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Thoughts on the 1883 Timok Rebellion (2006)

December 5, 2006

By Matt Johnson

1. The late 19th century in Serbia is typified by one overarching social phenomenon: the rise of the Radical Party. This party combined the zadruga, the agrarian communal and familial socialism, with the emergent nationalism of the newly freed Balkan Orthodox people. It stood firmly for decentralized agrarian communes, a limited monarchy, and a retaining of the ancient system of farming known in the Balkans. Even the use of money was suspicious, largely because the rise of this party came as a direct result of increasing indebtedness due the “modernization” of the crown, financed by bankers in France and Austria.

The Radical program, one the press became freer, and Radical agitators took to the zadrugy, became more and more popular. The message was a simple one, and the earlier secularism of Serbian socialism under Svetozar Markovic became more and more Orthodox, though without ever losing its decentralizing edge, an edge which dictated Radical party policy right until the present day.

Debt, forced modernization, urbanization and bureaucratization all saw the corrupting of a Serbian national life that, largely due to its isolation and decentralized structure, was likely the most pristine in Europe. There was no corruption because there was nothing to corrupt: most Serbian villages were inaccessible to government agents from Belgrade, a situation well respected by villagers and foreign travelers alike. Nothing destroys liberty like roads, as the Roman empire quite well knew.

Serbian state building, like all state building, is a depressing affair. The only “theory” that bothered Serbian intellectuals in the middle of the 19th century is the extent to which the peasants (over 98% of the population in 1850) were to be coerced into supporting modernization. “Progress” was measured, as was quite common in the pre-World War I world, in the extent to which agricultural life was destroyed and peasants were forced to come to the cities for work. Mid-19th century Serbian intellectuals claimed that Serbia could not become “European” unless “industrialization” was brought about. It was brought about, in fits and starts, all financed by foreigners, specifically filtered through Vienna, which meant high taxes, conscription and debt and many other evils the Serbian peasant had never known before. Peasants were considered not to have “interests” per se, and that the state alone had interests. Since all foreign money went through state channels, and the formerly Austrian Serbs leaking back into Serbia from exile went into state service, the state increasingly was considered the only true actor in social life. The fact that most peasants had little idea of the nature of the “state” simply egged the bureaucracy onto corralling them into state structures in the name of “progress.”

2. 19th century Serbian life, as Gale Stokes has brilliantly laid out (cf. Politics as Development: The Emergence of Political Parties in 19th Century Serbia (Duke, 1990)), was, politically speaking, the development of a “party consciousness,” something that is contemporaneous to state building. Factions need something to fight over, hence, the state apparatus creates parties. All told, by the 1870s, three basic approaches were informally mapped out. The first was the “conservatives,” largely to be found around the pro-Austrian monarchy of Milan Obrenovic. It was generally an anti-national faction, believing that it was to being Serbia into the European “family of monarchies.” It was a proto- aristocratic party which identified the crown with the state, and the state with Serbia’s membership in Europe. It was ecumenist in religion, in that religious differences should not interfere with Serbia’s being a part of the Austrian royal life. Of all the factions, this was the most anti-peasant, and the peasants, when informed of this group, usually responded in kind, since it was this faction that was the most pro-Austrian, and hence the closest to the crown, and hence to the forced modernization program of Milan. Eventually, this faction began to call itself “Progressive.”

Secondly, there were the “liberals.” This was a more national group, and sought an expansionist Serbian state based around a modern economy tied to France (and occasionally to Russia, though increasingly, in the realm of finance, they were one and the same) rather than Austria. It was basically irreligious. It, unlike the “conservatives,” believed in a free press and the de-fanging of the royal house. It believed the Obrenovic line of Serbian royalism was too strong, and that the parliament (the skupitsina) should have more power, specifically in that royal ministers should be approved by the legislature.

Add to that the Radical party, the latest of the Serbian movements, and Serbian politics is basically complete by 1875. The Radicals were specifically formed so as to challenge the urban, intellectual base of the other two parties. The Radicals explicitly were revolutionary, decentralist, and national in orientation. They were openly populist, making the common sense case that the Serbian intellectuals in Belgrade and Nis were isolated from the overwhelming majority of the population in the hinterlands, and hence not only did not understand their needs, but were openly contemptive of the actual existence of any specifically peasant “interest.” For both major Belgrade parties, peasants were the raw material for “national development” rather than people in their own right. In this, they follow without deviation, albeit belatedly, the mentality of the scientific revolution and enlightenment.

3. Several variables helped radicalize the Serbian peasantry, and in the process, created the famed regionalist and decentralist party system of the Radicals that allowed them to take over the state later in the 19th century. Conservatives and Liberals merely thought that the peasants should do them homage, and did not bother to campaign in the hinterlands. The radicals, however, sought the creation of regional and local headquarters in order to accurately gauge the interests of the peasantry and organize campaigns from that. The first was the Requisitions Scandal, then the Bonteaux Loan, and finally, the assassination attempt on King Milan.

Briefly: these three events radicalized the Serbian population, particularly in the far east of the country, near the Timok river, traditionally the most anti-Turkish and rebellious element of the Serbian agrarian population. The Requisitions Scandal concerned the repayment of war debts. The Serbian army requisitioned supplies from the peasantry in order to supply the army during its 1876 war with Turkey. Peasants were given receipts and promised repayment. Few peasants took the state seriously and, as Stokes writes that since most peasants “despaired of any payment for them, a lively speculative market had developed in which some operators had accumulated a very large number of them.” Eventually, the state took a major loan from abroad in order to repay these receipts (since now, elite speculators were demanding payment), and, as a result, fraud was rife. Many proto-oligarchs faked receipts, made outlandish claims, and ultimately a well-publicized trial of several outraged the peasantry, since they had paid for all of this. It became emblematic of modernity in general and the result of the slowly developing mercantile economy.

Secondly, the Bonteaux Loan was yet another fruit of modernity. The Serbian state under Liberal and Progressive domination, sought modernity and any price and equated modernity with railroads. The liberal legislature had taken a loan from the General Union Bank of Paris, though a oily intermediary named Bonteaux. Soon, in 1881, a major speculative boom broke out in Paris (partially due to the floating of large amounts of paper to Eastern Europe), leaving the bank completely without funds. As Stokes describes it, the Serbian government did not panic, since they were under the impression that loan repayment was not an issue if there was no initial construction. Yet, as it turns out, the Liberal Finance Minister Mijatovic had secretly made an agreement, in exchange for a huge bribe, to repay these bonds regardless of construction, hence putting Serbia on the hook no matter what, all for his own enrichment. Stokes writes, “Mijatovic was contemplating fleeing to America.” Eventually, other financial institutions sought to bail Serbia out, and agreed to take on the loan and begin construction. It should be noted that banks in both Vienna and Paris had no difficulty bailing Serbia out, so long as Milan and either the Progressives or Liberals were in power, since they were guaranteed increasing modernization projects. These banks made it clear later that any Radical association with politics would lead to a cutting off of credit.

However, through endless corruption, railroad construction was slow, sloppy, dominated by foreign workers and widely seen as based on corruption and government isolation. Serbian debt was absurdly high, the government seen as isolated, and the railroad was a mess. Even worse, Milan himself was dabbling in General Union stock (and took a bath), providing the Radicals with more impetus to go into revolutionary opposition. Since only the Radical party had rural centers, they were able to get the work out on all the secret deals and corruption that the Liberals and the crown were engaged in during the Bonteaux scandal. In reality, there was a tiny oligarchy in Belgrade who sought to use these scandals to feather their own nest, isolated form the population, and dependent on a bureaucracy controlled either by Conservatives or Liberals. All the while, the Radical were methodically building their rural constituency and engaging in hands-on assistance to farmers in need.

Lastly, the assassination attempt on Milan, was, like all these things, conveniently blamed on Radical agitation. In 1881, Milan sought to win over peasant opinion by touring the countryside, with, to put it nicely, mixed success. Milan was often jeered, as the Radical movement had done its work. Milan did not speak the language of the peasantry, and would lecture at them rather than seek out their views.

