Not everyone is drinking the Elensky Kool-Aid [Video]

Collaborative Orthodox Christian project reflects common alignment of Christians that transcends petty power politics

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

The United States had its fun with being an empire, a hegemon. Now the ride has run out and the nation’s leadership is more concerned with what each person wishes he had between his legs than about representing the wishes of a nation which is still nominally sane.

Instead of dealing with an enormous flow of illegal immigration across the Southern border, the US government is sending money, trucks, fuel and all manner of support to Ukraine, for it to try to push the Russians off lands that are now Russia’s sovereign territory. Amazingly, this effort will be for naught, for even if the Ukrainian / NATO forces push Russia back, they will do so at terrific cost, and the Russian forces will simply return after the Western armies are depleted and destroyed.

It is often difficult to remember that this war is not for land per se, but intended as the means of destroying Ukraine’s military abilities in a “grinding war of attrition.” That said, the two Donbass republics and two additional regions did hold referenda about joining Russia, which overwhelmingly resulted in their joining the Russian Federation.

The Russian Armed forces will eventually hold at least all these lands. It does not matter what the West does. This is easy to forget, but we must remember it here.

The war is certainly a geopolitical conflict, but it is also unique in some ways:

  • It is a rare instance of two Orthodox Christian nations fighting one another.
  • It is a war against the West for the survival of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church. This is beginning to show up in even Western reportage, especially as Ukraine’s President Zelensky is openly persecuting canonical Orthodox Christian monastics, trying to drive them out of one of the most ancient and important monasteries in the world, the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.
  • It is a war that calls out the true allegiance of Christians.

This last is probably the most important point. The Orthodox Christian Church has fifteen national canonical jurisdictions worldwide. Each “Local Church” takes on the name of the land in which it is established, as:

  • The Orthodox Church in America
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (formerly with the suffix “Moscow Patriarchate”)
  • The Greek Orthodox Church
  • The Polish Orthodox Church

And so on. As one can see, the identity of the nation is presented even in these short form names (some of them are quite a bit longer as “The Greek Orthodox Catholic Church of Antioch and all the East”)

However, there are really two nations in the name, not one, though one name is hidden in rather plain sight. To understand this, we look at a very famous hymn, called a Troparion in the Church, or an “Apolytikion” or “Dismissal Hymn”, depending on the source language of choice. Troparia are significant in the Orthodox Christian world because these short hymns are used to succinctly express some truth of the Church, often as shown in some event in sacred history. The Kontakion of the Cross for example, runs like this in English:

Do thou, who of thine own good will wast lifted up upon the Cross, O Christ our God, bestow thy bounties upon the new nation which is called by thy Name; make glad in thy might those who lawfully govern, that with them we may be led to victory over our adversaries, having in thine aid a weapon of peace and a trophy invincible. 

The “new nation which is called by thy Name” refers to the Kingdom of God, the Christian nation. There may be fifteen Orthodox “Local Churches” but there is only one Christian nation, that which of old even in the West was called “Christendom”.

This is a word that would be well to bring back into use. Understood properly, it points out that we as Orthodox Christians have as our FIRST nationality our place in Christendom, or Christ’s kingdom. If that is understood, then it is absolutely abhorrent and absurd for “Orthodox countries” to get in wars with one another. They wouldn’t. So, that leads us to a bit of truth:

The war between Russia and Ukraine / the West is not two Orthodox nations fighting each other. The situation at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra demonstrates this very clearly. Those people severed their paper ties with the Moscow Patriarchate. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has publicly and repeatedly, stated that it supports Ukraine, it finds the war abhorrent and wants it stopped.

This is by no means a perfect expression of what should be the sentiment, but it certainly is not a condemnation of Orthodox Christians in Russia or anywhere else. And further, the example of the monks at the Lavra is most clear; let them speak for themselves:

If the video starts at the beginning, look for timestamp 05:34, and listen. This address is in the English language.

“We show ourselves… we are Christians, we are Orthodox, and we are not afraid of anybody or anything. We are here to the end…”

For these monks, being Ukrainian is not important. Being Christian IS.

In this frame of mind there are many people, and now with this understanding, it is possible to talk about what is going on in the Christian world.

Recently, I completed a music and video recording project in Moscow. The subject is a work composed by the great Pavel Chesnokov, a Russian composer, in 1915, during World War I. Во дни брани – “In Days of Battle” (Opus 45) is a six-song cycle of prayers and texts from the Orthodox Church, sung in the Church Slavonic language, but by no means specific to the Russian Orthodox Church, for these texts appear in all languages the Church makes use of.

We are one nation, not many, and when we face war, we face war. It is not easy, and we have to pray. That is the point.

This project was recorded in Moscow, Russia. I am the recording engineer and editor, and I am American. The conductor of the choir is a Latvian named Max Roomsky.

Now think about this – go on the news and listen to the rhetoric coming from Latvia and the Baltics about Russia. Listen to the rhetoric from the United States and its media. But yet, the reality is that we all met and worked together in Moscow to produce this recording and video, because we think that as Christians, as members of Christ’s nation, we all meet war with the same perspective.

There will be versions of this video with subtitles to show the text’s interpretation in English. But we can list the translations of the titles of each movement:

  • On beds of sickness
  • O gracious and generous Jesus
  • To thee, the insurmountable wall
  • Hasten to help us, O Lord
  • O Mother of God
  • To thee, our only pure Protectress

What of these has anything to do with geopolitics? Well, in the earthly sense, probably nothing, but the point is this – as Christians, we suffer these things, often because of geopolitics, but we must meet them as citizens of Christ’s nation, to fight evil and stop it and to give our lives for the kingdom of God.

It is unfortunate that this idea is so easy to conflate with given nations, who themselves are historically unstable. Look at the United States: In the 1970s, as a child, I was constantly hearing that the greatest freedom we have as Americans is the ability to pray as we wish. “Look at the Soviets!” they would say – “They are killed for being Christians!” –

My, how things have reversed.  But the reverse is not in Christ’s nation, who all of us in the project belong to, the reverse is simply the moves of people who hold particular pieces of land, and their own attitudes, both for and / or against God’s rule.

Geopolitics is fun to report and discuss, sure. This piece may not get much traction because it is not about who is bombing whom. But it ought to slowly find its way to those who need to understand that this war is truly not about Russia versus Ukraine – it IS a war that involves those who support the will of God fighting those who are radically rebelling against that will. This is shown by the monks in Ukraine who tried to support their own land in this war, only to be rejected – and now persecuted – by their truly godless authorities.



The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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