comes from the mouth of man, is an affirmation of the Divinity, even that by which he blasphemes or denies Him.”

Ibid., Bk I, Ch. 1, p. 1: “Proudhon, in hisConfessions of a Revolutionist, has written these remarkable words: ‘It is surprising to observe how constantly we find that all our political questions involve theological ones.’ There is nothing to cause surprise, except it be the surprise of Proudhon. Theology, being the science of God, is the ocean which contains and embraces all the sciences, as God is the ocean in which all things are contained.”

6. Cf. Viereck, Peter,Conservativism from John Adams to Churchill, Van Nostrand, Princeton, 1956, pp. 29-32.

7. De Maistre. Joseph,The Works of Joseph De Maistre, transl. by Jack Lively, MacMillan Co., N.Y., 1965, pp. 191-2: “To come now to detail, let us start with human justice. Wishing men to be governed by men at least in their external actions, God has given sovereigns the supreme prerogative of punishing crimes, in which above all they are his representatives....

“This formidable prerogative of which I have just spoken results in the necessary existence of a man destined to inflict on criminals the punishments awarded by human justice; and this man is in fact found elsewhere, without there being any means of explaining how; for reason cannot discern in human nature any motive which could lead men to this calling. I am sure, gentlemen, that you are too accustomed to reflection not to have pondered often on the executioner. Who is then this inexplicable being who has preferred to all the pleasant, lucrative, honest, and even honorable jobs that present themselves in hundreds to human power and dexterity that of torturing and putting to death his fellow creatures? Are this head and this heart made like ours? Do they not hold something peculiar and foreign to our nature? For my own part, I do not doubt this. He is made like us externally; he is born like us but he is an extraordinary being, and for him to exist in the human family a particular decree, a FIAT of the creative power is necessary. He is a species to himself. Look at the place he holds in public opinion! Scarcely have the authorities fixed his dwelling-place, scarcely has he taken possession of it, than the other houses seem to shrink back until they no longer overlook his. In the midst of this solitude and this kind of vacuum that forms around him, he lives alone with his woman and his offspring who make the human voice known to him, for without them he would know only groans. A dismal signal is given; a minor judicial official comes to his house to warn him that he is needed; he leaves; he arrives at some public place packed with a dense and throbbing crowd. A poisoner, a parricide, or a blasphemer is thrown to him; he seizes him, he stretches him on the ground, he ties him to a horizontal cross, he raises it up: then a dreadful silence falls, and nothing can be heard except the crack of bones breaking under the crossbar and the howls of the victim. He unfastens him; he carries him to a wheel: the shattered limbs interweave with the spokes; the head falls, the hair stands on end, and the mouth, open like a furnace, gives out spasmodically only a few blood-spattered words calling for death to come. He is finished: his heart flutters, but it is with joy; he congratulates himself, he says sincerely,No one can break men on the wheel better than I. He steps down; he stretches out his bloodstained hand, and justice throw into it from a distance a few pieces of gold which he carries through a double row of men drawing back with horror. He sits down to a meal and eats; then to bed, where he sleeps. And the next day, on waking, he thinks of anything other than what he did the day before. Is this a man? Yes: God receives him in his temples and permits him to pray. He is not a criminal, yet it is impossible to say, for example, that heis virtuous, that he is an honest man, that he is estimable, and so on. No moral praise can be appropriate for him, since this assumes relationships with men, and he has none.

“And yet all grandeur, all power, all subordination rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world, and at that very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple, and society disappears. God, who is the author of sovereignty, is the author also of chastisement: he has built our world on these two poles; for Jehovah is the master of the two poles, and on these he makes the world turn. (I Samuel 2:8)”

8. Ibid., p. 147.

9. De Maistre, “The Generative Principle of Political Institutions,” XXVIII, p. 161.

10. De Maistre, Joseph,The Pope, Howard Fertig, Inc., 1975, p. xxiv.

11. Ibid., p. xxxiii: “Christianity is wholly based upon the Sovereign Pontiff.” [emphasis in original]

12. Talberg, Nicholas Dimitrievitch,Otechestvennaya Byl,Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY, 1960, p. 151.

13. Ibid., p. 161.

14. Ibid., p. 162.

15. Ibid., p. 162.

16. Ibid., p. 165.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid., p. 166.

21. Ibid., pp. 167-169.

22. Ibid., p. 172.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid., p. 180.

25. Ibid., p. 180-1.

26. Ibid., p. 181.

27. Ibid., p. 188.

28. Ibid., p. 188.

29. Fr. Seraphim is paraphrasing the letter to Emperor Franz- Joseph, January 4/16, 1854; quoted in Talberg, p. 188: “Are you allowing yourself, an apostolic emperor, to make interests of the Turks your own? Will your conscience permit this? If this happens, Russia will proceed alone under the protection of the holy Cross to its holy purpose. If you will support the cause of the Turks and go against me under the sign of the crescent, then this will lead to a patricidal war.”

30. Talberg, pp. 188-9.

31. Ibid., p. 195.

32. Ibid., p. 197.

33. Ibid.

34. Ibid., p. 198.

35. Ibid., p. 200.

36. Ibid., p. 201.

37. Ibid., p. 202.

38. Ibid., p. 203.

39. Gogol, Nicholas, quoted inEssays on the History of RussianLiterature of the 19th Century, I. M. Andreyev, pp. 135-137.

40. Andreyev, p. 136.

41. Ibid., p. 137.

42. Talberg, p. 229.

43. Talberg, pp. 230-231.

44. Ibid., pp. 232-3.

45. Viereck, pp. 84-85.

46. pp. 120-123. Source for this?

47. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor,The Possessed, transl. Constance Garnett, The Modern Library, Inc., Random House, Inc., 1963, pp. 397-400.

48.The Possessed, pp. 409-413.

49. Ibid., p. 415.

50. Ibid., pp. 424-425.

51. Ibid., p. 628-30. Fr. S’s Anarchism notes have these quotes from Kirillov: “If there is no God, then I am God.... If God exists, all is His will and from His will I cannot escape. If not, it’s all my will and I am bound to show self-will.... the attribute of my godhead is self- will!”

52. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor,The Brothers Karamazov, transl. by Constance Garnett, Modern Library, Random House. Inc., New York, no date, pp. 245-248.

53. Ibid., pp. 253-257.

54. Ibid., pp. 258-261.

55. Ibid., pp. 262-264.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (11)

A. Introduction

1. Second half of the 19th century: realism replaces romanticism, “scientific” replaces utopian socialism, idea of “class warfare” is pushed by propagandists like Marx, growing industrialism with factory conditions adds to unrest and disturbances. Revolution stops dreaming and calls for action.

2. Here we will see the most radical revolutionary philosophies—but no one of these will entirely reveal to us the “theology” of the Revolution—we must put them all together and apply the standard of Orthodox Christianity.

3. Activity of the devil becomes ever more evident, and his name now begins to be invoked. Ivan Karamazov.1

B. Revolution of 1848

1. Produced little results in itself but raised “Red Spectre.” Marx’s Communist Manifesto came out in Jan. 1848 just before the Revolutions. Revolution started in France February 22 when banquet and demonstrations of reformers prohibited in a few hours the king fled. Social reformers met to plan the Republic & then:2

“Thus in the space of a few hours the monarchy was swept away and the ‘Social Democratic Republic’ was proclaimed.

“But now the men who had brought about the crisis were faced with the work of reconstruction—a very different matter. For it is one thing to sit at one’s desk peaceably writing about the beauties of revolution, it is quite another to find oneself in the midst of a tumultuous city where all the springs of law and order have been broken; it is one thing to talk romantically about ‘the sovereignty of the people,’ it is less soothing to one’s vanity to be confronted with working-men of real flesh and blood insolently demanding the fulfilment of the promises one has made them. This was the experience that fell to the lot of the men composing the Provisional Government the day after the King’s abdication. All advocates of social revolution, they now for the first time saw revolution face to face—and liked it less well than on paper.

“The hoisting of the red flag by the populace—described by Lamartine as ‘the symbol of threats and disorders’—had struck terror into the hearts of all except Louis Blanc, and it was not until Lamartine in an impassioned speech had besought the angry multitude to restore thetricouleurthat the red flag was finally lowered and the deputies were able to retire to the Hotel de Ville and discuss the new scheme of government.

“In all the history of the ‘Labour Movement’ no more dramatic scene has ever been enacted than that which now took place. Seated around the council table were the men who for the last ten years had fired the people with enthusiasm for the principles of the first Revolution—Lamartine, panegyrist of the Gironde, Louis Blanc the Robespierriste, Ledru Rollin, whose chief source of pride was his supposed resemblance to Danton.

“Suddenly the door of the council chamber burst open and a working-man entered, gun in hand, his face convulsed with rage, followed by several of his comrades. Advancing towards the table where sat the trembling demagogues, Marche, for this was the name of the leader of the deputation, struck the floor with the butt end of his gun and said loudly: ‘Citizens, it is twenty-four hours since the revolution was made; the people await the results. They send me to tell you that they will brook no more delays. They wish for the right to work—the right to work at once.’

“Twenty-four hours since the revolution had been made, and the New Heavens and the New Earth had not yet been created! The theorists had calculated without the immense impatience of ‘the People,’ they had forgotten that to simple practical minds to give is to give quickly and at once; that the immense social changes represented by Louis Blanc in hisOrganisation du travailas quite a simple matter had been accepted by the workers in the same unquestioning spirit; of the enormous difficulties incidental to the readjustment of the conditions of the labor, of the time it must take to reconstruct the whole social system, Marche and his companions could have no conception. They had been promised the ‘right to work,’ and the gigantic organization that brief formula entailed was to be accomplished in one day and instantly put into operation.

“Louis Blanc admits that his first emotion on hearing the tirade of Marche was that of anger; it were better if he had said of shame. It was he more than any other who had shown the workers the land of promise, and now that it had proved a mirage he, more than any other, was to blame. Before promising one must know how to perform and to perform without delay.

“It was apparently Lamartine whom the working-men regarded as the chief obstacle to their demand for ‘the right to work,’ for throughout his speech Marche had fixed his eyes, ‘blazing with audacity,’ on those of the poet of the Gironde. Lamartine, outraged by this attitude, thereupon replied in an imperious tone that were he threatened by a thousand deaths, were he led by Marche and his companions before the loaded cannons down beneath the windows, he would never sign a decree of which he did not understand the meaning. But finally conquering his irritation, he adopted a more conciliatory tone, and placing his hand on the arm of the angry workman he besought him to have patience, pointing out that legitimate as his demand might be, so great a measure as the organization of labor must take time to elaborate, that in the face of so many crying needs the government must be given time to formulate its schemes, that all competent men must be consulted...

“The eloquence of the poet triumphed, gradually Marche’s indignation died down; the workmen, honest men touched by the evident sincerity of the speaker, looked into each other’s eyes questioningly, with an expression of relenting, and Marche, interpreting their attitude, cried out, ‘Well, then, yes, we will wait. We will have confidence in our government. The people will wait; they place three months of misery at the service of the Republic!’

“Have more pathetic words ever been uttered in the whole history of social revolution? Like their forefathers of 1792 these men were ready to suffer, to sacrifice themselves for the new-formed Republic represented to them as the one hope of salvation for France, and animated by this noble enthusiasm they were willing to trust the political charlatans who had led them on with fair promises into abortive insurrection. Even whilst Lamartine was urging patience, Louis Blanc, still intent on his untried theories, had retired into the embrasure of a window, where, with Flocon and Ledru Rollin, he drew up the decree, founded on the 10th article of Robespierre’s ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man,’ by which the Provisional Government undertook to ‘guarantee work to all citizens.’ Louis Blanc was probably the only man present who believed in the possibility of carrying out this promise, yet all ended by subscribing to it, and the same day the decree was publicly proclaimed throughout Paris.

“Two days later theNational Workshops, which were to provide the promised employment, were opened under the direction of Emile Thomas and of M. Marie. The result was inevitably disastrous, necessary work being insufficient, the workmen were sent hither and thither from one employer to another, useless jobs were devised that necessarily proved discouraging to the men engaged on them, whilst the workers in the skilled trades for whom no employment could be found had to be maintained on ‘an unemployment dole.’ This last measure, the most demoralizing of all, had the effect of attracting thousands of workers from all over the country, and even from abroad, into the capital.”3

Workers were idealistic4

“The working-men on their part showed themselves in the main perfectly sane and reasonable, demanding protection from the exploitation of middle-men, and a reduction in the hours of labor to ten or eleven a day, giving for their reason a theory tenable perhaps at a period when working days consisted of fourteen or fifteen hours, but which today has been perverted into the disastrous system known as ‘Ca’ Canny,’ namely that ‘the longer the day is the fewer workers are employed, and that the workers who are occupied absorb a salary which might be divided amongst a greater number of workers.’ They also ‘criticized excessive work as an obstacle to their education and the intellectual development of the people.’

“At any rate, whether sound or not in their political economy, the people of Paris at this crisis showed themselves in no way prone to violence; the people did not wish for bloodshed and for barricades, for burnings and destruction. Reduced to its simplest expression, they asked for two things only—bread and work: what juster demand could have been formulated? And they were ready, as Marche had said, to wait, to suffer, to sacrifice themselves not only for their own ultimate welfare but for the glory of France. Misled as they had been by visionaries, illusioned as they were on the benefits of the first French Revolution, they asked for no repetition of its horrors but only to be allowed to work in peace and fraternity.

“‘Citizens...’ wrote the cloth printers to the Provisional Government at the end of March 1848, ‘we, workers ourselves, printers on stuff, we offer you our feeble co-operation, we bring you 2000 francs to help towards the success of your noble creation... Let them be reassured those who may believe in a return to the bloody scenes enacted in our history! Let them be reassured! Neither civil war, nor war abroad shall rend the entrails of our beautiful France! Let them be reassured on our National Assembly, for there will be neither Montagnards nor Girondins! Yes, let them be reassured and let them help to give to Europe a magic sight, let them show the universe that in France there has been no violence in the revolution, that there has only been a change of system, that honor has succeeded to corruption, the sovereignty of the people and of equity to odious despotism, force and order to weakness, union to castes, to tyranny this sublime device: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, progress, civilization, happiness for all and all for happiness!”

But the government began to push utopian reforms and people in Paris and Provinces began to fear the “workers” as revolutionaries. Louis Blanc proclaimed the goal of “absolute domination of the proletariat.” Then a demonstration in favor of Poland led to scene.5

“...[T]he revolutionaries..., now legally excluded from the government, were obliged to cast about for a further pretext to stir up the people. This was provided by a revolt in Poland which the Prussian troops had ruthlessly suppressed on the 5th of May, and the working-men of Paris were summoned to assemble in their thousands as a protest against this display of arbitrary authority. Accordingly, on the 13th as procession of 5000 to 6000 people... marched to the Place de la Concorde, shouting: ‘Vive la Pologne!’ The working-men in the crowd, who had started out in all good faith to agitate, as that had been told to do, in favor of oppressed Poland, were animated by no revolutionary intentions and never dreamt of overthrowing the Assembly elected by universal suffrage. But, as usual, agents of disorder had mingled in their ranks, strangers of sinister appearance ready to side either with police or mob in order to provoke a riot, well-dressed women not of the people were observed inciting the crowd to violence.

“At the bridge of the Concorde the procession seemed to hesitate, but Blanqui, now placing himself at its head, cried loudly, ‘Forward!’ and the whole mass surged towards the palace occupied by the Assembly. The small number of National Guards assembled proved powerless to stem the oncoming tide of 150,000 men and women, which pressed onwards with such force that a number of people were crushed to death at the entrance of the Palace.

“It was then that Lamartine, braver than his predecessors the revolutionaries of 1792, came forward out of the Assembly and faced the people.

“‘Citizen Lamartine,’ said one of the leaders, Laviron, ‘we have come to read a petition to the Assembly in favor of Poland...’

“‘You shall not pass,’ Lamartine answered imperiously.

“‘By what right will you prevent us from passing? We are the people. Too long have you made fine phrases; the people want something besides phrases, they wish to go themselves to the Assembly and signify their wishes.’

“How true was the word uttered by a voice in the crowd at this juncture: ‘Unhappy ones, what are you doing? You are throwing back the cause of liberty for more than a century!’

“In vain the men who had raised the storm now tried to quell it. Whilst the crowd pressed onwards into the hall of the Assembly, Thomas, Raspail, Barbes, Ledru Rollin, Buchez, Louis Blanc struggled amidst the suffocating heat of the May day and the odor of massed humanity to make their voices heard. Louis Blanc at the table declared that ‘the people by their cries had violated their own sovereignty’; the crowd responded with shouts of: ‘Vive la Pologne! Vive l’organisation du travail!’ Louis Blanc, attacked with the weapon he himself had forged, was reduced to impotence; it was no longer the theorist who had deluded them with words that the people demanded, but Blanqui, the man of action, the instigator of violence and fury. ‘Blanqui! Where is Blanqui? We want Blanqui!’ was the cry of the multitude. And instantly, borne on the shoulders of the crowd, the strange figure of the famous agitator appeared—a little man prematurely bent, with wild eyes darting flame from hollows deep sunk in the sickly pallor of his face, with black hair shaved close like a monk’s, his black coat buttoned up to meet his black tie, his hands encased in black gloves—and at this sinister vision a silence fell upon the crowd. Blanqui, suiting himself to the temper of his audience, thereupon delivered a harangue demanding that France should immediately declare war on Europe for the deliverance of Poland—truly a strange measure for the relief of public misery in Paris! Meanwhile Louis Blanc, with a Polish flag thrust into his hands, was making a valiant effort to recover his popularity. An eloquent discourse on ‘the sovereignty of the people’ had at last the desired effect, and amidst cries of ‘Long live Louis Blanc! Long live the social and democratic Republic!’ he too was hoisted on to the shoulders of the people and carried in triumph. But the emotion of the moment proved too great for the frail body; Louis Blanc, his face streaming with perspiration, attempted in vain to address the crowd, but no sound came from his lips and, finally lowered to earth, he fell fainting on a seat.

“The dementia of the crowd, urged on by the ‘Clubistes,’ now reached its height. Whilst Barbes vainly attempted to deliver a speech the tribune was assailed by a group of maniacs, who with clenched fists threatened each other and drowned his voice in tumultuous cries. To add to the confusion the galleries began to break down under the weight of the increasing crowd and a bursting water-tank flooded the corridor.

“At this juncture Huber, who had likewise fallen into a long swoon, suddenly recovered consciousness, and, mounting the tribune, declared in a voice of thunder that the Assembly was dissolved in the name of the people.

“At the same moment Buchez was flung out of his seat, Louis Blanc was driven by the crowd out on to the esplanade of the Invalides, Raspail fainted on the lawn, Sobrier was carried in triumph by the workmen, and Huber disappeared.

“Then followed the inevitable reaction. The troopsarrivedon the scene anddispersedthe crowd, Barbes wasarrested. Louis Blanc, with tumbled hair and torn clothes, succeeded in escaping from the National Guards and took refuge in the Assembly, only to find himself assailed with cries of indignation.

“‘You always talk of yourself! You have no heart!’

“Whilst these extraordinary scenes had been taking place at the Assembly another crowd of 200 people had invaded the Prefecture of Police, where Caussidière,followingtheexample of Petion on the 10th of August,remained discreetly waiting to see which way the tide turned before deciding on the course he should take. Faced by an angry mob of insurgents thewretched Caussidière, hithertoin the vanguard of revolution, now began to talk of ‘constitutional authority’ and threatened to run a rebel through the body with his sabre.

With the aid of the Republican Guard the Prefecture of Police was finally evacuated, and throughout Paris the troops set about restoring order. ‘The repression,’ writes the Comtesse d'Agoult, ‘is without pity because the attack has been terrible’—words ever to be remembered by the makers of revolution. The fiercer the onslaught the fiercer must be the resistance, and anarchy can only end in despotism. Even the revolutionary leaders are obliged to admit the reactionary effects of May the 15th, and the people themselves, always impressed by a display of authority, sided with the victors. When on the 16th of May the arrested conspirators leave for Vincennes ‘they hear, on going through the Faubourg St. Antoine, the imprecations of the crowd of men, women, and children who, in spite of the extreme heat of the day, follow the carriages with insults in their mouths as far as the first houses of Vincennes.’

“But this revulsion of popular feeling was only momentary; before long the Socialists had re-established their ascendancy over the people. In the by-elections on June the 5th Pierre Leroux, Proudhon, andCaussidièrewere all successful, and the situation was further complicated by the election of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.

“It was now that the Imperialist schemes of the Bonapartistes first became apparent, and that the cry of ‘Vive l’Empereur!’ was first heard. The leaders of this faction, no less than those of the Socialists, realized that the overthrow of the existing government must be brought about by a popular insurrection, and the usual weapon of class hatred was employed by both with equal unsrupulousness.”

When elections held, the majority in Assembly was monarchist! Three days in June, all the parties were in the streets, and National Guards mowed them all down6

“Then followed the three fearful days of June the 22nd to the 25th. Barricades were once more erected in the streets, and war to the knife was declared on the Republic. As in every outbreak of the World Revolution, the insurgents were composed of warring elements, all resolved to destroy the existing order and all animated by opposing aims. Thus, ...the crowds that took part in the insurrection included, besides the workmen driven by hunger and despair to revolt, a number of honest and credulous people duped by the agitators—‘Communists, dreamers of a Utopia amongst which each has his system and disagreeing with each other;’ Legitimists, demanding the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty in the person of the Duc de Chambord; Bonapartistes, partisans of a regency; and finally, ‘the scum of all parties, convicts and wastrels; in a word, the enemies of all society, men vowed by instinct to ideas of insurrection, theft, and pillage.’

Against this terrible army the troops...reinforced by National Guards from all over France, displayed the greatest vigor, and on the 26th of June, after terrible fighting which left no less than 10,000...”

10,000 killed in Paris. Revolution spread to Germany, Austria, Italy, England, Spain—but repressed everywhere. Then comes Marx and organized Party of Revolution to make a successful revolution.

[Transcript of lost tape begins:]

...thousand killed in Paris. From there the Revolution spread to Germany, Austria, Italy, England, Spain. There were demonstrations in many places, but almost everywhere it was repressed quite quickly; and it was the fact of the failure of this revolution that inspired Marx. Marx decided now it is time to plan very carefully for a successful revolution in the future and not just have high ideals and make demonstrations.

In France itself Napoleon quickly took power and ran an election; everybody, all the men in France voted and there were seven million votes to 700 thousand to make him Emperor, which showed what the people believed when they got a chance to elect. Andsomebodyasked, “Why did you electNapoleon,what doeshehave?” “Can I have been with Napoleon in Russia and not vote for [the descendant of?] Napoleon?”7

Marx and Engels

So now we come to the people, the socialists, the anarchists of the late nineteenth century who prepared the history of the twentieth century. The first one we will describe briefly is Marx who together with Engels are the ones who laid the foundation for Marxism in Russia. Engels himself was a factory owner and spent his time in England; he owned a factory in Manchester. Marx was a Jewish journalist who apparentlydidn’tdo a lick of work in his life, wasconstantly inspired by revolutionary ideas and thinking about how to make revolution come about. In 1844 the two of them met in Paris in 1847; they joined the Communist League, a small secret group of revolutionariessomethinglike the“Quintets”weread about in Dostoyevsky. According to Engels this little group was actually not much more than the German branch of the French secret societies. This group tried to infiltrate other groups, produced propaganda and worked on the question of evolving a successful system particularly with guns.

In 1848 just before revolution broke out Marx published hisCommunist Manifestotelling all the“workmenof the worldto unite,”8[and] throw off your chains. In the course of his life, he was never particularly concerned with the workmen—the workmen were always much more conservative. He was only interested in using this group to make them dissatisfied and then to use this dissatisfaction in order to bring about a new government, which would put into effect his principles.

His principles he got from several sources. Of course, the chief one is the French Revolution and the idealistic socialists—only later he was so much against [these] because they were not scientific—but his millennarian ideas come straight from them. Then the ideas of the British economists of his time, most of which the British economists later on revised because they were unrealistic; but he took the earlier ones which were later abandoned.

Another was German idealistic philosophy, especially Hegel with his idea of the march of God through history, only he took away the God. In fact, they said they found Hegel on his head and they turned him right side up by taking away God; and they made his system of dialectics into a dialectical materialism, that is, explaining everything that happens in the world as the basis of a sort of “providence”which actsthroughouthistoryonly without God: some kind of causes which cannot be reversed. That gives Communists their confidence that they are on the side of history, because, simply, thingsmustgo that way, that’s the way the world works.

These ideas were atheistic, materialistic, extremely naïve: science is the answer to everything. The philosophy itself is extremely stupid and there is nothing much worth believing, but his [Marx’s] power comes from hispassiontooverthrow theexisting order. And he used as his scapegoat the bourgeoisie, the middle class, whom he saw were making the workers their slaves.

Now revolution enters a new phase: before, it was the bourgeoisie who wanted to overthrow the aristocracy and themonarchy;and now it’s the lower classes,supposedly,who wantto overthrow the bourgeoisie. He worked to develop the class consciousness so that the workers would hate the bourgeoisie and vice versa; and to a large extent he succeeded, because the very violent scenes of the revolution followed, because these two groups began to distrust each other.

In 1864 a group of labor organizations met in London to form what was called the First International, and Marx took over the leadership and used this to publish his own ideas. Anyone who disagreed with him he fanatically opposed, and he was against everyone including most of the workers because they did not agree with his philosophy. He gradually managed to throw out of this International everyone who was against his ideas. He also hated the peasants. The proletariat he hated; he called them“lumpen proletariat,”the raggedproletariat.He had not loveatall for anyone. From that time on, especially in the 80’s and 90’s the various Socialist parties began to organize themselves and develop, and that’s when theRussian CommunistParty wasformed.


The second of these thinkers is [Mikhail] Bakunin. Marx lived 1818-1883, Engels 1820-1885, and Engels chief function was to support Marx and to agree with his ideas and so forth. Marx was a great intellect. Bakunin is a different sort of thinker. He lived 1814- 1876. He came from Russian nobility, was quite intelligent, extremely lazy, spent his days in bed, went to military school for a while but didn’t succeedbecausehe was so lazy. He dabbled in philosophy and became a professional revolutionary. He was constantly borrowing money to go from one town to the next to start a revolution. He became friends with Marx in one of his travels abroad and Marx immediately saw that he had great revolutionary energy because he was very fired up with hatred for the old order, and therefore he tried to use him for his own purposes. “He clearlyrecognizedthe value of the Russian as a huge dynamic force to be made use of and then cast aside when it had served his purpose.”9The one thing to understand is that the power of Marxism lies in hatred, and when Lenin came to power he used complete ruthlessness, no pity, absolutely kill, destroy, have no pity on anybody, no mercy.

There is a description here on how Bakunin when he was still young, twenty-nine years old, and met Marx in 1844 in Paris. “Marx and I are oldacquaintances.I met him for the first time in Paris in 1844... We were rather good friends. He was rather much moreadvancedthan I was, as today he still is,”in revolutionaryideas, “not moreadvanced but incomparably more learnedthan I am.”

Marx had studied all these philosophers andsystems,but Bakunin was just spontaneous.“I knewnothing thenof political economy, I had not yet got rid of metaphysical abstractions, and my Socialism was only that of instinct. He, though younger than I, was already an atheist, a learned materialist, and a thoughtful Socialist. It was precisely at this epoch that he elaborated his first foundations of his present system. We saw each other fairly often, for I respected him very much for his knowledge and his devotion, passionate and serious though always mingled with personal vanity, to the cause of the proletariat, and I eagerly sought his conversation, which was always instructive and witty when it was not inspired by petty hatred, which, alas! occurred too frequently. There was never, however, any frank intimacy between us. Our temperaments did not permit it. He called me a sentimental idealist, and he was right; I called him a vain man, perfidious and crafty, and I was rightalso.”10

In 1848 the revolution broke out in France, and Bakunin wanted to take part in it. One of his French fellow socialists said about him: “What a man! The first day of arevolutionhe isa treasure;the second he is only good toshoot.”11

He did not care about the ideas of the revolution; he cared only about the energy, the demonic powers which were unleashed. We have a description of how he behaved in the revolution of 1870. First we will quote from that concerning the Revolution of 1848. When he was first in Paris during the Revolution of 1848, he was then sent with a mission to stir up revolution in the Eastern countries. He went to part of western Russia, then was in Prague, then in Dresden where he was finally arrested and was sent by the German-Austrian authorities to Russia. He was placed in the fortress of Saints Peter and Paul and Count Orloff came to visit him and urged him to write a confession of his misdeeds for the Emperor as to a father-confessor. Bakunin compliedand Nicholas I read it and said: “He is a brave boy with a lively wit, but he is a dangerous man andmustbe keptunderlock and key.”12This was quite realistic. However, he escaped to London and, after the new emperor Alexander II read his confession and saw that he had no repentance, he was sent to Siberia and then he escaped, across Asia and America to London. From then on, that was where he spent most of his time—in London, Italy, and Western Europe.

He founded various secret societies and has as his disciple a certain Nechayev, a young man who was one of the most ruthless nihilists that this time knew. Bakunin had thisrevolutionaryfever and in these 60’s he wassurrounded byconspirators of all nationalities, was constantly working of fresh plots, stirring up revolutions everywhere, trying to stir up the Poles to rebel. And Herzen the liberal describes him this way when he saw him inLondon:“Bakuninrenewedhis youth;hewas in his element. It is not only the rumbling of insurrection, the noise of the clubs, the tumult of the streets and public places, nor even the barricades that made up his happiness; he loved also the movement of the day before, the work of preparation, the life of agitation, yet at the same time rendered continuous by conferences, those sleepless nights, those parleyings and negotiations, rectifications, chemical ink, ciphers, and signs agreed upon beforehand.” And Herzen, who took revolution more seriously, adds that Bakunin “excited himself exactly as if it were a question of preparing a Christmas tree...”13That is, he is not terribly serious but he has this revolutionary ardor which is very useful to people who want to overthrow governments.

Nechayev, this young anarchist, was at first a disciple of Bakunin. And then Bakunin began to see that he was rather more revolutionary than he had suspected. He helped Bakunin to write what is called theRevolutionary Catechismwhich says, among otherthings:“Therevolutionarymust let nothing stand between him and the work of destruction... For him there exists only one single pleasure, one single consolation, one reward, one satisfaction—the success of the revolution. Night and day he must have but one thought, but one aim—implacable destruction... If he continues to live in this world it is only in order to annihilate it all the more surely.”14

But about 1870 Bakunin discovered that Nechayev, while pretending to be his most devoted disciple, had all the while been a member of another society still more secret and of which he had never divulged the inner mysteries to Bakunin. Bakunin wrote to a friend: “Nechayev... is a devoted fanatic, but at the same time a very dangerous fanatic, and one with whom an alliance could only be disastrous to every one. This is why: He was first a member of an occult committee which really had existed in Russia. This committee no longer exists; all its members have been arrested. Nechayev alone remains, and alone he constitutes what he calls the committee. The Russian organization having been destroyed, he is trying to create a new one abroad. All this would be perfectly natural, legitimate, and very useful, but the way he goes to work is detestable. Keenly impressed by the catastrophe which has just destroyed the secret organization in Russia, he has gradually arrived at the conclusion that in order to found a serious and indestructible society one must take as a basis the policy of Machiavelli, and adopt in full the system of the Jesuits—bodily violence and a lying soul.

“Truth,mutual confidence, seriousand severe solidarity exist only among about ten individuals who form thesanctum sanctorumof the society. All the rest must serve as a blind instrument and as matter to be exploited by the hands of these ten men really solidarized. It is permitted, and even ordered, that one should deceive them, compromise them, steal from them, and even if needs be ruin them—they are conspiracy-fodder...

“In the name of the cause he must get hold of yourwhole person without your knowing it. In order to do this he will spy on you and try to get hold of your secrets, and for that purpose, in your absence, left alone in your room he will open all your drawers, read all your correspondence, and when a letter seems interesting to him, that is to say, compromising from any point of view for you or for one of your friends, he will seal it and keep it carefully as a document against you or against your friend... When convicted of this in a general assembly he dared to say to us: “Well, yes, it is our system. Weconsiderasenemies,whom it is our duty to deceive and compromise, all those who are notcompletelywithus...”If you haveintroducedhim to a friend,his first thought will be to raise discord, gossip and intrigue between you—in a word, to make you quarrel. Your friend has a wife, a daughter, he will try to seduce her, to give her a child, in order to drag her away from official morality and to throw her into an attitude of forced revolutionary protest against society. All personal ties, all friendship are considered by them as an evil which it is their duty to destroy, because all this constitutes a force which, being outside the secret organization, diminishes the unique force of the latter. Do not cry out that I am exaggerating; all this has been amplydevelopedand proved by me.”15

Bakunin himself, however, is no one to be criticizing him because his own philosophy is very similar; it is just that he was not quite so thorough as this Nechayev. He wrote in hisRevolutionary Catechism:“Our task isterrible,total,inexorableanduniversal destruction.”Again he says: “Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life. Thepassion fordestructionis also a creative passion.”16

And once when he was asked what he would do if the revolution was successful and the new order of his dreams came into being, he said, “Then I should at once begin to pulldownagain everythingI had made.”17In him we see a primordial humanwill to destroy and to rebel. This is the passion for rebellion which we see even in recent writers like Camus, the existentialist who says that the only thing that proves that I exist is the fact that I have a will to rebel.

Bakunin, when he was praising the Proletariat in 1871, afterwards named the Commune in Paris, he called it“themodern Satan, the author of the sublime insurrection of the Commune.”18Again, discussing the loss of the revolution in 1871 he says: “The cause is lost... It seems that theFrench,the working class itself, are not much moved by this state of things. Yet how terrible the lesson is! But it is not enough. They must have greater calamities, ruder shocks. Everything makes one foresee that neither one nor the other will be wanting. And then perhaps the demon will awake. But as long as it slumbers we can do nothing. It would really be a pity to have to pay for the broken glasses... Our task is to do the preparatory work, to organize and spread out so as to hold ourselves in readiness when the demon shall have awoken.”19

This desire for rebellion, we must understand, is a very deep part of this whole revolutionary movement, not just some accidental part. The revolution is not caused by idle dreamers who just want to blunder their way into a better order of things or to revise the government, the deepest motive for rebellion as we see clearly in these radical thinkers of the last part of the nineteenth century, is really the idea that everything must bedestroyed.And they didn’t much think about what was to happen after that. They have this satanic inspiration to destroy.

We see later in art, in 1914, a movement broke out called Dada which is considered very formative for later artists. These artists would glue bits of newspaper advertisements into collages or arrange copies of Old Masters upside-down—just to look bizarre. But there is a meaning behind all this. The philosophy of the art of Dada issummedup in one of theirmanifestos:“Let everything be swept away; no more of anything.Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.”20This is what is called Nihilism, the desire to sweep away God, government, morality, art, culture, civilization—everything, which is what is set forth in the philosophy set forth by Weishaupt and the Illuminati: the complete overthrowing of civilization. What comes after that as we shall see is something else.

But all this is still philosophy. We must look at how this was put into effect. In fact, if we could not see in the last hundred years how this is put into effect, we would not understand what this philosophy is. We would still think it was an isolated incident of some crazy people. But beginning, especially in 1871, this philosophy began to be put into practice.

When the Napoleonic Empire, the Third Empire was overthrown after the disastrous loss to the Prussians in 1870, the revolution again broke out in France. It broke out first in the provinces. And Bakunin who was in Italy ran as fast as he could to Lyons in the south in order to take part. He and his disciples were the chief ones who were doing this. He borrowed some money, of course, to get there and put himself in the civic center where the new revolutionary government was entrenched and nobody had any clear idea of what they wanted to do. There were public meetings of extraordinary violence taking place in which the most bloody motions were put forward and received with enthusiasm. And this, of course, was what Bakunin loved. “On the 28thof September, the day of his arrival, the people had seized the Hotel de Ville,” the civiccenter.“Bakunininstalledhimselfthere; thenthe critical moment arrived, the moment awaited for so many years, when Bakunin was able to accomplish the most revolutionary act the world has ever seen. He decreed theabolition of the State. But the state, in the shape and kind of two companies ofbourgeoisNational Guards,”22enteredby a rear door and chased him away. Nevertheless the idea is there to abolish the state.

When the revolution broke out in Paris and the First International under Marx tried to dictate the progress of the revolution from London. But they were not able to do this very well and so the revolution in Paris took its own course which became more and more violent. The churches were closed and turned into clubs, priests were arrested and killed with great bloodiness and the institutions of the first revolution of 1793 were resurrected. The Revolutionary Calendar was restored, it was proclaimed that this was the year 79 of the new order; the Committee of Public Safety of the Terror was restored; the cross on top of the church of the Pantheon was broken and in its place was put the red flag and thetemplewasdedicatedto “thegreatmen of all ages.” Then there was an obelisk, a great pillar 150 feethigh comparable in size to the Washington Monument in the Place Vendôme which was originally erected to the memory of Napoleon which had scenes from his great [triumphs?] was around it and on top a great statue of Napoleon in a toga. They decided that this was a symbol of the past order and they were going to tear it down. They thought for a long time how they were going to do it. Finally they decided they would simply saw it off at the bottom and pull it over like a tree. It was made of cement and bronze or something and they chipped away on one side, swed on the other side and prepared the great day when they would bring it down and end the old order. They really had no idea of what would happen, some thought it would cause an earthquake; it weighed thousands of tons. Others said it might break through the ground all the way into the sewers and completely ruin the sewers of Paris. But they decided the idea was worth it anyway.

So they put tons and tons of straw to make a soft bed for it and at three p.m. they all came together, stood on the reviewing stand and ordered the ropes to be pulled. They pulled them and at firstit didn’twork; several people were killed in the processand somebodycried,“Treason, treason.”They tried again and finally the whole thing came down and broke into pieces and the statue of Napoleon was broken. And this was a symbol of their triumph over the old order—a completely senseless kind of thing to do but, from their point of view, it was a symbolical act which shows that they are going to be removed from all influences of the past. They arrested the Archbishop of Paris; later on he was murdered.

