The Church Militant

Russia has been determined to rebuild its culture after the destructive tyranny of the Soviets.

One way to do that is to restore the martial spirit of its citizens, to drill down to a uniquely Russian esprit de corps. The method chosen here – building a church based on a martial spirit – could be a strong uniting force for ethnic Russians.

Another facet to consider is the pushback against Islam that may flow from the very architecture of this cathedral. It will serve as a large thumb in the eye of every practicing Muslim who gazes upon it, recalling Erdogan’s (in)famous quote regarding Islam:“The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…” Change a few words and voila!, you have Russia’s muscular Christianity.

Remember that Russia is a tertium quid: neither Occident or Orient, it goes its own way. Woebetide those who would interfere. To expect The Bear to act like China or the West is to misunderstand Russia’s worldview.

46 thoughts on “The Church Militant

  1. Ha. For some reason it seems to me this idiotic temple will never be built. The whole system will collapse earlier. I see how everything falls into the attractor. I just do not write about it.
    In this temple are going to pray to Elijah the Prophet. While the Russian youth are mostly unbelievers and they post in social networks demotivators about Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church. For which they are prosecuted for insulting the feelings of believers.
    Now the ROC pretends to be the CPSU.

    Cherry on the cake: News of September 29.
    Muslims are asked to build a mosque near the main temple of the Armed Forces.
    I think in Russia it would be more appropriate to build a Kali temple.

    • Thanks for your report from Russia.

      For Putin, I think it’s a “whatever”…or “whatever it takes”. I do stand by my assertion that Russia is neither fish nor fowl…it behooves the West to remember this.

      • Despite curtsies towards Muslims, the Russian authorities continue to intimidate them. How do you find these headlines in the mainstream press:

        “The benefits of concentration camps for Muslims are revealed”
        “The benefits of repression against Muslims are named.”

        Regular roundups in mosques with riot police (in dirty boots !!!) take place.
        I think that Russian Muslims are even more angry than in the West.

        • As a frequent visitor to the former CCCP Kyrgyzstan, I have seen firsthand how islam has returned in a big way. And this in the most liberal and “democratic” of the Stans. Christianity has returned too, but they don’t have gobs of Saudi money funding new churches, or black crows strutting the streets with hordes of future terrorists in tow.

          The government seems to be taking the threat of islamisation seriously and has passed numerous laws designed to reinforce the authority of the state over religious practices, and PR campaigns to discourage the covering of women like they are living in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. Everyone I spoke with strongly supported Putin though; the support was based on his emphasis of rebuilding the strength and greatness of the Soviet era, and economic cooperation between former Soviet republics. Besides, many young men go to Russia to work and save money to come back and buy cars and houses, start businesses, and start families.

          • The moon is a….and the rest…
            Russia decided to separate from the rest of orthodoxy… this tells a lot… if you understand this… Kirill of Moscow is a good friend of Putin… I dont know if you are orthodox…
            When you declare that your brother is no longer your brother….well… what will happen to your brother ?

          • Yes. Asians dream of the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks fed them well at the expense of the Russians. Since 1916, their number has grown 8-12 times.

            But this is already – NOT SOVIET PEOPLE brought up on a secular platform.
            They drag Islamization out of their Bantustans. I read what they write in their migrant publics – and I don’t like it.

            The Kyrgyz killing of Russians in 1916 made their national holiday. They bring up Russophobia in their school textbooks.

      • Dymphna…. Putin and Kirill are friends… start thinking from here.
        There is no a “whatever”…or “whatever it takes”…they do know something we dont. About the future.

        • Perhaps you’re right about the future. But Russia’s future is occluded by its present-day problems: an atheist, cynical younger generation, a low birthrate, high alcoholism, and a plutocratic state.

          Yes, we in the West have some of these problems, too, but our spiritual DNA was not so badly mauled. Large, scattered pockets of vibrant community life still abide across the fruited plain.

          In my childhood, I was taught to pray for Russia every day. And so I did, and still do – I don’t even try to break childhood habits.

