(1925 – #303)


   “Render the things of Caesar unto Caesar, and the things of God unto God”. This eternal Gospel truth ought to be understood dynamically, and not statically. The difference and the delimitation of the two kingdoms remains eternal, but the relationships between the two kingdoms within the history of Christianity do not remain inalterable, they change at various stages of Christianity. Christianity does not know petrified forms, which might define for always the Christian ordering of the kingdom of Caesar. One only doth dwell unshakable. Christianity does not deny the kingdom of Caesar whether it be mechanical or revolutionary, it recognises it as a particular sphere of being, distinct from the kingdom of God, but necessary too for the ends of the Kingdom of God. The Church of Christ has its own particular foundation, independent of the elements of this world, it lives according to its own particular law of spiritual being. But the Church of Christ at the moment of its appearance was surrounded by the elements of this world and was compelled to live in a pagan state, which fiercely persecuted Christians. The “kingdom of Caesar” does not signify a monarchy, it is a figure designating the kingdom of this world, the order of sinful nature. A democratic or socialistic republic in the same degree is the kingdom of Caesar, just like a monarchy. And the question about the relationship of the Kingdom of God to the kingdom of Caesar is at the same time a question about the relationship both to the monarchic state and to revolution. This is a question about the relationship of the Kingdom of God to the “world”. This theme is properly considered in an atmosphere detached and free from passions and special interests. But in our day there has as it were finally gone extinct the non-avaricious aristocratic attitude towards truth. Spiritual plebianism, egoistic greed and utilitarianism distort not only the resolution, but even the very setting of the theme. And in an especially less than healthy atmosphere there occur considerations on principle of the attitude of Christianity towards monarchy and towards revolution, towards the old “this world” and the new “this world”. But it is impossible to treat upon this theme for one, who is in the grip of political passions and special interests, who finds oneself in a condition of malice and hate. In this theme there is much that is problematic, and it has not yet received a binding church-dogmatic resolution. Least of all proper for the Christian is to maintain merely an outward attitude towards the important and catastrophic events in life. When a man lives through some sort of misfortune, a grievous illness, some trying situation, the death of someone close, then the religious attitude towards these events excludes the possibility of merely ascribing them to outward chance, the injustice of fate, blows received mechanically from without. In life there is nothing by chance and completely external. Everything has meaning, everything means something, i.e. is manifest as a sign from the other world. Religiously to live through some sort of event means to live through its inner meaning, to comprehend it from within, from the depths of spiritual experience, to survive it as one’s own destiny, as something sent down by the Providence of God. And if it be necessary thus to live through and survive the events of personal life, then all the moreso is it necessary to live through and survive the events of historical life. With Russia has happened a terrible historical catastrophe. And all the world finds itself in an unprecedented crisis. We live amidst splintered fragments of societies and states of the modern new history. Everything has come to be in a condition of unstable and chaotic motions. The societal order, which seemed not only firm, but also eternal, has broken down and collapsed. The relationships of church and state have changed radically and the interrelationships of the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar are redefined completely anew. It is a new kingdom of Caesar that stands before the eternal Church of Christ. And all the old categories in the resolving of this theme have been rendered useless and outmoded. They are out of their minds, wretched and helpless before the face of the world crisis, those with reactionary thoughts of a restoration, those who hope on bringing back the old relationships between church and the kingdom of Caesar, those who long for that kingdom of Caesar, in which the Church of Christ was stifled and enslaved. A mindset, which sees in the revolution, in the Russian and the world crisis, only an outward scandal and an outward disorder, which continues to think, that nothing especial has happened, is neither a Christian nor a religious mindset, it is instead a mindset smothered by trite positivism.

Christianity cannot only outwardly relate to historical crises, cataclysms and collapses, it cannot look upon them as upon movements of dead matter merely, having no sort of relationship to the life of spirit, to the movement of spirit. Christianity has an universal spirit, it encompasses everything, and everything happening in the world is connected with it and subject to it. The Revolution, the historical crisis ought to demote something within the inward destiny of Christianity. All the outward historical events possess a secondary, and not a primary nature as such, they are determined by events that transpire within the inner spiritual world. For the external, the religiously unenlightened view it would seem, that the Revolution takes place only within the elements of the world, and the Church of Christ only passively suffers the events coming from the outside and impacting upon it. This is an aberration of the non-religious mindset. It presupposes, that the Church is totally passive within the Russian Revolution, that within it nothing transpires, that Christianity plays merely a role of sufferance. In actuality, however, the crisis and revolution occurs within the spiritual world, and in the historical world it only symbolically is reflected. The Revolution is not an external event for each of us and for all the Christian world, rather it is an inward event, a spiritual sickness in Christian mankind, in Christian people. The Church is a living organism, a Divine-human organism, in which there occurs an uninterrupted interaction of the Divinity and mankind. Just like with every organism, the Church can undergo crisis, can become ill, and can revive and develope. What is taken sick and undergoes crisis in the Church is not God, is not the Divine truth of the Church, but rather mankind. We have ceased to understand the churchly meaning of historical events, because we have lost the internal, cosmic idea of the Church. The rationalistic and nominalistic consciousness has transformed the Church into an institution, existing and differentiated alongside everything else. Christianity, just like everything organic, is in the highest degree dynamic, it has its own periods of growth, its own historical fate. The original Christianity denotes an altogether different epoch of Christianity, in contrast to that of the Christianity from the time of Constantine the Great. The Christianity from the period of the martyrs is quite distinct from the Christianity of the Oecumenical Councils. The medieval Christianity is altogether a different epoch within Christianity, than the Christianity of modern times. The very style of Christianity becomes quite changed, and this relates not to the ontology of Christianity, but to its psychology and its history. Here and now Christianity enters upon a period of crisis, it suffers a growth of sickness. There ends not only the Christianity of recent history, but perhaps also the whole historical period of Christianity from the time of Constantine the Great. And this inner crisis of Christianity defines all the external historical catastrophes. There are determined anew the relationships between the Church and the elements of this world. And radically changed is the relationship of the kingdom of Caesar, in which stormy processes have occurred, towards the eternal ends of the Kingdom of God. These relationships are determined in he spiritual world, and in the historical world they are but projected and reflected. The recovery of health from sickness, the surmounting of the spiritual crisis can signify a new period within Christianity, the emergence of a new style within Christianity, a change in the Christian manner of life, which never ought to be considered identical with a particular lifestyle. But does this indeed mean, that Christianity can get itself bound up with revolution, as earlier it was bound up with the monarchy, does this mean, that there will be formed a kingdom of Caesar, which Christianity can acknowledge its own? Great temptation consists in the identification of Christianity with whatever the sort of the kingdom of Caesar, i.e. in the enslavement of the infinite to the finite.


