We are the true depository of Christian values. We suffer the most. Of course, completely innocent. It is here that the ideals have survived in the most pristine, crystalline form ... It is we who will bring redemption to the world, claim the Poles. And the Russians. And the Ukrainians. And Serbs…
Let's agree - we cannot all be Christs of nations. The concept of the election is inherently exclusive. And messianism is the belief that our nation has made a special covenant with God because of the characteristics that distinguish it from others.
Jewish at its source, messianism reached the Slavic region and found a very fertile ground here. Martyrology and mysticism. Religiousness and longing for the past. Suffering and a dramatic need to raise your worth (if only in your own eyes) in anticipation of the future glory that will blind the world.
Almost all Slavic nations feel called to the exceptional mission. Let us determine once and for all who of us Slavs is the Christ of the nations?
Poland - suffering for millions!
The circumstances in which we realized that we are the Christ of the nations were dismal. Poland was not on the map of Europe. The November Uprising collapsed. Desperate romantics sought solace in Christian mysticism , they desperately wanted a vision that would give hope for the restoration of their homeland. Mickiewicz is called a bard for a long time - he gave the nation what it needed.
He thought, thought and invented. The prophetess saw her resurrection in the messianic vision of Poland as the Christ of nations. "Portrait of Adam Mickiewicz on Judah Rock" by Walenty Wańkowicz (source:public domain).
It's obvious! The innocent suffering of Poles is like the passion of Jesus on the cross, which must be followed by a resurrection. Not only that Poland was the bulwark of Christianity for centuries, it will soon also be the redeemer of nations . The West has deviated from the path of faith, adhering only to the idol of business and the ideology of conquest. But we never enslaved anyone. Our relationship with Lithuania, based on friendship and free will, was a model for the future community of all Christians.
And noble Poland? Golden freedom? Where else in the world have you come across such advanced democratic ideas? Liberum veto - it is an expression of the genius of the nation and all its virtues! Unfortunately, the partitions fell on Poles like the innocent Passion of Christ . However, there is no bad thing - suffering purifies and ennobles, strength is only born of pain Mickiewicz suggested to the audience at the College de France. The future resurrected Poland will lead all nations towards the Christian Arcadia of equality.
Russia. Here the authorities and the people trust each other!
- Free jokes. Poland as a messiah? If anyone brings rebirth to the world, it will be Russia! Said an eastern voice.
The Russian messianists certainly agreed with Norwid's stanza: To the West:a lie-knowledge and brilliance, / Formalism of truth - inner insignificance, / A pride of pride! However, the lines that precede it: From the east:wisdom-lies and ignorance, / Punishment harap or solitude made of gold, / Leprosy, venom and dirt - completely missed their perception of reality.
Yes, the world should seek salvation in the East . Disappointed with the great revolution and the Napoleonic wars, Europe plunged into dry rationalism and found itself in a dead end. Unknowingly, he is looking for a new, true way. It just so happens that Russia never left it.
Already Greek and Roman writers noted that the Slavs did not like wars, cultivated the land calmly and did not develop an aristocracy among themselves. The poet Alexei Chomiakow believed: (...) the beginnings of a future civilization lie not in the Germanic, aristocratic and conquering tribe, but in the Slavs. A Slav, farmer and democrat, he has noble tasks and a great future ahead of him.
The holy Russian people are the true messiah of the nations! Here, real freedom, equality and fraternity ... The painting "Holy Ruthenia" by Mykhail Nesterov (source:public domain).
This model democrat is precisely the Russian. Why not a Pole? Well, the Western Slavs had too much contact with the Germans, the pure Slavic spirit survived only in Russia which retained its original innocence. And we are Orthodox, and this is a religion of freedom in which there is no pope. Everything is decided at numerous councils in which lay people also participate, not like in murderous Catholicism.
By the way, Chomiakov's theological treatises were not allowed for publication by the clergy censorship in Russia. Must have been publishing them overseas.
Something else? Ah yes! Konstanty Aksakow adds that in the rotten West, states (including Poland) were created through conquest, rape, hatred and enslavement. But not Russia! Here the people voluntarily summoned the wareska rulers , in a spirit of peace and harmony. Hence the mutual love and trust of the authorities and the people in Russia .
Besides - how much freedom we have here! In the era of the principality of Kiev, rallies were called every now and then, in the Moscow era - earth councils. In the West, they have to invent some laws, contracts and guarantees, which are not needed at all where there is Good.
In the assemblies of boyars, clergy and (sometimes) free peasants, the Russian messianists saw evidence of Russia's particularly democratic character. The painting by Sergei Ivanov "Earth Council" (source:public domain).
Indeed, it is admirable the naivety of the author who, incidentally, died virgins! - sums up Aksakowa Marian Zdziechowski in the book "Mesjaniści i Słowianofile. Sketches on the psychology of the Slavic peoples.
Ukraine. Where there was neither the Tsar nor the Lord…
- Russia as a messiah? I will burst with laughter! Innocent Poland? Hold me! Ukraine could say. By whom, supposedly, the Ukrainian people have suffered for centuries? Poland may have lost its independence, but we are the longest and most oppressed . And Russia departed from Christian principles because the tsar had become a despot, executioner over the three Slavic nations.
Anyway, all this was beautifully presented by Mykola Kostomarov in "Books of the existence of the Ukrainian nation". True freedom and equality is only where the Spirit of Christ is. Such French freed themselves from the king and lords, but abandoned the teachings of Christ, and fell into even greater slavery. And in the happy Slavic region, before it was destroyed by the Commonwealth and Russia, there were no masters and slaves but the direct communion of the people with God. And these ideals have survived with us to this day.
