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The key to the transition of the Orthodox Catholic Tradition from an illegal to a legal religion and then to an established Church lies in the fact that the Roman Empire realised that it was not confronted simply by another form of religion or philosophy, but by a well organised society of psychiatric clinics which cured the happiness-seeking sickness of humanity and produced normal citizens with selfless love dedicated to the radical cure of personal and social ills. The relation between State and Church which developed was exactly parallel to that between the State and modern medicine. 

                                                    John Romanides (1)


In my article on Alexander Dugin in the first Heidegger Review, I complained that, though Dugin proclaims himself to be an Orthodox Christian, it is by no means obvious what role Orthodox Christianity plays in his overall thinking. It is, he tells us, the traditional religion for Russians and there may be an implication that it isn't much good for anyone else. My article was based on his book The Fourth Political Theory and also on his website which seems quite comprehensive. But Dugin has written books on all sorts of subjects and very little of what he has written has been translated into English. He has in fact published at least one book on Orthodoxy, or at least on what he calls 'Orthodox Esotericism', which may not be quite the same thing. (2) 

(1)  John Romanides: 'Church Synods and civilisation' in Theologia, Vol. 63, Issue 3. July -September 1992. Available online at

(2)   A.Dugin: Metaphysics of the Annunciation (Orthodox Esotericism), Moscow 1996

Since this article  was written, a new book by Dugin has appeared in English translation, on Heidegger, (3) and though this too says very little about Orthodoxy it is part of a larger project which puts Heidegger into the general context of Russian philosophy, or it might be better to say, puts Russian philosophy into the context of Heidegger. Though the second - Russian - part isn't yet available in translation the broad thesis is that Russian philosophy (presumably such as Khomiakov, Soloviev, Berdyaev - Plekhanov? Deborin? Bukharin?) is a chaotic, shapeless thing living in the shadow of the great drama that is Western philosophy. It is a philosophy in waiting. The cycle of Western philosophy, starting with the pre-socratics, was based on a misconception of the nature of Being. That cycle, as Heidegger argues, came to an end with Nietzsche. It is Heidegger who has prepared the way for the new beginning that will give the Russians their chance: 'Despite everything, we must prepare a new turn in Russian philosophy arising from an accurate understanding of Western thought. And Western thought in its greatest embodiment is the philosophy of Martin Heidegger.' (p.288) One assumes that the book on Russian philosophy will have something to say about Orthodoxy.

(3)   Alexander Dugin: Martin Heidegger, The Philosophy of Another Beginning, Arlington VA, Radix/Washington Summit publishers, 2014. I have reviewed this book in Heidegger Review 3.

Also since I wrote my article a couple of items relevant to Orthodoxy have appeared on the website. One of them is a piece by Dugin himself - a discussion available in a French translation of the legal theorist, one of the pioneers of 'Eurasianism' in the 1920s, Nikolai Nikolaivitch Alekseiev. (4)

(4)   'La théorie de l’Etat eurasien, Essai sur Nikolaï Nikolaiévitch Alekseiev',

In this article, Dugin evokes the confrontation said to have taken place in Russia in the fifteenth/sixteenth century between the 'non-possessors', represented by the hermit St Nil Sorsky, and the 'possessors', represented by the monk St Josif Volotsky (5). The 'non-possessors' argued for a strictly ascetic monasticism separate from the world, the 'possessors' for a powerful monasticism able to exercise influence in the world - mainly through the suppression of non-Orthodox tendencies. Dugin, following Alekseiev, sees this as representing two necessarily complementary aspects of the Eurasian mentality - the 'pole of mercy' represented by the Non-possessors and the 'pole of severity' - 'terrible, Moscovite, oprichino-Bolshevik' as Dugin summarises it - by the Possessors (the oprichniki were the personal army of Ivan IV -'Ivan the Terrible'). It should be stressed that Dugin and Alekseiev both distinguish between 'Eurasia' and 'Russia'. Orthodoxy may be the traditional Russian religion but Eurasia would have to take account also of Islam and Buddhism (and Catholicism and even perhaps Protestantism, whatever that is, if it is to stretch as Dugin wants it to from Vladivostock to Lisbon - sometimes it gets as far as Dublin). Another of my complaints in the Dugin article was that he doesn't seem to have taken much notice of Islam (or Buddhism for that matter). (6) 

(5)   I say 'said to have occurred' because the translator of both Nil Sorsky and Josif Volotsky into English, Daniel Goldfrank, denies that there was actually a confrontation - or even a great difference - between Josef and Nil, and that the controversy there was in the sixteenth century between Josif and Nil's successors has been exaggerated. 

(6)   Since writing this a translation has appeared on the 4pt website of an early book by Dugin, Mysteries of Eurasia (1996). It is Dugin at his wildest, interpreting geopolitics in terms of a sacred geography based on the central argument of René Guénon that all religions are traceable to an original common revelation. A chapter on 'Russian Orthodoxy and Initiation' draws a connection between Russian Orthodoxy and Shi'i Islam as religions in which the fundamental distinction Guénon draws between 'esoteric' (initiation into secrets) and 'exoteric' (the religion of the non-initiates) doesn't apply. The esoteric doctrine is fully expressed in the terms used by the exoteric church. The argument presupposes that the real meaning of Roman Catholicism is in the various secret societies not in, for example, the monasteries, not to speak of scholastic philosophy. The Sufi orders are taken to be the real bearers of the esoteric doctrine in Sunni Islam. It also presupposes that the 'secret' of Christianity lies in a doctrine, not in an experience.

The other new item on the website is a long, very wide ranging piece - 'Civilisation Clashes in Europe: the Philosophical Causes' - by a Greek writer, Nicholas Laos, which attempts to explain the difference of mentality between Western and Eastern Christianity. Laos is the author of a book called The Kairological Qabbalah and 'Founder and President of the Kairological Society –  Reality Restructuring Resources Ltd, a philosophical and policy-oriented think-tank, private exclusive membership club and consultancy organization' to quote the website of his publisher, White Crane publishing. The website features a long interview with him in which he says among much else: 'my favourite role model is Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Bavarian Illuminati'. So here again we're not exactly dealing with mainstream Orthodoxy. 

The article is, nonetheless, full of interesting things and, now that Orthodox Russia is being excluded from what the Atlanticists like to call 'the International Community' (a rapidly shrinking international community as it happens) the subject - the difference of mentality between Western and Eastern Christianity - is obviously important. I shall come back to it later in the present article but since Orthodoxy is at the centre of this discussion I thought it might be better by way of introduction here to give a fairly elementary account of it, based on my own experience.