Weather regulation as the implementation of the prayer,
‘Give us [all of us] this day our daily bread’
(that is, obtained by toil) 1
To ensure against famine by developing industry that enables us to buy bread, or by developing a highly improved agriculture – which is nonetheless insufficient to feed the entire population, so that it is still necessary to import grain, or at least saltpetre or fertilisers such as guano from Chile*– does this not make one nation a privileged entity while reducing other people to doing the dirty work? In total contrast, weather regulation requires that all unite to act according to a common plan. Regulation ensures that the needs of all nations will be met; therefore, regulation is the implementation of the prayer, 'Give us this day our daily bread', because through regulation it is not the greatest profit from the land – 120 puds per desyatina 2 – that is obtained, but our daily bread. And it is obtained for today only, since regulation secures the necessary, and no reserves will be needed.
1. From FOD, vol. II, section XII, pp. 17-18.
* In fact, towns produce so much sewage that soon there will be enough of it to manure all the fields; perhaps, even, the amount of sewage produced by towns will exceed what can be transformed into vegetation. Then how is this refuse to be transported to places where it may be needed without causing contamination at the points of loading and unloading?
2. Approximately 5 tonnes per hectare.
To strive for union for the sake of weather control means to strive for natural, not artificial, ways of insuring against famine.
Therefore the Lord's Prayer, the prayer for the Kingdom of God, includes praying for regulation, that is to say, the fulfilment of the commandment given at Creation and the second commandment understood in the spirit of Christianity; it also includes an entreaty for mutual forgiveness, for universal reconciliation as a precondition of Divine forgiveness (‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us’). These two pleas contain the prayer for the eradication of the kingdom of iniquity, the kingdom of the Evil One (‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One’); while the first three are a prayer to Him Who reigns in Heaven for the spread of faith on earth, for the actual, real coming of His kingdom; for His name to be truly hallowed and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
So often, when repeating the prayer for the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of Heaven on earth, we believe in its coming on earth, its realisation on earth – or is that praying for the impossible?!!
The Orthodox burial rite and its meaning 1
1.From FOD, vol. II, pp. 34-5.
Dedicated to the Englishmen, the Archbishop
of York and others, who visited Russia and saw the Orthodox burial ritual.
‘Men bury their dead.’
The acceptance by Anglicans if only of a part of the Orthodox burial ritual, and even if they are only Englishmen from the upper classes, is nevertheless the beginning of a real reconciliation between the churches, whereas dogmatic reconciliation with the Old Catholics merely represents imaginary reconciliation and could never lead to real reconciliation, which would involve all classes. The Englishman in question had seen a part of the Orthodox burial ritual in his native land, and since he wanted to see it in its entirety he came to Russia for this express purpose; while he was here, he came to the conclusion that it was vital to adopt it in its entirely.
It is easy to understand what this assimilation of an essential part of our burial ritual on the part of Anglicans should lead to. Logic and consistency should inevitably lead them to accept the whole of the Orthodox rite, because it could be said to be constructed on the model of the one basic rite, that of Holy Week, of Easter Week, the Easter of the Cross and the Easter of Resurrection, during which the very essence of Christianity is expressed. Our night service is not only by name a requiem to the saints (instead of a coffin and the body, there is an icon with a portrayal of the dead one on it); the offertory' is nothing other than the offering, by all the living, of a sacrifice on behalf of all the dead and all the living in a state of complete unification.
The Eucharist is the culmination of the requiem and the offertory 2, albeit an incomplete one. The everyday church services consist of prayers for the dead and the sick, the reinterment of those who have died that day or have already been buried, with lamentations addressed to the righteous. And then the greatest of the services, of which the burial rite is but a dim reflection, is the service of Holy Week, which begins with the pro-death words of the Monday and Tuesday – in other words, with the threat of the end of the world and the reply which is used to show the Pharisees, the Sadducees and others the way to salvation, away from the threatened end. Its continuation is Great Wednesday – the preparation for burial (extreme unction); and Great Saturday – the day of the burial itself, culminating in resurrection.
2. The offertory, proskomidia, is the part of the liturgy when the gifts of the Eucharist for the credence table arc prepared for consecration.
Only the burial of Christ, however, has a real ending, a real conclusion; it alone achieves its aim. None of the other burials, not even the discovery of the relics, concludes in the right way, since they do not yet achieve resurrection – indeed, here resurrection has apparently been forgotten. The actual word for the burial service, otpevan'ye (to read away,
to sing away, to be nursed back to health from sickness and from death), has now acquired the completely opposite meaning. The word otpetyi, literally 'sung away' (in other words, having had the burial service read), has begun to express ultimate despair at the possibility of a return to life.
Why is it that the burial carried out in the actual place of worship fails to achieve its aim, the return of the dead to the living? Obviously, it is because life outside the place of worship is mutual destruction. This means that we have a right to say that when the Anglicans accepted the most essential part of the Orthodox ritual, that part which actually points to the aim of unification implicit in the meaning of the burial, which is to say in coming to life or resurrection, they understood the real way to reconcile the churches, and even all religions.