Christianity is not revolutionary in the outward sense of the word. It has entered into the world not as a revolutionary social force, calling for a violent altering of the order of life. It is impossible even to call Christianity a force of social reform. The nature of Christianity is altogether inexpressible in the social categories of this world. Christianity has come into the world, as the good news about salvation and about the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world. “Seek ye first of all the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all this wilt be added unto ye”. “Be ye perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect”. “What doth it profit a man, if he gain all the entire world, but harm therein his soul”. “For the Kingdom of God cometh not in perceived form, wherefore say not: lo, here be it, or lo, there be it. For the Kingdom of God is within ye”. “My Kingdom is not of this world”. A social revolution is all contrary to the words of Christ. Social revolution seeks first of all that which is “to be added unto ye”, and not the Kingdom of God; the makers of social revolution do not seek a perfection, like to the perfection of the Heavenly Father; they want to gain all the entire world and by this corrupt therein their soul; the social revolution seeks for an order of life, which will come in perceptible form, about which can be said, that lo here it is, or lo there it is; the kingdom, to which the social revolution strives, is of this world. The same also can be said about the spirit opposite the revolution, about imperialism. Imperialism possesses a pagan nature. Christianity was the greatest spiritual turnabout in the history of mankind, the greatest inward revolution, experienced by mankind. With the appearance of Christ begins not only a new historical epoch, but also a new cosmic epoch, which altered the inner composition of the world. And together with this, Christianity does not believe, that it is possible to change the world for the better via an external and violent pathway, it regards merely outward revolution as the basis for a false spiritual frame of reference. At the basis of all mere outward revolutions lies a spiritual frame of reference directly opposite the Christian. Such external revolutions are motivated by envy, malice, hatred, by revenge and not by love, by the instinct for destruction and not creativity, and they bear with them death, and not resurrection. A genuinely new, more perfect and better life comes from within, and not from without, it comes from a spiritual rebirth, and not from a mere change of social conditions, of social means. The annihilation of slavery in the world was a spiritual deed of Christianity. The pre-Christian world, even among the greatest of its thinkers, could not conceive of the surmounting of slavery. But Christianity never called for slaves to revolt against their masters. Only imperceptibly was there discovered the fruition of the Christian idea of the brotherhood of people. Christianity no wise denies the processes, operative in the natural world, the processes of natural developement in the world. But it is not upon these processes that it relies for the attainment of the Kingdom of God, for the utmost perfection of life. Christianity relates towards revolution such as it does to every outward event in life, to every external structure of life, i.e. in a non-revolutionary manner. Every outward event in life, every external ordering of life is not accidentally by chance, it signifies something for the inner life of man, for his spiritual experience. Nothing can be viewed exclusively as by external force, there is nothing not connected with my inward fate. Whether upon some stable order of governance, upon monarchy or upon revolution, Christianity all the same looks at it inwardly, from the depths. The Kingdom of God cometh unperceived, its comes neither through monarchy nor through revolution. But both an outwardly stable order of life and an outward upheaval of life always denote events of the inner spiritual world, they are not situated outside my own particular destiny, as merely something begotten of the lower material world. Christianity is not dualistic, or more precisely: Christianity acknowledges a religio-ethical dualism, but not at all an ontological dualism.

Christianity does not deny the state and the rule of authority. From the lips of the Apostle Paul, the Christian Church has recognised, that the rule of authority issues from God and that rulers bear not the sword in vain. The rule of authority has an ontological source, it possesses a positive mission within the sinful world, it averts the chaotic disintegration of the world, and prevents the ultimate triumph of anarchy within it. The ontological principle of the rule of authority plays within society the same role, that conformity to law plays within nature, — it upholds the cosmic order within the sinful chaos. The words of the Apostle Paul were spoken not about a Christian rule of authority. There was back then no Christian state. The state was pagan and it persecuted Christians. These words were spoken about every rule of authority, about the principle of power in general, they relate to the pagan authority, and to the modern democratic republic, and even to the Soviet Communist power, through which, despite its anti-Christian character, there partially operates the eternal ontological principle of authority. Human society has to be subject to a condition, preventing its ultimate chaotic and anarchic dissolution. Thus also are the laws of nature, which are given us, as an inexorable necessity, and they uphold the elementary cosmic order of the world, through them is reflected the eternal Divine cosmos within the sinful element of the world. Such is the truth of power, the truth of the state. This is a truth of law, Old Testament like, and not a New Testament truth. The state possesses a pre-Christian, Old Testament, pagan nature. The state power of authority is something that carried over by force from the pagan world into the Christian world. The power of authority of the emperor, which in Byzantium assumed a Christian and sacred character, is the old pagan might of Rome and the great Eastern empires, — Egypt, Persia, Assyria and Babylon. The might of authority of emperor and tsar does not possess any sort of uniquely Christian, nor New Testament an origin, it was received as an inheritance from the ancient world, and was merely adopted and blessed by Christianity, since Christianity is non-anarchic and recognises the mission of the power of authority amongst sinful mankind. Such an attitude towards the might of authority and the state does not signify within Christianity any sort of unique, purely Christian ideal of society, any sort of ideal of the Christian state, which in the original Christianity did not exist. A. S. Khomyakov says: “The imperium was, evidently, unable to encompass all the trappings of the ancient Roman idea of a legitimate governance for the new Christian era: it did not contain within itself the principle of something self-sacred, which Christian thought demanded; the west therefore did not yet understand the impossibility of mixing up together the concept of Christianity and the concept of the state, i.e. of the embodiment of Christianity in a state form”.2 But that which Khomyakov imputes to the West, ought also to be imputed to the East. Already with the spilling of the first drop of blood of the Christian martyrs, there was forever set a limit to the absolutism and autocracy of the state, and imperialism censured.

The original Christianity was of an eschatological mindset. It awaited the impending end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. They had before them no perspective of a lengthy historical process, in which the Church of Christ would come to be a wielder of power. The first Christians did not revolt against the pagan rule of authority, they did not call for a social upheaval, and totally unnecessary to them was their own Christian state. Within the early Christian consciousness, theocracy co-incided completely with the Gospel Kingdom of God. The first Christians consented to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, but the state was for them of “the world”, of the kingdom of this world. The kingdom of Caesar, the kingdom of this world, could not be the Christian, the sacred kingdom. If by a Christian theocracy there be understood a sacred and Christian kingdom of Caesar, then the theocratic idea would be completely foreign to the original Christianity. It lived exclusively by the idea of the Kingdom of God, which in essence and on principle is distinct from the kingdom of Caesar. The first Christians did not strive for, and as regards the condition of their mindset, they could not strive towards the creation of a Christian state. The state is the “world”, “paganism”. 3   The Christian Church stands opposite the “world”, opposite paganism, the pagan state. The first Christians lived by charisms, by spiritual gifts, which defined all the order of their life, all the organisation of the Christian Church and Christian society. It would be impossible to live thus for any long period of historical life. And when in the Christian consciousness it as discerned, that there stood ahead still a long historical path, everything began to change. The charismatic gifts weakened. The Kingdom of God receded into a transcendent remoteness, to the far end of history. Christianity had to act and live within history. Christianity lost all semblance of being a Jewish apocalyptic sect. It conceived of itself as a worldwide historical power. The falsehood of Montanism consisted in this, in that Montanism wanted to hold on to that stage of the original Christianity, it wanted to live by direct and unmediated charisms, and when the charisms began to desiccate away, they opposed the world historical role of Christianity. And upon this same basis there formed all sorts of religio-sectarian movements, which usually possessed a reactionary nature. In its first centuries, Christianity lived amongst the hostile pagan elements of this world. It acted within them not as an outwardly destructive power, but as a power inwardly transfigurative. The Christian Church possesses an ability to survive surrounded by whatever the chance hostile power. In the catacombs it was endowed with the greatest of inner strength, and from the catacombs the Church conquered the world. But Christianity was fated to enter into a new historical period, into a second period of the relationship between church and state, between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar. This period began with Constantine the Great.