As the revolution went on it became more and more violent. They even tried to arrest the painter Renoir who was busysketchingsome boats on the Seine, and they said, “Aha, spy!” Andthey immediately arrested him and he was going to be executed immediately because that was the principle: you arrest a spy and immediately execute him. It so happened that the head of the secret police was an old friend of his; and he saw he was being arrested and he embraced him and let him go, otherwise Renoir would never have painted all those paintings so familiar to us. There were many radical painters as for example, Gustave Courbet who was one of the leaders of the Commune and it was one of his ideas to take down this tower because he called it “aninsult toartistic sense.”

When the Republican army invaded Paris—because at this time there was no more monarchy and no more Napoleon—it was a matter of the Republicans versus the Communards and there was now terrible violence on both sides; both were butchering each other with great glee. When the Communards saw that the revolution was being lost, they were losing street by street in Paris, they decided that they were going to destroy Paris. So they placed first of all an immense amount of dynamite and gunpowder in the Tuileries, the palace of the kings where Napoleon III was. And it blew it up, whereupon they calimed, “Thelast relics of royalty have just vanished.”23And then they proceeded to go to the next one. They blew up the Hotel de Ville, a thirteenth century building where the civic center was, and they went to blow up Notre Dame Cathedral but discovered that next door was a hospital for their own people and they decided to spare it.

And then some wild women such as were taking part in the first revolution of 1793, began going through the streets with some kind of flammable material and causing fires. Whole avenues in Paris were burning. At night it looked as though the whole of Paris was in flames (There is, in fact, a book calledParis Burning). One must understand that this is not something exceptional but only a part of that same spirit that Bakunin had, “Let usdestroythe old order,”24even if they don’t know whatisgoing to replace it. Later on we will see that this spirit did not come to an end in 1871.

The inspiration of the Commune which Marx said was a great deed in the Red Revolution, in fact, he was the chiefapologistfor theCommuneand said, “This is the standard of what we have to do in the future. People are now being aroused and this is what we need to cause therevolution.”25

From that time on until 1917 the revolution began to take very violent forms although it was still a matter more or less of hit and miss. The tsar was assassinated in Russia in 1881; in America, President Garfield was assassinated by a Red revolutionary; in 1901 McKinley was assassinated again by some kind of anarchist. In fact, all the assassinations of American presidents were done by either anarchists or Communists. The President of France was assassinated in 1890? and there were many attempts on princes in Russia and kings and presidents in the West. All with no seeming purpose in mind, just the idea of getting rid of the older order. This is the spirit of which Bakunin was a very strong representative but which now becomes the inheritance of the whole revolutionary movement: destroy the old order.


There is one more writer, philosopher, anarchist at this time whom we should study briefly because he introduces a few ideas which make this philosophy more comprehensible. This man is [P. J.] Proudhon. He was active in the middle of the century. He took part in the revolution of 1848. To him belongs the famousphrase:

“Propertyis theft,”26which he thought was his chief contribution to the revolutionary movement, although actually a very similar thing had been said by Rousseau and by eighteenth-century thinkers.

He is remarkable for at least three things. First, he proclaimed that the revolution is not atheistical, but rather anti-theistical. He said, “Therevolutionis notatheisticin thestrict sense of the word... It does not deny the absolute; it eliminates it.”27“The first duty of man,” he says, “Onbecoming intelligentand free is to continually hunt the idea of God out of his mind. For God, if He exists, is essentially hostile to our nature. Every step which we take in advance is a victory in which we crush the Divinity.”28“God, if there is a God, is the enemyofhumanity.”29Bakuninalso saidsomething similar:“If Godreally existed, it would benecessaryto abolish Him.”30And we see now in Russia after sixty years, the government is not really atheistic, it is anti-theistic; it fightsagainstGod.

2. Invoked Satan. Bakunin said he was on the side of “Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and emancipator of worlds.” Nietszche proclaimed himself Antichrist. And Proudon: “Come to me, Lucifer, satan, whoever you may be! Devil whom the faith of my fathers contrasted with God and the Church. I will act as spokesman for you and will demand nothing of you.”

“Bakunin found himself on the side of‘Satan, theeternal rebel, the first freethinker and emancipator of worlds.’31Nietzsche proclaimed himself ‘Antichrist.’ Poets, decadents, and the avant-garde in general since the Romantic era have been greatly fascinated by Satanism, and some have tried to make it into a religion. Proudhon in so many words actually invoked Satan: ‘Come to me, Lucifer, Satan, whoever you may be! Devil whom the faith of my fathers contrasted with God and the Church. I will act as your spokesman and I willdemand nothingof you.”32We see here that the revolutionary movement becomes consciously satanistic.

The third idea of Proudhon which is very remarkable is that in the end he decided that we should keep Catholicism the way it is, that is, the rites of Catholicism, only we will give them a new meaning. Under the outward guise of Catholicism, we will have the revolutionary message, of equality, of satanism, etc. In this he is, of course, only carrying on the idea of Saint-Simon who called for a new Christianity, that is, keeping the form of the old Christianity but making it something new. And today we see very clearly how socialism and Catholicism are in fact getting closer and closer together. And this profound revolutionary sees that the idea of Communism, of Socialism, of anarchism, is in some way a religious idea which takes the place of religion.

By the end of the nineteenth century we see that the revolution movement has become quite explicitly and openly ruthless and bloody. Already there have been several examples, especially the Commune of 1871, where the idea of universal destruction and ruthless murder have already begun to be put into practice. A person who is very conscious of the currents going on in the world could already by the end of the nineteenth century have said that the twentieth century is going to be something frightful because these things which are ideas are not simply the property of a few crazy people, but are getting into the very blood of the European people and are going to produce some terrible effect when it all filters down to the lowest level, to thecommonpeople. In factNietszcheeven said: “When my ideas,theideas of nihilism penetrate to the last brain of the last person, then there will be such astormas the world has neverseen.”33

The Protocols of Zion34

There is one last document we should look at in this period of the beginning of the twentieth century before the great revolutionaries of our century, which is a rather controversial document. It is calledThe Protocols of the Elders of Zionand, because it presents itself in the form of a Jewish document, it has aroused a great deal of dispute. If you read any history book, of the two world wars especially; in fact, any history book written before the Second World War, you will find there an almostuniversal statementthat “TheProtocolsof the Elders of Zion”area fabrication deliberately to discredit the Jews, that it is a totally fantastic thing which has no reality to it, and they will point out that either the person who discovered it was himself an agent of somebody and therefore deliberately fabricated them, or else—as at least one source states—that he was fooled by the Tsarist police who simply wanted to invent these in order to make an excuse for eliminating the Jews in the pogroms. There are others who take the document so seriously that they tend to go to the other extreme and they see everywhere a Jewish plot so much so that they can hardly take a step without fainting. We must try to look at this document somewhat objectively to see what is actually in it, how it was found and what is its significance.

From the Orthodox point of view, it is most interesting how it was presented to the world for the first time. It was discovered by a lady, we do not know who, who gave it to the person who printed it and it is supposed to have come from the West and to have been written in French and then translated into Russian. But the person to whom this document was given was a man by the name of Sergei Nilus who printed it together with another document which he had recently discovered,The Conversation of Motovilov with St. Seraphim.He presented thse two documents to the world at the same time in order to show 1) what is the truth of Orthodoxy and the acquirement of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, and 2) what is the plot of Satan to overthrow Orthodoxy. It was printed in 1905 (1903?).

Nilus himself was a very respected ecclesiastical writer, a popular journalist who went to Optina and even lived there and various other places; and there can be no doubt that he had nothing to do with making up a forgery. He accepted this text as quite legitimate and presented it to the world as a warning. We will see that the text has two new points in it which have not come out in previous revolutionary documents. But apart from these, it is exactly the same as the philosophy of Bakunin, Weishaupt and all these other thinkers. Some people say it is not a very original document—it’splagiaristic,etc.,—and probably so, because all these ideas were circulating and this particular document—in fact, we see that one writer [Webster] compares on one side of the page “TheProtocols”and on the other side the text of Weishauptwritten in 1785. The philosophy is the same. And so, most likely this is a legitimate document which is some kind of notes taken at a lodge of people who happen to be Jews and they present the philosophy in a very Jewish way, just as earlier there were people who presented the revolution as a triumph of pan-Germania and others presented the idea that the whole world would become some sort of French republic, and this took the form of some Jewish Masons or Illuminati who represent the revolution as their plot.

There are some ideas here which are most significant for us. Whether they are actually responsible for the French Revolution as they say, and whether they are so influential, who can say? We have seen that all these secret societies are so small, so split up, so secret, so full of secret signs and handshakes and invisible ink, etc. that who can possibly decipher who is actually responsible for what? Our view is that this is most symptomatic of the philosophy which is going on at this time.

And we shall see later on that this particular document had a definite role to play in Germany. The philosophy which is described in this document is one of absolute ruthlessness in bringing about a revolutionary government and in the means used to bring it about, the using of people (like Marx used Bakunin), utter hypocrisy, killing off your enemies, spreading pornography in order to corrupt the youth, causing revolutions, taking first the side of monarchs, then the side of socialists, then the side of liberals, democrats; taking any side in order to push across your point of view and eventually come to power. They talk about the control of the press, the control of money, etc. Here follow a few excerpts to show the spirit of this document:

“He who wants to rule must have recourse to cunning and hypocrisy.

“We must not stop short beforebribery,deceitand treachery,if these are to serve theachievementof our cause.” Andthis very philosophy can be found in the Talmud which says that anything is possible; you can deceive any non-Jew, a Goi, for your own purposes.

“The end justifies themeans.In making our plans wemust pay attention not so much to what is good and moral, as to what is necessary and profitable.

“With the press we will deal in the following manner. . . We will harness it and will guide it with firm reins; we will also have to gain control of all other publishing firms...

“All news is received by a few agencies, in which itiscentralized from all parts of the world. When we attain power these agencies will belong to us entirely and we will only publish such news as we allow...

“No one desirious of attacking us with his pen would find a publisher...”

It is interesting here to note that, of all the groups in the world, the Jews are the ones who are strongest in this department, because it is not possible to mention the Jews in even aslightlycritical tone without having a representative of the Anti-Defamation League come to visit you. That is why Orthodox publishers are very careful not to say anything about the Jews because they know that someone will come around and begin checking up on them, and if there issomethingtheydon’tlike,they’llstart conductingacampaignofslandersandarousing public opinion and all sorts of things against you. There are some people who talk about the “Jewish peril.” Of course, they gooverboard about it—like Gerald K. Smith whose main emphasis is the Jewish peril; and he is crazy about it.

“Our programme will induce a third part of thepopulaceto watch the remainder from a pure sense of duty and from the principle of a voluntary government service. It will not be considered dishonorable to be a spy; on the contrary, it will be regarded as praiseworthy.

“We will tranform theuniversitiesandreconstructthem according to our own plans. The heads of universities and their professors will be specially prepared by means of elaborate secret programmes of action...

“We intend to appear as thoughwe were theliberators of the laboring man... We shall suggest to him to join the ranks of our armies of Socialists, Anarchists and Communists. The latter we always patronize, pretending to help them out of fraternal principle and the general interest of humanity evoked by our socialistic masonry.

“In the so-considered leading countries we have circulated an insane, dirty, and disgusting literature.

“In the place of existinggovernmentswe will placeamonster, which will be called the Administration of the Super-Government. Its hands will be outstretched like far-reaching pincers, and it will have such an organization at its disposal that it will not possibly be able to fail insubduingall countries.”

“We shall have an international super-government.”

This is back to Weishaupt, the French Revolution and the idea of internationalism.

“We willdestroythe family life of the Gentiles...“We will alsodistractthem by various kindsof amusement, games, pastimes, passions, public houses, etc.

“The people of the Christians, bewildered by alcohol,their youths turned crazy by classics and early debauchery, to which they have been instigated by our agents... by our women in places of amusement...

“The masonic lodge throughout the world unconsciously acts as a mask for our purpose.

“Most people who enter secret societies are adventurers, who want somehow to make their way in life, and who are not seriously minded. With such people it will be easy for us to pursue our object, and will make them set our machinery in motion.”

Of course, this is the idea behind many of these people andgroups,that “we have the real secret society and we are going tomanipulateall these other people.” TheCommunists areconstantly infiltrating the anarchists; the anarchists, the socialists; the socialists, everybody else; and nobody can trust any more; nobody knows who is behind what.

“We employ in our service people of allopinionsandall parties; men desiring to re-establish monarchies, Socialists, etc.

“We have taken great care to discredit the clergy oftheGentiles in the eyes of the people, and thus have succeeded in injuring their mission, which could have been very much in our way. The influence of the clergy on the people is diminishing daily. Today freedom of religion prevails everywhere, but the time is only a few years off when Christianity will fall to pieces altogether.

“We must extract the veryconceptionof God fromtheminds of the Christians...

“We mustdestroyallprofessionsof faith.

Wepersuadedthe Gentiles thatliberalismwouldbringthem to a kingdom of reason.

“Weinjectedthe poison ofliberalisminto the organof the State...

“We will pre-arrange for the election of...presidents whose past ismarredwith some“PanamaScandal” or other shady hidden transaction.”

They go on to talk about their creating a universal money crisis, using the masonic lodges.

“We must take noaccountof the numerous victims which will have to be sacrifieces in order to obtain future prosperity.”

There are two new things in this whole plan. Of course they ascribe all this to Jewish and power; and undoubtedly there are Jewish groups like that who think that they are going to conquer the world. The two new ideas in them, however, are: 1) they are not atheistic. They believe in one world religion. They say in the 14thprotocol,“When we come into our kingdom it will be undesirable for us that there should exist any other religion than ours of the One God with Whom our destiny is bound up by our position as the Chosen People and through Whom our same destiny is united with the destinies of the world. We must therefore sweep away all other forms of belief. If this gives birth to the atheists whom we see today, it will not, being only a transitional stage, interfere with our views, but will serve as a warning for those generations who will hearken to our preaching of the religion of Moses, that, by its stable and thoroughly elaborated system has brought all the peoples of the world into subjection to us. Therein we shall emphasize its mysticalright...”35

Of course, this is in accord with the more profound revolutionaries who saw that the revolution must become religious in the end. Atheism is only a transition in order to get rid of previous religious views.

“In themeantimewhile we are re-educating youth in new traditional religions and afterwards in ours, we shall not overtly lay a finger on existing churches, but we shall fight against them by criticism calculated to produce schism.”36

The second new ingredient in this revolutionary proposal is that there will be one world monarch. The third protocol reads as follows:

“Ever since that time we have been leading thepeoplesfrom one disenchantment to another, so that in the end they should turn also from us in favor of that King Despot of the blood of Zion, whom we are preparing for the world.”

“It isprobablyall the same to the world who [is]itssovereign lord, whether this be the head of Catholicism or our despot of the blood of Zion. But to us, the Chosen People, it is very far from being amatterofindifference.”37

We see here that this is already a rival to the Pope as a world ruler.

Tenthprotocol:“Therecognitionof ourdespotmayalsocome before the destruction of the constitution; the moment for this recognition will come when the peoples, utterly wearied by the irregularities and incompetence—a matter which we shall arrange for—of theirrulers,willclamor:“Away with themand give us one king over all the earth who will unite us and annihilate the causes of discord—frontiers, nationalities, religions, State debts—who will give us peace and quiet, which we cannot find under our own ruers and representatives.”

“When the king of Israel sets upon his sacred head the crown offered him by Europe he will become patriarch of the world. The indispensable victims offered by him in consequence of their suitability will never reach the number of victims offered in the course of centuries by the mania of magnificence, the emulation between the Goi governments.

“Our king will be in constant communion with the peoples, making to them from the tribune speeches which we will in the same hour distribute all over the world.”38

“Thesupremelord who will replace allnow-existing rulers,” it says in the 23rdprotocol,“dragging on theirexistence among societies demoralized by us, societies which have denied even the authority of God, from whose midst breaks out on all sides the fire of anarchy, must first of all proceed to quench this all-devouring flame. Therefore he will be obliged to kill off those existing societies, though he should drench them with his own blood, that he might resurrect them again in the form of regularly organized troops fighting consciously with every kind of infection that may cover the body of the State with sores.

“This Chosen One of God is chosen from above to demolish the senseless forces moved by instinct (and not reason, by brutishness) and not humanness. These forces now triumph in manifestations of robbery and every kind of violence under the mask of principles of freedom and rights. They have overthrown all forms of social order to erect on [the ruins of] the throne of the King of the Jews; but their part will be played out the moment he enters into his kingdom. Then it will be necessary to sweep them away from his path, on which must be left no knot, no splinter.

“Then will it be possible for us to say to the peoplesoftheworld: “Give thanks to God and bow the knee before him whobears on his front the seal of the predestination of man, to which God himself had led His star that none other but Him might free us from all theaforementionedforces andevils.”

All this is deeply in accord with the philosophy of the Talmud, of the desire of the Jews for a Messiah who is ofthisworld; and it is not surprising that there should be some kind of Jewish organization which has this philosophy. The philosophy is actually that of Marx; the ruthlessness, the using of everybody else for its own purpose, the establishing of one world rule—everything except the fact that Marx did not believe in God.

The interesting thing about this document is the historical [significance?] it was placed to in the twentieth century. A certain man named Rosenberg who came from Russia to Germany after the Revolution brought this book with him and showed it to Hitler who immediately saw in this something which he could use from two points of view: 1) by showing this to the people, it would enflame their hatred for the Jews—because they are trying to establish a world monarchy; and he could blame all the problems of Germany on them—the currency crisis, the depression, the unemployment, etc.,—and say this is a secret society trying to take over Germany, and 2) he admitted the book was very wellwritten,“I will use that as my philosophy to govern.”39And so this document became one of the very important sources for the National Socialism of Hitler who placed himself in the place of the world monarch of the Jews.

Now we will look at these three great movements in the twentieth century which prove that all these philosophers are not simple idle thinkers; they were speaking of things which were entering into reality—the three great totalitarian systems in the twentieth century. One of them is not particularly important to us and that is the system of Mussolini, the fascist. It is perhaps not much appreciated that in his youth Mussolini was a Marxist; he took part in many Marxist demonstrations; he talked about the“dictatorshipof the proletariat,” the coming of the Communist State, the withering away of the state, and was a typical radical just like any other Marxist demonstrator. When he got a chance to come into power, he saw that by combining various elements of society and giving one message to one and one to the other, he could come to power on a platform which looks a little different; and therefore he developed this fascism which is a romantic kind of socialism and even got the king on his side, made a concordat with the Pope, and therefore became a dictator on a basis which is not absolutely Communism but is based on the same ruthless dictatorship. So this is not an example of the ruthless Communism as such, but the same kind of man which is produced by Communist philosophy. The fact that he was allied with so-called right-wing forces is only incidental. His idol was Lenin because Lenin was one who had power and took over; and therefore he based his system on Lenin, that is, the practical system of how to get power.


The second great movement, and the greatest actually in the twentieth century, which today encompasses almost half the world is Bolshevism. Marxism in Russia, which more than anything persuades us that these ideas all the way from Weishaupt down to the Protocols are very realistic, that the Christian world is indeed being overthrown and something new can be successful. Unlike all the previous revolutions of the last century, this one succeeds for almost sixty years. It is a ruthless extermination of the old order, the destruction of churches, killing of priests on an extent which up to then was unknown. In all the previous revolutions there were only some half million people killed, perhaps a million altogether. Now we come to a place where, according to estimates, perhaps sixty million people were killed directly as the result of the Revolution. And so the idea which we saw expressed inThe Possessedof killing off a hundred million people is not far-fetched at all. The system of Communism was tempered a bit by the necessities of ruling people and therefore Communism in Russia is not the perfect application of the principles of Weishaupt or Marx. The idea of free love, for example, was tried until it was found to be not too practical and they reinstituted marriage with even some fake kind of ceremony. And they saw that when the people are living like dogs in the streets, it produces a disharmony in society; and you cannot push the revolution forward. So they quickly began to put this into order, that is, reintroducing the idea of marriage, although without any idea of sacrament, of course. And it is common knowledge, as one boy who was in Moscow told us, you can get a girl for as cheap as a cup of coffee. There is no idea of morality whatsoever.

Lenin was a great admirer of Nechayev, the most revolutionary and was motivated by no principles whatsoever except the triumph of Communism. His ideal is first of all to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat according to Marx. According to Lenin this dictatorship is: “a dominaton that is untrammeled by law and based on violence.”40According to Lenin’s ideal, “before the dictatorship of the proletariat comestoan end, the whole of society will have become one office and one factory with equal work and equal pay and there will be no way of getting away from it. There will be nowhere to go.”41

In Communism we see a very violent revolution whose victims are in the many millions, even when there seems to be no practical necessity for it. And here we should look at one view of Marx and Lenin which points to us what happens to man when he enters the revolution. The violence of the revolution and this love of violence, of burning and destroying—is not only for the sake of overthrowing the old order. There is another purpose. Marx says: “Both for theproductionon a mass scale of this Communistconsciousness and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary; an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, arevolution: this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the classoverthrowingit can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.”42“In revolutionary activity, change of self coincides with the change of circumstances.”43

That is, mankind is somehow to be changed. And we know what man becomes in revolution: he becomes a beast, totally gripped by the fever for blood, for destroying. This is something very frightful; the demons are let loose and the person becomes demonized. And this is what Marx wants: that man can become something new, no longer able to love family, country, to have normal morality, to have love for God, to have all those normal things which normal society accepts as standard of action. There will be someone new, completely uprooted, the man of themoment, someoneto whom you can tell: “Go out and killa million people;” and he will go off and do itwithout eventhinking. This is the kind of new man that the Communists want to make.

Of course, this making of a new man is not only the result of Communist activity. We see with the prevalence of radical philosophies, atheist philosophies, the decline of morality, the looseness of philosophy of life in the West where there are no Communists to take over—the same producing of a man who is ruthless, has no contact with tradition, with the past, with God... One contemporary writer on this subject, Erich Kahler, has said oneinterestingthing: “The powerful trend toward the disruption and invalidation of the individual...manifestly present in the most diverse currents of modern life—economic, technological, political, scientific, educational, psychic and artistic—appears so overwhelming that we are induced to see in it a true mutation, a transformation of human nature.”44We shall leave this until the next lecture when we shall discuss other people who have discussed precisely the question of how human nature is going to be transformed.


We will go now to Hitler about whom we won’tsay too much and then come back to discuss the points in common of Nazism andcommunism.Hitler’s whole system of NationalSocialism is, without going into the romantic side of it—his love for Wagner, the Twilight of the God, his romanticism—in a word, his system is Bolshevism again with some compromises like Mussolini made in order to gain control of the ruling elements; but basically his philosophy is Bolshevism adapted to a different value scale. In Bolshevism everything is interpreted in terms of economics and class; and there is a class war of the lower class against the upper class. Hitler has the same thing, only instead of a class was he has a racial war: Germany against the world. His system is quite millennial and in fact he called his empire the Thousand Year Reich, the thousand year empire which is directly from the Apocalypse. He also took Lenin as his model because he was quite ruthless and his philosophy is no different. He is a typical example of the uprooted man, he has no belief in God, no morality, no higher values and he felt deep kinship to Bolshevism. Like Napoleon he thought of the resurrection of the Roman Empire, but also like Napoleon he recognized that the times were not suited for that...

b. Jews: Protocols his plans. Lenin his model. Felt kinship to Bolshevism. When all but he said: “The future belongs solely to the stronger nation.”

...happened to be on Mt. Athos he should find in some monastery a document which would give him the right to the Eastern empire Roman Empire? he should put it away and save it for a future day. This shows that the idea of a universal monarch is still present although the times are so? and so matter of fact that right now it is not useful. But in the future when more romantic ideas become fashionable this idea of the


... the entire resurrection of the Roman Empire can be thirties and early forties was writing, he escaped in about 1938. He was an ordinary mayor of Danzig, and at first thought that Hitler was going to save conservatism. But he became very close to [him], had many long talks with him, and began to see that the man is crazy. Might be not crazy, but he has [a] very, very definite philosophy which [is] absolutely unheard of. And he was the one who first came out and began to tell the world what this man is standing for, based on his conversations.

And one conversation he had with him, and he said, “Why are you so upset about the Jews? Why do you have to beso fanaticalabout the Jews?” And he said, “Whatcharacterizes theJews?” AndRauschningsaid, “Well, they think they’re thechosenpeople; they’re, they have some kind ofmessiah-complex.”45Hesaid, “Yes, just that. And what about weGermans?If wearethe master race and if we are going to conquer the world, how can we allow that there will be another people who has the idea that they are the chosen people? If the Jews are the chosen people, the Germans cannot be the chosen people. And therefore we must exterminate the Jews, so that the Germans may take their place. And I will be theirmessiah,”that is, themessiahof the Germans.And he even said in one place that, “If you like, I will be Antichrist. It’s all the same to me.” Hitler had the idea, he was a very unreligious person himself, had no God or anything, but like Napoleon, he was very interested in the religious question. And he said, “After I’ve conquered the world, I shall then givemygreatest contribution to humanity. I will solve the religious question.”46Hedidn’tsay exactly how he was going to solve it. He did say that he would cause to be erected in all high places, high mountains throughout the world, telescopes, and underneath thetelescopewould be written the inscription, “To the Unknown God.” And of course, if he did become world conqueror, he would not very well have been able to resist the temptation to think that he was a god. But the fact that he had this idea of solving the religious question makes him, like Napoleon, one of these forerunners of Antichrist.

He hated the Western democracies.

By the way, he abolished all secret societies. And for him, everything was a Jewish-Masonic plot. The Masons were not allowed to exist, of course, for the same reason that the Communists destroyed all secret societies and Napoleon destroyed all secret societies: because the one in power does not need any secret society. They only cause, he knew himself, having gone through all kinds of secret societies that these were stirring up discord. And of course he was fighting against Bolshevism because he recognized that we are the two who are fighting for the supremacy of the world. One of us must conquer it. And when it came to the last days in Berlin, we have his notes preserved from his last days. And he saw that he was going to lose. And then he could not bear the thought that the British and the Americans had defeated him, because he regarded them as effeminate, weak, backwards, out of date. And so he said, as kind of his lasttestament,“The future belongs solely to thestrongerEastern nation.”47As though he gave his inheritance to Bolshevism, which shows he recognized there the same kind of power thatbroughthim to power: thisprimordial revolution that’sgoing conquer the world and destroy the past.

Hitler said, when he was still coming to power, and had already thethoughtof worldempire,“We may bedestroyed, butif we are, we shall drag with us a world, a world in flames.”48And we see here the same impulse behind the Commune of Paris which wanted to destroy Paris.

In the last days of the war, when obviously Germany was invaded on all sides and 14-year-old boys were being sent out to fight, the end was obviously near. Germans were fighting on to the last moment.

By the way, we should not think that the Reich of Hitler was to be compared with the Bolsheviks because in all respects Hitler was much more humane. It was possible to talk to the SS, to the Gestapo. It was possible to talk them out of sending you to a prison camp. Could be expect some, to some extent justice from them. And anybody who lived under both Hitler and the Communists, they will tell you there was no choice. They always went back to Germany whenever the battle lines changed. We know many people who were in Germany during that time. And they say that of course it was a kind of crazy place, and Hitler was very strange. Nonetheless, some kind of normal life was still possible; whereas under the Bolsheviks the totalitarianism is absolutely absolute.

So in that sense Hitler is a small imitation of the Bolsheviks; he was still very much compromising with the past. But in the last days of the war, his propaganda minister Goebbels explained on the radio something which sounds very Marxist, as the bombs were falling all around. “—The bomb-terror spares the dwellings of neither rich nor poor; before the labor offices of total war the last class barriers have had to go down... Together with the monuments of culture there crumble also the last obstacles to the fulfillment of our revolutionary task. Now that everything is in ruins, we are forced to rebuild Europe. In the past, private possessions tied us to a bourgeous restraint. Now the bombs, instead of killing all Europeans have only smashed the prison walls which kept them captive... In trying todestroyEurope’s future, the enemy has only succeeded in smashing its past; and with that, everything old and outworn has gone.”49

So the aim of Nazism, the function of Nazism in world history, is to destroy the past. And the Bolsheviks who were doing the same thing in Russia, when they triumph, their object now is to go throughout the world and destroy this, this past. And they were even organized as in the last days in Germany, some kind of wolfpacks of youths who were to go about and destroy buildings, that is the Germans destroying their own buildings so that the enemy would have nothing to, the past civilization would have no remnant left.

And now we wonder what is beyond all this. If this is some kind of universal destruction, if old religion, if old art, culture, civilization is to be destroyed, and the very buildings of the past are to be destroyed, what is the revolutionary idea of the future? We see that there’s some idea of changing man.

We’ll look at two briefquotesfromNietzsche,whom we’ll discuss in the next lecture as one of the chief prophets of this new age. He says two things which are most interesting from this point of view. One, he says in his book,The Will to Power, “Under certain circumstances, the appearance of theextremestform of Pessimism and actualNihilismmight be the sign of a process of incisive and mostessentialgrowth, and of mankind’stransit intocompletely new conditions of existence.This is what I haveunderstood.”50

Again,he’s,when he speaks about his concept ofthetransvaluation of all values, he says, “With this formula acounter-movementfinds expression, in regard to both a principle and a mission; a movement which in some remote future will supersede this perfect Nihilism; but which nevertheless regards it (Nihilism) as anecessary step,both logically and psychologically, towards its own advent, and which positively can not come, excepton top ofandout of it.”51

And we have a very interesting quote from Lenin. And he says, actually giving his ideal of the one factory throughout the world which no one can escape, “But this “factory”discipline,which the proletariat will extend to the whole of society after the defeat of the capitalists and the overthrow of the exploiters, is by no means our ideal, or our final aim. It is but afootholdnecessary for the radical cleansing of society of all the hideousness and foulness of capitalist exploitation,in order to advance further.”52

And Lenin himself, for all his arguments against the anarchists, is finally forced to admit that the final goal of Communism is exactly the same as the final goal of Bakunin and the anarchists: that is, some kind of absolute anarchy.

In the next lecture we’ll go into what this possiblycanmean. And it does have a definite meaning in the theology of the revolution.

We’ll finish with a brief quote from a poet of our century, W.B. Yeats, Irish poet very much mixed up with occultism, who occultism, who founded his own lodge of occultism, was very sympathetic at one time to Hitler because he seemed to be incarnating some new kind of occult principle. And in fact, Hitler himself proclaimed himself as the first dictator in a new age of magic.

Yeats wrote: “Dear predatory birds, prepare for war... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed... Belief comes from shock... Belief isrenewed continuallyin the ordeal of death.”53

And we’ll discuss in the next lecture this idea that, outof all this destruction which the revolutionaries themselves do not know the meaning of. All they know is they feel like destroying. All past standards are gone. There is nothing more to restrain them. Their passions come out. And they just destroy, kill—with the most frightful thing. In fact, we’ve never had such a bloody century as our own century when this purely senseless brutality is carried on.

And the book of Solzhenitsyn, theGulag, is must-reading actually for one that wants to understand what the revolution means, how it can be that people who talk about liberty and freedom and brotherhood can have established the most frightful tyranny in the history of mankind, not excluding any of the ancient, Eastern despots or Assyrians or Egyptians or anybody else, the most frightful despotism the world has ever seen, the most bloody regime by people who believe in freedom, liberty andbrotherhood,and how it’s quitedeliberately accomplished in order to belittle man and destroy him.

The people who make the revolutions ordinarily do not see this—what the thing is beyond. But they all feel that in doing this they are destroying the whole weight of civilization, of religion, of tradition. Once it is destroyed, and we see how it took a long time, from the time of when French Revolution began. And all these revolutions are unsuccessful obviously because there’s too much weight from the past left, too much tradition is left, too much culture and civilization is still left. There’s only whenthey’ve destroyed everything,and even made man some kindof new creature, some kind of person who is used to violence.

And we see in the West, if you look, children look at television. They see people get killed off every day. They get very callous towards violence, towards bloodshed. The same kind of thing is going on in the free world to make people used to bloodshed, violence—quite callous to it.

And once this kind ofpersonis introduced, then there’s going to come a new religious revelation. And even W.B. Yeats says this is all positive. We should love this whole process of revolution and war and destruction because it means a newrevolutionis being born. And now we’ll have to look in the next lecture... And this new religion, all bound up with the idea of anarchy, the idea of overcoming nihilism, is the end of the revolution, which a few very astute people have seen into and have spoken about.


1.The Brothers Karamazov, pp. 673- 689, “The Devil, Ivan’s Nightmare”; Cf. p. 247: “I think if the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.” -- Ivan; also cf. Ivan speaking to Smerdykov, p. 638: “You’ve been there at night, when he came.... Do you know that he visitsme?”

2. Webster, op. cit., pp.136-139.

3. Ibid., pp. 141-142.

4. Ibid., pp. 149-152.

5. Ibid. pp. 150-152.

6. Ibid., pp. 153-154.

7. Palmer, R.R. and Colton, Joel,A History of the Modern World, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1965, p. 476: “When millions were suddenly, for the first time in their lives, asked to vote for president in 1848, the name of Bonaparte was the only one they had ever heard of, ‘How should I not vote for this gentleman,’ said an old peasant, ‘I whose nose was frozen at Moscow?’”

8. Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick,The Communist Manifesto, New York Labor News Co., New York, 1954, p. 48.

9. Webster, p. 174.

10. Quoted in Webster, p. 174.

11. Ibid.

12. Quoted in Webster, p. 175.

13. Webster, p. 176.

14. Quoted in Webster, p. 190.

15. Quoted in Webster, p. 191.

16. Quoted in Rose, Eugene (Fr. Seraphim),Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Fr. Seraphim Rose Foundation, 1994, Forestville, CA, p. 56.

17. Ibid., p. 56.

18. Quoted inNihilism, p. 56n: Quoted in E.H. Carr,MichaelBakunin, p. 440.

19. Quoted in Webster, p. 215 fromDocuments et souvenirs de l’ Internationale, James Guillaume, ii, p. 253. Cf.God and the State, p. 2, quoted in Fr. S’s Anarchism notes: Bakunin and Satan:... “The proletariat of Paris is ‘the modern Satan, the great rebel, vanquished but not pacified.”

20. Quoted in Webster, p. 211.

21. Quoted inNihilism, p. 56.

22.Alliance de la Démocratie Socialiste, etc., publiée par ordre du Congrès International de la Haye(1873), p. 21, quoted in Webster, p. 205.

23. Cf. Webester, pp. 212-213: “The ‘bloody week’ of street fighting followed. By the third day the Versailles troops had reached the approaches to the Tuileries, and it was then that the generals of the Commune, Brunel and Bergeret, set fire to the palace and the Rue Royale. ...eight months before that terrible night of May 23, a cartoon had appeared in the shop windows of German towns depicting Paris in flames,... and, beneath, the words: “Gefallen, gefallen ist Babylon die Stolze” (Babylon the mighty is fallen, fallen!) ...The Palace of the Tuileries was reduced to ashes....”

24. Bakunin, Mikhail A.,God and the State, 1882: “The old order must be destroyed and replaced by a new one.”

25. Cf. Webster, p. 215: “ published a panegyric of the Commune entitledThe Civil War in France, in which he referred to the State as ‘that parasite which exploits and hinders the free movements of society.’... But the measure of Marx’s sincerity in writing his panegyric of the Commune was revealed when his correspondence with his friend Sorge was published in 1906.”

26. Proudhon,Principle of Right, quoted inThe Pocket Book of Quotations, Henry Davidoff, ed., Pocket Books, New York, 1952, p. 302; alsoWhat is Property?, quoted inThe Worldly Philosophers,Robert L. Heilbroner, Simon and Schuster, A Clarion Book, New York, 1967, p. 139; Webster, p. 257, says this is “Brissot’s axiom.”

27. Fr. Seraphim’s Anarchism notes cites Proudhon,De la Justice poursuivie par l’ Église, iii, p. 179.

28. Proudhon,Système des contadictions économiques ou philosophie de la misère(1846). Prologue, ch. viii, quoted in Lowith,Meaning in History, p. 63: “Proudhon says that ‘the first duty of a free and intelligent man is to chase the idea of God out of his mind and conscience incessantly’; for, if he exists, he is essentially hostile to our nature. ‘We attain to science in spite of him, to well-being in spite of him, to society in spite of him: every progress is a victory in which we crush the deity.”


30 Ibid., p. 64: “God, if he exists, is man’s enemy.”

31. Bakunin,God and the State, London, 1910, p. 16.

32. Quoted inNihilism, p. 72. Fr. Seraphim’s Anarchism notes137 cite:Idée générale de la révolution; alsoJustice, III, pp. 433-434 (De Lubac,The Drama of Atheist Humanism, Sheed & Ward, 1950, p.173).

33. Source: Paraphrase fromThe Will to Power?

34. Webster pp. 298-303.

35.World Conquest Through World Government. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, transl. from the Russian of Sergei Nilus by Victor E. Marsden. Protocol No. 14.

36. Protocol No. 17.

37. Protocol No. 15.

38. Ibid.

39. Hitler quoted in Rauschning,Hitler Speaks, Thornton Butterworth Ltd., London, 1939, pp. 235-6: “I have read ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ – it simply appalled me. The stealthiness of the enemy, and his ubiquity! I saw at once that we must copy it -- in our own way, of course.” ...“We must beat the Jew with his own weapon.... I saw that the moment I had read the book.”

“So you derived inspiration for your struggle from the “Protocols”? I [Rauschning] asked.

“Yes, certainly, down to the veriest detail.... I found these Protocols enormously instructive. I have always learnt a great deal from my opponents.”

p. 238: Rauschning: “...And what...have you taken over from the ‘Protocols of Elders of Zion’?”

Hitler: “Political intrigue, the technique of conspiracy, organization. Is that not enough?”

See also Rauschning,Revolution of Nihilism, p. 53: “It would be a great mistake to suppose that so cunning an individual as the German Minister of Propaganda is not perfectly well aware that the atrocity propaganda against the Jews, including the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is preposterous nonsense, that he does not see through the racial swindle just as clearly as those compatriots of his whom it has driven out of their country. ...The bases of the ‘philosophy’ ...have been deliberately concocted for their demographic effectiveness and for the furtherance of the party’s political aims.”

40. Cf.The Great Quotations, comp. by George Seldes, Pocket Books, New York, 1967, p. 285: “The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is power won and maintained by the violence of the porletariat against the bourgeouisie, power that is unrestricted by any laws.” V.I. Lenin quoted inThe Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, International Publishers, New York, 1934; also “The dictatorship of the proletariat is nothing else than power based upon force and limited by nothing -- by no law and by absolutely no law.” Seldes quoting V. I. Lenin,Complete Works, (French edition) Vol. XVIII, p. 361.

