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THE JEWISH QUESTION IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH.


Chapter 3

To approach the conclusion of my lecture, I would like to touch upon the most complicated problem of the source of anti-Semitism. The main lesson which Non-Orthodox Christianity has drawn from Auschwitz was that anti-Semitism is inseparable from anti-Judaism and has its roots in it. That is why theologians such as Jurgen Moltmann try to find a positive meaning of Judaism. One should mention in this respect that Judaism itself argues in favour of the same cause. As rabbi Schmuel Boteach, one of the leading chasidic thinkers today, pointed out, "The Talmud says that the reason for anti-Semitism began at Sinai.<...> At Sinai... the Almighty ... gives the Jewish people <the Law> as an essential code which would transform them into a moral nation". But, adds rabbi Schmuel, this was not enough, "the Jews were also charged with spreading this new message to all the people of the world. In their capacity as a "light unto the nations", they were responsible for disseminating God-given ethics to all corners of the globe. Seen from a different perspective, they were considered a nuisance to the people whose desire it was to dominate those weaker than themselves. So began the hatred for the Jew, whose principal purpose for existence was to bring the knowledge of God,.. closer to the world."(Moses of Oxford, Andre Deutsch, London 1994 v.2 p 661).

Here, in this inseparable connection of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, if it is really inseparable, lies, I believe, the main problem for the Orthodox Church. Our Church cannot reject the writings of the Church Fathers which convict Judaism as post-Auschwitz theology easily does. Moreover, there is evidence that our hierarchs often feel that to convict anti-Semitism openly as a sin or to speak in defence of Jews to forestall possible pogroms would mean to some extent to defend Judaism. Our Patriarch in fact was already accused by some circles in the Church of being an admirer of Judaism precisely when he tried to say something convicting anti-Semitism. Thus, our hierarchs are afraid that, so-called simpler Christians, might perceive them as displaying a positive attitude to Judaism when in fact defending Jews. And expression of such positive feeling which is now so widespread in the West, cannot be accepted by the mass of the Orthodox believes. The reason being, that, as they well know, such an attitude towards Judaism has been condemned by the Church as the source of the heresy of so-called " Judaizers" when, /in the XVI century/, there was a real danger for the Russian Orthodox Church to mix Orthodox teaching with Judaism. It was one of the few heresies which has shaken Orthodoxy in Russia, and the memory of this danger is still alive. Thus everyone who says something in defence of the Jews in our Church falls under suspicion of being sympathetic to Judaism and likely to fall into the heresy of the Judaizers.

This keeps our hierarchs, who otherwise in some personal interviews express their negative attitudes toward anti-Semitism, from an official Sinodical declaration on this point. Deacon Andrej Kuraev, who for some time was close to our Patriarch, once said:" Anti-Semitism is a sin,- then, he added, I would like to warn everybody that the Orthodox Church will never be able to wipe out anti-Semitism just like that, simply having the top men in the hierarchy speak out against it... it can be<only> the gradual process of transforming the human soul"(Evreskaia gazeta - the Jewish newspaper - N1 1992).

Yes, it is certainly true that anti-Semitism cannot be wiped out immediately only by the top men in the hierarchy speaking out against it. But if they ( or, better the Church as a whole through Her Council) do not speak out against anti-Semitism, it is even less likely to be stamped out. But our hierarchs who, I believe, are not anti-Semites themselves, do not raise their pastoral voice against anti-Semitism because they are afraid of being misunderstood by simple Christians, as defending Judaism, the defence of which is not in the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. This is why they maintain silence, which is certainly both compromising and dangerous.

Here I want to return to my previous observation, namely that it is a point of view of Judaism and now also of post-Auschwitz theology that the root of anti-Semitism lies within anti-Judaism, that our attitude towards Jews is inseparable from our attitude towards Judaism, that one cannot abolish the possibility of anti-Semitism without having a positive attitude towards Judaism as a religion.

