Art and Faith

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Unknown Artist. Royal Martyr Tsar St Nikolai Aleksandrovich the Passionbearer. undated (2000s?)

Royal Martyr Tsar St Nikolai Aleksandrovich the Passionbearer

Unknown artist

undated (2000s?)



There is an infallible test that shows you the true standing of this or that Orthodox institution or person. Those who honour the Tsar Martyr openly and venerate him are true Orthodox Christians. Those who denigrate or minimise him, those who slander him or call him dysfunctional, and those who pass over his podvig in silence are not Orthodox Christians at all. Reflect well on the fact that Aleksandr Schmemann denigrated the Tsar Martyr, as did (and does SVS). They DO love Rowan Williams, the official Episcopal Church , and Robert Taft! A word to the wise, eh…


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. Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov Family



Vintage photographs of the Royal Martyrs backed by music from Pyotr Ilyich Chaikovsky.


Saturday, 10 November 2007

Mikhail Scotti. Minin and Pozharsky. 1850

Minin and Pozharsky

Mikhail Scotti



This painting portrays the two leaders of the Russian national resistance to the Polish invasion of the early 17th century. Kuzma Minin (on the right) was a butcher of Novgorod (some sources say he was a blacksmith), whilst Dmitri Pozharsky (on the left) was a boyar. This happened in the context of the Smuta (“Troubles”, in English, the era is known as “The Time of Troubles“). The Rurikid dynasty died out, causing great instability in Russia. The Polish Rzeczpospolita (not only present-day Poland, but also Lithuania, Byelorussia, the Ukraine west of the Dnepr, and parts of western Russia near Smolensk) saw this as a chance to gain territory at Russia’s expense and to impose Catholicism in place of Orthodoxy. The “Counter-Reformation” in the Rzeczpospolita was particularly virulent (especially in the reign of Sigismund III); it destroyed the once-widespread religious tolerance in Poland. On 9 October 1596, the treacherous Metropolitan Kirill Terletsky signed the notorious “Union of Brest”. The unrest over this in Kiev was so fierce and vehement that the Uniate turncoat metropolitan had to flee to Vilna. This religious aggrandisement was part of a complicated series of wars and manoeuvres between the Polish and Russian states. There were Polish invasions in 1605 and 1607, but the main conflict erupted in 1609. Polish forces entered Russia and marched into Moscow in August 1610, placing Władysław, the son of King Sigismund, on the throne. However, they couldn’t take the St Sergei-Holy Trinity Lavra, which put up a heroic resistance from September 1609 to January 1611. The monks took an active role in the fighting, so the monastery didn’t fall to the Catholic invader. The Poles seized Patriarch Germogen; when he refused to embrace Catholicism, they starved him to death. At this time, the people called Minin and Pozharsky to lead the opolchenie, the host raised to drive the Poles out of Moscow and restore the throne to Orthodox hands. The Russian host besieged Moscow, whilst the Cossacks drove off Polish relief forces. On 1 November 1612, the Russian host forced the surrender of the Polish garrison in Moscow, after a long siege of over a year. On 21 February 1613, the Zemsky Sobor (Assembly of the Land) elected the 17-year-old Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov tsar at the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma (it’s interesting to note that the last ruling Romanovs were murdered in the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg in 1918). The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia until its fall in the Revolution of 1917.


The epic movie 1612 in five parts, with English subtitles… good stuff


A new national holiday, the Day of National Unity, was first celebrated in Russia on 4 November 2005 to commemorate how all classes of society combined to defend faith and motherland. Actually, it was a revival of an old Tsarist holiday abolished by the Sovs. At the same time, an epic movie, 1612, on the theme of the war to defend Orthodoxy and Russia appeared in the cinemas. You can’t underestimate this episode, for it, along with the Battle of Kulikovo in the 14th century laid the foundations for the Russian national identity. Besides this, the courage of Minin and Pozharsky ensured that we’d have an Orthodox faith to practise. If it weren’t for the defeat of the Poles, we wouldn’t be Orthodox today. We’d be Uniates on the Galician model, at best. At worst, the Poles would’ve destroyed our ritual as well. You could see this in how they brutally imposed the Unia in all their territories. Look at the Galician Uniates today! Mostly, they can’t have married clergy; they must follow the Roman line in everything. The brave leadership of Minin and Pozharsky saved us from that. I must note that the Rzeczpospolita declined after it started to oppress its Orthodox inhabitants. In the 18th century, it was so weak that Austria, Prussia, and Russia partitioned its territory amongst themselves. Poland didn’t rise again until 1918, in a much shrunken form, centred on the Polish ethnographic territory. These men saved our faith, and we owe their memory an inestimable debt of gratitude. If they’d been pacifists, the papist Poles would’ve trampled our faith into the mud. The martyrdom of Patriarch St Germogen shows that abundantly (nevertheless, one should never be disagreeable or nasty to current Uniates. They aren’t responsible for the past, nor are they responsible for the kowtowing of their hierarchies to Rome). Be wary of all single-cause groups in the church, but be especially wary of those who parrot fashionable shibboleths (both rightwing and leftist) to curry favour with the heterodox. We deserve better.


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