Russia, the motherland of Archangel

Russia, the motherland of Archangel

Missions of peoples

From the viewpoint of the Tradition nothing in this perishable world is random, unprompted, arising, existing and disappearing  at the whim of chaotic circumstances or by the game of blind forces.  The Tradition sees the history of humanity, the history of cosmos, the history of being as some meaningful and providential process where every point of space and time, every element of the universe performs a special function, carries the holy print of the Sacral Necessity. This is fair for all natural and cultural aspects of history as there is no dividing line between artificial and natural, man-made and miraculous in the sphere of sacral. Human’s creations are his own product in the same measure as creations of nature. The Holy Spirit is making history of being through people and through elements of nature.

Any history is a holy history. But mankind is a subjective aspect of sacral since it was entrusted the mysterious mission of providential implementation of God’s thought, his holy plan on Earth. However, the holy history of mankind is specified through its  division into different peoples. Precisely the peoples are main subjects of history. Within them, their diversity, their difference, their uniqueness, in their gestures and their tragedies there is a content of the divine drama. Peoples and their destinies are chapters of the Holy Spirit’s book.

Every people has its own mission, has its deep causes to exist precisely in given spatio-temporal period, not in another one. There are for every people the causes to commit precise deeds, not other, to appear and vanish in certain moment of history. The fact that peoples accomplish specific missions is not an unfounded and groundless claim of a single historical-philosophical school. Any religion, any sacral tradition refers to people exactly in this way. People is a symbol, the embodiment of that or another sacral idea, that or another heavenly essence. In the Christian world one can make up his mind about the mission of peoples on the basis of the Old and New Testament with  an Orthodox interpretation matching the ancient tradition. The division into peoples in Hinduism is considered as a multiple expression of a unified divine beginning.  Actually, pre-Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic ancient traditions saw an embodiment of that or another deity in every people, its historical and subjective expression. Wars and armistices, confrontations and discrepancies, conquests and struggles for independence, heroic rises and bottomless falls of historical peoples are human’s extension of great heavenly (or infernal) preter-human mysteries. It’s fair to say that mysterious essence of every people matches some superhuman, archangelic character, equates, merges with it in its depth, in its absolute clarity and purity. In total people is a specific form of epiphany, theophany.

Our modern world which is undoubtedly an anomaly in the chain of sacred cycles (Hinduism, for instance, says that we live at the end of Kali-Yuga, Iron Age, that exactly matches the Christian doctrine about coming of the Savior just before the end of the world), nevertheless, it can’t completely deprive peoples their holy missions. This mission passes through even the most mechanical, profane and materialistic forms inflicted by modern anti-sacral civilization. If it’s even temporarily possible to suppress, push inside, force God-bearing peoples’ energies into ugly grip of socio-economic utopias, sooner or later this forces are awakening, breaking the fetters and sweeping away “brave new world” chimeras in a passionate burst of the history creation. Peoples continue to carry their mission even when it outwardly seems that they are dissolved in the kingdom of quantity, they died in anti-spiritual abyss of industrial or technotronic unnatural, crisis civilization. Otherwise, they would lost the meaning of their existence.

Religion of Russia

The Russian people might be the most convincing example of the fact that the meaning of “people” in deep sense can’t be assigned to modern concepts of “ethnos”, “nation”, “statehood” etc. Not without a reason all researchers are amazed by the fact of “nationalism” in any form is historically absent or marginal  in Russia. By the reason of marginality we don’t take into account artificial and fringe imitations of European “nationalisms” by Russians. The fact is that Russians perceive their ethnicity directly as a religious factor bypassing those interim instances – nation, statehood etc. – which are necessarily presented  and dominate in other peoples. Russians perceive their national identity as a confession. Special ethnic mysticism for us is not almost connected with blood. More likely, the giant, the vast Russian space serves as expression of our ethnic self-awareness. To be Russian means to belong to a special mysterious religion which outlines matche the infinity of Russian borders.

The pecularity of such relation to people – and above all the absence of intermediate elements between direct ethnic instinct and metaphysical dimension – clearly points on uniqueness of sacral mission of Russian people as a part of holy history. If Russian people perceives its mysterious destiny so unusually, so intensively, so intently then  this destiny must really have some metaphysical uniqueness, some unusual, significant meaning. Almost all Russian Orthodox thinkers and theologians, all Russian painters and philosophers have put themselves this question about mysterious secret of Russia, about its super-rational, untold mystique. Staretz Philothey have formulated this uniqueness at the Christian level in the Orthodox concept “Moscow - the third Rome” On state level it has been embodied in the continental Empire. Destructive and grandiose Russian genius showed himself in culture. However, we don’t have the last metaphysical answer, the last sacral equation of “Russian religion”. Perhaps there is a time to try to express the ”sacrament of Russia” in metaphysical terms because the sorrowful and glorious way of Russian people , great God-inspired people, in many ways is coming to its culminating point, to the last, eschatological, soteriological accomplishment. Signs of time are clearly saying us about it.