Now, I want to pose my main question, ARE WE, ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, OBLIGED TO SHARE WITH JUDAISM AND NON-ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY THEIR IDEA OF THE INSEPARABILITY OF THE JEWS AS A PEOPLE FROM JUDAISM AS A RELIGION ?. Did the reason for anti-Semitism really begin at Sinai? To answer this question, I want to rely upon the authority of Scripture. Let us ask ourselves, whether the Egyptians were anti-Semitic after their first-born babies died before the Jews left Egypt? If anti-Semitism is a hatred towards Jews, I think, the Egyptians at this moment were already complete anti-Semites. However, the Jews had not accepted the Law before their departure from Egypt.

God had separated the Jews from other nations, namely the Egyptians, He had chosen them from among the Gentiles and only after doing so did He give them the Law.The Jews were hated by the Gentiles because God was on their side, because this, comparatively small and weak people, was from the time of Egyptian captivity down to our time mysteriously supported by God, who in this way showed their choseness. The Jews were hated not, as rabbi Schmuel put it, because they were a nuisance: the gentiles could easily have avoided a mere nuisance. But, in this case, they could not. The reason being that God was on the side of the Jews (see for example Is. 41.8-16). Anti-Semitism is a hatred towards Jews as the chosen nation, as the nation which is separated from all other nations of the world who are not even nations for them, but simply gentiles. This is precisely the basis for anti-Semitism, not Sinai. This last statement is not my private opinion, it can be supported from the Scripture. As I have already mentioned, Apostle Paul in his Epistle to Ephesians (2.14) speaks about Christ as of "our peace who has made us[i.e. Jews and non-Jews} one and has broken down the dividing wall of enmity." This enmity on the part of the Gentiles was nothing else than what we now call anti-Semitism. And Paul goes on to say that in Christ this enmity can be abolished. Why?

Not because Christ has established something like monotheism for gentiles as Moltmann erroneously teaches, but precisely because through Christ, as our Church believes, the Jewish faith was fulfilled. Christ is praised by our Church as "The Light of Revelation unto Gentiles"(see Is. 42. 6.;49. 6; Lk. 2. 32; Acts 13. 47). Christianity was not established as some new religion, it was accepted by chosen Jews who were the first Christians precisely because their belief in Christ as Messiah was for them nothing else but the fulfilment of the Jewish faith, that is the faith of their forefathers form Abraham down to the time of Christ. Christianity is not another religion different religion from the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the prophets up to St. John the Baptist and Mary the Theotokos. Since the time of Abraham there have indeed been new revelations of this faith, and the revelation of the Law at Sinai is one of them. Nevertheless, the Covenant, established by God with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the same Covenant which afterwards was established with the whole Jewish nation, and the same Covenant was established through Christ with those both Jews and non-Jews who believe in Him. As there is only one God, there is only one Covenant. What is new in this respect is not the Covenant itself but the open possibility to participate in this Covenant. Firstly, this possibility was confined only to one person and his sons, albeit not all of them, but only to those who were chosen by God. Then this Covenant was opened to the whole Jewish nation. And here we are faced with a serious problem. Insofar as the Covenant established with the Jewish nation is the same Covenant as established with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, only those from the Jews who shared the same faith as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob really participated in God's Covenant. These were the righteous among Jews, and they constituted the true Israel. Not all Jews in fact participated in the Covenant with Abraham, but only these righteous, though on the part of God the Covenant was open to all Jews. To teach otherwise would mean to say that those of the Jews who worshipped idols or violated the Law were still participating in the Covenant of God.

Now, what happened after Christ? According to the teaching of the Church, Christ's blood, his suffering and voluntary death opened the Covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that same Covenant which was also the Covenant established at Sinai to those from the gentiles who believed in Christ.

I repeat once more. Christ was not a founder of a new religion, nor was Christianity a branch of the Jewish faith/some part of it/, because a part is always smaller than the whole. It was the same faith of Abraham and Moses, but now fulfilled, being also opened to gentiles, as it had been promised to Abraham (Gen. 12.3; cf. Gal 3. 8-15).

This statement means that those non-Jewish Christians who do not consider themselves in one God-beloved Israel with Abraham, Moses and the other Jewish righteous, do not belong to the Church. But, what is not less important, since God through Christ has opened his Covenant to the Gentiles, those, from the Jews, who do not consider themselves to be in one beloved Israel of God with righteous Christians from all other nations do not belong to Israel either and do not participate in the Covenant of God.

