Welcome to the new Dark Ages! With the help of secular governments such as the American government, many of us have forgotten what it truly means to live in the abundance and power of Christ. With very crafty manipulation of the US government and their tools of Hollywood and (cultic) ecumenical endeavors, we have been led in to a marbleized belief system where no clear distinctions can be made of who we are and how we differ from the secular society. Gnosticism (an anti-material ancient belief) has been the foundational philosophy where all of the country’s agencies (including Evangelicalism) can unite to usher in history’s darkest age, ever!
In the pre-Nicene era of the Church, the question of mankind and his place in the material world was vital to religious and philosophical belief. Christ entered an extremely philosophical society and age where the question of nature and spirit and how this interacts with community and life in general was heavily debated! St Paul, for instance, was left in a battlefield where he would become the key figure for all time, concerning the nature of the Gospel and its implications to the ecumenical spirit of the world. Everywhere St Paul went he was conquering the very theme of the Gentile world (being primarily called by God as the “Apostle to the Gentiles”) of radical ecumenism. Various gods of the Gentile community were pitched against each other in a sort of competitive realm by the emperors. It was a community of religions…as well a feeding frenzy for Satan!
It was the emperor’s job to create an ecumenical society where different gods could compete against each other, offering hope for their believers and a chance to live a healthy and prosperous life. To help mankind (various theories of philanthropy) was a given at that time, but the problem was the Roman society simply did not believe that the Jewish/Christian way of life would bring them this philanthropic unity and abundance of life that they longed for. The connection between the heavens and the earth was to be reached through the Pagan gods, and not that of the Jewish God. The Jewish God, to the Pagans and Gentiles in general, was exclusive and unwilling to adopt them as a people. Christ changed this exclusive framework of God’s people, revealing what the prophets had been trying to communicate to God’s people for ages, that God is the God of all people, desiring to unite people through a philanthropic spirit of covenant.
The philanthropic calling of the emperor has now been replaced by Christ’s calling for ALL people to unite under his Church. No longer is there a need for the disastrous ecumenical spirit of Rome…for all religions to fall under the media of the emperor. Christ is the new King, or in modern terminology, the new president!
Christ gives us a mystical empowerment of truth that enables us to resist the secular way of life that is promoted and drawn up by secular leaders who refuse to exalt only ONE religion and ONE God for our community. Others can exist, and they did, for instance, within the converted Roman/Byzantine empire, but it was the Church that created the laws, philanthropy and overall community.
When Pilot presented Christ to the people of God as “their king” the Jews responded by stating “we have no king by Cesar.” Even the Jews worshiped Cesar! They did not worship him directly like many of the other emperor cults, but their allegiance to him was so incredibly disgusting that the very crucifixion of Christ was initiated by this love for their secular emperor.
Second Temple Jews were Also Syncretists
(another form of false ecumenism)
Herod the Great was a Jewish emperor, who submitted to the Roman Emperor. This syncretism was what the prophets spoke against all throughout the Old Testament. The Jews were not to combined with the pagans and other non-believers because God knew the people would become just as corrupt as the Pagans.
Herod murdered all of the children in an attempt to rid the kingdom of Christ because Christ was the new king who would abolish the ecumenical spirit of the age, stripping the king of his very duty to maintain peace through his Jewish ecumenism. Had he believed what Christ was offering, he would have certainly converted to Christ and possibly become the first Christian emperor. Christ never came to take away the power and majesty of kings, rather he came to offer them a new way, a new power that would unite all people. Christ is not the new king in the sense of replacing the material kings, he is the new king in the sense of replacing the hierarchy of kings…the Hellenistic doctrine of kings, the emperor cults, etc.
Holy Monarchy Initiated By Christ
“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”
The New Covenant teaching of community through kingship involves the kingship of Christ where humility and spirituality is emphasized. The early Church understood this, lived this, and never contested this ideal. Beginning with St Constantine, hundreds of kings and queens reigned with Christ and his Church throughout the ages, who were dedicated to the advancement of the Church and her mission. Of course, in most secular educational outlets, especially in America, where anti-monarchial teachings have prospered since the 1700s, students are exposed to the kings who fell and were not committed to Christ.
