On Nihilism by Fr Seraphim Rose

Lately, it has become obvious to me that democracy –however defined–is definitely a dead end. Of course, the rejoinder to that is that the United States never was a democracy, it was constituted as a constitutional republic. True enough. However, the facade of our constitutional strictures has now been laid bare thanks to the election of one Donald John Trump as the forty-fifth president of these United States.

Clearly, the mask of republican civility is off in ways that would never have been expected in the past. I mean, the enemies of Trump are doing everything but marching down the streets wearing genitalia on their heads while they’re burning down buildings. It’s almost as if famous actresses are dreaming about blowing up the White House or are actively calling for the Army to stage a coup and set up a military dictatorship. Or prominent actors standing up at an awards ceremony and screaming the F-word not once but twice.

Oh wait, they’re actually doing that. Silly me.

We are talking about a murderous rage here. Not merely against the president but against the millions of hard-working people who voted for him. Make no mistake: if you pulled the lever for Trump, you’re toast if these people get their way.

Clearly, things are not going to get any better. Even if the economy keeps on improving, if the world becomes safer and even if unicorns prance over rainbows, the left will only become more unhinged. They’ll imagine that at the next press conference that Trump actually hacked Jim Acosta to death on live TV with an axe. When Acosta appears the next day to be alive and well it won’t matter. It’s what these people see in their own febrile minds that matters. That’s their reality.

Therefore any excuse, no matter how flimsy, will be used to justify the overturning of the Constitution and/or an outright civil war. Make no mistake about this.

Now, this is all ironic. Trump is no conservative (although he has done more conservative and libertarian things than all five previous Republican presidents combined and all within the space of five hundred days). No, Trump is essentially a business Democrat; he was a libertine, not a moralist. His views on the Second Amendment have “evolved” to the conservative position. In any other year, he could have just as easily run as a Clintonian Democrat. Instead, he carved out a nationalist niche in the GOP and added boilerplate conservative values to make it palatable to the Republican base.

All that is neither here nor there however. The issue at hand is this (and it bears repeating): the constitutional order doesn’t mean anything anymore. Not because the Republicans, Republicucks and/or #Nevertrumpers would do anything to overturn it, but because the left wants to and is eager to. And they will if they get the chance. So yes, the Constitution is essentially a legal fiction at this point, almost a dead letter.

Now why is this? Because republicanism, democracy, constitutionalism and all types of secular governmental systems for that matter are inherently nihilistic.

I realize that this is a hard saying for some to accept. I know I was repulsed by this notion when I first came across it in the writings of the late Fr Seraphim Rose, some twenty years ago when I bought his book Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age.*

Rather than bore you with the details (or possibly misrepresent them), I’ve attached the following YouTube clip in which a narrator reads directly from Chapter One of this book. It’s a little over twenty minutes long but it’s worthy of a listen.

So, does this mean that the Republic is over? I don’t know. But I do know that the facade of republicanism, of bipartisanship, and civility is over. These are the breeding grounds of terrorism, mind you. And to my mind, I can’t see how under these circumstances the Republic can long survive.

*Believe it or not, I bought this book at the Clergy-Laity conference of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese when it was held in Orlando, Florida, twenty years ago.



  1. Antiochene Son says

    We are already in a (cold) civil war. The empire is too large and encompasses too many people with too many ethnic, social, and religious differences. We are miserable because we are made to live together with those we have nothing in common with.

    It’s going to fall apart, I think within 20 years. And frankly, it should.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I would have given it 10 yrs had Hillary won in 2016. Now I say 20.

    • Antiochene Son: You are so correct in your observation. A Christian world view is not tolerated but Christians must tolerate everything under the sun and this makes for a sometimes miserable existence.

      In the case of the recent court decision in favor of the baker who wouldn’t make a specialty cake for a homosexual wedding – having a Christian world view led to him being sued. This can bankrupt you & your family while putting enormous stress on you.

      I think George is correct when he says civility is over.

    • The sooner it falls apart or there is an armed revolution, the better. I really wish that Trump would just seize power with the aid of the generals he assembled around him, shut down the MSM and get on with it. All our talk about Orthodox problems pales in comparison with the horrific carnage and social perversion that feminism has caused in the Western world:


      Any forcible restoration of the patriarchy is justifiable at this point.

    • What is most interesting at present is the very difficult times progressives everywhere are having. They are either being displaced by socialists (who tend to self destruct and drive the public to the right) or right wing populists throughout the Western world.

      If God is interested in saving the West, He will use the far Right to do it. They (we) are the only ones with the will to turn around the demographic decline of Northern Europeans in Europe and America. In Europe, especially, it will take autocratic personalities to save it from ethnic demise.

  2. Constantinos says

    Who has the best beards- Orthodox Christians or Orthodox Jews?

  3. Lately, it has become obvious to me that democracy –however defined–is definitely a dead end.

    Scratch a nationalist, find a fascist.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Patriot. Nations are the adornment of creation.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth stays for ever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to his place where he arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns about to the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; to the place from where the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Eccles. 1:2-9)

        Unfortunately, so many of these observations of the “murderous rage of the unhinged” and the “uncivil” are caricatures intended to incite and provoke anxiety. Who knew? The sky is falling and depends on the Werther Effect to thin its ranks. And as long as we have, again, started down this path of convoluted disregard for truth – working the “numbers,” if you will – then first acknowledge two righteous “practitioners”: Vladyka Tikhon, who pointed out la connerie that abortion clinics are purposely overly-represented in minority neighborhoods, and that abortion itself has always been the constitutionally-protected right (globally) of white women; and to my delight, with the return of Pere LaChaise, we know when scratching a Democratic assassin (or an adolescent mass murderer, or the nation of paedophilia, for that matter), you strike “caucasian,” and bro’ you can’t buy a minority with your share of the windfall tax cut of 2018.

        So what’s the point? I am sincerely amused, in fact down right giddy at your mourning of the “collapse” of the facade of republicanism, of bipartisanship, and civility. For the majority of my life – whether by force, necessity, or choice – I have experienced my life on the other side of town, where none of this endless theoretical jaw-jacking even interested me, for the simple reason that it was theoretical. My only consolation was the church, and as if I have to say it, but my generation, all those young people that grew up in the church with me are MIA, long gone, disgusted with with languages they could not understand, a theology they were never taught, and an ethnocentrism for which they had no enthusiasm. Hey, has anyone read Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s The Problems of Orthodoxy in America (Canonical, Liturgical, and Spiritual)? Too “outdated” and “set in the context of his time,” says Fr. Hans, and “Parisian Orthodox,” says his scholarly poseurs. Be ambitious and read it for yourself.

        Personally, I am fully prepared for you to suffer with the impending “calamities” of your prediction with which you continuously fill this space, but quite frankly, I am quite indifferent. Something about “sleep now in the fire…” The president and the dictator, according to the NY Times, dined on a lunch yesterday fit for the glorious and God-Saved City of Constantinople, New Rome, while unknown numbers of human beings are starving. Such juxtaposition has, through the course of history, served as an indictment of the Church for silence and a failure to take action against injustice, indignity, human suffering, sickness, hunger, poverty, homelessness, and the need to care for the orphans and the widows. As I read the Scripture, it is our hearts which fundamentally acknowledge, and fundamentally obligate us to such things, but instead, I read here that “We are miserable because we are made to live together with those we have nothing in common,” and that “Christians must tolerate everything under the sun and this makes for a sometimes miserable existence.” This, then (in consideration of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission et al.) leads to one sweet (Aye!) segue…

        [For it] is true, indeed, that the Divine beauty is not adorned with any shape or endowment of form, by any beauty of colour… so I would have you understand that our Maker also, painting the portrait to resemble His own beauty, by the addition of virtues, as it were with colours, shows in us His own sovereignty: and manifold and varied are the tints, so to say, by which His true form is portrayed [in bestowing on us His image and likeness]… with such hues as these did the Maker of His own image mark our nature… Again, God is love, and the fount of love: for this the great John declares, that “love is of God,” and “God is love “: the Fashioner of our nature has made this to be our feature too: for “hereby,” He says, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another “: thus, if this be absent, the whole stamp of the likeness is transformed.

