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Christian Russia and the Western “Errors of Russia”

Above: St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Kiev.

It is providential that Mr. Carter should use the term ‘myopic’ to describe some American Traditionalist views on Russia, as it unintentionally led me to see the greater depth and magnitude of the issue, cutting across decades and centuries from both Russia’s defenders and critics. My goal is simple but wrought with complex turns requiring nuance and humility from both Roman Catholics and the Russian Orthodox to appreciate and understand. The goal is to add a deeper nuance to the conversation about the errors of Russia and the Ukraine crisis.

Let us first discuss the mainstream Fatima view that the “errors of Russia” are Communism and its evils. As I said in the first essay, we need not dispute this in principle, but it needs to be said that the evil of Communism came from outside Russia.

Socialism was Stateside

In his book, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, Antony Sutton presents the historical data showing that the Bolshevik Revolution was funded by European banks, Wall Street, and the US Federal Reserve—all with the knowledge and cooperation of then American president, Woodrow Wilson. Sutton was working as a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace when he stumbled upon long-forgotten US State Department files that chronicled the event. Sutton was eventually weeded out of the Hoover Institute, perhaps because of his research. He begins his book with a telegram (dated: October 17, 1918) sent by William Lawrence Saunders (chairman of Ingersoll-Rand Corp., director of the American International Corp; and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) to Woodrow Wilson, “I am in sympathy with the Soviet form of government as that best suited for the Russian people…”

The Bolshevization of Wall Street was known in informed circles and explained monopoly control of industries by the likes of J.P. Morgan and J.D. Rockefeller could only realize unchallenged control if society could be made to go to work for the monopolists under the name of the public good and interest and that a totalitarian state is the perfect captive market for monopoly capitalists. This first totalitarian state that became their captive market came to be known as the Soviet Union. Leon Trotsky in the New York Times (Dec. 13, 1938) wrote:

You will have a revolution, a terrible revolution. What course it takes will depend much on what Mr. Rockefeller tells Mr. Hague to do. Mr. Rockefeller is a symbol of the American ruling class and Mr. Hague is a symbol of its political tools.

Trotsky was banished by tsarist Russia because of his Marxist and revolutionary ideas. With an American passport provided by Woodrow Wilson, he found his new home across the Atlantic (after being banished by the tsar), in a posh Manhattan apartment in New York, where he worked as a journalist and an electrician for Fox Studios.[1] His followers, known as Trotskyites became the revolutionaries who wrote the Constitution of Queretaro for the revolutionary 1917 Carranza government, the first government in the world to adopt a Soviet-type constitution (see Luis Medina, “When the Marxists Tried to Take Over Mexico”).

Meanwhile Vladimir Lenin spent his banishment moving between Germany and Switzerland, approved, facilitated, and financed by Germany. Deirdre Manifold in Fatima and The Great Conspiracy writes that 200 million Russians were handed over to the greatest tyranny in history known as communism and from here used Russia to roll it out throughout the world.

Later Joseph Stalin admitted two-thirds of war material the Soviet Union used in their war projects in China, Manchuria, the Kurile Islands, Sakhalin, Korea, and Japan came from the US. China is of particular interest given how the revolution led by Sun Yat-Sen as early as 1912 was already funded by New York all the way to Chiang Kai-shek, who was weeded out of China into Taiwan by American money and arms. Sun Yat-Sen’s revolution was the precursor to Mao’s communist revolution. Thus began the strategy one finds in many regime-change operations framed as color revolutions—that of playing all sides. In addition, the idea of medical, humanitarian, and peace missions find their genesis in the 1917 American Red Cross Mission to Russia, organized by Wall Street for both sides. And here’s the clincher—without the financial, diplomatic, and propaganda assistance given to Trotsky and Lenin by New York, the Bolsheviks may well have withered away together with any hope of Russia ever becoming socialist. Finally, Sutton explains, Russia had been the largest untapped market and constituted the greatest potential competitive threat to American industrial and financial supremacy. Hence, Wall Street enlarged its monopoly on a global scale and the “Russian market was to be converted into a captive market and a technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the corporations under their control.”[2]