The Apostles and their successors actually supported the office of king, eventually converting one so as to catapult the Christian faith in to an entirely new era, one that would manifest the Church in to the very thing Christ said it would become, dominating the entire world with his philanthropic ministries. The early Church called on God as the Great Philantrhopos! St Chrysostom probably used this term more than any other Saint, firmly believing that not only is Christ the Great Philanthropos but also believing that we as a Christian community are now to manifest this same calling, hence the creation of hospitals, food banks, orphanages, etc. within the new Orthodox Christian Empire.
St John calls Christ, in the Apocalypse, the “king of kings.” There are still kings, but Christ is the king OF them, not the king in place of them. Again, Christ abolished the hierarchy (the cult) of kings, not kings themselves. Orthodox kings, for instance, are merely ‘presidents’ that are Christian, who guide the society to the Church.
This is why the office of president is a false office, one that lends to heresy. A president (in strict western terms such as American) does not point to Christ and his Church for victory and sustainability in life and community. A president is essentially a throwback to the pre-Christian times of the Roman emperors, a leader that is to somehow unite all religions in to one community, creating a competitive square of sorts for them to battle, ultimately leaving the emperor as the victor, hence the emperor cult.
The Gospel teaches something completely different. Christ came to us, as the prophet Isaiah says, with “the government on his shoulders.” The reign of St Constantine the Emperor and all emperors from his succession, who are coronated through the Church, are those who protect the Church, enabling her to “preach the gospel to the entire world.”
Saints John Chrysostom (300s), Theophan the Recluse (1800s), and John of Kronstadt (1900s), saints from ancient Antioch to Holy Russia, taught that the Holy Monarchy is the “restrainer” that Saint Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians, that who restrains the devil from his final invasion of the Church and entire world.
Here is an interesting quote on the matter:
“The Tsar’s authority, having in its hands the means of restraining the movements of the people and relying on Christian principles itself, does not allow the people to fall away from them, but will restrain it. And since the main work of the Antichrist will be to turn everyone away from Christ, he will not appear as long as the Tsar is in power. The latter’s authority will not let him show himself, but will prevent him from acting in his own spirit. That is what “he that restraineth” is [2 Thes. 2:7]. When the Tsar’s authority falls, and the peoples everywhere acquire self-government (republics, democracies), then the Antichrist will have room to maneuver. It will not be difficult for Satan to train voices urging apostasy from Christ, as experience showed in the time of the French Revolution. Nobody will give a powerful ‘veto’ to this. A humble declaration of faith will not be tolerated. And so, when these arrangements have been made everywhere, arrangements which are favourable to the exposure of antichristian aims, then the Antichrist will also appear. Until that time he waits, and is restrained.” (V. Moss, An Essay in Universal History – Part 4: The Age of Empire [1861-1914], p. 134)
A Philanthropic Symphony not Capitalistic Chaos
In the First Ecumenical Council of Jerusalem, usury (charging interest on loans), for instance, was deemed sinful and illegal. This was a founding element for Orthodox community to be able to extend beyond the catacombs and in to the entire world as a living and viable community.
This concept of appropriating money within the Christian community was taught by Christ himself. Christ mentions money more than most any other subject, literally tying it in with our salvation.
The reason for Christ being so sincere about salvation and economy is not so that we will create equality of sort. It is also not for us to simply relieve stress from others. Rather, as we have seen within the framework of the fathers and Holy Scriptures, to become a living sacrament. We are to transpire in to a new nature, an entirely new framework of life on earth. This will inevitably result in micro and perhaps even imperial constructs, carrying our work in to eternity. Christ is the Great Philanthropos, and we are his manifested body, directly from his incarnate body, inherited through the Holy Eucharist.
As we live this life of economy with one another, apart from secular leaders who lead us to darkness, we essentially create our eternal kingdom with Christ.