        St. Gregory of Nyssa, The Making of Man, PG 44

        I suspect this will adequately address the fact that man alone is the crown and adornment of creation, and the indelible image and likeness of our God is what we all have in common. When we open our heart to seek this in anyone, it is a different world.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Ah, but Michael S. ideology and is self-righteousness are so much more fun, are they not? The fact of the matter is that no form of government is righteous. Some are worse than others, some are murderous but any form of government no matter how perfectly constructed is a created thing and subject to destruction and corruption. DUH. Still it is part of our task as the indelible image and likeness of our God to dress and keep the earth–order it in ways that show forth the glory of God and care for each other in the process. So government is unfortunately necessary not to do this but to allow for it and protect the effort while doing as much as possible not to make things worse.

          Political ideology of any stripe is an enemy of good government. That can be easily seen in our current malaise. Political ideology of any stripe assumes that government without reference to God can and should make things better. Government cannot do that especially without reference to God.

          Government is good at only one thing: force.

          So: “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

        • Thank you, probably one of the best posts you have ever written.

        • Michael Stankovich, There is nothing worse than broken eggs in a paper bag, packed by a absented minded bagger! Especially when one must have an omelette.

          The Orthodox Church, AND injustice, indignity, human suffering, sickness, hunger, poverty, homelessness, and the need to care for the orphans, and the widows, ARE NOT to be brought into union by a simple process of juxtaposition.

          Especially us Greek Orthodox. We first need to figure out how we are going to come up with $80,000,000, read that again, that’s 80 million dollars sir, lest we become the laughing stock and shame of the world. Yes I am more than willing to suffer until this completed, and Constantinople preserved! You sir are a Hypocrate!

          • If a man says,”I won’t help the poor because I must first take care myself.” We call it selfishness and term it a sin. If a parish says it and acts accordingly we consider it Christian-but as long as this “double standard” is accepted as a self-evident norm, as long as all this is praised and glorified as good and Christian at innumerable parish banquets, and “affairs”, the parish betrays rather than serves God.

            Finally the Orthodox parish became what it is today-an end in itself, an organization whose whole efforts and energies m-e directed at forwarding its own good-material stability, success, future security, and a kind of self-pride. And it is no longer the parish that serves the Church, it is, indeed, the Church that is forced more and more to serve the parish to accept it as its “goal” so that the priest, the last sign and representative of the “Church” in the “parish” , is considered good when he entirely subordinates the interests of the Church to those of the’ parish.-(Problems of Orthodoxy in America-by Father Alexander Schmemann)


      • Zarlefus Condsram says

        Indeed, the Tower of Babel confirms God prefers nationalism and particularism, but your beloved Orthodox Church instead proclaims Union of All in belzebubian 666 Roman Empire.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Nice framing. Anything that is not the modern global-homo brand of “democracy” is fascism.

    • Will Harrington says

      Here we have an all too common occurrence. A person who throws around words like fascist without, apparently, understanding what the word actually means. We really need to quit hiring history teachers based on their football coaching qualifications.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Next time we watch the State of the Union speech, I’d like to direct people’s attention to the well of the House. On either side of the Speaker’s chair are two fasces. Bundles of sticks tied together with an axe protruding at the top. It is from this ancient Roman weapon (which was carried by the lictors) that the word “fascist” is derived from.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Will, amen.

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Well, George, I have had my copy of this book longer than you by several years. It is a masterpiece in articulating the problem. Fr. Seraphim’s last book, “God’s Revelation to the Human Heart” is the answer.

    For those of you who have trouble with Fr. Seraphim, just read these two books, the alpha and omega of his writing and see if your mind is not changed.

  5. Pere LaChaise says

    Uh, George, please point out the left wing terrorists for me. All I see are emboldened neonazis and white supremacists killing people, and white sovereign citizens threatening secession in a bloody coup. Your maundering over attitudes in Hollywood is preposterous.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Did you know that every presidential assassin was a Democrat? Except for Timothy McVeigh, every anarcho-terrorist operation in. America was carried out by leftists.

      An Alt.right march in Charlottesville may be unpleasant but it is not an act of terrorism.

      • Antiochene Son says

        If the police had done their job in Charlottesville the opposing factions wouldn’t have been pressed into confrontation. Whatever you think of their views, they had a right to speak and a right to defend themselves when confronted with Antifa and police uninterested in maintaining order.

        I don’t think we’ll ever know what really happened there. I mean, the media blamed an unrelated helicopter crash on the protestors, who were there to protest the ISIS-style removal of statues. Whose report can you trust?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Charlottesville was a setup. Thug McAuliffe ordered the police to stand down.

    • Lol. You’ve been duped by the media. If you listen to the media, you’d think that white-nationalists et al. are some kind of border terrorist group. The funny thing is it is actually antifa (and other leftist “activist” groups) that are the most violent. As opprobrious as one may find the ideology of the far-right, they are at least for now relatively peaceful in the protests and rallies.

      At Charlottesville, the altright protestors brought shields and helmets. The antifa thugs brought shivs, bleach bombs, inter alia. They managed to blind and send several protestors to the hospital. Let’s not bring up the car because there’s evidence on the ground that the man was being attacked by several antifa members, got scared, panicked, and you know the rest.

      Don’t read my post as taking a side in terms of ideology. But your facts are simply wrong. The far-left in this country is magnitudes more violent than the far-right.

    • Ever heard of ANTIFA?

    • Not that George can’t speak for himself, but to answer your question leftists are the majority behind the “pro choice” (a.k.a. it’s okay to kill unborn children) movement. So yes, they are leftists, and yes, they are terrorists. Need I say more?

  6. We have come full circle from a couple weeks ago. The topic began with the suicide of Mr. Nevins, who’s to blames, what’s to blame, some of us had to defend monastic traditions, as if they destroy lives, and not the quick fix secular, and nihilistic society which has engulfed, and is destroying more and more of us. A father demands justice. Individualism accuses spiritual discipline of heresy. Nihilism, egotism, dark seeded hate never mentioned, only quick, easy scape goats. The absence of love? Where, and what of it?

    Then a rash of new suicides. First, 13 year old Basil in my parish, which redirects/ends the discussion, but then another two suicides. Why ? How? People with the whole world in the palm of their hand, wealth, dream careers, children in their midst, and yet death was their solution? George hit the nail on the head. Love one another. Find Love. Nihilism on the rise, and killing indiscriminately. Love was missing. True Love, real Love, The One Love, that saves man, from himself. Suicide never an option.

    Who knows why a young man, in a monastery, seeking Truth would kill himself, was Love missing, and darkness consuming? Where is the heart, and mind of a 13 year old that shoot himself? God help us!

    How great the love of vanity, and life of no value, as we witness countless celebrities, end it, when the flame of their star begins to burn out, physical love walks out the door, the booze and drugs no longer numb the pain, and distort reality. Death has become the answer for the ME generation. I decide, and make the rules.

    Earth’s Pandora box is wide open. Google has all the answers, not God. Everything viewed, open to the mind, and eye. No mystery, no joy of discovery. Choose the direction you seek and Google will take you there.

    God has become a religion. Religion is corrupt. Cynicism takes hold, and tradition mocked. Eternity mocked. Believers mocked. God denied. Nihilism winning out, and decades of sin, loathing, pain, fear, guilt, and hate finally breaks through. Love has forgiven us, and by doing so saves us. The resurrection of Love incarnate has promised us resurrection and life eternal! But Love cannot save us unless we accept, receive, worship, and love, Love.

    • Jane Rachel says

      You do realize that I am not allowed to write the “M” word on this blog, nor name the “SN” name, but you are, all in the name of “Love”?

      • Jane, I have been censored many times by George. That said my post was not about “M” or “SN”. It is the state we all find ourselves in. No matter age, sex, status, mental state, drugged, drug free, religious, or lack there of, no one is immune to despair, and thoughts of suicide. Mentally we are “quartered” daily, and thoughts of escape, instead of “soldiering on”, are at war within our soul. The cross is hard to bare, and never goes away.