          Is prayer efficacious? Who knows? One of the genuine highlights of our Western world in the 20th century was the fall of the Berlin Wall; families were reunited and the pictures were a joy to behold. Did the honeymoon last? Nope. Routinization gradually erodes even the most joyful events.

          • When the wall fell we lost the cold war.
            Because by then the marxists had already injected their agents of influence into our western society.
            Now they are everywhere, politics, education, civil service.
            Not really a joyful event is it.

          • Dymphna.

            There really is an atmosphere of spiritual rebirth present in Russia, and a tremendous activity among Russian Christians, including the young. They are realizing a lot of initiatives, individually and collectively; and there are many flourishing local communities. This awakens a real hope of resistance to the darkness spreading presently over the world. Just as in the US, those communities you mention are where the actual, spiritual resistance takes place.

            In 2017, St. Nicholas’ relics for the first time ever visited Russia. This was a direct effect of the first meeting ever between the Pope and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch (in 2016 in Havana). Amidst all the signs of crisis and shut-down communication, one takes heart from such openings. Christendom urgently needs to unite. (Not in the sense of all churches becoming one, but in the sense of mutual support.)

            Just as the Pope’s consecration of Russia to the Virgin Mary was an important spiritual event (which some think helped break Communist rule), so was this meeting and St. Nicholas’ presence in Moscow.

            Comparing the youth in the West and in Russia, I am more worried about Western youth. Cultural marxism has become the accepted norm in the West, being implemented by the education system, but it is not so in Russia. The majority of the new generation of Russians are conservative in their values. Quite comparable to Polish or Hungarian youth. They are patriots. Both boys and girls wish to serve and defend their country, settle down to have families, work and contribute their share. Many are religious. It would be a misrepresentation to call the new generation atheist.

            There are some signs of a growing influence from Western liberal or far-left/anti-cultural ideas among the young (imbibed from Hollywood films etc.), but so far it is superficial, and they remain healthily critical and reserved towards the freakier aspects of said ideology.

            The general atmosphere in Russia is definitely not one of defeat or cynicism. In the nineties, most young people wished to emigrate to the West, and many did, causing a “brain drain”. Not so now. A sociological survey in recent years yielded the result that the majority of young Russian in academic careers now preferred to stay in their home country and make their contribution there.

          • I warmly recommend this excellent documentary, “Faces among icons”, by Catholic News Service on the Russian Orthodox Church today. It is made as a string of interviews with leading Orthodox personalities (clergy, artists, researchers) as well as ordinary churchgoers, and includes the historical context of Soviet persecution.


            It is the only Western-produced film I know of which treats this theme. It does so in a sober and nuanced way, and seems to confirm the point made in the above video: Christianity (and conservatism) rising.

  2. The split of the Russian orthodox church from the rest of orthodoxy…. smell bad. There is something heavy to happen.

  3. Main Church of the Armed Forces, which will be decorated with paintings depicting historical battles??

    Can anyone who knows the Bible consider this to be a “Christian Church?” Or a “temple of God”? What would Jesus Christ do?

    “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

    • In Luke, Jesus also told his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword.

      Any religion that has a problem with defending hearth and home doesn’t fulfill a positive role in society imho, especially since there is no shortage of human predators looking to take advantage of such naiveté.

      • Yes I know, and I also have a sword, but the question is if we should make temples which glorify war and killing? King David was a warrior, and so he was disqualified from building the Temple.

        War may seem glorious to the ‘uninitiated’.

    • Jesus used violence when it was absolutely neccessary to drive a point across. Christianity has always been the unifying factor that allowed Europe to fight against islam as a whole. If the historical battles show the victories of Christianity, I don’t think there’s any particular problem with them.

      • He used a whip to drive the moneychangers from the Temple, not a sword.

        “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”

    • And he also said:
      “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s”.
      “My kingdom is not of this world”.

