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The Superiority of Orthodoxy over the Teaching of Papism
in Its Presentation1 by V. Soloviev

By Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)

Introduction.—Zeal for God in form and content.—The reason for heresies.—Characteristics of the book by V. S. Soloviev.2

The Lord said: “Not everyone who saith to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one who doeth the will of My Father in the heavens. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Thy name, and cast out demons in Thy name, and did many works of power in Thy name, did we not?’ And then will I profess to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, ye who work lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7:21-24). Hence it is clear that the Lord can be close only to that person or to that side of human life that strives for Him not only as a personal Being, but strives precisely for the content of life that He brought with Himself and in Himself to earth. He demands that we give our whole souls, but not for Him only, as for a person dear to us, but for Him and for His Gospel, such that Peter's regret about the redemptive death awaiting Him (Mark 8:32; Mt. 16:22-23) is met by the Lord with condemnation [“Get behind me, Satan”]. He commands us to abide in Him, but in such a way that His words abide in us, so that His love manifests itself in us by the fulfillment of the commandments (John 15:7-10), and any other love that does not consist in the assimilation of Christ's spirit, but in only personal affectionsfor example, in desiring to destroy His enemiesmeets in Him not cooperation, but opposition and shame: the Lord Himself heals the severed ear of his traitor and allows the unreasonable zealot to become an apostate in order to cleanse him later through repentance.

Thus, service to Christ or Christian life is a gradual penetration of oneself with the Christian spirit of humility and love and, in accordance with this, spiritual union with His divine-human personality.

Service to men and union with them is not like that. Unity with men, with sinful people, requires from their friends not an internal change of heart but only an external agreement with their interests. This, unfortunately, is not only the casual friendship of acquaintances, but in part also conjugal love and even parental love. People enjoy each other, admire one another, and do everything according to mutual benefits and pleasures. But if we transfer the same kind of love, carnal and exclusive, to Christ, if we think to please His holiest Person either by sensual attachment to Him, like Peter in his first fall (Mt. 16:22), or outwardlyby the active destruction of His enemieslike the same Peter in his second fall, then our religion, our zeal remains Christian only on the outside, only in appearance, for then a person loves only the outward appearance of Christ, and not the content of His character, not the law of Christ, not the life of Christ; thus the Lord will say: "I never knew you." What is called heresy lies precisely in men’s neglect of the main aspect of Christian life and religion (i.e., preference for all of Christ's life) for the sake of exclusive attention to external and superficial things. Why do such phenomena occur except that human nature, perverted by sin, has “another law in [its] members, warring against the law of [its] mind” (Rom. 7:23). Although the higher side of our soul attracts us to the divine image of the heavenly Bridegroom, the path to Him is thorny and difficult; I must, along this path, crucify the old man in me, destroy my passions and all the lures of the world, but I lack so much in my love for Christ and contempt for the world. So the sinful soul looks for such pathsto its destructionso that love for Christ will not tear it away from worldly delights and fantasies. Instead of serving Him through the beginning of a new grace-filled life, turning away from pride and violence and enmity and carnal lust, and returning the spirit to us, the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and lovea person is satisfied either with a worldly, sensuous love for Him, like all Protestants and Stundists [a certain Protestant sect in Russia], and shouts that he has already been redeemed, or—as in the second fall of Peter—instead of destroying the enemy of Christ in himself, instead of eradicating the tares of the devil from his soul and the souls of his neighbors, he rebels against external enemies and dreams of establishing such external orders on earth under which, according to his delusion, it will be easy for everyone to be saved. This is the delusion of all those heretics who wanted to spread religion by violence and to seize state power for the service of Christ. Such are the Roman Catholics and all who wish to serve God by external means, and not by spirit and truth. But it is impossible to serve two masters and it is impossible to work for God and mammon. The narrow path is one, and whoever is not with Christ is against Him; any heresy that, instead of a new life of grace, seeks the fulfillment of such worldly fantasies in Christianity, thereby deprives itself of grace and the apostate becomes "as the heathen and tax collector."

In our Russian social life there has been just such a fall as in the life of Peter. One writer, who fought against the enemies of Christ by the power of philosophical and then apologetic research, was apparently upset that truth itself was so slowly and so imperceptibly defeating its enemies. It was probably bitter for him to see Christ's Faith neglected by high society and trampled upon with impunity by the nihilists corrupting the youth—and so, instead of the labor of spiritual life and knowledge to achieve through the grace of God such spiritual gifts, before which the intrigues of the enemies of Christ would fall, this thinker began to think about the arrangement of certain social church-state orders, under which no one could enslave or insult the Church, under which the power of the Church would act unhindered and triumphantly triumph over its enemies. If he had learned and taught us for this purpose to become a Chrysostom or a Gregory, to acquire the love of John the Theologian or the power of the Apostle Paul—oh, then who would not thank him? But he began to look for other means, state institutions; he drew the sword, like Peter, and dies expressing a lie and destroys his followers. He fell into that terrible pit of delusions, into which every one of the Church zealous beyond reason will naturally fall; he gradually and consistently began to incline towards the doctrine that elevated violence into law, into that terrible moat of Papism, which, having begun to outwardly be jealous of Christ, expelled Him from his society and put a sinful man in Christ's place.

We are specifically talking about the new book by Vl. S. Soloviev: "La russie et l'eglise universelle," in which his former thoughtful doubts have reached the level of the most pure-blooded Ultramontanism, where the pope is the organ of divine truth no longer through the ecumenical council, as it was stated in the previous works of Soloviev, but ex sese, etiam sine consensu ecclesiae [of itself, and without the consent of the Church], as it was said at the Vatican Council. If we add to this that here the dogma of the procession of the Holy Spirit “and from the Son” (filioque) is recognized, as well as the immaculate conception of the most holy Virgin, then we will understand that the author's thought has already completely merged with the Roman Catholic confession, so it is quite understandable why the pope officially announced his gratitude to the author, along with an expression of hope that the entire Russian East would recognize papal supremacy and obey him. But we are actually interested in this work not by itself, but as a typical phenomenon of that religious materialism, the temptation of which at the present time, the time of the awakening of Church interests with the continuing moral distortion of society, can especially strongly affect human hearts. Therefore, when presenting and analyzing the said work, our attention will be directed mainly to only two sides of it—to disclosing the author's positive religious-church ideal and to his assessment from the Orthodox point of view. We will touch upon neither historical, biblical-exegetical, nor metaphysical justifications and proofs with which the author wants to support his system; all these are areas that have already been explored and never resolved the dispute through the dialectical treatment that they receive in the named book; the best confirmation of our last words is the fact that the same passages of Holy Scripture, the same events in Church history serve as premises for both the papists and their opponents. Yes, of course, not a single denomination is based on dialectics, but it receives its vitality through the outline of a well-known new way of religious life, which influences the conscience or human passions and attracts to itself either those who obey the voice of conscience, or those who are attracted by passions. So the doctrine of Christ, presented by Him in parables, resolved the conscience of all its questions, and for that reason, "Everyone who is of the truth heareth [His] voice" (John 18:37). The teachings of Mohammed satisfy the passions of Asiatic characters, and therefore it captivated everyone who served these passions.