        In our little blog o sphere it all came full circle, at least for me. As Orthodox Christians we are not nihilists, but slivers of such beliefs, insert, and subvert our minds, as we maneuver thru “the world”. The only answer is Love, prayer and the cross. If we embrace our cross we are safe.

  7. michael james kinsey says

    He knew what he was talking about, He stepped up to the serene pillar of absolute T
    ruth. He was set free, and obtained a full willingness to trust in God. Truth is Truth, nothing can change this. Our Good God, will bestow upon us all absolutely perfect Justice. The Good God is fair and honest. Trust in Him is absolutely warranted and conformable.

  8. Fr. David Hovik says

    Dangerous People are teaching our children by Dr. Jordan Peterson:

  9. Constantinos says

    Seraphim Rose was no scholar, and what he had to say on any subject is irrelevant. Instead of reading Seraphim Rose, read the ancient Greek classics. All educated people should know about ancient Greece and Hellenism. Smart people read the ancient Greek classics, and stupid people read Seraphim Rose.

    • George Michalopulos says

      That’s not fair. The ancient Greek philosophers should be read –by all means. But Rose understood the nihilism behind the enlightenment

      • Jane Rachel says

        There is no such thing as nihilism. Nihilism is a made-up idea because God exists. Why worry? Caligula was evil; does that make him a nihilist? Constantinos has a strange way of putting things, but if you look at the bottom line, Seraphim Rose was a mess his entire life. Why didn’t he ever look cleaned up? Does a greasy bed make him holy? Does the ability to write confusing tomes make him intelligent?

        Why read Seraphim Rose when you can read Saint Gregory the Great or Saint Gregory Palamas, for example? Or the Book of John, or Isaiah, or Proverbs?

        Why, I prefer the simple statement by Nietzche: “God is dead” to an avalanche of words. Evil exists because people choose evil; but if you take away the small percentage of evil people in the world, you really do have mostly well-meaning people doing their best to survive. We are all just muddling through.

        The idea that super intelligent people who use a lot of words are more valuable than the simple things in life, like, say, “Jesus wept,” is attractive. Intelligence sometimes belies itself; in other words, as Forrest Gump says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

        Definition of nihilism
        1 a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless

        Nihilism is a condition in which all ultimate values lose their value. —Ronald H. Nash

        b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
        2 a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility
        b capitalized : the program of a 19th century Russian party advocating revolutionary reform and using terrorism and assassination
        — nihilist play \ˈnī-(h)ə-list, ˈnē-\ noun or adjective
        — nihilistic play \ˌnī-(h)ə-ˈli-stik, ˌnē-\ adjective

        • Michael Bauman says

          Jane in a sense you are correct but you ignore one thing — the ability of we human beings to act as if God does not exist. Nihilisim is the effort to construct a society, a culture and a life as if God does not exist. Nihilism is only possible there. It is marked by the exercise of the human will to power and the destruction (or attempted desteuction) of all that is good and holy. Nietzsche called it the Transvaluation of All Values.

          As an intellectual movement it began in ernest in the west after the great schism. The continued disintegration of the Church and Christian polity that resulted empowered those who wanted to live lives without humility, honor or repentance.

          Now, it is in ascendance. It has no ultimate reality only because of the Incarnation. That does not mean it is not dangerous and destructive. It can literally lead people into hell and the worship of evil, power and sex. Look at our suicide rate. Although there is a moralistic, ascetical version which is probably worse because it wears a mask of good deeds for the good of “all”. It is the spirit of the anti-Christ.

          Unless you believe in total universalism (which the Church rejects) you cannot afford to remain naive concerning this epidemic disease.

          On a personal basis, real piety and deep Orthopraxis principally attending the Sacraments, practicing a discipline of Thanksgiving, alms giving, deep fasting and obedience to a spiritual father or confessor will protect you. Your children, grand-children and others you love may be injured and afflicted with this disease nonetheless.

          What Eugene Rose recognized in his pre-monastic cell was the reality of our age and our drastic separation from God codified in our attempts to govern ourselves. It is remarkable in it’s simplicity but it is a common understanding and not difficult to observe. When I first read it I found myself recognizing my own conclusions after a decade or so immersed in history and the philosophy of history. I demured at his prescription of Christian monarchy as the cure. I still do because a Christian monarchy can only exist and govern a Christian people. A whole barrel of repentance is necessary to even think about such a thing in the US.

          But we do have an Orthodox Christian monarch once again. King David in Cote’ d’Ivorie. God grant him many years and a merciful and peaceful reign.

          I have begun to like you Jane even though we see things so differently.

          Lord have mercy.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Jane the definitions you offer are not altogether wrong but they soften the reality. Real nihilists worship destruction for it’s own sake because only through that destruction will the ubermenschen be freed and allowed to rule. It is an intentional setting aside of God in favor of the worst in men (women need not apply BTW)

          There is an objective ground of truth–those who instigate and survive the destruction by exerting their will are the arbitors of truth.

          St. Anthanasisus wrote that our sin leads us toward nothingness, non- existence. Nihilists and the great liar behind nihilism glorify that.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Mr. C, Mr. C, how can this be? Do you think I am stupid?

      What is your understanding of the word “scholar”?

      You seem to think that one cannot both read ancient Greek Classics and Fr. Seraphim. Methinks your bias is showing on that one.

      How much history have you read? I will give you one book to read that is a graphic description of the nihilism at work in our world: Alistair Horne’s “The Price of Glory”. Have you read any of Nietzsche or other modern philosophers of destruction? It is always good to know one’s enemy.

      The real problem is your unnecessary and dangerous coupling of Hellenism and intelligence–no such coupling exists in reality. To me modern Hellenism is yet another example of the nihilism of which Fr. Seraphim speaks.

      Besides, I am not stupid. I am ignorant, sometimes willfully, but I am not stupid.

      Reading Fr. Seraphim with discernment and attention can only be a good thing. One does not have to read him as a prophetic oracle. You do not even have to agree with him but to dismiss him without reading him at all is not an indication of intelligence as far as I am concerned or rather an indication of an intelligence overruled by bias and emotion.

      He is not a trained theologian nor an academician with degrees. His most famous works are highly speculative but the book on Nihilism deserves serious consideration as well as his final book (a transcription of a talk he gave not long before he died). “God’s Revelation to the Human Heart.”

      In the Nihilism book, his intelligence and understanding of modern phenomena especially when place in context of his later monastic struggle with the spirit of the age is really instructive.

      He was a sinner and deeply flawed in many ways but who of us is not?

      • Constantinos says

        Mr. Bauman,
        I think you are an intelligent man. You are not ignorant.
        Seraphim Rose was imbued with Chinese crap. I saw a book written by his buddy called Christ – The Eternal Tao. Wrong! He’s the Logos. Ancient Greek philosophy paved the way for Christ. If you don’t know Greek philosophy, you don’t know diddly squat. I’m not talking about you, Mr. Bauman, I’m talking about Seraphim Rose.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Constantinos, I apologize for offending you or anyone else with my posts. I withdraw from further participation so as not to be a stumbling block for anyone seeking salvation.

          • M. Stankovich says


            Chief, my head spins trying to keep up with who’s coming and who’s going and for whose cause is “worthy of a blessing.” Coin toss, Little Stevie Wonder? Coin toss, Little Stevie Wonder? What to do, what to do? And let’s be honest, Joan Jett hates herself for reading Monomakhos, but she’s here with six different “pseudonyms in 2018 alone.

            In case it wasn’t obvious, I am a passionate person, but selective.This being the case, I am vulnerable to getting “hooked” into arguments driven by passion, not by knowledge, experience, and most importantly, wisdom. Grrr. And then, someone here I trust – and at whatever level seem to know I trust them – steps in to essentially serve as the Prophet Nathan to King David: “Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!” (2 Sam. 12:7) “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight immediately, and arose.” (Acts 9:18) Wow. It is not my intention to lead a group singing of “Let it Go!” but I believe you get the point. Sometimes it’s just as noble to simply say, “I hope you don’t mind if I sit this one out…” (Where have I heard that…) and roll with it.

            Thank you again for visiting Remise Conseils Je n’ai pas Demandé! and please exit through the gift shop.

