Thursday, January 19, 2006

Russia & National Destiny

I thought I would finally attempt to flesh out a topic I said I'd cover before Christmas: the role of various nations in history and in the workings of divine Providence.

Let me begin with Russia. Holy Mother Russia has ever been at the outskirts of Europe both in a geographically and culturally. As a nation, it has a strong and deep sense of identity, which puts it in a decided minority among western nations. Similarly, it has a deep religious heritage, which appears to be reinvigorated after almost a century of oppression.

But most of all, I wonder if Russia, having suffered more greatly than any other nation this past century, has some purpose to come, that perhaps as the rest of the western nations descend into an abyss of demographic decline, liberal decadence and a continuing denial of its civilizational crisis, Russia will be able to restore a balanced view of Western Civilization, shorn of the liberal platitudes and self-indulgent weakness that has brought it to the brink of extinction.

There are a few indications of a resurgence of traditional faith in Russia. A BBC report of Russian Easter in 2003 reflects the view that Orthodoxy is becoming increasingly relevant and practiced in Russia.

Additionally, a few months ago, news was made of millions of conversions from Islam to Orthodoxy. Consider how different a phenomenon this is compared to the crisis facing Western Europe of how to deal with growing unassimilated Islamic populations.

John Paul II was fond of saying that the Church must breathe with both lungs, meaning the East and the West. On a cultural level, the Cold War rescued the East from the clutches of atheistic communism. It may now be the age in which the East will have to rescue the West from liberalism.


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