Russia’s “Anti-Western Stance”
against Western Errors

In the Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism, & Orthodoxy by Matthew Johnson he sums up what the Enlightenment bred West had done—that financial interests “despised the idea that the Tsar would not set up a central bank”, “it was about Anglo-American desires to see Russia cease as a great power hampering the endlessly colonial desires of British Masonry”, and “the German monarchy wishing to knock Russia out of World War I.” Many Traditional Catholics will be aghast as to the use of a Russian Orthodox source, which is understandable, given they abandoned the Petrine Ministry of the Supreme Pontiff and hence, the Catholic Church. But minus intentions-based emotional descriptions such as ‘despised’, ‘desires to see Russia cease as a great power’, and ‘wishing to knock Russia out of Word War I’ (which I would argue is false as a more deductive approach to reasoning actually implies the opposite—that these same powers baited Russia to join the war)—Johnson’s account is consistent with Western-based[3] and even some Catholic sources.[4] While much of Europe had already succumbed to modernism with the spirit of the French Enlightenment and Revolution, Russia remained in the Middle Ages—something that both mainstream and non-mainstream Western secular and Catholic sources also report. Difference is, many in the West view this progress as a step in the right direction unlike Russia, which was left backward, stranded in the Middle Ages. Hence, when traditional Catholics talk about the anti-Western spirit of Russia, they neglect to clarify the concept of this ‘West’ Russia has been against; and this ‘West’ has been modernist and progressive, imbued with the ideals of the French Enlightenment, which, strictly speaking, is diametrically opposed to the West. As Thomas Woods very clearly demonstrates in his book, How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization, it was clearly not backward. It then begs the question as to whether Russia was and is truly anti-West. In the next section, we go further into history—back to the founding of Russia and Orthodoxy understood by Orthodox sources, evaluated from a Catholic perspective.

Russia and Orthodoxy

Jorn Baltzersen asserts that the purpose of the Third Rome “was to challenge the assumptions that underlie the liberal/conservative consensus in western countries such as the superstitious belief in progress, the linear (i.e. evolutionary) development of history” and “the continued dominance of the idea that western democracies are morally superior.” I would qualify this claim to ‘moral superiority’ by the ‘West’ runs contra to the West of Woods aforementioned. While Baltzersen, in his review of Johnson aforementioned, cautions us about details of Johnson’s perspective, he nonetheless recognizes many of Johnson’s views true, particularly his claim, “the English language historical literature on Russia merely re-hashes 90-year old Bolshevik propaganda and calls it history”—which we now know is problematic, given Bolshevism isn’t even Russian.

Baltzersen further quotes Catholic, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, author of Leftism Revisited, who opined, the intelligentsia “undermined the fabric of Holy Mother Russia, either by siding with the Social Democrats, or by being ‘open-minded,’ by deriding the national heritage, by spreading polite doubt, by stupidly imitating Western patterns, ideas, and institutions that would never do for Russia.” I would argue, however, based on Woods’ book and the ‘West’s’ embrace of the Enlightenment, these ‘Western’ patterns aren’t Western. Russians understood their nation as a theo-political unity with the Grand Prince and the Church as cultural and political centers. The patriarchs believed after the sacking of Constantinople in 1204 and severed the Latin and Orthodox Churches, Moscow maintained the moral authority of the Byzantine state. In the eyes of the Russian Orthodox, Moscow, the Third Rome, is the final guardian of theological truth and the existence of Russia as well as mandate of the tsar is premised on the zeal for Orthodoxy.

Is Russia Anti-West?

As a Christian power, Russia fought against the same enemies as the west. She struggled against anti-Christian influences from the Jews, as did the west for centuries. Russia was invaded by Asiatics (Mongols of the east) and Muslims—both non-Christian cultures. Russia joined western powers in the anti-Muslim League following the second Siege of Vienna (1683), leading to the Ottoman decline.

A little over a century later Tsar Paul turned against Napoleon, formed the anti-French, anti-Masonic, and anti-liberal “Second Coalition” made up of Russia, Great Britain, Austria, Naples, Portugal, and Turkey. Paul’s motivation was the preservation of Orthodoxy.

These struggles against non-Christian enemies of soul and society find sharp contrast with the reigns of Tsars Peter and Catherine, both named “the great.” They used their influence to imitate the Enlightenment forces in the west which themselves were working against Christian society in Latin Christendom.