          • Constantinos says

            Thank you Estonian Slovak. I apologize to you and ask your forgiveness for any and all offenses against you. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to anyone. You show a deep commitment to Christ through your kindness. Thank you again.

        • Michael Bauman says

          But Constantinos, you said “Stupid people read Seraphim Rose” I am sorry but that is simply not true as a carte blanche statement. There are undoubtedly some stupid people who read Fr. Seraphim just as there are stupid people who read Greek Philosophy but such folks do not get very far in either. Some people do not need to read either because of their innate love for God and ability to commune with Him. Such people are quite likely to enter into the Kingdom before me if they are not already there.

          There are honest critiques that can be made of both Fr. Seraphim’s writings and Hieromonk Damascene Christian as well. Your biased outbursts do not help to do that any more than his over zealous followers do.

          Deficiencies aside both can be read with profit. Reading Greek philosophy would like result in greater profit if one read with intelligence and discernment, but that is not 100% certain.

          I have not read Christ, the Eternal Tao but I can say that there is a legitimate analog between the Tao and the pre-incarnate Logos.

          Certainly the Patristic Fathers made extensive use of Greek Philosophy, some say too much at times but that is beyond my competence.

          However, John the Baptist was the Forerunner. The covenant with Abraham was the preparation.

          I ask you though, is it really beyond legitimate possibility that Jesus Christ revealed a shadow of Himself to others besides the Jews and the Greeks? That He paved the way for further revelation of Himself within the indigenous linguistic, philosophical and religious traditions of other people’s as He did with the Greeks?

          It only seems reasonable to me that He would do that. His comments about other sheep seem to indicate that to me as a possibility at the very least. He is everywhere present and filling all things is He not? Everything I have studied in history starting in high school certainly seems to suggest that possibility and more than a possibility.

          You are pushing the Greek a bit too heavily IMO.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says


            He says inflammatory things to mess with you or see who will bite

            Then he backs up a bit. Then kinda change/tweak what he said

            Then he will either say he was just joking or was in a bad mood

            It’s the pattern that’s been going on for some time

            The most subtle trolling I’ve ever seen. Sometimes funny

            Just ignore it

            I may say something outlandish for laughs, or say something satirically, but I’m not here to troll

            I just feel that’s his deal

            • Constantinos says

              Billy Jack Sunday,
              Do you really think I get up at 2:15 AM to troll people? I’m just a sinner who loves our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I happen to suffer from foot in mouth disease.

            • Constantinos says

              Brother Billy Jack,
              Since you consider me a troll, please allow me to change my opinion on an important matter. I am reversing my position on the border wall, I think it is essential when I see all these people from Guartemala scaling a fence waving the Guartemalan flag. That is an invasion.
              I’ve been reading international law on refugees. A person seeking asylum must go to the first available country. In this case, that would be Mexico. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is right. Domestic violence is not grounds for seeking asylum. There are many women in the US trying to escape domestic violence. They stay here in the US. The refugees should do the same or go to the first safe country Mexico.
              Although it may seem harsh, the Trump administration is right in separating the children from their parents. Naturally, it’s meant as a deterrent. When he was campaigning for president, Trump said, ” we want legal immigration.” These people are trying to jump the line. That’s not right. I don’t want illegal aliens in this country. Message: Go to Mexico. Let’s fulfill President Trump’s promise to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says


                I do not consider you a troll, but I question some of your writings in that vein

                That’s not to say I don’t enjoy your posts

                They are pretty funny

                As it turns out now, stupid people read Kallistos Ware

            • Michael Bauman says

              BJS, no I do not think Constantinos is a troll. I have had some genuine engagements with him and hope to do so in the future.

              • Constantinos says

                Thank you Mr. Bauman,
                The way I write is basically a stream of consciousness. I write what I’m thinking at that moment. That’s why I put my foot in my mouth so often because I don’t give a great deal of thought to my writing. My thoughts could be on any subject at all. That’s what I like about Hellenism- free thinking.
                Lately, I’ve been thinking I’m really tired of convert priests preening all over the internet thinking they more than the rest of us. I’m also thinking of the Orthodox Speaker’s Bureau. I read an excellent article on Hellenism at St.Symeon.org by Father Eusebius Stephanou. Basically, I can see why he considers Hellenism so important.
                Now, another interesting thing to me is I’ve been reading St. Symeon the New Theologian’s Discourses. I’m thinking to myself his emphasis on asceticism is not really biblically accurate because he says that God only gives his Holy Spirit to people who have been purified through long years of asceticism. I read about St. Stephen the Martyr who died in AD 34. The Bible says he performed many signs and wonders because he was filled with the Holy Spirit then I’m thinking to myself that St. Stephen died before they were even called Christians. In my opinion, Orthodoxy has it wrong. St. Stephen was probably a believer in our Lord and Savior for only a year before his martyrdom. I just like to think I ask questions that others don’t. It’s also entirely possible I may change my mind about these thoughts. To me, that’s the beauty of Hellenism- free thinking. Thank you sir.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  You are indeed a troll, Constantinos, who “intentionally antagonizes others by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments.” I encouraged George to drop you after your first post. That others find you “funny” is your saving grace because you are too solicitous and then too caustic for my taste.

                  I do think we’ve engaged you, however; on *some* level, anyway. There are times (sadly, too few) when you abandon your outrageous and insulting behavior to enter into real dialog, which is probably why George has elected to continue to let you post here. Why not drop the facade and just be real all the time? It would be greatly appreciated because the rest of what you write is just taking up space.

                  • Constantinos says

                    George has been more than gracious and kind in letting me post on this forum. There are many times I am reminded of Christ’s words that we will have to give account of every idle word we have said. I believe that many of the things I’ve written are indeed stupid. I think there have been many times I have abused the privilege.
                    In all honesty, I don’t particularly care for you as a poster. There is no reason for me to enumerate the reasons. They are legion. I ask your forgiveness for all the negative thoughts I have for you as a poster. I love you as a sister in Christ, but I don’t like you.
                    I promise that I’m going to really try to cease posting on this forum. My thinking is too different from other posters. Again, George has been more than gracious and kind to allow me to post, but this is his forum and I don’t want to pollute it with my eccentric thinking. The best thing for me to do is keep my mouth shut. I will continue to read Monomakhos, but I’m not going to post. It’s not because I think I don’t have interesting things to say; I think I do. Thank you George for your kindness and commitment to free speech.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You’re welcome. However, I must correct you in this regard: if you knew Gail, you would like her as well as love her.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says


                Hey, if you want him to keep feeding you crackers and twisting your nipple until you can whistle, that’s fine with me

                I just gotta look away after a short bit. It’s too much. The funny just turns too awkward

                I think he’s got some good points too and is certainly funny but he is good at messing with you

                It’s kind of impressive, really

  10. It’s good to see a plug here for Fr Seraphim Rose! What an outstanding servant he was for our Lord and Church. Unfortunately however this doesn’t deter the detractors.

    One Orthodox, for instance, felt justified in criticising him by looking at some of the fruits that Fr Seraphim supposedly gave birth to; namely, certain hard nosed other Orthodox that might be a little overzealous. But this is just the age-old mistake of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and if we don’t challenge it, then we’re liable to discredit the Eastern Orthodox Church altogether, simply because it’s filled with a pack of sinners. But this won’t do.

    No, Fr Seraphim was truly amazing, and nothing or nobody misrepresenting his insights can change that. In support of this, I’d direct his critics to anything he wrote* concerning the deeper meaning behind the then schism between ROCOR and Moscow, as well as why he felt it necessary to Commune with New Calendarists. A more intelligent balance between Tradition and flexibility I, personally, have never found, putting to bed many of the things I thought he was saying elsewhere.

    *my apologies, but I have no concrete references today, for reasons that don’t seem important to specify. Google searching on key words should do the trick, though.

    As for the Nihilism in American politics etc. this is only too true; and until any leader sincerely asks who we are, where do we come from and why are we here? And then comes up with the right answer, we can be sure that nothing will change for the better.