      Jesus is not a warlord. (Also going against the Romans would not have been very wise at that time, in fact they destroyed the jewish province in the 70s AD.)

      First Christians were persecuted and they refused to fight for the Romans, but when it became the empire religion in the IV sec. things changed. The Just war, has been theologically defined by Saint Augustine in the De Civitate Dei, IV, 15.

      • …But when it became the empires religion? Is not the Roman Empire, or the Byzantine Empire, or any empire for that matter still “of this world”?

        Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

    • Barn Swallow.

      I understand where you are coming from, but consider this. The historical battles in question will almost certainly be depictions of Christian Russians holding back Pagan and Muslim hordes trying to invade. This has been an ongoing battle for Russians as it was for Western Europe, to keep their religion and identity. Had not the Russians staid those hordes, Europe would have been overrun from that side as well. This role as the “bulwark of Christendom” is still present in the minds of Russians, whose cossack forces view themselves as the crusaders of the East.

      (Here is a short BBC interview with a present day cossack and how he views their role in society: )

      I wonder where you stand on the question of Western crusaders? Were they not part of the Christian church? Should they have let down their weapons to let pilgrims to the Holy Land be taken as slaves by Muslim warlords in that area? To prevent this was the original assignment of the Templars.

      The same historical constellation, and its present relevance – “a new phase of a very old war” – is what lies behind such phenomena as this Church of the Armed Forces.

      • Where I stand on the question of Western Crusaders? Well it would be hard, and probably impossible to persuade me to go and fight in some distant middle eastern land. And regarding my own land, the “Heretic Kingdom of Bohemia” – “My Ancestors” defeated 5 consecutive crusades sent against Bohemia in 1420, 1421, 1422, 1427, and 1431 while singing “Who are the warriors of God and of his law?”

    • Please, do not cast Jesus as a pacifist. Christians in the Roman Empire have never refused to serve in the armed forces on religious grounds. In fact, there were quite a lot of Christian warriors there. Many of them died as martyrs for Christ as they refused to worship pagan gods.

      Christianity is not an effeminate and emasculated religion as its enemies like to affirm. It does not weaken men. On the contrary, it makes even women and children courageous and heroic. The example of Russian new martyrs – and there were tens of thousands of them – who manfully endured torture and death for the sake of Jesus Christ is testimony of that.

      • I think there is some confusion.
        Jesus is not for sure a pacifist (“For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”, MT 10, 35, etc).
        But the Christian martyrs (not warriors) who died because of their faith and were persecuted by the Romans (who considered them no different from jews or some of their sects), they refused to fight in Colosseum also to defend themselves. Christians refused to fight for the empire (I think Jeova witnesses copy that from them). Only in the 4th century with the end of paganism, things changed.

      • Christians in the Roman Empire have never refused to serve in the armed forces on religious grounds?

        I find that very hard to believe.

        • I could be wrong. The Romans legally sentenced Christ to capital punishment. Christ said not to be avenged but spread the creed also to the pagans. The first Christians were persecuted by Romans (some of the 12 disciples ended in martyrdom too). The last formal Christian persecution was started by emperor Diocletianus in 303 AD. Then with emperor Costantine things changed. From theological point of view, the first to talk about the Just war as duty is Saint Augustine.

          • I don’t respect Mr. Augustine as much as Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ didn’t tell me to go and fight for the Roman Empire. Roman Empire taking on the cloak of “Christianity” seems to me like “if you can’t beat them, join them” kind of action. Yet it is still an empire of this world.

            “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

  4. They know nothing. They only know how to steal.
    Putin is an information golem. Cardboard cover for those who rob the country. Patriarch Kirill delivered to dupe the population. As the gamblers say “Smoke more – the partner is fooling.”

    Recently, two cases coincided:

    Olga Glatsky, Director of the Youth Policy Department of the region told the children: “The state did not ask your parents to give birth to you. The state does not owe you anything.”

