Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book VIII. On the Metahistory of the Tzardom of Moscovy

VIII. Chapter 2. The Egregor of Orthodoxy and infraphysical fear

Any conscientious researcher would hardly deny the fact embittering to our national pride: the lack of whatsoever artefacts that would testify to a fruitful work of the analyzing and broadly generalizing thought. Strictly speaking, neither to Russian chroniclers, nor to church writers and poets of the twelfth-sixteenth centuries, nor even to Ivan the Terrible who had shown an extraordinary intellectual vigor in his letters to Kurbsky, could we apply the term “thinker”.

As a matter of fact, it is only natural. Early historical stages of any people do not and cannot see anything different from that. What could puncture our pride is too protracted – over more than eight hundred years – a period of our cultural childhood.

Something else is natural, too: a remarkable integrity of mold and, I would say, undifferentiation of psyche intrinsic to people of those times. Russian characters of the eleventh or sixteenth centuries, whether it be Alexander Nevsky or Ivan Kalita, Svyatopolk the Accursed or Malyuta Skuratov, Stephen of Perm or Nil Sorsky, Andrei Rublev or the author of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” (it is permittable to judge his personality from his literary work) would appear to us as though carved out of stone. It seems that the only kind of inner conflict those people were well familiar with was the pangs of conscience. Yet, for it a kind of catharsis was also procured by the shepherd of souls, the Church: repentance or, in some extreme cases, tonsure.

It is natural because, up until the second half of the sixteenth century, historical experience did not clash the Russian consciousness against the unresolvable contradictions of thought and spirit, did not provide the grounds to peer into the abyss of ethical and religious dualism. The struggle with Tatars was a struggle with a concrete, plain, clearly delineated, nationwide enemy: such a struggle could only spur the development of a wholesome and adamantine character. Contemporaries of Yuri Dolgorukiy or Vasily the Dark were barely aware of the collision between the Christian Myth and pre-Russianism as a deep spiritual conflict. Rather, it was a syncretism of sorts – a steady, not quite made conscious dual faith of everyday life which wasn’t entertained only by a small group of the society: monks.

The first historical figure that heralded the passing over to another stage was the Terrible; it is clear that such a figure, from the pedestal of his supreme political authority being in full view, as it were, of all the people, couldn’t not make a staggering, appalling, I would say, totally bewildering impression upon his contemporaries. But the Terrible was followed by the Time of Troubles revealing the all-out confrontation of metahistorical forces – the time that pulled all strata of the suprapeople into its apocalypse.

The metahistorical experience of those years translated into a certain mindset shared by broad layers of the people, the one that, ultimately, led to a great Church dissent.

The people’s psyche severely traumatized by the hardships of the Time of Troubles and their transphysical undercurrent could recuperate only over a turn of a few generations. Too palpable and burning was the anticosmos’ breath that scorched contemporaries of the Terrible and False Dmitry. It was the first time in history when the people was on the brink of demise, not at the hands of a flat-out, unmistakable foreign enemy like Tatars but of some enigmatic forces lurking from within and opening the doors to an enemy from without – irrational, mysterious, and thereby even more frightening influences. For the first time, Russia came to realize what abysses surrounded not only her physical, but also psychological existence. Flagrant crimes committed by rulers with impunity, their inner tragedies exhibited to everyone, pangs of their conscience, their uncanny horror of the otherworldly retribution, evanescence of their royal grandeur, frailty of all undertakings which had no blessing from above, mass apparitions of lightful and dark armies fighting each other for something most sacrosanct, most pivotal, most untouchable in the people, perhaps, for some divine being – this was the country’s atmosphere from the Terrible’s childhood until that of Peter. Acute watchfulness, mistrust to, and suspiciousness of everything novel and untried in that epoch were natural and explicable. For the people to be able to take to something new and reconcile with a cultural revolution not unlike Peter’s reforms, it had to distance itself from the Time of Troubles by the lapse of a whole century.

