The Russian Orthodox Church has been on the rise since the fall of Communism in 1991. The country has been opening new parishes at the rate of two to three per day. This new Cathedral of the Armed Forces, built at a military theme park outside Moscow, is one of the largest Christian edifices in Russia, and hence one of the largest Orthodox Christian cathedrals on the planet.
Dr Steve Turley gives a phenomenal explanation of the building and more importantly, delves into Orthodox Christian cosmology, which is unique among all Christian confessions.
What the viewer may find very interesting (to say the least) is the presence of Soviet symbols, as well as military hardware, in and around the building. This may be scandalizing to many, since it is the rise of Communism that led to the martyrdom of uncounted multitudes of Christians (here, an estimate of at least 300,000 clergy alone that met their deaths). It may further be scandalizing to see Joseph Stalin himself depicted here, though he, a man expelled from Seminary, was responsible for the worst and most terrifying period of martyrdom now known as the Red Terror. Yet, he and other Communist superstars are shown.
As saints? No.
But as part of Russia’s history, which for 1,000 years is also very much a part of what we call Sacred History, the arc of the salvation of the world from Genesis until the Last Day, the episode of Communism turns out to have been the cause of the rebirth of the Orthodox Church from a previously rather highly corrupted state.
That period separated the true believers from the nominal ones. Many of the true believers met their death. Many nominal believers became true believers, and then met their death. But many also survived, and from the horror of their experience appear to have come two very important words:
We used to be taught that the reason to study history is so we do not repeat it. If we remember our errors, we have a chance not to do them again. In this regard, there may be good reason for the depictions of symbols and figures from the darkest era in Russian history – to remember that this can happen again if Christianity is rejected again; that God is triumphant over all things and every incident in history happens to move in such a way as to fulfill all things that God intends (whether we understand this or not); and that the nation of Russia will stand strong as she embraces all of her past.
When we look at attempts in the West, particularly the United States, to whitewash history, to tear down monuments to Confederate heroes, for example, or to prevent Christianity from being taught in the school rooms, or to prevent prayer, while promoting things like social justice, “sexual equivalency” (packaged as “equality”), that Black is good, White is inherently evil, that Jesus was a social justice warrior and not the Lord of the heavens and the earth…
As this sort of willful rejection of Truth and history rises in the West, we should not wonder that the society is breaking down into mass shootings, drug use, decadence and despair, misery, and most shocking of all especially during the coronavirus pandemic, a refusal to repent of anything but instead increased vitriol and viciousness in the United States, especially against Christian believers.
All this has happened before. Most recently it happened in Russia. They got through it and now they are determined to remember it.
Perhaps in one hundred years we may see an Orthodox Temple rise in what remains of the United States to commemorate the darkness of our present time, and hopefully, the determination to repent of it, and never do it again.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.