There is only one way to participate in the Covenant - to believe that there is one Israel, one Covenant, one faith, since there is only one God. Unlike modern liberal theologians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, true Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians, I believe, understand well that there cannot be two Israels, two or more different Covenants of God or two or more Gods. When we in our Church speak about the New and the Old Israel, the New and the Old Testament, we are not counting. "New" does not mean the next, which substituted the first or even is counted together with it or side by side with it.

This again is not my private opinion, but the teaching of the Fathers. St. Maximus the Confessor, one of the greatest of them, clearly states: "The two Testaments completely agree with one another, but they do so more by grace, toward the fulfilment of a single mystery(eis henos musteriou sumplerosin) than by synthesis (kata ten sunthesin)/PG 90 681-AB/. The exceptional, special place which according to the teaching of the Church is occupied by the Incarnation of the Logos, the Son of God consists of the fact that it is the last and ultimate Revelation of the God's Covenant with mankind. It is the ultimate fulfilment of previous revelations of the same Covenant.

Unlike Judaism and liberal non-Orthodox Christianity, we do not wait for any new revelation of God's Covenant. Everything has been already done through Christ. Nothing more is needed for our salvation. It is true precisely because all revelations of God's Covenant took place through one and the same Logos, the Word of God who in the last days became flesh, as is clear from the teaching of the Church: as St. Maximus put it, "The Logos of God, who is fully God, wills to bring about the mystery of his embodiment always and in all things"(Amb.7 - 1084 C15 - D2).

By the Logos, the Word of God, God created this world, including man and in this way established His Covenant with Adam, then by the Same Logos God renewed the Same Covenant with Noah, by the Same Logos God again established this Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Same Logos was revealed, being embodied in the Law at Sinai, the same Logos has spoken through the prophets, and finally He has been revealed to us in Jesus the Christ. There is only one Israel, one Covenant, one faith, as there is only one God and one Christ. Adam being saved by Christ is a new Adam, however, it is the same Adam, not somebody else.

Now precisely because Christianity is the same Covenant as the Covenant established at Sinai with the Jews, it establishes in Christ (i.e. in belief in Christ) the long-awaited peace between Jews and Gentiles. After Christ the Covenant of God, the Covenant of Abraham and Moses became open to gentiles, and there is no reason for them to hate Jews as a chosen nation.

Now, if, as rabbi Schmuel rightly considers, the Covenant at Sinai should be the "light unto nations", there is only one ultimate way to let the nations participate in this Covenant. The possibility for those from the gentiles to partake of this Covenant was as we Christians believe, opened by Christ. This was the faith of the first Christians from the Jews. They, I repeat once again, have not established a new Israel or a new religion, as if "new" has substituted what was before. Christianity for them was nothing else but fulfilment of the Jewish faith, or, better the fulfilment of faith and hope of all the righteous, from Adam down to the Virgin Mary. In Christ this faith and hope is also opened to those from the Gentiles, which means that peace and love can be established between Jews and non-Jews.

Now, as I have said, since the main body of the Jews rejected Christ (which means that they did not want to believe that reconciliation with gentiles has already been achieved) they did not accept the new Covenant with God. But since the new Covenant is nothing else than the Old Covenant, they placed themselves outside of the people of God. According to the Church's teaching one cannot be in the Covenant of God if one acknowledges only the new or only the old Covenant or erroneously thinks that they are not one.

The Church is built on the foundation of one God, one Christ, one Israel, one Covenant, and those who reject any Revelation of this Covenant, or its oneness, do not participate in this Covenant and place themselves outside of the Church.

Post-Auschwitz theology does not understand the mystery of the Church when it says that the Orthodox Church teaches that Christianity (i.e. the New Israel) claims to replace the Old Israel, which substitution, according to Moltmann, is the main source of anti-Semitism. The Orthodox Church does not claim to replace the Old Israel precisely because the New Israel (i.e. the Church) is nothing else but that very Israel of Abraham, Moses and the prophets, but already opened (revealed) to those non-Jews who believe in Christ*. [* As it is quite usual for the Protestant theology, Moltmann presumably disagree with the Catholic teaching on this issue, which is very ambiguous. As for the Orthodox mystery of the Church, it is simply hidden from him.