So, what spiritual need is satisfied by the new teaching of Soloviev, which has degenerated into the old Papism?

The religious ideal of Soloviev concerns the Church itself and boils down to two main provisions: 1) the Church must gain power over the state and act through state legislation; 2) she must have here on earth a religious infallible center in her highest and universal leader, the Roman pope.

A. The Church and the Kingdoms of the World

Soloviev's doctrine of the domination of the Church over the state.—The falsity of such a doctrine in essence.—The exceptional importance of the Church amid human societies—The spiritual weapon of the Church is humility and love.—Its significance as a social force.—Proof with the history of the Church.—The influence of the Church on everyday life, the meaning of martyrdom.

Proceeding from the absolutely indisputable idea that the Lord not only outlined for us the path of personal salvation but united His followers into one spiritual body, so that salvation is achieved by us not personally and not separately but through our participation in this union, or through the Church, for some reason, our author demands that this union of ours in Christ or Church life should not only be a religious union, a union of our consciences, but include all aspects of political or state life under a visible head (p. 24). Love is not enough, he says—there must also be juridical righteousness (justice). This, as we will show, is the main lie of the author, which involved him in heretical dogmas. This is how he defines the concept of the Church. “To act in imperfect humanity and in union with it, the fullness of grace and divine truth must be presented in a public institution (and not purely religious only)—divine in origin, purpose, and power, but human in its means” (127). What does the author mean by a public institution, and what means are we talking about? Government, law, and physical force, without which, in his words, “the Church cannot establish Christian peace and righteousness on earth” (59). “When it comes to the common life of mankind,” it is said elsewhere, “it must be identically transubstantiated, yet wholly preserving the very types or external forms of earthly society. It is precisely these forms, put into obedience and consecrated in a certain way, that must serve as visible means for the social activities of Christ in His Church” (127). In the third place, the author says that an active role in life belongs to the state itself, on which the historical fate of mankind supposedly depends (19), and therefore, without the state, only sacred rites remain for the Church, in which the only activity of the Eastern Church supposedly lies; it only prays, but the Latin one prays and works.

The author says bluntly that Christianity is a social institution, and not only a personal religiosity; the public for him is the same as the state. The last law must, in his opinion, be subordinated to the Church, for otherwise the Christian will belong to it only in the temple, and all his civil relations will be left to the rule of pagan passions (331). The author with these words has already undersigned in advance the whole system of Papism, and his later conclusions in favor of the latter are really only a logical continuation of this stated principle. But this principle is a direct denial of the Gospel. The author did not want to take into account the very fact that some of the forms of social life precisely by their very essence cannot enter the Church, because their very existence is conditioned by life according to the old man, a life not yet freed from sin. So it is with the state that can have the most just laws for humanity, the most virtuous and wise rulers, nevertheless, can never become a part of the Church. Why? Because according to its very concept, the state is a principle that acts by physical force, which guards its laws here on earth with earthly punishments, and rewards its fulfillers with earthly advantages. The state cannot but fight, cannot give itself up to death, but must defend itself. The Church can and should pray for the success of state enterprises, which, for the good, prays for the sovereigns and calls upon them the blessing of God, but the Church can never and should not carry out its tasks assigned to it by God through state institutions; then it will cease to be a church, cease to be a union of human consciences, a kingdom not of the world, whose servants do not fight with arms according to the word of Christ; she would then change the covenant of ancient times, when the weapon of the Church was the voluntarily and defenselessly shed blood of the martyrs; she would then change the covenant of the apostle that says that her military girdle would be only truth, her armor is righteousness, her shield is faith, her helmet is salvation, and her sword is the word of God. These are the forces and means with which the Church is fighting, and the state, although there is an alliance honored and blessed by God, but it is for the old man, for the earthly; it can treat the Church favorably, in view of its own benefit, but it is not the Church. "A minister of God, an avenger for wrath to the one who practiceth that which is bad." (Rom. 13:4). And after all, it seems the author made a little mistake: he only merged what could stand next to each other, but in fact, in the above expressions, he not only substantiated all Papism with the denial of councils as the highest expression of God's righteousness on earth,but took away from Church life all that by which it rises above the life of the old man, above every earthly institution, upon which it is revealed as a work of God, as a union higher than the natural. The author considers it necessary for the Church to conquer the power of the state—but for what? To act on society, he says, to be a social force, and not only a personal one. But if he does not want to recognize any social force, except for that which has physical force in his hands, if he denies the possibility of a purely free union, where there is no earthly punishment, no war, no diplomacy, then why did Christianity appear, why did the Lord suffer, why did the apostles and martyrs die? You want to ensure the vitality of Christianity, but in the end, you have already destroyed it, you have broken into nothing the cherished aspirations of souls that such a divine union is possible on this earth, where there are no worldly principles, where heaven has descended to earth, “where there is no Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free, but Christ is all things and in all.”

So, in order to more accurately substantiate and clarify the above objections, we must counter with the Orthodox understanding of the social task of the Church of Christ, and for our purpose we will try to show that the word of God teaches about the Church as a union 1) completely different from any worldly union in essence, 2) acting by such a force, which by its very essence differs from all worldly means—by a purely spiritual force. Then we will show, 3) that this force can not only be a social force (and not only personal) but is also recognized in revelation as the only one capable of re-creating social life and customs. Finally, we will confirm this with many general references to history.

Let us first of all listen to how divine revelation teaches about the Church as distinct from any other worldly union. Even in the Old Testament, it was revealed to the righteous souls who languished with worldly untruths that one day, among the people of God, there would come an end to the treachery, malice, and violence that weighed on the kingdom of Israel, the time of wars and international strife would end. And it was this spiritual kingdom that was opposed to the worldly hopes of the Jewish rulers and their hopes for the sanctity and inviolability of their nation and law, of everything external in general. The prophets said that such a hope was in vain. “Therefore on your account Sion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall be as a storehouse of fruits, and the mountain of the house as a grove of the forest. And at the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest, established on the tops of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and the peoples shall hasten to it. And many nations shall go, and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and they shall shew us his way, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Sion shall go forth a law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many peoples, and shall rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles” (Micah 3:12, 4:1-3). This prophecy refers precisely to the foundation of the Church by Christ, which knows no other weapon than love, truth, and judgment, contained in the word of God (John 12:48). The Apostle Paul explained to the Hebrews that this prophecy had already been fulfilled, perfected (Heb. 12:22-25), and those of the Jews, says Origen (R.S. 11:330), who interpreted this prophecy sensually, in the sense of an organization of such a state, in the sense of the external accession of the Church to the throne, they fell away from Christ; and it is remarkable that our author interprets this prophecy in exactly the same carnal way and therefore falls into heresy.