St John’s Apocalypse make reference to a new city and overall earth in the future, but it refers to the era that we are currently in as a dangerous one with regards to how we dedicate ourselves to the current social climate. He goes as far as stating that if we participate in what he calls “the mark of the beast,” where “no man can buy or sell without it” and that our souls are damned if we submit to this mark.
Regardless of what we think the mark of the beast will physically look like and when this mark will be so potent that it will be damning to our souls, we know one thing for certain: The further we drift from Christian economy, the further we drift from the philanthropic call of gospel community. All throughout Orthodox history, the Church has served within community so much so that even the government was Orthodox and organized the monetary system in a philanthropic fashion. This is what the Byzantine (Orthodox/Roman) emperors did (were called to do): direct the community of Christ to a greater calling in life, one that is abundant and full of God’s life giving grace and energy.
What does an American Evangelical or modern Orthodox Christian do, then?
In the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy we pray for “Pious Kings and Right-believing Queens.” This is a prayer for all Orthodox (or those that will convert) kings and queens throughout the eschaton, both past and present, on earth or who have passed to eternity. This is an extremely important part of the liturgy (as is every part, really) just as the part where we pray “not to put our trust [hope] in princes.” Orthodox Kings and Queens point us to Christ, not to themselves. Secular leaders (presidents, kings, etc) point to themselves. We are not to put our hope in them! Their very office is anti-Christian by design (more on this in a future article). A president cannot give special favor to one religion. He is required to create what the ancient Roman emperors created, an ecumenical competition of different religions. The Trinitarian God is not in any US founding document. In fact, Washington’s successor, Adams, was a Unitarian.
There are ways to create true Christian belief and community. We have such articles on this site. To gravitate toward American and other Secular Emperor Cults is poison to the soul and will only fill our minds with darkness and our lives with confusion.
Like Saint Basil and Saint Chrysostom, Saint Athanasios (Patriarch of Constantinople in the early Fourteenth century) was also a bishop that fully understood the true meaning of Christian community. Athanasios’ goal within the patriarch was to successfully merge the hierosyne and the basileia, which is the priestly authority and the imperial authority (for info see The Church and Social Reform, The Policies if the Patriarch Athanasios of Constantinople, by John L. Boojamra). We know that now as the “relations of Church and State.” For Saint Athanasiois, the State was to be the guardian of the Church and the Church was to be the counselor of the State. Both authorities were to have a mutual relationship for the bettering of God’s Kingdom and the culture at large.
The fascinating thing about Saint Athanasios’ philosophy to reform the Roman Empire was the fact that he heavily relied upon monasticism as a model for economical development. And not only did he rely on monasticism as a model for reform but he relied on it as a tool to get the reform done! In a letter to an abbot, Athanasios urged the monks to eat no more than one meal a day in order to save food and money for the poor people of Constantinople. He also urged the monks to sacrifice various donations that were given to them in order to help the poor of the communities. But Saint Athanasios’ model of society was not based on getting the monastics to work harder and sacrifice more, rather his model was to encourage and in some cases command the general population to emulate the monastics. When refugees flooded the empire, he commanded the people to house them and feed them. At one point, Athanasios called upon the emperor, Andronikos, to wage a “holy war” against injustice. He told the emperor, “Let us rescue both poor man and beggar from hands stronger than theirs.”
This deserves an entirely separate article, but Orthodox tradition shows us that monasticism is key to producing and maintaining proper communities. The monastics, like St Paul states, are not consumed with the affairs of life and so they are able to dedicate themselves to the well being of the Church and her community. Throughout the centuries they have been the staple of education and other means of social philanthropy. They model for the parishes and even the state/community itself, almost as a conscience. If there is a way to gain Christian community back within the world, it is through building and advocating monasteries. This is the first step toward a realized Orthodox Community. It is the ascetic way, the ancient ascetic way that gives not just to ones self, or even ones soul, but to the greater community of Christ. Eventually, Orthodox community leader(s) will arise from this grass roots type of early Church movement and we can free ourselves from the secular confusion.