    But the significance of meaning, much less the means of actually discerning it, isn’t something our modern human world is familiar with. While we can all certainly agree, albeit mostly unconsciously, that a guitar used for playing guitar music is good, but less than useless for almost anything else, it more or less manages to escape us to wonder whether WE have a purpose, or whether we’re meeting it.

    Granted, any given person can tell anyone else what it is they’re aiming for in life, and basically all political parties etc. cater to these tastes. Absent from all this, however, is the deep and probing question: what is it really to be man?

  11. George politically speaking if Trump chose the Democratic Party he would’ve saved them instead of saving the Republican Party, as both parties were hanging by threads looking for a leader, and common sense for common folks.

    Trump chose the Republican Party, hence forth they are rising and the Democratic Party is flailing in the wind still looking for a leader and message, that unites more than it divides.

  12. Polly Polonium says

    Cool, maybe you can voluntarily decamp to Gitmo where you will hang by a meathook up your gizzard for the buzzards to fresse on your treasonous carrion. Or you can take your pilgrimage to Russia to sip polonium while your women are circumcised by the Skptozy.

  13. While I enjoy replying to some of the fanciful stuff I see on Monomakhos from time to time, just enough I fear to pour fuel on an already burning fire, I have to admit that the greater joy to be obtained is from focusing on one’s own little garden inasmuch as the problems we discuss about America are insoluble.

    Inner peace and grace are much more important than how long the republic lasts. The Fathers spoke of monarchy, polyarchy and anarchy – democracy being a form of polyarchy that leads to anarchy. Prophetic, no?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that what that means for an Orthodox monarchist is to attempt to ignore democratic politics as much as possible. One ought to plan for its eventual collapse, no doubt. But involvement beyond that is probably a fool’s errand which needlessly complicates the life of the faithful. After all, we are fleas on a dog’s back deeply embroiled in a controversy over which way the tail should wag – exactly the position we would find ourselves in were we living in a monarchy. Except in a monarchy, we would not have to endure the schizophrenia of the American two party system. And monarchs are almost never “progressives”, unless they are “constitutional monarchs”.

    So don’t worry, be happy. Focus on grace and the inner life of inner peace.

    God will work it all out to His satisfaction.

    • Michael Bauman says

      There is once again an Orthodox King in our world. Tchiffi Zae Gervais of the Krou in the Cote d’Ivorie has been baptized on Mt. Athos taking the name of David.

      His kingdom is not extensive but it is a real kingdom.

      Again I recommend visiting the site Journey to Orthodoxy for those who think the Church is not really alive and evangelical. There is much more going on than we realize.

  14. Michael Bauman says

    Jane the definitions you offer are not altogether wrong but they soften the reality. Real nihilists worship destruction for it’s own sake because only through that destruction will the ubermenschen be freed and allowed to rule. It is an intentional setting aside of God in favor of the worst in men (women need not apply BTW)

    There is an objective ground of truth-the unbridled human will-those who instigate and survive the destruction by exerting that will are the arbitors of truth. That will is trancendental and is revealed in the ultimate triumph of the Ubermensch in his singular and lonely glory. It is a cyclical reinvigoration that is driven by destruction.

    St. Anthanasisus wrote that our sin leads us toward nothingness, non- existence. Nihilists and the great liar behind nihilism glorify that.

    Yes, Jane their really are nihilists because their really is an evil one who desires nothing more than our destruction.

  15. Jane Rachel said that nihilism doesn’t exist, but hasn’t addressed the reality of not everyone knowing God – i.e. He and ONLY He who gives actual meaning to anything. And this isn’t a question of existence and non-existence, anyway, but one of life and death. Both exist, we can be sure, but only one of them is alive. And right alongside life is something called order, which always fulfils some great need; while death, on the other hand, despite having a process, seeks satisfaction but never finds it. That’s the essence of nihilism, Jane Rachel, which I’m sorry to say, is too real.

    Jane Rachel also took a swipe at Fr Seraphim for being a mess, but I genuinely believe there’s a lot of room for much suffering in our Faith. If anything, it suggests that God was quite fond of him, and the compassion that he obviously had because of it (his suffering) does this idea no harm.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Hello Stefan,

      My point is that nihilism doesn’t exist because God exists; therefore, in every person is the image of God. Atheism is also not a valid thought; nevertheless, atheists muddle through with the rest of us, most of them doing the best they can, and loving despite their “belief” that God does not exist.

      If we, as Christians, see nihilism as having any clout at all, we are mistaken; for God is in control of everything. There is HOPE. This is my point. We need not let our spirits sag at the darkness in the world today. In the midst of suffering, we rejoice, and our sadness is turned to joy. It will be over soon. Just keep going. Christ is coming! Glory to God!

      When we concentrate on suffering, we take away our own hope in Christ. Suffering happens. We don’t have to seek it out or even think about it. Why beat yourself with an electrical cord? Why be afraid of anything? Why does Seraphim Rose concentrate on suffering, and put those ideas into our brains, as if God does not work in ALL of us, whether we are suffering or not? Salvation belongs to the Lord, and it’s up to God to work in us. In other words, we don’t need to concentrate on suffering, but on Him.

      Suffering happens, we go through it, and it’s over. In fact, I would venture to admit that these words came to my mind several months ago: “Suffering is over-rated.” Suffering ends. God has a plan. All suffering will end, and soon. Christ IS coming back for His Bride. “Just you wait and see,” says God.

      I didn’t “take a swipe” at Fr. Seraphim for being a mess. He WAS a mess. How did Seraphim Rose suffer, at least until his early death? Did he suffer from starvation? From having everything taken away from him? Was he martyred? Do the Holy Martyrs concentrate on suffering? No, they concentrate on what is good, and honorable, true and righteous, and worthy of praise.

      Another thing is this: “love” as a word is not valid unless we realize that GOD IS LOVE and GOD IS GOOD. All this talk of “love” connected to “suffering” makes no sense. Christ suffered, and was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures, and He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. This is what we seek: CHRIST.

      • M. Stankovich says

        I really didn’t want to get involved in this, but already, it seems to me, you are off on a dogging mission without a clue as to the underlying meaning of “nihilism,” its origin, its context, or, ultimately, its resolution. Nevertheless, as is customary, this hardly prevents you from “expounding.”

        The source of the term “nihilism” seems to have originated in Russia (нигилизм) sometime in the 19th century; Fr. Alexander Schmemann, in his course on The Church in Russian Literature said it became popular with the publication of Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons (Отцы и дети [children, actually]) in 1862. A central character, Bazarov, claims to have moved beyond stagnancy and embraced the “most advanced ideas” of his time (you guessed it), nihilism.

        To understand the dramatic rise of nihilism as a philosophy and profound source of protest and a precursor to revolution, you have to appreciate the state of the Church and the state of society in Russia. The short solution is to realize that Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky died in 1861: The Brothers Karamazov was a novel about the struggle for faith in the church in a changing world; Crime and Punishment was the vision of the changed world of nihilism.

        You said to Michael Bauman in another thread, “You sit at home in your easy chair, with your glass of wine, and you can’t even imagine…” You say above, “We need not let our spirits sag at the darkness in the world today. In the midst of suffering, we rejoice, and our sadness is turned to joy.” You also mock Hieromonk Seraphim, “I didn’t “take a swipe” at Fr. Seraphim for being a mess. He WAS a mess. How did Seraphim Rose suffer…” as if to say, “sitting around mulling on suffering promotes suffering.” In absolute honesty, have you read Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov, Rachel? I do not ask this to accuse nor mock you. I am attempting to make the point that nihilism arose, not out of an individual’s perception, nor a group’s perception, nor even an influential group’s perception of the state of society – and therefore the state of their “world” at the time – but it was the perception of the society itself.