The daughter of humanity as reconciler 1
The parable of the prodigal son can also be applied to the daughters of humanity. Society ladies in general, and hetairai in particular, should be included among those who have abandoned the fathers, those who have forgotten the traditions of the fathers. ‘Memento vivere!’– not in the sense of revitalising, but of giving pleasure – has become for such women the main precept of their lives. Socrates' Diotima numbers amongst them. Mary Magdalene corresponds to the youngest son in the parable: having returned to the father, she was elevated higher than those who had never abandoned him.
With those who have never abandoned the traditions of the fathers belong the women of the farming class, among whom devotion to the parents is expressed primarily in the burial ritual, which has now lost its real meaning. When she is preparing the funeral feast at the family home, the village woman is a priestess, in no way inferior to the vestal virgins, druidesses, Velledas,2 to those inspired prophetesses.
1. From FOD, vol. II, p. 40.
2. Velleda was a Germanic prophetess who twice led uprisings against the Romans in the days of Vespasian, who reigned from AD 69 to 79.
Indeed, she is even superior to them in her task, which she is meant to fulfil and which she must complete, while all the daughters of humanity are at one with her, and together they become as one daughter devoted to the fathers.
If, when a woman becomes a wife and mother, she remains a daughter, then even if she marries into a different family, nation or race, this will not mean separation from the father, but unification of this other family or race with her own family and tribe. A daughter represents a great tool in the process of reuniting the race, in reconciling estates and nationalities. Certain commentators see the merging of hostile tribes exemplified in the marriages of Epimetheus and Pandora, of Peleus and Thetis.* But the significance that the daughter of humanity has unconsciously
possessed for ages, she must now acquire consciously and after careful consideration; and it is a significance with a more comprehensive, a more profound and ennobled meaning; to her belongs not only an important, but also an honoured, place in the plan for universal reconciliation.
*A reference to the marriage of a Titan and the first woman, of a mortal and a goddess.
The agapodicy (the justification of Good) of Solov'ev and the theodicy (the justification of God) of Leibniz 1
1.From FOD, vol. II, p. 177. The Orthodox liturgy consists of three parts: 1) the proskomidia, or preparation of the elements of the Eucharist, 2) the liturgy of the catechumens, during which passages from the Epistles and the Gospels are read (it also includes the litany with the prayer referred to by Fedorov on p. 176, ‘For those who travel by sea and by land, for the sick and the suffering, for those in captivity and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord’), and 3) the liturgy of the faithful comprising the consecration of the elements and the communion of the faithful. For Fedorov the liturgy should not be a symbolic commemoration of the resurrection of Christ and a promise of genera] resurrection, bul an action contributing to it.
The advocate of God would have achieved his aim, had he said that God created both nature, that is, a blind force engendering evil, and a rational force, and that it is only the inaction of the latter that allows the former to do evil. The advocate of Good could have shown its magnificence and power had he defined Good as ‘the creation of brotherhood’ (bratotvorenie) through the adoption and transformation of people into sons of man. Then Good would bring the prodigals to the God of the fathers in order to implement the duty of testamentary executor – that is to say, general resurrection. This is the very meaning of the liturgy. The liturgy is Good justifying itself and constituting the Common Task.
The spread of Christianity, the gathering together and the enlightenment, is the first phase of the Common Task; it is the liturgy of the catechumens. It teaches us to pray together for the sick, for those voyaging on the high seas or on land – to put it briefly, for all. This is the 'creation of brotherhood', the transformation of people into sons of man, the return of the prodigals to the God of the fathers. The repentance of the prodigals – those outside the paternal homestead, guilty of the sin of alienation – and their baptism in the name of the God of unanimity and concord, the Triune God, make them into the faithful. Faithfulness is expressed in giving thanks to God (the eucharist) and to the fathers, and in the return of life to those from whom the sons received it.
Physical and moral sinlessness: a prerequisite of immortality 1
1.From FOD, vol. II, pp. 202-3.
Before talking about resurrection one must state firmly that, just as death is impossible where there exist sinlessness and knowledge that can control the forces of nature, so resurrection is impossible where there exist sin, ignorance and other misfortunes resulting from man's dependence on the blind forces of nature.
Neither the universal return to life, universal resurrection, nor even death itself, have hitherto been the subject of knowledge or well founded judgement. For there would have been full, detailed investigations into the reasons and conditions that have given rise to the phenomenon. For most people, death appears to be an absolute, inevitable phenomenon; but just how unfounded is this conclusion is obvious from the fact that it is considered acceptable to talk about the opposite of death, about immortality, and even about resurrection; and it is talked about as a possibility, in circumstances where all sorts of sins prevail among people, and all sorts of calamities and evils, arising from the folly of nature. But if the coexistence of the one with the other is unthinkable, since the one excludes the other, then can one talk about the possibility of death where there is moral and physical sinlessness, where nature shows such a benign attitude both within and outside man, of the sort that is deemed possible when man's knowledge and control of nature are complete?
Even more senseless is the idea that immortality is possible for a few separate individuals, when faced with the mortality that is common to all mankind; for this is as absurd as the belief in the possibility of happiness for a few, of personal happiness in the face of general unhappiness, in the face of a common dependence on so many catastrophes and evils.
How did art begin, what has it become and what should it be? 1
l. From FOD, vol. H, pp. 239-40.