Milan was seen as a buffoon. Jovan Djaja, a radical leader, said in a popular speech, “This is the modern way of conquest: Draw some nation into your sphere of influence, entangle in with debts, economically ruin it, and then defend your conquest with guns” (quoted in Stokes, 253). Milan, soon after, left for a European tour, where he was clearly more comfortable with others than with Serbs. He spent a fortune of state money living lavishly, and losing quite a bit in Paris casinos. The Radicals continued their agitation.

In October of 1882, on his return, a woman sought to shoot him in the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Mark’s in Belgrade. The woman was the wife of a major radical leader, Jevrem Markovic, and the Radicals were completely blamed for the assassination attempt. The police response was outrageous, and Milan’s reaction was extreme. Police and army caravans lashed out at villages considered sympathetic to Radical populists, and armed peasants normally fought back. A low level civil war spread through rural Serbia throughout 1883. It was the fact that the peasants were so capable of fighting back against Serbian regulars (albeit poorly trained) is one of the major realizations that led to the Timok Rebellion proper, and of course, Timok cannot be understood without reference to it.

For the average peasant, given the well organized data of the Radical party’s local organizations, the ideological supposition, one not entirely false, was that to be pro-Austrian was to be anti-peasant. For the peasantry, Orthodoxy was the central element of personal identity, and that Orthodoxy was Serbian, that beautiful and non-repeatable synthesis of Slavic and Greek aesthetics capped by the unique institution of the Slava. Therefore, if Serbia needed allies, they needed to be Orthodox as well. Hence, the Radicals supported alliances with Russia, and the peasants did so as well. Therefore, to be pro- Austria was to be anti-Russia (which was certainly the political reality of the time), and to be anti- Russia was to be anti-peasant. The Serbian intelligentsia in Belgrade had largely abandoned Orthodoxy except in the most vulgar perfunctory form, and hence religion had no political significance. But the last straw in terms of peasant patience concerned the banning of peasant retail institutions in urban Serbia. For the isolated Belgrade bureaucrat, the state was to form the peasant, not the other way around. The banning of peasant retail had been an issue in Serbian politics for some time, but it proved the clear isolation and anti-agrarian bias of the urban intelligentsia, most of whom had been educated in Austria.

4. In September of 1883, the Radical Party, without any surprise, swept the legislative elections in the face of universally recognized attempts by the Belgrade System and its financial backers to destroy the party. Police were used to keep peasants from voting, and scattered rioting was reported through the countryside. Then as now, the Radical victory was nullified. Then, it was by Milan, who demanded the legislature shut down and the Radicals not take their seats. Today, after major Radical victories in the Serbian parliament, it was NATO and the EU that demanded the manipulation of the government to keep the Radicals out. The System, operating from Washington D.C., even brokered an unthinkable deal between the Serbian Socialists and the former DOSsies solely in order to keep Radical participation from politics. The national-populism and agrarianism of the Radicals was not permitted in “civilized” politics, then or now.

For Milan’s part, it was his support of Austria that demanded the final decision. In short, the banks in Austria demanded a Serbia dependent upon them, rather than from Russia. The international recognition of Milan as “King of Serbia” (a major issue for him) derived from Viennese banks believing that the debt into which Milan plunged Serbia will ultimately benefit them, and, ultimately, the Austrian crown that would completely dominate (or destroy) the Serbian economy (either option was fine from the Viennese point of view). This explains the eventual closing of the Austrian border to Serbian cattle right after the Radical victory. From the bankers’ point of view, the Radical demand for a Serbian national bank independent of both France and Austria was the real reason Milan and his Austrian sponsors wanted the Radicals banned from politics. The Radicals had demanded as part of their official platform the sole raising of funds from Serbia proper, and from no other source. If any help was to be sought, it was to be from Russia, a scenario the Austrian crown could not absorb.

Afterwards, Milan drove the Radicals from public life using substantial police pressure, and the atrocities against villagers continued. Milan, truth be told, was now itching for a fight, a means to militarily wipe out the Radicals and those eastern peasant communities who supported them. The Timok Rebellion was that excuse.

The rebellion was, if the literature be believed, based on two things: the refusal of Milan to recognize the outcome of the September elections (Misha Glenny’s thesis), or the disarming of the Serbian population under Milan’s order’s (Gale Stokes’ thesis). Of course, Stokes’ idea is far more complex than the introduction of the new German Mausers into the Serbian army, though Glenny, always rather simple in his historical approach, claims it was solely a matter of Milan’s lack of recognition of the elections, though he, true to form, will never speak of the financial element to this decision. As this paper has shown thus far, it was a very complex set of causes, though, in a very general way, can be reduced to the age old fight between a conservative peasant and a government–with its own prestige at heart–willing to force modernization on a peasantry, uniformly called “backward” as a rhetorical device to justify the liquidation of peasant tradition.

Peasant political ideology in the Slavic world, prior to their being dragooned into the army or into the industrial economy was pure national anarchism. It was the stress on the religious and ethnic component of identity, with a great deal of hostility to the state which, certainly in the 1880s was anti- national, seeking support from banks in Paris and Vienna rather than from internal sources (in fact, this writer is willing to make the claim that Liberals and Conservatives in Serbian politics in the 1880s were two factions to an extent controlled by French and Austrian finance capital respectively). Orthodoxy and ethnicity (itself heavily religious in tone) was the basic sense of identity of the Serbian peasant. But this included the more amorphous ideas of family liberty through the zadrugy, regional autonomy and the concept of a national militia rather than a professional army. All of this was violated in the process of the rebellion.

The efficient cause of the fighting was indeed the attempt to disarm the peasantry. After the army’s battles with the peasants sporadically before, there were many, Milan at the head (after the attempt on his life) who no longer trusted the peasant classes. These were the descendants of the haiduks– decentralized bands of rebels against the Ottoman occupation–decendants of a people who spent the last 300 years living a life below the radar of the arrogant Islamic occupiers. Their entire life was one of resistance and the constant readiness for battle. They, to put it mildly, were an extremely difficult group to control. The Radical idea was very simple: does it make any sense to have fought this long and hard for independence only to hand over Serbia to Parisian or Viennese bankers and their puppets? There was no peasant that did not understand such a simple yet profound question.

The excuse for disarming the peasants was that the new Mauser rifles were too advanced for the peasantry to store and maintain. Hence, the army was to confiscate the old rifles, then keep the new Mauser’s at state magazines. Of course, no one took that seriously, because the lack of technical expertise to maintain a Mauser had nothing to do with confiscating the older weapons. The peasantry realized quickly what this truly was: Milan’s attempt to keep the Radicals out of power forever by disarming the peasantry in the Timok valley, always the stronghold of rebellion, Orthodoxy and Radicalism. Stokes writes:

Under the Ottomans the Serbs could not bear arms as a rule, so when the First and Second Uprisings expelled the Ottomans the ordinary Serbian make overcompensated, coming to feel by 1850 that a man was undressed in public if he did not appear with a weapon. The widespread distribution of arms during the Ottoman wars did nothing to lessen the sense that the rifle was man’s true support (281-2)

This writer chafes at Stokes’ condescending “overcompensating” remark, since she skillfully explains precisely why this was not an overcompensation, but an aspect of Serbian life, dictated by the humiliation of Ottoman control, and being called a “raya,” or “cattle” by the Ottoman authorities. As in Montenegro, the rifle was a symbol of independence against imperialism, and more than a symbol, the very reality of the fact that independence only comes with bloodshed, and there is nothing inherently wrong or “evil” about this. It remains, however, a concept foreign to the modern schoolmarm or university hack.

