Russia's Most Iconic Church, on Red Square, Has an Altar to a Fool (St. Basil's)

When Americans thinks of Russia, often rainbow dome images of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square come to mind. Ironically, the American image of this Christian temple is usually identified as a symbol of Russian government, specifically the evil atheistic government of the hated adversary.

Originally appeared at: Cyberian Orthodox

The program of state atheism under the Soviets did result in the complete secularization of this building in 1929, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, weekly services with prayers to Saint Basil were eventually restored in 1997. After all, the rainbow coloured scheme is biblically inspired, specifically by Revelation 4:3–4: “And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.”

8 facts about Russia's best-known church – St. Basil's Cathedral - Russia  Beyond

Although it’s commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral and at every Sunday Divine Liturgy they do serve an Akathist to Saint Basil, it was originally known as Trinity Church and then Trinity Cathedral, and is now officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. Saint Basil’s Sanctuary is a tenth chapel, which is dedicated to Blessed Basil of Moscow, Fool for Christ, added to the other eight surrounding the main ninth sanctuary. The Intercession of the Theotokos, to which the main sanctuary is dedicated, is associated with another Fool for Christ: Blessed Andrew of Constantinople. There is an account of Saint Andrew and his disciple Epiphanius that is particularly relevant to modern rainbow images and propaganda against hated adversaries, which is recounted in The Prologue of Ohrid:

Once, Saint Andrew was sitting with his disciple Epiphanius, talking about the salvation of the soul. Just then, a demon approached Epiphanius and began setting traps to distract his thoughts, but did not dare to approach Andrew. Andrew cried out: “Depart from here, impure adversary!” The devil drew back and replied maliciously: “You are my adversary, such as no other in all of Constantinople!” Andrew did not drive him away immediately, but permitted him to speak. And the devil began: “I feel that the time is coming when my work will be finished. At that time, men will be worse than I, as children will be even more wicked than adults. Then I will rest and will not teach men anything anymore, since they themselves will carry out my will in everything.” Andrew asked him: “In what sins do your kind rejoice the most?” The devil replied: “The service of idols, slander, malice against one’s neighbour, the sodomite sin, drunkenness and avarice‒in this we rejoice the most.” Andrew further asked him: “And how do you tolerate it when someone who first served you rejects you and your works?” The devil replied: “You know that better than I do; we find it difficult to tolerate, but we are comforted by this: we will probably bring them back to us‒for many who have rejected us and turned to God have come back to us again.” After the evil spirit had said this and much more, Saint Andrew breathed on him and he disappeared.

Few in American, or even the whole modern world, believe in demons anymore and for good reason. Just as the demon speaking to Saint Andrew foretold, it seems the time has come when the work of demons is finished. Modern society has learned all the demons have to teach and can continue doing the will of the demons without their assistance, allowing them to rest. Since they are resting, so to speak, their presence is no longer even perceivable to most, at least not those blindly doing the will of the demons.

The sins the demon said his kind most rejoice in are common and rampant, perhaps even considered virtuous by modern society. Speaking out against one in particularity ironically results in being accused of another: malice. With all the attempted forced redefinition of words, even via civil legislation, and lack of any etymological knowledge (which would detect some redundancy here), words like malice may confuse some modern readers. Simply put, malice is the desire to harm with active hatred. So-called “anti-hate” laws should in theory protect against acts of malice. However, attempting to explain the meaning of one of the other sins mentioned by this demon is now viewed by modern society as a “hate crime.”

There is no rational thought with such slander (another one of the sins mentioned), but Saint Antony the Great foretold that in our time, men (in the traditional definition of the word) will act without any rational thought: “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’”

In truth, all of the sins mention by the demon equally separate one from God. To be guilty of one is no better or worse then being guilty of the others. Often any one of these sins will lead to one or more of the others. Believing any of these sins is actually the opposite of sin, i.e., a virtue, so blinds a person that the others will follow without even the recognition that one is committing sins like slander and malice, which is always committed in hate.

Legislation against so-called “hate crimes” is more often then not used in malice, which means such legislation is perpetuating hate rather than curbing it. However, the edifications of another Fool for Christ, Saint Gabriel of Georgia, do help fight against hate:

  • If you hate even a single person – you are disgusting before God.
  • Love your enemies – it’s clear. But how to love enemies of Christ? Stop hating and then you will be able to love them.
  • How to love the evil man? Hate the evil, but love those who do evil. Who knows maybe one day they will repent of their sins and by the powers of prayer, tears and confession, become like an angel. Everything is God’s Will.
  • Idle talk is offensive to God. Kind deeds mean love for neighbour.
  • Love everyone; if you can’t, at least show goodwill.
  • Denounce a man with love.
  • Love dominates all rules and laws.
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