        So much that you say implies a lack of faith or a lack of trust in the vindication of God: “God has a plan. All suffering will end, and soon. Christ IS coming back for His Bride. “Just you wait and see,” says God.” [Note here that I am purposely choosing to not to pursue the fact numerous times I said the exact thing to you, repeatedly, and you ignored me, or told me to “Back. Off.”] It seems reasonable to ask, where was the Russian Orthodox Church? I believe one example will convey the state of the church and its helplessness at the time. According to the wishes of Czar Peter the Great, the administration of the church was given over to a Holy Synod, consisting of representatives of the Hierarchs selected or approved by the Czar. The Synod was then overseen by a secular official appointed by the Czar, with the authority to supervize all activities, including and property and income. One significant decision this official immediately made was that the “privilege” given to the children of the clergy to have free access to the higher education system was “unfair,” and with the single exception of seminaries, eliminated. With the prospect of no advanced education or training, many defiantly turned to their only option. The Rector of what had been one of the most respected schools of theology in Russia, the Saint Petersburg Theological Academy, bitterly complained that he was forced to accept students with “no vocation and no interest” and turn away legitimate applicants, only to be stuck with ones who were disruptive, disrespectful, defiant, disobedient, and drunk. In exasperation he said he believed it had reached a point that the evil was so pervasive, that simply expelling them was insufficient, and the walls, literally, should be torn down, and rebuilt anew.

        Let’s return to your statement: “Nihilism doesn’t exist because God exists.” God exists and hopelessness exists. God exists and despair exists. God is Light, yet there is darkness. Our God says, “Comfort, comfort my people, said your God. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins,” (Isa. 40:1-2) yet people demand a justice that is not theirs now. CONTEXT: we are in this broken life and in this cosmic disaster of our fallen world because of our defiance and disobedience. Why would you image these are tools of reconciliation?

        I began by pointing to, “…ultimately, its resolution.” The reality is that, while there would be no extinguishing the flame that nihilistic movement lit; it led to the Civil War, which led to the Russian Revolution, which led to the Soviet State. Alexey Khomiakov has been described alternately as a theologian, historian, philosopher, “renaissance man,” poet, prolific writer & public speaker, and dedicated to Gospel message of reaching out to those in need. Virtually nothing that he wrote was published or available during his lifetime because he was censored for his criticism of Czar Nicholas I. He died in 1860. He is best known for a pamphlet, of all things, entitled, “The Church is One,” and if you have never read it, you must. PDF here. Of Butler University sums it up:

        That the Spirit is an experiential principle in “The Church is One” can be sensed in a phrase in the essay which adumbrates an important development in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. Discussing faith, hope and charity as gifts of the Spirit and em­ phasizing their interrelatedness, Khomiakov speaks of the zhivoe Predanie and zhivoe edinstvo of the church-the “living Tradi­tion” and “living unity” of the church. If in “The Church is One” Khomiakov had simply affirmed the “tradition” and “unity” of the church, there would be nothing special about the essay. After eighteen hundred years of Christianity, the world did not have to be told that the Church is one and that it preserves a sacred tradition. Khomiakov’s originality lay in his application of the ad” jective “living” to the categories of unity and tradition, hence also in the implication that unity and tradition may be “dead”. To be sure, the Holy Spirit had always been confessed in the Creed as zhiuoluoriashchii, “life-giving.”

        I say to you again, you go out of your way to make adversaries where there are none – in this case Stefan, someone new to this site – when it is you who are uninformed.

        • Jane Rachel says

          Michael Stankovich, I have read “Crime and Punishment” and “Brother Karamazov.” Raskolnikov is the character used by Dostoyevsky to reveal the truth that nihilism exists only as a construct – a Platonic form – but that in reality, nihilism does not exist because God exists. With the reality that God exists, the things of earth grow “strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” The idea is to take the suffering of others on oneself, realize the goodness that lies within ourselves, and experience light – not to concentrate on our own badness so all we see is ourselves. This, I believe, is the difference between Raskolnikov’s development and what I’ve been reading in responses to this discussion, in the teachings that come from Father Ephraim, or in Father Seraphim Rose’s writings.

          You wrote:

          “Our God says, ‘Comfort, comfort my people, said your God. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins,’ (Isa. 40:1-2) yet people demand a justice that is not theirs now. CONTEXT: we are in this broken life and in this cosmic disaster of our fallen world because of our defiance and disobedience. Why would you image these are tools of reconciliation?”

          The “tools of reconciliation” are this: “She has receive double for all her sins” has been overcome with “Her iniquity is pardoned and her warfare is accomplished.”

          “Cy” wrote in a comment below:

          “However I like modern art and he [Father Seraphim Rose] reseved it as ‘nihilism’ and really even worse than that in true hell after Judgement.”

          Jackson Pollack’s “Blue Poles” is evidence that the chaos Pollack thought would happen when flinging paint across the canvas didn’t happen because the universe is ordered. God’s inspiration in every man is evident in one of my favorite Pollack quotes: “When I am in a painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image, etc, because the painting has a life of its own.”

          We live and move and have our being in God, not in “this broken life and this cosmic disaster of a fallen world because of our defiance and disobedience.” Fractals disprove your statement, “cosmic disaster of a fallen world.”

          I also wrote that the phrase came to mind, “Suffering is over-rated” and I think that’s true. I would stop posting on this idea that “nihilism doesn’t exist,” and agree with everyone, except it seems to me that there’s something missing. We don’t need to concentrate on suffering. Again, the final phrase of the Nicene Creed is, “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” That is a far cry from “we are in this broken life and in this cosmic disaster of our fallen world because of our defiance and disobedience.”

          The Church is here to cover the broken life and cosmic disaster with hope for what is to come.

          I guess that’s all I can say about it.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Jane, you are correct: evil has no ontological reality. It is still a delusion and thus, a temptation

          • M. Stankovich says

            Rachael, you read the Cliff Notes or less.

            You are among those “annoyed” disciples (Matt. 15:21-27), complaining of yet another women who yells out, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, you son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil”; “Send her away; for she cries after us.” But the Lord is emphatic: “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Whenever the Apostles could not find Him and imagined the worst, where did they find the Lord? Sitting among the sick, the suffering, the loathed, the despised, the rejected, the most despicable society had to author; even those who were a MESS like Hieromonk Seraphim. In effect, everyone who frightens you, Rachel. He did not mock them, berate them, become angry at them, scorn them, reject them, or abandon them. He sat in their midst and healed, comforted, cared for, and loved them. The Lord knew this woman’s heart and her faith: “Lord, I have nowhere else to turn! I have no other hope. I only have you.” She surrendered. And His words to this woman who persisted and argued, despite the discouragement and shame she received from the Disciples, and undoubtedly from you for suffering? “O woman, great is your faith: be it to you even as you will.” “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. 11:12)

            How awesome you quote me the cosmology of Jackson Polollack, but if I might make a quick suggestion: if you would question my interpretation of the cosmic disaster of our disobedience and defiance of our God – and I certainly will not refer you to the Holy Fathers whom you will not read – simply sit down and read the Canon – the entire Canon – composed by St. John of Damascus – that is one of last things ever sung over each and every one of us, clergy and laity, in the Orthodox Service for the Burial of the Dead. You will need no further convincing. Pardon me, but you are simply incompetent to be making theological arguments such as you attempted.

            I will say again (and again, and again), it strikes me as astonishingly sad that you can apparently produce an abundance of compassion and a demand for justice (if that is, in fact, what it is) for individuals thousands of miles away, and for whom you will never have contact, and certainly no relationship (the Ecumenical Patriarch, Assad, and I smell in the air “vindication for Milosevich” brewing…) – to the point of tantrum, insult, and manipulating data to appear “right” – yet you are incapable of empathy or compassion for your neighbor, because they frighten you.

          • Have you any idea what joy can be felt by a soul that is wronged but does not attempt to justify itself so that people will say, “Bravo”, or “I am sorry”? It rejoices more in being wronged than in being justified . Those who reach this spiritual condition wish to thank the one who wronged them for the joy rendered in this life but also for the eternal life that has been secured. How different is the spiritual from the worldly!

            In the spiritual life, things are in reverse: when you are left holding the short end of the stick, then you feel good; and when you give it to someone else, you feel badly. When you accept an injustice and are prepared to justify your neighbor, you accept Christ himself into your heart, Who was wronged and maligned. It is then that Christ cannot be evicted from your heart and fills you with peace gladness. Try it, my children, and experience this great joy! Learn to be happy with this spiritual joy, not the worldly one, and every day it will be Easter.-(Elder Paisios of Mount Athos)

            Jane, my sister,
            In this broken life, and fallen world, accepting suffering and injustice can never be, “over rated”!
            Come Lord! I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.

