In his monumental 7,000 pages of historical erudition entitled ‘A Study of History’, Arnold Toynbee, the famous British historian, made an attempt to categorize all the civilizations in the history of the world, both present and past, and followed their rise and fall. He deemed that only five Civilizations are alive today. These are: Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, (Orthodox) Christian and Western, with Western Civilization dominating them all. (Orthodox) Christian Civilization was at the time of his writing, more or less three generations ago, centred in Russia. However, it was in a dying and fragmentary state, since it had been divided and oppressed by imported and imposed Western ideologies such as Fascism (National Socialism), Capitalism and, above all in the centre itself, Communism (State Capitalism).
Today, Orthodox Christian, or simply Christian, Civilization is reviving, with the shackles of both Fascism and Communism long since thrown off. However, what exactly does this term of ‘Christian Civilization’ mean, what are the values of Christian Civilization, what are the differences between them and those of Western Civilization and why does the latter so utterly misunderstand them? It should be said that those who misunderstand them even include Anglican Protestants who, like Uniats, use a form of the Orthodox rite, but still assert that we mainstream Orthodox Christians are not even Christians! This misunderstanding clearly proves that we are not saved by an imitated rite, but by the Orthodox faith which should behind it, for that alone preserves the integrity of the rite, and that they do not share our faith.
This issue has once more come to the fore with last week’s appeal in The Financial Times to Russian oligarchs to overthrow the very popular government of President Putin. Here we see the essence of Western Civilization. It is not based on popular will (‘freedom and democracy’ are a principal Western myth, as we saw with the refusal of EU bureaucrats to allow European peoples to vote on leaving the EU), but on the power of the wealthy few (in Greek ‘oligarchs’). This can be clearly seen in the USA (ruled by a few shadowy billionaires from the military-industrial complex) and in Western Europe (ruled by a few unelected EU bureaucrats). In Western democracy the people are given a choice between two oligarchs or their puppets – and though this is called freedom, it is clearly not.
Clearly, it is the will of the Western elite, and among them are those who run The Financial Times, that (Orthodox) Christian Civilization must be destroyed (just as the Western world destroyed its own original (Orthodox) Christian Civilization during the second millennium of its history). The Western elite intends to do this by turning Christian Civilization into a series of dismembered vassal states or colonies, a process called Balkanization and which it practised in the 19th century. But this became crystal clear already long ago, in the destruction of New Rome by Western barbarians in 1204, in the plundering of the Teutonic Knights in Russia in the 13th century or in the alliance between Western nations and Islam and in the invasions of Western Civilization like those of Napoleon, the Anglo-French-Ottomans, Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler.
As a result of this destruction and dismemberment the natural resources of Christian Civilization can be taken over and ruthlessly exploited by the Western world, so that it can parasitically support itself, just as it does on the resources of the rest of the world. Here, essentially, we see that Western Civilization is a Civilization of Mammon, of materialism. No clearer example of this can be seen today than in the Ukraine, a part of Christian Civilization that the West is now trying to control and colonize. Having overthrown the government elected by a majority of its people, the West has now appointed a group of corrupt oligarchs, each with his own feudal fief, to rule it. These oligarchs, their funds controlled by Western and Israeli banks, are the spiritual descendants of warring princes and later corrupt boyars centuries ago.
In the 18th century these were succeeded by Westernized aristocrats who introduced serfdom, enslaving the people after the Western model. In the 19th century these aristocrats, just like the boyars who in the early 17th century had acted to please Polish invaders, tried to seize power under British and French influence in 1801 (the assassination of Tsar Paul I) and in 1825 under the Decembrists. When the aristocrats lost some of their power as serfdom was abolished by the Tsar-Liberator Alexander II in 1861, they became ever more aggressive and they revolted again, in 1905 and, in 1917, this time successfully. What is happening in the Ukraine today is simply a repeat of the old scenario of foreign meddlers operating through local traitors. Simply today the meddlers are not greedy Poles, British or French, but Americans.
So what is the sign of Christian Civilization (called ‘Byzantine’ or ‘Orthodox’ by Western historiographers)? It is simply in the implementation of the two Gospel Commandments given by the Saviour, to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. These Commandments are quite alien to Western Civilization, for they mean that progress is defined not as technological, as materialist and consumerist, but as our repentance and spiritual transfiguration in preparation for the inevitable meeting with God at the Last Judgement. And the state of our progress can be seen in our non-exploitative and non-aggressive relations with others, for we do not invade other people’s countries or arrogantly instruct them on how to live, but cultivate good relations with them as good neighbours.
This does not mean that we are weak or that we do not resist evil, it means that we defend all those who are weaker. Christian Civilization exists not to exploit others, but to fight evil. The prime example of this today is the defence of Syria by the Russian Federation. This is Christian Civilization at work, unlike Western Civilization that meddles, invades, destroys and exploits, as in countless colonies in Latin America, Asia and Africa, or as today in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine, parading its troops, planes, drones and ships off the Russian coasts and along its borders, constantly sabre-rattling and supplying terrorists with training, arms and finance. Russians, however, send their ships through international waters, even though pestered by Western ships which try and impede their route.
The aim of Western Civilization is to strip the world’s natural resources until they are exhausted. This will inevitably lead to the end of the world, the apocalypse. This is done under the excuse of ‘freedom and democracy’ (freedom for the oligarchs to asset-strip and democracy to vote for one Western oligarch or another, but not to vote for an anti-oligarch). On the other hand, Christian Civilization appoints an Emperor (Monarch or Tsar) who is called on to carry out the will of God on earth, in consultation with the people over whom he reigns. This consultation is represented by the words Conciliarity and Catholicity, meaning that the Monarchy is a popular one, neither absolutist – which is the tyranny of a man-God – nor constitutionalist – which is the tyranny of the few behind a puppet monarchy.
Unlike Western Civilization, Christian Civilization is multinational, not nationalistic, chauvinistic and xenophobic. Such abuses do occur, but only in periods of decadence or in backward provincial areas outside the centre. Examples are in today’s schismatic Western Ukraine, Estonia, Montenegro, Macedonia and also in Greek nationalist Constantinople. In all these cases local nationalism rules in contradiction to Christianity. As a result of following the Gospel Commandments, and not the ideology of Western Civilization, Christian Civilization sees no difference between faith and life, for faith is not a mere abstract ideology to justify guilt, but shapes life in harmony with the Incarnation. The aim of such life, patterned by faith, is holiness, the kingdom of heaven on earth, for the spiritual is more important than the material.
Christian Civilization does not encourage individualism, for our common aim is salvation together, as a community. Our political life is determined by a people’s monarch who is called to be a representative of God on earth, defending the Church and our Christian values. It is clear also that the people belonging to such a Civilization show their patriotism for such a Civilization, which is heaven on earth and we defend it against the Western forerunners of Antichrist like the Teutonic Knights, Napoleon, the Kaiser, Hitler and those who today admire these tyrants as bearers of ‘Western Civilization’ and are intent on destroying our reviving Christian Civilization. We live in perilous times but, by the grace of God, we shall triumph because we are not afraid of you, however much you try to censor us and intimidate us.