Art and Faith

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Andrei Ryabushkin. A Meeting of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich with His Boyars in the Throne Room. 1893

A Meeting of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich with His Boyars in the Throne Room

Andrei Ryabushkin



Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich (1596-1645) was the first ruler of the Romanov dynasty, and he reigned from 1613 to his death in 1645. The beginning of his reign is commonly considered the end of the Smuta, the “Time of Troubles”. He was a gentle, good, pious, and wise ruler. His disposition to peace gave the country the time to recover after the depredations and rapine caused by the Polish invasion. His reign is a classic illustration of “happy is the land that has no history”. The House of Romanov was to rule until it was betrayed by Westernised intellectuals and nobles in 1917, and this so-called “February Revolution” was to enable the later Bolshevik putsch in October. Therefore, if one’s to view it correctly, Kerensky and the Provisional Government were ultimately responsible for the deaths of the Royal Martyrs at Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. Had they not arrested the tsar and his family, there was every chance they could’ve survived. This makes Aleksandr Kerensky more of a regicide than Lenin or Yurovsky. The Church was correct to have refused him burial in consecrated ground. He was the one most to blame for the spilling of innocent blood in Russia. Those who prepare the ground for killers are worse than the killers themselves, for their actions allow others to “think the unthinkable”. That’s why so many in the so-called “Paris Emigration” were so reprehensible. They either were those who by laying hands on the anointed tsar were regicides themselves, or they approved of such, or they were their children who carried on their parents’ secularist legacy. Not all White Guards were conservatives and traditionalists; not all those who fled the Reds were monarchists. Indeed, many were secular humanists of the worst sort. That’s why we have had so much turmoil in the Church in the Russian diaspora. We’ll only have peace in the diaspora when we finally destroy the poisonous legacy of the Kerenskyites and the Mensheviki. God willing, that’s coming soon.


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Video. The Fatal Mistake (The Revolution in 1917)



A VERY moving video on the Royal Martyrs and the period surrounding the Revolution.


Friday, 23 November 2007

A World of Lost Brightness, Part One (music by Chopin)



The portraiture of Valentin Serov. Serov was one of the Russian Impressionists and was the most renowned portraitist in fin du sieclè Petersburg. He was known for his bright palette and the lightness of his paintings. It was truly a “world of lost brightness”, for this was the final stage before the revolution (although no knew that, of course). Contrary to what many believe, it was not poor peasants or workers who made the revolution, it was Westernised intellectuals who had lost their Russian roots. Oddly enough, some of them fled the Bolshevik takeover and settled in France, where they formed a rebel church that has infected portions of the Orthodox Church in the USA (although it is dying out, thankfully). The music is the Nocturne in A flat major, op 32 nr 2 by Frédéric Chopin played by Yevgeny Kissin.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Valery Balabanov. Shooting Gallery. no date (1980s)


Shooting Gallery

Valery Balabanov



In the words of A Prayer for Russia:

On the heels of his painting about the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Valery Balabanov created a cycle of artworks united under the title Prayer for the Romanovs, about the Imperial family executed in 1918 by the Bolsheviks. One of the paintings of the cycle is Shooting Gallery, which is most symbolic, for at the time, a rampant campaign against religion targeted the Imperial family, and all of Orthodox Russia. “I regard the execution of the Imperial family as a tremendous sin, one that all of us bear responsibility for, just as our descendants shall as well”, Balabanov said. This is why he depicted the Emperor Nikolai II and his family as Saints, long before they were, indeed, canonised by the Moscow Patriarchate just before the millennium.

Reflect on the fact that this painting was executed during the Soviet times! Mr Balabanov took great risks in painting such a work. Quite probably, he conceived the idea for this project after hearing of the canonisation of the New Martyrs in New York in the early 1980s by the ROCOR. Therefore, the OCA fairy tales attacking the action of the glorification of the martyrs can be seen in their proper light. You see, there was a positive reaction in Russia itself, and, no doubt, sympathetic churchmen in Russia used their influence to protect Mr Balabanov from official reprisal by the atheist authorities. On the other hand, there were Church circles in the West who were immune from repression who used their freedom to attack their co-religionists. Something to think about…

To paint such a work and even to defend one who did so at such a time was very courageous, indeed! Mr Balabanov and his defenders faced the very real possibility of the gulag, and they knew it! Their OCA detractors didn’t, and that makes their actions reprehensible and beyond the pale. Reflect on the fact that some of those involved in a current church crisis were amongst those who attacked these brave people in the homeland. It should give you an indication of where to go… and it isn’t Syosset or Crestwood (don’t listen to the siren songs of Antioch or Istanbul either)!


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