        • The weight from all the hate in the world makes for imagined enemies around every corner. Prayers only a temporary relief. Come Lord!

        • Michael Bauman says

          Michael S. Your exposition of the coelesence of nihilism as a coherent philosophy/ideology is very good. It did, of course, exist prior to that. It can be clearly seen in the neo-Platoic gnostics such as Emerson. Hawthorn’s, “The Limeburner’s Heart” is deeply chilling-Raskolnikov without grace. The fact that Emerson and Hawthorn are the fathers of American literature is sobering to me.

          What happened in the middle of the 19th century that saw such an excressence of evil in the Russian nihilists, Marx, Darwin, Freud, Nietzche, Horace Mann and many others is a mystery to me. I am sure something similar happened in Asia, but I do not know what. It may have been the carnel emphisis in Hinduism.

          There was a tremendous amount of demonic energy unleashed and we are living in the consequences. The normalization of such a demonic orientation is what we are living in now. Like fish in water. You see that every day in your work. The more subtle iterations of that are just as destructive.

          That is what Blessed Serphim saw and tried to articulate.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Michael, I believe that spiritual forces were at work, “inspiring” minds which were already open to anti-Christianity.

        • Not sure who “Of Butler University” is but the Holy Spirit is spoken of in the Creed as “zhivotvoryashchii” (actually, “zhivotvoryashchago” in the accusative), not “zhiuoluoriashchii”, whatever that means, if anything:

          “И в Духа Святаго, Господа, животворящаго, Иже от Отца исходящаго, Иже со Отцем и Сыном спокланяема и сславима, глаголавшаго пророки.”

          When Turgenev wrote Fathers and Sons, he was largely disowned by the Russian left for his critical depiction of the nihilist, Bazarov.

          “What happened in the middle of the 19th century that saw such an excressence of evil in the Russian nihilists, Marx, Darwin, Freud, Nietzche, Horace Mann and many others is a mystery to me. I am sure something similar happened in Asia, but I do not know what. It may have been the carnel emphisis in Hinduism.”

          Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed an early version of the Theory of Evolution with others following suit until Darwin’s Origin was published in 1859. I believe that explains much of it. If we believe that death entered the world through one man and thus death was conquered by One Man, the evolution of human beings from lower life forms is an unacceptable proposition.

          Either death entered the world with Adam or the whole Christian edifice is a lie.

          • M. Stankovich says

            I apologize that the citation was cut off. The author was Prof. Paul Valliere of Butler University and the paper was entitled, “The Modernity of Khomiakov,” published in 2004. Please contact him directly with your corrections to his Russian transliteration.

            If the Russian left quickly disowned Tugenev, they all too quickly fell in line with Dmitri Pisarev, VG Belinski, Nikolai Chernyshevski, and Nikolai Dobrulyubov, and that, as they say, was that. Some argue that Dostoevsky himself was a follower of the Nihilists, but eventually capitulated to Khomiakov and “saved” the wretch Raskolnikov with the offer of repentance. But the fuse of civil war and revolution was lit. And so it goes…

            • The Bolshevik Revolution occurred because a very weak tsar abdicated and an even weaker democratic Provisional Government assumed power in February 1917. Having armed the Bolsheviks (!) during the Kornilov affair, they never confiscated the weapons and, of course, the Bolsheviks never turned them back over.

              For 7 months Russia probably had the most free democratic government in Europe. And that is what paved the way to hell.

              Lenin, sent back to Russia by the Germans to sabotage the Russian war effort, said that his party “found power lying in the streets and merely picked it up”. There was no historical inevitability to a revolution which broke all the rules of Marxism and had little popular support. At its zenith, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union included only about 5% of the population.

              Of course, it was the devil at work, not some historically unavoidable natural consequence of autocracy.

              “The decision to mount the coup was taken on October 10th. Lenin had returned to Petrograd disguised as a train engineer. At 10pm he crossed the city for the first Central Committee meeting he had attended since July. The meeting was held in Sukhanov’s apartment. His wife, Galina, was a Bolshevik, and had ensured that her husband would not return until late that night. Twelve members took part. They all wore wigs and make-up, glued-on mustaches and false beards. Lenin wore a wig of gray hair. It had been ordered from a wigmaker who worked for the Maryinsky Theater and whose normal clientele were aristocrats. He was puzzled why Lenin wanted a gray model since most of his customers wanted to look younger rather than older. Lenin also wore glasses and had shaved off his trademark beard. Zinoviev, known for his flowing mane, shaved his head and wore a false beard. The Provisional Government’s chance to arrest those plotting the coup was missed. Had the Government swooped down on the meeting that night they would have made history — Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Kollantai were all there. So too were Felix Dzerzhinsky, future head of the secret police, Yakov Sverdlov, the man responsible for murdering Nicholas and his family and, of course, Joseph Stalin (see Lecture 10). The Government ought to have acted but didn’t — one more example of the impotence of the Provisional Government itself.” – http://www.historyguide.org/europe/lecture6.html

  16. I not only read that book but I highlighted most of it. However I like modern art and he
    reseved it as “nihilism” and really even worse than that in true hell after Judgement. I had
    dream of Fr. Seraphim Rose and ultra super fast he cobbled apartments. So i try to keep my watercolors dour.

    Eric Burden and animals were at Russian River last week. He asked ??
    we should have one of these in UK .. russian river ..


    • Cy, just so you know, my 2 yr old daughter, wife and I were all dancing to the Fine tune you shared with us, it was a fun morning thanks to you!

  17. Hi Jane

    Nihilism: death exists and therefore so does nihilism. I can’t be any clearer than that. That Christ conquered death isn’t to say that people magically stopped sinning, dying and being condemned. Christ suffered, died and resurrected for many, not all. For those who don’t belong to the many, their ‘life’ is nihilistic.

    But what do we say from here? God isn’t all powerful and can’t beat the devil by saving all souls? Actually, a question like this makes of God that which He isn’t – i.e. egoistic and competitive. Certainly, the devil is trying to compete against God, yet God simply allows His creation freewill. If, with that freewill, the creature wishes to set up or serve another kingdom (Hell), then it can. The only condition is that the alternate kingdom will not be the one of eternal life, but of eternal death. And given the nature of things, it couldn’t be otherwise.

    But then what? Those who belong to the kingdom of life look down upon those who are nihilistic? Well, of course not; no more than anyone even halfway decent would sneer at someone terminally crippled by cancer. That Orthodox Christianity admits to nihilism, then, isn’t mean or harsh. In fact, it’s the greatest mercy we know.

    Suffering: Orthodox Christianity isn’t a feel good religion – at least not here on earth. In order to break the shackles of sin and death, a man must show that he wants to, for God will not force life/love onto anyone. He’s good like that. So, in order to show that this is what he wants, the disciple of Christ must suffer. This is unavoidable; and it’s unavoidable because it involves testing/temptation and a change of heart which more clearly perceives the widespread tragedy of sin/evil/death/nihilism. In this respect, love and suffering (here, in this life) makes perfect sense, and by jo do we have the saints to prove it.

    But do Orthodox worship suffering? Goodness, no. But it does focus our attention on Christ in a meaningful, life changing way. This isn’t to say that there can’t or won’t be moments of sweetness in this life, too, but to take this too far is (for one) to be insufficiently awake to the consequences of sin/nihilism.

    With regard to Fr Seraphim, I’m not denying that he didn’t have his problems, but I draw the line at assuming that this significantly degraded him. That he didn’t starve to death or wasn’t martyred or whatever should makes no difference. Not everyone will suffer the same way. All that matters is that a man understands Orthodoxy to the best of his ability, has a corresponding change of heart, and is willing to persevere under the cross he’s given. Fr Seraphim clearly had all of this (and I think that’s understating it, particularly given the especially dark times in which we live)

    I understand that these ideas can seem strange.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Stefan, well said. I would add that Fr. Seraphim of blessed memory is a kindred soul for any American born since WWII. He is especially for me.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Stefan, you wrote: “Christ suffered, died and resurrected for many, not all. For those who don’t belong to the many, their ‘life’ is nihilistic.” But don’t the Scriptures say that Christ died for all: “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15)?