Another prophecy depicts, under the guise of an image of various substances, the kingdoms of the world, full of sins and passions; but now a stone falls from the mountain, not cut out by hands, and crushes the image, while it itself fills the whole earth. The stone cut without hands from an uncut mountain is Christ the Savior, and the eternity of His kingdom is the eternity of the Church. The Church destroys the kingdoms of the world not in the sense of fighting against their powers or overthrowing their structure—no: it destroys only those sinful principles that reigned in the world—pride, debauchery, idolatry, etc. The kingdoms themselves remain, but the true reign is not over bodies, but over the hearts of men who receive the Gospel. And if our author interprets the stone cut without hands in the sense of the Roman kingdom (137), which filled the earth, then this is a direct contradiction of holy tradition and Holy Scripture, of which in the latter the Lord Himself calls Himself a stone, crushing everyone on whom it falls, and the former even applies the mountain not cut by hands to the Virgin, the Mother of God.

But if the Church is a union separate from the kingdoms of the world, then where is her active force? What is this sword of the word of God, what is the shield of faith, and how can they be used in public life?

We find a much more precise definition of the very content of Church life in the New Testament. We celebrate the manifestation of a new life, signed upon us by the light of the countenance of the Lord on the day of the Theophany, which is considered the beginning of the public activities of Christ the Savior. So let us see what kind of founding principle there is in this activity He revealed—is it a state principle, as Soloviev wishes, or something else?

What actually happened during the Theophany, and in what sense is it the beginning of the social activities of Christ the Savior? Is it because He is proclaimed from heaven the Son of God? But such testimonies had already happened before, and moreover for many; and here the voice was heard only by the Lord Himself and the Forerunner. Or is this the manifestation of Christ's life: that He was testified to by the Forerunner before the people? But there were more definite testimonies from Simeon and Anna. No, the manifestation of new life consists in the fact that the Lord here showed that weapon, that active force with which He appears in the world. “John was trying to hinder Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is becoming for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitteth Him.” (Matt. 3:14-16). The Lord became one among sinners, as if in need of a baptism of repentance; He, bringing truth and holiness to earth, reveals it in the fact that He as it were renounces these His advantages and in this self-denial, in this spiritual self-mortification, reveals to us the law of a new grace-filled life. Born in a cave and laid in a manger, circumcised on the eighth day and dedicated to God on the fortieth, the Lord at the age of thirty already openly and consciously teaches us that humility and self-denial are the social strength by which the Church lives, its power, her universal “pope.” This is precisely the solution to the improvement of public life, which the sages of the world have been looking for in vain; this is precisely the beginning that, by its very nature, places the Church society above all external guarantees, in which it is possible to hammer swords into plowshares, in which the union of freedom and peace is possible, because the struggle for existence, on which all earthly institutions will hang on, is completely expelled, and if every worldly society needs punishment and encouragement, then it is not for the sake of any other thing than to restrain selfishness and pride. But with the elimination of this principle in a new life, there is full scope for truth and freedom. To the extent that a person is capable of killing the old man in himself, killing pride and being baptized into Christ, so much does he enter the Church, so much does he become above the motives of external punishment and external retribution; he is already a citizen of heaven. To the extent that he again falls under the influence of the flesh and passions and revives the old man in himself, so much will he fall out of the Church, and she, based on the path of Christ, remains holy and blameless, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any of such things” (Eph. 5:27). But the power of spiritual self-crucifixion, humility, and love infused into it by Christ is not only a negative principle that determines Church freedom but also a positive principle that affects social life. What is more, according to the teachings of the Christian religion, this power of a grace-filled life, emanating from personal exploit, is not only the most effective in public life but also the only one that can improve public life, not only externally but in its essence, while every other foundation of the natural will, not torn away from the self-love of the old man, can never establish true righteousness on earth. This last thought is revealed in the book of Ecclesiastes, where Solomon confesses on behalf of all mankind the futility of his enterprises. He tried to establish justice on earth—but here is lawlessness; truth—but behold there is not truth (Eccl. 3:16). He is bitterly disappointed in all his intentions and admits “that which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is not cannot be numbered” (1:15). The natural, worldly means of activity, which the author of the named book considers to be the only kinds for the influence of the Church on social life, can only change the external forms of life, but neither correct human hearts nor change public morals. Just as natural power cannot make the blind to see and the lame to walk or the desert into a flowery garden, so it cannot make people kind. But all this is possible for only the power of a new life of grace, that spiritual self-crucifixion of Christ, which is revealed to us from the day of His baptism. And upon this day of the appearance of new life, the Church applies the ancient promise: “Be glad, thou thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honor of Carmel; and my people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God. Be strengthened, ye relaxed hands and palsied knees. Comfort one another, ye fainthearted; be strong, fear not; behold, our God renders judgment, and He will render it; He will come and save us. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land. And the dry land shall become pools, and a fountain of water shall be poured into the thirsty land; there shall there be a joy of birds, ready habitations and marshes” (Is. 31:1-7).

The social “revolution” began on the very day when Christ opened a new path of humility, a new life to people. But what is her strength? How does it affect society? None other than the fact that this new life is rooted in the souls of all creatures created in the image of God, in the highest aspirations of their conscience, in the desire for a higher life and freedom from sin. Once it appears on earth, it floods the world like a mighty stream, by itself it destroys, without the tricks of politics or force of arms, it destroys its enemies like an iron chain, according to Micah, like the power of a unicorn, according to Balaam. The purification of morals proceeds not from political institutions, but precisely from the podvig (moral struggle) of free souls: it is like a mustard seed, from a small seed growing of itself into a huge tree, like a little leaven, which ferments and overflows a vessel, it is like an all-consuming fire for sin, if only it be kindled, like a sword that separates nations and families.

Yes, God's grace does not need to dominate worldly powers in order to influence society, it shies away from dividing inheritances, and in the person of the apostles it does not want to subjugate the property of Christians, but only their conscience: “I seek not your things,” one apostle says, “but you” (2 Cor. 12:14). “While it remained, it did remain thine own, did it not? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own authority?” says another (Acts 5:4). So we see that the original Church did not want to claim any other rights or orders except the voluntary restoration of human consciences by the power of the word of God, by the power of a grace-filled life. As far as this power itself took possession of the soul of a person or social life, so much was reflected in the change of their social order. The author [Soloviev] himself involuntarily let slip the same idea, which contradicts his book, but quite fairly: “The unity of the real Faith inevitably passes into a living and active unity, both moral and practical,” he says (60). The first Christians had complete communal unity, but the apostles never tried to protect them by external laws to ensure their influence; they feared very little if the power of the grace of the word of God would remain without effect on public morals. If people want to listen to them, they preach; if they do not want to, they leave, according to the behest of Christ. They believe that the grace of God works by itself and struggles with history and they do not even recognize their own merits: “Yet not I,” they say, “but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). Yes, our task is precisely only to enter into this grace, only to accept it into ourselves, to kill the old man in ourselves, rotting in deceptive desires, and to become a bearer of grace. And at the moment this happens, as soon as a person is filled with her, then the desert really blooms around him and people beat their swords into plowshares.

