Kendall K. Downunread,
Apr 23, 2022, 1:19:55 AMApr 23
The news reports about Russian atrocities in the Ukraine seem to have
taken most of the world by surprise - which is surprising. You can find
almost identical reports of Russian barbarism towards civilians at the
close of World War II - rape, looting, murdera, all were commonplace as
the Russians drove towards Berlin.
The trouble was that we have tended to overlook or excuse such
behaviour. There was a vague feeling that "the Germans deserved it",
both for how they treated the Jews and other minorities, and for how
they behaved in Russia, where the Germans troops were not exactly
paragons of civilised behaviour. Whatever the Russians did in Germany
was, more or less, payback for what the Germans did in Russia.
Now, however, the Russians are behaving in an identical way, but this
time towards a country that they have invaded unprovoked, which never
mistreated them or attacked them. It does seem to me that we are
pointed towards a darker assessment of Russia and Russians. The way they
are behaving is not revenge for their own mistreatment, but a lack of
Christian - not to say simple civilised - teaching.
Which raise the important question: What is the Orthodox Church doing
about this? The answer appears to be, Not very much. Smugly convinced
that they are the only true Christians and the West is lost in heresy,
the Orthodox establishment views with unconcern the behaviour of its
champions towards the Catholic and Protestant "untermenschen".
Orthodox Christianity appears to be nothing more than a repetition of
various rituals, performed by the clergy, in which the faithful do no
more than appear for at least part of the ritual, cross themselves, kiss
an icon or two, and then go home convinced that they are good
Christians. There is no moral teaching and not much doctrinal preaching
(and that mainly attacks on the supposed errors of the Catholics).
I read a report recently that Islam is gaining converts in Fiji and one
of the reasons is because it is easier to follow a few simple rules than
to try to live up to the high standards of personal behaviour taught by
the Christian churches in Fiji. I'm sure it is, but those high moral
standards are the glory of Protestant Christianity (with Catholic
Christianity a close second). The Orthodox, I fear, are simply not in
the race at all.
Kendall K. Down
Note 1: There are a few reports that in recent years Ukrainian soldiers
have mistreated the Russian-speaking minority in eastern Ukraine. A
Greek Orthodox priest I know at second-hand, claims that Russian
Orthodox worshippers have been locked in churches which were then set
alight on numerous occasions, among other atrocities.
He overlooks the fact that the Russian-speaking minority (which in the
east is possibly a majority) is in open rebellion against the legitimate
government of the Ukraine, so can naturally expect to suffer in any
military action the government may take to recover the area. He also, so
far as I know, relies upon Russian government propaganda for his "news"
and frankly, I do not believe his tales of burning churches and tortured
Note 2: I fear that in many places Catholic Christianity also consists
of nothing more than the laity watching while the clergy do all the
important bits - hence the fact that Mafia Dons can be respected members
of the congregation while carrying out horrific crimes.