41.The German Ideology, Part I, Marx and Engels, International Publishers, New York, 1947, p. 84.

42. Marx And Engels,The German Ideology, Part I, International Publishers, New York, 1947, p. 69.

43. Ibid., p. 204n.

44. Kahler, Erich,The Tower and the Abyss, George Braziller, Inc., New York, 1957, pp. 225-6.

45. Rauschning,Hitler Speaks, p. 238: “‘But we have been speaking,’ said Hitler, ‘of the Jew only as the ruler of the economic world empire. We have been speaking of him as our

political opponent. Where does he stand in the deeper struggle for the new world era?’

“I confessed that I had no notion.

“There cannot be two Chosen People. We are God’s People. Does that not fully answer the question?’

“‘That is to be understood symbolically?’

“Again he banged the table.

“‘Symbolically? No! It’s the sheer simple undiluted truth. Two worlds face one another -- the men of God and the men of Satan! The Jew is the anti-man, the creature of another god. He must have come from another root of the human race. I set the Aryan and the Jew over against each other; and if I call one of them a human being I must call the other something else....’”

46.Hitler’s Secret Conversations, p. 117: “The war will be over one day. I shall then consider that my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem. Only then will the life of the German native be guaranteed once and for all.”

47. Quoted inNihilism, p. 77n: Quoted in H.R. Trevor-Roper,The Last Days of Hilter, New York, The Macmillan Co., 1947, p. 82.

48. Quoted in Rauschning, Hermann,The Voice of Destruction, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1940, p. 5.

49. Quoted inNihilism, p. 76n: Goebbels quoted in H.R. Trevor- Roper,The Last Days of Hitler, New York, The Macmillan Co., 1947, pp. 50-51.

50. Quoted inNihilism, p. 91n:The Will to Power, p. 92.

51. Quoted inNihilism, p. 91n;The Will to Power, p. 2.

52. Quoted inNihilism, p. 91n:State and Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, International Publishers, New York, 1935, p. 84.

53. Quoted inNihilism, p. 89n:A Vision, William Butler Yeats, 1937, pp. 52-53


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (12)

[Passages from Nietzsche Lecture of 1980 appear in a different type face]

A. Introduction

1. Having seen the outward progress of the Revolution of modern times, now we turn to deeper spiritual-philosophical causes of it—what happened in the human soul to make it want Revolution that seems to make so little sense, be so impossible? What is theology of Revolution?

2. End of 18th century is end of Old Order—age of stability, human institutions and art and culture based on at least remnant of Christianity and Christian feeling. Outbreak of Revolution coincides with end of civilization. For 200 years we have been in a new age, a seeking for a new order.

B. Crisis of knowledge—end of rationalism

1. Since Middle Ages, Rationalism reduces sphere of knowledge as it criticizes every tradition, spiritual realm, myth except outward world.

2. With Hume, reason goes as far as it can go—destroys all certain knowledge even of outward world. He said we can know only what we experience. Thus, against miracles; then, even natural religion1

“That the divinity may possibly be endowed with attributes which we have never seen exerted; may be governed by principles of action, which we cannot discover to be satisfied: all this will freely be allowed. But still this is mere possibility and hypothesis. We never can have reason to infer any attributes, or any principles of action in him, but so far as we know them to have been exerted and satisfied. ‘Are there any marks of a distributive justice in the world?’ If you answer in the affirmative, I answer that, since justice here exerts itself, it is satisfied. If you reply in the negative, I conclude, that you have then no reason to ascribe justice, in our sense of it, to the gods. If you hold a medium between affirmation and negation, by saying, that the justice of the gods, at present, exerts itself in part, but not in its full extent: I answer, that you have no reason to give it particular extent, but only so far as you see it at present exert itself.”

No argument for the existence of God2

“Having thus disposed of the rational basis for faith in the moral governance of the world, Hume went on, in hisDialogues, to show that there could not even be any argument for the existence of an all-wise and all-good Creator. There is no necessity of the universe having had a first cause. It is as easy to conceive of it as self-existent and eternal as to assume an external cause with those qualities. There is no analogy between an object in the world, like a watch, and the entire world; we have seen watches made, but not worlds. Order may be as natural as chaos, and hence harmony and universal law need no further reason for their existence, other than that we find them to obtain. From a finite world as effect we could assume at the most only a finite cause. If the universe did indeed have an author, he may have been an incompetent workman, or he may have long since died after completing his work, or he may have been a male and a female god, or a great number of gods. He may have been entirely good, or entirely evil, or both, or neither—probably the last.”

Holbach went further: materialism3

“Is it not more natural and more intelligible to derive everything which exists from the bosom of matter, whose existence is demonstrated by every one of our senses, whose effects we each instant experience, which we see acting, moving, communicating motion and generation ceaselessly, than to attribute the formation of things to an unknown force, to a spiritual being which cannot develop from its nature what it is not itself, and which, by the spiritual essence attributed to it is incapable of doing anything and of setting anything in motion?”

3. But Hume goes further: undermine even knowledge of facts.4

“Man has two sorts of perceptions... distinguishable their varying liveliness and forcibleness; and there are two sort of knowledge which correspond to them. On the one hand there is immediate sensation, present experience—what he callsimpressions; from these we obtain knowledge ofmatters of fact. Then, there are our less lively impressions—ourideas—from which we come to know therelations of ideas. Our ideas are without exception derived from our impressions, and the only power of our minds is in ‘compounding. transposing, augmenting, or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience.’ Our ideas, then, are more feeble, decidedly secondary—certainly not a source of knowledge in the practical affairs of ethics, politics, economics, which, in a secular outlook such as that prevailing in the eighteenth century, are the principle concerns of man. (No more, of course, can they tell us anything about God or any other such transcendental object beyond the experience of man.) Knowledge of the relations of ideas tells us only about those ideas, not about the primary impressions from which they are derived. Knowledge here is certain—because it is subjective. If we examine the way in which our mind works we can discover how it orders and relates the ideas presented to it; but the subjective working of our mind has nothing to do with that external ‘reality’ which we seek most of all to know.

“Our inquiry, then, into ‘useful’ knowledge, must have to do exclusively with our impressions...”

[Transcript text begins in middle of Fr. Seraphim’s “Brinton paper” quote]

“...what we can know about the outer world, ...dealonly with what he calledimpressions, “matters of fact.”

“First of all,” we mustacknowledgethat we cannotknowwhat things are“in themselves.”We do not have knowledge of the“external entitieswhich are presented tooursenses, but only of theimagesof those things. All we can know is what we perceive and since all external objects must be seen through our senses, all we can know are those objects” not asthey are inthemselves,but as they are “seen through our senses. What we see is not a tree, but” only “the image of a tree as our sense of sight modifies it in taking it up into its perception. When we back away from it, it is not the tree that becomes smaller but the perception of it in our minds. And when we press our eyeballs in a certain way, it is not the tree that becomes double, but the imageof it” which “is all we can know of it.” So “to begin with...we must realize that even our knowledge of matters of matters of fact has a great deal ofsubjectivityin it.” But now we must look to see if there’s any objectivity at all in our knowledge.

“...The nextquestionwe will ask” about these impressions “is how do we come to knowthem?Beyond the evidence of the immediate sense-testimony and the memory”of this sensetestimony,“there is only” one thing, one “relation,” which is “cause and effect. When confronted with a certain cause, we expect a certain effect; and much of our daily experience is based upon theregularityof this relationship” between causesandeffects. “But here again, if we search forcertaintywearebound to be disappointed: there is no necessary connection between cause and effect; weinfersuch a connection through experience of constant conjunction of two events. Thus, whenever I put my hand into a flame, I experience pain; but this will notnecessarilyhappen...timeI do” it,becausewe have no knowledge that there’s a certain connection between these two events. And so he says, “The contrary of every matter of fact is stillpossible; becauseit can never imply a contradiction, and it isconceived by the mind with the same facility and distinctness, as if ever so conformable toreality.”That is, it could happen as far as we know, that I put my hand in the flame and it will notexperiencepain. “But how then do we infer thisnecessary connectionbetweencause and effect?” And he says that it’sonly “bycustomor habit.“All inferencesfromexperience [,therefore,]are effects of custom, not of reasoning. Custom, then, is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experiences useful to us and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past.”

“But what, then, is left” ofknowledgeand “Of the certain, absolute knowledge” which the philosophers of the eighteenth century thought they had? The answer according toHume:“Nothing,”whatsoever.“Reason is a subjective facultywhich has no necessary relation with the “facts” we seek to know. It islimitedtotracingthe relations of our ideas”which“themselves” are already twice“removedfrom “reality.” Andoursenses are equally subjective,for they can never know the “thing initself,”only an image of it which has in it noelement of necessity and certainty—“the contrary of every matter of factisstill possible.”

So he says, “Do you follow the instincts and propensities of nature in ascending to the veracity, the truthfulness of sense? But these lead you to believe that the very perception orsensibleimage is the external object.”Which,of course, is not true; it is not. It’s only an image in our mind. “Do you disclaim this principle, in order to embrace a more rational opinion that the perceptions are only representations of something external?” But here you “depart from your natural propensities and more obvious sentiments; and” still you “are not able to satisfy your reason, which can never find any convincing argument from experience to prove, that theseperceptionsareconnectedwith any external objects.”Andso,knowledge is dissolved.

And what, then, is the answer? How do we live,accordingtoHume?Andhere’shisanswer:“The greatsubverterof...the excessive principles of skepticism is action, and employment, and the occupations of common life. These principles may flourish and triumph in the schools... But as soon as they leave the shade, and by the presence of the real objects, which actuate our passions, and sentiments, are put into opposition to the more powerful principles of our nature, they vanish like smoke, and leave the most determined skeptic in the same condition as other mortals.”5Well, it’s very nice for him to saybecausehe was a very comfortable English gentleman. He had his fireplace, cozy warm nook, country house. And in fact wrote his history of England and was concerned about practical things; and this philosophy did not upset him terribly. But the poor people who read this and take it seriously and have a real sort of passion to know what they can know and they believe in reason, for them the whole universe is destroyed. In fact, that’s one deep thing in our modern thinkers for the last two hundred years, this sort of despair at ever being able to know anything, which sort of dissolves the fabric of their life. You’re going to believe in philosophy and sort of start reasoning things through, you want to come to the truth, and you get up against Hume and thinkers like that.

[From Nietzsche 1980 lecture:]

...this change which occurred between eighteenth century and, that is, from the time when Hume criticized reality, that reality is not quite as secure as we thought. [end of addition]

And all of a sudden the whole world sort of dissolves and the next thing you know, you arewondering,“Do I, do I exist? Does the world exist?” “What is what?” And you canactually kill yourself if you start thinking like that and take it really seriously. And, of course, people have killed themselves over that. Others have overthrown philosophy and gone up to start burningbuildings because that’s somethingreal, you know, action. He says “Action.” For him actionmeans sitting around, and smoking his pipe and writing English history.Somebodyelse, that is, if they don’t have thateducation,that desire, for them action means revolution, burning things up, killing people.

And so, with justice, one of the writers on the philosophy of the Enlightenment has the following thing to say about Hume. Carl Becker is his name. He wrote a book calledThe Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers.And this Carl Becker describes all these philosophers and progress and so forth, and then he comes to Hume. And he says when you readHume,afterreadingall the otherphilosophers,it’s asthough athigh noon of the great age of Enlightenment, all of a sudden there’s a cloud, a chill, some kind of a strange thing comes to, you begin towonderwhat, I thought everything was just fine,it’s all sunny and warm.

“To read Hume’sDialoguesafter having read, with sympathetic understanding, the earnest deists and optimistic philosophers of the early century, is to experience a slight chill, a feeling of apprehension. It is as if, at high noon of the Enlightenment, at the hour of the siesta when everything seems to be so quiet and secure all about, one were suddenly aware of the short, sharp slipping of the foundations, a faint far-off tremor running underneath the the solid ground of common sense.”6

All of asuddenyou feel this chill. There’ssomething coldand dark on the horizon about to come up, because the ideas of Hume destroyed reality. No more is it possible to believe, that is, can we simply accept reality the way it is. Throw God out and we will have indefinite progress in this world. And Hume destroyed the idea that the world is stable. He said we can never know the world the way it is because cause and effect is only apartof thecustom.And there’s no law in science. All you haveis custom.There’s nothing objective orabsoluteabout it. He himself didn’t become a prophet of any new religion, but he has lefthisideas there. Of course, this would later produce a great earthquake in our own times.

There’re a lot of nowmodern academic historians wholikeeighteenth centurya lot because it’s full ofoptimism.Itwasthe time of great music, Bach and Handel, and the philosophy was also very optimistic. The poetry was very upbeat and everything was very positive. There was nothing but good to come from the future, indefinite progress.

And so this revolutionary age of the eighteenth century preceding the Revolution begins with great optimism and even the people who make the Revolution also begin with great optimism, not realizing that by the end of the century, the most advanced philosophers have just destroyed any possibility for any real knowledge of the external world. And it takes time for deep ideas like that to filter down into the people, but when they do, we’ll see itproduces disastrous effects.


Now we’ll come to the thinker who is at this verytime,the beginning of the revolutionary age, who stands between this old world of rationalistic philosophy when philosophers still thought they could reason to certain conclusions, even though they kept changing conclusions, and our new age when all of knowledge becomes uncertain. And this thinker has a very key place because he performed what he called, what has been called, the Copernican Revolution of philosophy. And his name is Immanuel Kant, who lived 1724 to 1804.

We already saw that the very beginning of modern philosophy with Descartes had begun not with some kind of outward observation or revelation; it began already with somekindofsubjectivism.That is, whenDescartessaid:“I think, thereforeI am,” this is the first clear idea and from this,hededuces everything else—the outward world, God and absolutely everything because if there is something, then the world is real. If there’s a real world, then there must be a God whocreatedit. Andhe has clear, distinct ideas about all these realities and thinks he has a nice, tight philosophical system. But it all begins with his own observation ofhimself, which of course shows how far away he is from Christianity, which starts with God Who created the world and created us. But since they trust reason as the only faculty which can give us knowledge, they cannot start with God because you do notseeGod.

And so it happens that when these rationalists, particularly Hume, succeed in destroying our knowledge of God, of religion, of the spiritual world and then even of the material world, what is left? And the answer: what is left is the same, some kind of self-awareness. And so the last hope that man has that there is some kind of knowledge rests in his own awareness of himself. And this is what Kant did. He made a Copernican revolution by saying that it is not the mind which revolves around the world, in order to know what it is; it is rather the world which revolves around me, around the mind. We can never know what is out there, the thing in itself, thenoumenonhe calls it, but we can only know it as it appears to us; and such categories of reality as space and time are not categories of outward reality, but rather, ofmymind; that is, I must see them in terms of space and mind. These are the categories which my mind organizes a reality with. And of course, if this is true, there is some kind of knowledge left. Not as reality as it is in itself, but reality as it must appear to me because I have that kind of mind. And so, knowledge is possible. And even knowledge of God is possiblebecausehe says that it’s based oninwardfeeling, subjective feeling, which shows how much he was under the influence of the Pietist movement of his time which was reacting against the Enlightenment rationalism, the deadness of it. But reality in itself is absolutely unknowable. Only what I see is knowable.

We have here observations on this by Heinrich Heine, a German Jew, who came to France because it was too dangerous in Germany and wrote this book onReligion and Philosophy in Germanyin 1833 or 4, and got ahold of the feeling behind these thinkers very nicely and communicated what their meaning is. He was trying to interpret German philosophy to the French. And this is what he has to say about Kant:

“I am about to speak of a man whose mere name has the might of an exorcism; I speak of Immanuel Kant.

“It is said that night-wandering spirits are filled with terror at sight of theheadman’saxe. With what mighty fear, then, must they bestrickenwhen there is held up to themKant’sCritique of Pure Reason. This is the sword that slew Deism in Germany.

“To speak frankly, you French have been tame and moderate compared with us Germans. At most you could but kill a king, and he had already lost his head before you guillotined him. For accompaniment to such deeds you must needs cause such a drumming and shrieking and stamping of feet that the whole universe trembled. To compare Maximilian Robespierre with Immanuel Kant is to confer too high an honor upon the former. Maximilian Robespierre, the great citizen of the Rue Saint Honoré, had, it is true, his sudden attacks of destructiveness when it was a question of the monarchy, and his frame was violently convulsed when the fit of regicidal epilepsy was on; but as soon as it came to be a question about the Supreme Being, he wiped the white froth from his lips, washed the blood from his hands, donned his blue Sunday coat with silver buttons, and stuck a nosegay into the bosom of his broad vest.”7

He went to Notre Dame to worship Reason and God and even to burn the image of atheism.

“The history ofImmanuelKant’s life is difficult to portray, for he had neither life nor history. He led a mechanical, regular, almost abstract bachelor existence in a little retired street of Konigsberg, an old town on the northeastern frontier of Germany. I do not believe that the great clock of the cathedral performed in a more passionless and methodical manner its daily routine, than did its townsman Immanuel Kant. Rising in the morning, coffee- drinking, writing, reading lectures, dining, walking, everything had its appointed time, and the neighbors knew that it was exactly half- past three o’clock when Immaniel Kant stepped forth from his house in his grey tight-fitting coat with his Spanish cane in his hand, and betook himself to the little linden avenue called after him to this day the “Philosopher’s Walk.”Summerand winter he walked up and down it eighttimes,and when the weather was dull or heavy clouds prognosticated rain, the townspeople beheld his servant, the old Lampe, trudging anxiously behind him with a big umbrella under his arm, like an image of Providence.

“What a strange contrast did this man’s outward life present to his destructive world-annihilating thouths! In sooth, had the citizens of Konigsberg had the least presentiment of the full significance of his ideas, they would have felt a far more awful dread at the presence of this man than at the sight of an executioner, who can but kill the body. But the worthy folk saw in him nothing more than a Professor of Philosophy, and as he passed at his customary hour, they greeted him in a friendly manner and set their watches by him.

“ButthoughImmanuel Kant, the arch-destroyer in the realm of thought, far surpassed in terrorism Maximilian Robespierre, he had many similarities with the latter, which induce a comparison between the two men. In the first place, we find in both the same inexorable, keen, poesyless, sober integrity. We likewise find in both the same talent of suspicion, only that in the one it manifested itself in the direction of thought and was called criticism, whilst in the other it was directly against mankind and was styled republican virtue. But both presented in the highest degree the type of the narrow-minded citizen. Nature had destined them for weighing out coffee and sugar, but fate decided they should weigh out other things, and into the scales of the one it laid a king, into the scales of the other, a God... Andtheyboth gave the correct weight!”8

“Kant proves to us that we knownothingabout things as they are in and by themselves, but that we have a knowledge of them only in so far as they arereflectedin our minds...”9

“Notwithout reason, therefore,did hecompare hisphilosophy to the method of Copernicus. Formerly, when men conceived the world as standing still and the sun as revolving around it, astronomical calculations failed to agree accurately, but when Copernicus made the sun stand still and the earth revolve around it, behold! everything accorded admirably. So formerly reason, like the sun, moved round the universe of phenomena, and sought to throw light upon it. But Kant bade reason, the sun, stand still, and the universe of phenomena now turns round, and is illuminated the moment it comes within the region of the intellectual orb.”10

“God,accordingto Kant, is a noumen. As a result of his argument, this ideal and transcendental being, hitherto called God, is a mere fiction. It has arisen from a natural illusion. Kant shows that we can know nothing regarding this noumen, regarding God, and that all reasonable proof of His existence isimpossible.The words of Dante, “Leaveall hope behind!” maybeinscribed over this portion of theCritique of Pure Reason.”11

But in the end“ImmanuelKant relents and shows that he is not merely a great philosopher but also a good man; he reflects, and half good-naturedly, halfironically,he says: “Old Lampe must have a God, otherwise the poor fellow can never be happy. Now, man ought to be happy in this world; practical reason says so;—well, I am quite willing that practical reason should also guarantee theexistenceof God.”As the result ofthisargument, Kant distinguishes between thetheoretical reasonand thepractical reason, and by means of the latter, as with a magician’s wand, he revivifies Deism which theoretical reason had killed.”12

Well, the function of Kant is to make systematic what Hume had done with his criticism, that is, to do away with knowledge of the outer world and with God—in fact, to do away with God entirely. And he restores God only on the basis of our subjective feeling. And that is why all the religious movements from this time on have a new character. Because previously the idea of God is something which different people think they know by various kinds ofrevelations,even when they are wrong; but it’s about some Being who isout there.

From this time on, a new kind of subjectivism enters into philosophy and religious currents. And now we begin to think about, well, later in this century we have new thought: positive thinking, science of mind, mind over matter—all these things which are to come direct from this philosopher, not because his philosophy itself sort of had direct influence—of course, it did in many places—but because he was expressing what was going through the mind of people at that time: that is, if you accept reason, you must follow him this far that we have no knowledge at all of outward things, and the only knowledge comes through some kind of subjectivism.

And as a result of this, the nineteenth century issues forth in a tremendous outburst of new subjective philosophies. We will look at just one of these which in itself is not particularly important, but it shows what happens when a philosopher takes seriously what this Kant says.


This philosopher is Fichte who lived about the same time as Kant, who died a little bit later. F-I-C-H-T-E. This is what Heinrich Heine has to say about him.

“Thequestion proposedby Fichte is: What groundshave we for assuming that our conceptions of objects correspond with objects external to us? And to this question he offers thesolution: All things have reality only in ourmind.”13

“Thatidealism pursuedto itsultimateconsequencesshould end by denying even the reality ofmatter,”as Fichtedid,“seemed, to the great mass of the public, to becarryingthe joketoofar. We”Germans“grew rather merry over theFichteanEgo.” His whole philosophy is concerning the Ego and what it, how it makes reality for itself. “We grewrathermerry over theFichteanEgo, which produced by its mere thinking the whole external world. The laughter of our wits was increased through a misapprehension that became too popular to permit my passing over it in silence. The great mass really supposed that theEgoof Fichte was the Ego of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and that this individual Ego implied a negation of all other existences. What an impertinence! exclaimed the worthy folk; this fellow does not believe that we exist, we who are much more corpulent than himself, and who, as burgomasters and bailiffs, are actually his superiors! The ladies inquired, Does he not at least believe in the existence of his wife? No! And Madame Fichte suffers this!

“The Ego of Fichte, however, is not theindividual but theuniversal Ego, the world-Ego awakened to self-consciousness. The Fichtean process of thought is not the thinking act of an individual, of a certain person called Johann Gottlieb Fichte; it is rather the universal thought manifesting itself to an individual. As we say, “It rains,” “It lightens,” and so on; so Fichte ought nottosay, “I think,” but “it thinks,” “theuniversalworld-thought thinks inme.”

“In a parallel between the French Revolution and Germanphilosophy I once compared, more in jest than in earnest, Fichte to Napoleon. But there are, in fact, certain remarkable analogies between them. After the Kantists had accomplished their work of terrorism and destruction, Fichte appeared, as Napoleon appeared after the Convention had demolished the whole past by the help of another sort ofCritique of Pure Reason. Napoleon and Fichte represent the great inexorable Ego for which thought and action are one; and the colossal structures raised by both men testify to a colossal will. But through the boundlessness of this will their structures soon fall to theground,and both the “Theory of Knowledge” andtheEmpire crumble to pieces and disappear as quickly as they were reared.

“TheEmpireis nownothingmore thanmatter of history, but the commotion cause by the emperor in the world has not yet calmed down and from this commotion our present Europe draws its vitality. It is the same with the philosophy of Fichte; it hascompletely perished,butmen’s mindsarestill agitated by the thoughts that found a voice in Fichte, and the after-effect of his teachingis incalculable.”14Why? Because now this subjectivism has entered into the mainstream of Western thought.

Worship of Self

From this time on, a person who wished to remain in this mainstream of thought, cannot think of anything, he cannot begin with anything buthimself. And as we’ve already seen, this is the age of fantastic egotism in all spheres: the artists, the poets, the, philosophers, the political people—they come up with fantastic claims for themselves, as though men had really come to believe that onlyIexist and everything else is uncertain.

For example, even at the end of the century GustaveCourbet,thepainter,could say, “I have no master;mymaster ismyself. There is not, and never has been any other painter other than myself.”15And you can talk to any modern painter and he’ll tell you very similarthings. He’sall sopreoccupiedwithhisown genius, with what he can say, that he just has no, nothing else exists for him. It’s allboundup with his own, hisownconception of art and reality. A lot of artists think that way now; they’re veryproud.And he sort ofexpressedit in that way; it’s in accordance with these ideals of Kant: he was the center of the universe. And so you can say that once God has been dethroned in the eighteenth century, they look for a new god and Kant gave the new god, the new god is...

Student: Demonic?

Fr. S: No, well, just myself. Myself.

And so, in the mainstream of Western thought, we see the beginning of the formation of a new deity, the Self. The world previously went around God, and now the world begins to go around the self. And this idea will go very deep into Western man.Thereforewe come to thisproblem,if there’s a new god, whathappens to the old God? But if there is this new deity being formed, what happens to the old deity, that is, the God of Christianity, Who lived on in some form even in Protestantism and the sects?

“God is Dead”

And we see in the early nineteenth century first appears this idea that “God is dead.” And here we come to what wecan callthe first dogma of the new religion that is being formed, the religion underlying this revolutionary dream, and this dogma is called “The Death of God.” This phrase that “God is dead,” isaveryimportant concept;it’s used by allexistentialists nowadays.The phrase “death of God” appears first, as far as we can tell, in the writings of Josef De Maistre, the great conservative who was defending Catholicism against the revolution, in the early years of the nineteenth century.16And he used this phrase to express the idea [the enormity of the] of the rebellion against God in the French Revolution; and he said that the people who are rebelling against society, against Christianity, against the monarchy, against God—they are actually based upon thephilosophy that“God is dead,” and want to make a new god. In other words, Christianity is dying and the new religion is coming to birth. No one even particularly read this phrase. It was not aninfluentialpage of his [De Maistre’s]writings.So it’s not because they read him, but they weren’ttalking about it. Because this idea now begins to enter into the consciousness of European man, the man of the apostasy. The idea that God they used to have is now going away. They were being deprived of God. And we’ll see in this same Heine who was a sort of romantic revolutionist how he used—this is about 1833—this very phenomenon, which he sees still as a process going on. “Apeculiarawe, amysteriouspiety,” he writes, “forbids our writingmore today. Our heart is full of shuddering compassion: it is the old Jehovah himself that is preparing for death. We have known Him so well from His cradle in Egypt, where He was reared among the divine calves and crocodiles, the sacred onions, ibises and cats. We have seen Him bid farewell to these companions of his childhood and to the obelisks and sphinxes of his native Nile, to become in Palestine a little god-king amidst a poor shepherd people, and to inhabit a temple-palace of his own. We have seen him later coming into contact with Assyrian-Babylonian civilization, renouncing his all- too-human passions, no longer giving vent to fierce wrath and vengeance, at least no longer thundering at every trifle. We have seen him migrate to Rome, the capital, where he abjures all national prejudices and proclaims the celestial equality of all nations, and with such fine phrases establishes an opposition to the old Jupiter, and intrigues ceaselessly till he attains supreme authority, and from the Capitol rules the city and the world,urban et orbam. We have seen how, growing still more spiritualized, he becomes a loving father, a universal friend of man, a benefactor of the world, a philanthropist; but all this could avail him nothing!

“Hear ye not the bellsresounding?Kneel down. They are bringing the sacraments to a dying god!”17

Of course, this is the idea that enters now into these advanced minds who sense very quickly the spirit of the times. What they mean to say is Christianity is dying; a new religion is being born; and, to symbolize a new religion, of course, a new god is being born. But the old God now must die; that is, Christianity, the whole idea of Christianity, centering around the God of Christianity, is now dying off.


Later in the century this very idea attained its most powerful [maximum] expression in a very important thinker for us whose name is Friedrich Nietzsche. N-I-E-T-Z-S-C-H-E, who lived 18, I think, 54 to 1900. The last ten years of his life he was insane, [and] finally was found in the streets of Naples, I believe, crying, “I am Antichrist.”18And they finally had to put him away. His sister and his mother took care of him.

Nietzsche [had] a very romantic temperament very open to all kinds of higher ideas, struggle, sentimental. In his youth he was a Protestant seminary student and came to hate Christianity because he saw in it the principle of weakness which, of course, was true because Luther had taken out of Christianity the idea of struggle and left it something very weak which does not satisfy either the mind or the heart, something which could be totally dry and rational on the one hand, or totally sentimental on the other hand. Nietzsche could see no one who was struggling, no great ascetics, no heroes of Christianity; and from that he concluded that the whole of Christianity was a monstrous farce, a deception practiced upon humanity that does not satisfy the reason which wants Truth; and this is full of superstition because he is full of the idea you can only know what is rational and therefore he rejects everything above the rational; on the other hand, it says nothing to the heart because it becomes so watered down that it is feeble. And he saw it was simply a way of keeping people quiet and satisfied with their lot and he said that was for the herds.

And out of his rejection of Christianity he developed the idea that there are going to be strong people who are going to be ruthless and barbarous and who are going to take over whole countries and rule the world. Of course, Hitler deliberately said, “I am the Superman.”19[H]e brought out the sister of Nietzsche, who was still alive 1933, and even got [her] to pose with him and to say, “Yes, you are the Superman my brother wastalking about.” And Hitler made her one of thehonored membersof his realm because he was the Superman that Nietzsche prophesied.

Of course, Nietzsche would have admired his ruthlessness, but would have considered him also part of this same herd mentality because he was looking for some real, tremendous figure, some world leader who was completely ruthless, completely strong, totally removed from all superstitions but a very noble person, because Nietzsche himself was filled with the highest natural instincts for nobility and struggle. He was a great student of Greek literature and one of his first books talks about the Dionysian element in Greece—because until his time people regarded Greece as the home of the classical tradition of the Apollo—and he said no, that Greece was also filled with this striving, this romantic feeling which he symbolized by Dionysius. And that was what he wanted, to be like Dionysius, constantly striving, struggling for something higher.

Here he mentions the changing human institutions, the rise of capitalism, different ideas in morality, enforce the faith you have inevolution.“The concept has an organism reacting to and acting upon a complex environment evolves is now basic. All ideas and institutions are today thought to be primarily social products functioning in social groups and spring from some necessity of effecting some kind of adaptation between human nature and its environment. All the fields of human interest have undergone this general sociologizing and psychologizing tendency. The example of religion and theology will be a sufficient illustration. Whereas the eighteenth century thought of religion and theology as a deductive and demonstrable set of propositions, men now consider religion as primarily a social product, a way of lifespringingfrom a socialorganizationofmen’s religiousexperiences, and theology as a rationalization of certain fundamental feelings and experiences of human nature. We no longer prove the existence of God. We talk rather of the meaning of God in human experience. We no longer demonstrate the future life, we investigate the effect of the belief in immortality upon human conduct.”

We see here very clearly that this is the next stage beyond Hume who destroyed all these things; you can no longer believe in those old ideas and this is the next stage which has nothing to do with scientific discovery—this is simply what is in the air. Once reason continues its march, it will end at its own suicide.But his[Nietzsche’s]ideas areextremely powerfulbecause hecaughtthe spirit of the times and proclaimed a new gospel which he puts in various forms but most powerfully in his book calledThus Spake Zarathustra.It was after Zoroaster, that is, a pagan and all this religion of fire-worship, based upon theteachingofZoroaster,who’s the eighthcenturyB.C or so. Heusesthis just as a literary device to express a new prophet, who is speaking to the new mankind. He wrote a book calledThus Spake Zarathustrawhich is, Zarathustra, he takes this ancient pagan, actually he was a man who lived and became like a god with this religion,Zoroasterism.And he used him like a“prophet”forthisnew religion of his. And he was the one who took up this phrase thatDe Maistreearlier had used that “God isdead.”

He says in this book, Nietzsche, N-I-E-T-Z-S-C-H-E, in his bookThus Spake Zarathustra, this prophet, so-called“prophet”says, “There is notruth.There is noabsolutestateof affairs, no thing in itself.”20And this is what he calls Nihilism.

Here we see quite clearly this idea, “God isdead.”21He expressed this in two ways: one by saying, “God is dead,”andone by saying, “There is no truth.” These are twoaspectsofthesame thing. And we see Hume and Kant destroyed both God and the very idea of truth. Now there must be a new god, a new idea of truth. He even says in one place, “You talk always about truth, but what if there is no truth? Then what sweet forbidden flowers grow beside the highway of life.”22Which, of course, in our time we’ve tasted those sweet flowers. If there is no God, there’s no death, and it is no immortality, this is what happens. AsNietzschesays, “There is no truth. There is no absolute stateof affairs, no thing in itself. This alone is nihilism and of mostextreme kind.”23

Again he says, (asks thequestion)“What does Nihilismmean?—That the highest values are losing their value. There is no goal. There is noanswerto thequestion “Why?”All thequestionswhich the human mind asks, “Why am Ihere?” “Wheredoes it all come from?” “What’s this life about?” “What does it end in?” “Is there life after death?” And he says there’s no answer.There’snothingoutthere.There’s noabsolute.There’s no God. There’s noanswerto your questions.24

Nihilism is this very spirit which animates the revolutionaries: turn everything to nothing. Destroy; let nothing be left. Wipe it all out. And Nietzsche is the philosopher of this.He expressesquite poetically this phenomenon of the “deathof God.” Kant was very rationalist, abstractand simplyexpressedwhat was in the minds of people at that time, what you must think if you are to be in the main tradition of Europe.Rememberwhat Kant said? The thing in itself, we can’t know what it is, that reality out there. And he says there simply is no thing in itself. There is no truth.

There is no absolute. In other words,he’stotallyinfluencedbyHume.And he[Nietzsche] seesthat Kant does not solve the problem. But Nietzsche was a poet. In fact, he wrote some very lovely poems; these are on the dark side of life, deep mittern, midnight, and this loneliness, and so forth. And he expressed very poetically this new reality in human life, in the life of the people of this apostasy.

He says, “The “death of God” had begun “to cast its first shadowsover Europe”; andthough“the event itself is far too great,too remote, too much beyond mostpeople’spowerof apprehension, for one to suppose it so much as the report of it could havereachedthem,still” it is coming.25AndNietzschecalled himself “thefirstlings,”that is, he and others likehim, “thefirstlingsand premature children of the coming century,”26which as he said was to be the century of the triumph of nihilism.27He says, in another place—because then most people were livingordinarylives, they’re going to work infactories, andliterature was flourishing and art and music—he said but this idea, what he isdescribing,the “death of God,” when it filtersdown to the common people, there will be an upheaval in the world such as was never seen from the beginning until now, because the whole of society will be overthrown.

He puts in the mouth of one of his characters, a mad man, this idea of the universe becoming upside down. The madman proclaims to the people inThe Joyful Wisdom: “We have killed him (God), you and I. We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder?

Does not night come on continually, darker and darker?”28

[The rest is from the Nietzsche lecture and the Question and Answer lecture]

The thought was, he said, that the earth up until now has revolvedaroundthe sun and all of a suddenit’s got looseandit begins to go out into outer space. And people look around and they see that things begin to get darker and darker, and begin towonderwhere is up and where is down, what’s right and what’s wrong. They begin to lose their moorings, and begin to get all mixed up. Then you see that everything begins to get darker, asthoughthe world is going out. That’s theconcept. Henceforthif there’s no more God, then lifebecomesentirelydifferent.Andfrightful possibilities open up.

This is the world oftoday’s mankind,that is, the ones who are still trying to retain the main tradition of European history and thought.


This can be very well seen in much of contemporary art. [Franz] Kafka’s an interesting person There’ve been movies ofhisstories, but his stories are very powerfulbecause they’re understated,and they’re such very clear, very niceGerman—I started to read it in German—very simple, straightforward presented. No complicated language, in very clear language to present a fact which is absolutely horrible. This Kafka’s a veryinteresting writer because he writes all these things in a very matter-of-fact way. It’s not asthough it’s something unusual.

Forexample,in Kafka’sThe Trial,someone is broughtupfor trial for a crime hedoesn’tknow what it is;He’snotguilty,h doesn’t knowwhetherhe is guilty orinnocent. He’s announcedto be, “You go on trialtomorrowat 10 o’clock.” “On trial?What didI do?” “Wedon’tknow. Just show up.” And he goes andhefinds these very shadowy figures. It’s all very mysterious. Hedoesn’tknow who his judges are. Hedoesn’tknow what hiscrimeis, who his witnesses against him are, what he did. And this is presented in such a matter of fact way that it is as though he is living in a nightmare. And it turns out that apparently just for existing he’s guilty. He doesn’t know quite how toanswerit and they kill him offsomeplace.And it’s just this idea that there’s no sense any more, no logic, just that,because there’sno more God,you’re in a state of being hounded.

Or again, his story called“Metamorphosis,”it’s an autobiography of this young man lives [who] with his mother, and he wakes up one morning and discovers that he is a big brown bug, you know—six foot high, a big beetle. His mother comes in and sees him and says, “Oh, my,can’tlet you outsideinthat shape.” And this story is about how he is sufferingbecause hehas become a beetle, and he’s not bitter about it—that’s just the way it is: he’s become a beetle, and it’s very difficult to getalong with his family.

And hismother,his family’s sort of justhushingupthe matter.“Shhh. Don’t tell anybody.” “Where’s your son?” “Oh, he’s resting today. Don’t disturb him.” And so they’re allso embarrassedas they come and discover he’s turned into a beetle. And I think he finally ends up crawling and dying on the floor orsomething.And it’s presented in such a matter-of-fact way that, and it’s sohorrible,this wholeidea.

And you say, what’s the point? The point is that,just likeNietzsche says, reality becamedifferentnow; now wedon’tknow whether, are we human, are we not human? Start teaching we come from apes and you begin to say that we have ape-like nature in us; if we have an ape-like nature, we might have beetle-like nature too. Before anything this lower animal thing begins toenterinto our human nature.If there’s no more God, thenourwhole outlook on life becomes free. You can be a beetle, you can be a man going to the stars. You can have advanced civilization. There’s all kinds of new possibilities open up. This is what the morerecent writers,in the last twenty years or so, call the “artof theabsurd.”