“But,” the author will tell us, “what guarantees that such people will always be? And does not the Church, instead of a harmoniously organized organism, seem to be a chaos of random religious attitudes?” Such a question is posed to us by the author, who considers it impossible to believe that the direct power of God is at work in the life of the Church (142). But Christians boast of this very faith. It is this faith that confirms the word of God with the teaching about Christ as not only the only Head of the Church but also its direct Helmsman, its always revitalizing Life, by which all its members live, that trunk from which alone the branches can be nourished and from which after being torn away dry up. That is why it is said that “no one is able to lay any other foundation of the Church beside the One being laid, Who is Jesus Christ;” “He at the proper time will raise up a man according to His own heart.” The Church lives by the power of grace; and this power is possessed only by God, and He distributes it so that the Church will never be deprived of its fullness. But if your task was, as it is said, to enter into this grace, then it does not at all follow that our whole religion is reduced to “blind Mohammedan obedience,” as Soloviev reproaches us (48): we must do everything to our souls and to our neighbors which is suggested to us by our conscience, but our struggle is purely spiritual, “not against blood and flesh, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the cosmic rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of evil on account of the heavenly things.” Therefore, our weapons should not be fleshly, not the arsenal or ship of worldly political means, for the absence of which the author reproaches us (36), but precisely those named "weapons of God" in which the apostle's ordinance clothes us. We are not forbidden to have an activist attitude in life, but we are forbidden to artificially obtain external results, to run ahead with an impatient will. Test and correct your motives, and God will quickly arrange that they will be followed by appropriate results (Matt. 5:27, 33).

Suppose we said, as if for the sake of zeal for Christ, that without connection with political laws, the Church cannot act on public welfare. But what madman would dare to deny that the Church had the most powerful influence on the social life of Christians before the 4th century, when no worldly power helped her? And our author in his new book even dares to assert that the Church does not have the proper completeness without a state subordinate to it. So there was no church before Constantine, this was not a real church? O what human madness! O God, grant that our social life, even for just one hundred years, might have that Christian savor that was inherent in it before the 4th century.

The forms of any life that is normal, and not violent, naturally take shape under the influence of the content that is embedded in it. Christian piety brings such a fullness of content into life that, apart from any legislation, Christian life develops by itself, not at all as an individual personal piety, but as a social force, which in turn affects every person, not by punishments but freely sobering up each one’s conscience. And if the author, in his error, went so far as to reproach Russian life for the fact that in it the concept of Orthodoxy is expressed with the word "piety," and instead of "Orthodox faith" the expression "pious faith" is used (p. 4), then this is the very exact expression that defines true religion in the New Testament: the way of piety, “the way” of the Lord (Acts 16:17; 18:26-27; 19:24), this is how Christianity is called in the Acts and Epistles. This is exactly how it should be defined, first of all, as the essence of our life, which is then already being expressed in the dogmas of Christian contemplation and in the phenomena of common life. This piety or life according to the new man has such a powerful influence on the hearts of the surrounding environment, that charitable institutions, literary and scientific schools, social customs, etc., grow up immediately, not by legislative order but freely, with only the consent of secular governments. For a factual affirmation of this thought we need not bring to remembrance the lives of Ss. Basil the Great, or John Chrysostom, or Tikhon of Zadonsk; it is enough to see what is currently being done in our vicinity in Kronstadt.

“But,” we will be told, “after all, social life always influences the direction of state administration. For the most part, even with wise governments, it tries, for its own benefit and strength, to issue laws when possible that are in agreement with the life of the people: so, won't it work out even with your understanding of the necessary influence of the Church on the state?” Yes, it will exist, but the enormous difference lies precisely in the fact that, ultimately, not the Church but the state itself will be guided by such goals; it will be guided freely and as long as it wishes; it will not be influenced by the Church herself but only by the content that she would bring to life. The Church herself will remain a kingdom not of this world, and its servants will not be called possessors, but the greatest in them will remain the servant of all (Matt. 20:26).

But the author complains that without influencing the laws of the state, nothing will guarantee the zeal of the pastors. Does he not want to say that the normal structure of Church society must in advance eliminate the possibility of the innocent suffering for Christ? Then let him know that true zeal for the Faith, a complete and irrevocable decision to follow Christ always and in all stations of life will guarantee either confession or martyrdom, if not from the enemies of the Church, then from false brethren, if not from false brethren, then from the disobedience of children, so that the true apostle of God “dies daily” (1 Cor. 15:31), he doth not even live, but Christ liveth in him (Gal. 2:20). On the contrary, if there is such an order where the servants of God expect only praise, honor, and tranquility, if they already here on earth receive their wages, if in one form or another, be it external torments, or internal sorrows, they do not bear the feat of martyrdom, then these are not servants of God, but self-deprecating servants of their own worldly fantasies and interests. The new man is renewed in us only insofar as the old one decays, says the apostle, and woe to us if all people speak well of us; woe to those who laugh today, woe to the rich and satiated now (Luke 6:24-27), says the Lord, for such were the false prophets. This is how those political intriguers want to live even now, whose external energy, it is true, can astonish the dreamers (idealists), but who, having entered into an alliance with mammon, live for it, and do not work for Christ; who, bearing the name of Catholic shepherds, are nonetheless the servants of this sinful world, not Christ, and are quite similar to the ancient false prophets. That is why we said at the beginning that the author's most general definition of the task of the Churchthat it should embrace all forms of life, including all those of its functions, which are inherent only in the life of the old mansuch a worldliness of the Church is in itself the most evil heresy, almost a denial of Christianity itself. Such an alliance of compromises with the prince of this world is not an answer to the demands of conscience but the satisfaction of passion, and precisely the passion of religious worldliness, the very one that attracted the Jews to make visible gods for themselves—idols. And if we look at the author's most specific description of Church unity, we will see how all its features distinguishing it from the sinful world are actually eliminated from the Church, how in its essence it completely ceases to be a religious union, a Christian union, since it replaces Christ with the pope, and His love is political consent.

It is this religious materialism that we must fear in the matter of religion, we must be concerned not about protecting by force a certain form of Christian life but about putting Christian content, Christian love and humility, into life, living according to the new man created by the truth and the reverence for the truth. Only such a life will fill the need of our conscience, while the ideal of our author satisfies, as it turns out, not the conscience but the sinful passion of a doubting impatience, like the intention of the disciples to bring down the fire on the unbelieving Samaritans. To all such religious materialists the Lord says: “Ye know not of what manner of spirit ye are” (Luke 9:55).

B. Papal Supremacy

The secular nature of this teaching.—One head of the Church: Christ.—The saving meaning of this belief.—The doctrine of the headship of the pope contains a logical contradiction.—The Ecumenical Council.