      I was an atheist for a period of time in my life, but I never experienced despair because God exists and is in control. Then, God finally got it through my thick skull that God exists and Orthodoxy is the true faith. In the soul of everyone is the image of God. “Let us make God in our image!” If we concentrate on despair, we forget that God exists behind, in, through, above, beyond, around, everything. God is everything. This is why I said nihilism does not exist. It can’t because God fills everything.

      Humans create a nothingness around ourselves when we accept nihilism as real. It’s the “spirit of the age.” But it’s still false. God exists; nihilism does not exist. There is hope. Christ will return with glory to judge the living and the dead. Is His coming a far off thing, or is it imminent? Where is hope? In the Second Coming of the Lord. We do not know who will live and who will die; we don’t get to judge how God decides. Certainly, being an Orthodox Christian doesn’t get us into heaven.

      When I think about nihilism, I cannot for the life of me shake the image of a video of Hillary Clinton cackling over the death of Muammar Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y), and the juxtaposition of the images of his brutal murder in the streets of Sirte, along with images of what the west has done to Libya, and so many other countries. Yet, Orthodoxy keeps a strong presence in Libya. Christ is King and Conqueror.

      If the world continues to go on and on and on and on, centuries into the future, where will we be? We think in terms of now, when we should be thinking in terms of “would you please come back, Lord Jesus?” Honestly, I think the days are getting shorter and shorter. I think we are nearing the end of everything, and the beginning of “the life of the world to come.”

      • Michael Bauman says

        Jane, Christ did indeed die for all, especially the nihilists and the days are short. Exactly what Fr. Seraphim of Blessed Memory taught.

        And everything will be made new. But we still must be wise as serpents and unfortunately the demonically inspired nihilists and the philosophy they spew entices many and can both subtle and seductive. Many times it will masquerade as a righteous spiritual path. Just read On the Three Metamorphosis of the Spirit. To the uninstructed eye it could easily appear as an equivalent to our own Purification, Illumination and Theosis complete with desert asceticism. It is, in fact, just the opposite.

        It is existentially relevant. The way to conquer it is through living a life that recognizes and relies on the providence of God in all things. That is, in fact, the way in which I was led to study nihilism and its offshoots–through the providential mercy of our Lord Jesus. That study was instrumental in my journey to the Church and has been quite helpful in my journey in the Church.

        Given that, it is rather impossible for me to say, as you do, ignore it and it will go away.

        It will surely go away when He returns, but we know neither the time nor the season. Understanding the philosophy and affect of nihilism is, to my heart, part of the necessary preparation as the wise virgins.

        I still think Jane that you protest a bit too much, but I am an arrogant, ignorant, stubborn man who can be thoroughly incorrigible apparently. Forgive my intransigence.

        This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118 (western numbering)

  18. Michael, I completely agree with you. While I’m not American, I am in the Western world (Australia to be precise), and therefore know well enough what it is an Orthodox (from birth, returning apostate or convert) must sift through in order to avoid the snares of Western decadence and embrace/be embraced by the Faith. In that regard, Fr Seraphim stands out for me as a prototype. Ripped to shreds by a life lived almost as completely as possible outside of Christ and the Church, he nevertheless came to see the Light, and in a big way.

    On the one hand, then, he was so modern and Western, and on the other, he was as close in spirit to the traditional fathers as could be hoped, absolutely preserving (from love and understanding) what it is we’ve been given. A contrast of this kind isn’t common, making him not only the prodigal son par excellence, but an example for all the others in this age.

    Little wonder, then, that anyone who so much as glimpses even a part of what Fr Seraphim saw, defends him with the gratitude that is proper.

  19. Jane,

    I think we’re just going round in circles here. What you said most recently is basically what you said before, and I responded to that.

  20. Nihilism is pretty simple. It is imaginary and it is really not that deep. Only the Creator of all things can make all things return to non-existent. He alone brought all things into being out of nothing. He alone can erase all things out of existence. Nihilism does not exist. It is only man’s poor (and final?) attempt to intellectually, philosophically, and “spiritually” destroy what was created. Man can’t even destroy himself. Certainly, he can kill his own body as an ultimate attempt to declare that he — this man, this woman — has the final power over his own life and/or his death. He/she can deceive himself/herself into thinking that to kill others may also contribute to the progress of a descent into nothingness. But this is a belief in a lie, in the Big Lie. Of course, we know (as Christians) that the god of this world, Satan (Lucifer), has blinded the minds of the radically ungodly, convincing them that they can hasten the disappearance and final destruction of this world. Alas, only the Uncaused Cause, the Eternal Creator Who brought all things into being ex nihilo (out of nothing), can return all things back into nothingness. All actions against God’s creation, either by angelic dark powers or by those possessed by angelic darkness, are like children playing in the sand – by comparison.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Elias, what Fr. Seraphim Rose, of blessed memory saw was the vast difference between the nothingness of attempting to live without God vs. the wholeness in God. To explain further: To say that nihilism does not exist is to say that satan does not exist. Satan is the source of all nihilism and these days, many people love him.

      Ultimately, there is only the Kingdom of God. The Incarnation made real and gave substance to the drawing of all toward the Kingdom through the Cross.

      Nihilism has to destroy in order to appear to have substance and reality. It will pass, but until it does in the fullness of time, we have to deal with it. The modern idea of progress and the chiliastic idea of making a kingdom of this world is nihilistic through and through and it can appear to be quite a good thing. In is “nice” form it is quite seductive. After all we are just making things better, aren’t we?

      But the Cross does not “make things better” It is Resurrection. As Christians we are called to be not of this world. In the short term that often means eschewing “making things better” in order to allow God to fill all things with His life and make them new.

      It means embracing a life of repentance especially for our shared sins; a life of offering all that we are given back to God in thanksgiving so that we may sacrificially share with those in need around us. It means most of all bearing one another’s burdens in love, patience and long suffering. It is rarely given to us to offer real correction to some one else, least of all a priest or hierarch. That only brings down wrath upon ourselves and that wrath is justified. In thirty years in the Church, I have know one such instance–when a young priest was hearing my confession and kept apologizing for his youth. I had to go to him later and mildly rebuke him by telling him to never apologize, I came for God in his priesthood, not for him, young or old and, in fact, that is what I received.

      Trying to restructure the Church or demanding the structure of the Church change to suit my preference or my moral sense is not only hopeless but destructive of my own soul and possibly the souls of others–Even if I manage some modicum of reason and peace in my attempts. Unfortunately, such attempts always, in my experience, lead to frustration, anger, resentment and rage and continual battles within the Church herself all of which are the realm of the Will to Power–the worshipping of the created thing more than the creator.

      Even when obvious and unconscionable moral depravity occurs, as with sexual abuse and other spiritual abuse, demanding the Church change is not the way. We can cry out and ask that such abuse be stopped those involved receive the proper remedies already within the Church which if done properly always leads to a making whole. More often than not, however, we require justice; our justice. The cry of the Queen of Hearts goes up: “Off with his head”. Understandable, but not of the Kingdom. Our ways are not His ways.

      To paraphrase you Elias: “All action in the created realm that reaps the fruits of rage are of the darkness and can never lead to life.”

      May God forgive me and may His blessings be with each of you.

  21. Michael Bauman says

    Still, Elias many are led astray. Indeed it seems that the entire world has descended into the delusional darkness in our rebellion against God. It is quite seductive.

    You are right, it has no ulitmate power or existence but it can and does suck the life out of people including many in the Church.

  22. Michael Bauman says

    The biggest lie currently is that we human beings must “change the world”. That is simply an exercise in the will to power. People are lured into suicide by such delusions.

  23. Michael Bauman says

    It’s biggest threat now is the delusion that we have the power and responsibility for creating an autocephallous church in this country. Talk about papism. That takes the cake.

    The way to counter it is the Cross-prayer, fasting and local almsgiving out of our own pockets.