The Council of Nicea was conducted for the purpose of determining whether or not Christ was homoousios or homoiusios, either “the same substance” or “of similar substance” to God. The doctrine that emerged followed after the former, and it was here that the Nicene Creed of Christians came into being. There was a man behind much of it, and that man was the Roman Emperor Constantine. Years earlier, Constantine had experienced a vision at the battle of Milvian Bridge.
A light appeared to him in the heavens, with a sign of the crucifix, and a voice that told him “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES,” Latin for “in this sign shall you conquer.” It was shortly afterward that Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. At the time, the Empire was in a shambles, and Constantine admitted upon his death-bed that while not believing in all of Christianity’s tenets (he himself followed Mithraism), he knew it to be a congealing force to dispel the fragmentation and postpone the fall of the Roman Empire.
Fast-forward to today. Vladimir Putin was quoted by TASS in Moscow on Saturday as he met with a delegation from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He said the following:
“Rising neo-Fascism in Ukraine is like the infectious Gangrene which can spread across the European continent, and we, the people of the Russian Federation and descendants of the Soviet Union, we are determined to stop this plague.
Should Turkey not stop supporting al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, I am indeed eager to end the job the late Tsar Nicholas II left unfinished. During World War I, he sought to restore Constantinople (Istanbul) to Christendom and protect Russian maritime security by liberating Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits but fate prevented him.”
Moscow, TASS Russian News Agency, Saturday, April 23, 2016.
There is an excellent work entitled The Colder War, by Marin Katusa, that details much of the current “face off” between the U.S./NATO and Russia that we see today. The title is somewhat “smaller” than the content, however, because it gives the history of oil and oil exploration, the Petrodollar, and other natural (and strategic) resources and commodities. In addition to all of this, it presents a stunning history of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin: his youth and rise to power, along with his mindset.
That latter item is comprised within his statement to TASS. In a nutshell, Putin feels charged with restoring Russia to her former greatness under Peter the Great, Putin’s personal hero. He also feels that it is his destiny to lead the Russian people and obtain the glory (without the failures) of the former Soviet Union. This, too, is indicated in his statement.
Putin realizes that Christianity (specifically the Russian Orthodox Church) is a cohesive factor that can not only bond the people of Russia but also add to such a group of supporters the Russian-speaking peoples of the lands bordering Russia. In this instance, Ukrainian church leaders are being brought into play.
The historical lesson that this type of factor is so productive in terms of garnering support of the masses is not lost on Putin. He grew up “old school,” a hard-line Communist, and he did not forget the tenet that “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Of course, in addition, he is blending nationalistic pride along with many successes economically that Russia did not enjoy during the era of the USSR.
Just as Constantine, Putin has a sizeable landmass for a nation, vast in resources with a need to keep his economy growing and his citizens focused. Perhaps the Russian Orthodox Church is just that vehicle he needs to foster continued support and patriotism among the Russian people. The “descendants of the Soviet Union” phrase also bears noteworthy consideration, in terms of a call to restore the people to glory by being “determined to stop this plague” of neo-Fascism in Ukraine. He referred to Russians today, not in the time of the USSR.
From a pragmatic perspective, he has spoken of possible intentions if not an outright desire to “liberate the straits” from Turkey. Those comments are direct and unveiled. The U.S. and NATO may provide him with the final justification he needs to fulfill his ambitions. Ukraine is a flashpoint, and Russia is not going to back down or capitulate on it or on the straits of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, Russia’s gateway for her Black Sea Fleet to enter the Mediterranean.
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith, a Certified Master Herbalist, a Montana Master Food Preserver, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape). He lives in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with his wife and three cats. You can follow Jeremiah’s regular writings at SHTFplan.com or contact him here.
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