The equation of Soul – The Purple Angel

The Islamic Sufi/Shia’ author “Sheikh al-Ishraq” Shihaboddin Suhrawardi formulated in his texts the foundations of sacral geography showing the correlation of geographical concepts of the East and West with the meaning of the metaphysical East and West. Perhaps, to understand the mystery of Russia, one should refer to his doctrine, bearing the most important spiritual connections.

For Suhrawardi the West - is "a place of dark wells", "land of exile." The capital of the West - the city "Kayravan", "city of Evil", "city of opressors and jailers." From a symbolic point of view, a journey to the West - is a "descent into a prison" where the "guards" keep strangers in the "dark, damp basement of sinister castle."

The East - it is the world of the Source, the world of the Prime Cause. In the center of the East there’s the "Emerald Mountain" whiер еhe Purple Archangel residing on it, who has one white and another black wing .  The East - is the motherland of soul.

However, according to Suhrawardi, the journey to Kayravan, the capital of the West, descend to its wells are needed for inflaming of desire to return to the East, to understand and appreciate the greatness of the World Soul.

Suhrawardi’s doctrine applies not only to the vertical level, where the West is a symbol of the corporeal world, and the East  шы the spiritual world. In terms of Tradition, geographic reality is itself a reflection of the sacred structure of Being, and therefore the western regions of the continent are prone to serve as the embodiment of the metaphysical West, to be a prison for a soul, "dark wells of the exile."

Russia as a sacral-geographical reality undoubtedly belongs to the East.

It’s important to note that often Russian patriots have been aware of uniquiness of the Russian sacredness most clearly right after visiting the West countries, after the comprehension of its absence of grace, of its "prison nature", its metaphysical inferiority. Recognition of the purple Archangel of Russia as a rule starts after returning from the "Western exile." Then the holy motherland of Russians exposes herself  as the motherland of the archangel, as the East of spirit, as the return to the spiritual origin. It’s symbolic that Shatov in "Demons" of Dostoevsky formulated his idea of  Russians as God-bearing people (bogonosnyi narod) right after the returning from the West.

However, Russia is different from other sacral regions of the East a lot more than they differ among themselves. One of the main features of Russia is that a complex and sophisticated, purely spiritual metaphysical forms, as in the countries of  non-Russian East (the Hindu East, Buddhist, Taoist or Islamic East), are not developed here . Therefore, Russia, from the viewpoint of sacral geography, does not refer to the "materialistic rational" West nor to the "spiritual metaphysical" East. One has to assume that Russia, Russians are the incarnation of the soul of the world, anima mundi, of the great psyche. This would immediately explain why it’s said about Russians that they are "a conjunction of an animal and an angel"[1]: indeed, a beast and an angel are expressions of two aspects of a scope of the great soul.

Russia is a place of direct grace that went outside the  borders of the corporal existence but not yet transfigurated by intermediate Logos, or entered instead in the field of direct supra-rational blessing in its superconcentrated , abundant, undifferentiated state. Russia is the storage of the "water of life" distributed to all without a measure and logic, shed on the worthy and unworthy, given not on the merit, but due to excess . Russia is the province of  the purple Archangel.

According to Suhrawardi the country of the East and the place of residence of the purple Archangel is located precisely in the middle of the world, in the world of soul, where the duality has not been taken off yet (two wings of the Archangel), as in the higher unity of purely spiritual heaven, but where the material multiplicity of “the western kingdom of quantity" had already been defeated. Green color of the mountain Qaf in descriptions of the country of the East also points to the fact that it’s a question of the center of the  world (according to the traditional symbolism of colors).

Path to the East is the way to Russia and goes through Russia. It’s impossible to come to the spirit passing by the world of the soul (Malakut).  The unity can’t be found without meeting the two-winged Archangel at the top of emerald mountain. One can’t come to an eternity without having drunk the water of life, water of Russian grace, invisible juice of Russia, granting immortality.


Russian mystery has its external form as well. This is the great Russian Empire. In accordance with the religious origins of the Christian tradition, the Empire possesses in itself the sacred meaning. Moreover, the fundamental doctrines of Christian eschatology, based on the words of St.Apostle Paul in the 2nd message to Thessalonians (2, 1-17), have, according to the legend, a most direct relation to the empire. Russian Empire, the Third Rome - the last of the empires. Logically it turns out to be at the heart of the whole Apostle’s interpretation of the end of the word.