It happened otherwise, than what the first Christians expected. The pagan state yielded before the spiritual power of Christianity. This was a tremendous turnabout not only within the “world”, in the state, but also within Christianity, in the Church. Christianity ceased to be eschatological, Christians no longer awaited a quite immanent end of the world and Second Coming of Christ. Christianity became historical, reorganising itself, and preparing itself for an active role in world history. Christianity then enters into “the world”, into history, having adapted itself for activity in “the world”, for its conquests within history. This victory had been bought at a dear price. The early Christianity with its charismatic and eschatological aspects remains in the history of Christianity as a distant past, like a lost paradise. Christianity had to dirty itself in the dust and grime of earthly history. It lowered itself into the base life of “the world”, and it worked out for itself new organs for suchlike a life. It lost much, but it also gained much. We cannot, like those rationalist and Protestant historians, look upon this new period of Christianity, as being the downfall of Christianity, as a great misfortune in the history of Christianity. This view is not at all an Orthodox Christian view. The period of early Christianity had to end. The Kingdom of God could not ensue as a result of its brief history. The deed of Constantine the Great was a providential deed and it possessed a positive significance both in the history of Christianity and in the history of the world. The rise of a “Christian state”, the creation of Christian theocracies was not an unfortunate accident in the history of Christianity and the world, it had an inwardly inevitable moment in the destiny of Christianity. But thus arose, however, the inadmissible view which for a long time prevailed within the churchly consciousness, that the kingdom of Caesar had become a genuinely holy, Christian state, that a theocratic state had indeed been created and should govern until the end of time. The second period in the relationships between the Church and the state, between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar, is not an ultimate and eternal period. In the history of Christianity there had to ensue, and has already ensued, another, a third period. And the onset of the third period likewise is not an unfortunate matter of chance, just as he onset of the second period was not. The Church consciousness does not know any sort of dogma about a sacred kingdom of Caesar, nor does it know any sort of sacramental mystery of a sacred imperial power. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar have been jumbled and intertwined within history. The Kingdom of God has been accorded features akin to the kingdom of Caesar, just as the kingdom of Caesar has appropriated to itself features of the Kingdom of God.

From the times of Constantine the Great the Church was wont to consecrate the power of authority, not so that it should justify the pagan power, it consecrates it as a Christian power. The world became a Christian world, the peoples became Christian peoples, there was formed an universum or oecumene, which received the name chretiente. The Christian peoples lived by a single faith and a single truth. To this oneness in faith and truth there corresponded also an oneness, an integral wholeness in the structure of state and society, in the character of culture. Monarchies most adequately express this integrality and this oneness. And they are sacred for as long as peoples believe in their sacredness. The composition of the state and society is entirely determined by the religious beliefs of the people. Forms of state authority collapse, when the beliefs of the people collapse, when there is no longer the sanctioning of the power within the religious consciousness of the people. The sovereignty of the people in this sense remains an eternal truth, and it existed even in ancient Egypt. No state power can continue to exist by naked force. It is always sustained by the faith of the people in the sacredness of this power. When they cease to believe in the sacred significance of a monarchy, it is transformed into a tyranny and begins to decay. The oneness and integral wholeness cannot be compulsory. The outward structuring of life, the historical flesh of the state merely but symbolises the inner spiritual life of the people. And when in the inner spiritual life of the people there occur substantial changes, then the old symbolism falls and necessitates a new symbolism. The kingdom of Caesar is always a sphere of conditional and relative symbolism, and not of unconditional and unalterable realities. That fatal process of modern history, termed secularisation, is merely a correct outward expression of that which has occurred within the inner life of Christian mankind. Secularisation has all kinds of different names. If the state, the law, economy, science, art, morality, all be not Christian in the deepest, most real sense of this word, then it does not follow to call them Christian. The kingdom of Caesar ought not to be called a sacred and Christian state, a theocracy, if in actuality it is worldly, pagan, non-Christian and even anti-Christian in its nature. Christians cannot strive towards secularisation, Christians ought to strive with all their being towards this, that everything should become Christian and sacred, to strive for the transfiguration and enlightenment of all the whole of life, but still they can recognise the truth in secularisation, since they ought not to desire the conditional lie, the acknowledgement by force of something as Christian, which is not Christian. The tragedy of the second, the Constantine period in the history of Christianity is in this, that it inevitably ends with secularisation, as demanded by truth and freedom, as the expression of the failure of every theocracy.


It is impossible to realise the Kingdom of God by force. Not only man, but even God would say, that one cannot force grace. The freedom of man enters into the design of God for the Kingdom of God. In the historical Christian theocracies, Eastern and Western, imperial and papist, there was not yet to a sufficient degree expressed the consent of the freedom of man to the realisation of the Kingdom of God, i.e. there was not a sufficiently real transformation of life. The theocracies possessed a conditional and symbolic character. In the flesh of history, in the kingdom of Caesar there obtained signs and symbols and impressions of the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God itself was not attained, a real enlightenment and transfiguration did not occur. The Church only symbolically consecrates the imperial power of authority, it sets a Christian seal upon the state and upon everything so as to be rendered Christian in this world. The sacred kingdom of Caesar, the Christian state, remained something in nature, a natural kingdom of this world, neither enlightened nor transfigured, not having conquered the sin, being Old Testament and pagan like, but as it were besprinkled with holy water, in the intent of submission to a religious end, full of signs of another world, of symbolic archetypes of the Kingdom of God. Historical theocracies decayed and perished because they were not real theocracies, they did not realise the authentic Kingdom of God. There has ensued a time, when the will for realism has won out over the symbolic theocracy. In the post-Constantine period with the falling apart into two halves of the Christian world there was worked out two types of theocracy, — in the East the imperial, and in the West the papal. These — were two forms of the uniting of the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of Caesar, two forms of designation of the Kingdom of God within the kingdom of Caesar. The kingdom of Caesar therein becomes a sacred and theocratic kingdom either through its recognition as emperor, as an imperial authority delegated by God, anointed by the Church to reign, for the realisation of a sacred and churchly service, or else through its recognition as pope, as Roman high-priest, imbued with a kingly and imperial power of authority in the world and the source of all rule of power upon the earth. The exceptional state significance of the pope in the West and the exceptional churchly significance of the emperor in the East was determined by the unique aspects of the historical paths of the West and the East. 4  But it was one and the same idea of a Roman compulsory universalism, of a pagan imperialism, that lay at the basis of both the Western and Eastern theocracy. In Byzantium, theocracy sustained in itself a tradition not only of Roman imperialism, but also of the Eastern imperialism. Theocracy conceptually is always universal, a national theocracy is inwardly a contradiction. The emperor, imbued with a sacred power, is the same as is the pope. The Middle Ages recognised this and created the idea of a worldwide Holy Roman empire. But modern times created national states and by this destroyed the theocratic idea. The sacred Byzantine realm and the sacred Russian realm contained within them the potential for universality. The tsar emperor, as a churchly rank, endowed with a churchly power of authority, cannot be merely a national tsar emperor. Constantine the Great was also an universal tsar emperor. And if the power of authority of the Russian tsar had an exceptional significance for the Orthodox Church, then in its potentiality it might be thought of as an universal power of authority. Without this universality, the Orthodox tsar would have had no greater a significance, than the English king in the Anglican Church. Theocracy is an universalist utopia, the same as is Communism.