We also see someone like Eugene Ionesco, the Romanian playwright who lived in Paris, who writes about people turning into rhinoceroses and this whole surrealistic atmosphere. It’s all laid, like parodies, sort of allegories expressing howsilly the human situationbecomes because there’sno more God—that life is ridiculous.

Or Beckett even: the whole play takes place in a garbage pail and they’re “Waiting for Godot,” and they’re waiting forsomekind of new revelation, and sit there talking about how God is gone and so forth. Also Camus who talks about rebellion as the only thing in (dawn?, doing?) leads to the reality of life and the most logical thing for a man to do is to commit suicide. And he finally dies by running his car into a tree.

And this whole world of contemporary art which is fullofloneliness, absurdity,we do not even know what’s up, what’s down,what Nietzsche says, we become very cold and lonely. One man can be lost in an infinite universe.Wedon’tknow what’s going on, because the sun has gone out. God is gone. And of course,if youdon’tbelieve in God, the worldbecomesa verymiserable place. Indeed, you don’t know where you’re going, whatyou’re doing,becauseGod gives mening to everything else in life.

“Everything is Permitted”

This first dogma introduced from the new religion—it’s actuallypreparingfor the new religion, that is, the “deathof God,” there is no God, there is no truth—has several consequences, corollaries. The first consequence is, as Nietzsche says: “There is no God:therefore everythingispermitted.”Thesame thing is said by IvanKaramazovin Dostoevsky’s novel, “If there is no immortality, everything is permitted.”29In fact we’ll see thatNietzscheand Dostoyevsky werethinking exactlyonthe same wave-length, had exactly the same ideas because they were very, they were both in tune with the spirit of the times. But Dostoyevsky approached it from the point of view of someone who knows Orthodoxy, and Nietzsche approached it as the prophet of this new teaching, because he did not know Christianity. And he considered Christianity to be a doctrine of weakness, the herd mentality.

So, this is all bound up by: if God is gone, there is no truth, there is no eternal life, all that Christian civilization lived on is now gone. It’s only amatterof time until it’s, becauseif faithis gone, everything built from that faith will disappear. And therefore the revolution becomes logical.

So the first consequence is: everything is permitted, that is, revolution, any kind of experiment in morality, government, art. In fact, we’ll see in a later[lecture]how the very conceptof art suddenly starts to crumble. What is art becomes filled with these very revolutionary, nihilistic ideas.

New Age

The second consequence of the death of God is that there begins to be anew age.Nietzschesays in 1884, “It maybethat I amthe firstto light upon an idea which will divide the history ofmankindin two.” As aresult,“all who are born afterusbelong to a higher history than any historyhitherto.”30Of course, this is the age when God was still meaningful, when Christianity was still alive to some degree. There’s some remnant ofChristianity.And the “new age” when God isremoved as thecenter, when Christianity is no longer accepted, that is the age of normal humanity and the age of revolution.

But as a matter fact he wasn’t so original ashethought because twelve years before this Dostoyevsky already expressed exactly the same idea in the thought of this Kirillov inThe Possessedwho said in one of his prophetic moments: “Everything will be new... then they will divide history intotwoparts: from the gorilla to the annihilation of God, and from the annihilation of God to the transformation of the earth, and of man physically.”31This is the idea of a new paradise coming up. This is Kirillov, the one who thought he had to become god inThe Possessed..


And finally we come to this third consequence of this idea “God is dead,” that is, there shall beannihilationof God,shall be the total transformation of the earth and man physically. Which means Superman, the coming of the Superman. Man is only something which is temporary and has to be supersededbecause he’stoo weak.He’sgoing to become aSuperman.

And what he means by Superman is someone who does not care about Christian morality. If you feel like killing someone, you kill. If you feel like doing anything you please, you do it. If want to [go] conquering the world, you conquer the world, blow people up, however you please,because there’snow anew morality. Of course, Communists did it even moreso.

And you can say, “That’s anti-Christian,” but theysay we’re beyondChristians:we have newmorality,we havethemorality of Nietzsche, that everything in the past belongs to pasthistory.Now there’s a new transformation in human nature and we are the ones who are first-fruits of this new transformation. Therefore we can do whatever we want to. In order to challenge that, if they have the power, they will squash it. If you want to challenge it, you have to convert them to Christianity, and then they will see their mistake, repent, and a whole new history begins.

And this is howNietzsche expressesit: “Shall wenotourselves have to become gods merely to seem worthy of it (the deathof God)?”32That is, the fact that man has killed God.

...[I]f the old God is [dead, the] idea is that there mustbea new God. AgainZarathustrasays, in Nietzsche’sbook, “Dead are all the gods. Now do we desire the Superman to live.”33And Kirillov inThe Possessedsays: “If there is no God, then IamGod.34And Dostoyevsky distinguishes between the God-man Jesus Christ and the man-god, the new being who is coming up from the earth to become god. Zarathustra says again:

“I bring you a goal; I preach to you the Superman. Man is something to be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? All things before you have produced something beyond themselves, and would you be the ebb of this great flood? Would you rather go back to the animal than transcend man? What is the ape to man? A jest or a bitter shame. And just that shall man be to the Superman, a jest or a bitter shame. You have traveled the way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm... Lo, I preach to you the Superman. The Superman is the meaning of the earth.”35

At first this seems a fantastic idea. What does it mean,“Superman”?Youprobablyrecall what Marx had to say about mankind being changed by means of violence, that is, man himself will be changed to [be] made fit for the new kingdom of Communism.

Contemporary writers such as Erich Kahler—talk about all the changes of modern society, both physically and in ideas, are producing what he calls a mutation, some kind of new man. And if, on top of that, we bear in mind the so-called “scientific” idea of evolution which in fact Nietzsche already believed in, we see that this idea of the coming of a new kind of man, of Superman, is not at all some kind of fantasy. It is a real idea which has been arrived at naturally, logically, by Western man in his falling away from God and trying to find the new religion.36

And the next generation comes along and because these ideas are not in a vacuum, someone hears them they begin to act according to them. And of course the answer to all these questions can be found in one writer, which is Dostoyevsky. He was thinking about the exactly the same things as Nietzsche, at the same time but a little ahead of him, and he had already the answer. Therefore, if you want to understand these problems very deeply, you read his books. First one isCrime and Punishmentwhich describes how someone thought he was going to become Superman by killing off these two useless old ladies, or rather killing off one, and taking money and making himself into a person who’s preparing for thefuture.And he discovers that he has aconscience,that it’s not so easy to dosomethinglike that.But this is all a fantasy, it’s a fantasy world he’s living in. The same thing was done in 1920 or so, the famous case where two students... [Leopold and Loeb] ...[no?]velty and they began to live by it. And if you look at the kinds of crimes which are being performed now, you willseethat in the last twenty years especially there’s been agreat increasein crimes whichdon’tmake any sense. That is,peopleusually in the old days, they could solve murders, almost all murders were solved in the old days because either there was a jealousy a man killing his wife or vice-versa or a lover, or anger, or a fit or a fight in a bar. And now the murders make no sense. There’s a few of the old kind, but now there’s a new kindof murder, and people are just killing because for the fun of it. And that is very difficult to trace them down. Now most murders areunsolved.They can’t find who did itbecause there’s no connection,there’s no logicalconnection.It’s not a familymember,it’s notsomebodywho got mad at you, just somebody who felt like killing. And this kind of crime is shockinglyincreasing,it showssociety’sin a very bad shape. And somemakea point of killing a whole set of people, twenty people or more.

So this is the new morality,Beyond Good and Evil. that’s one of Nietzsche’sworks. There’re several ideas here,one isbeyond good and evilbecause there’sno moremorality.Theother one is theSuperman.Since there’s no God, there must beanew man, a new god which is man. And Dostoyevsky wrote about these questions also in his book calledThe PossessedorThe Demonsin which he describes the mentality of people who were preparing to make the Revolution in Russia. And some of them have very profound ideas. He comes up with the idea that to make mankind happy, you must kill most people,because there’stoo many people to make everybody happy. Therefore he calculated in Russia, to make Russia a happy country you have to kill a hundred million people. Solzhenitsyn figured out that that was exactly the number of people that were killed because the Revolution lasts 65 years. that’s what washappeninginCambodiawhenthey killed off right away in the first six months, they killed off two million peoplebecausethere’re too many people, too manysmartpeople. Therefore everybody who had been past highschool had to be killed. Therefore all doctors, lawyers, advanced people like that were all killed, except a few who escaped.

Student: Then once these ideas get in the air, it’s likeapoison.

Fr. S: That’s right, that’s right. You can see fromthis Raskolnikov.It’s veryrealistic descriptionDostoyevsky makesinCrime and Punishment. This person ispossessedby these ideas. And hedoesn’thave any, any—he’snot his own man.He’spushed from one idea to the next, and every times he comes across, all of a sudden he has a good impulse to give somebody some money—it’s just out of what’s ever left ofChristianity inhim, because he had a pious mother and pious sister, some kind of Christianity in his background. And he gives some money tosomebodyand later on he says, “Oh, you fool, you couldhave usedthat money to help your project and kill that old lady”or something,get an axe to kill the old lady. He’s always reproaching himself because he has some goodimpulses. He’s possessed bythese ideas, and has no rest until he finally goes and performs the murder.

And that’s [whathappens]when we getsomeonelikeRaskolnikov fromCrime and Punishmentwho reads all these ideas, someone like Nietzsche says the Superman is to come. We have to be overcoming mankind, mankind is too weak.

Actually if you compare—today’sthe day of St. Anthony the Great [1980]—the answer to Nietzsche is Anthony the Great because Anthony the Great did overcome mankind, his own human nature. He was like an angel on earth, and these people, thinkers totally lost contact, because they lost Christianity, theylost contactwith thesesaints.Andthereforethey didn’trealizethat there is a whole family of people who are in this process of overcoming human nature with the grace of God. Not knowing that, he saw that men, human nature by itself is so small and weak,that it’s not worth fighting for.Thereforeit has to overcome but by some other, some kind of external thing.

And they jumped upon this idea of evolution because that shows you man was once an ape-like creature who is going to becomesomethingelse.He’sgoing to come tosomething higher.And therefore the present stage is only intermediary stage, nothing particularly important. Therefore if you kill a hundred million people, there’s no particular thing wrong with that. Or in Cambodia when the Communists took over, they killed one third of thepopulation. Nothing particularly wrong, it’s just an experiment.And we’reheadingfor some higher state, thereforeit’s justified.And the onlymeasuringstick is Christianity.

And with the doctrine of evolution, there is found what seems to be a scientific foundation. This very complex question of evolution, which has many aspects: scientific, philosophical, religious, and is one of the key ideas of our times, which requires a great deal of concentration to get all the aspects of it straightened out. We’ll have toexamineprecisely thisdoctrineof evolution to see what it gives to modern man and give enough to criticize it quite thoroughly so as to see what part it might place in the philosophy of the apostasy? Because this idea is, as it were, a key to understanding the whole revolution, the whole idea of a new age which is coming about through the chiliasticexpectationsof all thesewriters we’vebeen talking about. [In our next lecture] we’ll talk about it ingeneral termsand also we’ll talk about more specifically the one great prophet of evolutionism of our times: who is Teilhard de Chardin, who is most symptomatic of all these chiliastic currents which are going out in the world now.


1. Hume quoted in Randall, p. 300.

2. Randall, p. 301.

3. Holbach quoted in Randall, p. 302.

4. David Hume,An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, quoted in Edwin A. Burtt (ed.),The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill. New York. Random House, Inc., 1939. pp. 593-594, 598, 610, 682, 685.

5. Rose, Eugene, “Hume: Philosopher of Common Sense,” Term Paper I, History 117b, Dr. Crane Brinton, Instructor, Pomona College, November 10, 1954, pp. 2-6. This paper was graded by Dr. Brinton: “A good essay, well-written. A.”

6. Becker, Carl L.,The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1970, p. 68.

7. Heine, Heinrich,Religion and Philosophy in Germany, transl. John Snodgrass, Beacon Paperback, 1959, p. 107-109.

8. Ibid., p. 108.

9. Ibid., p. 113.

10. Ibid., p. 114.

11. Ibid., p. 115.

12. Ibid., p. 119.

13. Ibid., p. 124.

14. Ibid., pp. 125-6.

15. Cf. Foucart, Bruno,Courbet, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1977, p. 74: Of four animal pictures submitted to the Salon of 1861, Courbet comments: “The three pictures...have no equals, either in traditional art of in modern art.”

16. De Maistre, Josef,On God and Society (Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions and other Human Institutions), Henry Regnery Company (Gateway Edition), Chicago, 1959, pp. 84-85: “Although impious men have always existed, there never was before the eighteenth century, and in the heart of Christendom, an insurrection against God.” Also DeMaistre quoting Louis IX, p. 85: “They have waged war against God with His own gifts.”

17. Heine, p. 103.

18.Nihilism, pp. 72-73.

19. Rauschning,Hitler Speaks, pp. 241-243: “‘Creation is not yet at an all events not so far as the creature Man is concerned.... The old type of man will have but a stunted existence. All creative energy will be concentrated in the new one. The two types will rapidly diverge from one another. One will sink to a sub-human race and the other rise far above the man of today. I might call the two varieties the god-man and the mass- animal.... Man has to be passed and surpassed. Nietzsche did, it is true, realise something of this, in his way. He went so far as to recognize the superman as a new biological variety. But he was not too sure of it. Man is God in the making...Don’t you agree that the process of selection can be accelerated by poltical means?... The new man is among us! He is here!’ exclaimed Hitler triumphantly. ‘Now are you satisfied? I will tell you a secret. I have seen the vision of the new man—fearless and formidable. I shrank from him!’”

20. Nietzsche, Friedrich,The Will to Power, Vol. I, inThe Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, New York, The Macmillan Co., 1909, Vol. 14, p. 6.

21. Nietzsche,The Joyful Wisdom, #125.

22. Nietzsche,The Will to Power, p. 377: “Of all that was formerly held to be true, not one word is to be credited. Everything which was formerly disdained as unholy, forbidden, contemptible, and fatal—all those flowers now bloom on the most charming paths of truth.”

23. Nietzsche,The Will to Power, p. 6.

24. Quoted inNihilism, p. 68n:The Will to Power, p. 8.

25.Nihilismquoting Nietzsche,The Joyful Wisdom#343.

26. Nietzsche,The Joyful Wisdom#343.

27. Nietzsche quoted inThe Redemption of Democracy, orThe Beast from the Abyss, Hermann Rauschning, 1941, p. 10: “Our whole European civilization, in an agony of tension that grows from decade to decade, has long been moving toward a catastrophe. What I am telling is the history of the next two centuries. I am describing what will come, what cannot now but come: ‘the rise of Nihilism.’”

28. Nietzsche quoted inNihilism, p. 72n:The Joyful Wisdom, #125.

29.The Brothers Karamazov, p. 69: Miusov paraphrasing Ivan: “ believed in immortality.... The whole natural law lies in that faith, and if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.... for every individual, like ourselves, who does not believe in God or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that egoism, even to crime, must become, not only lawful but even recognized as the inevitable, most rational, even honorable outcome of his position.” “...there is no virtue if there is no immortality.”

30. Quoted inNihilism, p. 92n; Quoted in Henri De Lubac,The Drama of Atheist Humanism, p. 24.

31.The Possessed, Part I, Ch. 3, quoted inNihilism, p. 92.

32. Quoted inNihilism, p. 93n:The Joyful Wisdom, #125

33. Quoted inNihilism, p. 92n:Thus Spake Zarathustra.

34. Quoted inNihilism, p.93n:The Possessed, Part III, Ch. 6.

35. Quoted in Randall, pp. 585-6.

36. Kahler, Erich,The Tower and the Abyss, New York, George Braziller, Inc., 1957, pp. 225-226.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (13)

Now we come to this key concept which is extremely important for understanding the religious outlook of contemporary man—the whole outlook, both religious and secular. This idea is an extremely complex one and here we can give only a sketchy outline of the problems involved in this question.

Since the time of Darwin and hisOrigin of the Species—which came out in 1859 and was instantly accepted by many people and soon became very popular, especially with people such as T. H. Huxley, Herbert Spencer, in Germany—there was [Ernst] Haeckel [1834-1919] who wroteThe Riddle of the Universeand others who popularized the ideas of Darwin and made evolution the very center of their whole philosophy. It seems to explain everything. Of course, people like Nietzsche picked it up and used it for his so-called “spiritual prophecies.” So that the people who are in the main school of Western thought—this rationalism carried as far as you can take it—accepted evolution. And to the present day one can say that it is a central dogma of advanced thinkers, of people who are in harmony with the times. But from the very beginning there were people who were arguing about this. There was a Catholic thinker who believed in evolution but not in natural selection which reduced Darwin to despair because the latter discovered that his idea cannot be proved. But especially in the last ten to thirty years there have come out many critical accounts of evolution from the more objective point of view. Most of the books supporting evolution begin already with a certain premise which they assume, the naturalistic outlook and so forth.

But now there is even a whole society in San Diego called the Scientific Creationism Institute which has come out with several good books. They themselves are religious, but they have several books which discuss evolution quite objectively, not at all from any religious standpoint. They say there are two models for understanding the universe: one is the evolution model and one is the creation model. They take the evidence, the history of the earth, the geological layers and so forth, and they try to see which model these fit. And they have discovered that fewer adjustments have to be made if one follows the model of creation—if there was a God who created things in the beginning and if the earth is not billions of years old but only some thousands of years old.

The evolutionary model, on the other hand, requires a good many corrections which can be compared to the old Ptolemaic universe (vs. Copernican) and which is proving quite cumbersome. In fact, some members of this institute travel around to various universities and in the last year or two they have held several debates before thousands of spectators at the University of Tennessee, Texas... Interest has been quite high; and those defending evolution have not been able to give sound evidence in support of it and, in fact, on several points were caught on their ignorance of several recent discoveries in paleontology.

There are then people who are very sophisticated andknowledgeable defendingbothpointsof view. Here we won’tevendiscuss the question of atheistic evolution because it is obviously a philosophy of fools and people who can believe, as Huxley said, that if you put a group of monkeys with typewriters they will eventually give you the Encyclopedia Britannica, given enough time, if not millions then billions of years according to the laws of chance. Someone calculated this according to the laws of chance and found that in fact such a thing would never happen. But anyone who can believe that can believe anything.

The more serious dispute is between theistic evolution, that God created the world and then it evolved, and the Christian point of view. Here we must say that the Fundamentalist point of view isincorrectin manyinstances becausethey don’t know how to interpret Scripture. They say, for example, that the Book of Genesis must be understood “literally” and one cannot do this. The Holy Fathers tell us which parts are literal and which parts are not.

The first misunderstanding which must be cleared away before even discussing this question is one that causes many people to miss the point, and that is that we must distinguish between evolution and variation. Variation is the process by which the people who make various hybrids of peas, different kinds of cats—after fifty years of experimentation they come up with a new kind of cat which is a combination of Siamese and Persian called the Himalayan cat which has long hair like a Persian with the coloring of a Siamese. This had happened accidentally, but it was never able to reproduce itself purely and only now after all these years of experimentation have they come up with a new breed which breeds true—just so there are different species of dogs, different kinds of plants and the very races of men are all quite different: Pygmies, Hottentots, Chinese, Northern Europeans—all different kinds of human beings who came from one ancestor. And so the question of variation is one thing.

There are undoubtedly many variations within one type or kind of creature and these variations can be erected [expected?] by people on scientific principle. But these variations never produce anythingnew; they only produce a different kind of dog or cat or bean and people. In fact, this is more a proofagainstevolution rather than for it because no one has ever been able to come up with a new creature or new species. In fact, the different species—and this term is itself quite arbitrary—for the most part are not able to bear offspring and, in the few cases where they can and the mule is produced, it is not able itself toreproduceitself. And St. Ambrose of Milan says: “This is an example to you, O man, to stop meddling in the ways of God. Godmeansfor each creature to be separate.”1

During the period of the Enlightenment the view of nature, also called the Enlightenment world-view, was quite stable. In fact, just before this time the Anglican Archbishop Usher calculated all the years given in the Old Testament and came up with the idea that the world was created in the year 4004 B.C. Newton believed this and the enlightened world-view was in favor of the idea that God in six days created the world and then left it to develop itself and all the species were just as we see them today; and the scientists of that time accepted that.

At the end of the period of Enlightenment, however, as the revolutionary fever began to come on, this very stable world-view began to breakdown and already some scientists were coming up with more radical theories. At the end of the eighteenth century already Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin, came up with the hypothesis that all of life comes from one primordial filament which is exactly what is meant today by the theory of evolution. It is not a theory concerning only one species or kind of creature, but the theory that everything comes from some primordial blob or filament, and that this developed into the different kinds of creatures by transmutations.

This new kind of explanation, which he came up with then, is an attempt to continue the spirit of the Enlightenment as utter rationalism and simplicity. As the rationalism entered deeper into the mind, it was simpler to believe, he thought, to explain life as coming from one single living filament instead of the more complicated explanation that God gave being all at once to all different kinds of creatures.

There was one naturalist, Lamarck, who had a definite evolutionary theory just after this, but he had the idea that the changes necessary to account for the evolving of one species into another were due to the inheritance of acquired characteristics; and this could never be proved and has in fact been quite disproved. And so the idea of evolution did not take hold. But there was one important geologist at this period of the early nineteenth century who gave a great impetus towards this acceptance of this idea of evolution; and this was Charles Lyell who came up with the theory of Uniformitarianism, that is, that all the changes we see in the earth today are not due to some kind of catastrophes, a sudden flood or something similar, but that the processes we see today have been operating in past centuries, past ages, from the beginning of the world, as far as we can see. And therefore if we look at the Grand Canyon, we see that the river has been eating away the canyon, and you can calculate by taking into account how fast the water flows, how much water there is in it now, the quality of the soil and so on, how long it must have taken to wear away that. And Lyell thinks that if we assume that these processes were always going on at the same rate—this being very rational and given to calculation—we can come up with a uniform explanation of things; and, of course, there is no proof of this; this is merely his hypothesis.

But this, together with the idea which was now gaining sympathy—that species evolve one into the other—if you put these two together, you get the idea that most likely the world is not just a few thousand years old like the Christians seem to say, but it must be very many of thousands or even millions of years old or even more. This begins the greater and greater age of the earth. But again this was only a presupposition, a belief that the earth must be very old; it was not proved.

But already this idea was sinking into the minds of men; and when Darwin came up in 1859 with his book with the idea of natural selection as opposed to Lamarck who said that the giraffe was evolved because a short-necked creature stretched his neck to eat the higher leaves and his ancestors had a neck an inch longer, the next one stretched a little more and gradually it became what we know today as a giraffe. This is against all scientific lawsbecausesuch things don’t happen.An acquired characteristic cannot be inherited as, for example, when the Chinese women had their feet bound their daughters were always born with normal feet.

But Darwin came up with the idea that there were perhaps two longer-necked creatures who survived because they had longer necks and they were joined together because all the rest died off, because of some kind of disaster, and their children did have longer necks because they were—a change had occurred within them, a mutation. This might have been a chance thing at first, but once reproduction between two such like creatures has taken place it continues down throughout the ages.

Of course, this is aguessbecause no one has observed such a thing to happen. But this kind of a guess struck upon the consciousness of the people; they were like tinder, all ready for it, and this was the spark. The idea sounded so plausible; and the idea of evolution took hold—not because it was proved.

As a matter of fact, the speculations of Darwin were based almost entirely upon his observations, not of evolution, but ofvariation, because he wondered when he was traveling in the Galapagos Islands why there were thirteen different varieties of one kind of finch and thought that it was because there was one original variety which had developed according to its environment. This is not evolution but variation. From this, he jumped to the conclusion that if you keep making small changes like that, eventually you will have a different species. The problem in trying to prove this scientifically is that no one has ever observed these larger changes; they have only observed changeswithina type, within a species.

Let us look then at the so-called “proofs ofevolution” tosee what kind there are. We are not going to try to disprove, but just to try to see the quality of the proof they use; what is it that seems convincing to people who believe in evolution.

There is a standard textbook of zoology used twenty years ago and it lists a number of proofs. The first of these is called“comparative morphology,”that is, man has arms,birdshave wings, the fish have flippers—they even have convincing diagrams which make them look very much alike. Even the moth. The birds have claws and we have fingers and they show how one might have developed into the other. [Fr. S. is showing illustrations from p. 215 ofGeneral Zoologyby Storer] All creatures are shown to have a very similar structure and the different structures are all in different phyla and gena, families and so on. Of course, this is not a proof. This is very logical to one who believes in evolution.

But, as the scientific creationists say, if you believe that God created -------------------------------- ? basic master-plan of creation; that is, that all kinds of creatures have a basic similarity in their plan. If you believe that God created them, these pictures convince you that, yes, God created them in a sort of gradation. If you believe that one evolved into the other, you look at the same picture and say, yes, one evolved into the other. But there is no proof either for or against evolution in this. In fact, people accept evolution on some other basis and then look at this, and this convinces them even more.

Secondly, there is“comparativephysiology:” “Thetissueand fluids of organisms show many basic similarities in physiological and chemical properties that” are close to thesimilaritiesin morphology.Forexample,“from the hemoglobin in vertebrate blood,” a certain kind of “Oxyhemoglobin crystalscan beobtained; their crystalline structure... parallels that of vertebrate classification” which is “based on body structure. Those of each species aredistinct,but all from [a]” the one “genushave some common characteristic. [Furthermore] those of all birds havecertain resemblances”[but differ]different“from crystalsobtainedfrom” the “blood of mammals or reptiles.”2

This is the same thing as in morphology. If you believe in creation, you say that God made similar creatures with similar blood, and there is no problem. If you believe in evolution, you say that one evolved into the other. In fact, [in] one of the dating systems that has been devised from precipitations from blood, they see that they are similar in each species, something in common [with] those in one genus and quite distinct in birds, monkeys and so forth. And from this they make certain calculations and decide how many years apart on the evolutionary scale these different creatures are. As it happens, their calculations throw everything else off. If this is to be accepted, other dating systems have to be changed; so it is still controversial and it actually proves nothing because you can accept it either as a proof ofevolutionor of God’s creation.

There is a thirdargumentcalled “comparativeembryology.”Textbookslike this [General Zoology] used to have these classical pictures which—baby fish, salamander, turtle, chicken, pig, man—and they all look very much alike and they gradually evolve differently. Besides, you see that man has so- called “gill-slits” in the embryo.Therefore,this is aremembranceof hisancestry. ErnstHaeckel and the “theory of recapitulation” and “biogenetic law:” “Anindividual organismin itsdevelopment(ontogeny) tends to recapitulate the stages passed through by its ancestors (phylogeny).”3Today this theory is no longer accepted by evolutionists, that the gill-slits are not gill-slits at all but they are just preparing for what is to be developed in the neck of the human being. So this proof has been pretty well discarded. Again they use the argument that similarity means proof, which it in fact does not.

Another proof which used to be more powerful than it is today is that of vestigial organs. There are certain things, like the appendix in man, which seem to have no function now and therefore must be left over from a previous stage of evolution when he was a monkey or sometime when he used this organ. But more and more these vestigial organs are found to have a certain use; the appendix is found to have some kind of glandular function; so this argument is also losing its weight. And justbecausewedon’tknow what a certain organ does, this does not mean that it is left over from some lower form of life.

Then there are the arguments from paleontology, the study of fossils. Of course, the first very convincing thing is the geological strata, as, for example, the Grand Canyon where you see all kinds of strata; and the lower you get the more primitive the creatures seem to be. And they date the strata by what kind of creatures are found in them. [Fr. S. is showing illustration fromGeneral Zoology, p. 222 of strata in the Grand Canyon.]

There is a whole story how in the nineteenth century they discovered these strata and how they determined which were older and which were younger; and now they think they have a pretty elaborate system to tell which strata are older and which are younger. But the whole dating system is rather circular because they date—since often these strata are upside-down—they have to have certain readjustments, just like the Ptolemaic system needed certain adjustments to make epicycles, because the planets were not going around the earth uniformly. In the same way, you must make adjustments when you find the strata are upside down. You have to date them by the fossils in them. But how do you know that the fossils in them are in the right order? You know because somewhere else the fossils were in the right way, and you got the system from that. But as you look at it, it is a kind of circular system; and you have to have faith that this actually corresponds to reality.

But there are a number of flaws in this. For one thing the new creatures come quite suddenly into each strata with no intermediary types. Besides this, as research continues, they are finding animals in the strata which are not supposed to be there, so that now in the pre-Cambrian level they are finding quite advanced squid and all kinds of animals like that which should not be therebecausethey weren’t evolved until some hundred million years later. And you either have to change your idea of the squid’sevolutionor say this was an exception.

But in general there is no proof that these strata were laid down over millions of years. And the creationists who talk about the Flood of Noah say that it is equally conceivable that the Flood of Noah caused exactly the same thing because the more advanced animals would be going on higher ground trying to get away from the flood; the lower marine animals would obviously be the first to be buried; and there would be little [few] remnants of man at all because man would be trying to get on ships and other things to get away.

And there are only very particular conditions which cause a fossil to be left at all. It has to be buried suddenly in a certain kind of mud which allows it to be preserved. The whole idea of the gradualness of these phenomena is being called more and more into question. In fact there is now proof that oil and coal and such things can be made in an extremely short time in a matter of days or weeks. The formation of fossils itself is very much in favor of some catastrophe.

The final thing which is against evolution is that it is hard to say that there has ever been found a single thing which can be called an intermediary species. In fact Darwin wasextremely worriedabout this. He said, “According to mytheory there should be a million intermediary species at least or more and I have never found one. But we will wait until the fossilrecordis more complete.”4Andtoday’s scientistssay thatthefossil record is extremely complete; and there are more fossil species known than living species. And still there have not been found more than a couple which might be interpreted as somehow being an intermediary species. They will tell you about the pterodactyl—this reptile with wings, and say that this reptile is becoming a bird. But why can’t you simply say this is areptilewith wings?

And there arecertainfossils called “index fossils” which, [when] seen in a certain strata, mean that strata cannot be any older or younger than a certain date because that animal was extinct at that period. And they found one recently that was supposed to be extinct 500 million years ago which is swimming around in the ocean; and because it was thought to be an index fossil, it threw off the whole thing; and that particular layer which was dated according to this extinct fish is no longer correct.

And why is it that certain species evolve and others stay the same as they were? There are many species found in the past which are exactly the same as currently living species. And they have ideas that some are“reprobate”species thatdon’tgo anywhere for some reason, and others are more progressive species since they have the energy to go forward. But that isfaith, not proof.

And so, the fossil species which have been preserved are just as distinct from each other as living species.

Then we have something else which you find in all textbooks of evolution: the horse and the elephant [General Zoology, pp. 226-228, illustrations]. And there is a great deal of subjectivity involved, just as when you make the Neanderthal man look bent over to resemble an ape. This is imagination, not scientific proof, butsomethingbased on one’sphilosophical idea.And there is quite a bit of such evidence which is either pretty much against evolution or shows that there is no proof one way or the other. And there are some things which are quite remarkable and are unable to be explained by evolution.

Just recently in the last two to three years, they discovered a place in Texas where there are dinosaur tracks and right next to it human tracks; and in one place the human tracks and the dinosaur tracks overlap, which show that these two creatures were living at the same time. The Protestants made a movie about this and show it as a proof against evolution. But one of the scientists who saw this—he was a creationist—said, “Well,this is veryinteresting, isn’tit?” And one man who believed in evolution looked at it and said, “I don’t believe it.” He has faith this didn’t happen,that thisdinosaurwas extinct before man came; and therefore it is impossible to have dinosaur and human tracks together. Or else you make an epicycle in your system to provide some kind of explanation.

The final so-called “proof ofevolution”ismutation. Infact the serious scientist will tell you that all the rest is not really proof. But the one proof ismutations. And in fact Randall who wrote thisHistory of Modern Thought—he himself is an evolutionist—says, “Atpresent biologistsadmit that we donot,strictly speaking, know anything about the causes of the origins of new species; we must fall back upon the scientific faith that they occurbecauseofchemical changesin” the “germ plasm.”5He then is sophisticated enough to admit that this is a faith.

There are some like Dobzhansky who say that “Ihaveproved evolution because I have made a new species in thelaboratory.”And so, after thirty years of working on fruit flieswho multiply very quickly, you can get a whole equivalent of several hundred thousand years of human life in a few decades. He experimented by radiating fruit flies and finally came up with two who had changes—they had no wings or something—and they were no longer able to interbreed with the other kind of fruit fly. And this is his definition of species—that they can’t interbreed; andtherefore“I have evolved a newspecies.”

Well, in the first case, this was done under extremely artificial conditions with radiation; and you have to have a new theory of radioactive waves from outer space in order to justify it. And secondly, it is still a fruit fly. So it has no wings or it’spurpleinstead of yellow; it is still a fruit fly and is basically no different from any other fruit fly; it's simply another variety. So he has actually proved nothing.

Besides that, mutations are ninety-nine percent harmful; and all experiments, including those [by scientists] who worked on this for many decades, all have proved unsuccessful to show any kind of real change from one kind of creature into another, even the most primitive kind that reproduces itself every ten days. If anything, the evidence in that sphere is for theThe Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (14)? [uniformitarianism? stability?] of species.

But in the end we have to say that there is no conclusive proof, scientific proof,forevolution. And likewise there is not any conclusive proofagainstevolution, because even though it might not seem too logical or too plausible according to the evidence, still there is no proof that given a billion or trillion years you might not produce from an amoeba a man or a monkey. A man is more complicated because he has a soul. Who knows? If you have acompletelyobjective mind and don’tconsiderfor a moment what the HolyFatherssay, you might think that perhaps it’s true, especially if there is a God. By “chance,” you have noargumentat all. The latter—if one were to believe in chance—requires much more faith than to believe in God. In any case, the evidence we have just examined makes sense to you according to what your philosophy is. And the creationist philosophy requires less adjustment of the evidence. And so it is more in accordance with simplistic and uniformitarian presuppositions of modern science.

There is one more thing which has been used as a kind of “proof ofevolution”;and that is the dating system: radio-carbon, potassium-argon, uranium decay, fluorine system and so on. These were all discovered in the present century, some of them just recently. They say that this proves the world is really very old. And in one textbook it says this is a revolution in dating because before that we had only relative ideas of age and now we have absolute ideas.

You can test your potassium-argon and come up with the idea that a certain rock is three billion, two billion years old; they allow a margin of error of about ten percent. The fact of the matter is that the great age of the earth was already known supposedly by scientists before these dating systems were developed. And the dating systems already accepted [were based on] the presuppositions which led to the idea that the world was already many millions if not billions of years old. So they are not really revolutionary in dating; they simply fit into an already accepted view. If these new dating systems had said that the world was only 5,000 years old, instead of 3 billion, scientists would not have been accepting them so easily.

Secondly, there are certain basic principles, presuppositions, which these dating systems must have. The carbon-14 system, which traces the radio-active decay of half-life of carbon-14 to carbon-12, requires: 1) that there is absolute uniformity—that the decay rate has always been the same for as long as the process has been going on, 2) that there has been no contamination from outside sources—which they admit does happen, and 3) that the thing being dated has been isolated, buried somewhere and nothing else has been touching it from outside, no organic matter, and finally, 4) that there was no carbon-12 in the first place, it was all carbon-14. All these things are assumptions; they are not proved.

Many people, even among non-evolutionists, will admit that carbon-14 is the most reliable of all the dating systems; even the scientific creationists admit that it has an accuracy back perhaps 2,000 years. It has been tested on certain articles whose age has been determined and it has proved to be not too far off in most cases. But beyond 2,000 or 3,000 years it becomes extremely dubious. And even those adherents to this system admit that because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,600 years or so, it cannot be accurate beyond 20,000 or 30,000 years at the most. The other systems, potassium-argon, uranium and so forth claim to [have a] half-life of one billion, three-hundred million years; and therefore when they talk about improving the age of old rocks they use these systems.

The carbon-14 system is used only on organic matter, on the fossils themselves; and potassium-argon and uranium systems on rocks. But the same things are true: there must be uniformity throughout the billion years, no contamination from outside. We must assume that it was all potassium in the beginning before it decayed to argon; and all these things you have to take on faith. And if you try to measure anything recent, say only a million years ago, and you take this system with a half-life of a billion years, it is like trying to measure a millimeter with a yard stick; and is not very accurate even assuming it is valid. And there have been numerous cases when they have applied this system to new rocks; and they give them a life of two billion years old. Therefore, the whole thing is very shaky. And it requires that those billion years exist in the first place.

There are other kinds of tests which have been used at various times as, for example, the rate at which sodium is dissolved into the oceans, the rate at which various chemicals are discharged into the ocean. You measure the amount of the elements there are now in the oceans, measure approximately how much of it goes into the sea every year, and from that you come up with a guess of how old the ocean must be; and probably the ocean is as old as the world. They did this with sodium and discovered the world was, say, a billion years old. But it was found that you get different answers depending on which element you use, ranging from lead which gives a life rating of 150 years, others give 5,000 years, some 500 years, some 10 billion—there is absolutely no uniformity.

There are other tests. For example, one tried the rate at which nickel accumulates on the earth in meteorites. By taking approximately the amount of nickel which accumulates in the earth from the meteorites every year and projecting it into the past on the uniformitarian basis, and one person made a calculation that if the earth was 5 billion years old according to the latest guess, there should be a layer of nickel on the earth 146 miles thick. There is another test, the rate of helium which also gives some utterly fantastic result. Therefore, these tests are very unsure; and some of them make it very dubious that the world could be anything like that, 50 billion years old.

When you come down to it, it depends what your faith is. Some scientists think the earth is very old because so far evolution is unthinkable unless the earth is very old. And if you believe in evolution, you must believe the earth is very old, since evolution does not work on any kind of a short scale. But as far as any scientific proof, there is none whatsoever that the earth is 5 billion years old, or 7,000 years old—it could be either. It depends on what kind of suppositions you start with.

So evolution is not, in fact, a scientific problem; it is aphilosophicalquestion. And we have to realize that the theory of evolution is acceptable to certain scientists, certain people, philosophers, because they have been accepting something like—? [the presuppositions, the way?] they have been prepared for it.

Here is another quote or two from this same Randall, who believed in evolution, talking about how much faith enters into this. As we already read: “Atpresent iologistsadmit that wedo not strictly speaking know the causes of the origin of new species. We must fall back on the faith that they occur because ofchemical changesin” the “germ plasm.”6That is the scientific faith. And if you question the scientist he will say, but anything else is unthinkable—the“anythingelse”meaningthat Godcreated the world 7,000 or 8,000 years ago.