Refusing to listen to pleas for “calm” from the bourgeois politicians, the eastern Serbs quickly and effectively organized. Shooting the men sent to confiscate what they considered, though 200 years of fighting, to be their birthright, a rifle, Milan dedicated his reign to destroying these peasants at any cost. Under the older concept of the popular militia (as opposed to a standing army), the peasant kept his rifle at home. He was to bring it to the proper muster in time of war, with food and ammunition. It was this that drove the Turks out of Europe. Thus, there was a deeper situation here, one that took place in nearly all European nations at one time or another, the idea that a popular militia is just that–popular. It cannot be used against the interests of the ethnos since it was the ethnos, at least when mobilizing for war. The new professional army, however, proved its mettle and fought against the peasantry. One might even say that this rebellion was in fact an all out civil war, one between the old popular militia with out of date weapons, and the new standing army, financed directly by Viennese bankers. It is worth noting that local priests were some of the most militant of the leaders of the popular militia (Stokes, 285). She also mentions how jittery Milan was, calling the newly minted officer corps to his chambers, telling them how terrible their position would be under the Radical “rabble.”

Unfortunately, the rebellion was suppressed, largely because the troops stood firm, and, importantly, because it was geographically isolated in eastern Serbia. Like the defeat of Pugachev in Russia, the Jacobites in England, Shay’s Rebellion in America, and even the American War Between the States, the victory of the central state meant many things. Chief among them were:

  • The continued and unabated indebtedness of the agricultural classes, which was particular acute in Serbia. There is an exact correlation between the penetration of the state into the Serbian hinterland (a long and slow process) and peasant indebtedness. Penetration of the state meant penetration of financial capital, and that penetration meant the creation of centralized agricultural units, and that meant the destruction of the stable, self-reliant and liberty-loving zadruga system. The zadruga had few supporters in Belgrade, and none in Vienna. Only in Russia did this system receive at least token support.

  • The increasing centralization of political power, should be considered a given, since this is one of the major causes of the above rebellions. However one slices it historically or morally, centralization must mean, by its very constitution, the rule of elites, and that those elites will develop interests of themselves and the state, separate from the people they are supposed to rule. Though it is rarely articulated in this way, this concern is one of the central ideas of populist rebellion throughout history. So far, the rebels have never been wrong.

  • The demoralization of the truly patriotic forces of the nation. This is subtle, but important. In Serbia, the Radicals, widely seen to have “led” the rebellion (and idea highly exaggerated), fell to pieces, and eventually, after the reign of Milan had come to an end, under the charismatic Nikola Pascic, the Radicals were to be reborn, but as a party of the city. Once the rebellion failed, the radicals thought that only through institutional reform (rather than direct peasant agitation) can Serbia be saved. It is the Radical position to this day.

  • After Timok, Serbia became an increasingly centralized political entity, eventually becoming part of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia is a result of the failure of the Timok rebellion. Without the defeat of the rebellious peasant zadrugy, the increasing centralization and isolation of the ruling classes would have been impossible.

  • Lastly, the destruction of the peasant economy and the introduction of centralized agricultural units was a direct result of the Timok rebellion. As all the literature shows, the penetration of capital into the countryside through state power meant the destruction of the zadruga, the Serbian family and the local, self-sufficient local economy. Of course, this in turn leads to the dislocation of peasant populations and the disruption of peasant traditional life and the centrality of Orthodoxy. Without Timok, Tito could never have been successful, and Yugoslavia could never have come into being. It took the destruction of the traditional peasant way of life in order to permit these forces to emerge and to become dominant.

By way of conclusion, it might be said, with some trepidation, that world history in the modern era is based upon the battle between peasant tradition, marked by the primacy of religion, family, decentralization, agriculture and self-sufficiency, and that of modernity, marked by centralization, industry, schedules, oligarchy, democracy and ideology. This basic pattern is replicated in the American Civil War, Shay’s rebellion, Pugachev and Razin in Russia, the Pilgrimage of Grace in England, the Gaelic rebellions in Ireland, Cossack resistance in Ukraine, and nearly all peasant religious, ethnic and anarchist rebellions around the world. It is one and the same battle. The victory of the forces of modernization comes about through better weaponry and scientific leadership methods over the primal rage of the exploited peasants. Furthermore, in the 20th century, legitimate peasant movements, such as in Latin America and south Asia, have been hijacked by Marxist revolutionaries in the name of the Enlightenment. It is the unholy alliance of modern science, ideology, economic theory, secularism and modern global capitalism that has destroyed the peasantry, and dragooned what’s left into the factory. Modernity is one large human rights abuse.

On the Venerable Patriarch +Gabriel of Serbia (2006)

November 27, 2006

By Matt Johnson

Patriarch Gabriel (Gavrilo, 1881-1950) is one of the most compelling figures in recent Serbian and Orthodox history, with all but a handful of Christian people aware of him, his exploits and his heroism. Intellectual, linguist and Serbian patriot, his name has been blackened in English speaking countries ever since it was decided that Serbs were no longer allies bu merely genocidal maniacs. This brief essay will deal with a few highlights of this great man and his vision.

The future patriarch’s life was little different from many churchmen of his day. He clearly had a flair for academics and theology, and, in the early part of the 20th century, received his doctorate in divinity in Athens, Greece. He, according to biographers, became attached to Hilandar monastery on Athos, and acted as the official secretary. Soon, he was elected to the historic and powerful see of Rascka.

Unfortunately, this see was wracked by turmoil during World War I. It is precisely this part of Serbia that was occupied by the Magyar forces attached to Vienna, and their hatred of Serbs and Orthodox is legendary. Many of the Orthodox people were sent to Hungary proper, to their string of concentration camps for political enemies, camps that have yet to receive any real treatment in English. The Hungarians flooded Serbia’s mines and dismantled her industries, leaving the country broke and crippled, a course which had been Vienna’s all the time.

He was soon released from captivity after the war, and, when Montenegro became reunified with Serbia, became metropolitan there, as he was a Montenegrin by birth. It was not long before is talents were recognized, and was elected Patriarch of All Serbia in 1938. Which is another way of saynig that the saintly Gabriel went from one war to another, from one concentration camp to another, for it was only a few years before the Nazis were to invade in “Operation Punishment.”

The economics of the case are simple. The royal government of Serbia knew two things about the world: first, that the German Reich had triumphed over the Great Depression, and any economy that attached herself to theirs would do well. In 1940, the percentage of exports bought by Germany topped 50%. The German economy was the strongest in Europe, and therefore, keeping close to her was very important. The other thing that bound Prince Paul to Germany was the fear of the Soviet Union. Hitler’s crimes were serious, but Stalin’s more so, and an Orthodox monarchy had much to fear from the paranoid murders and purges of Stalin. Therefore, some sort of alliance with Germany was necessary.

This, however, did not sit well with the British. Using their substantial contacts in the military, the government if Prince Paul was overthrown by Simonovic, an air force officer, with the assistance of British intelligence. Hitler’s plans to invade the USSR were temporarily thwarted in that now he would have to pacify Yugoslavia, so has to have a friendly government to his rear. Therefore, Operation Punishment was launched on Palm Sunday, 1941.

Yugoslavia was divided up between the Germans, Italians, Croats and the newly mobilized Muslims of Albania and Bosnia, soon to be absorbed into the SS. The results were simply genocidal. Among these occupiers, they exterminated about one-quarter of the Orthodox clergy. About the name percentage of monasteries were destroyed or seriously damaged. Nearly 400 clergymen of various ranks spent time in concentration camps of Croatian, German or Hungarian provenance. Out of 9 million Orthodox in the region, just over 1 million were murdered or killed in the war. War damage to the church was estimated to be about 7 billion (prewar) golden dinars. (Cf. For more information, see Paul Pavlovich’s History of the Serbian Orthodox Church, published by Serbian Heritage, an excellent book by anyone’s standards).

The synod of the Serbian Church met in July of 1941, and pledged, for the good of the church, to respect the laws of the occupiers and do what was necessary to maintain order. It was this pledge, according to Pavlovich, that permitted Tito later to accuse the church of “collaboration” with the Nazis, a claim backed up by President Truman and Gen. Eisenhower in America.