The Catholic position could be clarified with a help of the "Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II". One can find here all main ideas accepted by the commission of cardinal Bea which elaborated the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church (Latin Church) to non-Christian religions (particularly Judaism). Take for example the recommendation, how to teach people on the issue under consideration: "...It should be shown how... the New Covenant confirmed, renewed and transcended the Old, and how the New Testament fulfilled and superseded the Old, but nevertheless did not render it invalid"( see v. III, p.18). Or, "Despite all their differences, the two covenants do not contradict each other. They are rather two stages of God's dealing with mankind. Doubtless the New in many respects transcends the Old"(p.23).

Here we find all this set of ideas, connected with such words as "supersede", "transcend" and "two covenants", which makes this Latin teaching ambiguous and unacceptable to Orthodoxy. There is no doubt that Moltmann's ideas are nothing else than a reaction to these Latin teaching. That is why, when he tries to avoid the danger of this approach, he suggests another, opposite, but equally wrong solution to the issue, speaking about "togetherness" of the Church of Gentiles (as he calls her) and Jewish Israel, as if there could be some other Israel than the Church.

As for the Orthodox position, it is expressed best of all in St.Maximus' words about so-called Old Testament: "The grace is completely free of old age"(1.Th.Ec. 89). Which means that after Christ the Law and prophets, being given by Grace are still new. They were neither superseded by so-called New Testament, nor become "old", but, being at one with the Gospel, were revealed anew, as being given by the same Grace.]

The Jewish nation was chosen, and God's Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at Sinai was opened (revealed) to the Jews. This Covenant was opened to them, but it does not mean that all Jews automatically participated in this Covenant. Only potentially, now, after Sinai, can each of the Jews participate in this Covenant. Moreover, each one should participate in this Covenant, and is obliged to do so, as a Jew. This obloigation means responsibility. After Sinai the Jews became the most responsible of all peoples of the world. This does not mean that all Jews were as righteous, just and faithful as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and wished to be the "light unto the nations", not keeping this light to themselves. Thus only righteous Jews participated in the Covenant with God, only the righteous among the Jews constituted Israel, just as not all sons of Abraham participated in the Covenant of God. This is precisely what Paul says: "Those who are the children of the flesh these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as the seed"(Rom 8.9). The Jews were first chosen from the gentiles, but from Sinai and up to Christ, the righteous were being chosen by God from the chosen nation of the Jews to constitute the true Israel.(And they challenged the rest of the "chosen nation", and were persecuted by it).

Though the Jews were chosen by God from among the nations, the true Israel of God was never a nation chosen from among the nations. It was the Jews who were chosen from among nations, but the true Israel, after Sinai, and before Christ, was constituted from those who were chosen by God from among the chosen Jewish nation. Now the Church, because it is the same true Israel, is also chosen not from among gentiles, as the Jewish nation was, but from among the nations. The character of the presence of the Orthodox Church is different in different nations. However, those who are chosen from their nation, belongs to one Israel of God.

It was not the Church but Nazi Germans who tried to replace the Jews as a chosen nation. Moltmann should not place the resposibility for it elsewhere. Nazi Germans tried to replace the Jews because this Germans had lost the true faith in Christ. For if they had had faith in Christ and in God (and that Christ is God) they would have known that through Christ God opened his Covenant with the Jews to all people of the world. After Christ there is no such a thing as a chosen nation (in its old sense) because now God chooses his Israel from among all the nations, both Jews and non-Jews.

Having lost this true understanding of God's Israel (which is not a nation among nations, but the people of chosen from among different nations), Nazis saw in the Jews the nation which claimed to be chosen, to have some exclucive rights on the gifts of God. And to say the truth, the Jews themselves who did not accept Christ, that is did not allow that men from some other nation could participate in the Covenant of God being non-Jews (according to the Law), these Jews themselves had no arguments against this Nazi understanding of the Jewish claim to be the chosen nation.