Indeed: without the first witzraor’s tyrannical tendency manifested too precociously and vigorously, reforms of Peter could have had necessary preconditions a hundred of years earlier. Personally, I believe that the lightful mission of Ioann IV, of which only a fraction did he accomplish, may have even been a preparation precisely for the broad reforms aimed at coming closer together with other Christian cultures. But the matter is that not only needn’t Russia hasten to be on close terms with West but precisely protraction of its historical movement in the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries could have had a providential meaning. Had the transformational change in Peter’s fashion occurred in the sixteenth century (given the autocracy of Moscow rulers beginning from the Terrible, this could have happened if a legitimate ruler of Peter’s type and stature had found himself on the throne), this change may have grossly distorted the nascent metahistorical – and historical – ways of Russia. The people was too naïve spiritually, too drained psychologically by the Tatar yoke, not tempered yet in combat with infraphysical temptations. Europeanism, if gushed into the cultural zone of Russia, could have flooded the hotbeds of Russian national spirituality, stifled fragile shoots of the idiosyncratic Russian culture with the alluvial sludge of a foreign, more materially developed civilization. First, they should have been allowed to strengthen, the country should have been led through the crucible of satanic temptations to begin with – they were unavoidable all the same – but, at the same time, making the tempting forces narrow down their repertoire to the temptations that the people could have handled, unlike intellectually high and ethically low temptations of Catholicism in times of the inquisition from one side, and the temptations of the non-religious era that Western Europe was already poised to enter – from the other. Russia had been destined for a singular and unique role, a global-wide mission was being prepared inside her and above her. Implementation of this mission would have been doomed should the spiritually unseasoned people, unripe country been pulled into the orbit of the more mature metacultures of West, that is, turned into one of the many nations of the Catholic and North-Western culture.

Demiurges of suprapeoples are not the highest metahistorical hierarchy. There are others. There is Griddrutva, the White Chamber wherein the enlightened ones, upon rising to the World Synclite from zatomises, are creating together the spiritual plane of the all-human ascent; there is the Synclite of Humanity, there is the Elite of Shadanakar, there is the World Salvaterra. Unfathomable designs of these hierarchies peek, if only partially, after a lapse of centuries. Only then starts showing through the second, innermost layer of teleology, which rippled and fragmented reflections make their way into teleological blueprints of all humanity’s demiurges – creations of magnificent yet limited spirits, imperfect or too parishional plans in spite of all their grandeur, which do not foresee, forethink, and encompass everything there is.

And so, the Time of Troubles snapped the people out of childhood. It gave it a metahistorical experience, an enriching one at that. Yet, the assimilation of this experience took a long time; apparently, even nowadays it has yet to be assimilated fully. The seventeenth century is marked entirely with this assimilation, this transition from childhood to adolescence. Apart from the assimilation, it was also marked with a certain new factor encumbering this process and shaping it in most peculiar ways.

World history knows graphic examples when belligerent egregors also emerged over religious communities. An impetuously manifesting expansionist and, all the more so, vampirical tendency, once tightly merged with the religio-communal worldview, bears the best testimony to a powerful religious egregor being actively demonized by Gagtungr, thus transforming from a mere unavoidable obstacle to a conscious and dynamic enemy of the Providential process of metahistory. It suffices to recall the history of Judaism or slaughterous expansion of the early Islam.

We have already talked about an immense, and fortunate at that, significance of Vladimir the Holy’s personal decision in regard to Russia’s state creed. Now we ought to recall that Vladimir had Russia embrace precisely this creed that, owing to its almost millennial tradition, the circumstances of its formation in cultural centers of Byzantium by the emperor’s throne, was spared of the extreme theocratic tendency. Compared to the egregors of Islam and Calvinism, all the more so monsters towering behind Judaism and Papacy, the egregor of Russian Orthodoxy was torpid, amorphous, unaggressive, and weak. The Church had long become the state’s spiritual ally, then helper, then lackey, then, under the Third Zhrugr – slave, only once having attempted to claim its supreme all-state role. However lamentable this staircase of ever-increasing submission to the state is from the religio-cultural or even denominational-Orthodox point of view, still it is the lesser of two evils compared to its opposite extreme.