Theocracy strives towards the discovery and the affirmation of the sacred historical flesh in the kingdom of Caesar, towards an holy corporeality. It thus desires to contain the infinite spirit within finite flesh, it desires to enslave the infinite to the finite. The Kingdom of God is rendered into a semblance of the kingdom of this world. And it is difficult to reconcile historical theocracies with the Gospel saying: “The princes of the peoples lord it over them, and dignitaries hold power over them; but amidst ye let it be thus: whosoever amidst ye would be greatest,, let him be to ye the servant”. By this is affirmed the radical inconsistency and non-affinity between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar. In theocracy however there is essentially an assertion of such a consistency and affinity, reaching almost the point of identity. There are two temptations in the history of Christianity connected with the theocratic state, two variations and splits — Papocaesarism and Caesaropapism. In an ultimate and pure form these two temptations have never triumphed in the Christian world — both Catholicism and Orthodoxy were always immeasurably deeper and broader than these two tendencies. But all the same, the principles of Papocaesarism and Caesaropapism were deeply rooted in the historical flesh of Catholicism and the historical flesh of Orthodoxy. A greater advantage of Orthodoxy was in this, that Caesaropapism was never an object of churchly dogmatics, at a time when Papocaesarism was an object of such great dogmatisation within Catholicism. But in the Eastern, the Orthodox, the Byzantine and Russian theocracies, the tendency towards Caesaropapism in fact did play a great role in the life of the Church. And therefore the Russian Revolution appears an enormous, and as yet not fully gauged in all its depths, ultimate catastrophe in the Orthodox Church, inwardly, and not only externally an upheaval. Khomyakov with indignation spurned the accusation of Caesaropapism in the Russian Church. In an absolute and final sense he was correct. But he understated the importance and the unsettling aspect of this question. It is not by chance that during the reign of Paul I there was sneaked into our basic laws the title of the tsar as head of the Church. 5  Such a consciousness could not be dogmatically justified and could not be regarded in accord with the nature of the Orthodox Church, but it is a natural result of historical theocracies. The Orthodox Church does not know a visible head, as its sole head it acknowledges only Christ. But when the kingdom of Caesar is considered an holy kingdom, when there is seen in it a reflection of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, then the striving for oneness and integral wholeness in the life of the Church is nudged onto the path of acknowledging a single visible head. Caesaropapism is the final boundary of the Constantine period in Christianity. In it the historical mindset of Christianity ultimately overshadows its eschatological mindset. The Kingdom of God is not something still yet sought for, it is not attained for real, but rather becomes a matter of signs and symbols within the kingdom of Caesar. This is the historical process of a replacement of apocalyptic prophecies about the Kingdom of God, — in it the kingdom of Caesar is substituted for the Kingdom of God. In the Catholic mindset the Kingdom of God ultimately becomes identified with the historical life of the Church, and through this there is extinguished the eschatological searching for the Kingdom of God. Bu even a most radical rejection of Caesaropapism and Papocaesarism, as religious temptations, does not mean a denial of the positive significance of monarchy and the significance of the papacy in the history of Christian peoples. Monarchy in the past played a positive, creative, and often progressive, even at times a revolutionary role in Russian history. We admit even, that monarchy, in its modern form, may still be called to play a positive role in the renewal of Russia. But this does not at all resolve the religious question about a theocratic monarchy. The old, the sacred Russian monarchy cannot be reborn. Monarchy is a natural historical fact in the developement of peoples and in this capacity it ought to be considered, it belongs totally to this world, to the kingdom of Caesar and its features are not transferable to the Kingdom of God. Khomyakov and the Slavophils based the autocratic monarchy upon national-historical, not religio-mystical grounds, and essentially foreign to them was the Judaic theocratic idea. Monarchic states for them were distinct from democratic states, since in their fundamentals customarily there lay principles, oriented towards the other world, and not to earthly eudaemonism. Therefore monarchy was more religious than democracy. 6   The exceptions consist only of the Calvinist democracies. But this does not mean, that such religiously justified monarchies were in actuality theocracies. And indeed, is theocracy actually possible in the Christian world, a New Testament theocracy? The theocratic idea is an Old Testament idea, an ancient Hebrew idea. From the Christian point of view, is there applicable to God the category of the rule of might, lacking credibility here when approached by way of negative theology? Christian theocracy is but a signification and symbolisation of the Kingdom of God, whereas in reality the Kingdom of God is a transfiguration of the world. Christian theocracy knows only one Tsar — Christ. And this means, that the theocracies in Christianity represent a false transferal of Jewish Old Testament categories into Christian life. And the result of this is but the justification of a pagan natural kingdom. 7