Now, insofar as the Nazi Germans had lost their Christian belief and true understanding of the Church, nothing could prevent them from anti-Semitism. Their anti-Semitism, however, was different from the anti-Semitism of the Gentiles of the ancient world, which simply did not accept the Jewish idea of the chosen nation and treated "the god of the Jews" as one among other gods.

It was impossible for Germans, this nation of a great philosophical tradition with deep Christian roots, to think in the terms of "national gods". They knew pretty well that the Jews claim that only one God, not some national god, has chosen their nation. That is why Nazi Germans claimed the same, that their nation is chosen. Both claims were absolute. Hence, religious, mysterious character of the Holocaust.[ One should not forget that Germans tried to deprive of life not only the Jews, but also the Gypsies, which represented for them the idea of the Gentiles (or heathens), in the same way as the Egyptians were the first Gentiles, punished as we read it in the Bible, by the Jews according to the will of God].

As it is well known, the main theological heresy of the Nazi ideologists was their complete rejection of the Old Testament and "the god of the Jews". This "god" according to Nazi ideology, happened to be the false god of the Church (i.e. Catholics and Protestants). "Church's Yahweh is now dead, as Wotan was dead 1500 years ago,"- proclaimed A.Rosenberg in his "Myth of the XX century". And Nazi Germans tried to replace this "Jewish god"(i.e. god invented by the Jews, as they thought) by the god of their own imagination (see on this question Fr. Sergei Bulgakov, "Christianity and the Jewish Question", Ymca-Press, Paris 1991 p. 22f.).

From the point of view of diminishing the role of the Covenant, established by God with the Jews, this Nazi "theology" is nothing else than a completion of the tendency which always has been present in the non-Orthodox theology. The root of this error is a failure to preserve the oneness of God's revelation, the oneness of the Covenant, established with the Jews, with that, established by Jesus. What we find now in the non-Orthodox theology is nothing else than an attempt to raise up the value of the Covenant established with the Jews, the valour of the Old Testament. The problem, however, is, that theology-after-Auschwitz still fails to acknowledge the oneness of the Covenant. This is the reason, why this theology has been drawn to a necessity of speaking about the positive value of Judaism and even (as it is in the case of Moltmann) says that it is good when the Jews still adhere to Judaism not becoming Christians. Needless to say that this ideas are foreign to the Orthodox Church.

Thus, the error of the non-Orthodox theology is obvious, it is a failure to preserve the oneness of all the aspect of God's dispensation, and finally, the oneness of God (the error of Moltmann).

However, there is still another danger as regards this problem. One may keep the oneness of the Covenant and fail to acknowledge the difference between the stages of God's revelation, the special importance of each stage. The teaching of the Fathers on this issue is quite clear. St Maximus the Confessor, for example, whom I have cited speaking about the problem of oneness of the Covenant and the Bible, was not less insistent teaching about the special role of each part of God's revelation. According to St Maximus, in one economy (dispensation) of God, the Old Testament realises "the movement of the flesh towards the spirit, and the New Testament leads the spirit towards God (Thal 63.PG 90 C D). Both movements are inseparable from each other and constitute one movement to God, nevertheless each of them is absolutely necessary as such. Moreover, it is the movement of the spirit to God which fulfils and gives a true sense to the movement of the flesh to the spirit. At the same time, without the first stage, what we finally achieve is a false god.

Our spirit cannot come to God if it is still carnal, if it still serves our flesh. There is a great danger when we try to approach God still having a carnal spirit. In this case we approach not true God of Israel, but the god of our imagination, the god which we create ourselves, to serve our carnal needs.