A dark-ether egregor grew strong over the Russian Orthodox Church owing to the psychological climate that dominated in the country, heavily a result of the struggle with Tatars and the establishment of the national belligerent greatpowerness. The egregor was being formed from those radiations of the churched human masses which were imported by any soul that didn’t achieve righteousness and admixed, to the emanations of awe, adoration, and love, the radiations of so-called “rubs and worries of life”. The egregor’s growth was also fatally propelled by the peculiarities of the medieval half-magical pietism which prompted believers to make huge donations to monasteries for conducting memorial services, princes – to confer on monasteries massive land tracts, and monks – to take all this for granted. Prodigious accumulation of wealth by monasteries, enmeshment of monks and clergy overall in worldly matters was a rather fertile ground for the dark ether outgrowth on the church’s organism. At the foot of its collective meta-ether massif was condensing this foggy lump, this billowy haze which, with its blind equivalent of consciousness, apparently identified itself with the church. The danger of its swelling lied in the emergence of as though an invisible barrier between the believer’s soul and the transphysical essence of the church that this soul was aspiring for. Therefore, however dimly the believer sensed this danger, it must have presented itself even more menacing than the vampirical tendency of Zhrugrs.
Of course, the Church did not remain indifferent to this worrisome phenomenon; a historical manifestation of these two main tendencies contending inside it – egregorial and Providential – was the confrontation of proponents and opponents of large land ownership by monasteries; the most prominent representatives of both these trends were Nil Sorsky and Joseph Volotsky, and their open battleground – the Assembly of 1503 as well as heated literary debates. Tellingly, the leader of those opposing the land ownership happened to be precisely Nil Sorsky, a man of an exceedingly subtle soul’s organization, the true poet of hermitage, bearer of a real saintliness, a vessel of spirituality in the full meaning of the word. It was not stirrings of “the historical feeling” that Nil Sorsky, together with nearly all hermits was devoid of, but a profound transphysical concern for the church that budged him out of his reclusion and had him confront Josephites. Yet, though the church did canonize him later – to not honor the memory of one of the greatest Russians saints would have been impossible – all in all, the victory was Josephites’, and thus the egregor of Orthodoxy retained the breeding ground for the dark-ether milieu nourishing it. In a century, the fruits of that reaped with usury, shortly after the Time of Troubles.

Having carried out the intrachurch reforms of almost exclusively liturgic and textual nature, patriarch Nikon, undoubtedly, manifested the sheer will of the church as such. Having aspired for the supreme post in the state, attempting to overshadow the cloth of the king with that of the patriarch – whatever his personal intentions were – he turned into a blunt instrument of that parasitic dark-ether formation on the church’s body which we are talking about.

His and his inspirator’s defeat stemmed not only from a greater power possessed by the demon of statehood but also a broader epochal-historical rationale behind the demon’s actions. The witzraor’s legitimacy was apparently sensed by a wide swath of the population. If purely liturgic reforms of Nikon caused a backlash – it was so strong that the constructive forms of Old Belief which it was molded into have survived till our days – his attempt of theocratic or, rather, hierocratic revolution must have repelled even larger masses, including the overwhelming majority of clergy which, as a result of this revolution, would have been shouldered with unreasonable, strange, and incomprehensible to it, hence unrealizable responsibility. Pope-like ambitions of Nikon breathed of a vaguely familiar spirit: it was reminiscent of that tyrannical tendency that had deeply scorched the Russian society in time of the Terrible and, again, succeeded to blow at the end of Boris’s reign. It was still fresh in memory what sufferings it had led to and what abysses it had cast into, and the fact that this danger was now coming not from the demon of statehood but from something uncannily nebulose, having formed in the bosom of the church itself, only intensified the irrational, transphysical fear.

Hierocratic encroachments of Nikon were cut short, but the otherworldly fear couldn’t have been eradicated by that alone. It gave rise to Raskol (a major religious schism in the fold of the Russian Orthodox church in the mid-seventeenth century, translator’s note) permeated with the terror before “Prince of This World” that as though had already come and built a nest in the sancta sanctorum of humankind – in the church. From thence – the none-class or beyond-class nature of Raskol joined by people from all social strata and walks of life, by all those who had sensed that infraphysical fear in their hearts. From thence – Avvakum’s vehement intolerance and denial of any possibility of compromise and passionate yearning for martyrdom. From thence – the unflinching ruthlessness of schismatics that were ready, in case of their church and political victory, to stack corpses upon corpses of “Satan’s children”. From thence – that ardent, impatient longing for the deliverance, for the ultimate salvation, for the sought-for end of the world which is hardly graspable to people from other epochs. From thence, finally, comes that unparalleled heroism of bodily self-destruction – as we delve into the history of massive self-immolations – that stupefies us, unless the metahistorical contemplation isn’t foreign to us at least in some degree, and shatters us to the core of our being if, as issuing from the like contemplations, the true nature of this fascinating phenomena has been revealed to us.

