Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scraps by Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin. Part 5

26 May 2008, 12:54

"Scraps" are deputy head of Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Father Vsevolod Chaplin's sketches on various subjects beginning from church life to international politics. The Interfax-Religion continues publishing some of them.

Will peace in Europe and America last long? I don't think so. The times Akhmatova called "vegetarian" sooner or later always come to an end, especially in the period of intense social contradictions in the world. In fact, 100-200 million members of the Western elite cannot hold in leash the rest six milliard of Earth's population. Neither stick nor carrot will help. It was in mid 90s that in perfect silence I warned western analytics against nuclear terrorism, today it is considered a real danger. One French politician even has recently counted possible political and economical consequences of terroristic nuclear attacks to European capitals.

The West has two ways out. The first one is to create numerous, extremely destructive (nuclear, chemical and etc.) flash points of conflicts that allow to get rid of two-three milliards people and at the same time justify economical emergencies a-la the USA refusal to devalue the dollar or expropriating Middle East reserves of oil. But this way is unsafe as the recent conflicts have shown that it's difficult to manage them and they can easily catch the West as well.

The second way is to create global "Orwell's" totalitarian regime with all-around electronic chase, brainwash, severe repressions against dissidents and widespread system of squealing. The whole historical experience shows that such a regime can conceal social conflicts inside for a long time. Today it is technically difficult and expensive to build, even for the United States. But I am afraid that global policy will develop right in this direction. Even if the main slogans of such reforms will be democracy and political correctness, in practice we'll have to leave them out.

* * *To discover the falsehood of pacifism, its advocates should establish a state of their own – without army, police and frontier guards. They will fall victims of malefactors in several days and willing or not will have to protect themselves. It's nice to talk about irrelevance of any military force when you're safely protected against all "surprises." There is too much evil in our sinful world (and there will be enough of it till the second coming of Christ) that its forceful limitation is necessary. Even if Western society, well protected today, creates an illusion of safety... Though this illusion is being destroyed by terrorism which violently decreases the number of pacifists.

Western Christianity in its major part enthusiastic about pacifism will have future in face of the current threats only in case it teaches its followers to fight and die. As their forefathers did.

* * *

I believe our time can be called a Golden Age of Russian Orthodoxy thought without any exaggerations. Serious and deep articles are published almost every week, similar books are issued every month. Most various themes are discussed: "pure" theology, philosophy of history, national and global social problems... We prefer the Silver age only because its texts are studied better and have taken its solid place in history. Besides, there were fewer of them: the whole Russian religious thought of the late 19th- the early 20thcentury can be "scanned" much quicker than today's Internet space and long shelves of Orthodox book stores. If a hundred years ago every new article become known to everyone (though not at once), today it's very difficult to find anything really worthy in current information stream.

What of modern Orthodox thought will remain in history? Certainly, it depends on how the history will develop. But to the same degree it depends on our ability to keep and popularize our heritage and make it comprehensible to people. In the past the priority was given to academic texts. It is quite possible that in the future artistic word and "petty forms" will be preferred. The popularity of the text even now depends on the author's actions, on his social activity and, unfortunately, on the "promotion." If the history doesn't do a sharp turn, it will go on this way...

It's sad that the West is almost unfamiliar with contemporary Russian thought and only experts, who are often tendentious and partisan, know it. The whole Orthodox world faces the same situation. For example, there are many original authors in the Romanian Church, but they are absolutely unknown outside of Romania. That's why it is so important to translate our texts, at least in English and then in French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Arabic, Chinese...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Translations of Alaskan Orthodox texts (biblical, liturgical, catechetical, etc.) from the last two centuries have been made publically available on http://www.asna.ca/alaska.

In this way, it is hoped that the rich Orthodox heritage of Alaska's First-Nations will continue to be available for future generations.