One Answer

  1. What would have happened if Russia had not accepted Orthodoxy

    The famous legend about how Vladimir Krasno Solnyshko made his choice in favor of Orthodoxy now seems completely implausible. After a thousand years, it is difficult to imagine that Russia could have taken a different path. But in the IX–X centuries, when Christianity of the Eastern rite only penetrated to Russia, the choice was not obvious. Roman missionaries conducted fruitful work with the Western Slavs. In the Turkic cities on the Volga, Arab merchants spread Islam. Their southern neighbors, the Khazars, were in active correspondence with rabbis from Europe. Hundreds of religious movements sprang up all around, the difference between which was clear only to theologians.

    “Vladimir's choice” determined too much. It's not just that Russia, which did not convert to Islam, is now on this side of the barricades in the fight against international terrorism. And it's not even that Russia itself has separated itself from Western civilization, does not allow the Pope to visit, and Russian believers consider Easter to be the main religious holiday, and not, like Catholics, Christmas. The fact is that if he had decided otherwise, Russia might not have existed at all. And what would have happened – I tried to imagine Newsweek.

    Religious procession

    When Vladimir – before that, by the way, an ardent advocate of paganism-led the Slavic tribes subordinate to him to be baptized, he was probably guided by political motives. Politically, the old faith of the Kievan princes no longer suited them – they needed a “universal church”to unite the tribes. But it was not only Byzantium that influenced the fragile pagan minds – Arab chroniclers claim that some East Slavic prince converted to Islam shortly before Vladimir.

    Of course, Constantinople attracted the Slavs like a magnet. Kiev was already full of Christians, with whom Krasno Solnyshko initially clashed. To accept the Byzantine faith was to recognize oneself as a junior partner of the empire. Meanwhile, the empire itself was clearly not in the best shape – one crisis followed another.

    However, other options looked no better. After the defeat of the Franks at Poitiers in 732, the Arabs stopped – as it turned out, forever-their military expansion. Newly converted peoples were already completing the construction of the Islamic world. In the IX-Xx Centuries. the Arabs fought more wars with each other and the conquered peoples, wrote down codes of laws and studied sciences, than tried to convert anyone to their faith. Jews in Europe were also busy making laws – for example, at that very moment the rabbis abolished polygamy. Vladimir, if he had become a Jew, would have been against it – in paganism, according to legend, he was a polygamist.

    Accepting Christianity from the “Byzantine philosophers”, Vladimir could not assume that he chose for Russia a long solitude – or, as the Slavophiles would say, “a special path”. At that time, the Western and eastern churches were still “sisters”, even if they did not favor each other too much, which means that Russia joined a single family of European Christians. Vladimir's son Yaroslav the Wise also tried to emphasize this – he married his daughters to the French and Hungarian kings.

    The Roman” sister church ” was still considered the oldest. The Patriarch of Constantinople in 988 recognized the formal primacy of the Roman See.”You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, “the Savior said to the” chief ” apostle. The patriarchs of Constantinople were already trying to prove that the Popes could not consider themselves the absolute heirs of Peter. But even to them, it still didn't sound convincing.

    The dispute between the churches of the Slavs did not concern – old enemies quarreled: the Greeks and the Latins. The Greeks are now almost brothers to the Russians, but then they were rather insidious rivals. It is unlikely that Vladimir understood from whom the holy spirit comes – only from the Father, as they taught in Constantinople, or from the Son, too, as Rome insisted. But he did not want to submit to Rome, or rather to the German emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, who then appointed Popes without unnecessary formalities. The Greeks were still more familiar.

    In 1054, even formal Christian unity was ended. Papal legates excommunicated Patriarch Michael Kerularius of Constantinople, and a schism – schism-separated the two “sister” churches for centuries. In the same year Yaroslav the Wise died, and the unity of Russia was also over.

    In 1204, the Churches of Constantinople and Rome united for more than 50 years, but in the most monstrous way-the crusaders of the Fourth campaign stormed the capital of Byzantium. This did nothing to improve relations between the churches, but the Eastern Empire collapsed soon after. Two hundred years after the Crusaders left, Constantinople fell to the Ottomans. After him, the Turks also absorbed the Balkan Orthodox principalities.

    For these two hundred years, Russia completely fell out of European politics – it was ravaged by the Mongols. Who knows, maybe Rome would have organized a crusade to help its brothers in Kiev, if not for schism – after all, the crusaders rebuffed Batu when he, having defeated Russia, went to Europe.