We turn to the second provision of the book we are examining—concerning papal supremacy, which directly follows, as mentioned, from the first, which asserted the need for subordination of all social and political forces of public life to the clergy. Taking up the secular means of activity, the Roman Church gradually elevated into law those imperfections inherent in secular societies. These imperfections consist, firstly, in the impossibility of a universal agreement for natural life and therefore in the need to obey one, and then, secondly, in such a distance between common life and moral truth that it is considered impossible to find the latter and judge life with it, and therefore unconditional submission before the will of the highest power is required, its inconformity is recognized, even with its moral imperfection. So in Latinism there came to be: 1) the doctrine of the single-person government of the Church or the universal spiritual and secular leadership of the pope and 2) of his infallibility. The unity of power and unconditional obedience to it in natural life is a blessing, and, moreover, in some epochs the best and even the only means to keep people from mutual self-destruction, from arbitrary rule, from violence, and similar vices. But in the life of the Church, which is not only not afraid to die for the truth, but makes this the very goal of new children entering it, demanding that they crucify the old man in themselves and be baptized into the death of Christ—into the life of the Church; we say, one should be afraid not of external grievances coming from men but the tyranny of spiritual passions, not only not to be afraid of an external, morally sinister power, but precisely together with it, those elevated in Rome to the throne of Christ. To kill these real incorporeal enemies of the Church, from whom not the body dies, but the soul after the death of the body is thrown into Gehennato kill, we say, such enemies can only be done by Him, Who killed them in Himself, Who is holy not only in dogmatic definitions but “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” only the Christ, Who alone can be the direct Ruler and the only Head of the Church. This is the first position with which the Orthodox Church counters Papism, a position especially dear to a Christian.

Let us reiterate it more particularly. We saw that the content of the Church is that new grace-filled life, which is revealed to us in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His teaching and is confirmed by Him and the apostolic dogmas, as life, not only lofty and holy, but also true, standing in complete agreement with the properties of God and with the laws of creation established by Him. Among such dogmatic beliefs, which affirm our Christian will on an unshakable basis, is the promise that the new grace-filled life that began with the coming of Christ not only shall not be destroyed on earth but also shall not fade, shall not be overcome by the gates of Hades, shall not have pollution or vice, shall not break its ties with Christ, just as a living body cannot be torn from its head, nor a fresh branch be separated from the trunk. But such holiness, according to the general Christian belief, cannot belong either to an individual person, or a parish, or a local church: all these receives their sanctification only by its belonging to the universal Church, and its individual parts, being ruled by sinful people, cannot be unconditionally holy. To be holy, the Church cannot have a sinful source for its life, a sinful head; its only head is the Christ. Monocracy over the Church cannot be accepted by its very essence. To be a church, to be a union above the natural, rejected by the old man, the Church needs not a common visible power, from such power it, taken as a whole, must be free. Parishes and dioceses, which, like individual people, only strive to express ecclesiastical perfection in themselves, they are governed by grace, but still by human will: on the contrary, the entire universal Church, where the manifestation no longer differs from its being, only remaining the Church as long as it is governed by Christ and Him alone. This dear truth of Orthodoxy will appear to us with complete clarity if we turn our gaze to that struggle between good and evil on which the whole meaning of Christian beliefs is explained in general. The fall of Adam and our continuing sinfulness lies precisely in the fact that we, even in business, look at ourselves, at our “I” and indulge in proud thoughts.

New life, filled with grace, consists, on the contrary, in the fact that man should deny himself and live for God. The difference between those who live this and that life is reflected immediately in their enterprises. The first seeks from life the external fruits of his undertakings in order to admire them; the second, according to the commandment of Christ, gives all his external life into the hand of God and cares only about the purity of his intentions and undertakings, remaining fully confident that the outcome of every work is in the hand of God, and God does not want evil for man, and if our will is ready to obey Him, then no one else can hinder the Lord from completing His counsel. The Church, as a life of complete holiness, completely united with the will of God, precisely because of this, taken as a whole, cannot be guided by any will other than God’s, cannot and should not use the human sinful mind to envision her destinies, but accept every happening that comes to pass with her as the direct will of Godher very life, those very events, as events of the entirety of the Church, are nothing more than the presence of Christ with us, the indwelling of God among us and the walking among us by His Word (the words of the Pre-sanctified Liturgy), which was pre-depicted in a God-bearing pillar of fire during the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, predicted by the great prophets and foretold by the coming of Christ. “I myself will go before thee and give you rest,” says the Lord to Moses (Ex. 33:14). "They have not rejected thee," He says to Samuel, "but they have rejected Me." These words are especially significant, for they were said for the reason that the Old Testament people were not satisfied with the direct guidance of God and wanted to have as king their worldly, sinful will. It is precisely the same disbelief in the providence of God, in His real impact on life, that Latinism and its defender manifest when they assert that without the pope, the supernatural intervention of the divine will is required every time for the governing of Christ’s Church. “Supernatural?” we ask, “but why?” After all, a hair from our head does not fall without the will of God; but direct intervention—this is how it always is. Why do we bother accepting the Christian Faith, on what account do we find the strength to renounce the world in Baptism if not by this faith in the direct control of life by God? If it seems to you doubtful and vague, then cross out the Gospel, and the prophets, and the psalms first. Why, in that case, should we talk about dogmas, when instead of Christianity we have nihilism? But to us, believers in the Gospel, the dogma of God's direct preservation of the life of grace on earth and the conquering over the gates of Hades seems to be the most dear testament of our Savior, and we think that it is on this that the vitality of our faith is tested. It was by this faith that the churches lived in unity until the triumph of the Christian empire, when there were no obligatory authorities, when only faith and respect for authorities attracted obedience, when there were no doubters of Christ's presence.

So the life of the Church is directed by Christ, but through whom? Indeed, through all the circumstances of history, and especially through the holy people who appear in all seasons (Liturgy of Basil the Great). To assert that the Church is ruled by the pope is a logical contradiction arising from the identification of the Church with the state. We ask the papists: does not the concept of ruling or having power over the Church mean complete control over all the essential elements of her life? If we recognize that Christ governs the Church through the pope, then it follows that from the latter comes the source of all new phases in the life of the Church. But does history depend on the pope? Does he direct all those mental, moral, political, literary, and finally cosmographic and cleansing influences under which Church life is built? Meanwhile, who would deny that the pope's decrees can cover barely a hundredth of the facts of Church life, and then the 99 hundredths, from the point of view of the papists who believe Christ manages the Church through the pope, simply happen by chance: all these migrations of peoples, the emergence of new teachings, earthquakes, hunger, pestilences, and other agents of the religious-moral creation of mankind, or the life of the Church—are all these coincidences? So what will remain with us from the doctrine of the Church as the living body of Christ, animated by His Spirit, if this life barely touches His skin, and the system of nerves and circulation of blood occurs completely independently of it? Or do you want to keep the belief that all the influences of Church life, coming from men and from the elements, are accordingly directed by God towards the single goal of salvation and represent the paths of divine government of the Church? Then renounce the absurd idea of the Church being governed by a pope, of the need for such powers for the will, which affects only the smallest stream of Church life, and acknowledge that Christ is its direct Helmsman, its single Head. Soloviev himself speaks well of the need to recognize the unity of all aspects of Church life (123): “Based on the unity of faith, the universal church, as a social body, real and living, must also reveal a unity of action sufficient to successfully resist at every moment of its historical existence the combined efforts of hostile forces that want to destroy it through division. The unity of action for a social body, vast and complex, presupposes a whole system of organic functions subordinate to a common center, which can make them move at any given moment in the desired direction.” Tell me, who can command such functions of the life of the Church as life and death, hunger and harvest, the emergence of new teachings, the birth of religious geniuses, and so on? Only He Who has the keys of Hades and death, that is, Christ. This Helmsman is invisible to the sensual eyes, but His deeds are open to the eyes of conscience and to history. He acts by Himself, knowing the self-will and pride of His shipbuilders; and therefore demanding from them only obedience to His plans, He hides His future intentions from them so that they would not conceive of carrying them out according to their inept minds and would not cease to resort to Him in every matter, that they would not be cut off from His wisdom.