    A few days later, a 17-year-old Russian anarchist from Arkhangelsk organized an explosion in the building of the FSB.
    The states took the country away from our children and deprived them of their future.
     They write, what a bad Russian youth. They are going to impose huge fines for parents because of the participation of their children in protest actions and to deprive them of their parental rights.

    • Hi Elena.
      What’s ordinary Russians thinks about overcoming historical differences and finding some sort of political arrangement with us Poles ?

      • How do I know? I am not particularly interested in this topic. In my environment, too, there is no one. The Polish border is too far from us.

        And I do not remember that Poland has been on the political agenda since 2014. when the Polish government supported the Maidan in Ukraine.
        I then read – The Poles were outraged by Bandera and the fact that the peasants will no longer be able to send their products to Russia.
        But since I regularly monitor Chechens, I read their offended groans that the Poles began to expel the Islamists. Treacherously expel!

      • Slight deviation from the topic. In 2014, I and a Kiev resident discussed the killing of Polish professors from Lviv by Ukrainian students in 1941.
        As I was surprised that a person whose education is much better than mine, and the social status is higher, justified this murder.
        “They took revenge for the fact that the Poles considered them”cattle” (bydło)” – he replied to me.

        Maybe they have something there in the water?
        My favorite writer is Stanislav Lem. I consider him a prophet.

      • goral.

        Ordinary Russians call the Poles “Slavic brothers”.

        Both sides have invaded the others in the past. Like many European peoples have done to one another. No reason to let that get in the way of friendship and cooperation now.

  5. Putin’s right hand man is Ramzan Kadyrov, a Chechen warlord. Chechens get a free pass in Moscow and anywhere in Russia. Russia will succumb to the caliphate faster then any other country.
    This is kurban-bayram in Moscow 2018

    There are plenty of videos depicting previous years of celebration.
    According to some estimates there are up to 1 million people of muslim background in Moscow plus 1.5 million migrant workers of muslim origin, which I believe makes it a European city with the largest muslim population.
    Check this article for example
    It is very oblique but if you read it carefully it is immediately clear that Russian laws are defunct in Chechnya.
    Putin is dragging Russia into the past with an increasing pace. Considering him “The Protector Of The North” is ridiculous. He is more like Saruman The White, corrupted by the power of Mordor, still thinking that he is in charge of his orcs and goblins.

    • It is not collective, but enforced by the government. For many, this news causes shame and disgust.

  6. It will be a uniting force not only for ethnic Russians, but for all Orthodox Christian Russians (who include lots of ethnic Chuvashis, Ossetians, Yakuts, Mordvinians, Komi, Karelians, Koreans, Assirians and even quite a few Tatars). Orthodox Christianity is not an ethnic religion, it is open to people of every ethnicity. The prior of the St Trinity Monastery in Cheboksary is a Frenchman, a priest in St Catherine’s in Moscow is English and there is a very venerable and widely respected elderly French monk in a little island of the Valaam archipelago in Lake Ladoga.

  7. Recently in Moscow 2 wooden churches were burnt under construction.
    The fact is that the program “200 churches” has been launched in Moscow. Residents are very unhappy, because parks and urban spaces are seized for building temples. People are very annoyed that officials do not want to listen to their opinions.
    Wikipedia Orthodoxy in Russia. Look at the numbers.

    So this “Military Temple” is a “cutting of budget funds” (I don’t know how it sounds right in English when the project was originally started in order to plunder the money)

  8. I understand your resentments toward ruling class in Russia. Pre or after Revolution..
    Attached picture say a lot..Normality Russia need ..How to achieve this ?

  9. Reading these comments I realize how ignorant I am of Russia. It will likely continue as it has for centuries, struggling to survive as a proto-Western state on the periphery of the West. The resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church is not nothing, and it seems an authentic rebirth. Note too that such re-awakenings are happening in many places in recent years.