The royal government under Peter fled to London. However, the patriarch refused, demanding instead to remain with his flock even under the worst fo circumstances. The church was permitted to continue its role, at least around Belgrade, and parishes and monasteries limped along. The Orthodox Church had appealed to Rome to stop the bloody NDH genocide against Serbs, only to receive stony silence in reply. The Church of Rome was ambiguous about the NDH. Rome supported a Catholic Croatia, and to this extent supported the NDH. It is true that some of the more extreme anti-Orthodox attacks were condemned, though to no effect. The local church, however, supported the NDH (though none so much as the local Franciscan chapters), and, it should be noted here, the campaign to exterminate the Old Catholics, as well as the Serbian Orthodox. The remnants of the Old Catholic church after the war became Orthodox of the western rite, eventually becoming part of the Synod of Milan under the recently reposed Archbishop +JOVAN, where they remain today.

The Serbian clergy under the occupation were divided in their loyalties. It is clear that the upper clergy supported the royal government in exile, and they were militarily supported in this by Colonel, soon promoted to General, Draza Mihailovic, leader of the largest of the cetnik units during the guerrilla war against Nazi occupation. The lower clergy either supported the royals, or the smaller nationalist groups, either cetnik or fascist, operating around Serbia. A tiny handful supported Tito and the partisans, for at least they were unified, while the Serbian nationalists were not.

The Nazis, for their part, had several motivations in their occupation of Yugoslavia. The military high command (many of whom were not ideological Nazis) merely wanted a pacified Yugoslavia to be kept under control so Stalin could be defeated. This is why this same high command clearly exposed and condemned the excesses of the NDH in that it was counterproductive for a peaceful and pliant Yugoslavia. Other were motivated by the racial theories of Heinrich Himmler, where the Slavs were merely a half-Mongol slave race, merely to serve the needs of a Greater Germany after the war. Others were interested in the mobilization of pro-Nazi elements in the Balkans, such as the Croats and Muslims of Bosnia, as well as the Albanians.

During this time, Patriarch Gabriel, as reported in official Reich documents, was the head of the anti- Nazi movement in Serbia, symbolically, at least, as he was in prison at a monastery in Montenegro. His person was considered the true symbol of anti-German resistance, and, as such, he was blamed by the Germans for the resistance of the cetniks. The full report on Gabriel is found under the heading of a Dr. Gerstenmeier, dated September 14, 1941, and was sent to von Ribbentrop’s foreign ministry. This piece of evidence proves, from the German point of view, that it was the patriarch, rather than the royal government in exile, that was the spur to resistance. It is also worth noting that it was this report where many of the crimes of the Croat Catholics were detailed and officially logged into the records of the German foreign ministry. This report too, permitted the German high command to demand that the atrocities be alleviated so as not to hinder the war effort against Stalin.

In 1968, Austrian author Werner Brockdorff wrote a book on the anti-Nazi resistance in Yugoslavia called Collaboration or Resistance. It in, he repeats the claims set forth in the foreign ministry report concerning the central role of the imprisoned Patriarch, and claims that once the NDH tool over the Serbian churches in Croatia, they demanded they convert, and several priests who resisted were “tortured to death.” It is significant that Brockdorff makes it clear that the NDH also believed the patriarch to be the center of resistance against he Nazi’s for the very first thing the Croat fascists did was demand that no Serbian Orthodox clergyman have any contact with the Patriarch. In other words, he was truly a threat.

Well known Serbian writer Vojislav Dosenovic writes:

A few weeks later, Patriarch Gavrilo was taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans. He was brought to Sarajevo to stand trial before a military tribunal for alleged “war crimes.” The patriarch’s personal secretary, who was also imprisoned, reported later that the patriarch continued to maintain his dignity, fully consistent with his character. The secretary reports that the patriarch often gave his accusers the opposite of what they wanted and that he often remained silent, even when he was physically assaulted in the courtroom. After using every cruel trick imaginable, the accusers realized that they had failed miserably in their attempt to force the patriarch to acquiesce in their demands. The Germans confined the patriarch to the Vojlovica monastery.

In September 1944, the Gestapo arrived at Vojlovica. They transported the patriarch and the well-known Bishop Nikolai to the concentration camp at Dachau, where they remained until the end of the war. Certainly, no head of the church of any other country, nor other bishop of Nikolai’s renown, was imprisoned at Dachau.

Soon, as a result of his role of resister, the Patriarch Gabriel, along with St. Nikolai Velimilovic, were sent to Dachau, so as to isolate them from the Serbian population and its clergy. Dachau was described by Himmler himself as “a camp for political criminals.” Which, therefore, makes some sense out of why the Serbian resisters were sent there. Dachau was not a death camp, per se, but a forced labor camp where about 30,000 died of malnutrition or disease. It also was the prison camp where “religious” criminals, wither Orthodox from Serbia and Romania, as well as Catholics from Poland, were interred, and forced into labor service for the Reich. In fact, there was a separate barracks for “religious criminals.” Medical experiments, as well as an SS medical school, were carried out there.

After 1945, the patriarch was clearly dying of stress. His own letters clearly speak to this, both as to his experience, as also to the new Tito government, that was executing, in an irony beyond words, Serbian resistance fighters as “pro-Nazi.” After traveling Europe for some time after the war, in returning to Yugoslavia, the patriarch reposed on May 7, 1950.

Just prior to his death, writing to his friend, Bishop Dionysii in Canada, he says, concerning he Tito government:

From our unfortunate fatherland we hear nothing good, and that which one hears more clearly is that our people find themselves in a hell, such an one unknown in our history. Only the mercy of God can deliver us from this hopeless situation into which we have been mercilessly thrown.

And it is precisely this hell, extended from World War I, to World War II and to the Tito regime, that makes him a true passion bearer and resistance fighter.

Web Bibliography

Bourgeois Life and the Orthodox Mind: The Importance of the Prophets (2006)

November 27, 2006

By Matt Johnson

“The Day of Yahweh shall be darkness, not light,” as the prophet Amos says to the unfaithful Israelites who “whored after other/foreign gods.” He, as all the prophets, condemns in harsh terms the smug pseudo-religious of his day who believe themselves to be righteous while behaving like pagans. Zephaniah writes on the same topic, “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of waste and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of cloud and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm. . . .for he will make an end, a terrible end.” In other words, those who seek the “coming of Christ” to take them in the “rapture” are in for a surprise; God will destroy them, their ideology and their bourgeois institutions.

The institutions of bourgeois capitalism are incompatible, at their root, with the life of Orthodox Christianity. This is the central point of the prophets for modern times. The substance of “modernism” among the half-converted Orthodox in America is a basic secularism, the reduction of the truths of Orthodoxy to the injunction to “be good,” and a marked refusal to permit the truths of the faith to penetrate the very recesses of life except in the most facile ways. And yet, that too, is incompatible with Orthodoxy. “Goodness” and “holiness” are two different things, often conflicting with one another. St. John the Baptist, Jeremiah and Elijah were holy, but not good by “middle class standards of then and now. They were harsh, judgmental, condemnatory, violent, and uncompromising: illiberal in every degree. They were condemned by their own faithless generation and either exiled, murdered or otherwise maltreated. Orthodox can expect little more, as Christ himself promises.

Few read the Old Testament any more. This is no accident. New Calendar clergy refuse to have anything to do with it, for it brings Christ into his social and religious context, a context, without which, makes nonsense out of Christ’s sayings. Christ, in other words, makes no sense without his Old Testament context, one which he took for granted. The Old Testament is the moral, social, political and economic basis of Christianity, while the New Testament revolves around Christ’s identification with the Father, and the building of the church around this fact. Christ’s mission was based around this identification, but, in addition, included specific dispensations from the Old Law, but not a rejection of it in its entirety (which, of course, would include the 10 commandments). A firm knowledge of the Old Testament, therefore, is absolutely necessary for an understanding of Christ.