Nikon was exiled, he died, but the church did sanction his reforms; decades were passing by, yet there was no returning to the old faith in sight. And when the demiurge, in materializing his planetary design, nominated such giant as Peter; when the Second Zhrugr involtated him with all his youthful might; when, on behalf of the king-reformer, the state assigned the church a small corner in its domain having bent the religion to its interests and narrowed down the people’s spiritual creativity – only then Raskol took a concrete shape which its otherworldly consternation and hatred were attached to. Peter was proclaimed the Antichrist.

We should not be surprised with the pettiness of purely formal, far from dogmatic dissentions between Old Belief and Nikon’s Orthodoxy; from the seventeenth century’s vantage point – half-magical and, at the same time, unafraid of some radical inferences – the Antichrist’s spirit was not bound to manifest in defying the Creed or physical decimation of the religious community. This spirit was envisaged as “Father of Lies” starting off of satellitic, superficial changes only to drag the ensnared soul, step by step, down into the anticosmic abysm. And if we cannot feel sympathy with Raskol’s actors in their ideological orientation and methods, understanding of and sympathy with a great vexation of minds caused by Raskol are within our reach.

It is true that the egregor of Orthodoxy was met with a resounding rebuff, and, from that side, dissipate the danger did. What is also true – behind Peter were standing such inspirators, and the pathway having been traced by this king was opening such prospects that the idea of the Third Rome could appear a backwater parochialism. Yet, this future, at the same time, boded for a chain of such changes and exchanges, yawned with such unexplored abysses, and the flames of the recent Time of Trouble gleamed with such a premonition that the mind involuntarily flinched back, depthward, to the spiritually veracious, sanctified by centuries forms of spirituality that had delivered salvation to the countless legions of souls of grandfathers and great-grandfathers.

Therefore, a spiritual process of an extraordinary importance started shaping up in the sixteenth century, and it took the final shape in the seventeenth. It could be outlined with the following complementary definitions:

a) as disintegration of the primeval wholesomeness of the soul’s organization

b) as dialectically unavoidable passing through a protracted period of inner disharmony

c) as developing the ability to simultaneously contemplate antipodal spiritual depths

d) as a cultural and transphysical broadening of personal limitations

e) as struggling of thought to comprehend the metahistorical experience

A sheer historical feebleness, inability to probe into the essence of cultural-historical processes would be surmising that this spiritual process stopped short, died out, and confined itself within Old Belief. Quite the contrary: all religious philosophy and historiosophy of the nineteenth century from Chaadaev and Slavophils to Vladimir Solovyov, Merezhkovsky, and Sergei Bulgakov, all psychological dualism, all contemplation, emotional and life experience of both spiritual polarities residing just as in Lermontov and Gogol, so – even to a greater degree – in Dostoevsky, Vrubel, and, finally, Blok, are nothing but subsequent stages of this process.

Let us consider that in more detail.

In the nineteenth century, fragmentation of the primeval wholesomeness of soul reached such a depth that even Pushkin’s personality, riddled with contradictions and having swung between opposite poles in religious and political views, yet appears to us wholesome as compared to the psychological cast of his contemporaries and descendants.

Nearly all cultural creativity of the nineteenth century is marked with inner disharmony. Only by the end of it there emerges a possibility of its overcoming – a deficient one and fraught with even more dismal catastrophes – just as on the global historical plane, so in terms of personal eschatology, that is, the otherworldly destiny of human shelts. What I mean by this: the colossal movement which figures of Plekhanov and Lenin tower at the origins of.

