Contra Marxism - Part 1
The incompatibility of Orthodox Christianity and Marxism ☦️
Communism and Marxism as both theories and ideologies have been roaming around in the minds of many people since the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately due to the severity of the persecutions against the Orthodox Church, and its preoccupation with evangelizing, catechisation and missionary work, there has been a lack of transparency on where it stands regarding the aforementioned ‘teachings’. Perhaps lack of transparency is the wrong way to phrase it. More so it was the lack of availability and access of materials disputing and rebuking Marxist as well as Communist teachings which have lead certain people as well a groups into confusion. Publications by Orthodox Christians help provide clarity on the inherent incompatibility of Orthodox Christianity and ‘Marxist Communism’ (or many of its ideological as well as historical offspring).
Besides approaching Communist, Socialist and Marxist materialists through the means of a Transcendental Argument, and here it would be appropriate referencing Rev. Deacon Dr. Ananias Sorem’s paper ‘An Orthodox Theory of Knowledge: The Epistemological and Apologetic Methods of the Church Fathers’, one needs to understand what Church Tradition has to say about the aforementioned theories and ‘ideologies’. What is the position of the Orthodox Church?
The answer is quite simple. At this very moment, the position of the Church is reflected in the statements of it’s saints. Since the beginning of what can be referred to as the ‘Enlightenment’ Orthodox saints have been addressing the philosophical challenges coming out of Western and Central Europe.
Many great saints have spoken on post-enlightenment issues such as liberalism, Darwinism, scientism, and atheism. There are even published compendiums on these subjects, for example ‘Creation and Evolution’, which is being currently translated into English by Fr. Joseph Gleason.
The idea behind this short article, perhaps the first of many, would be to succinctly provide overwhelming evidence of the unacceptability of Communism, dialectical materialism and Marxism, from an Orthodox Christian perspective, relying predominantly on Orthodox Christian sources and authorities.
It would be appropriate to begin by quoting the famous saint, Hilarion Troitsky a Russian Orthodox bishop and martyr who was killed by Bolsheviks in 1929. He was only 44 years of age when he passed, and in his younger years, before Russia fell victim to the revolutions, he wrote a short article, ‘Christianity and socialism. On Contemporary topics’ in critiquing these new socialist ideas.
The thoughts of St Hilarion regarding socialism and its dangers could be surmised through a few excepts:
- "In vain do some people think that socialism is only an economic theory. No, socialism wants to replace everything, it creates its own religion”.
- “I think it is now clear to everyone that socialism, as a definite world outlook, is in its essence an opponent of all idealism, of all immutable principles of morality, and an opponent of all religion. Reducing everything in the world to matter, the socialist worldview leaves no room for the Divine principle”.
- “(Socialists claim - Д.К) that Christianity is derived from economic conditions and demands. For the sake of decency they try to present the matter ‘scientifically’.”
- “If deviation into heresy leads to excommunication from the Church, then deviation into socialism - a delusion that is more cruel than any heresy - is all the more deserving of the same punishment. ‘If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed’ (1 Corinthians 16:22).”
- “All open socialists must be anathematized. Predatory wolves must be removed from the herd, otherwise the whole herd will be lost. Why talk about some kind of Chritianization of socialism? These are empty words. How can you Christianize atheism? ‘Christian socialism’ is an internal contradiction’.”
For the sake of variety, It seems appropriate to include clairvoyant vision which expresses the opinion of a Grace-Filled elder, who lived during the Soviet Union in on the outskirts of the city of Chernigov. Fr Lawrence was a priest-monk, and the senior caretaker of several monastic communities (he even earned the esteemed title of ‘Archimandrite’).
During his spiritual talks with his friends, three other monks, ‘Sche-Archimandrite Theophan, Brother Nicephorus and Brother Barlaam’, he spoke of his spiritual opinions regarding both the Communist regime, as well as his visions of its leaders:
- “The Russian people will repent of the mortal sins that they allowed J***** wickedness in Russia, did not protect the Anointed of God, the Tsar, Orthodox churches, monasteries, a host of martyrs and confessors of saints and all Russian saints. They (The Russian people - Д.К) despised piety and loved demonic wickedness. And that for many years they praised and gratified, and went to the worship of the destroyer of the country - the Soviet-godless idol, as well as the idol of Stalin, honoring his name as immortal.”
Batiushka (‘Father’ - Д.К) said that when the demons dragged Lenin into hell, the demons had great rejoicing, a triumph in hell. And he (St Lawrence - Д.К) added:
“When Stalin comes to hell, the same thing will happen. Their memory will perish with noise.”
This powerful witness and vision was published by monastics of Russia shortly after the passing of St Lawrence in 1950. Most recently, it was published in a compendium: ‘The conversations of the great Russian elders. About the Orthodox faith, the salvation of the soul and various issues of spiritual life’ (published by the Trifonov Pechenga Monastery in 2003).
The high-ranked Orthodox Christian Metropolitan Saint Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky), one of the first martyrs to suffer under the Bolshevik Communists, rebuts communisms popular teachings in his speech given in 1912 to factory workers in Moscow (‘On labour and property’):
- “But how should people apply their rights the use of earthly goods or property? Christian faith and history teach that, by the will of God, a person has the right to own property in relation to a certain party of the blessings of the earth, so that he may use its fruits. This has been the case for centuries and millennia. That’s how it should have been. For in this case only, when everyone has his own property for his own disposal and for the enjoyment of the fruits of his labors, a good and regular economy and homebuilding is possible; only then does order prevail between various ranks and classes of men; only then can peace and harmony be maintained between people…”
“But against this, which has existed until now and among all Christian nations, the accepted order, modern unbelief again raises an objection. According to his teaching (Karl Marx - Д.К) every possession of the land should belong to all equally. No one should have private separate property, but the fruits of these goods and labors should be shared equally among all. This doctrine is called communism., The purpose of this teaching is to abolish all private property, to introduce universal ownership of land and farming, and an equal division of its fruits…”