    • Do you realize that Russian Orthodox priesthood has always been on the KGBs payroll? During the Soviet era at least some appearances were kept, now it is an irreversible fusion of KGB, oligarchy and clergy. There is no market economy in Russia and capitalism is in its worst form: the state capitalism. There is no entrepreneurship freedom, because you are always at risk of your business being raided and handed over to some of Putin’s friends. The worst part is that it’s not just about a finite number of people which are on the top. It could be a small and insignificant business and it could so happen that some kid of a municipality official needs a financial support. The society interactions are based on hierarchy and favors. People (of course not everyone, but in general) are nostalgic not just about USSR being a superpower, but about Russian Empire of a century ago. Now keep in mind that Russian Empire extended not only over the territory of today’s Ukraine, but Poland and Finland too, not to mention Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Knowing this should Europe be worried about expansionist sentiments and militant churches in Russia? I would be worried for sure.
      On the other hand it was calculated some time before already that to keep Russian gas and oil mining industry working population of 30 million is enough. They will squeeze the rest out of the existence. The spice must flow.
      I hate to paint such a grim picture, but whenever I encounter sentiments that Putin or Russia will save the West from itself, from the the “liberalism” (another word completely devoid of its original meaning, just like ‘nazi’) I feel the need to set the record straight

      • You made perfect point.
        Never underestimate Russian or German Imperialism.
        They current drive to achieve this target is obvious..
        Germany and Russia are the main reason why Europe is in such a mess… Murky political water allowed them to obscure what they aiming for..Imperium…

  10. I find that there are real Russian-haters in these replies to this blog post. I agree that this resurgence no doubt has a good dose of nationalism attached to it; however: the birth rate in Russia is now slightly above any those of any Western countries, including the USA; the abortion rate had fallen significantly(after 80 years of atheistic Communism it could not have gotten much worse—but at least it’s a serious departure from the mores of the decrepit West); the homosexual agenda, so utterly embraced in the West and shoved down the throats of the public through media/entertainment/the educational establishment, at least has the Orthodox Church and some elements of the State challenging it; I admit—-watching a plethora of Youtube videos regarding religious life in Russia is spotty and anecdotal at best….however—-apart from the tiny element of Roman Catholics devoted to the traditional Roman Rite—there are not dozens of churches, monasteries, seminaries, convents, etc., being built or restored here in the U.S.—-au contraire! If someone desecrated the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. or St Patrick’s Cathedral in the Big Apple, I am quite certain that 65,000 people would not show up for the cleansing and re-dedication of the buildings, as they did at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow after that idiot group, P*ssy Riot, did their ugly routine in that sacred place. Would a 500,000 people show up to venerate the relic of a saint anywhere in Western Europe or America as they did for the right hand of St Spyridon Trimifuntsky? And the pilgrims were not simply a bunch of octogenarian devout elderly ladies with their babushkas, but people of all ages. Yes, I know, the veneration of saintly relics is not the heart and soul of Christianity—but in my book it has to stand for something.
    Okay—-perhaps the whole project of Orthodoxy, Putin, the Patriarch, and the elements I’ve mentioned are one big fraud and snow-job: in all honestly, would hundreds of churches and monasteries be restored and/or built for ghosts or spirits to worship in them? If that’s the case then Russia must be enjoying one hell of an astounding economic wave of power and prosperity if they can afford to do all this for…..ghosts in the empty spaces of said religious buildings? Really? Here in the States I’d give anything for a political leader—or a religious one for that matter—to stand up and say the things Putin or the Patriarch have. I have no illusions about human enterprises; however, as St Paul pointed out, “whether for genuine motives or specious ones, Christ is being proclaimed.”
    I know one thing—the dominant liberal culture in the USA and Western Europe hate Russia and Putin and Orthodoxy for the very same reasons that give me a modicum of hope. Time and God’s providence will play out and show the ultimate truth of things.

    • […] The birth rate of people of Islamic faith in Russia is 2-3 times greater than Russians, which is about 1.75 (which I am sure you understand means the Russian population is declining).

      I am not even going to start on what is going on in the regions. Moscow is a very large city, but it’s still less than 10% of the population.

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