This, I believe, is a main danger for the Russian Orthodox Christians. I do not mean that the Russian Orthodox Church, being understood as the Church of the saints and righteous, chosen from among the Russian nation, has ever failed in her understanding of this problem. However, those who have been calling themselves Orthodox Christians, but have always been persecuting true Israel of God, which dwells in Russia, these men, I believe, have had a carnal spirit and have created the god for their own flesh, the god of the Russian nation. It was this god, which in fact was nothing else than an idol, which was finally rejected by the majority of the Russian population during the communist revolution. The reason was, that this god which was understood as the god which serves for the prosperity and well-being of the people and the Russian state in general, this god failed to be effective. The communists suggested some other kind of ideology leading to prosperity, and finally, though not without resistance and hesitation, the Russian nation rejected its old idol and accepted the new one*.[* Several facts should be given here to prove this, perhaps, unexpected statement. There is a myth about the holiness of the Russian people in general, and peasants in particular. Though nobody can say about the number of the saints, chosen from among the Russian people (which I believe is very great), one may say about the general or common view of the Church (which is inseparable from the Orthodox view of God) among the Russian peasants. Thus according to the analysis of the church's books of registration of confession, it was quite usual for the Russian peasants in the end of the XIX century not to confess their sins and not to partake the holy communion for several years. Only around 20 per cent per year of the peasants in the central Russia used to go to confession (see Litvak B.G. "Krestianskoie dvijenie v Rosii v 1773 - 1904 godah" M. Nauka, 1989 p.206). Besides, one should remember those peasant's revolts and uprisings which were a common event in the Russia after the abolition of the serfdom in 1861, as well as revolts of Rasin and Pugachev, described in the Russian literature, particularly by Pushkin. A lot of people was killed in this revolts, houses of landowners were burned, their property was plundered. All thess acts could certainly be justified from the point of view of the class struggle, though not from the point of view of the teaching of the Church. (On the problem of decay of the Russian peasant's community see an excellent study of Svetlana Lourie in her book "Metamorfozi traditsionnogo soznania", St.Peterburg, 1994 pp 169-211)]

The parallel process has been taking place within Judaism. As I have said, according to the teaching of the Church Fathers, without accepting the revelation of the New Testament, without Christ, the spiritual way of the Old Testament cannot be fulfilled. It does not mean that righteous of the Old Testament are less saintly than the Christian saints. Both of them, being in Christ, are in one glory of the Holy Spirit. As our Church believes, all righteous of the Old Testament has accepted Christ, being saved by Him from hell. However, this "hell" for them was nothing else than what is known in the Orthodox theology as "divine darkness" of ignorance of the End of God's dispensation. They has acknowledged Him (i.e. Christ, the beginning and the End) precisely because they believed in Him, whom they had not yet seen.

As for Judaism, it rejects Christ who has already come, it does not acknowledge Him, which means, that it does not believe in Him. This is something different from the faith of the righteous of the Old Testament. Now, since Judaism has rejected Christ, it has closed the way to God for the Jewish people which adhere to this religion. Nevertheless, being a religion, it was obliged to lead to some god. And being the religion of the Absolute God, it was obliged to lead to the Absolute God, to the only true one. However, this god could not be true God of the Jewish faith (before Christ). He was something else, an absolutely false god created within the Judaism.

The Old Testament, according to the teaching of the Fathers, should play the role of lifting of our flesh towards the spirit (the images of Moses, climbing the Sinai, and of the prophet Ilijah are the best examples of this movement). Being absolutely perverted in Judaism, however, this movement finally gave birth to the idea which absolutely enslaves the spirit, making it carnal. Practically, it was realised in Judaism in the idea of Messiah who will establish the Jewish state, and will give his people endless prosperity and power over other nations. Now, in so far as this ideal of the earthly prosperity, given by Messiah was not fulfilled, the Jews having noticed that peoples around them live much better than themselves, rejected their false religion. They (at least a great part of them) went away from Judaism, that is became one of the ethnic bodies of the European nations. This part of the Jews did not believe in the coming of Messiah any more. However, they still had this ideal of the earthly prosperity. Though now, they could not claim that this prosperity will be especially for the Jews. And finally they (I mean Marx, of cause, who was the first of them) elaborated a new ideal - earthly prosperity for all peoples of the world, regardless their nationality. (And to some extent this ideal was more biblical, though certainly also carnal, than that of the Judaism. The Bible says that all nations should finally participate in the Covenant of God) And new messianic Levites, called communists, and new messianic nation, called proletariat ( those, chosen from among all nations, who seek earthly well-being), should have realise this ideal in history for themselves and all others, who will accept it. Those who will not accept it, are the enemies of the proletariat.