The ability to simultaneously contemplate opposite spiritual depths proved to be nothing but manifestation of the archetypal Russian proclivity for uncircumscribed broadness that merely corresponded to the new cultural age of the nation: the selfsame broadness which, in times of primitive and wholesome characters, manifested psychologically – in the oneness of soul’s organization coupled with the width of boundless forests and steppes; emotionally – in the heroic valor; and historically – in having created a monolithic state from the Baltics to the Pacific Ocean. Pechorins and Pierre Bezukhovs, Stavrogins and Ivan Karamazovs, characters of “The Enchanted Wanderer” and “The Crime and Punishment” – grandsons of path-breakers and oprichniks, monks and highwaymen, Cossack leaders and self-immolated dissenters; it was simply a matter of a different cultural age, hence different magnitude.

It led to the cultural and transphysical broadening of personality – it is too obvious a fact to be begging for any illustrations or commentaries.

As for the struggling of thought to comprehend the metahistorical experience, the best Russian minds of the nineteenth century were, essentially, given to that, and this is despite the fact that the notion of metahistory was yet to be formulated and even made aware of. Doesn’t one feel attempts to read history as a system of ostensible tokens of some invisible spiritual process in contemplations of Belinsky upon the new Russian literature? Don’t people’s masses and their leaders come to be manifestations and weapons of the otherworldly forces in Leo Tolstoy’s unparalleled historical epic (“War and Peace”, t/n)? As for Dostoevsky’s historical concepts, doesn’t one sense in them an unflaggingly glimmering otherworldly light that transforms historical perspectives into misplaced, overturned, uncanny, and fascinating perspectives of the metahistory? Would somebody deny the spiritual standpoint upon the national past in the artwork of Surikov or popular dramas of Mussorgsky? – I limit myself to pinpointing only the nineteenth century’s celebrities; mentioning names of a lower stature would demand a separate chapter.

So, all five features of the aforementioned process in question have been made plain. It becomes clear to us that the process that had originated in the age-old times of oprichnina – the process of experiencing both polarities of the transphysical world, their perception and comprehension in a phased fashion – reached the climax in genius artistic generalizations and philosophical intuition by the twentieth century. I hardly need to explain the fact that the twentieth century’s events were to even deepen this process, take to the extreme just as the inner disharmony, so the infighting concepts, so the emotional fervor of the polarized ideas thus laying the groundwork for the phase of synthesis to be seen by next generations.

In this sense, we can’t not feel our kinship with those who had burned themselves 250 years back – a feat almost unreachable to us; nor with those who were creating an epic of invisible town Kitezh in decades to follow.

For the above reasons, the crystallization of this legend was precipitated precisely in Raskol. It is only natural that the epic allocates this town of the righteous on the shores of Svetloyar (a lake in Russia, t/n) to the remote trans-Volga woodland, which had been lit by hermitage lampions of saints since time immemorial. Its connection with the outside world is carried out through Minor Kitezh town carried over onto the borders of steppes – a symbol of the historical church with its human weaknesses: that historical church the true essence of which is concealed from the searching souls and muddied by the hazy, dense, and sensual egregor of Orthodoxy. Under a rapid and sweeping onslaught of the foreign enemy, the historical church perishes “without striking a blow and with a great disgrace”. It doesn’t perish completely, of course: maiden Fevronia, an embodiment of the Ideal Soul steeped with a poetry that can issue from Navna alone, enters Great Kitezh(*1) as a martyr. Great Kitezh is physically defenseless: a small warrior host of its heroes suffers martyrdom in the Battle at Kerzhents. And then, as a response to the whole people’s ardent prayer to the Great Intercessor, the town mysteriously submerges at the bottom of Svetloyar into “the life eternal” – it passes over into another mode of existence
The epic transformingly reflected the essence of Raskol as it was envisaged by its loftiest dreamers, contemplators, and “poets of heart”. It did idealize the reality beyond recognition; yet, thereby it produced an incomparably deeper, lasting, and universal image than the very historical phenomenon of Raskol: the mystery of the people, culture, or an individual soul which inviolable inner sanctuary protected by the hierarchies of Light remains unapproachable to any, even the most powerful enemy as it withdraws into the mysterious spiritual depth from any invasion, from any malign encroachment.

1 Here, I am trying to pinpoint the metahistorical significance of the musical mystery by Rimsky-Korsakov as the highest (as of yet) stage in the development of this fascinating epic.

to the next part: 8.3. Bridging the Gaps Among Cultures
to the previous part: 8.1. Succession of Witzraors
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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