Christians are residents of the realm of glory in heaven, not of this world’s ruling empires, whether it be Babylon or Rome, Consantinople or Moscow, for Holy Orthodoxy is not a worldly power but a heavenly realm wedded to an earthly heaven. On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 13th, there was an authoritative Orthodox Declaration condemning fundamentalist Russian phyletism or tribalism, the heresy that drove Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th 2022. In the Holy Liturgy, Orthodox Christians pray for the peace of the world and the unity of all, and at the Council of Constantinople in 1872, condemned all nationalistic, tribalist heresies. The majority of Russian Orthodox Christians condemn the war in Ukraine, but Patriarch Kyrill did not sign last Sunday’s Declaration, because he supports Putin’s invasion, preferring militant Russian nationalism usurping the reign of God in glory. As residents of God’s Kingdom of glory, Christians are migrants in this world, not subject to militarist or nationalist dictatorship, whether in the name of Babylon or Rome, Constantinople or Moscow.
When ‘holy Russianness’ in the form of divisive Russian nationalism, invades to overwhelm Orthodox, democratic Ukraine, the false peace of collusive appeasement transforms into the fierce peace of active resistance, inspiring Orthodox martyrdom in Ukraine, but also in Russia, where resistance to the war is illegal. Martyrdom afflicts in every way, but refuses to be crushed, causing great perplexity but not despair, enduring fierce persecution but not forsaking fierce peace, struck down but not destroying resistance (2 Cor 4:5-11). Martyrdom undergoes the Cross of Christ but bears witness to his resurrection, living resurrection whilst dying in the Name of glory. It is excruciating to witness war between two Orthodox countries, but the war is not as it appears, as the Declaration makes clear, but is in fact war between the heresy of Russian nationialism and martyred Orthodoxy in Ukraine. The Declaration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy condemns the heresy of Russian nationalism, decisively cutting through the false peace of passive appeasement, opening Orthodoxy to fresh waves of martyrdom. Love is fierce when division reigns, bearing witness to God’s holy reign of glory, on earth as in heaven.
Seven hells of confusion and separation transfigure into seven heavens of communion and union when seven dimensions are unveiled: the three visible dimensions of space, length, breadth and height, opening to invisible dimensions, the fourth dimension of wisdom, the fifth dimension of glory, the sixth dimension of oneness and the seventh dimension of ineffable openness. Resurrection unveils the oneness of wisdom and glory in Christ’s glorification, which saints live as martyrdom on different levels and in at least seven dimensions, revealing seven heavens in seven horrendous hells. Seven symbolises completeness, completing incompleteness with martyred completeness, living Golgotha as Holy Pascha, in the homes and streets of Kyiv and all over Ukraine. Glory breaks open suddenly, tragically, gloriously when hearts bear witness to the glory of peace, fiercely defending peace beyond all layers of false appeasement. The ferocity of peace has not been seen like this for decades, nor the machinations of nationalist belligerence exposed, unveiling anew in every moment the reign of peace and glory. Nor have the lineaments of wisdom been revealed like this for all to see, opening to dimensions of glory, abiding on earth as in heaven, revealing peace.