The question about the relationship between Christianity and monarchy is an historical question, and it mustneeds be posited dynamically. And that which is unique to a certain historical epoch within Christianity, cannot be considered dogmatically a truth. Monarchies decay and fall, just like everything earthly and of nature. The Church however will exist invincible to the very end of time and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The kingdom of Caesar appertains to time. The Kingdom of God appertains to eternity. Christianity can exist in the most diverse historical conditions. And it is impossible to consider that which is transitory and mutable as essentially belonging to the nature of the Church. Extreme advocates of an inseparable connection between Orthodoxy and autocracy, for whom the power of the autocrat is sacred and churchly, are prepared to admit the anointing of the tsar to rule, — as an eighth sacrament. 8   And it mustneeds be said, that the rite of crowning as tsar provides grounds for such an opinion. Amidst the myrh-chrism anointing of the tsar are pronounced the words: — “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”. 9   One is tempted to think, that the tsar receives a special sort of charism, a special sort of grace to reign, that reigning is a churchly service analogous to the priesthood. 10   The anointing of the tsar installs the kingdom of Caesar into the Kingdom of God. The pagan Caesar, in all his origins derivative of the pagan world, receives anointing and is rendered an Orthodox tsar. In the Orthodox tsar they see a theophany, a manifestation of God. And how might this transpire? The Church leaves nothing in life unconsecrated, it consecrates the whole of human life from birth to death, the whole of human existence, and it consecrates also the governing power. But in the life of the Church, chiefly the Orthodox Church (in the West it was otherwise), there occurred a moment, when it was no longer still limited to an acknowledging of the religious meaning of the power of authority with a symbolic consecration of the state, when it beheld the Orthodox tsar as it were a sacred flesh, an expression of the Kingdom of God upon earth. This already was a great historical temptation for churchly mankind, a mixing up of the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of Caesar. The fatal fact of the separation of the Churches, which was the greatest failing of Christianity in history, enabled the strengthening of the two tendencies and temptations, in the East of Caesaropapism, and in the West of Papocaesarism. The presupposition can even be made, that if the separation of Churches had not happened, then there would never have reached such proportions of the imperial theocracy in the East and the papal theocracy in the West. But these theocracies were not judged to be of an eternal historical existence. The pope has remained and has even proclaimed in the XIX Century his infallibility in matters of faith, but the pope has lost his might over the world, over the secular states, he has ceased to be a monarch. Papal theocracy no longer exists. The Western world has become secularised and the Catholic Church exists on the outside, as but one organisation alongside other organisations in the Western states. At best the Church recourses to concordances, at worst it is barely tolerated or is even persecuted by atheistic governments. The Byzantine theocratic imperium fell long ago. The Greek Church over the course of centuries existed under the Turks. There has likewise finally collapsed the greatest of the theocracies of the East — the sacred Russian tsardom. And it fell not only from outward blows, but also from an inward disintegration. Its decline in aesthetic style was symptomatic of its decay. The theocracies ceased to symbolise the spiritual condition of the various peoples, they ceased to reflect the religious beliefs of the peoples. The unity and integral wholeness of the beliefs of the peoples ended, and there ensued times of division. It was impossible to hold on to the old principles by force. The old symbolism ceased to be sacred, just as in Europe, so also in Russia. Revolution also is a change of symbolism in the inner life of peoples. Monarchies in the West either ceased to exist or they lost all their real significance (England, Italy). Towards such political forms the interest has all more and more waned. In Russia the monarchy from the time of Peter the Great became humanistic and was secularised all the more and more. The subordination of church to state, the forming of the Church-synodal structure reflected a process of the secularisation of the Russian state and its coming nigh to the type of the Western enlightenment absolutism. 11  The Slavophils had long since already declared, that in the Peterburg period of Russian history there was not existent then an autocracy in Russia, there existed but absolutism with a bureaucracy developed to the extreme. Absolutism however per the Slavophil understanding is not a Russian and Orthodox form of state power, but rather is the developement of the pagan Roman imperialistic idea. Autocracy is likewise contrasted to absolutism by L. Tikhomirov in his book, “Monarkhicheskaya Gosudarstvennost'” (“The Monarchic State”), which unjustly is little known and which mustneeds be acknowledged as the best formulation of grounds for an autocratic monarchy. 12

In what, however, is the essence of the religious idea of autocracy and by what is it distinct from absolutism? According to the ideology of autocracy, the tsar’s might of rule is delegated not by the people, but by God. There does not exist the right to power, there exists but the obligation of power. The power of the tsar is altogether not an absolute, unlimited might of power. It is autocratic since that it does not derive from the will of the people and is not limited by the people. But it is limited by the Church and by Christian truth, spiritually it is subordinated to the Church, it is a service not in accord with its own will, but rather the will of God. The tsar ought not to seek his own will, he ought to serve the will of God. The tsar and the people have a common bond between them with one and the same faith, with one and the same submission to the Church and God’s righteous truth. Autocracy presupposes a broad basis of the people’s social support, but living its life independently, meaning that it is not bestown by the life of the people. Autocracy is justified in only this instance, if the people have evident a faith, sanctioning the power of the tsar. It cannot be an external coercion by force over the people. Peter the Great was insufficiently Orthodox, and his inclinations towards Protestantism rendered him an absolute, and not autocratic, monarch. Absolute monarchy is a by-product of humanism. In absolutism, in imperialism, the tsar is a delegate of the people, supreme power does not belong to the tsar, although there does belong to him an absolute and unlimited power of governance. But the people can also take away the power of the tsar. Suchlike is the idea of the absolute monarchy, as worked out in the West. 13  In absolutism the tsar is not manifestly a servant of the Church. The subordination of church to state is a characteristic mark of the absolute monarchy. And thus also it was with the Catholic Church under Louis XIV. Absolutism likewise always developes a bureaucracy and chokes the social life of the people. L. Tikhomirov has thus expressed for us in purest form the idea of the religious grounds of autocracy. But Khomyakov and the Slavophils viewed it otherwise. For them the supreme power belonged to the people, but the people refused power, in order to devote themselves to spiritual life, and they imposed upon the tsar the burden of ruling as tsar, having left themselves only the Duma, only an advisory opinion. But has here existed at some time in history the religious autocracy in its pure, its idealistic form? L. Tikhomirov himself is compelled to acknowledge, that there was not. In Byzantium the religious idea of autocracy was always distorted by the pagan Roman absolutism and in it the imperial power did not possess a popular social basis. All the Peterburg period of Russian history is the triumph of absolutism and bureaucratism, the stifling of the independence of the Church and the independence of the life of the people. The closest to the religious idea of autocracy was in pre-Petrine Rus’. But even there it is impossible to find those features, which are sketched out in the religious idea of autocracy. Ivan the Terrible was of a very prominent and consistent expression of the Russian idea of autocracy, but this at once evokes also distress and doubts. In the West ultimately there was nothing similar to autocracy, nor indeed could it be begotten upon a Catholic soil. Instead, a struggle between the spiritual and secular powers transpired there. It is clear, that the religious and Orthodox idea of autocracy, of a sacred monarchy, is purely an utopia of a perfect and ideal civil and social order, the same sort of utopia, as is a papal theocracy, as is any perfect ideal socialist order. A beautiful utopia, perhaps the finest of utopias! But in fact autocracy always transformed itself into absolutism, and was absolutism. Both Byzantium and Russia, two great Orthodox monarchies, did not manifest themselves as types of a religious autocracy. Imperialism triumphs in every great monarchy, it is the destiny of the monarchy, which draws it both to greatness and to ruin. Of the pagan imperialistic idea no monarchy lacks for, since monarchy by its very nature is of a pagan origin. In but the short instant that monarchy becomes Orthodox, it then quickly developes the pagan principle of a world ruler, of the earthly kingdom of Caesar.

