August 28, 2014

“There’s Plenty of Freedom, But Little Truth”: Solzhenitsyn Remembered

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Source: HT: Acton Blog Back when I was a college student I stumbled on Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "Harvard Address" in the library. I read it and knew immediately that Orthodox Christianity contained the spiritual depth I was looking for as a Christian. I had no real idea what Orthodox Christianity was and started reading up on it. I assumed too that Orthodox Churches existed only in Russia and Greece until I met my wife to be a few months later who happened to be Greek Orthodox. The rest, as they say, is history. From the Acton Blog by John Couretas:, a Russian site, has published an English translation of an interview given by Archpriest Nikolai Chernyshev, who is identified as “the spiritual father of the Solzhenitsyn family during the final years of the writer’s life.” The interview touches on Aleksandr Solzenitsyn’s upbringing in a deeply religious Russian Orthodox family, his encounter with militant atheism ( … he joined neither the Young Pioneers … [Read more...]

Solzhenitsyn: Men Have Forgotten God

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Over at Voice Crying in the Wilderness, Chris Banescu reminds us not to forget Alexander Solzhenitsyn's penetrating analysis into the decline of Western Culture. Solzhenitsyn's conscience was forged in the crucible of suffering under the Soviet Communists. It was in the Gulag's where he received the critical insight that the line between good and evil rests in the heart of every man. Sanctification, or holiness to use the translated Greek, begins within. Healing of culture first begins with interior repentance -- the changing of the mind, the clearing of conscience, the putting off of sin -- and from there the healing salve of the love of God begins to enter the darkened world anew. Solzhenitsyn was one of the last century's great moralists, and we need real moralists more today than ever. He showed us that true morality, that locus or touchstone between man and God exacts a cost, just as Christ said it would. His examination of the murderous mechanisms of Communism, particularly … [Read more...]

Boldness or Irrelevance?

Dr. John Mark Reynolds

John Mark Reynolds at the Scriptorium: There is a boldness that should come with the a commitment to Christ. When the Green Patriarch (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew) goes to a university ridden with the problems of our age and only tells them the parts of the Christian faith with which they are likely to agree, we are troubled by it. We hope he did not wimp out to curry political favor for causes where he is desperate for Western support, but we long for the clarity or boldness of a John Paul the Great in Poland. We cannot judge for certain, but the Biblical prophetic witness sounds more like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s address to Harvard. There a brave man spoke truth to power . . . not in our modern trivialization of the phrase where it means taking on figures that are unpopular in our own social set. Solzhenitsyn did not take on oil companies to Green Peace or abortionists at Liberty University. He attacked those he admired in other ways or whose admiration he might have … [Read more...]

Required reading: Solzhenitsyn

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia has made a once-banned book recounting the brutality and despair of the Soviet Gulag required reading in the country's schools, the Education Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. The ministry said excerpts of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 1973 epic "The Gulag Archipelago" have been added to the curriculum for high-school students. The book was banned by Soviet censors, sparking Mr. Solzhenitsyn's retreat into exile. The decision announced Wednesday was taken due to "the vital historical and cultural heritage on the course of 20th-century domestic history" contained in Mr. Solzhenitsyn's work, the ministry said. The move comes despite Russian moves over the past decade to restore some Soviet symbols and, liberals say, glorify Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. It was not immediately clear whether the addition of the book would apply to the current academic year, which began Sept. 1. It is thought over a million Russians perished in the Gulag, a sprawling … [Read more...]

We hold these truths to be self-evident…


I love America. Yes, I know that America is not perfect, that we have a boatload of problems, that rights for some Americans have been hard fought, that we have messed up on occasion throughout the world, and every other complaint you hear again and again. Still, I love America. And the reason I love America is because at its founding it asserted this fundamental truth: Man is created to be free. Yes, I know this makes some Orthodox uneasy. Yes, I know that ultimate freedom comes only through Christ. Yes, I know that this sounds very close to right-wing fundamentalism. Yes, I know all that. Still, I love America. The Founding Fathers, said Alexander Solzhenitsyn (perhaps the most profound moral thinker of the last half of the last century) understood this about the freedom of America: Yet in the early democracies, as in the American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted on the ground that man is God's creature. That is, freedom was given … [Read more...]