When sins or heresies agitate the Church, the Lord raises up the righteous, the miracle workers, and the theologians who announce the truth to people, and the truth triumphs. But truth is victorious, again, so that our race, "adulterous and sinful," clearly sees that the Lord is doing this, and not men; it gains victory through an ecumenical council. The Roman Catholics and the author being analyzed (pp. 93 and 311) point out both the absence of such external signs that would distinguish an ecumenical council from an unlawful assembly and the doubtfulness of unanimity at newly assembled councils. But if these signs were on the person, if this agreement was conditioned in advance, then where would the activity of the Holy Spirit remain? How would the will of the Head of the Church, Christ, be expressed here? It is in this that His power over life appears, that through men, seemingly by accident, and sometimes also according to political motives of the emperors who gather for the council, He Himself assembles a sacred concert for the victorious proclamation of His will. Earthly calculations and intentions, which entered the outer side of the matter, and the current rationalistic science, collected with stupid gloating, have no more force in this phenomenon than, during the time of Christ's nativity in Bethlehem which was prophesied over 1000 years earlier, that proud command to make a census of the entire inhabited world, which prompted Joseph to go "register in his city." There were robber councils with the same external form as the ecumenical ones, but the active principle in the life of the Church is not the form but the content. A lie slavishly creeps at the feet of the mighty of this world, wagging between dogmas and politics, but the truth thunders triumphantly from the lips of the preachers of the Faith, completing the testimony of its righteousness by miracles and martyrdom and in its beneficial influence on the life of the Church, soon convincing every true conscience that it comes from God. So neither the external signs of universality nor even less so the place (Rome) serve as the highest indicators of truth, for to assimilate its place, as the papists and Soloviev do, is a direct violation of the word of God: they will not say about the kingdom of God that it is here or there, but it is within you, that is, in your conscience (Luke 17:4). God chooses the ecumenical council as the organ of His will precisely because external reason cannot distinguish it, but only conscience, and so that human calculations and human will cannot enter into its very composition.

C. Papal Infallibility According to Soloviev

The sinfulness of this teaching.—Its anti-religious character.—Its incompatibility with Christian love.—The political nature of the papal church.—Veneration of saints in Orthodoxy.—Conclusion

But let us enter into consideration of the very content of the papal principle. First of all, we are told that the pope is infallible (93–94) in his creeds, God Himself speaks through him, although He leaves him a sinner in his will and life; in him there are two lives: one private, the other ex cathedra, and in the latter he is infallible. This position in itself, without further conclusions, is great madness. The Lord does not reveal His truth mechanically, without identifying human will with it: see how He prepared some prophets for spiritual receptivity, see how He made others torture themselves before confessing a new word to the world. Here is Moses for you, mourning the troubles of his people and being driven out into the wilderness for a long time; Here is Balaam, admonished by a donkey to obey the will of God; here on the other side is Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who swallowed the grief of his people in a scroll and filled his belly with bitterness; finally, there is Paul, brought to repentance by the appearance of Christ, Who by many speeches, miracles, and trials prepared the other eleven apostles to receive the Holy Spirit. Why is that, but that the Lord does not reveal to us such truths that would be perceived by reason alone, for it is not for curiosity that the words of salvation are given to us.

Every kind of belief is given for the fight against evil, as a new contribution to human will, and such belief can only be accepted, assimilated, and transmitted by a human will that has risen to it through grace-filled assistance. To say that revelation is given through a will that remains in its former sins, proud and evil, is the same as saying that an evil will has become good while remaining evil. We have the direct word of Scripture confirming the absurdity of such an assumption. “For He will be found of them that tempt Him not; and showeth Himself unto such as do not distrust Him. For froward thoughts separate from God, and His power, when it is tried, reproveth the unwise. For into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter, nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin. For the holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding, and will not abide when unrighteousness cometh in” (Wis. 1:2-5). If a sinful person cannot be recognized as the supreme ruler of the universal Church without the complete dethroning of this bride of Christ, then to deem compatible infallibility in beliefs with a sinful life, with an evil will, is to offend the Holy Spirit of wisdom, to allow His identification with a sinful mind. Khomyakov rightly says that apart from the holy illumination of the apostles and prophets, we know from the Bible only one kind of confession—the confession of the possessed; but if such a confession took place in Rome, it would not be the Church of Christ [speaking], but His enemy. This is how Dostoyevsky defines its essence in the “Grand Inquisitor,” who says to Christ: “We are not with Thee, but with him.”

It remains for us to show from the words of the author himself how, in his view, the Church loses the character of that divine-human union, then to talk about the most accurate definition of which the author himself tried to establish, and to show then how, even in the field of mutual human relations, it loses its character as a union of love. The author says: "It is necessary to establish in humanity a definite and unshakable point on which the dispensation of God could be based. The direct unity of the Church is neither based on the possible unanimity of all believers, nor on the always dubious agreement of a council, but on the real and living unity of the leader of the apostles” (90, 93). But if Christ's truth is directly revealed only through the pope, if our unity is in him, then should not the very life of Christian conscience strive towards him? Christian unity with Christ was precious precisely because Christ is that haven where there are no such storms of life, where there is no change, where there is no evil. Let the pagans rely on the relative, the sinful, and the temporary, while the Christian lives in unity with the Son of God, the only sinless One, in Whom he finds the strength to despise everything temporary, everything sinful, not to believe the prince of this world, because he was expelled by the Cross of Christ. The Christian then triumphs in that, through Christ, all are his brothers, that he has no need now to ask everyone he meets whether he is of his people and party, he has no need to defend the truth of life with worldly weapons and protect with external provisions. He knows that Christ Himself has given all authority under Himself and coalesced everyone into one. He is with Christ, as with his father among his brethren. He is on earth as an inhabitant of heaven. And suddenly they say to him: “No, do not look at Christ, do not aspire to Him with the desire of your conscience, but to this sinful person who possesses political and spiritual power” (123), do not love men directly, do not directly realize your unity with every Christian; this unity is only a distraction from the carnal unity of this head of the Church, who is replaced every 10 to 20 years. If you do this, you will enter the kingdom of Christ later, [sometime] after death.