To solve the question, ‘What should art be?’ will be to solve the contradiction between rational being and the blind force of nature, to fathom the most abnormal relationship between man and nature, to solve the question of the subordination of rational being to blind force. Will nature always remain blind and, in its blindness, a destructive force, while art remains the creation of nothing but dead imitations? Will this division be temporary, or will it last for ever? Perfection lies in the unity of nature and art.
Nature, within man, was conscious of the evil of death, of its own imperfection. So the rebellion of the living (the vertical posture) and the resurrection of the dead, in the form of tombstones, are natural acts for a feeling, rational being. It was when the living (who had suffered a loss) rebelled and turned to heaven, and when the dead were resurrected in the form of tombstones, that art began.
Prayer was the beginning of art. Prayer and the (vertical) prayer posture constituted the first acts of art; this was theo-anthropurgic art, which consisted of God creating man through man himself. For man is not only a product of nature but also a creation and concern of art. The last act of divine creation was the first act of human art, for man's purpose is to be a free being and consequently self-created, since only a self-created being can be free. In this act of self-creation – that is, in rebelling and turning towards heaven – man discovers God and God reveals himself to man; or, more precisely, on discovering the God of the fathers, the being who has made the discovery becomes not just a man, but a son of man. And only in the abstract sense, forgetting the loss, is it possible to say that the being which has discovered God has become man.
When the vertical posture changed into one of cautious vigilance, then anthropurgic art was born, that is, secular, military art which, while making man on the one hand menacing and on the other sensually attractive, still tried to attach sacred importance to itself. Secular art has both a menacing and an attractive side to it. This could also be said of contemporary 'universal exhibitions', for from the outside they resemble an arsenal, while inside they offer a cornucopia of whimsical objects to satisfy sexual needs. To be menacing has become a mark of the ruling class, whereas to attract has become the sign of the 'weaker' sex.
In the act of rebelling (in the vertical posture) on the part of the living, and in the act of creating a likeness in the form of tombstones to the dead (in theo-anthropurgic art), man has raised himself above nature; when man made of himself something menacing or sensually attractive (anthropurgic art), his fall was under way.*
* Among [aboriginal] Australians, the colour red used to denote not only entry into life but also parting from life, which they did not wish 10 regard as parting. Certain tribes would cover the deceased with thick, red, shiny ochre, which signified not a parting from life but an imaginary return ; that is, they gave the deceased the appearance of life. Conceivably the first colour primitive man painted himself with was simply the blood of a slain animal or wounded enemy. But just as the victors began to use red ochre instead of blood, so, quite possibly, the deceased were painted with blood: when the sons discovered they had blood and started rubbing it onto the pallid bodies of the deceased, they must have thought they were returning life to them.
Originally, mourning signified that the living were depriving themselves of life (co-dying), although this was only imaginary. The desire to deprive oneself of life was expressed by beating the breast and wounding oneself: later on, this came to express fear of being oneself deprived of life, fear of the soul wandering round the departed. In other words,
it turned into a form of mythical hygiene. Later, the deceased were also painted to ensure that direct contact with the corpse did not lead to illness In this way sacred art found its expression both in the painting of the deceased and in mourning. (N.F.F.)
If art in its beginnings was divine, whereas today it has become industrial-military – which means bestial and savage – then the question arises: How can art once again be given a course to follow which would correspond to its divine beginnings? What should be set up to counter the industrial-military exhibition, which presents products which tempt, and weapons which destroy? If the question, 'What has art become?', is synonymous with ‘What are the reasons for the unbrotherliness between people and for the rift in the relations beween nature and people?’ then the question, ‘What should art be?’ is the same as the problem of establishing brotherly unity in order to transform the blind force of nature into a force guided by the reasoning powers of all the resurrected generations. In other words, what we are talking about is universal resurrection, since it is this that represents the complete restoration of kinship and that will provide art with the appropriate course to follow, and show it its goal. Transforming all the worlds into worlds guided by the reasoning powers of resurrected generations will constitute a complete resolution of the Copernican question and is at the same time identical to the primeval view – that is, the patrification of the heavens (the turning of the heavens into the fathers' abode), or catasterisation (the transferral of the fathers' souls to the stars) – which also finds its expression in church sculpture and painting. For children this primeval view is the most straightforward, an explanation and resolution of the Copernican question. To turn all the worlds into worlds guided by the reasoning powers of resurrected generations is also the most important goal of art.
The art of imitation (false artistic re-creation) and the art of reality (real resurrection) 1
l. From FOD, vol. II, pp. 241-3.
Ptolemaic and Copernican art
Art as imitation – an imitation of everything in Heaven and on Earth – reproduces the world in the form in which it appears to the external senses; it reproduces Heaven and Earth not as expressions of God's will, but as the effects of the blind forces of nature uncontrolled by rational beings, yet called gods (Uranus, Kronos) by them. The art of imitation depicts a sky which deprives us of life and an Earth which consumes the living. So the divine commandment denounces this art as paganism, as idol-worship or idolatry (bowing before idols which embody the blind forces of nature instead of controlling them) and as ideolatry (bowing before an idea which is not transformed
into a deed, before the pointless, soulless and inactive knowledge of the learned). The reproduction of the world in the form in which it appears to the external senses and in which it is interpreted, either by the internal senses of the sons of humanity, who have retained their love for the fathers, or by the internal senses of the prodigal sons, who have forgotten their fathers, is in both cases the art of imitation; but in the first case it is sacred art, and in the second, worldly art. Sacred art reproduces the world in the form of a church, in which all the arts are brought together: moreover, when the church is a work of architecture, painting and sculpture, it becomes a representation of the earth giving up its dead, and of the sky (the church's dome and iconostasis) being inhabited by resuscitated generations; and since the church contains the singing during the funeral service, it is a voice to the accompaniment of which the earthly ashes, like a cemetery, come to life, while the sky becomes the dwelling place for the resuscitated.
