Monday, 24 September 2012

Why did the world change circa 1917?

*

It is pretty much accepted that the world changed around 1917; but why it changed has several explanations.

1. An economic explanation: The 1914-18 Great War: the exhaustion of European powers, massive destruction, trade disruption...

2. A psychological explanation: the trauma of the above war, the slaughter of the flower of young men, end of idealism...

3. A socio-political explanation: The Russian Revolution, specifically the Bolshevik takeover: world communism, the first of many atheist totalitarian tyrannies...

4. A Christian explanation: The martyrdom of Tsar and Saint Nicholas II:

That which restraineth the appearance in the world of the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness and anarchy, the last and most powerful enemy of Christ and His Church, is – in the teaching of St. John Chrysostom and others Fathers of the Church – lawful authority, as represented and symbolized by the Roman Empire. This idea was incarnated supremely in the Christian Empire: first in Byzantium, when Constantinople was the Second Rome, and then in the Orthodox Russian Empire, when Moscow was the Third Rome. In 1917 the “Constantinian Age” came to an end, the Orthodox Empire was overthrown – and the world, beginning with Moscow, has been thrown into an age of lawlessness and atheism (and in Christian life, of apostasy) such as has not yet been seen.

Fr Seraphim Rose

http://www.holy-transfiguration.org/library_en/royal_nik.html


*

14 comments:

Kevin Nowell said...

I'd argue the events leading to January 30, 1649 and the martyrdom of Charles I and January 21, 1793 and the martyrdom of Louis XVI were equally if not more world-changing. One could also argue that were it not for the aforementioned events the Bolshevik Revolution would not have happened.

Also, I don't see how the Russian Tsardom was more important or more holy than the Holy Roman Empire.

Kevin Nowell said...

I'd argue the events leading to January 30, 1649 and the martyrdom of Charles I and January 21, 1793 and the martyrdom of Louis XVI were equally if not more world-changing. One could also argue that were it not for the aforementioned events the Bolshevik Revolution would not have happened.

Also, I don't see how the Russian Tsardom was more important or more holy than the Holy Roman Empire.

bgc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bgc said...

@KN - you'd need to read the link.

What you are implying is just a different form of socio-political argument - not a religious one, with religious causes as primary.

Of course, number 4 is an Eastern Orthodox Christian interpretation of history.

Ariston said...

4. To this item Catholics (at least orthodox ones) would add the end of the hope of universal empire in its rump form as the Hapsburg Empire of Austria–Hungary. Russia was the rump form of the Eastern dream; it is very strange that history would take away our last Kings at that same moment, in a single catastrophe.

The last Emperor, Charles I, is on the road to sainthood in the Catholic Church; Charles's road to sainthood is due to his deep piety & example; Nicholas's due to his martyrdom. We have a dual image here, I believe— both sides of a single hope. Dante is, of course, our greatest exemplar of this hope left in the canon.

Ariston said...

Of course, part of the reason the dream failed was due to its schism; the Church cannot be overcome, but the Empire can.

bgc said...

@Ariston - important point about the HRE, and one which I should have included.

dearieme said...


"The last Emperor, Charles I, is on the road to sainthood in the Catholic Church": what a coincidence; this cove was mentioned on the telly last night. University Challenge, perhaps? Anyway, it was remarked that some people opposed his proposed elevation on the grounds that he instructed use of poison gas by the Austro-Hungarian forces. No doubt many of the viewers thought that that sounded par for the course for the Roman Catholic Church.

JRRT Reader said...

Ariston, that is a point worth remembering about how both successors of the Roman Empire fell in the same war. As you say, that war, which no side "won", puts the tragedy of the schism into greater relief. The Christian dynasties of Austria, Prussia, and Russia disappeared, and this is nothing that a reactionary can feel remotely happy about.

Can we say that there was a standard bearer for Protestantism which fell in the war? The representative political powers for Catholicism and Orthodoxy came to an end; did Protestantism have one-even if unofficially?

bgc said...

JRRTR - the major standard bearers for national Protestant churches would be Germany (Lutheran) and the Church of England.

JRRT Reader said...

I can't help but wonder if there is a deeper to the fact the the Allies in WWI can be considered as a sort of Catholic-Protestant-Orthodox coalition. (Despite republicanism, I'll still view France as Catholic here.) And indeed, the Central Powers were a Catholic-Protestant coalition of their own. That such smaller unities exist within the greater division of the war itself is a curious thing; again there might well be a greater significance that I haven't yet fully grasped.

While this cross-denominational alliances/factions were nothing new in themselves, perhaps there is something telling because that war-and the telling date of 1917-were shattering and destructive in a way the previous wars (even the major ones) were not. Or am I reading too much into all of this?

dearieme said...

Maybe Britain was fated to win because it was the only Power with two established churches>

bgc said...

@d - Let's see...

that can't be Ireland, because the Irish church was disestablished in Victorian times; can't be Wales because that was disestablished in 1914...

I suppose you must mean that other place, stuck onto the Northern border, wossitcalled?

Matias F. said...

@JRRT Reader:

In no meaningful way were France and Britain fighting for Christianity in WWI. They were the forces of republicanism, which had attacked Russia in 1853 to defend muslim Turkey and helped to establish a secular (anti-Christian) state in Italy in 1861.

The Catholic-Protestant-Orthodox coalition was known as the Holy Alliance and included Austria, Prussia and Russia. It was resurrected by Bismarck in 1873 but was too unstable because of differring interests.

This was the last attempt to resurrect the Holy Alliance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Bj%C3%B6rk%C3%B6