Johnson identifies a specific episode in Russian history that does not escape the Orthodox—when the patristic scholar, Photius fought an attempt by Alexander I to create a Masonic and ecumenical Bible society. He wanted to translate the Slavonic Bible into modern Russian, among other languages. Photius called it the “invisible Napoleon,” that is the assault on Orthodoxy and Old Russia by sectarian ideas, the sexual revolution they preached, and the political revolution necessary to unleash all this. This invisible Napoleon was the same modernist threat, which prompted Pope Pius X to create the Oath against Modernism and like the situation in Russia, it was also only weakened but not permanently curbed. Catholics in the ‘West’, in particular, should ask, who has deviated more from Christian civilization in terms of day-to-day living and values and who has been in a ‘better’ position to have spread its distorted ideas and culture? Russia doesn’t have Hollywood, Netflix, Silicon Valley, Disney, Marvel, DC, CNN, HBO (which popularized pornography as ‘art’), Amazon Prime (especially with its problematic interpretation of Tolkien’s trilogy), and a host of other brands and media to spread its errors on such a global scale.

The Soviet Union is Not Russia:
Russia and the Vatican on the Eve of the Revolution

Nicholas Bock, S.J. was a Russian Empire diplomat who converted to Catholicism after the fall of the empire, who later became a Catholic priest, after his wife died. Interestingly, his brother, Boris Bock was Pyotr Stolypin’s son-in-law. Stolypin was the prime minister Tsar Nicholas tasked to curb the socialist forces; but was later assassinated by the growing leftist-liberal forces that had been pushing Russia closer to revolution.[5] In his article, “Russia and the Vatican on the Eve of the Revolution” (1961), Bock writes (p. 291-292):

Information given by the press concerning Roman Catholicism in pre-revolutionary Russia almost always contains inaccuracies and errors… Slanderers who thus lump together Tsarist and Bolshevist Russia not only violate truth, but also disseminate a misapprehension. People think that no understanding between Russia and the Vatican is possible… prominent journalists… entertained the opinion that for Catholics there was no difference between Tsarist regime and Bolshevism.

Bock cites Pope Pius XII, who made a distinction in 1947, when comparing Tsarist Russia with the Soviet Union:

There was friction then also but it would not be compared with what we face now. Then there was a [Latin] Catholic hierarchy in Russia, bishops, priests, monks. There were churches, monasteries, seminaries, schools, confraternities. There was a Catholic press. But now there is nothing.

While Bock writes very critically of Imperial Russia’s blunders when dealing with the Vatican, he also chronicles the moves both parties attempted that were leading to a real relationship. In 1913, Tsar Nicholas agreed to the creation of a Supreme Committee for Catholic Affairs because as he personally expressed to Bock, he believed it imperative for Russian-Vatican relations. Unfortunately, as the menacing clouds of World War I loomed as well as the monarchy’s problems with socialists and radicals at home, plans were thwarted. The Committee was never convened.

Bock narrates how the Tsar even sent an emissary, a general of his suite, to greet the newly elected pope (Benedict XV) after Pope St. Pius X passed away. Unfortunately, World War I brought abrupt changes in the activities of the Russian legation to the Holy See. For instance, Catholic Metropolitan Ven. Andrey Sheptytsky was arrested when Russian forces occupied Galicia. In Austria, Russian forces seized priests and led them into captivity, transferring some Catholic churches to Orthodox clergy. Bock laments his country’s actions towards the Catholic church and clergy during these times. I would argue, given Bock’s encounter with the Emperor and the latter’s resolve to build a Committee specifically for Russia-Vatican relations, much of these untoward acts might have been from the Bolshevik and socialist forces already ruling Russia, after the creation of the State Duma, which downgraded the power and authority of the monarch into a constitutional one.[6] Bock writes, “Reports reaching us from Russia in the second half of 1916 concerning the situation at the front, as well as in the rear were more and more dismal” (p. 319). He adds, “Frequent and unexpected changes of Ministers, contradictory orders, manifestations of discontent—all indicated instability and the breakdown of authority.”

In the current situation between Russia and Ukraine, we often hear reports about Russian atrocities, even from among Ukrainian Catholics. While we do not discount the fact these atrocities exist, one wonders as to the real perpetrators as sometimes, even boots on the ground can be targeted with propaganda in the same manner as those from afar watching the narratives as painted by the mainstream media.