Again he says, describing the effect of evolution on the world: “In spite of these difficulties, the beliefs of men today have become thoroughly permeated with the concept of evolution. The great underlying notions and concepts that meant so much to the eighteenth century, Nature and Reason and Utility, have largely given way to a new set better expressing the ultimate intellectual ideas of the Growing World. Many social factors conspired topopularizethe idea ofdevelopmentand its corollaries.”7

“Evolutionhasintroduceda whole new scale of values.Where for the eighteenth century the ideal was the rational, the natural, even the primitive and unspoiled, for us the desirable is identified rather with the latter end of the process ofdevelopment,and our terms of praise are “modern,” “up-to-date,” “advanced,” “progressive.” Just as much as the Enlightenment we tend to identify what we approved with Nature, but for us it is not the rational order of nature, but the culmination of an evolutionary process, which we take for our leverage in existence. The eighteenth century could think of nothing worse than to call a man than an “unnaturalenthusiast”;we prefer to dub himan “antiquatedandoutgrownfossil.”That age believed a theory ifitwere calledrational,useful and natural; we favor it if it is “the mostrecent development.”We had rather be modernists and progressives than sound reasoners. It is perhaps an open question if in our new scale of values we have not lost as much as we have gained, “...The idea ofevolution,as it has finally come tobeunderstood, has reinforced the humanistic and naturalistic attitude.”8

The Orthodox Perspective

Now we must look to see what Orthodoxy says about the questions which evolution talks about, where they touch upon philosophy and theology. According to the theory of evolution, man is coming up from savagery and that is why they show in books the Cro-Magnon man, Neanderthal man—obviously very savage, ready to beat someone over the head and take his meat. This is obviouslysomeone’s imagination;it is notbasedupon the shape of the fossils or anything else.9

If you believe that man came up from savagery then you’ll interpret all past history in those terms.Butaccording to Orthodoxy man fell from paradise. In evolutionary philosophy there is no room for a supernatural state of Adam. And those who want to keep both Christianity and evolutionism, are forced to stick some kind of artificial paradise onto an ape-like creature. These are obviously two different kinds of systems whichcan’t bemixed.

What finally begins to happen is that the people who begin to do this, as many Catholics have done in recent decades, they see that they got mixed up and therefore they accept that evolution must be right and Christianity a myth; that the fall of man is only some kind of cosmic immaturity, that the ape-like creatures when they became man, they became some kind of naïve human creature and involved in some kind of guilt complex at the same time.

Besides, there was not just one pair but many, which is called polygenism—that man came from many different pairs. Once you give into the idea that we will inspect it rationally—on the basis of our rational naturalistic philosophy of the modern philosophers—then Christianity has to be put away someplace, or made...

...unexamined presuppositions or examined presuppositions. Anyway, it is a realm of very relative truths. And in the teaching of Holy Fathers we have truths which are revealed and truths which are given to us by God-inspired men.

So we’ll look at a few of these things which Holy Fathers say. There is a great deal of material about evolution, although youwouldn’t think so. But if you think through whatevolution isphilosophically and theologically and then look up those questions the Holy Fathers, there is a great deal of information to be found in thewritingsof Holy Fathers.But wecan’tgo into much of it right now. Let’s just have a fewpointsto see if wecancharacterize evolution according to patristic teaching.

First, we should make a note that the idea of creation is something which is quite different from the world we see today; it’s a wholedifferent principle.Andtherefore,when we read inamodern Christian evolutionist—in fact, he’s a noted conservativeGreek theologian, [Panagiotis] Trempelas, supposed to be scholastic,but anyway, he’s aconservative—he says that “it appears more glorious and divine-like and more in harmony with the regular methods of God, which we daily see expressed in nature to have created the various forms by evolutionary methods, Himself remaining the first and supreme creative Cause of the secondary and mediate causes to which are owed thedevelopmentof the variety ofspecies.”10

We will note here that oftentimes theologians are quite behind the times. And in order to apologize for the scientific dogma, they often come up with things which the scientists have already left behind, because the scientists are reading the literature;and the theologians often are scared that they’re going to be old-fashioned or say something which is not in accordance with scientific opinion. So, often a theologian can quite unconsciously fall for an evolutionary idea by not thinking the whole thing through, by not having a thorough-going philosophy, and not being aware of scientific evidence and scientific questions.

But this very idea that he sets forth that creation is supposed to be in accordance with the methods which God uses all the time is certainly nothing patristic about it, because creation is when the world came into being. And every kind of Holy Father who writes about this will tell you that those first six days of creation were quite different from anything else that ever happened in the history of the world.

And even Augustine—who says that this whole thing is a mystery—he says we really can’t even talk about itbecauseit’s sodifferentfrom our ownexperience:it’s beyond us. And inthesame way we simply cannot project present-day laws of nature back into the past and come up with the creation. Creation issomething different;it’s thebeginningof all this andnotthe way it is now.

Some rather naïve theologians try to say that the six days of creation can be infinitely long periods; they can correspond to these different layers, you know, the geological strata—which, of course, is nonsense because the geological strata do not come up with six easily identifiable layers, or five or four oranythingof the sort. There’s a whole lot of layers; andthey simply do not correspond at all to six days of creation. So that simply is a very weak kind of accommodation.

And as a matter of fact, if you look at the Holy Fathers, even though it looks as though it might be terribly fundamentalistic to say it, they do with one voice say that those days were twenty-four hours long. St. Ephraim the Syrian even divides them into two days, two periods, twelve hours each. St. Basil the Great says, the first day is called in Genesis not the “firstday,” it’s called “One day”becausethat is the one day by which God measured out the entire rest of the creation; that is, this first day which he says was twenty-four hours long is exactly the same day which is repeated in the rest of creation.

And if you think about it, there is nothing particularly difficult in that idea because the creation of God is something totally outside our present knowledge, and the accommodation of days to epochsdoesn’tmake any sense; you can’t fitthemtogether. And therefore, why do you need to have a day which is a thousand years long or a million years long? You don’t have a need for that.

And as a matter of fact, the Holy Fathers say again with one voice that the creative acts of God areinstantaneous. St. Basil the Great, St. Ambrose the Great, St. Ephraim and many others say, when God creates, He says the word and itis, faster than thought.

There’s a whole lot of quotations,but we just can’t gointo[them]. And there’s no one that says creation is slow. Thereare six days of creation and the Holy Fathers explain this, not that this is some kind of long process, not that man has been evolving from something lower–that idea is totally foreign to any Holy Fathers—but that the lower creatures came first in order to prepare the realm for the higher creature who is man, who must have his kingdom already created before he comes. And even St. Gregory the Theologian uses the phrase that man was made by God on the sixth day and entered into the newly created earth.11

There was a whole teaching of Holy Fathers concerning the state of the world and of Adam before the fall of Adam. Adam was immortal, or rather, as Augustine says, he was not created immortal; he was created with the possibility of being either mortal or immortal in the body; and he chose by his fall to be mortal in the body.

The Creation before the fall of Adam was in a different state. About that the HolyFathersdo not tell us very much; it’s really beyond us. But certain Holy Fathers of the most contemplative sort, such as St. Gregory of Sinai, do describe what is the state of paradise. And he says it is a state which exists now but has become invisible to us, the same state that was then; and that it is placed between corruption and incorruption so that when a tree falls in paradise, it does not rot away, like we know, but is turned into the most fragrant kind of substance. Of course, this is a hint which tells us this is beyond us, that there’ssomeother kind of law.

We know people who have been to paradise, you know, like St. Euphrosynos, who went to paradise and brought back three apples. Remember that story? St. Euphrosynos, the cook.He’sin our kitchen, the patron of cooks. And these three apples were kept for a little while; they divided them up and ate them; and they were very sweet. They ate them like holy bread; which meansthere’s somethingto do withmatter, and yet there’s something different from matter. Of course, people now are speculating about matter, anti-matter, what is the source of, root of matter – they don’t know any more. And so why should we be surprised that there’s some otherdifferentkind of matter?

We know also that there’s going to be adifferentbody,aspiritual body. Our resurrected body will be a different kind of matter than the one we know now. St. Gregory the Sinaite says it will be like our present body, but without moisture and withoutheaviness.And what that is wedon’tknowbecauseunless you’veseen an angel, youhaven’thadexperienceof that. You don’t.Ourown bodies are filled with precisely this heaviness.

So we do not have to make any kind of speculation about exactly what kind ofmatterthis is,because that’sgoing toberevealed to us when we need to know it, in the next life. But it is enough for us to know that paradise, the state of the whole creation before the fall of Adam, was quite different from what we know.

You can speculate if you like whether any creature died before Adam. Adambrought deathinto the world, so it’s very likely that no creature ever died before Adam died, before Adam fell. But that’s,the HolyFathers don’ttalk aboutparticular pointslike that, or very little. So it’s not for us tospeculate. All weknow is that world was quite different. And the law of nature we know now is the law of nature which God gave when Adam fell; that is, when He said, “Cursed be theearthfor Thy sake.” (Gen.3:17)And,“In pain thou shalt bring forthchildren.”(Gen. 3:16) Beforethe fall Eve was a virgin. And God made male and female knowing man would fall and would need this means of reproducing.

But there’s anelementof great mystery in the stateofcreationbefore the fall of Adam which wedon’tneed to pry intobecausewe are notinterestedin the “how” ofcreation.Weknow that there was a creation of six days, and the Holy Fathers say 24- hour days—there’snothing surprisingabout that; that theactswere instantaneous—God wills and it’s done, He speaks and it’s done. That is, since we believe in God, Who’s Almighty, isnoproblem whatsoever. But how it looked, how many species of creatures there were, whether there were all the different kinds of cats we see or whether there were five basic types or only families or only genera—we have no idea, and it’s not important for ustoknow.

To add to the theory of evolution the idea of God, as some Christian evolutionists do, gives no help at all. Or rather it gives only one help, that is, it gets you out of this problem of finding out where everything came from in the first place. Instead of a great kind of tapioca bowl of cosmic jelly or something, you have God. Well, that’s more clear, it’s a straight idea. If you have thetapiocajelly in spacesomeplace,it’s a very mystical and difficult to understand. If you’re a materialist,it makes sense to you, but that’s purely on the basis of your prejudices. But apart from that, given the beginning, God does not help the theory of evolution at all. Because the difficulties in the theory are still there, no matter whether God isbehindit or not. So, there’snoparticular help from the idea of adding God to the idea of evolution.

Another difference between this, the modern philosophy of evolution and Orthodox teaching, is not only the past of man, but the future of mankind. If the creation is one great filament which evolves and is transmuted into new species, then we have one kind of philosophy of thefuture,which we’ll discussshortly about theevolutionof“superman.”If thecreationis onegreathierarchy of being, then we can expect something different. We do not have to expect some kind of changes, some kind of rising up from the lower to the higher.

Concerning the transmutability of species—or “kinds,”accordingto the word used in Genesisbecause“species” is a very arbitrary concept;wedon’thave to take that as any kind of limit—the HolyFathershave a quitedefinite teaching.And briefly we’ll quote a few Holy Fathers about this.

St. Gregory of Nyssa, or rather, he quotes his sister Macrina on her deathbed—remember this conversation we heard about, when she was dying? She talks about this very question, whenshe’s opposingthe idea of the transmigration of souls,thepre-existence of souls which was taught by Origen. She says or rather St. Gregory says through her: “Those who would haveitthat the soul migrates into natures divergent from each other seem to me to obliterate all natural distinctions, to blend and confuse together in every possible respect the rational, the irrational, the sentient and the insensate. If, that is, all these are to pass into each other with no distinct natural order secluding them from mutual transition. To say that one and the same soul on account of a particular environment of body is at one time a rational and intellectual soul and that then it is caverned along with the reptiles, or herds with the birds, or is a beast of burden or a carnivorous one, or swims in the deep, or even drops down to an insensate thing so as to strike out roots and become a complete tree producing buds on branches and from those buds a flower or a thorn or a fruit edible or noxious—to say this is nothing short of making all things the same, and believing that one single nature runs through all beings, that there is a connection between them which blends and confuses hopelessly all the marks by which one could be distinguished from another.”12

Well, that shows very clearly the Holy Fathers believed in a whole hierarchy of beings. It is not, as Erasmus Darwin wanted to have it, one single filament which runs through all beings—there are distinctnatures.

And if we look at one of the basic works of Orthodox theology which is theOn the Orthodox Faithof St. John of Damascus, we find that before he gives usOn the Orthodox Faith, he has two books before it which he says are all part of a whole. One isOn the Heresieswhich tells exactly what the heretics believed, and why we do not believe that. And the first part of this great work which is one of the standard books of Orthodox theology; it’s calledOn Philosophy.The whole thing is calledThe Fount of Knowledge.He begins with philosophical chapters in which he goes into such things as “what is knowledge?” “whatis philosophy?”“what is being?” “what issubstance?”“whatis accident?”“what is species?” “what is genus?” “whataredifferences?” “what areproperties, predicates?”And the wholething is based on the idea that reality is quite distinctly divided up into different beings, each of which has its own essence, its own nature, not one is confused with the other. There is a distinct hierarchy of beings, and he said he thinks you have to read this before you can read his book on Orthodox theology,The Orthodox Faith.

Student:Who’sthat is by?

Fr. S: St. John of Damascus, in the eighth century. You should know there are a number of basic books, by the way, byOrthodox Fatherson this veryquestion.There’sonebook calledHexaemeron,that is, the Six Days, commentaries on the six days of Genesis. There’s one by St. Basil the Great in the East, one by St. Ambrose the Great in the West, and other lesser ones. There are commentaries on the Book of Genesis by St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, who also wrote treatises on Adam and Eve. And there are many writings on these subjects scattered in the writings of many other Holy Fathers. St. John of Kronstadt also wrote aHexaemeron,about six days of creation.

These books are very inspiring, by the way, because they are not mere abstract knowledge; they very are full of a practical wisdom. He uses a love of nature, and thesplendorof God’s creation, to give an example for us human beings, and many quaint little examples of how we should imitate the dove, in its love for its fellow, for its mate and so forth, how we should be like the wiser animals and not be like the dumber animals. For example, we can take an example from oursquirrels.They’re verygreedy. We’re notsupposedto be like that. We’resupposedtobegentle like the deer. We have all around us examples like that.

We can see if there are one or two quotes from St. Basil; for example, he says, “Let the earth bring forth.” Thisbriefcommand was immediately mighty Nature, an elaborate system which brought to perfection more swiftly than our thought the countless propertiesof plants.”13Elsewhere he says when the trees, “Let the earth bring forth plants,” he says “Instantly, swifter than thought, mighty forests arose, and all the different kinds of plants.”14

And here he has a quote on the very question of the succession of creatures one after the other. He quotes Genesis: “Let theearthbring forth livingcreatures.”This is from the 9th Homily onHexaemeron. “Cattle and wild beasts andcrawlingcreatures.”And St. Basil says to this: “Consider the Word of Godmoving through all creation, having begun at that time, active up to the present and efficacious until the end, even to the consummation of the world. As a ball when pushed by someone and then meeting with a slope is borne downward by its own shape and inclination of the ground and does not stop before some level surface receives it, so too the nature of existing objects, set in motion by one command, passes through creation without change, by generation and destruction, preserving the succession of the species through resemblance until it reaches the very end. It begets a horse as a successor of a horse, a lion of a lion, and an eagle of an eagle. And it continues to preserve each of the animals by uninterrupted successions until the consummation of the universe. No length of time causes the specific characteristics of animals to be corrupted or extinct. But, as if established just recently, nature, ever fresh, moves along with time.”15

So that is a statement not of science but of philosophy. This is the way God created creatures, and each one has a certain seed, a certain nature and transmits that to its offspring. When there is some kind ofexception,then it’s a monstrosity;it’s anexception. And this does not invalidate the principle of the natures of things, each one of which is quite distinct from the other. If we do not understand the whole variety of God’s creation, that’sour fault, not God’s.

St. Ambrose has a number of quotations on the same line. HisHexaemeronis very close to St. Basil’s inspirit.And now we have another quote from St. Gregory [of Nyssa] which shows a very interesting [thing], that there was in fact a theory something like evolution in ancient times, although, of course, not at all like the present theory. He is combatting the idea of the pre-existence of souls. There’s a second idea whichisthe opposite idea. St. John of Damascus whose writings, hisOn the Orthodox Faithsums up the theological writings of the earlierFathers.And he has on statement which says: “Let us not think like Origen and other blasphemers that God created the soul and the body of man at different times. He created them simultaneously.”16

But if we read the account of Genesis, it says rightly, [if I be?]correct,“He made the body and breathed into it a living soul.” And in fact, theChristian evolutionistssaid, “Aha,perfect!That means man was something first and then he became human.”

Let us see what St. Gregory of Nyssa says about this. “Some of those before our time who have dealt with thequestionof principles think it right to say that souls have a previous existence as a people and a society of their own.” This is Origen’s idea that the soul “fell down” into our world. “And thatamong them also there are standards of vice and of virtue, and that the soul there, which abides in goodness, remains without experience of conjunction with the body. But if it does depart from its communion with good, it falls down to this lower life and so comes to be in a body. Others on the contrary, marking the order of the making of man as stated by Moses, say that the soul is second to the body in order of time, since God first took dust from the earth and formed man, and then animated the being thus formed by his breath. And by this argument they prove that the flesh is more noble than the soul, that which was previously formed than that which was afterwards infused into it. For they say that the soul was made for the body, that the thing formed might not be without breath and motion, and that everything that is made for something else is surely less precious than that for which it is made. As the Gospel tells us that the soul is more than the meat and the body than raiment. Because the latter things existfor the sake of the former.”17

Surely this is very close,althoughit’s in a differentclimate of ideas, still it’s very close to themodern evolutionists’idea that matter indeed is thefirstthing and the soul is secondary.

Now he goes on to discuss the second one, after getting rid of, after disposing of the idea of Origen that the souls preexist.

“Nor again are we in our doctrine to begin by making up man like a clay figure, and to say that the soul came into being for the sake of this; for surely in that case the intellectual nature would be shown to be less precious than the clay figure. But as man is one, the being consisting of soul and body, we are to suppose that the beginning of his existence is one common to both parts, so that he should not be found to be antecedent and posterior to himself, if the bodily element were first in point of time, and the other were a later addition. For we are to say that in the power of God’sforeknowledge, accordingto the doctrine laiddown earlier in our discourse, all the fullness of human nature had preexistence. And to this the prophetic writing bears witness which says that God knoweth all things before they be. And in the creation of individuals, not to place the one element before the other: neither the soul before the body, nor the contrary, that man may not be at strife against himself by being divided by the difference in point of time. For as our nature is conceived as twofold, according to the apostolic teachings, made up of the visible man and the hidden man, if the one came first and the other supervened, the power of Him that made us would be shown to be in some way imperfect, as not being completely sufficient for the whole task at once, but dividing the work and busying himself with each of the halves in turn.”18

Of course the whole reason for an idea of evolution is you donotbelieve that God is powerful enough to create the whole world by His Word. You are trying to help Him out by letting(vaying?) Nature do most of the creating.

There are many other quotes we could have, but we have no time. The Holy Fathers talk quite in detail about the question of what it means that Adam was created from the dust. Some people take the fact that St. Athanasius the Great says in one of hiswritings,“Adam wascreatedfrom the dust in the same way that every man iscreatedfrom the dust.”19And they say “Aha,that means that Adam could have been descended from some othercreature.He didn’t need to be taken from literal dust. Youdon’thave to take that part of Genesis literally.” But it so happens this very point is discussed in great detail by many Holy Fathers. And they come up with many different ways of expressing it, and makes it absolutely clear that Adam and Cain are two different kinds of people. Cain was born of man and Adam had no father. Adam was born of the, was created of the dust, directly by the hand of Christ. And many Fathers taught the same: Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John Damascene, St.—many of the Holy Fathers.

So, when we come to questions such as what is to be interpreted literally in Genesis, what is to be interpreted figuratively or allegorically, the Holy Fathers set forth for us very clearly. And St. John Chrysostom in his commentary even points out in certain passages exactly what is figurative, what is literal. And he says those who try to make it all allegory are trying to destroy our faith.

St. Gregory the Theologian—who was noted for being very elevated in his interpretations—[says concerning] the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, “I think this is a way ofsaying “Contemplation.”20Therefore, some people say, “Aha it means he doesn’t believe in Paradise. He doesn’t believe that there was an actual tree.” Of course, we are told that: the tree is not a real tree.

But a thousand years after him, there was a great Orthodox theologian, St. Gregory Palamas. And he was confronted by Barlaam, the Latinizer. And Barlaam said that the uncreated light was not real divine light, uncreated light was some created light. It is only symbolically called divine. And this St. Gregory applied to him:

“Do we believebecauseSt. Gregory theTheologian saysthe Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil means Contemplation, do we believe that he meant to say that there was no tree?” Of course not; there was a tree, and he believed it. Inthesame way St. Maximus the Confessor said Moses is a symbol of contemplation, Elijah a symbol of something else. Does that mean that Moses and Elijah do not exist?21literal meaning destroyed. Only occasionally.

Well, enough for that subject. We can characterize in general evolution in its philosophical aspect as a naturalistic heresy which comes closest of all to being the opposite of the ancient heresy of the pre-existence of souls. That is, that there’s one kind of soul nature which runs throughout creation;evolutionis the idea there’s one kind ofmaterialbeing which runs throughout creation. And the same, both of them destroy the idea of the hierarchy of beings and the distinct natures of each. This was a heresy which was actually lacking in ancient times. Usually Orthodoxy is midway between two errors: between the doing away with the divine nature of Arius, and the doing away with the human nature of Monophysitism.

And in this particular case the other heresy was not incarnated in ancient times. And it waited formoderntimes to make thisparticular error.But we’ll seenow much more clearly this philosophical side of evolutionism when we look at a few of the so-called Christian evolutionists.

Question:“Are there any Orthodoxscholars?”

Fr. S: Oh, afraid there are. We’ll look at one or twonow.In the last few years there’ve been articles—small articles, some longer articles—in some of the Orthodox press on this very question of evolution. And in fact the Greek Archdiocese newpaper,The Orthodox Observer,printed several articles which are quite surprising in that they are so far away from Orthodoxy.

One of these articles in the Greek newspaper says that evolution cannot really be a heresy because there are many Christians who believe in it. And it quotes two. These are Lecomte du Nouy andTeilharddeChardin.So we’ll look for a moment at Lecomte du Nouy;he’s supposedto be a Christian who believes inevolution; thereforeitcan’tbe a heresy.

He was a widely-known respected scientist, mathematician and physiologist, who has written several books on scientific philosophy. He was born in Paris in 1883. He wrote a popular book calledHuman Destinywherein he sets forth his conclusions about evolution. It turns out he’s not too much of a Christian because he believed that man created his own God, who is actually a “formidable fiction.”22He is very patronizing.

And of course, in reading the Holy Fathers we have to know both the fact that one Father comments on the other, and that it is not such an easy thing to find what is literal and what is not literal. One has to read much and get the whole context in which they are speaking in order to see exactly how one is to interpret them. And of course for the most part the things of the book of Genesis are in two levels. That is, there are literal truths, and there are also—many times for our spiritual benefit—some kind of spiritual truths. In fact, there are whole systems of three or four levels of meaning, but [it is] sufficient for us that there are many deeper meanings in the Scriptures; and very seldom is the towards Christianity, and he believes that Christianity has been misunderstood and misinterpreted, but it is still good for themasses,and is a useful tool for man’scontinuing evolutiononamoral and ethical plane. It has no objective, absolute truth, of course. Christ is not God, but He’s perfect man. But Christian tradition somehow helps to educate the race towards furtherevolution.He says that, “We are” now “at thebeginningof the transformations which will end in thesuperior race...”23“Evolution continuesin our time,no longer on the physiological or anatomical plane, but on the spiritual and moral plane. We are at the dawn of a new phase of evolution.”24

Of course, it is difficult enough to find scientific evidence ofevolution; it’s impossibleto find evidence for spiritual evolution.But he believes in it. He says, “Ourconclusions areidentical with those expressed in the second chapter of Genesis, provided that this chapter is interpreted in a new way and considered as the highly symbolical expression of a truth which is intuitively perceived by its redactor or by the sages who communicated it to him.”25

By the way Holy Fathers say that Moses heard from God. And one Father even says from the Archangel Gabriel, he received a revelation concerning—in fact St. John Chrysostom says the book of Genesis is aprophecy of the past; that is, he saw an exalted vision of what it was in the beginning. And St. Isaac the Syrian also says that in his state of ecstasy...

“St. Isaac...describes how, in men of the highest spiritual life, the soul can rise to a vision of the beginning of things. Describing how such a soul is enraptured at the thought of the future age of incorruption, St. Isaac writes: ”And from this one is already exalted in his mind to that which preceded the composition (making) of the world, when there was no creature, nor heaven , nor earth, nor angels, nothing of that which was brought into being, and to how God, solely by His good will, suddenly brought everything from non-being into being, and everything stood before Him in perfection.”26...into revelation, to vision when a holy man is in a very, ascends to a vision of God.

Messr. Lecomte du Nouy continues:“Let ustry...toanalyze the sacred text as though it were a highly symbolical and cryptic description of scientific truths.”27It is, of course, extremely patronizing that this poor Moses tried his best to get a scientific picture of the way things were, and all he came up with is these sort of images. He explains, this Lecomte du Nouy, that, “Theomnipotenceof God ismanifestedby the fact thatman,” whois“descendedfrom the marine worms, is today capableof conceiving the future existence of a superior being and of wanting to be his ancestor. Christ brings us the proof that this is not an unrealizable dream,but an accessible ideal.”28That is, Christ is some kind of superman, and this is somehow the ideal to which man now is evolving. For this man, we have a new criterion of goodand evil which is“absolutewithrespectto Man. Good is that which contributes to the course of ascending evolution... Evil is that which opposes evolution... The respect of human personality is based on therecognitionof man’s dignity as a worker for evolution,as a collaborator with God.”29“The only goalof manshould be the attainment of human dignity with all itsimplications.”30

If you can call this man a Christian, it’s very surprising.He goes on to describe the fact that there are thinking men in all religions, and therefore all religions have a unique inspiration, a spiritual kinship,an originalidentity.He says, “The unityof religions must be sought in that which is divine, namely, universal in man.”31“No matter what our religion, we areall like people at the bottom of a valley who seek to climb a snowy peak that dominates the others. We all have our eyes fixed on the same goal... Unfortunately we differ on what road to take... [O]ne day, provided they never stop ascending, they must all meet at the top of the mountain...the road to it matters little.”32Of course, the top of the mountain is not thesalvationof the soul; it’s not thekingdomofheaven;it’s precisely this chiliastic new age.

Well, that’s one so-called“Christian evolutionist.” He’snot veryChristian. He’sin fact a deist.

There’s a second Christian evolutionist. Well, we can make a few miscellaneous comments, taken from this Greek newspaper also. In another issue ofThe Orthodox Observer, this Greek newspaper, Greek Orthodoxofficialnewspaper, there’s apriest—in fact a priest who lives in San Francisco, who once visited our bookshop—Fr. Anthony Kosturos. There were two priests came in. One had never heard ofThe Philokaliaand a second had never read it but had someone recommended it to him as a good book. He has a question column, and he received a question:“If Adam and Eve were the first humans,wheredidtheir son Cain get his wife? Does our Church shed any light on this question?”Fr.Kosturos replies:“Man’s origin is too farbackin history for any person or group to know how manbegan.”Whatis Genesis for? “Science is still groping foranswers.Theword Adamdenotes earth.The word Eve,”denotes“life.Generally, and only generally, our traditional theologians take the view that all of us stem from one male and one female...” But“There are others who feel thathumankind appearedin clusters,a few here and a fewthere...No theologian has the definitive answer on the subject of man’s origin and hisdevelopment...The dawn of human history is a mystery.”33

And later, in another answer to a similar question, he says,“Perhapsthere are many Adams and Eves who appeared concurrently in different areas, and then met. How man wascreatedand how man procreated initially is a mystery. Don’t letanyone tell you otherwise. Our Church gives you the opportunity to ponder the subjects you mention and come up with your own speculationaboutthem.”34

The answer to the question is very easy: Because Adam and Eve had many children who are not mentioned in Genesis. This is only the basic outline of the story. And, the second, the question was answered in a different column in the same newspaper by a different priest. And then they asked a further question,“How is it that Cain could marry his ownsister?Isn’t thisagainstthe laws of theOrthodoxChurch?” Of course, thisisthebeginningof time, this is in adifferentlaw; they’re not living under the law we have now. In those days people lived to be nine hundred years old. Obviously humanity was quite different from what we know it, even physically. And if it’ssurprising—no, it shouldn’t besurprising becausethe world was at itsbeginning then.

Well, we’ll look for a fewminutesat a few recent Catholic speculations on this question because they ask thesequestions we’vealready looked at a little bit, but you can see what kindofanswersthey give. There’s one theologian, Karl Rahner,Jesuit,who comes up with a new, the theory of “polygenesis,” that is, that there were many Adams and Eves. He asks two questions: “Howis evolution compatiblewith thedoctrineof Adam’s preternatural gifts?”35He wasimmortal.And “Can we seriously think that the first man to evolve was capable of the first sin...?” Hesays, “Scientistsprefer to conceivehominization,”that is, the makingof man, “as having taken place in manyindividuals– a “population” – rather than in a single pair.” Well,some scientists think and some don’t. It is in the first group of recognizable men, that is, original man which committed the firsttransgression.He says, “Grace could be offered to theoriginalgroup and, upon beingrejectedby that group’s free andyet mutually-influencingchoice, be lost to the whole of succeeding humanity.”36

He says, “In thefirst[emphasisRahner’s] man or groupsuch aspaleontologyreveals to us, how could there havebeen” such “a degree offreedom sufficiently developedto havemadepossible such a fateful choice as original sin? How can we attempt to reconcile the supernatural or preternatural paradise-situation of Adam (individual or group) with what we know of the origins of the biological, anthropological, cultural world?”37

And heanswershisquestionby saying, “It is not easy to determine precisely where and when an earthly creature actually became spirit and thus free... We may serenely reckon with the fact that original sin really happened, but at a moment which cannot be moreaccurately determined.It was“sometime” within a fairly long time-span during which many individuals may have been already existing and capable of performing the guilty act “simultaneously,”38so to speak. In other words the whole thing becomes very vague. Obviously the next generation of thinkers is going to do away with some of this double talk. And so there’sanotherbook, by a Dutch Jesuit, [Stephanus] Trooster, calledEvolution and the Doctrine of Original Sin. And he sets off forthrightly,“Those who takethescientific doctrine of evolution seriously can no longer accept (the) traditional presentation. So we must find “an interpretation that isrelevantto ourtimes.”39

“The proponents of thedoctrineofevolution,”hesays“visualize mankind as a reality which, in the course of history, only very gradually matured to achieve a degree of self-realization. Its earliest emergence must be conceived of as fumbling transitional forms appearing next to extremely primitive levels of human existence. Such primitive intermediate forms of human life still must have been intimately fused with their prehistoric animal state...But in this evolutionary theorythere is no room for a ‘paradisaical’ existence of this prehistoric man. To place an extremely gifted and highly privileged spiritual man at the beginning of human life on earth appears in complete contradictiontomodernscientific thought on this matter.”40Which of course is true.

“Acceptance of themodern viewpoint, however,eliminates the possibility of accounting for the genesis of evil in the world on the basis of sin committed by the first man. After all, how could so primitive a human being have been in a position to refuse God’s offer ofsalvation;how could such a primitive being have been capable of a breach ofcovenantwith God?”41

It turns out that he decides that the Fall of man isnothingbut what he calls “cosmicimmaturity.”Adam actuallyisnot one man; it’s “Everyman.”42And the book of Genesis is “anidealized image” ... “Of a world without sin,” eventhough“the author” of Genesis “knows quite wellit doesnotcorrespondto reality.”43He does “not meantosay that the original state of grace of Adam and Eve in all its purity was once upon a time an actual reality in the history of mankind.” Of course, if you believe in evolution, it makes no sense to talk aboutParadise.And you’re only fooling yourself trying to combine these two different forms of thinking.

The Catholics in the past have had some problems about knowing when man began, if you accept evolution. And there are different theories depending on whether you think—Idon’t know what’s allowed now—but in the old days you were not allowed to believe that man’s soul could evolve from matter.You hadtobelieve that the man was given a soul at a particular moment. At that moment he became man, and therefore he is no longer subject to all those laws of evolution. Obviously this is, you know, sticking in one of these “epicycles” again to make thetheory correspond to your own beliefs. Either you believe in evolution, in which case man is a very primitive creature which came from the beasts—it’s adefiniteview, and thetextbooksonevolutionwill tell you that, that man still has the savage inside of him, and all the pictures show him evolving from the monkey-like creature—or else you believe that man descended from a being who was greater than we are now, who was actually perfect man in his own way, was not subject to corruption— the Holy Fathers even tell us—did not go to the bathroom, did not have to eat in order to live, he had the Tree of Life; but that it was not the same way we have now, to live in order to eat.

In fact, St. Seraphim has a whole section on the state of Adam, in his“Conversationwith Motovilov,” how he wasnotsubject to being injured or hurt; in other words, he was quite invulnerable to the elements, could not be drowned or anything like that. It’sinterestingthat even in the Middle Ages, ThomasAquinas, they asked precisely questions like this for him to solve: What was the state, did he go to the bathroom?, how was it that he could not be harmed? And he has elaborate explanations. First of all, he does go to the bathroom because we cannot believe that he would be of a different material than we are now. And second, that he was never harmed, and could not be drowned, not because it was impossible, but because God arranged to take all the boulders out of the way, never to have the stream go too high. In other words, He arranged the world just correct so that Adam walked very carefully and never happened to get hurt.

But Orthodoxy believes, as we read in the very first chapter of Abba Dorotheus, he sets forth for us there the image of Adam, the first man, to give us an inspiration of what we have to strive back for; that is, our nature isimmortal. We are meant to liveeternallyin the body; and that’s the way it was inthebeginning. And only after falling did we lose that nature and that blessed state in which Adam was beholding God. And according to Orthodoxy, the state of man in Paradise is his nature. Our nature now is changed; then we were immortal. Now we have been changed into a mortal being, that is, mortal in the body.

And the Catholics teach, on the contrary, that the state of man in Paradise was asupernaturalstate, that man actually is just like we know him today, but God gave him a special state of grace. And when he fell, he simply fell away from that extra grace which had been added to him. And therefore his nature was not changed. He was the same man, mortal man, but he was given some kind of extra gift in the beginning. But according to Orthodoxy, our very nature was ruined, was changed.

Fr. H: And that’s the whole crux of the matter.

Fr. S: Christ is the new Adam; and in Him we are restored to our old nature.

Some Fathers like St. Symeon the New Theologian thought it, discussed the question of why, then, did we not immediately become immortal when Christ died and resurrected. And he says so that we would not have to be forced, we would not be someplace (?) like He did not come down from the Cross, that we still must achieve our own salvation. And the creation is waiting for us to achieve our salvation, when it too will rise up to the state it was before the Fall, in fact, even to a higher state.

All that is filled withmysteries;it’s beyond us, butstill we know enough of it from the Holy Fathers. In fact, St. Symeon the New Theologian has a long quote on the subject, what the state of man was before the Fall, and the whole of creation was, he says, incorrupt and immortal, just like man. And only after the Fall did the creatures begin to die. And when the new world comes, the heaven and the earth, man, the meek will inherit the earth. He said, what earth is that? It is this earth you see right here, only it will be burned up and restored so that all the creatures now will be immortal. And that is what the whole creation is striving for, what the creatures are groaning after. When St. Paul said they were subject to vanity, it means they were subject to corruption, through the Fall of man.


We’ll look at one moreChristian evolutionistbefore wecome to the great prophet of our age. This one is, alas, a Russian Orthodox scientist. His name is Theodosius Dobzhansky and he lives in Davis, California, last we heard. He teaches there genetics. In fact, I think he still has his fruit flies, and is continuing to make experiments to prove evolution. Dobzhansky. D-O-B-Z-H-A-N-S- K- Y. He was born in the year of the canonization of St. Theodosius of Chernigov, in answer to prayer from his parents; and that’s why he was calledTheodosius. Alas, he becameanapostate. He came to America in the twenties and has been an American since that time.

And he’s beenabsolutely prohibitedin Soviet Russia, although the Soviet scientists know about him. And once when a film was accidentally presented at one scientific meeting in Russia which showed him on it, all the scientists cheered; and the film was withdrawn because he is non-existent, a non-person because he left Russia. But he thinks like a Communist.

He’sso religious that when his wife died, he hadhercremated, took the ashes and scattered them in the Sierras. As far as one can guess, he never goes tochurch;he’s quite beyond religion. But for his great Christian evolutionist views, he wasgrantedadoctorateof theology by St. Vladimir’sAcademy in New York. And he gave anaddressto, I think it’s called, the Orthodox Theological Society of America. It has all the great theologians. Orthodox theologians of all the jurisdictions, except ours, in America listened to him give his talk, which was printed in Orthodox periodical calledConcern. And it’s called “Evolution:God’sMethodofCreation.”In this article, he says that anybody who says anything against evolution is a blasphemer, because that is the way God acts and that’s the way itis.

He says in this article,“Natural selectionis a blind andacreative process... Natural selection doesnotwork according to a foreordained plan...”44That is, where is God's Providence, if you’re aChristian?He notes theextraordinaryvariety of lifeon the earth,but he says, “What asenseless operation”it would be if God had [were] “tofabricateamultitudeof speciesex nihilo,” from nothing, “and then let most of them die out! ...What isthesense of having as many as two or three million species living on earth?...Was thecreatorin a jocular mood” when he did this?Washe “playingpracticaljokes?” No, hereasons,“Thisorganic diversity becomes, [however,] reasonable and understandable if the Creator has created the living world, not by gratuitous caprice but by natural selection. It is wrong to hold creation andevolutionas mutually exclusive alternatives.”45

Well, what he means by that... it actually makes no difference if you have a God. And he makes two or three million species by means of natural selection. Isn’t it just as silly as ifHe createsthem all at once? Doesn’t think straight...and there’s no plan to it. He says it’s all just blind, a blind process.

