Holy Mother Russia

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Something for the weekend.  Although I have almost as little sympathy for the tsars as I did for their communist successors, I have always thought that the instrumental  version of God Save the Tsar is one of the most stirring of national anthems.  Below is a fine rendition sung by a choir:

God, save the Tsar!

 To the glorious one,

 long days Give on this earth!

To the subduer of the proud,

 To the keeper of the weak

To the comforter of everyone,

Grant everything!

The land of the first throne,

Orthodox Russia,

 God, do save!

 (Make) her tzardom harmonious,

Calm in strength;

And everything unworthy Drive away!

O Providence!

Blessing Grant to us!

Aspiration to good,

Humility in happiness,

 Patience in sorrow

 Give on this earth!

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  1. It’s curious to not how many alleged Catholics who live in America are so hostile to Catholic political thought.

    It points to the political and philosophical dependence of the Catholic Church in the United States, just as much as the Russian Church ever was under the Czars, on the American political system.

    Even the Bishop’s response to NHS mandate is taking place almost exclusively through an American political paradigm.

  2. I’ll let your comment stand Tancred, although I must say that it is one of the most tangential jumping off points from one my posts I have witnessed since we began TAC in 2008! 🙂

    Comparing the Russian Orthodox Church to the Catholic Church in America is, I believe, totally wrong-headed. The Orthodox Church was completely, with rare, brave exceptions, subservient to the State and controlled by it. The whole point of the first amendment is to allow all religions, including the Church, to direct their own affairs. This has ever been the goal of the Church in Church-State confrontations since the time of the Apostles. The first amendment as to religion is the dream of many a saint and pope in regard to the freedom of the Church down through the cenuries. As a Pope in the early nineteenth century said, he being no fan in general of new-fangled Republics, nowhere was he more Pope than in the United States of America where the government left the Church alone.

  3. Of course the first question is what is Catholic political thought” Perhaps I am wrong but my understanding is there is no “Catholic political thought.” There is Catholic social teaching which is often hijacked to support one political position or another (see http://vox-nova.com/2012/03/20/santorum-and-opus-dei/#comments). And there is political thought by varied Catholics.

    But there is no one, vast “Catholic political thought.” It is in fact a firm teaching of the Church that it does not offer technical solutions to the problems of society. This because politics is the domain of the laity who, informed by the principles of Catholic social teaching, are to apply Catholic social principles to contingent problems. As such there are necessarily a variety of legitimate opinions and options that a Catholic in the political domain may adopt – even one of a nebulously labelled “American political system.” Such is in fact the teaching of the Church.

  4. I feel your pain, Tancred.

    I also woke up “on the wrong side of the bed.”

    Offer it up.

    (Why didn’t I name one of my kids Tancred!?)


  5. Tancreed

    You typed.

    Even the Bishop’s response to NHS mandate is taking place almost exclusively through an American political paradigm.

    The “American political paradigm”, which may or may be what we would hope for in a country that is 100%, is not anti-Catholic or a violation of Catholic teaching. But the HHS proposals violate both the American political paradigm and Catholic teaching.

    Do you think it is possible that are Bishops have the sense, when addressing an audience that is mostly not Catholic, to use arguments from the common “political paradigm” of the country?

    Is the point to persuade enough people that we change an unjust policy, or just loudly voice disapproval as the noose is being tightened?

  6. Phillip: “This is because politics is the domain of the laity who, informed by the principles of Catholic social teaching, are to apply Catholic social principles to contingent problems.” It is the duty of the Catholic Church to offer worship, adoration and acknowledgment to almighty God through the commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Preaching the Gospel with the Ten Commandments, spiritual and corporal works of mercy and the Beatitudes calls the laity to participate in evangelization. Accusing the Catholic Church of violating the principle of separation of church and state through a ”Catholic political thought” is nonsense. The Catholic Church retains its sovereignty as the Bride of Christ, Who is Sovereign KING. The priest retains his sovereignty and as a citizen has every civil right to speech and peaceable assembly in public as every citizen.