When referring to the singing and especially the lamentation for the dead, we mean the whole divine service; this is the liturgy in the form of God's work, which is being fulfilled through the sons of humanity; this is the all-night vigil and service for the deceased or their image, which corresponds to lamentations summoning them to rise up; then during the day the coming together for instruction like catechumens, in preparation for the liturgy of the faithful, those faithful to the God of their fathers, when bread and wine are transformed from earthly dust into a living body and blood.
The art of the sons who have forgotten their fathers will reproduce the world in the form of a 'universal exhibition', in which industry is associated with all the arts. The exhibition itself represents woman, and the sons who have forgotten the fathers wish to devote all the forces of nature to serving her, in order to intensify the fascination of the sexual attraction; they expect it to draw them towards life, but find instead death, and they find the only hope of a return to life in children.
Sacred art breaks the commandment only when it takes what it portrays to be reality, to be genuine resurrection, and the singing, the church liturgy, to be the extra-ecclesiastical task of resurrection. Secular art in the form of a universal exhibition breaks all ten commandments, and when it sets up sin in opposition to faith it sins even more against reason, since it subjects it to the blind force of nature, and compels it not to control nature but to serve her.
Truly defined, art is not cut off from science or morality or religion, and manifests itself as it actually is in the life of the human race and in history. Beginning with man's first uprising and his vertical position, the pain at losing those closest to him forced the bereaved one to lift up his face, to turn his whole being in the direction
of the sky; and this position expresses what was already a religious feeling, a newly awakened thought, both of which are recorded by art. (Orthodoxy demands that one stands, and allows one to sit only as a special dispensation ; this external expression, the standing position, makes Orthodoxy significantly different from both Catholicism and, especially, Protestantism.)
What will provide the transition from the art of imitation to the art of reality, from Ptolemaic to Copernican art, is a museum of all the sciences, in which the sciences will be combined together in astronomy; connecting it with the idea of the church-school, this will be a museum with a tower from which to observe falling stars – in other words, to observe the continuing creation of the world as well as its fall, and to observe how, by changing martial art into natural-scientific, experimental art, the study of the stars will be transformed into experiment, into action.
Aesthetics is the science of reconstituting all those rational beings who have existed on this diminutive Earth – this little speck of an Earth, which is reflected in the whole Universe and reflects the whole Universe in itself – so that they might spiritualise (and control) all the vast heavenly worlds, which have no rational beings. It is in this reconstitution that the beginning of eternal bliss is to be found.
The manifestation of power in powerlessness is the law of terrestrial and extraterrestrial history, which together constitute the essence of Christianity as the opposite of, and as a means of salvation from, Buddhism. The Earth is a cemetery which, possessing history as it does, contains within itself more substance than all those worlds which have no history. Till now consciousness, reason and morality were localised on planet Earth; by resurrecting all the generations who have lived on this Earth, consciousness will be disseminated to all the worlds of the Universe. Resurrection is the transformation of the Universe from that chaos towards which it is moving into cosmos – into the greatness of incorruptibility and indestructibility.
Just how profound and abundant wisdom is, is nowhere better expressed than in the salvation of the infinite Universe, a salvation which originated in that insignificant speck of dust, the Earth. The highest moral law requires that only the Earth, and no other worlds, should be populated. If the world is not a product of blind chance, then an expedient relationship beween the many dead generations and the multitude of worlds is possible, and this would mean that all the inhabitants of all the worlds could be created just from one blood and earthly dust. But were the world to be a product of chance, even then a rational, sentient being could not avoid making use of the multitude of forces to revivify so many generations deprived of life.
On the Earth itself we can find examples of localisation in an insignificant area; whatever
is localised is then disseminated all over the Earth. Palestine and the Hellenic world are examples of this sort of localisation – art and science in Greece, religion in Palestine, whence they then spread all over the Earth. But only when religion and science are united will it be possible to disseminate the influence of rational beings even beyond our Earth. Palestine and the Hellenic world represent East and West, and their struggle constitutes history.
Parents and resurrectors 1
1. From FOD, vol. II. pp. 273-4. Published in Irish Slavonic Studies, n 4, 1983. pp. 109-11.
The day of destiny, expected since the original Fall, will only arrive when the present-day prodigal sons, endowed with reason, come to understand that power through blindness is not inevitable, but is only a divine disaster which has killed their fathers, and that it needs only rational guidance in order to be a vitalising force. It is the extreme moral torpor of the bookworm scientists and of that whole intellectual crowd that is the main obstacle to the advent of the day of destiny; the consequence is that only terrible plagues and bad harvests, caused by the land being exhausted, will force them to turn to celestial power from the sun and other worlds, instead of to the hard labour of miners working underground. Only by uniting to control that meteorological process in which the sun's power is revealed, will the sons of humanity become capable of transforming the ashes of their forefathers (which are being extracted from the deepest layers of the Earth), and not by turning those ashes into food for their descendants, but by gathering them together into the bodies in which they originally belonged.
