“He came into this world in this country. He was born in this nation. He spoke the language of the people. He knew the Scriptures and traditions of the people, lived in this tradition. He described the nature of His homeland as a great beauty of field lilies and the freedom of the birds of the air. He loved the country where he was born, where He lived,” was Christ a patriot, says Archpriest Alexei Uminsky during the discussion that took place book presentation of Archpriest Andrei Kordochkin “Caesar? Should a Christian be a patriot?” in the cultural center “the Pokrovskie gate”.
Archpriest Alexei Uminsky. Photo: Anna Danilova
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The book got to the painful point, which everyone says today this reflection on our patriotism, the endless “can you repeat that”, which indicate, I think, an unprecedented rise of patriotism of our country, cause not only the deepest anxiety, but a profound disappointment.
Watch the full video of the conversation with the presentation of the book by father Andrew Kordochkin. Involved: father Andrew Kordochkin, the poet Olga Sedakova, the historian Andrei Zubov, the founder and head of the Moscow school of Christian psychology Boris Bratus, father Alexei Uminsky.
I somehow suddenly became interested in the question whether Jesus Christ was a patriot. I would have answered it. Thinking on this subject, for some reason I remembered John Lennon and his great song, Imagine, in which he dreams of a world where there are no borders, no religions (faith and religion are not the same, any religion divides people, including on the basis of hatred). Lennon dreams of a world where none of this patriotism. And I have this dream quite agree, because it is the boundary today are the basis for patriotism. But God did not create borders, created the world, divided into States: “the earth is the Lord, and the fulfillment of her universe and all the living” (PS. 23:1).
God did not create the world in which we live. This is the result of the fall, and patriotism is a product of the fall.
Was Jesus a patriot? He was a refugee, He was a repatriate. He was sentenced to death on the cross just patriots, this is father Andrew writes in his book, citing Vladimir Solovyov. We see an infinite number of examples, when Christ suddenly begins to rebuke His own people in the face of elites, governments. He says about Herod: “Tell that Fox…” He says to the scribes, teachers and judges of Israel the most cruel words.
But He never judges nor Gentile, neither Roman emperors nor all those who are outside the borders of the state in which He lives. What’s more, He heals the servant of a Roman invader, He heals the daughter of hanamaki, stressing that it has come to His people. He healed a Samaritan. And all the time causes these Samaritans as an example. This is a very controversial against the background of Patriotic enthusiasm which was then in Israel on the background of feeling oppressed country an enemy of the Fatherland, an enemy of the faith when Christ cites the example of the Samaritans traitors. As if we were now in the example of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (religious organization banned in Russia).
Against this background, of course, Christ does not look like a patriot. In the sermons with which He speaks to people, He says, that many shall come: “Verily I say unto you, even in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you that many will come from East and West…” (Matt. 8:10). Talking about other people He is calling to Himself.
When Pilate offers the opportunity to choose between Barabbas and Christ, the people choose Barabbas, because he was the patriot who waged a revolt against the Romans. And Christ was not just any hero.
All the time the pagan patriotism and uterine disguises itself in Christian garments. All the time he tries to speak with the Christian stands, he quotes the words of the saints, “kill the enemies of the Fatherland, shun the enemies of Christ and love their enemies.” But Christ was crucified by the enemies of the Fatherland, was betrayed by His people, who rejected Him as their Savior. He prayed for those and others: “father! forgive them, they know not what they do” (LK. 23:34).
Was Christ a patriot? No, probably in this very sense, in this ancient pagan state sense a patriot, He was not. And this is very important – after all to reach such a degree of understanding, to abandon this false term that confuses people, who seduces. Because when you say, “I love the Motherland”, it does not mean that you are a patriot.
This love of Christ is Their homeland? Of course. He came into this world in this country. He was born in this nation, spoke the language of the people. He knew the Scriptures and traditions of the people, He lived in this tradition. He described the nature of His homeland as a great beauty of field lilies and the freedom of the birds of the air.
He loved the country where he was born, in which he lived. But He was not a patriot – then you can not get this state of the patriotism, this “can you repeat that”.
Of course, for the Christian it is still a question. We all live in this country, pray for this land. It’s part of our Christian life. We cannot in any case is to exclude and not exclude. So, maybe give it some other value, to give up this already long outdated and false term that has become manipulative, which is fueling the hatred? Our patriotism is often linked with the word “military”. And all Patriotic organizations are not just Patriotic, they are the military-Patriotic.
I would like to say one more word, and remember a great Russian patriot, our contemporary, the historian Yuri Dmitriev. This is a real Russian patriot, a man who loves his land, his Fatherland, which fearlessly goes this way – by finding the truth, by storing these graves, by love for this his native place, and this terrible fathers ‘ graves. Today I encourage everyone with particular zeal to pray for this man.