Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs – A Reign of Evil

“We must be like the vine upon the tree. We use the tree to climb and then, strangling it, grow into power on the nourishment of its flesh.” – from a Communist manual of psychopolitics

      Everywhere we see signs of preparation for the coming of Antichrist. Nowhere is this more openly expressed than in the Soviet Union where for over 60 years war against the Church has been state policy. "Religion," said Lenin, "is the opium of the people." Efforts to eradicate the Church, however, have proved futile. Man is naturally inclined towards faith in a higher reality which communism denies. In a country which for centuries had been a stronghold of Orthodox Christianity, the failure of the communist experiment--a pretext for revolution--was rapidly apparent. A society based on a materialist ideology requiring tremendous self sacrifice for the sake of a temporal institution--the glorified International--was clearly unworkable. The carrot soon became tough and unappealing. Confronted by the vacuum created by their denial of religion, the communist authorities began to introduce various ceremonies, rites and symbols designed to provide a viable substitute for Christianity. What has developed, ironically, is a full-blown cult, a religion of anti-Christianity.


Communism: a Cult of Anti-Theism

    Although communists claim to be atheists, i.e., those who deny God, they are in practice anti-theists--those who are against God. If they are against God, against what is good, they must serve what is opposed to God, and that is the power of Evil. An interesting aspect of this point is examined in a perceptive essay written by a graduate of Moscow State University now living in Paris, Nikolai Bokov [Published in "Russkaya Mysl," July 5, '85; translated in "Keston News," #231]. His central thesis reflects a saying of the Holy Fathers that the Devil can only ape God--a precise characterization of Antichrist. He writes:

     "The history of communist countries clearly vindicates the theological concept that evil, in itself, has no substance, independent existence, or, as it were, a permanent place of occupation. Evil is always a parasite on the body of good and cannot survive away from this foundation. Therefore, the ascent of communists to power does not mean the creation of new, communist forms of existence --there can be no such new forms. The victory of the communists meant that they appropriated and distorted Russo-Christian statehood and churchliness."

     Bokov supports his thesis with several examples showing how communism parodies Christianity and the Church to deliver its own message. One of Marxism's primary documents is the "Catechism of Socialism" written by Engels. In place of the transcendent, heavenly homeland promised by Christ, communism aspires to a "heaven on earth," a classless society. The 1961 "moral code of the builders of communism" enlists Christian moral values: devotion ('to the cause of communism'), love (toward the 'socialist Motherland and socialist countries'), moral purity (unspecified), and brotherhood ('of all the peoples of the USSR'). Similarly, certain Soviet propaganda formulae can be traced directly to Biblical texts: "Who is not with us

is against us" is a distortion of Christ's words "He that is not with Me, is against Me" (Matt. 12:30); the still-current slogan "He who doesn't work, doesn't eat" echoes, almost to the word, St. Paul's "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (II Thess. 3:10).

    Communism thereby "usurps the moral bases of the individual, which have been built up by the Christian faith and the Church over many centuries." It plays upon the Christian sense of justice by continuing to refer to the "injustice of the existing order" and the just cause of a classless society. Using this same psychology, communists point to their 'martyrs', "whose sacrifice must serve as an example to the living and imbue their activity with a moral-mystical basis. 'If people die for this cause, then it must be right and just.'" 

    In trying to give its dead forms some sort of mystical attraction, the Party has instituted the practice--often compulsory--of venerating the body of Lenin which lies below ground in a specially built mausoleum. (The cult which has been invented around this corpse is symbolized by a poster which reads: "Lenin lived! Lenin lives! Lenin will live!") This is "a clear imitation of the veneration of holy relics in the Christian Church .... Elements of cultic observance are clear also in the 'Oath of Young Pioneers' and the written applications which must be lodged by aspiring Komsomol and Party members."

    Communists have tried hard to replace Christian forms and symbols with their own: red stars adorn the pinnacles of the Kremlin towers once crowned by crosses; church processions, once involving thousands of people with banners and icons, find their substitute in ostentatious May Day parades and other civic extravaganzas; churches are turned into observator les, gymnasiums, dance halls --"palaces of culture" act as temples for the new cult.

    All of this appears as a forced and rather pathetic effort to supplant the practice of Christianity. Underlying it all is the very sinister aim of: the Party which "is geared to attain total power over Man." While Christians are taught to conform themselves to the will of God and thereby achieve ultimate freedom ("the truth shall make you free"—John 8:32), adherents of communism are expected to conform to the will of the Party. Because this is built not on Truth but on lies and deception, anyone who submits his soul to such a system "becomes a cog in the power machine of men over men, mortals over mortals," proving that "godlessness can only create slaves" (Heb. 2:15).

    We see in the communist experiment a rehearsal for the coming reign of Antichrist. At the same time, here is a lesson in hope. "It is, after all, only the visible Church which is in shackles, while the invisible Church, the indivisible Body of Christ, is not subject to any 'control' whatsoever by the forces of darkness. Nor will the Party be able to survive alongside the visible Church once the latter regains socially Significant dimensions, for victory on the mystical level --which they deny--is something the communists can never achieve."