The reverberation and quivering (vibration) of which molecules and the ashes of the dead are capable, and which cannot as yet be picked up by microphones since these are still a crude means of picking up sound, find a corresponding echo in the way in which particles shudder within live beings who are linked by kinship to the dead to whom these particles belonged. Such individual vibrations hidden in the secret depths of matter are only one possible key to the process of resurrection – a key which does not exclude other hypotheses. Hitherto hypotheses have been drawn up to explain the creation, building and development of the world, and these are hypotheses which could only be substantiated in isolated experiments in laboratories, whereas the hypothesis concerning the creation of the world demands a common experiment, embracing the whole of the Earth and all its layers.
In accordance with this hypothesis, the power extracted from air currents, which will then be conveyed to the various layers of the Earth, will produce the right reverberations in these layers, which will then replace the present destructive earthquakes – which do, nonetheless, set in motion the waters which collect
the particles contained in the ashes of the dead. The science of endlessly small molecular movements, which can be picked up only by the sensitive hearing of the sons, who are endowed with the most delicate organs of sight and hearing, will not pursue precious stones or precious metals. For the pursuers will not be humanists to whom everything parental or paternal is alien, but the sons who are of age; they will search for the molecules that form part of the beings who gave them life. The waters, taking the ashes of the dead out of the bowels of the Earth, will obey the common will of the sons and daughters of humanity, and will act under the influence of light rays, which will no longer be blind, like heat rays, nor coldly insensitive. Chemical rays will become capable of making a choice; that is, under their influence the related will be united, and the alien separated. This means that the rays will become an instrument of the common beneficent will of the sons of humanity.
One can envisage that the various sorts of rays will be transformed into an instrument of the will in something like the following way and adopting the following course. The vibrations to which the particles found in the organism have been subjected will continue, even when the particles have left the organism and the body has been destroyed. The thick layers covering the particles will not remain insensitive to every sort of vibration. As the rays from these vibrations rise to the surface, they will travel along with both reflected and other rays, thereby forming not only an external image of the Earth and of those living on it, but also an interna! image with the dead decaying in it. Once the movements of heavenly bodies other than the Earth have been guided or regulated, then the rays' reflections can be bounced back to the Earth, where, as we see, the particles which have been hidden deep down are brought to the surface. At this point the constructive activity of the rays begins. The rays, returned to the Earth, coming out of the Earth and moving away from the Earth – and in this order – bear within themselves images of live beings, then of dead ones, images of their bodies which have decomposed into particles; when they encounter the particles, these same rays unite the gaseous molecules of the atmosphere with the solid-state molecules on Earth. The process by which mould or other vegetable forms have been unconsciously produced, will, in the presence of consciousness, unite the particles and turn them into the live bodies to which the particles used to belong.
But the question of resurrection is not only one of external forces, directed towards the combined reason of all, but also a personal matter for each person, whether son or other relative. If we are to compare our present petty family affairs with participation in the meteorological and cosmic processes of each and every one of us, in what is both a family and a personal affair, the resurrection of
parents and relatives, then it becomes clear that all the spiritual powers, all the mental capabilities, which at present lie dormant because of the absence of any activity directed towards resurrection, will find a way to proceed and be utilised in this great task. The internal, mental, moral-artistic, psycho-physiological control of the process of nutrition, of internal growth, will transform the latter into the process of resurrection, instead of into the birth of a feeble creature with scarcely any feeling or consciousness.
On the day of destiny the Triune God will become an example to be copied by all generations all over the Earth, and will not be regarded as an unobtainable ideal. All the material worlds in the Universe, of which the sons of humanity will have become aware, will provide their souls with a means of expressing their likeness to the Immortal Trinity. The whole Universe, vitalised by all the resurrected generations, will serve as a shrine to the Immortal Trinity; and the day of destiny is the day of the Trinity, the culmination of the festival of universal resurrection. The whole Universe will consist of innumerable worlds of immense heavenly space, with their multitudes united with those of the resurrected generations, who for innumerable centuries have been swallowed up by the Earth.
On the unity of the meteorological and cosmic processes 1
1.From FDD, vol. I, p. 301.
Atmospheric particles should be numbered among shooting stars, asteroids – stars which have not yet fallen; and aerolites – stars which have fallen. These particles are more closely concentrated than asteroids or particles forming the tails of comets, or even of comet clusters, which shower down to Earth as falling stars, such as the Leonids. These particles, or drops of water vapour, molecules (or even atoms) of elementary gases, including the recently discovered ones such as argon, coronium and helium, revolve just like the Moon around the planet Earth, even approaching quite near to its surface, then receding, circling it and undergoing even greater deviations and complex perturbations than the larger celestial bodies (planets and solar systems). Air currents can best be compared to streams of comets and, therefore, the meteorological process is also an astronomical phenomenon like the motion, course and progression of celestial bodies. Thus the regulation of the meteorological process already verges on the astronomical process. Regulation is a celestial Copernican task or art.
