Art and Faith

Monday, 18 February 2008

Ilya Repin. Kuzma Minin. 1894

Kuzma Minin

Ilya Repin

1894

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Kuzma Minin is one of the major figures in the successful Russian repulse of the Polish Catholic aggressors in the 17th century. He, along with the boyar Prince Dmitri Pozharsky, led the opolchenie, the people’s army that drove the Poles from Moscow. The Poles wished to impose on Russia the unia that they had rammed down the throats of their Little Russian subjects… that is, they tried to, at least! The bravery of the Little Russian people under Polish oppression is a bright page in Russian history. They formed lay brotherhoods when their clergy treacherously accepted the Unia. So, they sent for priests from Russia, they printed Orthodox books, they composed popular religious songs to combat the Jesuits, and they gave allegiance to the Orthodox tsar when they could. Today, there isn’t any Uniatism in the Ukrainian lands of the old empire, except for that exported by unrepresentative semi-Polish Galicians. There’s an ironic footnote to all this. The Uniates adopted the Orthodox spiritual songs in an effort to deceive the credulous. If they and their hierarchies were honest, they wouldn’t do so, for the songs were written as a part of the successful Orthodox effort to oppose papist hegemony. To return to Kuzma Minin, he’s one of the pivotal figures in Russian history, for he’s one of those who helped to forge the Great Russian character we see today. If it weren’t for the courage of Minin and Pozharsky, we’d have no Orthodox faith to practise today. Let that sink in… if it weren’t for these two men and the brave warriors they led, we’d have no Orthodox faith to practise today. That’s why the Optina fathers of today teach that it’s a binding spiritual obligation for all Orthodox Christians to serve the motherland. Hmm… there appears to be a difference between what the Optina fathers teach and what some in the Orthodox Peace Fellowship advocate… I know which one of the two I support! What about you?

BMD

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