Needless to say, that this teaching became popular among the Jews in all European countries, but especially among those who were very poor, as it was in Poland, Ukraine, Belorussia (all this places belonged to the Russian Empire). Thus, it was Russia, where, besides Jewish movement, this new ideal of the Jews has met a powerful support on the part of the Russian "intelligentsia", and, finally, simple people. These Russian Orthodox Christians who were carnal Christians, in fact, has finally rejected their "god", being seduced by the communists, a lot of which (though not all of them of cause) were Jews.( I have not enough place to analyse this process, but I should mention that it was not the Jews, who has drawn Russian intelligentsia from Orthodoxy, they were easily seduced by the Western culture and spirituality, some of them has stopped at this stage, others has made a next step, into communist movement, following the teaching of Marx.)

As for the Russian peasants, when the Bolsheviks had fulfilled their promise about land after the Revolution, most of the peasants in the central Russia were completely satisfied, and were ready to acknowledge their ideology, being more cooler and cooler towards the Church. Though in the 1920's the Bolsheviks were still afraid to persecute the Church in the villages, the number of those who attended the Church's service was reduces to one third of that before the Revolution (see Golubih N., Ocherki gluhoi derevni, M; L.: Znanie, 1925).

It was not hard to seduce these false Christians, who, being carnal has no other ideal than well-being (both material and cultural), that is, prosperous life on earth, protected by God which life (and which God) was put in question in the time before the Revolution. Each of the bodies of the Russian Revolution has its own responsibility for what has happened. One of them played the role of seducer, the other was that of the seduced.

From the analysis which I have made, one may easily conclude, that the Jews, are nothing else, but an instrument of the devil, that they are a devilish nation, the race of the anti-Christ. Nevertheless, according to the teaching of the Church, even the devil cannot make anything, if it is not allowed to him by God. And if we are true Christians, we should acknowledge that nothing can happen against the will of God. Certainly, the communist idea was a temptation, and majority of the Russian people appeared to be carnal Christians. But God even before this temptation knew that they are carnal ones, and He did not want, I believe, to see in His Church the men who call themselves true Christians, Godly men, being not-Christians in fact. There is a great responsibility in calling oneself the member of the Orthodox Church (the only true Church as we believe, God's beloved Israel). If we call ourselves Orthodox Christians, God demands from us to be true Orthodox Chrisians. And if we fail, He punishes us, teaching in this way. If we do not want to be taught by God, we may not call ourselves Orthodox Christians, He will live us alone to lead that life which we want. (Though, certainly God never rejects anybody up to the end, because each man still has some hope in this life, which means that to some extent he believes. According to this level of belief God is with him and teaches him).

Thus, God has punished the Russian people, which claimed to be an Orthodox people. In the same way God is punishing the Jews during the whole world history down to Auschwitz. He is punishing those who claim to be His beloved Israel, to make us (both Jews and non-Jews) His beloved Israel indeed. Whom He loves, He is punishing in this world. (And who knows, what will happen in the world to come?).

The majority of the Russian nation was seduced. No Revolution could have won, being not supported by the mass of Russian population. However, there was a small part of the nation which has preserved its Orthodox faith. I do not mean here those from the White army who, calling themselves Christians, with the arms in their hands were killing their compatriots. The Civil war was not a war between the true Christians and unbelievers. It was the war between those who was seduced only by the Western culture and spirituality and those who went up to the end in their fall, down to communism. Both of them were not the true Orthodox Christians. Both of them were punished by God.

When I speak about those who were not seduced, I mean a small part of the Orthodox Christians (the remnant of the Russian Orthodox people) who were indeed God's beloved Israel dwelling in Russia at that moment. It was the Russian Orthodox Church of the Patriarch Tikhon, who has rejected the possibility for a Christian to participate in the Civil war. Here are his words addressed to his flock: "No, far better that they should inflict bloody wounds on us that we should turn to vengeance, let alone vengeance in the form of a massacre, against our enemies or against those who appear to us to be the source of our misfortunes"(cited after an article by L. Il'ina in Pravoslavny Peterburg [Orthodox Petersburg], n. 6, 1993). Yes, he has convicted Bolsheviks, he, I believe, had a clear vision that they were a tool in the hands of the devil. Nevertheless, he warned the Christians against hatred and bloodshed, he prayed for his enemies, and he has forgiven them. I see no other possibility of this behaviour, than St.Tihkon's understanding that everything happens according to the will of God, that their is no devil who can act without permission, permission to teach us, men, even in this terrible way, punishing us. Otherwise, this forgiveness will be impossible.