What the most ancient Christian monument in China can teach us *
No better way could have been found to honour the entry of Christianity into the twentieth century of its existence than by publishing a Russian translation of the Si-ngan-fu 1 inscription, which records the beginnings of Christianity
in China (a Christianity not in need of armed support). This ancient monument, this simple stone, is more precious to us Russians than all the diamonds of South Africa, especially since the descendants of the Syrians (who, according to the inscription, brought Christianity to China) have been received into communion by our Orthodox Church.
The Si-ngan-fu inscription tells us of that first profoundly peaceful introduction of Christianity to China, in sharp contrast to the Christianity which appeals for armed support and arouses implacable hatred. 2
* In connection with an article by S.S. Slutsky, The most ancient Christian monument in China', Russkii vesinik, 1901, n 1; first published, unsigned, in Russkil arkhivs 1901, n° 4, pp. 631-7; reprinted by N.A. Setnitsky in his Russkit mysliieli o Kitae V.S. Solov'ev i N.F. Fedorov Russian Thinkers on China: V.S. Solov'ev and N.F. Fedorov). Harbin, 1926.
1. Si-ngan-fu, now Hsian-fu, Shensi province, was the capital of China under the T'ang dynasty. This Nestorian monument, erected in 781. was rediscovered in the grounds of the Buddhist monastery of Chin-sheng-ssii in 1623, and became known in Europe through Jesuit missionaries who translated the Chinese and Syriac inscription into Latin in 1635.
2. A reference to the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), during which Chinese rebels attacked and destroyed railways and various European commercial enterprises as well as Christian missions.
The monument to the introduction of the 'luminous faith' to the Middle Kingdom stands in the old capital of the T'ang dynasty, a capital which reminds China of the best days of its long history, when the Celestial Empire was the largest and the mightiest on Earth,* and when the most important monarchies of the time, Persia and Byzantium, sought her support against the first 'Holy Wars' of Islam. In those days the Romano-Germanic West, which now rules the oceans and rampages throughout China, was weak and played no significant role; its civic life was only just beginning to take shape on the ruins of that decrepit Rome which it had destroyed. As to the Russian Slavs (a continental power, now a neighbour of China, her natural ally and perhaps her saviour from Western depredations), their civic life had not even begun. Neither Kiev nor Novgorod had been heard of, let alone Moscow.
In those days, in the heart of China and not in its outlying regions (Nanking and Peking),** because then China still belonged to the Chinese, there occurred something rather similar to what happened in Kiev in the tenth century,*** Owing to its central position, Si-ngan-fu was a meeting place for various religions: there were disciples of Zoroaster and Mani, Buddhists – already well established in China – and, probably, the ubiquitous Jews.
* In the seventh and eighth centuries, under the T'ang dynasty. China held pride of place in world history. Even in the days of Christ,
the Roman Empire, said to embrace the entire known world, was not the only empire. There were two. Yet in our so-called world histories the question is never posed as to which one was the most powerful and of greatest importance at different times. In fact history itself has answered the question, with the Huns, to the detriment of the Roman Empire. While leaving the mightiest – the Chinese – unmolested, the Huns overran the weaker Roman Empire and put an end to its existence. Christianity had not identified with it, and even rejoiced at the fall of "the great Babylon'. The conversion of India and China, to complete the victory of peaceful Christianity, had been initiated already by the apostles Bartholomew and Thomas.
** Peking has been nicknamed 'the Chinese St Petersburg' by Siberian Old Believers who still seek for a pre-Nikon Russia in India and China.
*** The capital city of Lo-yang was for Buddhism in China what Kiev became for Christianity in Russia.
The seventh century saw the arrival in Si-ngan-fu of A-lo-pen, the great apostle of China who can be rightly compared to Saints Cyril and Methodius.* ‘When a transcription of the Scriptures had been made in the Imperial Palace library’, says the inscription, ‘questions [discussions] were raised in the inner apartments of the Palace’. These words point to the internal state of China and her spiritual malaise, which affected especially the men at the helm, in the Palace. China had a Council – far more powerful than Vladimir's Duma – for China had already lived a long history, had felt and thought much in the persons of its philosophers – Lao-tse, Confucius and Mencius – before it heard the amazingly 'simple and luminous teaching' which called upon all to become pure, meek, like children, like the Son of Man, in order to know what is hidden and inaccessible to philosophers of all countries. Apparently, the Chinese scholars were particularly struck by the 'simplicity' of the doctrine as well as its 'profundity', the thirst to become perfect like the Heavenly Father, 'the beneficence of the doctrine for the people' and, at the same time, its 'rejection of everything impure and earthly'. That is how the Chinese scholars of the time perceived the teaching of Khe-le-tuze, our Christ.
*One can assume with some justification that 'good and sensible men' may have been sent to Syria for 'the probing of faiths'. At any rate the inscription mentions Ta-dzing (Syria), its boundaries and products, and the good mores of its inhabitants. Later, new converts went to Syria, possibly even to Jerusalem, just as Buddhists went on pilgrimages to Kapilavastu, recently rediscovered (by Furer). Although the eventual victory of Buddhism was probably accompanied by the destruction of written and material records of Christianity, evidently not everything was destroyed, though our calendar of saints was probably enriched by many new martyrs who suffered at the
hands of Buddhists. The excavations in Si-ngan-fu, designed to supplement the history of Christianity in China, could become an expression of friendship between Chinese and Russians because they would prove that once upon a time we were coreligionists. On the other hand, the discovery of Kapilavastu (Lun-bani), the cradle and the grave of Buddha, would probably engender a resurgence of Buddhism, the like of which could not be fomented within Christendom, even by the transfer to Moscow of the stone chronicle of Christianity in China, the Si-ngan-fu inscription.
