Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin: Should a Christian be a patriot?

Lying on the couch and loves the country, looking for enemies, supports the current government or fighting against fascism – who is a true patriot and what he should do, if ideas about the interests of the country has changed? Does our love for the Motherland Symphony of Church and state, reflects Archpriest Andrei Kordochkin in the course of the discussion, which took place at the presentation of his book “”Caesar? Should a Christian be a patriot?” in the cultural center “the Pokrovskie gate”.

Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin. Photo: Anna Danilova

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The question that became the title of the book – “Should a Christian be a patriot?”. I would like to say a few words about why we’re not talking about self-evident. We’re not talking about how Christians should be an honest person or a decent person. Why do we then raise the question about patriotism, which is to say, as something absolutely self-evident?

The fact is that, as you know, there is no single common definition of patriotism, but every definition starts with the fact that this man’s love for his homeland. It seems to me, especially not here to argue about, because the Frenchman loves France, American, loves America, Russian people love Russia, and we are critical of their countries, but not because we don’t like them. Maybe we don’t quite agree with the political course, maybe we are not very nice political leaders, but in General, man’s love of country – it is absolutely simple and natural feeling, which needs no special justification. We could end our meeting today.

But it does not, because none of the existing definitions of patriotism is not limited to love. Maybe the word patriot you have different associations, but the man who lies on the couch and said, “I love my country, but I’m not ready to come off the couch to get something for her to do” isn’t a patriot.

Patriotism is always very active position. What is expressed by this activity? Usually, in definitions of patriotism we are talking about readiness to fight the enemies of the country or the struggle to maintain, it is also the willingness to defend the interests of the country. It would seem that here again the trick? Probably, if I have a family, for me my family is more important than the interests of any other family about which I know nothing, but if the country was attacked, it is clear that the need to protect her, or at least to be willing to maintain this protection. But when we talk about enemies and about the interests, we stand on slippery ground.

Here I want to cite two examples. Imagine, we are not talking about a specific country we are talking about patriotism in General. Imagine that you live in the country, let’s call it conditionally with country X, this time in a different country Y starts a civil war. The authorities of your country X say that in the interests of your country to support one of the warring parties in the country Y, which respectively are the enemies. This war is accompanied by Patriotic rhetoric, and if you don’t support war, then you, accordingly, accused of lack of what? Proper patriotism.

This example is not fictional, it is about what happened in America in 1964-65, the year when the war started in Vietnam. The anti-war movement in America was accused of not being sufficiently Patriotic. Give credit to the people who led this movement – they didn’t say, “We are against the war in Vietnam, because we are against American patriotism.” He said, “Our resistance war, our involvement in the antiwar movement is our expression of patriotism”. The war in Vietnam was the stimulus, which began with a critical understanding of the term “patriotism” in Western thought.

Generally, when we speak about the interests of the country, the interests always form the government. Power tends to change just by their nature. May not be such to the country, some one political party rules forever. The change of authorities through elections, through the revolution, through anything. When the power changes, changing perceptions of what the interests of the country. What distinguishes different political forces in those countries, where different political forces represented in the political field, it is different ideas interests.

Thus, the question arises: if the power is changing, if changing perceptions about the interests of the country, what should a patriot? He must follow what is declared as the interests of the new power? Then he’s probably not really a patriot, he’s a bit trimmer. Or should he stay with their ideals, then it just as easily could be accused of lack of patriotism.

Enemies are also not necessarily those who attacked your country. If you look at the history of military conflicts over the past couple of decades, you will see that the government can identify their enemies on the other side of the world – in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, wherever. Of course, these enemies will always be identified as enemies of the political, and not economic, because even for money nobody wants to go die for oil pipe, but all the same very often, these enemies will coexist with oil derricks in Iraq, in Libya or in Syria.

One of the main manifestations of patriotism in modern society is anti-fascism, and this is understandable, of course. This is a position that I share, but, nevertheless, I believe that before talking about anti-fascism, we would understand that we generally mean when we say the word fascism: what community, what political force or what worldview we call fascism? That itself identificeret as a fascist, or have any outward signs that allow us to identify this community and this world as a fascist.

