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Today Russia is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. This is not simply a national anniversary; it also has a spiritual significance, represented by the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in the centre of Moscow. Built in memory of those who sacrificed themselves to defeat Napoleon and his hordes, it was destroyed by Stalin, one who shared the same atheistic mentality as Napoleon, and it was rebuilt as soon as possible after the fall of Communism in Russia. The recent blasphemy there by a Western-backed group of women follows in the same atheist tracks as Napoleon and Stalin. It seems that whenever Western atheism expresses itself in Russia, this Cathedral is affected by it. Today’s Russia, where the Prime Minister Medvedev publicly asks for forgiveness from God for any errors he has made and where the famous Soviet-era actress Irina Muraviova enters a convent, compares positively to today’s Britain where the atheistic, pro-homosexual Prime Minister tells people that if they refuse to take off their neck cross at work, when asked to do so, they must consign themselves to unemployment and poverty.


In 1808 in Seville a ‘Citizen’s Catechism’ saw the light of day. It contained the following about the Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte: Question: How many natures does he have? Answer: Two: the Satanic and the human. Question: Where does Napoleon come from? Answer: From hell and sin. Little wonder that Napoleon was called ‘Antichrist’.


Four years later, in 1812, Russia was invaded by this Antichrist. This was not just a French invasion of Russia; it had a mystical sense. In fact, it was a European invasion of the Russian Orthodox world. Atheist Europe, headed by France, had renounced God and so was sent by Satan to bring still Christian Russia into its orbit. However, the atheist Napoleon, crowned by the Pope, was soon defeated by Orthodoxy, in the days leading to the Birth of Christ, when Orthodox sing: ‘Thy nativity, O Christ our God, has shone forth the light of reason to the world’

‘I must make the people of Europe into one nation and Paris into the capital of the world’, said Napoleon Bonaparte. As with his imitator, Hitler, in 1941, by 1812 only the British Isles and Russia remained outside Napoleon’s control. The French Revolution had inspired the atheism of Napoleon; little wonder that those who invaded Russia in 1812 mocked the churches which they saw everywhere. This was an ‘Anti-Crusade’, an attempt to erase the Orthodox Faith, destroying the crosses on top of monasteries, churches and bell towers. In Russian these events were called ‘the invasion of the twelve tribes’.

Over 600,000 soldiers, with 1500 cannon, invaded, which is why the French-led army was called ‘the Great Army’. Fewer than half of these troops were French. There were Poles, Italians, Germans, Austrians, Dutch, Swiss and other nationalities in that Army – twelve tribes indeed. Fewer than 50,000 of them were to return, starving and in rags. This War can be called a ‘European-Russian War’, or, mystically, a War of the Catholic-Protestant West against Orthodox Rus, of Babylon against Jerusalem.

It was this War which brought back to the faith the Russian Tsar Alexander I, who was compromised by the premature death of his father, the Emperor Paul, and who had once been a friend of Napoleon. He had not even read the Gospels until 1812. Together with him, there returned to Orthodoxy a good part of the uprooted, denatured, French-speaking Russian elite. They had seen the barbarian fruits of ‘freedom, equality and brotherhood’ and many of them repented.

For the first time in his life, with the European invasion of Rus and then the Russian liberation of Europe, the European-educated Tsar saw the decadence of Europe. Of the French he said: ‘What good can there be here, where there is no religion!’ This was just the opposite of Napoleon who, on seeing Russian churches, exclaimed: ‘Why so many? After all nobody believes in God now’.

The Orthodox clergy, 200 of whom had been attached to the Russian Army, preached that the disaster of the invasion had been brought about not because of Napoleon’s genius, but because of the apostasy of Russians who had forgotten their God. It was indeed their repentance that brought about the miracle of Napoleon’s defeat, even though he had reached Moscow, like the Poles in 1612, 200 years before him, and like Hitler in 1941, 129 years after him. The prayers of the holy Metropolitan Platon (Levshin), the monk Seraphim of Sarov and the future Metropolitan Philaret had been heard. Orthodox spiritual weapons are always greater than European weapons of war.

As for the Emperor, returning from Paris which his Army had peacefully liberated (whereas Napoleon’s ‘civilized barbarians’ had oppressed and looted Moscow, especially the monasteries and churches), he radically changed. He gave up his vanity and 16 years of adultery with Naryshkina and began to preach chastity and made pilgrimages to monasteries, confessing frequently, so earning the title of ‘the Blessed’. Perhaps the story that he did not die in 1825, but became the Siberian elder Feodor Kuzmich is true...

8 September 2012

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