Since, according to the inscription, the Emperor T'ai-tsung sent his prime minister with a large retinue to meet the Syrian missionary, it is evident that A-lo-pen, the future apostle of China, was already well known and had been invited as the best exponent of the teaching of Christ, just as Saints Cyril and Methodius had been sent to the Slavs from Byzantium. Three years later (AD 638), after a deep and thorough study of the doctrine, it was recognised as 'true and right' in an imperial decree dated year 12 [of the Chen-Kuan period]. And the doctrine was not merely allowed : the decree prescribed that it be preached and taught, mentioning, alongside the Scriptures, 'images', that is, icons, meant for the illiterate, and it enjoined that the doctrine be disseminated throughout the Empire, which extended then to the Pacific in the east and nearly as far as the Caspian in the west.
The opening sentence of the decree contains, apparently, a justification for adopting the doctrine and for going beyond mere tolerance. It prescribed the building of a Syrian* church in the district of Peace and Justice. A considerable staff (twenty-one priests) were to be attached to the church, which points to the success and prospects of the new faith. The placing of an image of the Emperor in the church mentioned in the inscription may perhaps indicate the canonisation of T'ai-tsung, regarded as equal to an apostle.
*Or Persian, according to a description of Si-ngan-fu in AD 1070.
In the reign of Kao-tsung, Christianity spread along 'the ten roads' of China. Churches were built in a hundred towns (at least, in many towns). A-lo-pen was awarded the title of Guardian of the Realm and Lord of the Great Law, with the right to transmit it, in accordance with Chinese custom, not to his descendants but to his ancestors; this was an honour similar to that bestowed on Confucius. However, Christianity met also with opposition. At the turn of the seventh century an Empress of the Wu family, supported by Buddhists, carried out a palace revolution and transferred the capital to Lo-yang, a Buddhist centre. This shows that Christianity had become so strong in Si-ngan-fu that a government hostile to it could not remain there. Fifteen years later 'the luminous religion' was restored, the churches renovated, divine services were again celebrated in the palace
and images of the emperors of the Tang dynasty were placed again in the churches.
Christianity became particularly strong and widespread under the emperors Su-tsung and Hsuan-tsung (and consequently the Chinese Empire attained its greatest power and prosperity at that time). It was then that the Si-ngan-fu monument was erected and the history of Christianity in the Celestial Empire was preserved for us. The monument describes the advent of a golden age, and this is corroborated by Chinese chronicles. The T'ang dynasty was the most famous and glorious of those that ruled China... Under a long line of outstanding monarchs China attained its highest degree of enlightenment. At no time did the arts and sciences shine with greater splendour. This period was also marked by numerous contacts of Chinese with other nations'; and, according to the Si-ngan-fu inscription, ‘the Kingdom became rich, great and beautiful, and its families prosperous and happy’.
Most remarkable is the fact that, in the people's consciousness (implicit in the inscription), this external growth of the Empire and the successes of its internal prosperity are linked with high moral standards achieved by conversion to the 'luminous faith'. ‘Families and kingdoms have been set on the path of righteousness by the sublime doctrine, and the pure dogma of the Trinity has furthered high morality through the truth of faith... The law has become part of life... Kindness has been upheld. So happiness and bliss have come about.’ The emperors, the promoters of the faith, became the incarnation of virtue; they ‘surpassed the activity of the saints, overcame nefarious influences, attained supreme wisdom and humility, showing great mercy, doing unto others as to themselves and helping those in distress’. Those who copied the inscription, ending as it does with a reference to the beneficial moral revolution brought about by Christianity, exclaim: ‘Not even of the greatest followers of Buddha had so much good ever been heard’.
Apparently, only natural disasters endangered the nation's welfare. And it is with a deep insight that the inscription expresses the desire to overcome also this ultimate cause of human catastrophes. ‘If it were possible for rain and wind to come at the right time, the sublunar world would know peace... and nature itself would become pure, the living enjoy abundance, the dead know bliss and people govern themselves according to reason [come to reason].’
One can conclude from this that they would seek to achieve a rational control of the blind forces of nature. By demanding that the 'movements of the soul' should not remain restricted within their inner world but ‘manifest themselves outside’, the chronicle of Christianity in China shows that it considers it a duty for the followers of the luminous creed to put the benevolent teaching wholeheartedly into practice.
What lesson can this brilliant forgotten page of history teach China in her
present dark days, and the West, too? Now that a great hatred of Christianity has been aroused in China, one must give up individual conversions. Indeed, it is wrong to speak of the modern introduction of Christianity into China as an innovation. One should speak of, and concern oneself with, the restoration of what has already existed, of the ancient past in China, whose antiquity is so glorious, and where respect for antiquity is so great.