Of course, he is filled with the usual liberal Christian ideas that Genesis issymbolical,that man’sawarenessisthecause of the tragic meaninglessness in the world today, and the only escape is for man to realize that he can cooperate with the enterprise of creation willed by God, for participation in this enterprise makesmortalman part of God’s eternal design. Andhesays, “The most gallant and by far the most nearlysuccessfulattempt to do this—cooperatewith God’s eternal design—has been that ofTeilhard de Chardin.”46

Teilhard de Chardin

So, we’ll look into now this lastevolutionistwho isthegreat evolutionist prophet of our times. Teilhard de Chardin. He died in 1955, about 70 years old I believe.

Student: Buried in New York State.

Fr. S: He was a paleontologist who was present at the discovery of many, most of the great fossil “men” of our century. It was he who took part with two other people in the discovery of Piltdown Man. He discovered the tooth, which was dyed. It’snotknown whether he had a part in it. One of these men is accused of being the one whofabricatedthePiltdownMan; andit’s beenhushed up that Teilhard de Chardin had anything to do with it.Butit’s already known in theearlierbooks that he discovered the tooth.

He was present at the new discoveries of Java Man, which were incidentally all locked up in a closet, in Holland someplace, and not allowed to be examined again. He was present at many of the discoveries of Peking Man, while not at the verybeginning.And there’s a great mystery therebecausethe leading man who discovered [it] dropped dead in the ditch one day. He [Teilhard] was also present when the fossils of Peking Man disappeared for the last time. And so we have no fossils of Peking Man left, and no casts were made. There’s only some kindof drawings and models.

But he is the one who is chiefly responsible for theinterpretationof all thesefindings.As he himself said, “No matterwhere I went, I continually found just the proof I was looking for.”47And he fit these together into the evidence for the proof ofhuman evolution,which is so shaky that it’s, well, we won’tgo into it now; but one writer has said, “All the evidence forhuman evolution, all the skulls could be put into a single small coffin.”48And we justdon’tknow what therelationis ofthesepieces to each other.

This man, Teilhard de Chardin, is very remarkable because he is both a scientist and a mystic. And the surprising thing is not so much that he is that way because he was a Jesuit, after all, but that he is quite respected both by theologians, Roman Catholic theologians, and in fact by many Orthodox so- called “theologians,” and byscientists.In fact, this bookThe Phenomenon of Manhas an introduction by Julian Huxley who is the son of the, son or grandson, the son of the older Huxley, T. H. Huxley, and is an absolute atheist, an atheist evolutionist. And he agrees with Teilhard de Chardin on everything except when he puts too much religion in. His attempt to reconcile Catholicism and evolution he felt was a little—he can’t agree witheverything there—but basically he agrees with his philosophy.

This will bring us into territory which we discussed a little bit earlier. [As] you recall, the earlier scientists in the West, at the revival of modern science, actually the birth of modern science at the time of the Renaissance, were all mystically oriented. They were filled with Pythagorean philosophy. And Bruno himself was quite a mystical pantheist, “The whole worldisGod,”49how God is the soul of the world. Again, we remember Saint-Simon, the socialist prophet, who said the time is coming when not only the social order will be a religious institution, but science and religion also will come together. And no longer will science be atheistic. Well, this is the one they were looking for, the one who brings together science and religion.

Let’s take one more quote fromnineteenth-centuryAmerican philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who talks about the very same thing: the restoration of unity in man since he faces asituationwhere man’s faith has been now divorced fromknowledge because of modern enlightenment, and how can we get back together faith and knowledge. He says this in his essay “OnNature:”“The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself. He cannot be a naturalist until he satisfies all the demands of the spirit. Love is as much its demand as perception. [Indeed, neither can be perfect without the other. In the uttermost meaning of the words, thought is devout, and devotion is thought.] Deep calls unto deep, but in actual life, the marriage is not celebrated. There are innocent men who worship God after the tradition of their fathers, but their sense of duty has not yetextendedto all their faculties.” That is, they are not criticalaboutscience and philosophy; they do not criticize their own religion. “And there are patient naturalists, they freeze theirsubjectunder the wintry light of the understanding.” That is, divorceitfrom religion. “[Is not prayer also a study of truth—a sally of the soul into the unfound infinite? No man ever prayed heartily without learning something.] But when a faithful thinker, resolute to detach every object from personal relations and see it in the light of thought, shall, at the same time, kindle science with the fire of the holiest affections, then will God go forth anew into the creation.”50So, he’s a prophet of, Teilhard de Chardin, one can say, of a person who discovers science and religion are once more compatible.

Dobzhansky himself summarizes what Teilhard de Chardin tried to do in his books. Teilhard de Chardin describes the stages through which evolutionary development goes. And he uses technical terms, we’ll only use a few of them. Hesays,“...first,there iscosmogenesis,the evolution of inanimate nature, that is, the genesis of the cosmos; second, biogenesis,” which meansevolutionof life. And “third, noogenesis, the development of human thought.”And he uses thosespheres,the words, the“biosphere,”which means the sphere of life; and there’s a“noosphere,”the sphere of thought.He says the whole of the globe now is being penetrated by a web of thought which he calls the “noosphere.”

“Up to here,” says Dobzhansky, “Teilhard stands firmlyon a foundation of demonstrable facts. To complete his theology of nature he then embarks onprophecy based on his religious faith. He speaks of his “conviction, strictly undemonstrable to science, that the universe has a direction and that it could—indeed, if we are faithful, it should—result in some sort of irreversible perfection.”51

Dobzhansky quotes with approval this statement of Teilhard deChardinabout what isevolution:“Isevolution atheory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more—it is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforward bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow. This is what evolution is.”52

That is, evolution becomes in his thought—which many, many people follow, whether they’re Christian, atheist, or whatever—it is a kind of new universal revelation for mankind. And everything, including religion, must be understood in terms of evolution.

Briefly the teaching of Teilhard de Chardin is this:

What inspired Teilhard de Chardin, and inspires his followers today, is a certainunitary viewof reality, a joining together of God and the world, of the spiritual and the secular, into a single harmonious and all-encompassing process which cannot only be grasped by the modern intellectual, but can befeltby the sensitive soul that is in close contact with the spirit of modern life; indeed, the next step of the process can beanticipatedby the “modern man,” and that is why Teilhard de Chardin is so readilyacceptedas a “prophet,” even by people who do not believe in God: he announces in a very “mystical” way, the future which every thinking man today (save for conscious Orthodox Christians)hopes for.”53That is, every person who is in this tradition of rationalism, coming from the age of the Enlightenment, and eventually from the Middle Ages.

“There are two sides to this unitary thought of Teilhard de Chardin: the worldly side (by which he attracts and holds even total atheists),”such as Julian Huxley, “and thespiritualside (by which he attracts “Christians” and gives a religion to unbelievers).Teilhard de Chardin’s own words leave no doubt that firstand foremost he was passionately in love with the world, with the earth.

“He says, ‘The world, its value, itsinfallibilityanditsgoodness, that when all is said and done is the first, the last and the only thing in which Ibelieve.’54

Again he says, “Now the earth cancertainlyclasp meinher giant arms. She can swell me with her life, or take me back in to her dust. She can deck herself out for me with every charm, with every horror, with every mystery. She can intoxicate me with her perfumeoftangibilityand unity.”55He said, “Salvation wasno longer to be sought in “abandoning the world,”but now in active “participation” inbuildingitup.”56

He was against the old forms of Christian spirituality; hedisdained,quote, “All those goody-goody romances about the saints and the martyrs! Whatever normal child would want to spend an eternity in such boring company?”57This is a Jesuit priest. “What we are all more or less lacking at this moment is a new definition of holiness.”58“Themodernworld is a worldinevolution; hence, the static concepts of the spiritual life must be rethought and the classical teachings of Christ must be reinterpreted.”59

Of course, this is a reflection of the overthrowing of the old universe of Newton, and with that he wants to put Christianity into the same category, because it also is bound up with the classical, static way of thinking. Now we have a new way of thinking; and therefore, just as we have a new physics, we must also have a new Christianity.

The most powerful vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is this idea of spiritualization of the world and worldly activity. He “was not merely in love with the world and all “modernprogress”and scientific development; his distinguishing mark was that he gave these things adistinctly“religious”significance.”60As he even himself writes, “Then is it really true, Lord, by helpingonthe spread of science and freedom, I can increase the density of the divine atmosphere in itself as well as for me, that atmosphere in which it is always my one desire to be immersed? By laying hold of the earth I enable myself to cling closely to you...

“May the world’senergies, masteredby us bow down before us and accept the yoke of our power.

“May the race of men, grown to fullerconsciousness andgreat strength become grouped into rich and happy organisms in which life shall be put to better use and bring in a hundredfold return.”61

“I am notspeaking metaphorically,”he says, “when Isay that it is throughout the length and breadth and depth of the world in movement that man can attain the experience and vision of his god.”62“[T]he time is past,” he says, “in which God couldsimply impose Himself on us from without, as master and owner of the estate. Henceforth the world will kneel down only before the organic centerof its own evolution.”63“Christianity and evolution are not two irreconcilable visions; but two perspectives destined to fit together and complement each other.”64“Evolution has come to infuse new blood, so tospeak,into the perspectives and aspirations of Christianity.”65The earth he says, “can cast me to my knees inexpectationof whatismaturing in her breast. She has become for me over and above herself, the body of him who is and of him who is coming.”66

...Teilhard de Chardin as to what was in back of him. We should keep in mind that he is not at all some kind of exception, some kind of, outside of Roman Catholic tradition. He had some extremely traditional piety. For example, he was extremely devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And he has the following mysticalmeditationupon it: “Two centuries ago, Oh God, yourChurch,” that is,Roman Catholicism,“began to feel theparticularpower of yourheart...”Now we arebecoming“aware that your main purpose in this revealing to us of your heart was to enable our love to escape from the constrictions of the too narrow, too precise, too limited image of You which we had fashioned for ourselves. What I discern in Your breast is simply a furnace of fire; and the more I fix my gaze on its ardency the more it seems to me that all around it the contours of your body melt away and become enlarged beyond all measure, till the only features I can distinguish in you are those of the face of a world which has burst into flame.”67

A person who is meditating on the“SacredHeart”nextbegins to meditate upon evolution, which is a further development of the same direction. In fact, we didn’t go into the Catholic mystics,butundoubtedly if we looked into them we could find all sorts of parallels to what is happening in this scientific, rationalistic world. They’re allpreparingthe same thing—chiliasm.

Evolution for Teilhard de Chardin is a process which is building up the cosmic body of Christ in which all things are united with God. His most striking idea, which is actually a kind of new development in Catholic thought, something like the development of the Sacred Heart in piety, is his idea of the “transsbstantiation of the earth,” which he wrote when he wasinthe Chinese desert, near the Gobi Desert, in the twenties or thirties. And he has a little article called “The Mass on the World.” He celebrates the Mass in the desert. “Our humanityassimilatesthematerialworld, and as the Host,” that is, theRomanCatholic Host,“assimilatesour humanity, the Eucharistic transformation goes beyond and completes the transubstantiation of the bread on the altar. Step by step, it irresistibly invades the universe... The sacramental Species are formed by the totality of the world, and the duration of the creationis the timeneededfor its consecration.”68In this process ofevolution,the “Body of Christ” is being formed in the world. Not the Christ of Orthodoxy, but the universal” Christor“Super-Christ,” as hesays.

The Super-Christ is defined by Teilhard as the synthesis of Christ and theuniverse.This “evolving” Christ will bringaboutthe unity of all religions. As he says, quote, “A general convergence of religions upon a universal Christ Who fundamentally satisfies them all: this seems to me the only possible conversion of the world, and the only form in which a religion of the future can be conceived.”69Thus, for Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity is not unique truth, but it is rather, as he says, “anemergingphylum of evolution,”70subject to change and transformation like everything else in the evolving world.

Even like recent popes, he does not wish to convert the world, but only to offer the papacy as the kind of mystical center ofman’sreligious quest, a super-denominational Delphic Oracle. As one of his admirers summarizes his view, “If indeed to be the religion of tomorrow, there is only one way in which it can hope to come up to themeasureof today’s great humanitarian trends and assimilate them; and that is through the axis, living and organic, of its Catholicism centered on Rome.”71

At the same time that the universe is evolving into the Body of Christ, according to Teilhard de Chardin, man himself is reaching the pinnacle of his evolutionary development, which is called Super-Humanity. He says, “If...the evidence obligesourreason to accept that something greater than the man of today is in gestation upon the order to be able to continue to worship as before we must be able to say to ourselves, as we look at the Son of Man, (not“Apparuit humanitas,”but)‘Apparuit Superhumanitas,”let Super-Humanity appear.72“Humanitywould reach a point of development when it would detach itself altogether from the earth and unite with Omega, a phenomenon outwardly similar to death perhaps, but in reality simple metamorphosis and accession to the supreme synthesis.”73That is, this new state which is coming. He calls it the Omega Point, the point to which all the creation now is ascending.

“One day, the Gospel tells us, thetensiongradually accumulating between humanity and God will touch the limits prescribed by the possibilities of the world. And then will come the end. Then the presence of Christ, which has been silently accruing in things, will suddenly be revealed—like a flash of light from pole to pole... The spiritual atoms of the world will be borne along by a force generated by the powers of cohesion proper to the universe itself, and will occupy, whether within Christ or without Christ (but always under the influence of Christ) the [place of] happiness or pain designated for them by the living structure of the Pleroma,”74the fullness ofthings. “[T]heclimax of evolution is identified... with the risen Christ of the Parousia.”75All men, Teilhard believes, must desire this goal, for “it is anaccumulationofdesiresthat should cause the Pleroma to burst upon us.”76evolutive and universal Christ.”77

“Theunique businessof the world is thephysical And he says, “Tocooperate intotal cosmic evolution is the only deliberate act that can adequately express our devotion to an incorporation of the faithful in Christ, who is of God. This major task is pursued with the rigor and harmony of a natural process of evolution.”78

Of course, he is completely doing away with all ideas of Christianity which have been hitherto. Christianity is not an individual trying to save his soul; it is everybody in the world evolving by a natural process up to the Omega Point.

“Thoughfrightenedfor amomentbyevolution,”hesays,“the Christian nowperceivesthat what it offers him is nothing but a magnificent means of feeling more at one with God, and of giving himself more to him. In a pluralistic and static Nature, the universal domination of Christ could, strictly speaking, still beregardedas anextrinsicandsuperimposedpower.” But “In a spiritually converging world, this “Christic” energy acquires an urgency andintensityof another order altogether.”79That is, Christ is notoutsidesaying, “Obey me, come to me;” He issetinsidepushingus.

The are a few more of the views of Teilhard de Chardin we should mention. In this pamphlet—here’s a picture of him [Cross Currentscover] by the way, very intense thinker—which show his views. Interestingly, he looks for a state which will take us beyond the dead end of Communism. In fact, the three—he wrote this apparently during the war—Communism, fascism anddemocracy,they’re all fighting each other. He says we must go beyond that. “...[T]he great affair for modern mankind,”hesays,“is to break its way out by forcing somethresholdof greaterconsciousness. Whether Christians or not, the men who are animated by this conviction form a homogeneous category.”80“The great event which we are awaiting” is this: “thediscovery of a synthetic act of adoration in which are allied and mutually exalted the passionate desire to conquer the world, and the passionate desire to unite ourselves with God; the vital act, specifically new, corresponding to a new age of the Earth.”81

By the way, you can see howchiliasm’sverystrong.TheNew Age comes out.“In Communismat any rate in itsorigins,faith in a universal human organism reached a magnificent state of exhaltation.”82Perhaps because this is something isheading toward the millennium.“On the other hand, in its unbalanced admiration for the tangible powers of the universe, [communism] has systematically excluded from its hopes thepossibilityof a spiritual metamorphosisof the universe.”83So, if you addspiritualitytoCommunism,it’s the answer.

We must unite. No more politicalfronts,but onegreatcrusade for human advancement... The democrat, the communist and the fascist must jettison the deviations and limitations of their systems and pursue to the full the positive aspirations which inspire their enthusiasm, and then, quite naturally, the new spirit will burst the exclusive bonds which still emprison it; the three currents will find themselves merging in the conception of a common task; namely, to promote the spiritual future of the world... [T]he function of man is to build and direct the whole of the earth.”84

“... [W]e shall end by perceiving that the great object unconsciously pursued by science is nothing else than the discovery of of God.”85That's how mysticism comes right into the middle of science. And of course, what’s in science nowadaysislosing all of itsbearings;it’s become indeterminate it’s a whole universe of anti-matter, which mixes them up. It all ends in mysticism.

“The only truly natural and real human unity,” hesays,“is the Spirit of theEarth...Aconquering passionbegins toshow itself, which will sweep away or transform what has hitherto been the immaturity of the earth... The call towards the great union whose realization is the only business now afoot in nature...”86

Hemeanstheuniversalunity ofmankind.

“TheSense of Earth is the irresistable pressure which will come at the rightmomentto unite them” all “in a common passion.”87“The age of nations is past. The task before us now, if wewould not perish, is to shake off our ancient prejudices, and to build the earth.”88

“...[T]he great conflict from which we shall have emerged will merely have consolidated in the world the need to believe. Having reached a higher degree of self-mastery, the Spirit of Earth will experience an increasingly vital need to adore; out of universal evolution God emerges [emphasis in orginal] in our consciousnessasgreaterand morenecessarythan ever.”89We havean“urgent need to find a faith, a hope to givemeaningand soul tothe immense organismwe are building.”90This, of course, meansthis wholemodern revolutionneeds; it’s lost itself. It finds when it tries to build a new paradise, it destroys everything, and what is needed is a religious meaning to it. And this he gives. So all the things in modern life are good. Only add to them this: they’re allheadingfor some kind of spiritual kingdom, new kingdom.

“Wecannotyet understand exactly where this will”all “lead us, but it would be absurd for us to doubt hat it will lead us towardssome end ofsupremevalue.”91In this he’sreally, he’s a prophet,but he’s not really quite sure where it’s all going.

“The generating principle of our unification is not finally to be found in the single contemplation of the same truth or in the single desire awakened by something, but in the single attraction exercisedby the same Someone.”92That is, we’re striving towards worshipping Someone.

“Therefore, in spite of all the apparent improbabilities, we are inevitably approaching a new age in which the world will cast off its chains, to give itself up at last to the power of its internal affinities.”93

“[W]ith two thousand years of mystic experience behind us,” ofRoman Catholicism,“thecontactwhich we can make with the personal focus of the universe has gained just as much explicit richness as the contact we can make, after two thousand years of science, with the natural spheres of the world. Regarded as a “phylum” of love,Christianityis so living that, at this verymoment, we can see it undergoing an extraordinary mutation by elevating itself to a firmer consciousness of its universal value.

“Is there not nowunderway one further metamorphosis, the ultimate, ...the realization of God at the heart of theNoosphere,”thementalworld, “the passage of thecircles,” of all thespheres,“to theircommon Center...the apparitionat last of the “Theospher?”94when man and the world become God.

This is very deep in modern man because this is what he wants. All these philosophical, chiliastic, socialistic systems all have as their end the idea that God is thrown out, Christianity is thrown out; the world is divine. The world is somehow the body of God. And man wants to be a god. And now he’s lost God, Godisdead. The Superman wants to be born; and he’s the one who, being ascientistat the same time, is a mystic. That is, he’s trying to unite, what we saw, this desire for the Grand Inquisitor, the spiritual side and the scientific side, the union of religion and science, and of course a new order which will be political. And he’s a prophet of Antichrist.

And so with this, modern rationalism in our time comes to an end. Reason finally comes to doubt or even to deny itself. Science is upset, does not know what is, what it can know, what it cannot know; every place there is relativism. And we saw already this morning about the philosophy of the absurd.

And it turns out that going through all those experiments of the apostasy,man cannot develop anything for himself. He tried everything and each time he wasconfidentthat he’d had finally foundtheanswer, he overthrew more and more from the past. And always whatever he made was overthrown by the next generation. And now he comes finally to doubting even whether the world exists, whether he, what he is. Many people commit suicide. Manydestroy.And what is left for man? There’snothingleft excepttowait for a new revelation. And man is in such a state, he has no value system, he has no religion of his own that he cannot but accept whatever comes, as this new revelation.

Tomorrowwe’ll take one last look at theprospectsforthe new revelation. And the striving of mankind for this new revelation.

About Teilhard de Chardin, we can add that his bookThe Phenomenon of Manwas published in 1965 in Moscow. The first book of a Christian thinker, except the propaganda volume of the red Dean of Canterbury [Hewlett Johnson], ever to be published in the USSR. After this publication, Fr. John Meyendorff of the American Metropolia wrote the following words:

“The Christocentric understanding of man and the worldwhich, according to Teilhard de Chardin, are in a state of constant change and strivingtowardsthe “Omega Point,” that is,thehighest point of being and evolution, which is identified by the author with God Himself, connects Teilhard with the profound intuition of the Orthodox Fathers of the Church.”95

And Nikida Struve writes, “It should be noted thatthechief characteristic of Teilhardism is not at all the acceptance of evolution—this has not been a novelty for a long time among theologians and religious philosophers. The soul of the teaching of the French thinker is a new approach to the problem of the world andcreation.” TeilharddeChardin“Only sets forthin...

And Nikida Struve writes, “It should be noted thatthechief characteristic of Teilhardism is not at all the acceptance of evolution—this has not been a novelty for a long time among theologians and religious philosophers. The soul of the teaching of the French thinker is a new approach to the problem of the world andcreation.” TeilharddeChardin“Only sets forthincontemporary language the teaching of the Apostle Paul concerning nature, which is not excluded from the plan of Salvation.”96Fr. H: Pure Orthodox scholar.

Fr. S: And he even says,concerningthis “Mass on the World,” where the earthis being evolved into God, he says, “In the “Massonthe World,”Teilhard’sexperiences“were for him something like a cosmic Liturgy, which is invisibly performed in the world. Here is the very heart of the Teilhardian proclamation which restores to us the forgotten, immemorially Christian understanding of the universe and the Divine Incarnation. Precisely it illuminated for Teilhard de Chardin the meaning of evolution as the movement of the whole cosmos toward the Kingdom of God and enabled him to overcome the negative approach to the world which is deeply rooted among Christians.”97

Fr. H: Now we see who are our enemies. Metropolia, the first enemy.

Fr. S: And there’s a whole article in the Parisnewspaper, theParis, what’s it called?Vestnik98by a Polish Orthodox theologian [Fr. George Klinger] in which he makes Teilhard de Chardin a Father of the Church, in the tradition of the “great Orthodox Fathers” who are Montanus, Joachim of Flores, etc...

“Fr. Teilhard speaks much on the cosmic role of Christ, of the Divine Milieu, and very little of the Church. In this case too he ‘converges’ with tendenices akin to him in Orthodox theology... In Fr. Teilhard, the Church is identified with the working of Christ in the cosmos.” “According to Fr. Teilhard, through communion of the Holy Mysteries the world being sanctified becomes the Body of Christ...These thoughts are possibly the profoundest that have been said in recent years on the question of the central sacrament of Christianity.”99

Anti-evolution points:

0. Soul can’t be evolved (words, etc.)
1. Paradise — doesn’t fit evolution.
2. Two different kinds of world — before and after the Fall (2/3 Adam 900 years old).
3. 1 Adam vs. many Adams.
4. Earth and grass before the sun. 5. Rib of Adam.
6. Years – 1,000’s vs. millions.
7. Scripture – real or allegorical.


1. Cf. St. Basil,Hexaemeron, I, 2: “For, if he had already accepted from God what he should say concerning the liberation of the people, how much more should you accept what He should say concerning heaven? Therefore, “not in the persuasive words of wisdom,” not in philosophical fallacies, “but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power” (I Cor. 2:4), he has ventured to say as if he were a witness of the Divine work: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.

V, 9, p. 166: “What pure and untarnished generations follow without intermingling one after another, so that a thymallus produces a thymallus; a sea-wolf, a sea-wolf. The sea- scorpion, too, preserves unstained its marriage bed.... Fish know nothing of union with alien species. They do not have unnatural betrothals such as are designedly brought about between animals of two species as, for instance, the donkey and the mare, or again, the female donkey and the horse, both being you mingle diverse seeds.”

Cf. also St. BasilOn Belief in the Resurrection, II, 63, 70: Nature in all its produce remains consistent with itself.... Seeds on one kind cannot be changed into another kind of plant, nor bring forth produce differing from its own seeds, so that men should spring from serpents and flesh from teeth; how much more, indeed, is it to be believed that whatever had been sown rises again in its own nature, and that crops do not differ from their seed, that soft things do not spring from hard, nor hard from soft, nor is poison changed into blood; but that flesh is restored from flesh, bone from bone, blood from blood, the humors of the body from humors. Can ye then, ye heathen, who are able to assert a change, deny a restoration of the nature?”

2. Storer, Tracy I.,General Zoology, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1951, p. 216.

3.General Zoology, p. 220.

4. Darwin, Charles,The Origin of the Species...and the Descent of Man, Modern Library, Random House, New York, p. 234: “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”

5. Randall, p. 475.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid., p. 475-6.

8. Ibid., p. 478.

9.General Zoology, p. 765 illus., perhaps other artistic versions.

10.Orthodox Observer, August 8, 1973.

11. St. Gregory the Theologian, Homily 44,On New Week, Spring, and Commemoration of the Martyr Mamas: “If man appeared in the world last, honored by the handiwork and image of God, this is not in the least surprising, since for him as for a king, the royal dwelling had to be prepared and only then was the king to be led in, accompanied by all creatures.”

12.On the Soul and the Resurrection, p. 454.

13. St. Basil,Hexaemeron, V, 10, p. 82.

14. St. Basil,Hexaemeron, V, 5-6, p. 74.

15.Hexaemeron, IX, 2, p. 137.

16.Orthodox Faith, II, p. 235.

17. St. Gregory of Nyssa,On the Making of Man, chs. 28, 29, pp. 419-421.

18. Ibid.

19. St. Athanasius the Great,The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. IV: Athanasius, “Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse II,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980, p. 375: “For though Adam only was formed out of earth, yet in him was involved the succession of the whole race.”

20. St. Gregory the Theologian,Second Oration on Easter, VIII, p. 425.

21. Paraphrase of passage fromDefense of the Holy Hesychasts, OW article #1 on Genesis, p. 292.

22. Du Nouy, Lecomte,Human Destiny, Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1947, p. 167.

23. Ibid., p. 177.

24. Ibid., p. 104. Emphasis in original.

25, Ibid., p. 112.

26. St. Isaac the Syrian,Ascetical Homilies, Homily 21, in Russian, Second Edition, Sergiev Posad, 1893, New English edition: Boston, Massachusetts: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1984. Quoted in “The Patristic Understanding of Genesis,”The Orthodox Word, #154, Vol. 26:5, p. 296.

27. Du Nouy, p. 113.

28. Ibid., p. 197.

29. Ibid., p. 133.

30. Ibid., p. 244.

31. Ibid., p. 175.

32. Ibid., p. 180.

33.The Orthodox Observer, Feb. 6, 1974.

34.The Orthodox Observer, Feb. 20, 1974.

35. Summarized inTheology Digest, “Original Sin, Polygenism, and Freedom,” Spring, 1973.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid.

38. Ibid.

39. Trooster, Stephanus,Evolution and the Doctrine of Original Sin, pp. 2, 3.

40. Ibid., p. 18.

41. Ibid., p. 44.

42. Ibid., p. 54-55.

43. Ibid., p. 132, emphasis in original.

44.Concern, “Evolution: God’s Method of Creation,” Spring, 1973.

45.Concern, Spring, 1973.

46.St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Vol. 17, 1973, p. 100.

47. Quote from unpublished manuscript(possibly Br. Gleb’s paper), no author, date of title, blue black, clear cover, p. 2: “In Chardin’s words: ‘I had the good fortune, unusual in a scientific career, of happening to be on the spot when...cardinal finds in the history of fossil men had come to light!’ ‘I am sometimes disturbed when I think of the uninterrupted succession of such strokes of luck that run through my life.’”

48. Howell, F. Clark (author ofEarly Man),New Scientist, March 25, 1965, p. 798: “One of the prime difficulties is that really significant human fossil skulls are exceptionally rare: everything which has been found to date could be tucked away in a large coffin. All the rest must be referred to something else.”

49. Cf. Bruno quoted in Randall, p. 243: “God must be the single life and soul of this infinite universe; ‘Nature is God in things.’ The power, the life that animates the whole must be that which lives in each of the parts. And so Bruno passed from Platonism to a mystic pantheism, feeling the pulse of God in every natural force, seeing and adoring his glory in the vast profusion of that universe that can be but his body.”

50. Emerson, Ralph Waldo,The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Atkinson, Brooks, ed., The Modern Library, New York, Random House, 1968, 1992, p. 38.

51.St. Vladimir’s Theologican Quarterly, Vol. 17, 1973, p. 100.

52.Concern, Spring, 1973.

53. Rose, Fr. Seraphim and Young, Fr. Alexey, “Christian Evolutionism,” 1975, unpublished MS., p. 13A.

54. De Chardin,How I Believe, p. 11; alsoChristianity and Evolution, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York, A Harvest Book, 1969, p. 99.

55. De Chardin,The Divine Milieu, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1960, pp. 154-155.

56. Leroy, Pierre S.J.,Teilhard de Chardin: The Man, p. 22; Cf. de Chardin,The Divine Milieu, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1960, pp. 60-61: “Every man, in the course of his life...mustbuild... a work, anopus, into which something enters from all the elements of the earth. He makes his own soul, throughout all his earthly day; and at the same time he collaborates in another work, in anotheropus, which infinitely transcends... the perspective of his individual achievement: the completing of the world. For in presenting the Christian doctrine of salvation, it must not be forgotten that the world, taken as a whole, that is to say in so far as it consists in a hierarchy of souls—which appear only successively, develop only collectively and will be completed only in union—the world, too, undergoes a sort of vast ‘ontogenesis’ which the development of each but a diminished harmonic.”

57. Quoted in Speaight, Robert,Teilhard de Chardin: A Biography, Collins, London, 1967, p. 27.

58. De Chardin,Human Energy, Collins, London, 1969, p. 110.

59.Masterpieces of Catholic Literature, Frank Magill, ed., 1964, p. 1054.

60. “Christian Evolutionism,” p. 14.

61. De Chardin,The Mystical Milieu, Writings in Time of War, p. 138-9; alsoHymn of the Universe, Harper & Row, New York, 1965, p. 115.

62. De Chardin,The Divine Milieu, Wm. Collins Sons & Co., London, and Harper & Row, New York, 1960, p. 36.

63. De Chardin,Human Energy, p. 110.

64. Quoted in De Lubac, Henri,Teilhard Explained, Paulist Press, New York, 1968, p. 61.

65. De Chardin,The Phenomenon of Man, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1959, p. 297.

66. De Chardin,The Divine Milieu, Harper & Row, New York, 1965, p. 155.

67. De Chardin,Hymn of the Universe,Harper & Row, New York, 1961, p. 34.

68. De Chardin,The Divine Milieu, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1960, pp. 125-126.

69. De Chardin,Christianity and Evolution, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York, A Harvest Book, 1969, p. 130.

70.Masterpieces of Catholic Literature, p. 1021; Cf.The Divine Milieu, p. 15: “Christianity is nothing more than a ‘phylum of love’ within nature.” Cf. De Chardin,Let Me Explain, Harper & Row, Publishers, San Franciso, 1966, p. 104.

71. Corbishley, Thomas,The Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin, Paulist Press, New York, 1971, p. 100; Cf. de Chardin, Teilhard,Christianity and Evolution, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., A Harvest Book, New York, 1969, p. 168: “Everything goes to show that if Christianity is in truth destined to be, as it professes, and as it is conscious of being, the religion of tomorrow, it is only through the living, organic axis of its Roman Catholicism that it can hope to measure up to the great modern humanist currents and become one with them.”

72. De Chardin, Teilhard,Science and Christ, p. 164.

73. Speaight, p. 266.

74. De Chardin,The Divine Milieu, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1960, pp. 150-151.

75. Speaight, p. 337.

76.The Divine Milieu, p. 151.

77.Science and Christ, p. 169.

78.La Vie Cosmique, quoted by the ed. on p. 304 ofThe Future of Man.

79. De Chardin,The Phenomenon of Man, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1955, p. 297.

80. De Chardin, Teilhard,Building the Earth, Dimension Books, Inc., Wilkes-Barre, PA, 1965, pp. 119-120.

81. Ibid., pp. 124-125.

82. Ibid., p. 27.

83. Ibid., p. 28.

84. Ibid., pp. 34-35.

85. Ibid., p. 38.

86. Ibid., pp. 43-45.

87. Ibid., p. 52.

88. Ibid., p. 54.

89. Ibid., p. 59.

90. Ibid., p. 60.

91. Ibid., p. 67.

92. Ibid., p. 111.

93. Ibid., p. 97.

94. Ibid., pp. 98-99.

95.Messengerof the Russian Student Christian Movement, Paris, #95-96, 1970, p. 32.

96.Messenger, #106, 1972, pp. 110-111.

97. Ibid.

98. Ibid., 1972, pp. 111-132.

99. Ibid., pp. 128, 124-125. Fr.Seraphim quotesFr. Klinger on p. 21 of “ChristianEvolutionism.”


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (15)

Lecture XII, The New Religion, continued, Part D, from outline.

And this brings us to the spiritual state of our modern people, not necessarily under the direct influence of occultism or modern art, but still that very state which occultism and modern art expressed.

This we can see by a few pages from a book by another German, who is actually a Jew, became converted to Catholicism, became totally disillusioned with modern Europe and left the cities and went, found himself a place on a lake in Switzerland where last I heard he was still living. His name is Max Picard. He wrote a book calledThe Flight from Godwhich describes how the life of modern man, especially life in the cities, is one of a complete running away from reality, running away from God. After the Second World War he wrote a second book calledHitler in Ourselves. Here he very nicely expresses what is the background for all these movements.

“During a trip toGermanyin 1932, the head ofaninfluential political party called upon me to ask how it was possible that Hitler had become so much of a figure and had gained so many followers. I pointed to a magazine which was lying on the table and told him to look at it. Page one was filled by a half-naked dancer; on page two, soldiers were drilling with a machine gun, and farther down a scientist was shown in his laboratory; page three featured the evolution of the bicycle from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day, and a Chinese poem was printed next to that; the following page was divided between the calisthenics of factory workers during a rest period and the writing technique of a South American Indian tribe by means of knotted strings; on the opposite page, Senator So-and-so was depicted in his summer retreat.

“This,” I said, “is howmodernman grasps the thingsof the world outside himself. Modern man drags all things toward himself chaotically and without cohesion; this proves that his own inner life is a chaos lacking cohesion. Modern man no longer confronts the things of the world as solidly existing, nor do things register in his mind individually; neither does he approach a particular thing by a particular act: modern man with his chaotic inner life has a correspondingly chaotic outer world whirling toward him. What is coming is no longer scrutinized; it suffices that anything at all should be coming along. To this disjointed tumult anything or anybody could admix—Adolf Hitler, too: he gets inside a man without his noticing how he got there; from that point on, it no longer depends upon the victim but upon the skill of Adolf Hitler, whether he will merely pass through that man’s mind or take hold of it.”

“Thedisjointednessof amagazine,however, seemsold-fashioned, almost handmade, compared to the radio. In the radio the business of disjointedness has become mechanized: 6 A.M. calisthenics; 6:10 A.M. recorded music; 7 A.M. news; 8 A.M. Morse-alphabet course; 9 A.M.morning sermon;9:30 A.M.“Inthe Lake Dwellers’ Village”; 10 A.M.Beethoven sonata for flute andpiano; 10:30 A.M. farming lecture; 10:45 A.M. world news; 11 A.M.Overtureto [Wagner’s] “Rienzi”– and so on till the Spanish course at 10:10 P.M. and the Jazz hour at 10:30 P.M.

“This world of the radio not onlyisdisjointed;” that’sclassical radio; that’s good radio. “itproducesdisjointedness: it presents all things in such a way that they will not hang together from the very start and thus are forgotten one by one even before they have disappeared; from the start they are shrouded in a haze of oblivion. This outer worldpresupposesthatman’smind isnolonger capable of perceiving the things of this world in any context—as they are, that is, as they endure, and as they are correlated to one another in their nature—” rather “it operates primarily toward the inner discontinuity, toward the disjointedness of man, and with that it works.

“There no longer is an outer world which canbeperceived, because it is a jumble—likewise, there is no longer in man a mind able to perceive with clarity, because his inner world, too, is a jumble. Therefore, man no longer approaches objects by an act of will; he no longer selects the objects of the external world and no longer examines them: the world is fluid; disjointed objects move past disjointed man. It no longer matters what passes by; what counts is only that something should pass by. Into this line-up anything could sneak, including Adolf Hitler; and one prefers that at least he, Adolf Hitler, should turn up than to have nothing turn up at all. “Heil” to him; for not only does he march along as part of the jumble, but he also sees to it that the march of the jumble does not stop—he mechanizes the flow of events and things assembly-line fashion and does it better than anyone else.

“The Big City is theexpressionof the disjointed assuch.In it the disjointed has become stone, nay, concrete. Constantly the lines of the houses are interrupted by the movings of automobiles, of streetcars and trains which cut through everything like machines. Human figures appear as dissolved into indistinct blots, hurtling back and forth between the walls of houses and of streets like pawns of evil powers. The sky itself seems removed farther from earth than elsewhere, and even the sky has lost continuity with itself, for it is constantly cut through by sharp-silhouetted planes.

“From this outer jumble, then, Adolf Hitler couldeasily sneak into the inner jumble; in this disjointedness he could show himself beside anything because he fitted anything: such as he was, he fitted into anything disjointed.

“And as again and again he showed himself inthisjumble, he became more distinct than the other parts of the chaos; one got used to him and accepted him as one accepts a toothpaste which turns up again and again in the chaos of advertising pages. Soon he appeared as the only reality in a world wherein everything else manifested itself only to vanish again immediately.

“Sorel believes that in a modern democracy it ispossiblefor a handful of men to usurp the tools of power and to establish a dictatorship. That is true. But it is possible only because today everybody is slithering toward anything—and thus one might slide toward the means of power without noticing it, while others notice it even less. One need not make any special effort; one need not fight for the instruments of power—one just grabs them as one grabs at anything else in the chaos wherein one slips. It is merely an accident that this should happen in the realm of politics; in this world of the momentary and the disjointedanythingelse might begrabbedas well, in [lieu]” place “Ofpoliticsand dictatorship. Here, there exists no history of power- assumption; no history, no theory, no doctrine counts except the theory and the doctrine of chaos.

