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Berdyaev. Russian maximalism Category: Communism. Russia Berdyaev. Communism in Russia

Nikolai Berdyaev about Russian Messianism

All the spiritual energy of Russians goes inward

Everything, that was creative and remarkable in the history of the Russian thought of the XIX Century, was connected with an acknowledgement of the mission of Russia. But faith in the world mission of Russia presupposes faith in the truth, preserved in the depths of the Russian spirit, which Russia is called to relate to the world. This truth can be only but a truth religious, a truth Christian, a truth of the mystical experience of the Orthodox East. … Everyone in Russia is tormented by the question about the religious meaning of life, God torments from the early years right up to the grave. All the spiritual energy of Russians goes inward, into the inner relationship of man to God, and not matters external for them, there does not remain for them the powers for historical activeness, for the practical ordering of life, for cultural developement. Even politics for us takes the form of visionary exaltations and religious maximalism. This might betoken bell-tollings for the future of Russia. But it is impossible not to see the unique religious character of Russia.

N. A. Berdyaev
The Problem of East and West
within the Religious Consciousness of Vl. Solov'ev

The Russian nation is a chosen people of God

The Slavophils looked on the East, on Eastern Orthodoxy, on Russia, as the possessor and preserver of Orthodoxy, the fullness and the wholeness of Christian truth. In the West, in Catholicism, they saw only the betrayal of Christian truth, only the breaking up of the spiritual wholeness, only rationalistic dissection. For them there was no need of an unifying of the world of the Eastern-Orthodox with the Western-Catholic, since in Orthodoxy was the fullness of truth, and in Catholicism only a deviation from this truth. Only in the Orthodox East, in Russia, was there possible the supreme type of Christian culture. Western culture — was anti-Christian, rationalistic, and hence false and in decay. There was nothing for us to learn from the West. The Slavophils understood Russian messianism in this sense, that only with Russia stood a great future, as the sole Christian land. For them the Russian nation was a chosen people of God, and their messianism brings to mind the times of the ancient Hebrews. Slavism will supersede the Western cultures, which are inclined towards collapse and becoming decrepit. It is proper only to speak about the re-unification of Catholicism with the Orthodox Church, the return of the prodigals to the bosom of the Church. In the West there are no self-sufficient principles, having significance for the fullness of truth. The Eastern-Christian world presented itself for the Slavophils as already that of all-mankind.

N. A. Berdyaev
The Problem of East and West
within the Religious Consciousness of Vl. Solov'ev

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