Even if the present hatred of Christianity did not exist among the Chinese, a general conversion would be preferable to individual conversions, particularly as these are not influential in China. When a ship sinks and there is no hope of saving it, individual rescues are permissible, but we are not yet in this desperate situation. In China, where the relatives of a criminal are punishable for his crime and where rewards for acts of valour are extended to ancestors, how can one set aside individuals from the community and seek the salvation of a few, at the price of separating them from their neighbours? We think (however bold it may sound) that universal conversion would not meet with insuperable obstacles if it were carried out in the right way. Such a general conversion would not be an unacceptable innovation for the Chinese, but a return to their ancient past.
Naturally, China would wish for the restoration of that part of her past when she was the greatest state in the world, and that is inseparable from Christianity, Syrian Christianity, with which we Russians are now in communion... To make converts in China, a missionary must become a historian and an archaeologist...
Modern Christianity, as it is being introduced by China's Western 'enlighteners', can attract only rootless vagabonds bereft of fathers, and make them into a force hostile to China herself... Only through the study of the wild, tempestuous force of nature (in accordance with the philosophy of the Chinese themselves, as expressed in the Si-ngan-fu inscription) 'can the sublunar world be brought to peace', that is, to a correct alternation of rain and fair weather at the right times, ensuring the basic conditions for general welfare in a mainly agricultural country – indeed in any country.
...Maybe China, like Kievan Russia, was baptised without preliminary catechesis because, like our ancestors, she was convinced about faith not by reasoning, but by its overwhelming moral self-evidence. T'ai-tsung, ‘who exceeded in justice all men’, and Vladimir, who disbanded his harem and feared to execute even brigands, drew their peoples to a doctrine which gave rise to moral miracles of which they were themselves eye-witnesses. Both T'ai-tsung and Vladimir were like godfathers to their peoples, in undertaking to enlighten the new converts, by introducing obligatory education for all. Such an education, resulting from the building of churches alongside museum-schools, would today bring about conversion to true Christianity.
At the same time this would promote spiritual union between two great continental realms.
These two powerful agricultural nations, which have defended themselves against nomads, the one (China) by erecting a stone wall (the Great Wall of China) and the other (Russia) by fortified earthworks, gradually came closer, enlarging the area of peace. The world, and Western Europe in particular, are indebted to them for halting the invasions of Mongols and other wild nomads...
From the dawn of history, Iran has struggled with Turan.3 Darius understood, all that time ago, that victory over Turan was possible only if Turan met resistance from the north. However, this worthy heir of Cyrus could not pacify the steppes without being endangered by the Greeks. Therefore, instead of struggling against Turan, he was drawn into a war with the freedom-loving Greeks, so adept at discord. Similarly, the new Persian Empire found an enemy in Rome and was distracted from its pacifying task. Russia also, continuing Iran's struggle against Turan, was unsuccessful, owing to the perennial hostility of the West, a faithful ally of the nomads. The crusades were a temporary exception in this policy of the West's, which was later superseded by the alliances of Olgerd and Mamai, of Casimir and Ahmed 4, and then of the West with the Turks... Such was the outcome of the distressing internecine war within the Aryan race...
3. A reference to the epic poem Shah-Nameh by the Persian poet Firdausi (940-1020), which contains ancient myths and legends in which Iranian heroes fight cviJ villains from Turan.
4. Olgerd, Prince of Lithuania (1341-77); it was actually his son Jagailo who allied himself to the Tartar Khan Mamai, but brought his army too late to save Mamai from defeat at the Battle of Kulikovo (1380), the first Russian victory over the hitherto invincible Tartars. Ahmed is probably the Sultan of Turkey Ahmed III (1673-1730), who gave refuge to Charles XII of Sweden in 1709 after the latter's defeat by Peter the Great at the Battle of Poltava. Ahmed supported Charles XII and the Polish King Stanislav Leszinski (not Casimir) in their war against Russia during which the Turks defeated the Russian army on the river Prut and nearly captured Peter himself. During the Crimean War (1853-6) French and British troops fought alongside the Turks and, after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-8 for the liberation of the Balkan Slavs, the Western powers imposed on Russia the Treaty of Berlin, thereby thwarting Russia of the fruits of her hard-won victories and limiting the independence of the Balkan Slavs.
Union in the struggle against the irrational force of nature could bring about that universal pacification suggested in our circular of 12 August,5 which expressed the conviction that there is no fatal, ineluctable necessity for wars, and that the) result from the sin of discord, which is a sin against the Holy Trinity. Firmly convinced
of this, let us end our essay with a prayer preserved by the Syro-Chaldeans, and probably known to the Chinese who adopted the 'luminous faith' from them. This solemn yet touching prayer is read on ‘the Wednesday of the general prayer of the Ninivians’, but instead of speaking of the salvation of the Ninivians alone, it speaks of the salvation of the whole world.
We pray for Thy mercy also towards all our enemies, all who hate us and conspire against us. We do not pray for judgement and vengeance, O Lord God Almighty, but for compassion, salvation and forgiveness of sins, because Thou wishest all men to be saved and to come to reason.*
5. The circular sent out by Tsar Nicholas II to all governments, which resulted in the convocation of the first Hague Peace Conference in May 1899 and the setting up of the International Court of Justice in the Hague. (See Appendix IV.)
* Katolikos Vostoka i ego narod. Ocherki tserkovno-religioznoi i bytovoi zhizni Siro-Khaldeitsev. St Petersburg, 1898. pp. 42-43