“Hitler had no need to conquer; everythingwaspreconquered for him through the structure of discontinuity, through the general disjointedness. As a result, such a dictator tries to make up for that sham ofMein Kampf,” which he wrote, “which really was notnecessaryfor theassumptionof power:now that he possesses power, he strives with all the gestures, with all the big noise of power, and by violence and murder to prove that he is the dictator by his own act and not by an accident of chaos.

“Only in a world of total discontinuity could a nullity such as Hitler become Fuehrer, because only where everything is disjointed has comparison fallen into disuse. There was onlyHitler,the nullity, before everybody’s eyes, and in this instable world wherein everything was changing at every moment one was glad that at least the one nullity, Hitler, remained stable beforeone’seyes. An orderly world, a hierarchy,would automatically have placed the nullity, Hitler, into nothingness; he could not have been noticed. Hitler was the excrement of a demoniacal world; a world of truth in its order would have pushed him aside.”1

Again we see the same thing that it is the world, it is we the ordinary people who are living this very kind of life of disjointedness and used to the very phenomena which we see around us—the newspapers, the radio, the television, the movies—everything which is oriented toward pieces which do not fittogether.There’s no God; there’s nooverwhelming,underlying pattern to things, no God, no order. And the order which we see in our life is only left over from the previous time when peoplestillbelieved in God. And that’s whySolzhenitsyncan lookatAmerica and say, “It’s coming here.” You are sort of cut off; you don't see it. But it’s coming herebecause that’s theway, that’s what’shappeningin the world. And of course, Americansareblinded because we’reused to having our food...

Fr. H: We’re protected.

Fr. S: ...and very much cut off from the reality. And the reality that’s happening in the world is this here, these crazy people, who are not crazy people, they’reexpressing whatthe devil is planning for us next.2

Inmodernart, as we’ve seen, we see this chaos,thisdisjointedness on one hand; on another hand, we see, as this man also pointed out, this Sedlmyer, the artifical calmness of the architecture. We look at the modern city and you see these tremendous big skyscrapers, pure—there’s one in SanFrancisco—pure black glass. And I have known people who look at that and say, “Oh,it’s beautiful!Itexpressesthe soul; that’s what wearestriving after.” And of course, he’s in tune with the times. Whatit expressesis: no God,everythingis cutoff. All that’s left issomekind great memorial to what, to blindness. And inside they hang these crazy paintings of someone who goes crazy and puts, or they get paintings by apes, children, primitive peoples and so forth.

Out of this, by the way, in the last few years—well since 1945 especially—there’s been a new kind of artmovement,whichis, this wild Expressionism out of which there begin to come people, that is,shapes. Unfortunatelywe haven’t got anyrealexamples of it. You can point to a couple there.

Fr. H: This would be close.

Fr. S: There’s oneartistcalledFrancisBacon. This is veryclose. It looks like one of Bacon's paintings by Goya (?). Alreadyhe wasforeseeingthat. There’s another one calledGiacometti, the Italian sculptor, who has tremendous tall figures, all sort of, they’re very much like this one here, some kind of absolute chaos and out of it there begins to come kind of a human form, only it’s like this—in human, like a mask or misshapen, some kind of a thing like this, all sort of humped over and maybe one arm is missing, or its legs are missing. His face is staring ahead like sort of nothing. There no, no expression, no hope, nodespair,just “Uhh.” There’re many painters like thatnow.But this is, apart fromSurrealism,it’s the one other constant school of painting which has come out, painting and a little bit ofsculpture.And they’re simply frightful figures. Andhejust makes youfrightenedto look at them, asthoughthey’re just disfigured by the war or—just frightful.

Fr. H: Feeling of raw meat... blood and guts... toilet seat...

Fr. S: And this also is a part of, it’s very sort of battered down now, but also there is behind it again this feeling of something coming up, some kind ofchialistic expectation.Maybe now we’re going to come at last to a new age. In fact, there’s oneCatholic artist, about twenty years ago this painter, I forgot his name,3but at that time Jacques Mauritain and Gilson and all those Catholic humanists were saying, “This looks like thenewiconographyfor Catholicism.” And you look at it, and it’sfrightful.It’s likecombine,well, it's moreexpressionistic, it’s somekind oftransfiguration.You see these distorted. You can’t recognize them as human beings hardly, but all his paintings arereligious.So now there’s going to be a new religious art.

And by the way, they often take religious themes now, and these forms come back, but some kind of demon figures. Like there’s one, where I went to college atClaremont,there wasonesculptor. I forgot his name, but he had a sculpture of Christ rising. And what it was was the figure of a dead man who wasbeinglifted up. You could see there alldistortedstill dead but he’s now being lifted up by something. In other words probably a demon’s going to take over the body. And some people say, “Oh, that’s beautiful. It’s going back toreligionnow, that[shows]already he believes in theresurrection.”And he believes in whatthe demons are resurrecting. And the body is distorted and it, you can see it’s dead, justbeginningto come to some kind of distorted life. Or he has another one, a crucifixion which is absolutely a crucifixion by demons, frightfully distorted figure on the cross.

This is perhaps not so strong as a sort of chiliasm, but still it is some kind of indication that out of the nihilism of the wars and revolutions mankind still hopes for some kind ofhumanism.But now it’s what you can call “sub-human.”

But there is also very much a current ofhopeamong the fewprophets.We’ve already seen howTeilharddeChardin isfilled with optimism that all this, in fact, he says this Communism and fascism and all (who were victims?) is only passing by. Evolution does not regard the individual, only the species. As long as man survives, who cares about the hundred million in the concentration camps? Man will survive and the species will evolve into something higher.

So we have many prophets. We’ll mentiononlytwoorthree. And this Teilhard de Chardin is one. Another one is a strange figure in the nineteenth century in Russia, his name is Fyodorov, whose writings were almost unknown at that time and were published only after his death in the early decades of the twentieth century, but with whom people like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were fascinated and Solovyov also. He had a very strange idea. His writings were not published in English until Schmemann got a hold of them, and had them translated for his anthology of crazy Russian writings. He has a whole seventy pages of this man, the first time ever in English. He must think it’s very significant.

He [Fyodorov] is one you can say is disillusioned with revolutionary ideals, that everything is for the future. Because that means we of today in the present, and people who havestruggledin the past, are only the“manure”for the future paradise. And he could not stand that. And therefore he came up the idea that the task of mankind is to resurrect his ancestors by means of science. Of course, how this is going to come about wedon’tknow. He says you sort of have the faith and develop science and get ready for the great event when the ancestors will be resurrected and everybody will enter into this paradise.

And we see today we have the new science of cryogenics, that is, people are letting themselves be frozen in the hope that they will be resurrected in some future day when their disease will be cured. But that very idea is a chiliastic idea—I’m goingtoberesurrectedin thefuture.I’m going to come back to life—very filled with this secular chiliasm. And this man Fyordorov puts this into the form of some kind of prophecy that in the future—this book is calledThe Common Task—the great task of mankind is toresurrecttheancestors.Of course, it’s a wilddreambut it’s very much, you know, this is what the Antichrist will resurrect: people, and be able to look like resurrection, will be able to put demons into them and make them walk around again, with walking corpses.

And you notice, by the way, in science fiction literature the same theme occurs. [In] science fiction movies there’s some kind of aliens from outer space and they come and take over somebody’s body and walk around like zombies. You see theseinadvertisements for them, these children from outer space, and the children who have been inhabited by some being from outer space with their eyes wide open, staring ahead—same spirit. In fact, the whole of science fiction is entirely chialistic: superior race, Superman is coming from outerspace.The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (16)

So that’s one, Fyodorov, one crazy prophet,but verymuch in tune with the spirit of the new kingdom in this world, outside of the limits of Christianity, of course, because we believe in the true resurrection not by science but by God Himself.

[Insert from 1980 Nietzsche Lecture; Fr. Seraphim also took extensive notes on D.H. Lawrence for his Anarchism book in the 1960’s.]

[D.H. Lawrence] ...thirty or so. And he was filled with this idea of sort of back to the earth paganism. And he gave us kind of almost a philosophical basis for sex, although his novelsaren’tdirty—well, all exceptLady Chatterly’s Lover’s nottoogood. But what they have in them is this constant emphasis uponearthiness, upon the open expression of sex. And he has these heroes; in one story I read, there was a heroine. He talks about unhappy, in fact—he’s married, doesn’t have to betoooutrageous (?). He always talks about unhappy marriages because one of them was is very earthy and the other one is very, [does] too much thinking; and this is the disease of modern times, this thinking too much. And therefore he has this one story about a man and woman who got divorced; the woman ran away orsomethingto the south seas. So everything’s sunny andbright.South is of the earth. So he goes looking for her, and there’s a contrast.She’s theresomeplaceon a rock in the south seas, naked,sunningherself andshe’sall brown and like a goddess. He’sall pale—most northern Europeans are absolutely pale andemaciatedandeffeminate.And she has powerbecause she’s of the earth, she’s earthy.She believes in fully expressing sexuality. And he has all kinds of inhibitions,you know, “You can’t do that, no, no, no.” And he presented a very starkcontrast between real earthy.He readNietzsche;he knew that the new Superman’s going to be of the earth; that’s what Nietzsche said: the new Superman will come from the earth. And therefore in all these stories, everything that has to do with Christianity is considered effeminate, weak, like Nietzsche says. Everything to do with paganism is strong. Therefore he has all kinds of images, especially of black Africa; he loved African gods. And his heroes have these statues, these crude African statues that symbolize their fact that they’reawakenedfrom all theseprejudices. Alltheinhibitions of Christianity are thrown off, man becomes free. And then you’re able to see there’s noparticularlaws. If you’re married or unmarried,it makes nodifference.He didn’t go into homosexuality. He just thought that the normal sex should be expressed freely.

He even has one horribly blasphemous story, which even before I was aOrthodoxI couldn’tfinish. It’s about howJesusChrist resurrected. Or whether He resurrected or just came down from the Cross and discovered He was a failure. And then he has a love affair with Mary Magdalen and discovers the meaning of life. And it’s justexpressedso crudely andblasphemously, that it’stoo much even for anon-Christian. that’sthe level he’s on, but he’s a very powerful writer. And he’sconsideredamongthegreat writers. In fact, I think I had a course with either six or eight writers and he was one of them. I think Hemingway was even left out, so they went for him.[He’s]very important becausehe’sverysymptomatic of modern times. But he was an example of this neo-paganism.

And he had a follower, another writer who’s calledHenry Miller, who is very down to earth. Henry Miller is an American who died a few years ago—he was more than 70 years old ten years ago. He lived in Big Sur and was a typical modern bohemian type, free of all kinds of prejudices and so forth. And in the 1920’s, I think, he went to Paris like a lot of young intellectuals in the West did. And Hemingway went there also. Paris was like the art capital of the world. There you learn about what’sreally going on in art. He was rather old then, thirty-five or so, when he first woke up to become an artist and went to Paris and began living there as an expatriate and writing these novels. Basically, he was influenced by D.H. Lawrence. [He] woke up to the idea of reality of this world, of earth, of paganism, of sex and all that, and began writing these novels which were banned in America until very recently. They were published in France. In fact, I knew somebody who had a bookstore in San Diego who was arrested for selling it under the counter maybe fifteen years ago. “Course since theseventies that’sallchanged.They can now print it, considered old hat now to.

Well, D.H. Lawrence died about 1930. Henry Miller was still alive in the ’60’s when I was in downthere.I never sawhim.My mother lived in Carmel, so I was in that area. But he was still a tourist attraction in those days in Big Sur. He retired down there, sort of had followers around him who believed in the same things.

Well, this Henry Miller was writing, actually they’re just pornographic sex novels, all four-letter words and sex experiences and everything else is described. These books now are justordinary;everybody writes like that now. In this way he’s[a]typical, enlightened modern man, one step beyond Hemingway, and filled with this anarchic spirit, the very spirit which Fourier talksabout:let thepassionsbeunleashedand there’llbeparadise.

But this is very interesting because at the same time in Paris, Nicholas Berdyaev met him or he read his books. And Berdyaev lived in Paris as an exile [and] was very interested in all modern manifestations of culture. And therefore he read Henry Miller, Idon’tknow how, if he read English or not. But Berdyaev himself is an absolute anarchist, you know. He believes in overthrowing the Church and letting the free spiritual man come forth. And so he read this American anarchist, Henry Miller, who believes in expressing whatever you have inside of you, any garbage, or whatever you have inside you, you just express it. And he read Henry Miller. I think he only read one book, and he said, “At the end of this book, I feel like my world is dissolving.”He says,“Absoluteanarchy!The man should beburned!”He couldn’tstand it because he said all these passions come out, and it was too much for him because the man is just absolute expression of whatever comes out from your nature. If you once enter into his philosophy, everything begins to dissolve. There is nothing left, you just dissolve yourself,can’t stand it. Berdyaev had some quite accurate observations sometimes. For instance, he went to to a lecture of Rudolph Steiner in Berlin. And he said he feeled like that man is frightful, he is trying to conquer God from beneath. What he saw was accurate, but he himself was also a false prophet.

And he [Henry Miller] lived the kind of life [in which] his passions were unleashed. He could do whatever he want; there’s no morerestraints.And he wassomeonelike D.H.Lawrence [in his idea that] the sexual passion especially should be liberated and man will be somehow new, renewed, which is all, of course, a rather of a myth which can actually destroy people.

But he also wrote some essays, non-fiction writings, which show that the man is quite aware of things. And he thought rather deeply on what itmeansto be amodernman, whereit’s all going, the fact that now [that] all this sexuality is coming out, we are able to be free. The prejudices of the past are being overcome. He believed in astrology, and in all kinds of magic arts, and believed the new age is coming, some kind of aquarian age when prime ministers will be astrologers and the Renaissance alchemy and so forth will flourish again. He [Henry Miller] got this out of the air, just like Hitler said, “I am the first of the firstmagicians,” I think he said, “in the new age of magic.” And he has one article and he talks about the necessity for mankind to be under one worldgovernment,and he says, “Who will rule this one world government?”And he said, “The time will come when a man will arise by himself, and he will have such charismatic ability that people by themselves will flock to him and see in him all their hopes for a new religion, the new age of mankind, and just likeNapoleonhe will become their symbol.” And he said, “I feel that every age has apersonwhorepresentsthat age,” sort of theageproduces a person that represents this age, therefore our age is going to produce a tremendous man, a great new magical political figure, who will come and rule the world, and represent for us all these feelings of the earth, and all these forbidden things that were not allowed to come out before, which seems to be very accurate—prophecy of Antichrist and some kind of millenium in which the impulses of mankind will be let loose, people will be free of all restraints, of past beliefs of God, of morality and will enjoy the millenium.4

And of course, this is a perfect example of this self-worship that Kant let loose on the literary and popular level. And once this was allowed to come out, then, of course, the whole, everything is allowed. And now there is hardly a single movie you can seeapparently that’snot full of some kind of sexscene.

And it’s very interesting how this subject is handledinclassical writers. For example, we saw a movie called “NicholasNickleby”recently,which has a lot of sex in it, sort ofunder thescenes, but you have to read itbetweenthe lines to get it. It’s quite clear what’s meant—this decadent nobleman and the girl, and you see the way they look at each other. The wholepicture’srevealedto you, butit’s revealedin a very elegant way, even inthemovie. And there’s no stirring of passion, you just see that’s life. Therefore sex as a part of life is presented in a very realistic way. And nowadays how do they present it? You know, they go into all the gory details. So you have to sit there and watch apparently. Even Anna was taken to the movies by her father(?), and she had to sit and watch and see this squirming under covers, and imagine what they’re doing. Of course, in many places theyjusttakeeverythingoff and show you. What does that do? That’s called realisticattitude towards life, isn’t it? Is it?

Student: Well, it depends how you look at it, your point of view. Even with the classical literature it’s not, they were working with more realistic point of view than today.

Fr. S: They just were, they had taboos. They couldn’t talk about some things.

Student: It reminds me same thing of the services, Fr. Herman was telling us about the compline...all the time these, it just talks about... that it does it in such a way...

Fr. S: Well, thiselementhas always been part of life, and it’s always been expressed. In fact, in the, the Orthodox lives of saints are full of this. In fact they’re quite shocking if you’re used to Victorian standards of literature.It’s quite open aboutthis subject,but it’s presented in such a way that it doesn’tarousepassion, it just gives you the reality.

And what’shappeningnow, the fashion in the last ten or fifteen years is toproduceall this thathasn’tbeen allowed before in such a way that it arouses your passion. And therefore it does not put across anymeaning, that is, it does not tell you howto handlethis whole thingbecauseyou’re sointerestedin it. Of course you’re going to bewatchingthe clothes come off andsoforth. You’re going to get all excited and all interested. And what is it going to do for the plot, for the whole meaning of life? It doesn’t doanything.It justtitillatesyou, tickles you. And that’s what Kant produced.

And thereasonwhy it tickles is why? Because we’reself-centered. Everybody looks there and he sees himself. Because in itself, usually sex is a veryunsatisfying experience.Youdon’tgetthese tremendous experiences you see in the movies or in books.

And therefore you go to the movies and you see: maybe your own bodyisn’t particularly beautiful,but you go there and yousee beautifulbodies, ah! And as you’re looking at thosebeautiful images,you’re worshipping yourself. It’s like looking at yourself in the mirror. And all those inadequacies you have whether in beauty or in sex experience or whatever, it all becomes perfect, if only havesomeonewho’shandsome enoughand does itso expertly and so forth. You. It’s actually like looking at yourself in a mirror and worshipping yourself, the tremendous thrill of it. Because there’s no moreliteratureat all, no more higher valueswhatsoever. And this is definitely a form of self-worship.

Student:Well, it’s the same thing as that when you tell us about that desert guy in Arizona, Idon’tknow, Fr. Hermanor someone was telling us, you see him looking at the mirror, OK, I look like myself... It’s all self-worship.

Fr. S: Yeah. That’s a basic category of mistake in spiritual life, to be always looking at yourself. And in modern times that’s very characteristic. It’s very narcissistic, all our spirituality. And this sort of people who talk about being spiritual, it’s usually very self-centered; they’re looking at themselves in a mirror. That’s right.

And on the lower level, this is where it’s affecting contemporary art. I haven’tseen these films,althoughthe lastone I saw about twelve years ago was bad enough. I think I saw two of them already pretty bad. That means now it is even [more] open. And there’s no more, the higher values getdrownedinthislower element. And you simply apparently cannot make a film nowadays—unless it’s just anoutrightchild’s film—unless it has some kind of a sex scene in it. So you get an “R” and if you getan“R” thatmeans,ahah! this is spicy. Let’s go watch that. That’sall part of this same cult of self-worship.

And it filtered down from the time of Kant. He wrote about 1790. And now in 1980, two hundred years, this filtered down to this lowest level. And that’s the result. that’soneaspectwhich is very prevalent in our society, in fact, every place: advertisements, the whole suggestive element in television. The whole idea is to arouse you, arouse your emotions, arouse your passions and present some kind of a beautiful figure, just like you’re looking in themirrorat yourself: I have to havethatperfume, I have to have that deodorant...

Dostoyevsky also wrote several interesting pieces. One, I forget where it was, and what book it was, he wrote about a dream of—

Fr. H:The Raw Youth.

Fr. S: That’s adifferent,I think it’s adifferentbook, thereistwo of them. One is [the] idea that it’s veryattractivetoourhuman nature to, if everyone sort of takes their clothes off and does what he likes.

Fr. H: Baboque.

Fr. S: Baboque? Because this is the very same thing that Henry Miller feels and Fourier liked, that idea of unleashing thepassions.In fact, we’ll even see from ten years ago inSan Franciscoand New York, Idon’tknow, I read in a newspaper, some critics said of the San Francisco, some kind of ballet from San Francisco went to New York, and in one of their dances all the people took their clothes off, and just bounced around the stage for a couple minutes then put their clothes back on. And he said that in that moment I felt such a feeling of liberation, I couldn’t explain it, themysteriousfeeling ofabsoluteliberationcame over me.

Of course, then it was very avant-garde, today now this happens all the time. But this shows again this chiliastic desire now when all restraints are gone then you feel some kind of newliberationcoming over you which lasts for amomentbut that’sall you need. You need only a few years to be in the reign of Antichrist.

And inThe Raw YouthDostoyevsky had a very goodprophecyabout thefuture, unfortunatelywedon’thave thequote,but it concerns the day when the sun went down, that is, God went out of the life of man. And he said in that day men will all of sudden realize that they are alone, that the sun has gone out of their life, and now they are alone on this planet, and what will happen then? He said men will then be filled with such love for each other and such love for every little piece of grass becausetheyknow it’s going away. It will always, if it’s going, goingforever.Only thismomentit survives. There’s no God, nothing else beyond life. We must grasp this moment and live to the full. And they will huddle together andembrace each other out of loneliness.

“Dostoyevsky’scommenton this: Men, “havingrejectedGod,worship“Humanity,” and loveeverything Humanityloves;thus even the Bible, which has illumined men like the sun; though its sense is now lost, one cannot be ungrateful for the favors it has bestowed upon mankind.”5“Why, then, do they kiss the Bible, reverently listening to the reading from it and shedding tears over it?—This is because, having rejected God, they began to worship ‘Humanity.’ Now they believe in Humanity; they deify it and adore it. And what, over long centuries, has been more sacred to mankind than this Holy Book?—Now they worship it because of its love of mankind and for the love of it on the part of mankind; it has benefited mankind during so many centuries—just like the sun, it has illumined it; it has poured out on mankind its force, its life. And ‘even though its sense is not lost,’ yet loving and adoring mankind, they deem it impossible to be ungrateful and to forget the favors bestowed by it upon humanity...

“In this there is much that is touching and also much enthusiasm. Here there is actual deificiation of humankind and a passionate urge to reveal their love. Still, what a thirst for prayer, for worship; what a craving for God, and faith among these atheists, and how much despair and sorrow; what a funeral procession in lieu of a live, serene life, with its gushing spring of youth, force and hope! But whether it is a funeral or a new and coming force—to many people this is a question.

“‘I picture to myself... that the battle is over and that the strife has calmed down. After maledictions, lumps of mud and whistles, lull has descended and men have found themselvesalone, as they wished it; the former great idea has abandoned them; the great wellspring of energy, that has thus far nourished them, has begun to recede as a lofty, inviting Sun, but this, as it were, was mankind’s last day.”6“And suddenly men grasped that they had been left all alone, and forthwith they were seized with a feeling of great orphan-hood... Never was I able to picture people as having grown ungrateful and stupid. Orphaned men would at once begin to draw themselves together closer and with more affection; they would grasp each other’s hands, realizing that now they alone constituted everything to one another. The grand idea of immortality would also vanish, and it would become necessary to replace it, and all the immense over-abundance of love for Him who, indeed, has been Immortality, would in every man be focussed on nature, on the universe, on men, on every particle of matter. They would start loving the earth and life irresistibly, in the measure of the gradual realization of their transciency and finality, and theirs would now be a different love—not like the one in days gone by. They would discern and discover in nature such phenomona and mysteries as had never heretofore been suspected, since they would behold nature with hew eyes, with the look of a lover gazing upon his inamorata [beloved]. They would be waking up and hastening to embrace one another, hastening to love, comprehending that days are short and that this is all that is left to them. They would be laboring one for another, and every man would be surrendering to all men all he possessed, and this alone would make him happy. Every child would know and feel that everyone on earth is his father and his mother. ‘Let tomorrow be my last day’—everyone would think, looking at the setting sun—‘but all the same, I shall die, yet they all will remain, and after them, their children’—and this thought that they will remain, always as ever loving and [palpitating],” as anxious over each other “would replace the thought of the reunion beyond the grave. Oh, they would be losing no time to love, so as to quench the great sorrow in their hearts. They would be proud and bold on their own behalf, but they would be timid on each other’s behalf; everyone would be trembling for the life and happiness of every man. They would grow tender toward one another, and would not be ashamed of this as at present, and they would fondle each other, even as children. Meeting one another, they would be beholding each other with a deep and meaningful look, and in that look would be love and sorrow...’

“Isn’t there here, in this fantasy, something akin to that actually existent ‘Atheists Church’?”7

Of course, this is very much part of our contemporary mentality. And even all this sexual revolution and so forth,some of it’s just, you know, looseness but quite a bit of it is people looking for love. They do not find love in God, in the family, in church, in the society. And so they grasp at this ideal of sexual love, which gives a temporary warmth and then fades away to nothing. That also is needed to make a millenium: people who are enlightened, away from any standard. And it will give the appearance, therefore, of a kingdom of love, and the Antichrist will be he, the one they worship, while worshipping themselves, because their god is themselves.

And Berdyaev, we’ve already had quite a bit of, I wanttorepeat one more quote from him; it is in the article on charismatic movement, The world is movingtowardsa newspiritualityandanew mysticism; in it there will be no more of the ascetic world-view.” “The success of the movement towards Christian unity presupposes a new era in Christianity itself, a new and deep spirituality, which means a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”8

In a way it sums up the whole of the past chiliastic hopes since Joachim of Floris, who was his idol, and inspires people in the present to look for some kind of new age. And if it looks impossible, if the future looks dark and difficult, and tyranny and, and gulag, still somehow when you think of his ideas you can all of a sudden be filled like Rousseau with a great mystic feeling that, yes, there must be something more to reality than some kind of concentration camps. We believe in the future harmony.

And so Berdyaev says, “The world is movingthroughdarkness toward a new spirituality and a new mysticism... The new mysticism will not consider this objectivized world as final reality.” See, there’ll be a new science. The spirit reality will comein. “In it will berevealedthe true gnosis... And all the tormenting contradictions and divisions” ofmodernlife which dividesmaninto actualfragments“will be resolved in the newmysticism,which will bedeeperthan allreligionsand ought to unitethem.” It “will be the victory over false forms of socialmysticism, the victory of the realm of the spirit over the realm of Caesar.”9“The final triumph of the realm of spiritpresupposesa changeinthe structure of human consciousness...

This can be envisaged onlyeschatologically.”10

Of course, evolution comes to the aid of this by saying indeed mankind is evolving to some higher consciousness wherein spiritual reality will be opened.


Now we come finally to one man who is very much partof all thesemovements.His name is Vladimir Solovyov. In fact it’s probably owing to him more than anyone else that the Russian intelligentsia went off the track, because Kireyevsky tried to call the intelligentsia back to Orthodoxy, and Soloviev was inspired by pantheism, by foreign influences, had a vision of Sophia. In fact, he met Sophia in thedesertof Egypt. It’sprobablythatsamewoman messiah that the Saint-Simonians went to look for in the 1830’s. She was staying in the desert there, and he went tothedesert and had a vision of Sophia. He was there in 18—, the Saint-Simonianswent in 1830’s, and Soloviev went in 1880, I guess.

He didn’t live long. He died in 1900. He livedaboutforty-five years or so, probably contemporary with Nietzsche. He was another one of these wild thinkers. He came up with all kinds of fantastic things. The world would be governed by the Pope and the Tsar—the whole world, the world empire of the Tsar and the Pope. And he was full of these new ideas, Sophia as the fourth person of the Holy Trinity, and all these fantastic things that threw off Bulgakov, inspired Berdyaev, FIorensky, and all these wild thinkers.

Fr. H: All the Paris School came straight from this Sophia.

Fr. S: Vladika John, in his article on Soloviev and Bulgakov, says that this sophiology is the worship ofman, the rejection of the worship of God, and placing in its place the worship of man. But at the end of hislife some kind of new spirit came overpage158image37084096 Soloviev. And he came into complete discouragement over the hope for a world empire—Orthodoxy and Catholicism uniting.

Fr. H: He didn’t become Catholic,though;he didn’tbecomeCatholic.

Fr. S: Yeah. He received communion in Catholic church for a time.

Student: He did become Catholic?

Fr. S: Yeah. But he didn’tconsiderhe had becomeCatholic. He considered that he was uniting both religions. And in the last year of his life he was troubled by forebodings of the future. And all of a sudden he began reading prophecies about Antichrist. And it got so much for him that he told some people that he has very difficult time going to church because he has such a strong feeling that in a very short time all the churches will be closed and the catacombs will be opened up.

Fr. H: He had some kind of insight, no question.

Fr. S: And he saw as the end of history, the end of modern life, the end of modern history, the coming of Antichrist. And so he sat down and wrote a story which was the dialogue of three people. One is some kind of monk who tells us the story of Antichrist...

...Three Conversations on War and Future of Mankind. In this he makes fun of the Tolstoyian who thinks that we should be peaceful and not resist no matter what happens. At the end of thisThree Conversationsis a story of Antichrist. Most of the details he gets from Scripture and the Holy Fathers, and a few things he adds a little to himself which are not too good, but the basic story is quite accurate. And he adds into this the things which he himself learned by his own occult experiences and his ownawarenessof the spirit of his times. So we’ll see we’ll see how this comes out in his...

In a way you can say this is the very close parallel to the legend of the Grand Inquisitor of Dostoyevsky.

“There lived at that time a remarkable man—many called him a superman—who was as far from being a child in intellect as in heart. He was young, but his genius made him widely famous as a great thinker, writer and social worker by the time he was thirty-three. Conscious of his own great spiritual power, he had always been a convinced idealist, and his clear intelligence always made clear to him the truth of that which ought to be believed in: the good, God, the Messiah. He believed in all this, but he loved only himself. He believed in God, but at the bottom of his heart he unconsciously and instinctively preferred himself to God.

“...The inordinate pride of the great idealistseemedjustified both by his exceptional genius, beauty and nobility, and his lofty asceticism, disinterestedness and active philanthrophy. He was so abundantly blessed with gifts from above that he was scarcely to blame for regarding them as special signs of exceptional divine favor; he considered himself as next to God, as the son of God in auniquekind of way.” All of this is nottoo differentfrom these socialistprophets,by the way. “In short,herecognized himself for what Christ really was. But this consciousness of his own higher dignity expressed itself not as a sense of a moral obligation to God and the world, but as a conviction that he had rights and privileges over others, especially over Christ. At the beginning he had no hostility against Jesus. He admitted His messianic dignity and significance, but he sincerely saw in Him merely the greatest of his ownpredecessors;”(Thatishow the Saint-Simonians says “the Saint-Simonian transformation of Christianity,” in which he’s actuallygreaterthan Christ.) “his mind, clouded by pride, could not understand Christ's moral achievement and his absolute uniqueness. Hereasonedthus: “Christ came before me; I comesecond;but that which in the order of time comes later is essentially prior. I come last, at the end of history, just because I am the perfect and final saviour. The first Christ was my forerunner. His mission was to anticipate and prepare my coming.” With this idea in his mindthegreat man of the twenty-first century applied to himself all that is said in the Gospel about the second coming, understanding by it, not the return of the same Christ, but the replacement of the preliminary Christ by the final one, that is, by himself.

“...This man also justified his proud preference ofhimself to Christ with the followingargument:“Christinpreaching the moral good and manifesting it in his life, was thereformerof mankind, but I am destined to be thebenefactorof this partly reformed, and partly incorrigible mankind. I shall give all men what they need. Christ as a moralist divided men into the good and the bad, but I will unite them by blessings which are needed by the good and the bad alike. I shall be the true representative of the God who makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust. Christ brought a sword, I shall bring peace. He threatened the earth with the fearful last judgment. But I shall be the last judge, and my judgment will be one of mercy as well as of justice. There will be justice too in my judgment, not retributive, but distributive justice. I will make distinctions between people and give everyone his due.”

“In this beautiful frame of mind he waited for some clearcall from God, for some manifest and striking testimony to his being the eldest son, God’s beloved first-born. He waited, and meanwhile nurtured his self-hood on the contemplation of his superhuman gifts and virtues—as already said, he was a man of irreproachable morality and extraordinary genius. “Therighteousand proud man waited and waited for a sanction from above to begin his work of saving humanity—and still the sanction did not come.” How many people there are like this, by the way, some people who think they’re greatgenuises.They’re waiting forsomedemon to appear to them to tell them to go out and teach the world. He waited until he was thirty-three years old. “Another three years passed. And suddenly there flashed through his mind a thought that sent a hot tremor into the very marrow of his bones, “And what if...? What if not I, but thatother...theGalilean... What if He is not my forerunner, but the real one, the first and the last? But then He must beliving... Where is he?... What if He comes to, now... What shall I say to him? Why, I shall have to bow down before Him like the most stupid of Christians, shall have to mutter senselessly like a Russianpeasant,“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, asinner,” orgrovel like a Polish country woman! I, the bright genius, thesuperman!No, never!” Andinsteadof theformercold,rational respect for God andChrist there was born and grew in his heart, first, a kind of terror and then a burning, choking and corroding envy and furious, breath-takinghatred.“I, I and not He! He isnotliving, He is not and shall not be. He is not risen, He is not risen from the dead! He roteth in the tomb, rotteth like the lowest...”

“Foaming at themouth,he rushed out of the houseandgarden and, leaping and bounding, ran in the black depth of the night along the rocky path... The fury died down, and despair, hard and heavy as the rocks and dark as the night, took its place. He stopped at the sheer drop of the cliff and heard the vague noise of the stream rushing along the stones far below. Unendurable anguish weighed on his heart. Suddenly somethingstirredwithin him. “Shall I call Him—ask Him what I am todo?”And the sad and gentle image seemed to rise before him in thedarkness.“He pities me... No, never! He did not, He did not rise from the dead!”

“And he threw himself down from the cliff. Butsomething resilient like a water-spout supported him in the air, he felt a kind of electric shock, and some power flung him back. He lost consciousness for a moment and when he came to himself he was kneeling a few steps away from the edge of the cliff. He saw the outline of a figure glowing with a misty, phosphorescent light and its eyes penetrated his soul with their intolerable sharp brillance.

“He saw those piercing eyes and heard—he did not know whether from within himself or from outside—a strange voice, toneless and, as it were, stifled, and yet clear, metallic, and absolutely soulless as though coming from a phonograph. And the voice was saying to him: “You are my beloved son in whom Iamwell pleased. Why have you not sought me? Why did you revere that other, the bad one, and His Father? Iam your god and your father.

And that other one, the beggar, the crucified, is a stranger both to me and to you. I have no other son but you. You are my only one, only begotten, co-equal with me. I love you and ask nothing of you. You are beautiful, powerful and great. Do your work in your own name, not in mine. I have no envy, I love you. I want nothing from you. He whom you regarded as God asked of His son boundless obedience, obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, and He did not help Him on the cross. I ask nothing of you, and I will help you. I will help you for your own sake, for the sake of your own dignity and excellence and of my pure disinterested love for you. Receive my spirit. Once upon a time my spirit gave birth to you in beauty, now it gives birth to you inpower.”

“At these words of theunknownbeing thesuperman’slips opened of themselves, two piercing eyes came quite close to his face and he felt the sharp, frozen stream enter into him, fill his whole being. And at the same time he was conscious of wonderful strength, energy, lightness and rapture. At that instant the luminous outline in the eyes suddenly disappeared, something lifted him into the air and at once deposited him in the garden by the housedoor.”

And this is very similar to many occult experiences.

“Next day not only the greatman’svisitors but evenhisservants were struck by his peculiar, as it were, inspired expression. They would have been still more impressed could they have seen with what supernatural ease and speed he wrote, locking himself in his study, his famous work entitledThe Open Way to Universal Peace and Welfare.

“...That book,writtenafter theadventureon thecliff,showed in him an unprecedented power of genius. It was all-embracing and all-reconciling. It combined noble reverence for ancient traditions and symbols with broad and bold radicalism in social and political demands and precepts, boundless freedom of thought with the deepest understanding of all things mystical, absolute individualism with ardent devotion to the common good, the most lofty idealism of the guiding principles with thoroughly definite and concrete, practical conclusions. And it was all put together with such consumate art that every one-sided thinker or reformer could easily see and accept the whole entirely from his own particular point of view, without sacrificing anything forthe truth itself, or rising above his own self for the sake of it, or giving up his one-sidedness, or in any way correcting his mistaken views and aspirations, or trying to make up for their insufficiency.

No one raised objections against this book, for it seemed to everyone a revelation of the all embracing truth. It did such complete justice to the past, it passed such dispassionate judgment on every aspect of the present, it brought the better future so concretely and tangibly within reach, that everyone said: “ This is the very thing we want; here is an ideal that isnot utopian,a plan that is not achimaera.”Thewonderfulwritercarried all with him and wasacceptableto everyone, so that Christ’s words were fulfilled:

“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: ifanothershall come in his own name, him ye willreceive.”Which, by the way, refers toAntichrist.“For in order tobereceived, one must be acceptable.

“True, some piouspeople,while warmlypraising thebook, wondered why Christ was not once mentioned in it; but otherChristians replied:“And a good thing too! In thepast,everything holy was so bedraggled by all kinds of self-appointed zealots, that nowadays a deeply religious writer has to be very careful. And since the whole book is permeated by a truly Christian spirit of active love and all-embracing benevolence, what more do you want?” And all agreed with this.

“‘Soon after thepublicationof theOpen Way, which made its author the most popular man in the world, there was held in Berlin the international constituent assembly of the European States Union.

“The “intiated”decided to concentrateexecutive powerinthe hands of one person, investing him with sufficient authority. Theman of the futurewas elected almost unanimously life-long president of the United States of Europe. When he appeared on the rostrum in all the brilliance of his superhuman young strength and beauty and, with inspired eloquence, expounded his universal programme, the assembly, charmed and completely carried away, in a burst of enthusiasm decided without putting it to the vote to pay him the highest tribute by electing him Roman emperor. The assembly closed amidst general rejoicing, and the great elect published a manifesto beginning with the words,“Peoplesof theearth!My peace I give unto you,”and endingasfollows: “Peoples of the earth! Thepromiseshave been fulfilled!Eternal universal peace is secured. Every attempt to disturb it shall be immediately met with overwhelming opposition. Henceforth there is in the world one central power which is stronger than all other powers, both separately and taken together. This invincible and all-conquering power belongs to me, the plenipotentiary chosen Emperor of Europe and ruler of all its forces. International law is suported at last by sanctions that have hitherto been lacking to it. Henceforth no country will dare to say “war” when I say “peace.” Nations of the world, peace be unto you!” Themanifestohad thedesired effect.