One of the reasons why the semi-converted refuse to read the Old Testament is the prophets, the true models of Orthodox manhood in modern times, differ in every conceivable way from the life of bourgeois modernity. These men were revolutionaries, and refused to accept the continuing compromise between Baalism and Yahwehism. Of course, the ideas behind the fertility rites of Baalism are identical to modernity and its institutions. And it is around this nexus–the idea of Baalism being the manipulation of natural forces for the benefit of the elite–that the prophets wrote and acted. In other words, moderns cannot accept the Old Testament without rejecting their own lifestyle.

The prophets were everything that middle-class modernity condemns. They were loners, uncompromising in their rhetoric, uncaring for their own safety, uncaring about financial or social prestige, in a word, “irrational” by both Baalist and modernist standards. While many in the new calendar parishes of Orthodoxy are satisfied with being “good,” defined exclusively in negative terms, e.g. we are not murderers, counterfeiters, bootleggers, child beaters, and therefore, we are “good,” the true Orthodox struggle for holiness. The True Orthodox, however, must fight to become holy, and to do that, we must always have the example of the inspired prophets in mind, flee from the middle class and its ideology, and struggle in asceticism according to our strength.

Back in 1952, a book was published called The Relevance of the Prophets, by R.B.Y. Scott, professor at the United Theological College in Montreal, and it is a book that it worth its weight in gold. This book lays out the social and economic context for the prophets and their condemnation of the Israelite social order, which, ipso facto, is the critical economic vision of Christianity. What is striking is that the context is identical to modern America. He writes,

The unity and integrity of [Israelite] society were strained in the transition from mobility to permanent settlement, from a simple to a more complex culture, from small kinship groups to the large political society comprising many of non-Israelite blood; from a mainly pastoral economy to one predominantly agricultural and commercial, from a property system where possessions were held in common (or in trust) to a system of private ownership where wealth gave power to the individual, and stratified society. Most notable of all was the incompatibility of the ethics of Mosaic Yahwism with the institutions of the Canaanite religion (161).

The institutions of Baalism are perennial, in that they represent nature in its lowest form, a series of “blind” forces to be manipulated by the individual for private profit. This is the basis of modern economics and modern science. As Israel, and modern societies, became settled and wealthy (in the aggregate), the institutions of Baalism became more and more attractive, for they promised only success in their world. As modern Orthodox go from church to the stock broker or lawyer, the Israelite went from his ancestral shrine to that of Baal, asking for favors according to their ruling passion: sex, money, power, reputation. Sometimes, as Scott lays out, the shrine to Yahweh and Baal were identical in content, and almost impossible to differentiate. Sometimes, Baal was called “Yahweh,” and Yahweh was worshiped according to Canaanite rites. Because the worship of Baal dealt with fertility issues, the institution of the temple prostitute became important and a source of wealth for the pagan priesthood. Hence the phrase, “whoring after foreign gods,” a phrase so common to the prophets. As modernist Orthodox believe that the god of the Catholics and Muslims is the “same” as their god, the identical problem of conceptual confusion exists in the Old Testament, and is roundly condemned by the prophets, who, with a few exceptions, remain unread.

The Baalim, actually a title, meaning “Over-lord” (in the sense of “property owner”) and was common to all fertility gods and goddesses, demanded sacrifice. But the meaning, and its modern consequences, have been covered over by academic mystification and pious clerical verbiage. The sacrifice of children existed as a means of securing success, as in America, where abortion is a sacrifice to secure personal success and “career advancement.” The technophilia of Baalism itself demands sacrifice, as seen in America, where the advent of the automobile and the superhighway has led to an estimated 1.2 million deaths per year worldwide, about the size of the population of Nebraska. But because of the benefits it brings to the population, this huge sacrifice is tolerated and deemed “unavoidable.” In other words, the form of sacrifice has changed from one that was ritualized (as in Canaan), to one that is merely a “part of social life” as in modern America. As the prophet Zephaniah writes, “At that time I will punish those who are at ease. . . and their possessions shall be plunder and their houses a desolation, neither their silver or gold can save them” (1:12-13).

Consistently, the True Israelite (of whom the True Orthodox are direct spiritual descendants) was continually at war, judgmental and uncompromising, against this whoring and perversion of Yahwehism, and its conceptual and material confusion with Baalism. Pure Yahwehism was a nationalist, (basically) egalitarian and communal religion of spiritual cleansing and worship, while Baalism was merely a form of control over nature for personal gain. There was to be no compromising with this, according to the prophets, no matter what the authorities and “smart money” said about it. Scott writes,

The Canaanite civilization imitated that of the great powers of the Nile valley and Mesopotamia; it was particularly influenced by commercialism of its immediate neighbor Phoenicia. It was an urban centered, power-organized commercial and agricultural society, under despotic monarchies, sustained by the sanctions of a polytheistic nature religion. . . .the prophets quarrel with their social order was that it did not enshrine and sustain the human and social values integral to Yahwism, but on their contrary destroyed them. (166-7)

In modern times, both “power ideologies” liberalism and conservatism, serve the Baalim, in that the “conservatives” attempt to bracket economic justice into the mystification of the “free market” (itself almost a divine force, a sort of Baal in its own right), while the “liberals” seek the destruction of family bonds for the “liberation of the individual,” with abortion and child neglect as its “acceptable sacrifice.” As always, the church, then remains alone, isolated in a heterodox and alien land, while being forced to see most of its clerics and elite go “a-whoring” with some fashionable ideology or party. The parallel here is unmistakable, and the sin is horrid in its implications.

The prophets, as always, did not merely write their condemnations. They, quite literally, to use a modern phrase, “got in the face” of the ruling class and condemned them in the most shocking and sharp terms imaginable. They spat on “middle class prudence” and moderation. They were possessed by the spirit of Yahweh, and were thus motivated to throw all caution by the wayside as a result. What does that mean for us? And why is no one asking? The prophets were hated by the world, or that worship of power, respectability and money so dear to our modern ecumenists at their lavishly funded “conferences” and “seminars.” Amos says (3:10) that what is “respectable” actually turns out to be robbery with violence, speaking of the yuppies of his day. So when this writer discovered (and was the first to report) that the OCA was taking money from corporate America to promote ecumenism, this writer merely sought to imitate the rhetoric of Amos. The people and the ruling classes, chafing at the constant rhetorical harassment of the prophets, either imprisoned or murdered these holy ones. Micah says, “Her [Israel’s] rulers give decision for a bribe, and her priests give instruction at a price, her prophets practice divination for cash.” And likewise Hosea, “There is no truth, no kindness, no knowledge of God in the land [of Israel]; cursing, lying, murder, theft, adultery break out, and crime follows crime.”

Scott writes further,

The monarchy and the royal, establishment, the temple priesthoods with all its paraphernalia of their cult services, the cities and palaces which are the outward and visible sign of wealth and power, the judges and the elders who had betrayed their trust, the army boastful of its prowess–each will be struck down in a way appropriate to rebuke its pride. The arrogance of power and possession is most hateful in the eyes of Yahweh, for it is the mark of a spirit of individuals and society which neither fears God or has any regard for man.

Modern Orthodox compartmentalize their lives, and, in a literal sense, it then lacks integrity. Their economic life is separate from their religious life, partially due to self interest, partially due to ignorance of prophetic and ascetic teaching. Ultimately the modernist is a secular individual, but might have a certain respect for the church and its institutions. Orthodoxy is integral in that is unifies all elements of life under the guidance of the Spirit. And it is this disconnect that unifies the criticism of all the prophets. Keep in mind also that there were “official” prophets who took money from the temple treasury, and, of course, merely spoke what the ruling classes wanted to hear. These false prophets were also a major target of the true, as the former regularly “prophesied” success and prosperity for the kingdom, while the true prophets harshly denounced the evils of this proto-capitalist society, claiming that its injustice will destroy it.