  7. Donald: What you say about the Orthodox Church in Russia being subservient to the czarist state is true. On the emblem for Russia is a shield with St. George the Dragon Slayer. Czarina Alexandra, wife of Nicholas II, the last czar, was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. In Germany, the Kaiser, was Alexandra’s cousin. Seventy-nine people led by Lenin inflicted the Bolshevic Revolt and atheism on Russia. Lenin did this by promising his men FREEDOM OF RELIGION. When his men had succeeded in assassinating the Czar’s family and overthrowing the government, Lenin’s men came to him for FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Lenin laughed them out of his office. I am so reminded of HOPE and CHANGE, the promise made by Obama.
    The emblem for Poland is a single falcon. Legend has it that two brothers came to a cross roads and chose to follow the road taken by the falcon to establish Poland. There are two falcons on the Russian emblem, holding the orb with the cross, symbol of sovereignty and the scepter, the iron rod to rule the nation. (The American eagle is the symbol for the swiftness of God’s JUSTICE. The American eagle holds the olive branch for peace in the world and the arrows and armament for JUSTICE)
    Czar Nicholas II was building himself a seventh palace. His people were starving in the roadway. The starving people, too, were promised HOPE and CHANGE, and FREEDOM OF RELIGION.

  8. Tancred: The right to do evil does not exist except through perjury and falsehood. The right to inflict evil on another person does not exist, except through sin. The right to public funds to finance the right to do evil, the right to sin, does not exist, except through Obamacare.

  9. “God, save the Tsar!
    To the glorious one,”
    Man, fully alive, is the GLORY of God. Woman, fully alive, is the GLORY of man.
    Alexi, son of Czar Nicholas II, heir to the throne of Orthodox Russia was a hemophiliac.

  10. The Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow arrived at the 1903 conclave bearing the Austrian Emperor’s veto of Cardinal Rampolla, who had been Leo XIII’s Secretary of State. Although the secretary to the conclave, Merry del Val, tried to dissuade him, he proceeded to read it out to the understandably enraged Cardinals; there was a surge of support for Rampolla, but it was not enough to secure his election. The new pope, Pius X, ruled that in future anyone attempting to influence the decision of a conclave would incur excommunication.

    Subservience to the state is not just a feature of the Orthodox; it also runs through Protestantism, a legacy of Luther’s reliance on the German princes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Church of England, where episcopal appointments are ultimately the responsibility of the Prime Minister, and whose schismatic status depends on a number of Acts of Parliament. An Anglican lady of my acquaintance was aggrieved because she could not take communion at Mass, as if it were our fault – I suggested that as a first step she might try petitioning Parliament to get these Acts repealed.

    NB After the fall of the Soviet Union Russia adopted a very lack-lustre anthem. Putin replaced it with the old Soviet anthem, with new words. It is a far better tune. The Star-Spangled Banner is also a fine tune, though difficult to sing on account of its range (and pop divas who massacre it in public ought to be shot). First prize, however, must go to Haydn’s Emperor’s Hymn, now the German national anthem.

  11. This is pretty but musically speaking, I still like the Soviet-era anthem better. (The only time average Americans like me used to ever hear it was during Olympic medal awarding ceremonies.)

    Speaking of national anthems, apparently, some boneheads in Kuwait really, REALLY messed up recently when they attempted to play the Kazakhstan national anthem for a winning athlete… they played the parody version from the movie “Borat” instead:


  12. Phillip: Yes, Phillip, I will read the church documents on the Catholic Laity. I have been struggling with my role as a lay person in the church, or rather as a lay person who is a woman. It seems to me that if a wife is treated subserviantly by her husband she should look to her mother in law for redress. Jesus gave us all to His Mother before He died so we would have a free choice about going to hell with HIm or staying with HIs Mother…the Mother Whose Son I murdered.

  13. Mary, Nicholas II could have had his seventh palace if he had kept Russia out of WW1. Monumental stupidity and greed for the Ottoman Sultan’s lands drove the Russians into a war with Germany that was totally unnecessary. It made them vulnerable to the machinations of a small band of determined terrorists with devastating consequences.

  14. Ivan: I have read that the Russian soldiers were sent into the field of battle with one gun for every fifteen men. It was the duty of the soldiers to follow until the man in front did not need his gun anymore.

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