The role of the Jews in the Russian revolution (as in the world's communist movement in general) is really terrible. Nevertheless, it is not fatal as Fr. Sergii Bulgakov has put it* [*"As for Bolshevism, historical truth demands from us to acknowledge, anyway, the fatal character of the fatal influence of the Jewry at the head of the communist clique, regardless of the fact that the great majority of the Russian state belongs to different nationalities, and first of all Russian", ibid. p.67]. This role was not fatal precisely because nothing is fatal in this world, everything happens according to God's will, and being seen from this perspective could be forgiven.

For Russian Christians, it is not enough to be a good person, a moral man, to forgive the Jews. One cannot be "moral" or "civilised" when millions from one's nation are killed, when churches are destroyed, when there is no holy place in the world which is not defiled by the Communists with the Jews as their leaders.

Yes, all holy places were defiled in the Russian land. Yet, there was still a holy place in the hearts of the Russian Orthodox Christians who belong to the true Church of Patriarch Tikhon. These Christians, though having a moral right to blame the Jews, being not seduced themselves, did not allow it to themselves. As it was during the time of the Mongol-Tatar Yoke, the true Church said: this was sent to us for our sins. Thus, those who have not sins of their own (personal sins), have to acknowledge as their own the sins of their fellow-Christians. Moreover, praying for their enemies, forgiving them, they acknowledged that even the sins of the Communists, the sins of the Jews are also theirs. For they never has blamed anybody for what has happened, which means that they did not think that it was the Jews who were the source of the events of the Russian Revolution. Everything came from God for our sins. This was the attitude of the Russian Church, the Church of Patriarch Tikhon.*[* Thus the holy martyr Metropolitan Benjamin of St. Petersburg, for example, said at his trial: "Whatever your verdict may be, I know that it is not pronounced by you but comes from the Lord, and that whatever happens to me I shall say: Praise the Lord". The following words belong to Archimandrite Sergei Shein: "I have not fought a battle against Soviet power, I have fought a battle only against myself. I shall meet death in peace, knowing that it, as everything else is from God"(see Il'ina, ibid.)]

If now we return in the modern Russia, we can easily answer the question, why the majority of the Russian people, especially of the old age are less anti-Semitic than people in the West. After the bloodshed of the Revolution and Stalinism, nobody who was involved in this process can blame anyone else. The Russians, who themselves were supporters of the Communist regime (voluntarily or involuntarily) have no right to blame the Jews. Even less right have the Jews to blame Russians for the persecutions suffered by the Jews during the years of Communism. One should have a very bad conscience if one allows oneself to blame anybody in this situation.

However, there are some Christians who, being faced with the tragedy of the Russian history and being more or less free from any participation in the communist past, feel a great temptation to hate the Jews, to call them the children of the devil, the tribe of the anti-Christ. Even more great a temptation have those Orthodox Christians, who were involved in the Communist regime themselves and after the fall of the communism want to find somebody whom to blame for their sins. Unlike unbelievers, they clearly understand, that by supporting communists they have sinned. And they often unconsciously want to find who has seduced them, to get rid from this sin. What they need, is a pure conscience. But the way they try to gain this pure conscience has nothing in common with the teaching of the Church.

Nobody, even if he himself was not involved in the communist past, even if he has no personal sins, can belong to the Church of Patriarch Tikhon and other Russians new martyrs, to the Church of St.Silouan the Athonite who up to the end of his life was praying for the enemies of the Church (namely Communists), nobody can belong to this to true Israel of God, if he blames anybody, if he hates, if he does not forgive.

As for the Jews who live in Russia, I see no other way for them to get rid from their fears, the fears to be blamed as a tribe of the anti-Christ, than to be in the Church of St.Patriarch Tikhon. Only here, in the true Church of our Saviour, they can find a place where the fear for the guilt of their forefathers can disappear. Only here, they may know for certain that nobody will blame them for their blood. Even in America they could not have found such safety.


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