Case in point, Russia’s Bloody Sunday in 1905, where Orthodox priest, Fr. George Gapon, roused workers with his sermons at factories to assert their rights militantly—an event, which led to a bloody confrontation, dubbed the ‘crime of Bloody Nicholas.’ After the fall of the Soviet Union, records showed Fr. Gapon an agent of the Okhrana, the Secret Police, while at the same time working with the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

There is also the curious case of Metropolitan Szepticky, who was arrested at Galicia by Russian troops and sent back home to Russia. Bock writes after the forced abdication of the tsar, Metropolitan Sheptytsky was now free but instead of returning to Galicia, now retaken by the Austro-Germans, remained in Russia. He explained he was remaining to establish the Russian Catholic Church, which he claimed was on the authority given him orally by Pope Pius X. But neither Cardinals Gasparri nor Merry Del Val as well as the Secretariat of State knew anything about this.

According to Bock, it seemed perplexing to the Vatican the Metropolitan would be permitted to work in Russia and feared “the Catholicism he was propagating might bear the marks of hostility to Russia.” But Bock added, “neither the Holy See nor our legation could understand who the new legislators were” (p. 320) and by November 1917, correspondence with Russia and the Vatican had long since ceased.

Bock continued to follow the White Movement of Kerensky, which at that time was framed the moderate ‘reformers’ and rested all his hopes on them—that is, until he received a message from Cardinal Gasparri, asking for the Secretary of the Russian legation to see him. Bock wondered why him and not AI Lysakovsky, who was the minister to the Vatican appointed by the Provisional Government prior to the Bolshevik overthrow. The message was this—that the “Holy Father was greatly concerned about the fate of the Emperor and his family” and “had decided to make an attempt to save them” (p. 322) by negotiating through the Germans, who were influential at Moscow at that time.

The family would be “lodged in the Vatican, or in summer in Castel Gandolfo” and that the Pope would “take upon himself all the expenses of their journey and maintenance.” The man tasked to arrange all this—the Munich Nuncio, Monsignor Pacelli, the future Pius XII, the original Fatima pope. Near the end, Bock reveals why he and not Lysakovsky was chosen to receive this information—because Lysakovsky was the representative of the Provisional Government and Kerensky was one of those who insisted upon the imprisonment and exile of the Emperor.

At the same time, we see in Sutton there was no real difference between the Whites and the Reds and that they had the same masters and funders with the singular goal of ridding Russia of its monarch and converting her into the Soviet Union and I would argue, ultimately destroying the last bastion of Christendom.

Indeed, the enemy is insidious and pernicious, working on both and all sides in countless and various ways to divide, dissolve, and recreate—all within a formula of chaos and confusion. Griffin shows this same tactic and formula in the creation of the US Federal Reserve, orchestrated and controlled by the same entities and people who funded chaos and revolution in Russia.

In short, I hope I have provided enough historical examples both from Russian early modern and modern history that Russia has a uniquely Slavic Christendom which even the Holy See has not completely rejected, but attempted to work with as separated, yet Christian brethren. Russia qua Russia is Christian, and struggles against the same anti-Christian powers that have been present in the west.

The relevant distinction is not between east and west, but rather Christian and anti-Christian. Is it not the trick of the fallen angels to confuse the latter with the former? Indeed, this is precisely what is happening when we in the west condemn Russia today instead of extended a hand of Christian brotherhood.

In the last and final installment, we zoom into the errors—what did Russia do (or fail to do) that broke what seemed to be the last bastion of Christendom, which held up for much longer than the geographic West in its fall for the Enlightenment and modernism; and what this has to do with the Second Vatican Council, the message of Fatima, and age-old Eastern Schism.


[1] A. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Arlington House, 1974).

[2] Ibid., 173.

[3] M. Johnson, The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism, & Orthodoxy (Washington DC: The Barnes Review, 2000), 192; Sutton (1974); Griffin, E. (2010). The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, 5th ed.  (American Media, 2010).

[4] D. Manifold, Fatima and the Great Conspiracy (Ireland: Frinne Publications, 1982).

[5] Mesa Potamos Publications, The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal (2020).

[6] see Mesa Potamos 2020

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