If we talk about fascism as just about the people who call themselves Nazis, we will probably have to limit ourselves to Italy 20 years. Because Nazi Germany was not called the national fascist ideology, it was called the national socialist. But, nevertheless, in spite of this, it is clear that we can talk about Nazi Germany as fascist community, despite the fact that the word fascism Hitler in “My struggle” (extremist material, banned in Russia) are mentioned only three times and all three times in relation to Italy.

What, then, are the outward signs of fascism? Nazism may be an integral part of Nazi ideology, in Nazi Germany, it may not be as it was, for example, in Italy, Mussolini. Fascist society, a fascist state, the world – and it is a one-party militarized. It justifies violence and terror against dissent. It is, of course, based on the negation of liberalism, that is, on the denial of individual rights and freedoms is that of Mussolini in this book repeats several times. Where the state justifies the destruction or repression of a large part of citizens to achieve political unity. And where a significant role is played by the figure of a national leader.

Therefore, if you want, the distinguishing mark of a fascist community is overvalued this fascia (fascines), the overvalued Corporation that is achieved by the complete devaluation of an individual life. In this sense I am absolutely convinced, although it is clear that Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia in many respects are not similar, we cannot say that it is the same, between them there is still a sufficient difference, but we can not deny the fact that these external signs of fascism are applicable are the same in both societies.

Therefore, this anti-fascist now is the man who flirts with the anti-Nazi symbolism, anti-fascist terminology. A real anti-fascist – this is just the kind of person who is willing to protect the person from the Corporation. When a Corporation says to a man: “Who are you? You do not, you suck, you’re not anyone. We will make you disappear and no one will notice.” There are those people who are close to you in these cases, I think they are the real fascists.

And here my personal answer to the question, is patriotism a virtue in itself? I think patriotism as a virtue is not. I believe that patriotism can be very dangerous in the hands and in the mind of the person who does not have a clear understanding about what is good and what is evil. I think the example of Germany in the XX century has showed us that.

However, I believe that patriotism can be a virtue in the minds and in the hands of the man who has a clear concept of what is good, what is evil, and that protecting the interests of their country, not based on the principle which is usually referred to Hottentot ethics.

The Hottentot is one of the tribes of South Africa, on which Vladimir spoke first, introducing me, which is that if I stole an ox, then it’s bad, but if I stole an ox, it’s good. I think that in the light of the ethics of patriotism is very dangerous. But if a person or community is more spiritually and morally developed, then patriotism can really be and should be a virtue.

I hope that you have been feeling a bit funny when you hear some of the answers on TV or a banner you’ll see on the road. Ensure that you have the ability of critical thinking, and so you can put a question mark after that sentence, which, as a rule, is or period, or exclamation mark.

Question from the audience: At the beginning of November there was an interview of father George Kochetkov. And answering questions he says that the reason for the split, the crisis in the Church and subsequent likelihood of such crises is the Byzantine model of Symphony of the government and the Church, which developed a long time ago and is outdated, but continues to exist. To a journalist’s question whether it is possible to overcome it, he said that it is possible, if all the congregation would like to support some alternative and more democracy in Church government.

I think there are a lot of intersections with what’s happening in the Church and what is happening in the state, because this Symphony is inextricably linked processes together. What do you think, what are ways to overcome this syndrome or not? Or, maybe this is the right system and we should adhere to?

The priest Andrey Kordochkin: I think that when we say “Church and state”, we are talking about the first and second how about some organized structures that are in a specific interaction with each other. I think that so business will not go further.

We still can and must speak of the Church primarily as the people of God. And when we talk about the voice of the Church, is not primarily the voice of the bishops is not the voice of the clergy. I think that the voice of the Christian, if he is a politician, if he is the Minister, if he has some credibility, if the person in this case says potyvirus his faith, then his voice is the voice of the Church.

I think that a solution will come when we will not ask, “why that is that someone did not say something about something on behalf of the Church.” I think the voice of the Church is, first of all, the voice of the community of believers that is the Church. Because no other Church there. The Church is you. If you say that except you have some other Church, then you are deceived. Therefore, when you realize, when you begin to hear your own voice, it seems to me that we will overcome all these things.

So when they talk about the Symphony, in the Church there are, I think, a call to support the opposition or support the government. Indeed, the Kingdom of God is not of this world. Andrew Miller has rightly said that our vocation is to broadcast the truth of God, that’s all. And who in power who are in opposition – this is not so important.

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