We arrive at a conclusion, which can seem paradoxical. They tend usually to defend autocracy and monarchy in that human nature is sinful, and that a monarchic form of governance is more capable to deal with sinful human nature, than is the democratic form. Democracy, socialism et al. is defended by those, who do not believe in Original Sin. But just as easily this position can be turned around the other way. Namely that because human nature is sinful, it can the more fully realise the democratic and socialist order, it can be the expression of this sinfulness. Democracy least of all presupposes the perfection of human nature, it was created for the imperfect and sinful condition. Autocratic monarchy however devolves into the utopia of a perfect and sinless condition. A religious autocratic monarchy as such is a very lofty idea, but totally utopian, presupposing such a condition of peoples, scarcely to be attained in our sinful world. Autocracy now is being dreamt about and will be dreamt about, as earlier socialism was dreamt about. But there are no grounds to believe, that people will arrive at a spiritual condition capable to beget a religious autocracy, which presupposes an exceptional spiritual integrality and oneness of faith. Th world is going to pieces, and it was foretold by Christian prophecies. Not only for the future, but also for the past, the religious autocratic monarchy was an utopia, and in reality what was possible was but an absolute monarchy, to a greater or lesser degree subject to Orthodoxy. Autocracy there never was nor ever will be. This — is an utopian, dream-fantasy of an idea, based upon a jumbling together of the kingdom of Caesar with the Kingdom of God. Some sort of an eighth sacrament of an anointing of a tsar to his tsardom is unknown to the dogmatic consciousness of the Church, it relates wholly to the historical, and not mystical side of the Church. And indeed something that is nationally Russian and particular, rather than universal, cannot be a sacramental-mystery of the Church. Every application of the categories of the Kingdom of God to the naturo-historical kingdom of Caesar is an utopia or romanticism. Within such sorts of constructs there is absent a religious realism, the sober vision of reality. Religious autocracy is impossible, since generally impossible is any perfect social order in the sinful world, since within the relative is impossible the absolute. And in the very idea of religious autocracy there is insufficient humility, there is pride, there is the transforming of “Caesar” into “God”, the earthly into the heavenly, the relative into the absolute, the natural into the spiritual. This idea impedes the search for the Kingdom of God, it obstructs the path of a real transfiguration of life. Theocratic utopia is the wellspring of all the social utopias.


Christianity does not possess a requisite connection, in the dogmatic sense of a requisite connection, with monarchy nor with any other sort of form of political order. A monarchy can be Christian, and it can be anti-Christian in its spirit. A republic too can be anti-Christian, but it can also be Christian in its spirit. Everything is determined not by the formal signs, but by spiritual content. We can no longer still believe in an absolute significance of juridical and political forms. We are exiting an epoch of absolutised forms. But it is impossible to seek salvation in mere forms, salvation is only in the spiritual content of life. And the crisis, which is taking place both in Russia and in the world, is not the crisis of some sort of political form, this is a crisis of every political form, with democracy in the same measure as with monarchy. And the place, which Christianity occupies within life, defines the spiritual content of life, rather than mere political forms and the outward order of life. The collapse of delusions and idols, the imperialistic as well as the socialistic, is a very favourable thing for Christianity. Christianity, and especially Russian Christianity, has returned to the state of affairs prior to Constantine the Great. In Russia, in Orthodoxy, this crisis is catastrophic, in the West, in Catholicism, it is evolutionary and gradual. We are present at the liquidation of all the post-Constantine period of Christian history. Those relationships, which built up between the Church and the state, between Christianity and the world after Constantine the Great, — were not eternal nor absolute relationships. They were but ephemoral and transitory relationships. Christianity can enter into a completely new period, into a third period, and it has already entered into it. This finally must be recognised. There has ended the period of the symbolic consecration of state power. The outwardly-compulsive and conditionally-symbolic unity of the Christian world has disintegrated. It has disintegrated from within, and this has found expression on the outside in the processes of secularisation and in the revolutions. The world is coming apart. The realisation by force of the Kingdom of God within the kingdom of Caesar is shown to be impossible. The kingdom of Caesar lives according to its own laws. And this catastrophic process, finishing off the modern era, is not only a matter of woe for the Church of Christ, but also of rejoicing, since Christianity loses in quantity, but wins out in quality. There triumphs truthfulness and sincerity, and struck down is the lie and insincerity. In Russia there has begun a persecution against the Church from the side of the godless and anti-Christian state, but there has ended the enslavement of the Church to the state, the captivity of the Church, which brought it into the condition about which Dostoevsky spoke, saying that the Church since the time of Peter the Great has been in paralysis. The false and vile protection, the official state position in which the Church found itself, was worse than a persecution. It is possible to frighten Christians with persecutions, though in them it will build up a religious fortitude, but the official protection, depriving the Church of its independence, can only enervate and paralyse the energy of Christians. Yet all the same we have to admit, if we look religiously at the catastrophe that is happening, that the Church is not only passively suffering the blows from without, from the Revolution, but that also in the Church itself spiritual changes are occurring, with a passage over into another historical epoch. And a return to the old era, to the old relationships of church and state, to the old consecration of the kingdom of Caesar, cannot obtain nor can it be wished for. It is necessary to look ahead, and not backwards. The Church of Christ stands anew before the raging elements of the world, it encounters anew the hostility of the kingdom of Caesar. But inwardly it is already all different, than it was prior to Constantine, during the first centuries of Christianity. Rising up in opposition to Christianity is now not the pre-Christian pagan world, but rather a significant portion of the world which is anti-Christian, revealing in itself principles of hostility to Christ. And the persecutions on the part of the anti-Christian world are more terrible, than were the persecutions on the part of the pre-Christian world. The kingdom of Caesar inwardly is breaking apart. In the world there is no peace. The sword is chopping the world to pieces. There has ended the period of a mixed-up condition, of an outward unity or a seeming neutrality. We are passing over to the realities, to the primal realities of life and we ought to call everything by its own name. It is already impossible to call Christian that, which in itself contains nothing Christian. The world in reality is divided into he kingdoms of Christ and of the Anti-Christ. The power of authority to the end of time will have a positive mission and the Church will consecrate the principle of the power of authority. But whether the power of authority will be found in the hands of Christians, this is more than problematic. And indeed whether a Christian power of authority can uphold the oneness of the world, which is divided into two kingdoms and in which quantitatively there prevails, and actually, will prevail the Anti-Christ’s kingdom. The kingdom of Caesar only at times consents to call itself Christian. But it has not become Christian at its most real and ontological roots and fundamentals, it has remained a pagan and natural kingdom, receptive to anti-Christian currents and influences. And in the old Christian, the theocratic kingdom of Caesar, the anti-Christian principles had mightily breached their way through, with the lust for power of the kingdom of this world. And now at present these principles ultimately triumph within the kingdom of Caesar. The sacred and strong monarchies can exist only up until the time, when the natural kingdom of Caesar ceases to be neutral, up until the time of its fracturing and the revealing of its anti-Christian principles. But when this has occurred, then the sacred monarchy is rendered an utopia. And the position of Christianity becomes tragic afront the face of the elements raging in the world: it cannot be wholly either with the “rightist” camp, nor with the “leftist” camp, nor with the centrist camp, since in all these camps there can all the same triumph the godless kingdom of Caesar. Christians can and ought to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but the things of God they cannot render to Caesar, in such things the image of Caesar should not appear upon. And in this is the meaning of the events of our time.