There is no substantial difference between the worship of Baal in Israel (regardless of the name the Baal was given), and the disguised sacrifices to “Over-lord” in America. What are the facts here? The prophets denounced economic inequality, or, more accurately, the stratification of society between the poor masses and the wealthy few, and this wealthy few, in order to safeguard their wealth, turned to the fertility cults. In America, the bottom 40% of workers control a mere 0.2% of national wealth, while the top 5% control almost 60% of the national income. The prophets denounced adultery. In America, according to polls in the late 1990s, between 60% and 70% of men cheat on their wives. Interestingly, the Journal of Family Psychology in its 2001 offerings, showed “Individuals earning $75,000 or more per year are more than 1.5 times more likely to have had an affair as those earning less than $30,000 per year.” In other words, adultery is a pastime of the wealthy. The prophets condemned fornication; in America, a poll from the Pew organization showed only about 35% of Americans believed fornication to be “morally wrong.”

Passion knows no limits, both in the sense that passion is never satisfied, power is only the means for more power, as well as the more psychologically significant notion that passions melt into one another. Passions, or the internal drives to become “a part” of this lower world of particulars, have more similarities than differences. Morally speaking, there is little difference between the passion for power over labor, power over citizens, and the sexual passion for domination over the opposite sex. For this reason, the Regime finances socially liberal organizations as well as “free market” ones, for the passion for gain in this market differs in no significant manner from the passion for pleasures on, shall we say, a more personal arena. Which means, in prophetic language, that the Regime’s sentence has been pronounced.

Scott writes, in dealing with the distinctions between the worship of God and that of Over-lord in this way: “Yahwism was concerned with the welfare of the people as a whole and with distribution in terms of justice and kindness, while the emphasis on Baalism was upon maximum production and the accumulation of private wealth.” (176) It must be understood, however, given the above, that “the nation is the people, constituted as such by the covenant and characterized by the social ethic ‘written in’ to the covenant.” As true Orthodox, we are the covenant people, therefore, we represent the “remnant” characterized by both Isaiah and Zephaniah as precisely those animated by the words of the prophets, and typified by what the middle classes would call “fanaticism,” or, in more congenial terms, those who refuse to compromise with the Regime because it is the “prudent” thing to do. The remnant is hated by the world, and this hatred can be found in the bourgeois media, webpages and books. We will be harassed and assaulted, most of all by the clergy who seem to be loved by the world, who go from success to success, and are quite comfortable with the “ways of things.” God promises, however, without exception through the entire prophetic corpus, that such people will burn, and their world will be destroyed.

Dr. Scott gives us, without realizing it, a real definition of the ecumenical mentality: “With the conquest of Canaan, Israel confronted in turn the nature worship of Baal temples and the conglomerate civilization of the land. Gradually, a new synthesis was achieved, in which Yahweh was worshiped after the fashion of a Canaanite god, and no longer exclusively” (181). Therefore, there is no real disconnect between the Baalist worship of money and material forces (fetishized into money), and the notion that “we all worship the same God,” the favorite mantra of the Regime. Further, Dr Scott also, again unwillingly, provides the definition of the Old Calendar resistance, again within a prophetic context:

That clarity and emphasis is the result of a fierce struggle against submergence by the nature-religion and civilization of Canaan. The champions of Yahwehism were forced to clarify for themselves and for their people what it was that made Israel’s own religion infinitely superior to the worship of the nature deities, and why religion was indispensable to the nation’s heritage and spiritual mission. (181-2)

The modernist Orthodox, very often, are not conscious hypocrites. They do, however, maintain religion and ethics in separate compartments, and as such, are incapable of distinguishing good from evil. Many New Calendarists (i.e. modernists) truly believe they are worshiping God, and truly want to follow the tradition. It remains however, that only 1 out of a thousand have any idea what this actually entails.

On of the great targets of prophetic wrath was the commercial city of Tyre. Tyre combined the “ethic” of New York, renaissance Florence, Novgorod, and Archer-Daniels-Midland in one neat package. Its god, of course, was a fertility god, one beloved by Satanists today, Moloch (sometimes spelled Melkart), the Devourer of Children. Israel began to consciously imitate this group of talented and technophilic seafarers, leading to the extreme and harsh condemnations by Elijah. Elijah’s problem was that, for many, the “simple faithful” could not distinguish Yahweh from Moloch, just as today, the modernist cannot distinguish Yahweh from Allah. Elijah, again in a major slap in the face to middle class prudence, was forced to call down fire from heaven to kill the priests of the Tyranian cult. And it might be noted that the reason why God commanded the Israelites to “kill all in the land” when they first came to Canaan was to completely extirpate the commercial city fo the Baalists, hence removing the temptation for the power hungry. Of course, this was not done, and the Israelites began “marrying those who worship foreign gods” both in a physical and spiritual sense. Ezra, of course, in reconstituting the temple many years later, will harshly condemn mixed marriages.

Even a quick reading of the prophetic texts will show that Yahweh demanded that the capitalist, international trading empires did not merely need to be rebuked and “argued with,” but were to be wiped out. It was this mentality that led to the worship of money and power, and provided the legal context to live within the “blind” nature of social forces and power. This becomes fetishized into the fertility gods who demand sacrifice for their services. It is very easy for those who take their religion and history for granted to begin to “learn from” the Baalists and begin to imitate their ways. The relative poverty of the Yahweists lead to an insecurity complex, leading, of course, to the ecumenical mentality that finds “common ground” between Yahweh and Moloch. In the case of the Orthodox church, a small and comparatively weak presence in America seek the “acceptance” of the heterodox by being invited to their conferences and seminars, smiling and shaking hands with the well-funded heretics, and “learning from them.” Soon, the now fallen Orthodox leadership receive grants from the major corporate financiers of the World Council of Churches, and the “professors of theology” are giving lectures to major theological seminars worldwide. They have achieved the acceptance they have always desired, though at a price. Christ says of these people, “Beware of the Scribes, who love to walk in long robes, and be saluted in the marketplace, and sit in the first chairs, in the synagogues, and have the highest place at suppers. . .” (Mark, 12:38-39) How did the prophets, therefore, clarify the nature of the worship of God? Scott gives a preliminary answer: “Its object is not the securing of physical vitality, power and protection, but the maintenance of a relationship with God which has as its primary consequence the people’s spiritual and moral vitality. It expresses submission to the divine will rather than man’s effort to obtain he objects of his desire. . .It does not alter the facts and conditions of man’s existence, but it enables him to face them in confidence and hope” (196-7). Which, to be more crude, means that God is not the cosmic vending machine as his devotees like to think of him.

In sum, the modern world is based on the essence of Baalism: the belief in epistemological nominalism, the manipulation of natural forces for personal gain (which, it might be added, includes both magic and science), the justification of radical class stratification, legalism and litigiousness, ecumenical religion, individualism (the necessary consequence of nominalism), “republican government,” centralization of political and financial power, the continued sacrifice of lives in the name of “progress,” the fetishization of commodities, deceit, secret societies, moral compartmentalization and luxury. This is the Enlightenment at its essence, which means it was merely a “renaissance” of ancient fertility paganism, though fetishized as progress and/or science.

The Logos and Metaphysics: A Lecture on Solovyov, Empiricism and Spinoza (2006)

March 18, 2006

From a lecture delivered by Matthew Raphael Johnson at Mount St. Mary’s University, 2006.

Modern science prides itself on empiricism, the idea that it takes experiment and observation as the foundation of its operations. It is often difficult to see how this is true, since science does not deal with observation, i.e. things that are observable, but precisely from those things that are not observable: concepts, abstractions and forces. Nevertheless, the myth of modern science is that it is rational because       it approaches things though experiment. The reality is that it is a purely rationalist enterprise, using as its units of analysis theoretical principles and objects.