“...Within a year a worId-wide monarchy in the exact and proper sense of the term was founded. The seedlings of war were pulled out by the roots. The League of Universal Peace met for the last time and, having addressed an enthusiastic eulogy to the great peace-maker, dissolved itself as no longer necessary. In the second year of his reign the Roman and univeral emperor issued anther manifesto: “Peoples of the earth! I promised youpeace and I have given it to you. But peace is only made sweet by prosperity. It is no joy to those who are threatened with destitution. Come unto me, all you that are cold and hungry and I will give you food and warmth.”Then he announced a simpleandall-inclusive social reform that was already indicated in his book and had captivated at the time all noble and clear minds. Now that the world’s finances andenormous landed propertieswereconcentrated in his hands, he could carry out this reform and satisfy the desires of the poor without appreciable injustice to the rich. Everyone was paid according to his capacity, and every capacity was rewarded according to its merits and results.

“...There was firmlyestablishedin allmankindthemostimportant form of equality—the equality of general satiety. That was done in the second year of his reign. The social and economic problem was solved once for all. But though food is of first importance to the hungry, those who have sufficient food want something else.

“Evenanimalswhen they have hadenoughto eat wantnot merely to sleep but to play as well. This is even more true of men whopost panem[after bread] have always demandedcircuses.

“The superman-emperor understood what the crowd needed. At that time a great magician surrounded with a halo of strange facts and wild fairy tales came to him in Rome from the distant East.

“Thismagician, Apolloniusby name,unquestionably aman of genius, semi-Asiatic and semi-European, was a Catholic bishopin partibus infidelium[in infidel lands]. He combined in a marvellous way a mastery of the latest discoveries and technical application of Western science with a knowledge both theoretical and practical of all that is real and significant in the traditional mysticism of the East. The results of this combination were astounding. Apollonius mastered, for instance, the half-scientific and half-magical art of attracting and directing at his will atmospheric electricity, so the people said hecommanded fire to come down from heaven. But while striking the imagination of the multitude by all kinds of unheard-of novelties he refrained for a time from abusing his power for any special purposes. And so this man came to the great emperor, worshipped him as the true son of God, and, declaring that inthe secret books of the East he had found direct prophecies about him as the last saviour and judge of the earth, offered himself and his art in service to him. The emperor was charmed, accepted him as a gift from above, and bestowing splendid titles upon him, kept the magician permanently at his side. The peoples of the earth, having received from their master the blessings of universal peace and abundant food for all, were also given the chance of permanently enjoying the most diverse and unexpected signs and miracles. The third year of the superman’s reign was coming to an end.

“The political and social problems were happilysolved;now there was the religious problem to deal with.” Which both Napoleon and Hitler saw as the crowning of their own career if they had gotten that far. “Theemperorhimself raised it, at firstof all with reference to Christianity. The position of Christianity at that time was as follows. It had considerably decreased in numbers—there were not more than forty-five million Christians on the whole of the globe—but it had pulled itself together morally and reached a higher level, so that it gained in quality what it had lost in quantity. Men who had no spiritual interests in common with Christianity were no longer numbered among Christians. The different denominations had lost about the same proportion of theirmembers,”and “...the hostilitybetween themhad lessened considerably, and the differences had lost theirformer sharpness...”

“During the first two years of the new reign the Christians’attitude towardstheemperorand his peaceful reforms was one of definite sympathy and even enthusiasm. But in the third year, when the great magician appeared, many... began to feel uneasy and to disapprove. The passages in the Gospels and the Epistles about the prince of this world and Antichrist were read more attentively than before and excited lively comments. From certain signs the emperor guessed that a storm was gathering, and decided to make haste and clear up matters. Early in the fourth year of his reign, he addressed a manifesto to all his faithful Christians of whatsoever denomination, inviting them to elect or appoint plenipotentiary representatives to an ecumenical council under his presidency. By that time he had transferred his residence from Rome to Jerusalem. Palestine was then an autonomous state, populated and ruled chiefly by Jews. Jerusalem had been a free city and was now made an imperial one. Christian holy places remained intact, but the whole of the broad terrace, Haram-ash-Sharif, from Birket-Israin and the barracks on one side, and down to the El-Aksa mosque and “Solomon’s stabes” on the other, wasoccupiedby a hugenew building. It included, in addition to two small old mosques, a large “Imperial” temple for the union of all cults, andtwoluxurious imperial palaces with libraries, museums and special accommodation for magical experiments and exercises. The ecumenical council was to open in this semi-temple and semi-palace on the fourteenth of September. Since the Evangelical denomination had no priesthood in the proper sense, the Orthodox and Catholic hierarchs in accordance with theemperor’swishdecided,for the sake ofuniformityamongthedelegates, to admit to the council some of their laymen known for their piety and devotion to the interests of the Church. Thus the general number of the council members exceeded three thousand, and about half a million Christian pilgrims flooded Jerusalem and Palestine...

“Theopening ceremonywas mostimpressive.Two-thirds of the hugetemple dedicatedto the “unity of allcults”wereoccupied with benches and other seats for members of the council, and one-third was taken up with a tall platform; there were two thrones on it, one for the emperor, and a lower one for the great magician (cardinal and imperial chancellor), and behind them long rows of armchairs for the ministers, courtiers and secretaries of state, as well as longer rows at the sides for a purpose unknown. The members had already celebrated their religious services in the different churches, and the opening of the council was to be entirely secular. When the emperor came in with hissuiteand the greatmagician,and theorchestraplayed “themarchofunitedhumanity,” which was used as theimperial internationalhymn, all those present rose to their feet and waving their hats called out loudly three times,“Vivat! Hurrah! Hock!”Theemperor, standing by his throne with majestic benignity stretching out his hand, said in a pleasant and sonorous voice:

“Christians of all denominations!My belovedsubjectsand brothers! From the beginning of my reign which the Almighty has blessed with such wonderful and glorious deeds, I have not once had occasion to be displeased with you; you have always done your duty in all faith and conscience. But this is not enough for me. My sincere love for you, my beloved brothers, longs for reciprocity. I want you, not out of a sense of duty but from heartfelt love, to recognize me as your true leader in every work undertaken for the good of humanity. And so, in addition to what I do for all, I should like to bestow special favors upon you. Christians, what can I do to make you happy? What can I give you, not as to my subjects but as to my brethren and co-believers? Christians, tell me what is most precious to you in Christianity, that I might direct my efforts to it.”

Afterhearingthe view of the Catholics, he said, “Dear brother-Catholics! oh, how well I understand your view and how I should like to find support for my power in the authority of your spiritual head! That you may not regard this as mere empty talk and flattery, I solemnly declare: in accordance with my autocratic will the chief bishop of all Catholics, the Pope of Rome, is henceforth restored to his Roman see with all the rights and privileges that had ever been given it by my predecessors, beginning with the emperor Constantine the Great. And all I want of you, brother-Catholics, is an inner, heart-felt recognition of me as your only defender and patron. Let those who regard me as such in theirheartandconsciencecome to mehere.”And most of the Catholics get up and go to the benches.

Then he speaks once again, “Dear brothers! I know that there are among you some who value most in Christianity itssacred tradition, ancient symbols, ancient hymns and prayers, icons, and holy rites. And what indeed can be more precious to a religious mind? Know then, beloved, that today I have signed the statute and settled large sums of money on the world-museum of Christian archaeology in our glorious imperial city of Constantinople for the object of collecting, studying and preserving all relics of Church antiquity, especially the Eastern. I ask you to elect tomorrow from among yourselves a committee to discuss with me the measures that must be taken in order to make the present manners, customs and ways of living as conformable as possible to the tradition and ordinances of the holy Orthodox Church. Brother-Orthodox! Let those of you who appreciate my action and who can wholeheartedly call me their true lord andleader,come up to me here!”

“Then, straight andslenderlike a white churchcandle,the EIder John among the Orthodox, stood up and answered gently: “Greatemperor!Mostpreciousto us inChristianity isChrist himself—He himself, and everything rests on Him, for we know that in Him all the fullness of Godhead dwells bodily, But from you too, sire, we are ready to receive every blessing if only we recognize in your bountiful hand the holy hand of Christ. And here is our straight answer to your question what you can do for us: confess now here before us Jesus Christ the Son of God, who came in the flesh, rose from the dead and is coming again—confess Him, and we will receive you with love as a true forerunner of his glorious second coming.”

But“somethingevil was” now“happeningto the great man” emperor.“The same hellishstormraged within him asonthat fateful night. He completely lost his inner balance, and all his thoughts were concentrated on not losing external self-control and not giving himself away too soon. He was making superhuman efforts to throw himself with a wild yell at the speaker and tear at him with his teeth. Suddenly he heard thefamiliar unearthlyvoice: “Be still and fear nothing.” Heremainedsilent...

“While the Elder John wasspeaking,the great magician, who sat wrapped up in a voluminous three-colored cloak that completely hid his red robe of a cardinal, seemed to be doing some manipulations under it; there was a look of conentration in his glittering eyes, and his lips moved. Through the open windows of the temple a huge black cloud could be seen gathering, and soon everything turned dark. The Elder John was still gazing with fear and amazement at the silent emperor; suddenly he drew back in horror and, turning round, cried in a stifled voice: “Children, it’s Antichrist!” At thatmomentthere wasa deafeningcrash of thunder, a huge ball of lightning flared up in the temple and enveloped the Elder... When the Christians recovered from the shock, the Elder John lay dead.

“Theemperor,pale but calm, addressed the assembly: “You have seen God’sjudgment.I did not wish foranyone’s death,but my heavenly Father avenges his beloved son. The case is settled. Who would dare to oppose the Almighty? Secretaries! write: “Theecumenicalcouncil of all Christians, when the fire from heaven had struck the insane opponent of the divine majesty, unanimously recognized the mighty emperor of Rome and the world as their supreme leader and lord.”

And then the Pope also is struck down and the election is held for a new Pope. “While the election was being heldtheemperor was gently, wisely and eloquently persuading the Orthodox and Evangelical delegates to end their old dissensions in view of the new great era in Christian history; he pledged his word that Apollonius would know how to do away forever with all thehistoricalabuses of papacy.” Themagicianis electedPope.“TheOrthodoxandProtestant delegates, convincedby hisspeech,drew up an act of union between the churches, and when, amidst joyful acclamations, Apollonius appeared on the platform with the cardinals, the Greek archbishop and an Evangelical minister presented their paper to him.

“Accipio et approbo et laetificatur cor meum”“[I accept andapproveand my heartrejoices],”said Apollonius, signing thedocument.“I am a true Orthodox and a true Protestant as much as I am a true Catholic,” headded and exchangedfriendlykisseswith the Greek and the German. Then he walked up to the emperor, who put his arms round him and held him in his embrace for some minutes.

“Meanwhile curious pointsof light flitted inall directions about the palace and temple; they grew and tranformed themselves into luminous forms of strange beings; flowers never seen on earth before fell in showers from above, filling the air with a mysterious fragrance. Delightful heart- melting sounds of strange musical instruments floated from on high, and angelic voices of invisible singers glorified the new lords of heaven and earth. In the meantime a terrible subterranean roar was heard in the northwestern corner of the central palace under ... the cupola of souls, where according the Moslem tradition lies the entrance intoHades.When, at theemperor’sinvitation, the assembly moved in that direction, all clearly heard innumerable high-pitched and piercing voices – children’sor devils’—calling out: “The time has come, release us, saviours, saviours!”But whenApollonius, pressinghimself close to the wall,thrice shouted something to those under the earth in an unknown tongue, the voices were still and the subterranean roar subsided.

“...Theemperor, togetherwith the Pope, came out ontotheeasternbalcony,” of thetemple“raising ‘a storm of enthusiasm.’‘He graciously bowed in alldirections,whileApollonius continually took from large baskets brought to him by cardinals-deacons, and threw into the air magnificent Roman candles, rockets and fiery sprays, pearly-phosphorescent or bright rainbow-colored, that caught fire at the touch of his hand. On reaching the ground they all turned into innumerable different-colored sheets of paper with complete and unconditional indulgences for all sins, past, present and future. Popular rejoicing surpassed all bounds. True, some people said that they had seen with their own eyes the indulgences turn into hideous toads and snakes; but an overwhelming majority were enthusiastic. Public festivities went on for a few more days and the new miracle-working Pope performed things so wonderful and incredible that it would be quite useless to describe them.”11

We have here a very realistic picture which needs only a few details corrected perhaps to be in fact a realistic view of a millenium which is possible just about in our time.

So let us sum up the main points of the new religion which is preparing for the reign of Antichrist. The first is the“deathof God,” whichentailstheabolitionof Christianity,thatis, Orthodoxy, but this began in the eleventh century, what we call theapostasy.The “death of God” is a poetical way ofsaying apostasy. If God is dead, everything is permitted, which means an entirely new order of the universe and the demons come into man’s world. If there is no God, then...

G. Summary: doctrines of the new theology

1. Death of God ‘apostasy’

2. All is permitted ‘irruption of demons.’

3. Superman ‘sub-man’: worship of oneself.

4. Man and world become divine: final deception of devil.

5. World monarchy, new revelation, milennialism — for a brief time.

H. The answer: to save oneself. God is with us. Ours is the truth.


1. Picard, Max,Hitler in Ourselves, Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, 1947, pp. 27-32.

2. Fr. Seraphim is possibly holding up the magazine of Hari Krishnas from the first part of the lecture.

3. Possibly Eric Gill.

4. From Fr. S’s notes forKingdom of Man, unpublished book: Miller, Henry,Remember to Remember, Grey Walls Press, London, 1952, p. 32:

“At the dawn of every age there is distinguishable a radiant figure in whom the new time spirit is embodied. He comes at the darkest hour, rises like a sun, and dispels the gloom and stagnation in which the world was gripped. Somewhere in the black folds which now enshroud us I am certain that another being is gestating, that he is but waiting for the zero hour to announce himself... If the caterpillar through sleep can metamorphose into a butterfly, surely man during his long night of travail must discover the knowledge and the power to redeem himself.”

Also fromRemember to Remember: “Frankly, I don’t believe that the human race can regress in this manner. I believe that when the crucial moment arrives, a leader greater than any we have known in the past will arise to lead us out of the present impasse.” But in order for such a figure to come into being humanity will have to reach a point of such profound despair that we will be willing at long last to assume the full responsibility of manhood. That means to live for one another in the absolute religious meaning of the phrase; we will have to become planetary citizens of the earth, connected with one another not by country, race, class, religion, profession or ideology, but by a common, instinctive rhythm of the heart.”

Also cf. Miller, Henry,Wisdom of the Heart, “The Absolute Collective,” New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York, 1941, pp. 85- 86: “We stand at the threshold of a new way of life, one in which MAN is about to be realized. The disturbances which characterize this age of transition indicate clearly the beginnings of a new climate, a spiritual climate in which the body will no longer be denied, in which, on the contrary, the body of man will find its proper place in the body of the world. Man’s domination over nature is only now beginning to be understood as something more than a mere technical triumph; behind the brutal assertion of power and will there lies a smoldering sense of the awesomeness, the majesty, the grandeur of his responsibility. Is he perhaps just faintly beginning to realize that ‘all the ways of the earth lead to heaven?’ “Thus, the complete destruction of our cultural world, which seems more than ever assured now by the impending smashup, is really a blessing in disguise. The old grooves of race, religion and nationality are destined to go, and in their place we shall see, for the first time in the history of man, a community of interest based not on the animal in him but on the human being which he has so long denied.... The ideal man must perish, and the ideal man will certainly perish, for the last props of the world are now giving way. Man must open up, prepared to live the life of the world in all its worldliness, if he is tosurvive.”

5. From Fr. Seraphim’s notes for Anarchism book taken fromThe Diary of a Writer, Dostoyevsky quotes fromA Raw Youth, the dream of an idealist of the forties, concerning the future of mankind. Fr. Seraphim is paraphrasing the quote which follows.

6. Fr. Seraphim’s note: He speaks of the disappearance of the idea of God.

7. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor,The Diary of a Writer, Pt. III, Ch. 7, trans. Brasol, Boris, George Braziller, New York, 1954, pp. 265- 267.

8. “Nicholas Berdyaev, Prophet of a New Age,”Orthodox Life, by J. Gregerson, Jordanville, N.Y., 1962, No. 6, quoted inOrthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, Fr. Seraphim Rose, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California, 1983, p. 22.

9. Berdyaev, Nicolas,The Realm of Spirit and the Realm of Caesar, trans. Donald A. Lowrie, Harper & Brother, Publ., New york, 1952, pp. 181-182.

10. Ibid., p. 178.

11. Solovyov, Vladimir S.,A Solovyov Anthology, arr. by Frank, S.L., Greenwood Press, Publ., Westport, Connecticut, 1950, pp. 229-246.


The Orthodox Survival Course of Fr. Seraphim Rose (17)

Lecture XII, The New Religion, continued, Part D, from outline.

And this brings us to the spiritual state of our modern people, not necessarily under the direct influence of occultism or modern art, but still that very state which occultism and modern art expressed.

This we can see by a few pages from a book by another German, who is actually a Jew, became converted to Catholicism, became totally disillusioned with modern Europe and left the cities and went, found himself a place on a lake in Switzerland where last I heard he was still living. His name is Max Picard. He wrote a book called The Flight from God which describes how the life of modern man, especially life in the cities, is one of a complete running away from reality, running away from God. After the Second World War he wrote a second book called Hitler in Ourselves. Here he very nicely expresses what is the background for all these movements.

“During a trip to Germany in 1932, the head of an influential political party called upon me to ask how it was possible that Hitler had become so much of a figure and had gained so many followers. I pointed to a magazine which was lying on the table and told him to look at it. Page one was filled by a half- naked dancer; on page two, soldiers were drilling with a machine gun, and farther down a scientist was shown in his laboratory; page three featured the evolution of the bicycle from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day, and a Chinese poem was printed next to that; the following page was divided between the calisthenics of factory workers during a rest period and the writing technique of a South American Indian tribe by means of knotted strings; on the opposite page, Senator So-and-so was depicted in his summer retreat.

“This,” I said, “is how modern man grasps the things of the world outside himself. Modern man drags all things toward himself chaotically and without cohesion; this proves that his own inner life is a chaos lacking cohesion. Modern man no longer confronts the things of the world as solidly existing, nor do things register in his mind individually; neither does he approach a particular thing by a particular act: modern man with his chaotic inner life has a correspondingly chaotic outer world whirling toward him. What is coming is no longer scrutinized; it suffices that anything at all should be coming along. To this disjointed tumult anything or anybody could admix -- Adolf Hitler, too: he gets inside a man without his noticing how he got there; from that point on, it no longer depends upon the victim but upon the skill of Adolf Hitler, whether he will merely pass through that man’s mind or take hold of it.”

“The disjointedness of a magazine, however, seems old- fashioned, almost handmade, compared to the radio. In the radio the business of disjointedness has become mechanized: 6 A.M. calisthenics; 6:10 A.M. recorded music; 7 A.M. news; 8 A.M. Morse-alphabet course; 9 A.M. morning sermon; 9:30 A.M. “In the Lake Dwellers’ Village”; 10 A.M. Beethoven sonata for flute and piano; 10:30 A.M. farming lecture; 10:45 A.M. world news; 11 A.M. Overture to [Wagner’s] “Rienzi”– and so on till the Spanish course at 10:10 P.M. and the Jazz hour at 10:30 P.M.

“This world of the radio not only is disjointed;” that’s classical radio; that’s good radio. “it produces disjointedness: it presents all things in such a way that they will not hang together from the very start and thus are forgotten one by one even before they have disappeared; from the start they are shrouded in a haze of oblivion. This outer world presupposes that man’s mind is no longer capable of perceiving the things of this world in any context -- as they are, that is, as they endure, and as they are correlated to one another in their nature --” rather “it operates primarily toward the inner discontinuity, toward the disjointedness of man, and with that it works.

“There no longer is an outer world which can be perceived, because it is a jumble -- likewise, there is no longer in man a mind able to perceive with clarity, because his inner world, too, is a jumble. Therefore, man no longer approaches objects by an act of will; he no longer selects the objects of the external world and no longer examines them: the world is fluid; disjointed objects move past disjointed man. It no longer matters what passes by; what counts is only that something should pass by. Into this line-up anything could sneak, including Adolf Hitler; and one prefers that at least he, Adolf Hitler, should turn up than to have nothing turn up at all. “Heil” to him; for not only does he march along as part of the jumble, but he also sees to it that the march of the jumble does not stop -- he mechanizes the flow of events and things assembly-line fashion and does it better than anyone else.

“The Big City is the expression of the disjointed as such. In it the disjointed has become stone, nay, concrete. Constantly the lines of the houses are interrupted by the movings of automobiles, of streetcars and trains which cut through everything like machines. Human figures appear as dissolved into indistinct blots, hurtling back and forth between the walls of houses and of streets like pawns of evil powers. The sky itself seems removed farther from earth than elsewhere, and even the sky has lost continuity with itself, for it is constantly cut through by sharp-silhouetted planes.

“From this outer jumble, then, Adolf Hitler could easily sneak into the inner jumble; in this disjointedness he could show himself beside anything because he fitted anything: such as he was, he fitted into anything disjointed.

“And as again and again he showed himself in this jumble, he became more distinct than the other parts of the chaos; one got used to him and accepted him as one accepts a toothpaste which turns up again and again in the chaos of advertising pages. Soon he appeared as the only reality in a world wherein everything else manifested itself only to vanish again immediately.

“Sorel believes that in a modern democracy it is possible for a handful of men to usurp the tools of power and to establish a dictatorship. That is true. But it is possible only because today everybody is slithering toward anything -- and thus one might slide toward the means of power without noticing it, while others notice it even less. One need not make any special effort; one need not fight for the instruments of power -- one just grabs them as one grabs at anything else in the chaos wherein one slips. It is merely an accident that this should happen in the realm of politics; in this world of the momentary and the disjointed anything else might be grabbed as well, in [lieu]” place “Of politics and dictatorship. Here, there exists no history of power- assumption; no history, no theory, no doctrine counts except the theory and the doctrine of chaos.

“Hitler had no need to conquer; everything was preconquered for him through the structure of discontinuity, through the general disjointedness. As a result, such a dictator tries to make up for that sham of Mein Kampf,” which he wrote, “which really was not necessary for the assumption of power: now that he possesses power, he strives with all the gestures, with all the big noise of power, and by violence and murder to prove that he is the dictator by his own act and not by an accident of chaos.

“Only in a world of total discontinuity could a nullity such as Hitler become Fuehrer, because only where everything is disjointed has comparison fallen into disuse. There was only Hitler, the nullity, before everybody’s eyes, and in this instable world wherein everything was changing at every moment one was glad that at least the one nullity, Hitler, remained stable before one’s eyes. An orderly world, a hierarchy, would automatically have placed the nullity, Hitler, into nothingness; he could not have been noticed. Hitler was the excrement of a demoniacal world; a world of truth in its order would have pushed him aside.”1

Again we see the same thing that it is the world, it is we the ordinary people who are living this very kind of life of disjointedness and used to the very phenomena which we see around us -- the newspapers, the radio, the television, the movies -- everything which is oriented toward pieces which do not fit together. There’s no God; there’s no overwhelming, underlying pattern to things, no God, no order. And the order which we see in our life is only left over from the previous time when people still believed in God. And that’s why Solzhenitsyn can look at America and say, “It’s coming here.” You are sort of cut off; you don't see it. But it’s coming here because that’s the way, that’s what’s happening in the world. And of course, Americans are blinded because we’re used to having our food...

Fr. H: We’re protected.

Fr. S: ...and very much cut off from the reality. And the reality that’s happening in the world is this here, these crazy people, who are not crazy people, they’re expressing what the devil is planning for us next.2

In modern art, as we’ve seen, we see this chaos, this disjointedness on one hand; on another hand, we see, as this man also pointed out, this Sedlmyer, the artifical calmness of the architecture. We look at the modern city and you see these tremendous big skyscrapers, pure -- there’s one in San Francisco -- pure black glass. And I have known people who look at that and say, “Oh, it’s beautiful! It expresses the soul; that’s what we are striving after.” And of course, he’s in tune with the times. What it expresses is: no God, everything is cutoff. All that’s left is some kind great memorial to what, to blindness. And inside they hang these crazy paintings of someone who goes crazy and puts, or they get paintings by apes, children, primitive peoples and so forth.

Out of this, by the way, in the last few years -- well since 1945 especially -- there’s been a new kind of art movement, which is, this wild Expressionism out of which there begin to come people, that is, shapes. Unfortunately we haven’t got any real examples of it. You can point to a couple there.

Fr. H: This would be close.

Fr. S: There’s one artist called Francis Bacon. This is very close. It looks like one of Bacon's paintings by Goya (?). Already he was foreseeing that. There’s another one called Giacometti, the Italian sculptor, who has tremendous tall figures, all sort of, they’re very much like this one here, some kind of absolute chaos and out of it there begins to come kind of a human form, only it’s like this -- inhuman, like a mask or misshapen, some kind of a thing like this, all sort of humped over and maybe one arm is missing, or its legs are missing. His face is staring ahead like sort of nothing. There no, no expression, no hope, no despair, just “Uhh.” There’re many painters like that now. But this is, apart from Surrealism, it’s the one other constant school of painting which has come out, painting and a little bit of sculpture. And they’re simply frightful figures. And he just makes you frightened to look at them, as though they’re just disfigured by the war or -- just frightful.

Fr. H: Feeling of raw meat...blood and guts...toilet seat...

Fr. S: And this also is a part of, it’s very sort of battered down now, but also there is behind it again this feeling of something coming up, some kind of chialistic expectation. Maybe now we’re going to come at last to a new age. In fact, there’s one Catholic artist, about twenty years ago this painter, I forgot his name,3 but at that time Jacques Mauritain and Gilson and all those Catholic humanists were saying, “This looks like the new iconography for Catholicism.” And you look at it, and it’s frightful. It’s like combine, well, it's more expressionistic, it’s some kind of transfiguration. You see these distorted. You can’t recognize them as human beings hardly, but all his paintings are religious. So now there’s going to be a new religious art.

And by the way, they often take religious themes now, and these forms come back, but some kind of demon figures. Like there’s one, where I went to college at Claremont, there was one sculptor. I forgot his name, but he had a sculpture of Christ rising. And what it was was the figure of a dead man who was being lifted up. You could see there all distorted still dead but he’s now being lifted up by something. In other words probably a demon’s going to take over the body. And some people say, “Oh, that’s beautiful. It’s going back to religion now, that [shows] already he believes in the resurrection.” And he believes in what the demons are resurrecting. And the body is distorted and it, you can see it’s dead, just beginning to come to some kind of distorted life. Or he has another one, a crucifixion which is absolutely a crucifixion by demons, frightfully distorted figure on the cross.

This is perhaps not so strong as a sort of chiliasm, but still it is some kind of indication that out of the nihilism of the wars and revolutions mankind still hopes for some kind of humanism. But now it’s what you can call “sub-human.”

But there is also very much a current of hope among the few prophets. We’ve already seen how Teilhard de Chardin is filled with optimism that all this, in fact, he says this Communism and fascism and all (who were victims?) is only passing by. Evolution does not regard the individual, only the species. As long as man survives, who cares about the hundred million in the concentration camps? Man will survive and the species will evolve into something higher.

So we have many prophets. We’ll mention only two or three. And this Teilhard de Chardin is one. Another one is a strange figure in the nineteenth century in Russia, his name is Fyodorov, whose writings were almost unknown at that time and were published only after his death in the early decades of the twentieth century, but with whom people like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were fascinated and Solovyov also. He had a very strange idea. His writings were not published in English until Schmemann got a hold of them, and had them translated for his anthology of crazy Russian writings. He has a whole seventy pages of this man, the first time ever in English. He must think it’s very significant.

He [Fyodorov] is one you can say is disillusioned with revolutionary ideals, that everything is for the future. Because that means we of today in the present, and people who have struggled in the past, are only the “manure” for the future paradise. And he could not stand that. And therefore he came up the idea that the task of mankind is to resurrect his ancestors by means of science. Of course, how this is going to come about we don’t know. He says you sort of have the faith and develop science and get ready for the great event when the ancestors will be resurrected and everybody will enter into this paradise.

And we see today we have the new science of cryogenics, that is, people are letting themselves be frozen in the hope that they will be resurrected in some future day when their disease will be cured. But that very idea is a chiliastic idea -- I’m going to be resurrected in the future. I’m going to come back to life -- very filled with this secular chiliasm. And this man Fyordorov puts this into the form of some kind of prophecy that in the future -- this book is called The Common Task -- the great task of mankind is to resurrect the ancestors. Of course, it’s a wild dream but it’s very much, you know, this is what the Antichrist will resurrect: people, and be able to look like resurrection, will be able to put demons into them and make them walk around again, with walking corpses.

And you notice, by the way, in science fiction literature the same theme occurs. [In] science fiction movies there’s some kind of aliens from outer space and they come and take over somebody’s body and walk around like zombies. You see these in advertisements for them, these children from outer space, and the children who have been inhabited by some being from outer space with their eyes wide open, staring ahead -- same spirit. In fact, the whole of science fiction is entirely chialistic: superior race, Superman is coming from outerspace.

So that’s one, Fyodorov, one crazy prophet, but very much in tune with the spirit of the new kingdom in this world, outside of the limits of Christianity, of course, because we believe in the true resurrection not by science but by God Himself.

[Insert from 1980 Nietzsche Lecture; Fr. Seraphim also took extensive notes on D.H. Lawrence for his Anarchism book in the 1960’s.]

[D.H. Lawrence] ...thirty or so. And he was filled with this idea of sort of back to the earth paganism. And he gave us kind of almost a philosophical basis for sex, although his novels aren’t dirty -- well, all except Lady Chatterly’s Lover’s not too good. But what they have in them is this constant emphasis upon earthiness, upon the open expression of sex. And he has these heroes; in one story I read, there was a heroine. He talks about unhappy, in fact – he’s married, doesn’t have to be too outrageous (?). He always talks about unhappy marriages because one of them was is very earthy and the other one is very, [does] too much thinking; and this is the disease of modern times, this thinking too much. And therefore he has this one story about a man and woman who got divorced; the woman ran away or something to the south seas. So everything’s sunny and bright. South is of the earth. So he goes looking for her, and there’s a contrast. She’s there someplace on a rock in the south seas, naked, sunning herself and she’s all brown and like a goddess. He’s all pale -- most northern Europeans are absolutely pale and emaciated and effeminate. And she has power because she’s of the earth, she’s earthy. She believes in fully expressing sexuality. And he has all kinds of inhibitions, you know, “You can’t do that, no, no, no.” And he presented a very stark contrast between real earthy. He read Nietzsche; he knew that the new Superman’s going to be of the earth; that’s what Nietzsche said: the new Superman will come from the earth. And therefore in all these stories, everything that has to do with Christianity is considered effeminate, weak, like Nietzsche says. Everything to do with paganism is strong. Therefore he has all kinds of images, especially of black Africa; he loved African gods. And his heroes have these statues, these crude African statues that symbolize their fact that they’re awakened from all these prejudices. All the inhibitions of Christianity are thrown off, man becomes free. And then you’re able to see there’s no particular laws. If you’re married or unmarried, it makes no difference. He didn’t go into homosexuality. He just thought that the normal sex should be expressed freely.

He even has one horribly blasphemous story, which even before I was a Orthodox I couldn’t finish. It’s about how Jesus Christ resurrected. Or whether He resurrected or just came down from the Cross and discovered He was a failure. And then he has a love affair with Mary Magdalen and discovers the meaning of life. And it’s just expressed so crudely and blasphemously, that it’s too much even for a non-Christian. that’s the level he’s on, but he’s a very powerful writer. And he’s considered among the great writers. In fact, I think I had a course with either six or eight writers and he was one of them. I think Hemingway was even left out, so they went for him. [He’s] very important because he’s very symptomatic of modern times. But he was an example of this neo-paganism.

And he had a follower, another writer who’s called Henry Miller, who is very down to earth. Henry Miller is an American who died a few years ago -- he was more than 70 years old ten years ago. He lived in Big Sur and was a typical modern bohemian type, free of all kinds of prejudices and so forth. And in the 1920’s, I think, he went to Paris like a lot of young intellectuals in the West did. And Hemingway went there also. Paris was like the art capital of the world. There you learn about what’s really going on in art. He was rather old then, thirty-five or so, when he first woke up to become an artist and went to Paris and began living there as an expatriate and writing these novels. Basically, he was influenced by D.H. Lawrence. [He] woke up to the idea of reality of this world, of earth, of paganism, of sex and all that, and began writing these novels which were banned in America until very recently. They were published in France. In fact, I knew somebody who had a bookstore in San Diego who was arrested for selling it under the counter maybe fifteen years ago. “Course since the seventies that’s all changed. They can now print it, considered old hat now to.

Well, D.H. Lawrence died about 1930. Henry Miller was still alive in the ’60’s when I was in down there. I never saw him. My mother lived in Carmel, so I was in that area. But he was still a tourist attraction in those days in Big Sur. He retired down there, sort of had followers around him who believed in the same things.

Well, this Henry Miller was writing, actually they’re just pornographic sex novels, all four-letter words and sex experiences and everything else is described. These books now are just ordinary; everybody writes like that now. In this way he’s [a] typical, enlightened modern man, one step beyond Hemingway, and filled with this anarchic spirit, the very spirit which Fourier talks about: let the passions be unleashed and there’ll be paradise.

But this is very interesting because at the same time in Paris, Nicholas Berdyaev met him or he read his books. And Berdyaev lived in Paris as an exile [and] was very interested in all modern manifestations of culture. And therefore he read Henry Miller, I don’t know how, if he read English or not. But Berdyaev himself is an absolute anarchist, you know. He believes in overthrowing the Church and letting the free spiritual man come forth. And so he read this American anarchist, Henry Miller, who believes in expressing whatever you have inside of you, any garbage, or whatever you have inside you, you just express it. And he read Henry Miller. I think he only read one book, and he said, “At the end of this book, I feel like my world is dissolving.” He says, “Absolute anarchy! The man should be burned!” He couldn’t stand it because he said all these passions come out, and it was too much for him because the man is just absolute expression of whatever comes out from your nature. If you once enter into his philosophy, everything begins to dissolve. There is nothing left, you just dissolve yourself, can’t stand it. Berdyaev had some quite accurate observations sometimes. For instance, he went to to a lecture of Rudolph Steiner in Berlin. And he said he feeled like that man is frightful, he is trying to conquer God from beneath. What he saw was accurate, but he himself was also a false prophet.

And he [Henry Miller] lived the kind of life [in which] his passions were unleashed. He could do whatever he want; there’s no more restraints. And he was someone like D. H. Lawrence [in his idea that] the sexual passion especially should be liberated and man will be somehow new, renewed, which is all, of course, a rather of a myth which can actually destroy people.

But he also wrote some essays, non-fiction writings, which show that the man is quite aware of things. And he thought rather deeply on what it means to be a modern man, where it’s all going, the fact that now [that] all this sexuality is coming out, we are able to be free. The prejudices of the past are being overcome. He believed in astrology, and in all kinds of magic arts, and believed the new age is coming, some kind of aquarian age when prime ministers will be astrologers and the Renaissance alchemy and so forth will flourish again. He [Henry Miller] got this out of the air, just like Hitler said, “I am the first of the first magicians,” I think he said, “in the new age of magic.” And he has one article and he talks about the necessity for mankind to be under one world government, and he says, “Who will rule this one world government?” And he said, “The time will come when a man will arise by himself, and he will have such charismatic ability that people by themselves will flock to him and see in him all their hopes for a new religion, the new age of mankind, and just like Napoleon he will become their symbol.” And he said, “I feel that every age has a person who represents that age,” sort of the age produces a person that represents this age, therefore our age is going to produce a tremendous man, a great new magical political figure, who will come and rule the world, and represent for us all these feelings of the earth, and all these forbidden things that were not allowed to come out before, which seems to be very accurate -- another prophecy of Antichrist and some kind of millenium in which the impulses of mankind will be let loose, people will be free of all restraints, of past beliefs of God, of morality and will enjoy the millenium.4

And of course, this is a perfect example of this self- worship that Kant let loose on the literary and popular level. And once this was allowed to come out, then, of course, the whole, everything is allowed. And now there is hardly a single movie you can see apparently that’s not full of some kind of sex scene.

And it’s very interesting how this subject is handled in classical writers. For example, we saw a movie called “Nicholas Nickleby” recently, which has a lot of sex in it, sort of under the scenes, but you haveto read it between the lines to get it. It’s quite clear what’s meant -- this decadent nobleman and the girl, and you see the way they look at each other. The whole picture’s revealed to you, but it’s revealed in a very elegant way, even in the movie. And there’s no stirring of passion, you just see that’s life. Therefore sex as a part of life is presented in a very realistic way. And nowadays how do they present it? You know, they go into all the gory details. So you have to sit there and watch apparently. Even Anna was taken to the movies by her father(?), and she had to sit and watch and see this squirming under covers, and imagine what they’re doing. Of course, in many places they just take everything off and show you. What does that do? That’s called realistic attitude towards life, isn’t it? Is it?

Student: Well, it depends how you look at it, your point of view. Even with the classical literature it’s not, they were working with more realistic point of view than today.

Fr. S: They just were, they had taboos. They couldn’t talk about some things.

Student: It reminds me same thing of the services, Fr. Herman was telling us about the compline...all the time these, it just talks about...that it does it in such a way...

Fr. S: Well, this element has always been part of life, and it’s always been expressed. In fact, in the, the Orthodox lives of saints are full of this. In fact they’re quite shocking if you’re used to Victorian standards of literature. It’s quite open about this subject, but it’s presnetd in such a way that it doesn’t arouse passion, it just gives you the reality.

And what’s happening now, the fashion in the last ten or fifteen years is to produce all this that hasn’t been allowed before in such a way that it arouses your passion. And therefore it does not put across any meaning, that is, it does not tell you how to handle this whole thing because you’re so interested in it. Of course you’re going to be watching the clothes come off and so forth. You’re going to get all excited and all interested. And what is it ging to do for the plot, for the whole meaning of life? It doesn’t do anything. It just titillates you, tickles you. And that’s what Kant produced.

And the reason why it tickles is why? Because we’re self- centered. Everybody l