The Patriarch of Moscow led a pilgrimage to the sites where the tsar and his family were murdered. The revolution is rooted in western ideas of progress and well-being. Like Dostoevsky, Kirill calls for the rejection of “temptations coming from abroad".
Moscow (AsiaNews) – Last Monday night (16 July), the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundyayev) led the pilgrimage to the places where Tsar Nicholas II and his family met their martyrdom, together with the bishops gathered for a special session of the Synod.
The Solemnity had been prepared to mark the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus', which according to the patriarch was "the event that marked a turning point in the history of the Slavic peoples, indicating the way of Slavic civilisation, from the darkness of false ideals to the revelation of divine truth."
In his homily in Yekaterinburg, at the start of the ceremonies, the patriarch stressed that the assassination of the tsar was "the consequence of the pernicious influence of a philosophy coming from abroad, which led to the denial of God, the forgetting of the commandments and the loss of a true spiritual relationship with the Church."
According to Kirill, such influence is rooted in the reckless anxieties of humanity for the progress of their material conditions. By asking "When did all this happen, and why did it happen?" he generally pointed the finger at the centuries of so many cultural and social revolutions in the Western world, "until at some point in history it is as if the train derailed when the driver no longer controlled the speed on a dangerous curve, and three himself towards the catastrophe."
According to the patriarch, the Russian people were hit by the crazy train "when thoughts foreign to us, foreign ideals, alien minds, elaborated by political and philosophical thinkers that had nothing in common with Christianity, with our national traditions or our culture, began to be welcomed by the intelligentsia and the aristocracy, even by a part of the clergy, as if they were thoughts that lead to progress, and that by following them it was possible to change the lives of the people for the better."
Already in 2017, during the centennial of the revolution, the head of the Russian Church had repeatedly blamed the Russian catastrophe on western intellectuals and influence.
Normally Peter the Great is seen as the one who forcibly introduced Western culture into the country in the 18th century, although Jesuit scholasticism had already penetrated Russia through Poland with the founding of the Theological Academy of Kiev in 1625.
The westernising emperor, Peter I, was obsessed with Russia’s technical and material progress, which he wanted to bring up to the level of other European states.
According to Kirill, "this idea of changing the life of the people for the better is always present, when the course of history is forcibly changed ... The most terrible and bloody revolutions have always been made in the name of the people and their wellbeing, convincing people that the best can only come through blood and death, destroying the previous system."
The patriarch called on people to reject the "temptations coming from abroad", which spread illusions about the future well-being of Russia. "The main lesson to hold is that we must not trust the promises of a happy life, nor must we place hope in aid that comes from outside, from more educated and advanced people than us."
Trust must be placed in God and his Orthodox Church, which guides the mission of the Russian people in history, and in the men chosen by God to represent him. Like the innocent Tsar Nicola, "who had not broken laws and had not abandoned God".
Kirill's words resonate the Slavophile idea that the Russian soul holds some intrinsic originality, acting as the guardian of true Orthodoxy and bearer of true spiritual "beauty" as expressed by the great writer Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The patriarch's warning echoes one of the characters in The Idiot, Countess Lizabetha Prokofievna, who said upon her return from Europe: "All this continental life, all this Europe of yours, and all the trash about ‘going abroad’ is simply foolery, and it is mere foolery on our part to come. Remember what I say, my friend; you’ll live to agree with me yourself.”