The idyllic image of Ukraine, without lords and tsars, was a vision of the lost Arcadia. Someday, however, this is how the whole world will be. Ilya Repin's painting "Ukrainian cottage" (source:public domain).
And where was there a greater spirit of brotherhood and freedom than among the Cossacks? Their purpose and meaning in life was to defend the holy faith and free their neighbors from the bondage of dissenters. We, the Ukrainians, were the true bulwark of Christianity we defended not only ourselves but also our neighbors! And how did you pay us back?
But we are like the first Christians to forgive their persecutors. It's not your fault, Poles and Russians, because tsar and lordship are not of Slavic spirit, but German or Tatar o . That is why our innocent suffering will redeem you and the whole world. Poland will not fall, because it will be awakened by Ukraine, which does not remember evil and loves its sister as if there was nothing between them.
And when, finally, the steadfast faith of the suffering Ukrainians bears fruit and the whole world, following our example, begins to live in freedom and equality, then all nations, showing on the map the place where Ukraine is drawn, will say:"The stone that the builders rejected has become become a cornerstone ”.
Czech Republic and Slovakia. Great Slavic Region!
- What Ukraine? - the Czechs and Slovaks would ask. Why insist so on nationalities? The Slavs should modify their identity a bit and choose one of the four:you are either the Slav Poles, or the Slavors, Slavosbya or Slavoczechs. No more is really needed.
Anyway, should reign all-Slavic unity , and the distinctiveness of the nation will be blurred in the Pan-Slavic element. Ján Kollár explained it briefly in the epigram "Good advice": Who are you? Czech. Who are you? Russian. Who are you? Serbian. And you? I am a Pole. Brothers, erase it, write it:I'm a Slav.
Kollár himself was a Slovak poet who wrote in Czech, a Lutheran clergyman who, after studying in Germany, worked in Pest. Although he was taught in German and Latin at school, he was delighted with the Slavic languages, and as an archaeologist he searched for traces of ancient Slavic civilizations.
Jan Kollar was a Slovak patriot who ... opposed the creation of a Slovak literary language and wanted a Slavic language under Russian leadership (source:public domain).
During this research, he realized a terrible thing - the German Drang nach Osten it wiped out many Slavic tribes from the face of the earth! What if the same fate befell the Slovaks? Russia, save me! After all, it is in the Slavs that the leaven of the new, reborn world lies, because the West ... (see previous messianisms), and in our case it is Christian virtues, love of freedom, Spirit, feeling et cetera .
The Slavs are as that "noble savage" Rousseau, not spoiled by the evil of civilization. The injuries inflicted on us by the Germans, Tatars and Hungarians are of a mystical nature. Bohemia's ancient glory will shine again when we forget about internal disputes and recognize that we are heirs of both Jan Hus, John of Nepomuk and Saint Cyril.
Croatia. Together against the rotten West!
- You guys do well - the Croats would say. - Austrians and Hungarians oppress us terribly. The West is rotting and salvation will come from the East. Only we will lead this Salvation Army!
It will be Croatia that will be in the front ranks of the hosts of the East who will bring renewal to the world. Picture by Otto Iveković (source:public domain).
Is there a country suffering more than beautiful Croatia? ( What ??? - could be heard from Poland and Ukraine). Ljudevit Gaj in his mystical-fantastic visions beautifully described the oppressed homeland and treacherous aliens but also a happy, bright future. Unfortunately, the road to it will be paid for with hard work and human blood. Mutual love and help - this is the path to the redemption of the Slavs.
- Are you all kidding? Serbia cried. - We have been the Christ of nations since the 14th century!
Probably no battle has caused such a trauma in any nation of the world as the battle fought in Kosovo Pole in 1389. The Serbs did not recover from their defeat, either after independence in 1878, or after they formed the backbone of Yugoslavia in 1918.
The myth of an innocently suffering Serbia he was just as alive during the Balkan wars, both world conflicts and the bloody massacre in Yugoslavia of the 1990s.
Holy Serbia, really? Well of course! It's simple. The defeat in Kosovo Pole was actually a victim . Before the battle, an angel appeared to Prince Lazar and gave a simple choice:either a mighty kingdom on earth or the kingdom of heaven. Lazar, a good Christian (saint after all), chose the latter. He sacrificed himself and his army in the fight against the unfaithful Turks.
The source of Serbian messianism is the battle for Kosovo, or rather its image created by native hagiography and folk messages. Painting by Adam Stefanowić (source:public domain).
It was WE who defended the true, Christian, ORthodox faith against the temptations of the Mohammedans. It is WE have suffered under the Turkish yoke for centuries , keeping as "goddess nation" the most holy truths revealed by God. In Kosovo Pole - the Serbian Golgotha - the ideal of a warrior and the embodiment of all virtues have perished. From his blood will be reborn a new glory of the resurrected Holy Serbia, a model for the whole world.
Well… I guess we'll be able to differ beautifully.
Slavic messianism had its good and bad sides. It helped to survive the hard times, but it also had the effect of a slight smearing. He has given birth to many ravishing literary works which radiate the heat of faith burning in the souls of authors. But he was also infantile idealizing, full of hypocrisy or ignorance. He limited the world to a very narrow frame, preventing a broader view of reality. Europe is simply too small for so many suffering Christs at once.