Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs – Science and Sanctity

…we must concern ourselves not with economic reforms, although these are needed, but primarily with another matter altogether: how to regenerate ourselves morally and spiritually – Academician Fad’ay Ya. Shipunov 

         As one of its fundamental tenets, communist ideology has always placed science in opposition to religion, as if they have no more in common than fact with fiction. In recent years the Church in the Soviet Union has received grudging recognition as an inculcator and keeper of morals, and the history of religion is now being introduced into school curricula there as part of the study of culture and civilization. Nevertheless, the ongoing struggle to recover churches and to register new parishes indicates that basic communist perceptions of religion have not changed.

       Within this context, a lecture delivered in Moscow last March by Academician F. Ya. Shipuno,., has created quite a stir. Not only is he a respected member of the Academy of Science, he is also an Orthodox Christian and a firm believer in the integrity of the spiritual and material worlds.

       Shipunov's specialty is ecology,, a field in which the Soviet Union is a relative new-comer. For decades the drive to catch up with and surpass the productivity of the West has justified the most irresponsible attitude towards Russia's once seemingly boundless natural resources. A deliberate reticence to admit its fallings (so tragically demonstrated by the Chernobyl disaster) and the related concealment of negative scientific data has severely limited ecology awareness. The result? Shipunov is ringing the alarm bell. It is not necessary, he says, to explode an atomic or hydrogen bomb to bring on a global crisis; as it is, the world is already nearing a catastrophe.

      According to Shipunov, Moscow ranks ecologically as one of the most archaic and dirtiest cities of the world: "It has become a filthy, giant, ever-smoking volcano. All this rises high into the atmosphere, invading the ozone layers. Our laboratory outside Moscow has recorded the disappearance of the ozone layer above Moscow 50 times in the last three years. It disappeared for several hours. The magnetic field disappeared for several minutes. If we continue developing energetics at this rate, in 50 years, perhaps sooner, the magnetic field will collapse altogether, and life will cease."

      It is not only the physical atmosphere which has been poisoned. "Research has shown," says Shipunov, "that 90% of our population are spiritually sick, 70% are morally sick; every day 70% of our people commit immoral acts. Rarely today do you meet someone who wouldn't steal, who wouldn't lie, who wouldn't offend another person or hurt an animal or the plant world. This behavior has become 'normal,' and this is what we mean by moral sickness. Every second person is psychologically ill_...They are driven to mental disorders by the conditions of our existence: we live in a slave state--I would even call it a super-slave state where the foundation of personality-individual, familial, and societal--has been destroyed.''

      Shipunov believes that the primary cause for this tragic state of affairs is the failure--if not the refusal-to recognize the interconnection of the spiritual and material worlds. Religion (Latin: re =back + ligare = to bind, fasten) helps to link man with the spiritual realm and provides certain "higher" laws and principles which man must follow for a healthy, harmonious existence. As an ecologist Shipunov is particularly concerned with man's failure to fulfill his obligations as God's appointed steward over the earth--both at the individual and corporate levels. Because a people exists not only as a material conglomerate but also as a spiritual organism, its institutions--beginning with government--must also recognize and answer to certain spiritual laws.

      Offering a practical solution to the present crisis, Shipunov urges as a first step the return of monasteries and the reestablishment of monastic life. In his lecture he discusses the significance of the more than 1200 monasteries which existed in pre-revolutionary

Russia, not only in providing and preserving a moral foundation; they were also ecologically exemplary agricultural centers; "they gave a new culture, a new philosophy, a new science, new art, a new understanding of education. In its literal translation, education (obrazovaniye) means bearing in one's soul the image (obraz) of God....And it was the monasteries that fulfilled this function....It was in the monasteries that the Russian soul came together and shaped itself."

       The scientific rationale behind Shipunov's remarks was clarified in his response to a question from the audience: What can you say about the influence of personal sanctity on today's ecological processes? Shipunov prefaced his answer with a brief explanation of the laws of quantum mechanics and Shraedinger's equation concerning wave functions:

       "Each individual, each atom, each molecule, each galaxy, the earth, each being, has its own wave function. This function is not material, but it tunes the whole world. There exists a wave function whose measure is equal to the measure of the universe; i.e., it expands instantaneously with the help of this wave function. The Creator operates through the material world. This follows from Schraedinger's equation. This major discovery, made in the '30's, should be promulgated....then People would understand the purpose of their existence, how the world exists and Who created it...

      "Three years ago we restored the belfry above the 16th-century gates of the St. Nicholas-Ugryezhsky Monastery. With the help of the Creator, man invented the hell, which is the only instrument that radiates, as from a focal point, the ultra-sonic range. Ultrasonic frequencies tune molecular vibrations and they are retained in the atmosphere. On great feasts the 'sound' of bells increase even if the monastery or church has been razed. Every church, every cathedral, every monastery belongs not so much to the earth as it does to the universe [i.e., the creation visible and invisible]. It is conceived for this, and for this reason different processes altogether take place there. We see this. When, for example, you approach St. Cyril of White Lake Monastery, at a distance of 70 kilometers a gamma-electromagnetic detector begins to register spikes. In theological terms this is called 'permeated by prayer' (namolennost). We call it an increased voltage of the electromagnetic field.

      So you see that once a church has been built, and especially a monastery where there were many churches and various saints, it is never destroyed in the spiritual plane. It is forever preserved on this earth, and if a person restores such a place he is worthy of being repaid with great mercy."

      (From another source we know that a similar meeting of science and sanctity has taken place in the Kiev Caves Lavra, where Soviet scientists, probing the "mystery" of the incorruption of many saints burled in the caves, have discovered that these relics emit measurable positive energies. Positive energies likewise emanate from an icon of St. Anthony (+1073) and also from all the figures except one---in an icon of the Mystical Supper; the figure of Judas throws off negative energies.)

      Elsewhere in his lecture Shipunov contrasted bell ringing--which actually "improves ecological conditions; it benefits life and the activity of cells"with rock music, which "causes molecules to vibrate unnaturally, and.., has the effect of destroying nerve ceils," significantly contributing, in Shipunov's opinion, to the growing number of mentally disturbed people world-wide.

      Science has long been a popular tool of atheists. If more scientists use their instruments to record "measurable' differences between good and evil, truth and falsehood, beauty and ugliness, it may shake the foundations of relativism and restore science as a handmaid of theology.