In the current historical period, in this latest hour of history, Christians ought to enter upon the path of not merely a symbolic, but rather of a real realisation of Christianity in life, the realisation of the truth of Christ. The Kingdom of God is conceivable in each instant of our life. The truth of Christ can and ought to be realisable amidst all historical conditions, in every setting. We cannot remain still satisfied with the conditions of Christian signs and symbolic sealings. In the outward there ought also to be the same, what also is within. We ultimately have entered into a period of life, when the realities ought to be laid bare and when only the realities should concern us. We want to stand face to face before the final realities. Ontological sincerity and honesty ought to be our pathos. If we are Christian, then we cannot not want, but that society should be maximally Christian, yet as such really Christian and not merely illusory as Christian. Within Christianity there remains eternally the eschatological hope, in it there cannot be bypassed the seeking of the Kingdom of God, which ought to conquer the world. The meaning of the ensuing epoch in Christianity consists also in this, that within it anew Christianity will be eschatological, and not exclusively historical. And he idea of the Kingdom of God ought to be explored not merely historically, but also eschatologically. This also was undertaken in Russian religious thought. Or epoch possesses an outward and formal affinity with the first centuries of Christianity, but inwardly and materially everything is quite different, everything is infinitely more complex and difficult. Yet history has not happened in vain. The Kingdom of God has not been realisable nor found its place in either our historical flesh, nor in our expanse and times, it is not there and it is not here, it does not possess outwardly discernable signs, it cannot be conceived of by any sort of historical process of evolution and cannot be built up by any sort of guarding over, it likewise is not in the “right” just as it not in the “left”, in it likewise there is nothing of the “reactionary”, just as there is nothing of the “revolutionary”. Only at the end of time, in the miraculous transfiguration of the world can there be fully manifest the Kingdom of God, it is ahead, but it likewise is in eternity, it approaches imperceptibly and in each moment it ought actively to come to realisation for us. Inapplicable are any sort of the categories, taken from the kingdom of Caesar, it has not the slightest affinity with the kingdom of Caesar, in it everything is different and transpires otherwise. The Kingdom of God has nothing in common with the fatal ordering of life, upon which all monarchies are based. The Kingdom of God is not a symbolic sanctification of the kingdom of Caesar, it is not in the historical life of the Church, as the Catholics tend to think in following Bl. Augustine, — in the Kingdom of God there is the everything in all, it is a real and not symbolic kingdom. And it originates in everything, everything that attains to a genuine ontological reality, everything that finds itself in God. The Kingdom of God cannot be conceived of by human activity alone, but it also cannot be conceived of without human activity.


Can the idea of a sacred and Christian monarchy, the idea of a Christian and Orthodox tsar, as an anointed one of God, can it be carried over from the historical perspective to the eschatological perspective? The eschatological idea of a
Christian tsar and a Christian tsardom is a final recourse to an utopia, a final attempt to transfer the kingdom of Caesar into the Kingdom of God. Monarchy belongs wholly to the historical path, it is bound up with the workings of Christianity within the naturo-historical world. Monarchies had a positive vocation in the historical destinies of Christian peoples and they had their own advantage over democracies, which are fictitious and transitory in nature. One can at present still desire the historical path of monarchy and the new type of social monarchies that can still yet appear. 14   But the idea of a Christian tsar is entirely an historical non-eschatological category, it belongs entirely to the symbolic kingdom of Caesar, and not to the real Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God, which is a transfiguration of the world, there will be no sort of kingdom of Caesar. The kingdom of Caesar exists only in the natural, the non-transfigured world. Inapplicable to the Kingdom of God are those categories of might of authority, which derive entirely from the natural kingdom of Caesar. In it everything is otherwise and dissimilar to our world and its laws. A theocratic and sacred autocratic monarchy will nevermore yet be in the world. The holy Russian tsardom was the last of its type. This period in the history of Christianity has irreparably ended. And the visionary dream about its return is an harmful utopian and romantic dream, it is the lack of desire or the incapacity to stand afront the ultimate religious realities. The Church knows only one Bridegroom — Christ. The Kingdom of God knows only one King — Christ. The eschatological idea of kingdom is the idea of the Kingdom of Christ, the non-mediated Kingdom itself of Christ, King and HighPriest. Within Christianity lies hidden the expectation for an universal royal priesthood. The Apostle Paul says: “Ye — art a chosen people, a royal priesthood”. St. Makarios of Egypt says about the anointing of all Christians to a royal kingship: “Just as with the prophets all the worthier was the one anointed; wherefore being anointed were kings and prophets: thus now also spiritual people, anointed with an heavenly anointing, are rendered Christians by grace, so that they may be kings and prophets of the heavenly mysteries”. 15  “Know thou art of a noble descent, and namely, that thou art called to a royal dignity”. 16  The Kingdom of God also will be an universal royal priesthood. This nowise signifies a denial of the hierarchical principle within the historical path, as various sorts of sectarians would suppose. Towards the universal royal priesthood it is possible only to go by the hierarchical churchly path. And indeed the very Kingdom of God itself — is hierarchical. And an universal royal priesthood is not a denial of the hierarchical structure of being. But the eschatological idea of a royal priesthood is contrary to the theocratic idea of a tsar. The Christian king-tsar was necessitated upon the historical path, not because that by this was realised the Kingdom of Christ, but namely because that the Kingdom of Christ had not been realised, and he was needed in the world of the unrealised Kingdom of Christ. Suchlike also a view was in the Biblical understanding of the origin of royal power of authority. The eschatological and apocalyptic epoch will be connected with suchlike manifestations of the Holy Spirit, about which we are unable to speak or know anything. We know only, that in this epoch there will not be carried over categories of our historical being, and to it are not applicable concepts, taken from the kingdom of Caesar. We are compelled to recognise, that in the churchly consciousness this is not something disclosed before the end-time. Movement towards the Kingdom of God, towards the Second Coming of Christ signifies an epoch that is pneumatological and spirit-bearing.