Empiricism is the weakest and most irrational of all forms of knowledge. The existence of the observable can be attacked from two points:

First, that the reality of the outside world cannot be proven – it must be taken on faith and only on faith. What we are aware of is sense impression, which themselves are reducible only to psychic states–in other words all we can know are states of our own mind. Calling these “sense impressions of the outside world” do not prove the existence of things outside our mind. Therefore, empiricism is limited only to states of mind, and not any observation of the outside world. Sense data do not prove the existence of the outside world, only that our senses register certain sounds and colors.

This also suggests another common criticism, that of the phenomenology of observation. All observation takes place in context, and therefore, is conditioned by this context. What things we take as important or significant can be dictated by out states of mind, who is paying us, social pressure or basic (and unconscious) cultural and social norms.

Second, that the object itself is not present in any defensible metaphysical manner. What is present are forces and energy, energy of an electric or magnetic kind, though even that implies a further and non-material substratum. The observables are immediately reduced to particles of force, forces whose affects alone can be sensed. If I am an empiricist and I see a tree, what I see exists solely in my mind: it is my senses that have made brown and green out of the elementary forces of the tree, the energies that are interpreted by my mind as colors or textures. When I see an object and call it a “thing,” I am behaving arbitrarily– calling an object “single” when in fact any object immediately observable in nature is a collection of millions of pulses of force and energy, in reality millions of things rather than a single thing.

Empiricism is not empiricism at all – it is an arbitrary approach to the world that takes the

interpretations of the outside world as proof of its existence, yet this existence exists only on faith or worse, utility–we know something is true because it “works,” which usually means it can be turned to some kind of profit. But this is a far cry from the claims of modern science.

Empiricism knows only internal, psychic states and nothing else. It is not a form of knowledge at all, and leads to an extremely superficial approach to the world, justified only by the most base utilitarianism. Therefore, even energy itself, that whose affects we sense in colors, etc., must be further reduced, since, in some cases, we can see and touch force and energy, and feel it working on ourselves in countless ways. Therefore, one must hold to the doctrine of essences, or elementary forces that cannot be seen or heard, or sensed in any way, for of they could be sensed, they would fall under the problems of a or b above. All observables must be reduced to that which cannot be observed in order to make sense of them. Plato was correct in this regard, as was Augustine, Spinoza, Skovoroda and Russell. The true nature and foundation of reality therefore, is spiritual. Anything else falls under contradiction, a point made by Fichte and Hegel.

Solovyov, in Lecture IV of his Divine Humanity, holds that these forces are basically monadanic, acting as elementary energies beyond observable force. They are unchanging, and are the source of all being–beyond space and time. They exist as elemental entities that, by definition cannot be seen or heard, but we know their affects whenever we sense anything at all. These are another interpretation of Platonic forms, or the spiritual essences of all existent things.

For Spinoza, the concept of numerous categories of form was excessive, and the fundamental being was Being itself, not observable, not energy, but God. To identify God in Spinoza’s sense with “nature” is the height of vulgarity – the modern academic establishment holds to this precisely because they want to believe it, they want to justify materialism and hence interpret the history of philosophy as one long march to modern vulgarity and their own careers. Spinoza was not a pantheist, but a Platonist that held, first, the Being itself is non-observable, outside of space and time, and the beginning of all Being, its field and ground. It was not being, but Being, and hence, was the combination of all Platonic forms, called by Spinoza Substance.

Spinoza held that Being was immanent in things, but this is no different from Solovyov. Immanentizing the forms is not to fall into Aristotelianism or other forms of empiricism, but it simply makes a neater economy of metaphysics. Where is God? Up? Of course not. God is immanent in His creation, though not identical with it, modes are manifestations of Substance and not identical with Substance, they are appearances only. God exists right here with us, but in a dimension of reality outside of space and time, beyond the sense capabilities of all but the most pure ascetics and some young children (and as an aside, I do believe, with Dostoyevsky, that young children, due to their innocence, are given the gift of seeing beyond that which exists in space and time, and that many young children live at least partially in Eden, which also explains the homosexual and Satanic obsession with defiling young children).

The point is, whether we are dealing with Spinoza or Skovoroda, we are dealing with the best in metaphysics, science we are dealing with a singular Substance, which makes sense out of the Platonic forms. In a way, the “Limit” of Plato’s Philebus is, in fact, the attributes and modes of Spinoza, while the Unlimited, is the substance, the immaterial substratum of both Spinoza and Skovoroda. It is that which must exist to explain any Being at all. It is the foundation of all the sciences.

The Logos is the interconnections of forces that are not material, but, by the nature of reality, purely spiritual. Matter is the myth of modern man, the God of the evolutionists, who hold that matter is eternal and capable of producing all things, including God himself. According to evolutionary mythology, matter is god, eternal and always present, capable of producing anything and everything from itself, all powerful. This lies at the root of contemporary gnosticism, freemasonry and modern science – that god is dead matter, and dead matter can give life.

Matter cannot be proven to exist – it exists because forces external to the person are interpreted by the senses as having solidity, texture, etc: but this solidity does not exist, but merely the constant swirl of electrons. All is energy, but this energy itself must derive from a non material cause, since energy to the extent it can be felt, is also simply a matter of interpreting our internal states. All reality must be spirit and unchanging, matter is merely the psychic state of the observer. Anything that is not spirit exists solely in the mind, and hence, matter cannot be proven to exist. At most, we can say with Skovoroda that matter is, in reality, the mere quality of appearing.

The ideas of Plato and the Substance of Spinoza exist because there is no proof of the reality of the sense data we see, therefore, true being must exist outside of the sense impressions of the “outside world,” and therefore, are spiritual in nature, existing outside of space and time. What we know to be real is energy, but energy itself, to the extent it makes up our inner states of sense, also must be further reduced. It can be reduced only to that which cannot be seen, the ideas, or elemental forces, that which is behind force and energy itself, and that which animates it. Solovyov claims that since our sense data are multifold, then the forms that created it must be so as well. This is a reasonable claim, but Spinoza seems to be more economical by holding that the force beyond force manifests itself in distinct ways, only several of which we can actually have cognizance of, i.e. the modes of thought and extension.

The historical understanding of asceticism was to permit the ascetic to see beyond the two modes of Spinoza’s Substance (that is, extension and thought) the only two dimensions of existence open to normal sensate life, deriving from a non-sensate Substance. But asceticism, in cleansing and sharpening the senses, in getting rid of the hangups of adult life–bad habits and pride–open new vistas, new elements of the Logos/Substance that exist, this is how the saints and small children see things that ordinary people cannot. In my view, the “imaginary friends” of small children are angelic substances that can be seen only by the innocent, explained away by alienated adults who can only see that which exists for their benefit and buttresses their ego. It is these adults who created our modern philosophical sciences.

Substance is infinite existence, as the Logos is, and hence the potentiality of forces existing at any time are equally infinite. What is available to the average man is merely sense and reason – what is available to the ascetic and little children are multi-fold dimensions of reality beyond those, the beginnings of the fullness of understanding when all infinite elements are revealed to those called to be perfect. But even in heaven, the realm of form (which is really the infinite dimensionality of this world), all infinitity is not revealed, and the process of deepening and deepening our knowledge of reality continues after death, and with the help of the Logos whose infinity is so expressed. Keep in mind that these forces, or Spinoza’s modes, are not abstractions: they are inherent in the sensible themselves and are the cause of the sensible’s appearance to consciousness. In other words, the empiricist abstracts and the abstract concept means less and less as specific traits are systematically removed. Here, we are dealing with a

different process – since the force is inherent in the thing, it is not an abstraction, but a spiritual thing (cf. Solovyov, Lecture V, 59, where he takes issue with Spinoza).