“No, I don't need such a kingdom,” the Christian will answer, “because everything that attracted me to the kingdom of Christ revealed in the New Testament has been destroyed with you: there I was promised a direct union with the Eternal and Holy, and you impose on me an incomprehensible and impossible union with the temporary and sinful; there I rejoiced at our unity in an innumerable multitude of tribes and peoples, and you say that this unity is no better than that of soldiers, for it consists in the unity of the commanding will, while even in a patriotic regiment there is a better unity—unity of purposeand yours is inherent only in an unworthy regiment. I don’t want your awards.”

But maybe we have deduced too much from the words of the author; maybe his pope does not have such a meaning in the life of the Church and its individual members? Here are other sayings for you. In the fourth chapter of the second part, entitled “The Church as a universal society,” the author concludes with the following words, quoted in italics: “Since unity of faith does not really exist and does not directly exist in the integrity of believers, it must consist in the legitimate authority of a monocrat, guaranteed by the divine presence and accepted by the love and trust of all the faithful” (120). Why would I want such unity? The pagans also have a similar unity of higher knowledge in their oracles and Pythias, to whom they blindly obey. I needed the unity of faith in many ways, I needed that unity of men in the sonship of God, which was promised to me in the New Testament, that unity of a Greek and a Jew, which according to the word of the apostle, triumphs over the conditions of elemental antipathies, that constant miracle of communion with God, which was promised by the Lord when ascending to heaven.

“Do not dream of such an impossible unity,” the author stops me and says: “when we asserted that this specific principle of the social unity of the Church is not directly either Jesus Christ or the mass of believers, but the monarchical power of Peter, through whom Jesus Christ wanted to unite with humanity, as with a social and political being, then our feeling is supported by the remarkable fact that the property of being a stone of the Church retained the meaning of its own name only for the prince of the apostles (Peter is a stone), which, therefore, is the only stone of the Church in the special and precise meaning of this term—the unifying foundation of the historical Christian society” (106). Elsewhere (311) the author says that without a common father on earth, the unity of Christians would have been exiled to heaven, like the mythical Astrea; for such an invisible church it would be enough to have a Docetic Christ—like the Gnostics: a phantom for a Christ. But no, Christ becomes a phantom precisely when a sinful person is substituted in place of Him, and then not only is the unity of men in faith a phantom, as we have seen now (see also p. 117), but the highest commandment of the Gospel—Christian love—is also abolished. “Loving everyone in one man (i.e., in the pope), because otherwise it is not possible to love,” says the author, “everyone strives for the faith of all, through faith assimilated to one” (i.e., to the pope—p. 117). So, finally, Papism in the person of the author agreed to a direct denial of the Christian commandment—love. You cannot love men. This is the motive that brought out your faith in Papism; you cannot believe Christ—and that is what makes you believe in a sinful person.

My friend! You refuse to love every neighbor, and you do not even want to admit it is necessary: ​​why do you care about replacing this love with a different kind of Church dispensation? After all, you have already said goodbye to the Gospel, you have already signed for paganism. You cannot love everyone: but those who are not allowed to do this, why do they bother about religion? After all, only this love can bring us closer to Christ; for the verdict by which He will divide humanity in two at His Second Coming is well known; He will not ask us about obedience to the pope, not about dialectical subtleties, but precisely about that love for everyone which Papism recognizes as impossible: “Then shall He say also to those on the left, ‘Go from Me, ye who have been cursed, into the fire, the everlasting one, which hath been prepared for the devil and his angels: ‘For I hungered and ye did not give Me anything to eat; I thirsted and ye did not give Me anything to drink; ‘I was a stranger and ye did not bring Me in, naked and ye did not clothe Me, sick, and in prison, and ye did not visit Me.’ Then shall He answer them, saying, ‘Verily I say to you, insofar as ye did it not to one of the least of these, neither did ye do it to Me’” (Matt. 25:41-46). Or will the papists say that this is not about love, but about good deeds? Let us check this saying with another: “In this are manifest the children of God and the children of the devil. Everyone who doeth not righteousness is not of God, and neither is the one who loveth not his brother. Because this is the message which ye heard from the beginning, that we be loving one another.... We know that we have passed over out of death into life, because we love the brethren. The one not loving his brother abideth in death.... The one not loving his brother whom he hath seen, how is he able to love God Whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that the one loving God, be loving his brother also” (1 John 3:10-15; 4:20-21). Let our author tell us then whether we are talking about love for the pope, or about the love of every person one meets, which he recognizes as impossible and therefore does not even want to strive for it. And yet, by this love, the children of God are distinguished from the children of the devil. So, if the papists looked into what a jungle of paganism they entered with their principles of external organization in place of an internal one, then of course only a few would have remained with their arbitrary new dogmas, and the rest would have renounced them as godless.

But let us see how the author presents the content of his church? Apparently he does not deny the meaning of love and even associates it with the very name of Rome (the word Roma, derived from Amor—love); but love should be not in words and not in the order of laws but in the heart: “Let us not be loving in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn. 3:18). And where people are sure in advance that it is impossible to love everyone, and classify love not as a feeling but only as the introduction of humane rules, there naturally remains only the semblance of love, and its very content disappears. So it turns out for the essay being analyzed. “This love (i.e., for the pope),” says the author (118), “which in its origin is an act of pure morality (obedience to the categorical imperative in Kantian terminology), can and must become a source of feelings and affections no less powerful than filial love or patriotism.” We do not know what this soulless obedience, based not on love, but on an imaginary duty, can become, but we know that even in the army, obedience is required not just in the name of duty but also out of love for the homeland, but since it is still required not in the name of love and truth alone, then this obedience, coming from the outside to the inside, and not the reverse, only in especially cordial natures is it united with love, and in others it remains blind and slavish; wherefore the concept of soldierly obedience, necessary and even respected in the life of a natural person, would hardly dare to be recognized as worthy of the divine-human union of the Church. We do not need a church for which the bonds that bind are just as outward, just as cold as the bonds of worldly societies.

“Is not your comparison exaggerated?” Alas! the author himself not only does not claim the superiority of Church unity and Church love over political or state love, but, as we have seen, imputes the former as a special praise that she is no less powerful than patriotism. “The Church,” he says a little earlier (117), "is a moral social being (être), a real society, much broader and more complex, but no less real than a nation or state.” That is his praise of the Church! Why, it is precisely the dissatisfaction with those imperfections that are inherent in every earthly union, as external and insufficiently deep and sincere, that prompts me to seek another union, another real kinship with people, not on the shaky principles of common self-preservation, but on the divinely revealed truth of common self-denial that unites us all into one tree and grafts everyone to a single trunk, that is, to Christ (John 15), so that His life-giving drink, or the Spirit of Christ, would penetrate us all with a common life of love; but here, instead of the uniting Christ, we are given a sinful man, instead of the Holy Spirit are the pope's Pythagorean sayings, and they comfort us with the promise that the reality of this union will not yield to a political union! Then at least do not call him religious! Do not call it a church but a human company, not essentially different from any other secular society in terms of purpose, means, or content: inquisitors and Jesuits are not far from such a definition of the Church.