The third period in the history of Christianity will stand beneathe the banner of an intensified religious struggle, of the clash of Christian and anti-Christian principles. In this period a Christian renewal is possible, a qualitative strengthening of Christianity. But only with difficulty could it set itself the task of the re-creation of a confessional Christian state in the old sense of the word. The Christian Church ought finally to cease relying upon the state power and it ought to direct its own particular energy inwards. Inside the Church will be brought together a genuine Christian community of people, a social brotherhood in Christ, which in the “Christian state” there was not. In this period they would cease ascribing that exceptional significance to government power and politics, which they had ascribed in the preceding period. People would unite under a religious standard, inwardly spiritual, and not the external and political standard. The difference between good and evil in people has hardly any relationship to the political inclinations of people. To morally judge people dependent upon whether they be of the “right” or of the “left” is quite great a spiritual perversion. The “right” or the “left”, monarchism or republicanism are in essence totally insignificant and pitiful things, things third-rate before the face of God, before the face of authentic spiritual life. People become spiritually close and united or spiritually distant and divided not at all because they are “rightists” or “leftists”, not because they are for monarchy or for republic, it is not at all in these external spheres that the relationships of people are determined. Hardly can it be presupposed and even less can it be desired, that anew there should be a return to a realising of the work of Christ in the world, of the Kingdom of God, by the forceful methods of the kingdom of Caesar. This jumble and confusion would already be impossible in the coming period of Christianity. And if there should be a coercive confessional state, then this would be a socialist or communist state, based on a contrary atheistic religion, a state which would persecute Christians and the Church of Christ. In Russian Communism is given a prime example of such a Satan-ocratic state. The Church of Christ in this world always was and will be oppressed, — either by a false protection, converting it into tools of the state, to Caesar’s ends, or by persecution. The third period of Christian history brings with it a final freeing of Christianity from the temptations of a pagan Roman imperialism, from utopian visionary dreams about the universal might of tsar or pope, i.e. from the idea of a coercive and quantitative universalism. The Christian world is being freed from those pagan and anti-Christian temptations, is being cleansed, is being rendered more spiritual and deeply profound. The pretensions to a coercive quantitative universalism ultimately has passed over to Communism, to the godless kingdom of Caesar. Communism shows itself by force to be a compulsory theocracy, it exists as an utopia. The Christian world, however, strives ultimately towards the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world and which comes imperceptibly. But that, which is “not of this world”, can be manifest in this world and it ought to be manifest. The new epoch within Christianity signifies a passing over from the symbolic significations of the truth of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ within the kingdom of Caesar, a passing over instead towards a real transfiguration, towards a real realisation of the truth of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ, without pretension to an outward state. The old “Christian state” did not try even to realise Christianity within social life. Having been set free from the pagan temptations, from the regarding of Caesar’s principles as divine, it will enable the reapproachement of the Eastern and Western Christian world. Their divisions were primarily temptations of the kingdom of Caesar. In the Kingdom of Christ, in the Kingdom of God, there cannot be divisions. The divisions occurred within the kingdom of Caesar, and were construed as sacred, as being of the Kingdom of God. We ought to recognise, that there transpires not only an outward, a political, social revolution, but that there transpires also an inward and spiritual upheaval, opening up a new period for Christianity. The mixed-up kingdom, in which ” the things of God” and “the things of Caesar” were not sufficiently separated wherein one substituted for the other, has ended. The Christian state also was a jumbled half-Christian state. An half-fast Christianity is already an impossibility. A time of choosing has begun. Christianity can be only a qualitatively inward, spiritual power in the world, and not a quantitative, outwardly coercive power. Christianity can but be really a power realising the truth of Christ. The new wine is being brought forth in the Christian world and it is impossible to pour it into the old wine-skins. In the “world” itself there are being discovered creative religious processes, which ought to be recognised as churchly. But the third period, into which we enter, is not yet the final period. We live with the great hope, that there will begin a yet conclusive period, in which will be manifest the miraculous power of the truth of Christ in the world, a power resuscitating to life eternal, and that the Kingdom of God will come. The Church is not yet the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God comes imperceptibly not only within the visible protective-walls of the Church, but also into the world, into social and cosmic life, as yet not perceived as churchly life. In the Kingdom of God there will be nothing of a resemblance to the kingdom of Caesar, to the present order of the natural world, it will be a real transfiguration of the cosmos, a new heaven and a new earth.

Nikolai Berdyaev.


©  2001  by translator Fr. S. Janos

(1925 -303 -en)

TSARSTVO  BOZHIE  I  TSARSTVO  KESARYA.   Journal Put’,  Sept. 1925,  No. 1,  p. 31-52.

1 My theme does not include consideration of the problem of the relationship of Christianity to the social question.

2 Vide “Collected Works of Khomyakov”, tome VII, p. 424.

3 Much of interest on this question can be found in E. Troeltsch’s “Die Sozial-lehrender Christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen”, 1919. Vide Chapter I, “Die Grundlagen in der alten Kirche”.

4 Papism assumed such an exceptional significance in the West, because for a long time the Roman Church had to fill in as a substitute for the state and assume the functions of governing.

5 K. P. Pobedonostsev regarded this as a result of ignorance.

6  The medieval consciousness never recognised the absoluteness of the state nor the absoluteness of monarchic rule. Only in the modern period has there been a returning to this attitude, to the ancient pagan principles. Medieval teachings set natural law higher than the state, made the state subject to justice, and recognised the law in opposition to such authorities as transgressed the law. Vide the interesting book of Otto von Dierke, “Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht” (the section, “Die publizistischen Lehren des Mittelalters”).

7 An interesting and accurate critique of theocracy can be found with Pr. E. N. Trubetskoy in his book, “Mirosozertsanie Vl. Solov’eva” (“The World-Concept of Vl. Solov’ev”).

8 Vide the book of M. Zyzykin, “Tsarskaya vlast’ i zakon o prestolonasledii v Rossii” (“The Power of the Tsar and the Law of Assuming the Throne in Russia”), 1924.

9 [trans. note: the same words are used in the anointing with myrh-chrism in the sacrament of Chrismation (Myropomazanie)].

10 Vl. Solov’ev thought thus, when he constructed his concept of theocracy.

11 Much of interest in this regard can be found in the investigations of P. Verkhovsky’s “Uchrezhdenie dukhovnoi kollegii i dukhovnyi reglament” (“Foundations of the Clerical Collegium and the Religious Regulation”).

12 The book, “Monarkhicheskaya Gosudarstvennost'”, was republished abroad and enjoys, evidently, great popularity in the rightist monarchic circles. It is necessary moreover to mention, that for the court-bureaucratic reactionaries the ideas of L. Tikhomirov are ill suited, in that his monarchism is sharply populist and in the social regard bears a democratic character. Tikhomirov is an opponent of the bureaucratic absolutism.

13 Actually in the West also, monarchy was avowedly sacred and the king of France was regarded a king verymost-Christian.

14 The old sort of monarchies cannot be revived. The monarch can only be some sort of president of the republic with a strong and independent power.

15 Vide “Prepodobnago Ottsa nashego Makariya Egipetskago dukhovniya besedy, poslaniya i slova” (“Spiritual Discourses, Letters and Sermons of our Father Makarios of Egypt”),  p. 148.

16 Ibid., p. 209.