Nevertheless, Solovyov in his Fourth Lecture seems to come very close to Spinoza’s idea of Substance when he writes: “. . .the essential relation between ideas is similar to the formal-logical relation between different concepts. In both cases, there is a relation of greater or lesser generality of breadth. If the ideas of several entities relate to the idea of a single entity as specific concepts relate to the generic concept, the latter entity covers all the others; it contains them in itself. Different among themselves [Solovyov here is speaking of forms/forces], they are equal in relation to the generic concept that is their common center and equally fulfills each of them with its idea” (Lecture IV, 53).

This is not only a basic approach of Spinoza’s Substance (which also exists outside of time and space), but is an excellent exposition of the Logos doctrine using modern logical language. Solovyov continues, “A complex organism of entities this appears. Several such organisms find their center in another entity with a still more general, or broader, idea and thus become parts or organs, of a new organism of a higher order, which responds to or covers with itself all the lower organisms relating to it. Thus, gradually ascending, we reach the most general and broadest idea, which must inwardly cover with itself all the others. This is the idea of absolute goodness, or more precisely, absolute love” (ibid). This is the Logos doctrine, scientifically considered. Science, mechanism and materialism, if consistent, must give way to the Logos, or the Idea (so to speak) behind the forces that in turn, make up our sensate universe in its relative unreality.

Hence, as Solovyov holds in Lecture V, there are three things that metaphysics cannot overlook in order to make sense of itself: the force itself, the representation it creates in our minds, and the Idea of which all the forces make up, the Logos, the center of all super-sensible forces and movement and the content of all forces, speaking ultimately. As Solovyov used “force,” and Plato uses “form,” the Spinozastic modes are the two ways under which the energy can be conceived by the average sensate being. There is thought and extension and only these two, which are only forms by which Substance reveals itself to those not yet on the ascetic path.

They are the collection of the “forces” of Solovyov, but reduced to their singularity, the generic modes of thought and extension. Of course, Substance is the truly highest entity of all, and is similar to the Logos doctrine and it is likely this that got Spinoza removed from his Amsterdam synagogue. Spinoza would say that Aristotle was arbitrary when he took observables as having essence, since, apart from the objections above, objects are interconnected in irreducible systems of energy and force, therefore, the nature of the cosmos is a system of systems, a system of forces that must have a super-sensible foundation. To take an isolated observable and make it the subject of essence is arbitrary for this reason and falls into the same trap as the more radical and reductionist empiricists above. Hence, to be consistent, there is a single substance, that which holds all the systems together, this is energy, and the substrate of this energy is the Logos. The single Substance is rarefied energy (so to speak), and this energy must have a source, that which holds all the irreducible systems into a broader and more inclusive system. The Logos is the substrate of this energy. But even this must have a source, eternally conceived.

There can only be one God, one source of the energy, i.e Logos, that is the substrate of creating forces (that which is expressed in the modes). Spinoza argues that if there are two substances, they can have nothing in common A substance is “that which in itself is conceived through itself.” That is, dependent on nothing, which is implied in any definition of Being (as such). There is no understanding of God without understanding the distinction between an object

that is expressed through something else, and an object that has its existence through itself alone. This then, means that essence involves existence necessarily, that is, the concept of a being existing though itself rather than from another implies that the being exists through itself. If that is true, then there can only be one substance, God himself, He who is beyond all energy and is the source of it. The Logos is this substrate, this energy, coming into existence outside of time, so-eternal with the Father.

One substance alone can exist, and Spinoza argues it this way: All things that exist exist from a cause. This reason or cause must lie within the nature of the thing or outside it. That which has its existence from itself must necessarily be eternal and uncreated. There is no cause that can bring this about, since it is its own cause. Therefore, God exists necessarily. There can only be One, since multiple substances (that which exists from itself) would be a contradiction. But there must be such a being as God since Reality is made up of sensibles and thoughts that agree with sensibles, (i.e. attributes in Spinoza’s sense), these are the two modes, themselves the creations of the ultimate energy, Substance. This Substance is that which is the subject of the change of the systems, their motion and cause of movement. A body is not God, God is not a body, but the body is the solidification of light/energy with the Logos as its root source.

Both Spinoza and Solovyov agree on several points: first, that the ultimate reality, the supreme Love is not a body, is beyond space and time, but is the spiritual unit that produces our sensible world. This sensible world is not the real world, but is relative to the forces that derive from the Ultimate Substance. While Spinoza might not give this love a personality, the Logos doctrine holds that this is Christ Himself, the very Thought of the Father. I am interpreting Spinoza here to hold to the three constructions of reality in Solovyov: the representation, the sensible, the force, the modes, and the Substance, or the final unity of all modes, the source of all expression – the spiritual center of the world that is not a body and beyond space and time.

Spinoza does not reduce all to One in ontology, but only in cause. Solovyov writes: “It follows directly that there is an internal connection among all entities, by virtue of which the system of entities is an organism of ideas” (Lecture V, 57). This organism is what Spinoza means by Substance. But Solovyov goes further, and hold that personality–that is will and love–is a necessary attribute of Substance, the all unity of Ideas. The argument goes like this: the substance, or the Logos, that which generates all forces in nature, is self sufficient – it contains all forces and all being. This makes Substance different ontologically, but also subjectively. Solovyov writes: “That is to say, it must possess a separate reality of its own, be an independent center for itself, and consequently, it must possess self-consciousness and personality. For if ideas differed only objectively, by their knowable qualities, but were not self-differentiated in their own being, they would only be representations for the other and not real beings. . . Thus, the bearer of an idea , or the idea as subject, must be a person. The two terms, person and idea, are as correlative as subject and object and necessarily require each other for the fullness of their respective activity” (Lecture V, 64).

To put this differently, one can picture, as Solovyov does, a personality without an idea, the American couch potato, a useless waste. But equally as evil is the idea without a personality, since that would be the opposite evil, an inert force, content without a vehicle, without will. Hence, forces that act in nature, at some level, must have a personality, and this metaphysical idea helps explain why civilizations the globe over have believed in angels, or the idea of natural forces, elements of the Logos’ power, as having personalities, personhood, will, love, etc. God is alive for the same reason as a subject needs an object, as an idea needs a will. Will without idea is blind force, idea without will is inert and stagnant, unreal.

Solovyov wants to remove the error as a simply idealized cosmos as Plato or Spinoza did. Such a universe, “has a speculative and artistic character, one that is exclusively contemplative, not active.” Such a divine principle has nothing to do with the will in this case, and hence is basically useless. But if the forms had will, were unified in the Logos, the Son, an actual person, then one holds that the subjective will of the human person, relatively useless and without force, should have the Logos as its substitute. The Logos is not only a being, a person, but also the collection of the forces of the all, all that make up the universe. Logos is both person and concept, man and God, Logos and specific human determination (Lecture V, 67). Therefore, the Trinity must exist, and the Logos must be two entities.

This is because the concept of divinity here is that of the All, or all of the forces in nature, as well as a determinate man, Jesus. At the same time, one can hold to an All, as the Logos is, but the All must have a source, any system, in order to make sense, must have a singular source, that is, the Father, beyond all time and label, it is beyond the Substance of Spinoza. In other words, in all crated reality, the number three dominates. First, there is the form, then the determinate content, the matter. These two correspond to the Father and the Son. The Spirit corresponds to the actualized unity, the whole, both together. But all things in nature are of this sort: there is a form, the force itself, and the matter, what it creates and what it’s purpose is. The third is the fulness, the whole as whole, the All as actualized in the world.

Thus, the trinity, when considered rationally and scientifically, is the net result of the rejection of the naivete of the empiricists. Objects in space and time can be reduced to forces, and these forces must themselves be outside of space and time. These forces are, collectively speaking, the expression of the Logos, the content and manifestation of the mind of the Father. This must be because the system of forces is itself irreducible, the system must exist before the parts (so to speak). Therefore, the Logos exists before the ages. Spinoza is helpful in conceptualizing this, but He never went beyond the Logos doctrine, and never considered what might account for Substance. Another means of dealing with Spinoza is that Substance is the father God, but is not truly independent for itself in that it does not have a will–it is blind force.

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