True, the author proudly points out that the Roman clergy working on social reconstruction does not now have state power and, despite this, finds an opportunity to act, since the state in the West is irreligious (43). But if he recognizes the Catholic Church as deprived of government assistance, does it mean that the Church there is not complete, not true? What is the difference between it and the Eastern Church? The author will not help us extricate ourselves from this self-contradiction, but the logic of things speaks for him. If the clergy were deprived of the rights of the Inquisition and executions, if the governments of the West do not want to obey it, then the general definition of the Soloviev Church, as containing all types of social life (and not only conscience), is quite applicable to it. This clergy cannot act with physical force, but the life of the old man, the life of the world that hates Christ, is not only physical violence. The latter is also alien to another terrible worldly union, an alliance or force of Judaism, which, however, operates and remains irresistible for the governments themselves. Money, cunning, deception, superstition are the levers with which you can take people into your hands and defend not only your existence, but even complete safety from earthly enemies. However, it is in vain that the author says that secular governments are armed against the Catholic clergy. On the contrary, when they need to commit an unlawful deed, to suppress, for example, the reviving religious identity and sympathy for their native Russia in the Russian Galicians,3 who are our consanguineous people, then they call in the Jesuits there, who will be able to strangle the whole people without a knife and noose ad majorem Dei gloriam, permitting all kinds of vile means that are used for this purpose, and at the head of them, lies and shameless slander, in order to finally unite with the slanderous enemy of Christ, the prince of this world. And all these horrific phenomena of modern Jesuitism are nothing more than a logical conclusion from the redemption of that Christian religion, according to which the evangelical love for every neighbor is replaced by love in the single and sinful head of Latin society. We do not want to follow the example of Protestant critics who talk about the vices of the clergy, which are their personal sins; for this the Lord God will judge everyone. If we point to what is being done in Galicia, then it is not at all to reproach people but to denounce the false confession that calls them to this, having as its active motive not love for Christ, but devotion to a sinful person. Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? An evil tree cannot bear good fruit.

If it is permissible to talk about that special attitude of Christians towards famous people, as an aid to their zeal for God, as a means for a more vital consciousness of their connection with heaven and with Christ, then this applies only to those men who lived in the spirit of Christ, who here on earth renounced the old man and put on the new one, whose moral character, assimilated by us, cannot bring into our life a single feature that does not agree with the spirit of the Gospel. We are talking about the holy saints of God, whom the Orthodox Church includes in its inner life as stimulants of religious zeal that are necessary for us, and whose incorruptible relics, as a clear evidence of the eternity and invincibility of Christianity before pagans and sinners, are the source of that Christian patience and equability by which our people differ from the rest, with special love for the saints. What would the author tell us about such a view not of the center of Church life (which is Christ), but of that human religious stimulus that he cannot find anywhere except the pope? Alas, he does not even recognize the possibility of such a spiritual connection with the saints. “It is impossible,” he says (113), “to love with a living and active love an archaeological memory or distant fact, which, like, for example, the seven ecumenical councils, are even completely unknown to the masses.” But the Orthodox Church affirms that this is possible, and in the images of their lives it clearly shows that the holy saints of God in its mind are much more clearly represented alive than sinners who are living. And if elsewhere (311) the author, in favor of the need for a living head of the Church, asks the question: “Why are the inhabitants of Moscow not satisfied with the memories of the pastorship of St. Peter and Alexis but have a living ruler?” then we answer that their religious life is guided deeper and more firmly by the memories and prayers of the saints than by the orders of the living, or, better to say, living men themselves set for themselves the primary task of assimilating and putting into practice the principles of those departed. So we see that at the heart of all our disagreements with Papism lies the irreligion of the latter, the loss of living faith in our continuing direct communion with heaven, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with angels and saints. But since the essence of the Christian religion and its difference from all others lies precisely in the triumph over the elements of this world, in the complete disregard of our sinful flesh and complete filial trust in the Almighty and His promises, this redefining of Christianity, as manifested in Papism, is, as it were, false Christianity, which wants to replace its lost content by forms of organizations.

And if it is possible that the sons of the Orthodox Church, as if in the name of religious zeal, begin to prefer Latinism, then this only testifies to the inner alienation from the spirit of our Church that our society suffers from. All those reproaches with which Soloviev showered our Church and our confession have no application to the Church but to the religious life of the masses. Therefore, in order not to be guilty of another similar apostasy of unreasonable zealots of the Faith, our society should more deeply and more seriously unite with the inner life of our Church, read Holy Scripture, read the lives of the saints and the works of the Church fathers, such as, for example, John Chrysostom or Tikhon of Zadonsk, should take part in Church services, in charitable and educational societies under the control of Church authority, and thus, being an example of the Orthodox Christian way of life, not only make the apostasy of good people impossible but also attract to the light of truth the erring Western brethren. This will be our real turn towards the historical traditions of our country, which has now begun to and, according to its newest publications, allows such ugly, extreme deviations as Soloviev's book. Such deviations were foreseen by his friend and literary tutor Dostoyevsky, who in his "Grand Inquisitor" characterized Papism precisely as a doctrine attractive in its worldly strength but which lost the spirit of Christian communion with God and contempt for worldly evil. Having accurately predicted the emergence of the current Latinophile trend, he also showed us “the best hope” by revealing with his own novel (The Brothers Karamazov) the positive task of Orthodox activity, which should begin with the podvig of personal virtue, with the crucifixion of the old man and the inner union with the new grace-filled life of the Church.

The Spirit of God and the spirit of this world are before you, Russian man. The Lord again speaks to you in the language of your history, as once He did to the Jews: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: choose thou life, that thou and thy seed may live, that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for in this is thy life” (Deut. 30:19-20).

  1. The analyzed author Vl. S. Soloviev printed a letter in all the metropolitan newspapers in which he refuses the accusation allegedly brought against him of a change of religion. The readers of our essays will see that it is not about changes at all, but about the disagreement of his basic theological provisions with the very spirit of divine revelation. Let the author fail to recognize the schematic system of Papism and consider it Orthodox: in any case, the principle of papacy is new in our Church literature and therefore is subject to pastoral and academic discussion from a theological point of view. Thus, the author should not claim criticism even from his own point of view.

  2. It was published for the first time in the journal "Church Bulletin" in 1890, № 10, 11, 12 and 13.

  3. Galicia (ɡəˈliSHə) - a region of east central Europe, north of the Carpathian Mountains. A former province of Austria, it now forms part of southeastern Poland and western Ukraine.

Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
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Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
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