St. Paul says: "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." ("The 2nd message to Thessalonians, 2.7"). "One who now holds ", "the holder", in Greek is "katehon", is interpreted by Christian Orthodox theologians (for exemple by John Chrisostom)  as an allusion to the Holy Empire, the Christian Empire. According to Orthodox teaching under "katehon", " the holder " (after the fall of Constantinople) one has to understand Russia, Moscow, the Third Rome, the last Rome.

The Russian Archangel, whose external expression are Russian borders, and internal content is the religious community of Russian theoforic (God-bearing people), is the last obstacle for the "son of abomination." This is the eschatological mission of Russia, which, even under the red flag, under the yoke of materialistic doctrines fabricated by " wells’ guards of the West", protected nevertheless mankind from the last phase of its history. Even the red beast of communism was precisely a beast of the East, a monstrous grin of lower layers of the soul, but it was the soul, alive, vibrating, passionate, deep, anointed be the Russian mystery, by the Russian grace, having drunk the live moisture of resurrection. Yet, for comparison with the great Russian suffering, with the suffering of the Archangel, "with the suffering of the East"  even wellness and prosperity of  "the western wells" is an unbearable torture at least for those who are anointed with the life-giving spirit of Russia, who is bitten by its light-bearing sadness and its dark joy. While there is Russia,  there is the Church, there is  the faith, there is the life. While there is Russia, there is "the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." While there is Russia,"katehon" of soul keeps the "son of abomination" out from the accomplishing last eschatological evil deed, there is no chance for the antichrist to begin its fetid sermon, a sermon "of comfort and well-being prevailing in the bottom of the wells of the western exile."

Division that takes place in today's Russia lies beyond the random political, ideological and philosophical preferences. For the first  and perhaps the last time in Russian history , the mission of the Russian people, the great mission of the soul of the world, is put into the crystal eschatological equation. Being loyal to Russian mystery, to  Russian Church, to Russian destiny signifies  bieng on the side of  "the one who now holds", on the side of the Empire, the great Russian continental Empire, which should expand to the natural boundaries of the Eurasian land, not in order to take, to purchase, to conquer, to make serve itself, but to save, to give, to pour out the grace of the world soul, to be like a Christ "the servant of his servants" to guard, to help, to liberate, not to give a chance for the "mystery of iniquity to happen ahead of time." Those who leave and betray Russia today –with a pitiful appearance, so poor, so dispossessed, so humiliated, ridiculed, miserable - leave and betray the heaven, leave and betray the motherland of spirit, leave and betray themselves. Their destiny - the waters of death, basements of Kayravan, the capital of the West, the cursed doom to serve "the son of death." Those who seek to enter the East, bypassing Russia, still in the end will come to the West, even finding themselves in Turkey or India, in China or in Japan. Sacral geography has its own inexorable logic, and one can not bypass a single stair unpunished.

The God of Russia

"The apostasy has to come into the world, but woe to those through whom it comes," said the Gospel. Russian fate from the beginning of the time has carried the burden  of the present tragedy, "withdrawal, departure of katehon", the flight of the purple Archangel. But what a terrible end will face a stupid, human- too-human naivety of those who kicks today the Russian body, the body of "the beast and the angel," non-human body. Russia today confides the souls of other peoples, Russia tries nations and continents, Russia leads them to the line of the righteous and the last Judgment.

But soon the solar maid of Empire will cast out her cover, with fire – will pour the grace light of the Archangel on faithful and a burning fire will come down on "warm", spat from the Savior’s mouth, because it was "neither cold nor hot."

The light of the East is the light of Russia. The Church knows that the absence of "katehon", the angel of the Third Rome, will be very, very short. " That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. " (Ap. Paul "2nd message to Thessalonians" 2.12).

We know that His judgment is righteous judgment. We know that Russia is "not of this world." We know Who has won the world and Whose terrible coming in glory will put the last point in the end.

Christ, the sun of the world, our true God, "the God of Russia."

[1] Askoldov S. Religious meaning of Russian revolution/Iz glubiny. Moskva; Petrograd, Russkaya mysl, 1918. “Any soul has three levels: sacred, human and animal. I think that the most original feature of Russian soul consists in fact that properly human level is here underdeveloped comparing to the national psychologies of other peoples. To the contrary, in Russian man as in a type the sacred and animal sides are extremely strong.”


journal Den', 1992