Now, to report one consequence for me, of the current unconscionable attack on Ukraine by Putin’s Russia. This unilateral assault, provoked by nothing that Ukraine has done, except timidly to assert its right as a sovereign nation to its own self-determination, is outrageous beyond belief. But of course, I remember that exactly the same thing happened in 1974, when a Big Nation, Turkey, unilaterally marched in and seized the top half of a Little Nation, Cyprus, or in 1922, when Turkey was allowed to perpetrate a wholesale slaughter of the Greeks in Smyrna and burn the city to the ground, while the boats of the Western nations hold off safely at sea. Nobody helped in 1974, nobody helped in 1922, and nobody is helping Ukraine now, except for issuing a few lame ‘sanctions’ and tut-tut public posturing, all to capitulate to realpolitik and the boredom of the news cycle in a week or a month. But the thing that gets me is that Russia is a ‘Christian’ nation. God help us!
I am mourning for Ukraine, I am mourning for Russia, I am mourning for us all. And Belarus kindly donated itself to Putin’s purposes. And Serbia is predictably and slavishly faithful to Moscow. This is the consequence for me: I have absolutely had it with all the historical pretensions of the Muscovite Church, which go hand in glove with the rise of 16th century Muscovy, the Tsarist state that became the Russia we know. And with this, the final very thin scales have fallen for me concerning all the Eastern Orthodox Churches descended from Constantinople. Caesaropapism is so deep an incubus upon them; it is such a sapping toxin in their ecclesial bloodstream! I mean the addiction of a church to being the servile religious puppet of a unitary State, with the ascendency accorded to the State, the Race, the People, the Empire, the Government, whatever.
But these days I cannot retire with a skerrick of complacency behind the bunkers of ‘Catholicism,’ because very dire is the historical plight of the Catholic—and especially the Western—Church right now. The reeking mists of dissolution and confusion are circling us all it seems. We, the earthly church of Christ have failed in just about every direction, at least on the institutional level. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be in the Phanar right now, and to be invited to take tea in the Patriarch’s office, and sit down and have a long and far reaching conversation in Christ with Patriarch Bartholomew and a few of his associates. He above all, I think, is in a privileged position—I mean privileged in Christ and in the mystery of his Cross—to look out over all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and upon the Catholic Church, to take a macro-historical view of it all, and to think deep, deep, prayerful and humble thoughts. Where is all this heading Lord?
Dr Anna Silvas is Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She also is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, the University of New England, Armidale NSW.
26 February 2022 © AIOCS
For another blog by Anna Silvas, go here
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