    In the West, the existence of Russia was almost forgotten for centuries. The great traveler Marco Polo, who then compiled the first guidebook to Asia, clearly marked its place in world politics: “Rosia (So in the original. – Newsweek) – a large country in the north. There are Greek Christians living here. There are many kings and their own language; the people are simple-minded and very beautiful; the men and women are white and fair. [ … ] They pay no tribute to anyone, only a little to the king of the West [of the Golden Horde…]. It's not a trading country, but they have a lot of expensive furs. [ … ] They mine a lot of silver. There is nothing else to talk about, so let's go from Russia.”

    Catholic Russia

    The Roman Church has always welcomed missionaries. This is perhaps its main difference from Orthodoxy, where priests are charged with “feeding the flock”, and not hunting for potential converts. This is probably why there are about 150 million Orthodox Christians in the world, and a billion Catholics.

    Russia was lucky in its own way. Rome scolded Constantinople for its lack of activity in converting pagans, but on the contrary, it was suspiciously zealous in the eastern direction – so Constantinople took measures by sending Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs.

    The Latin Church has long been striving for the east – in fact, before the Reconquista in Spain and the discovery of America, the east-from Palestine to the Baltic States-was the goal of Roman missionaries and orders. Having been defeated in the Middle East, but having converted the Hungarians (who had previously caused a stir in Europe) and the Western Slavs to Christianity, the Catholics faced the Russians and, worse, the Mongols – an opponent the Crusaders could not cope with. It is already good that the nomads have stopped their “trek to the last sea”.

    The last acquisition in the East of Rome was the Western Ukrainian flock, which took over the power of the Pope after the collapse of Byzantium. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which by the sixteenth century had become the vanguard of Catholicism, continued its struggle against Moscow for another century, but in vain. Rome's Eastern campaign was already over – the main missionary forces were sent West, across the Atlantic.

    If Russia had not become the last stronghold of the “Greek faith”, but had submitted to Rome, the crusade to the east would have continued. Catholics would not limit themselves to collecting tribute from the conquered peoples, but would convert them to Christianity without exception. And not only in Siberia, but also in the Caucasus.

    Siberia would be developed not only by the Cossacks, but also by adventurers from all over Europe. They would not have stopped on the Amur, and therefore the collision of Europe and China would have occurred not in the XIX century, but 300 years earlier. Orthodox Russia preferred to make peace with the Chinese.

    The Slavophil dream of pan-Slavic unity could have come true. Most likely, the same Grozny, if he were a Catholic, would have a much better chance of becoming king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth than the Transylvanian Stefan Batory. In this case, the question of unification with Ukraine would not have been raised at all.

    Moscow would have certainly broken with papal authority by then – it is unlikely that the zealous Catholic John the Terrible would have wanted Rome to collect taxes and appoint bishops in his state. And more likely, as other absolute monarchies – France and Spain-did, appropriating part of the power of Rome, rather than through Protestantism.

    But all this could only happen if a single Russian state existed after the Mongols left. Only the most powerful – those who could resist the pressure of Rome or the neighbors who then “controlled” the Popes-created unified nation-states in Europe in the Middle Ages. But rather, a weakened Russia would quickly receive a king from Western Europe and be occupied by foreigners “by right of inheritance”. Orthodox Russia was immune from foreign rulers – even a foreigner had to accept the Russian faith and, therefore, the local rules of the game.

    Muslim Russia

    If Russia had converted to Islam in the X–XI centuries, the beginning of the history of the Kiev caliphate would not have been too different from the history of the Orthodox principality. All around – the same restless nomads, and the West, intolerant of the invaders of the Holy Sepulchre-is far away.

    Then the Mongols would have come. However, within a few decades, the Mongols of the Western Horde themselves began to convert to Islam. Islam simply dissolved the invaders – it proclaimed the equality of believers regardless of nationality. We can say that in the Muslim Ummah the very concept of nationality was erased: the Russians would be like everyone else – a people of merchants and warriors.

    The Kiev Caliphate might not have suffered from the Mongols for long, but a decisive clash with the West would have been almost inevitable. Similarly, the Turks, pushed out of Asia by the Mongols, fell on Byzantium.

    It probably wouldn't have been so bad for the Russians. Perhaps Russia would have subdued the Muslim Brotherhood in the Urals and Caucasus and pushed further into Siberia-or perhaps it would have been even better if it had avoided it. Perhaps it would not have had to spend its energy on wars with Turkey.

    But a Muslim country would be even more isolated from the West than an Orthodox one. And just like the Ottoman Empire, it would one day find itself the ” sick man of Europe.” True, and the West would have had a hard time. The Turks were stopped by the combined forces of Central Europe under the walls of Vienna. What would happen if the Russian Muslims launched an auxiliary strike from the east?

    Judean Russia

    Judaism denies missionary work in principle. What kind of God-chosen people are they if they share their innermost knowledge with just anyone? It is better to suffer for your chosen one in proud solitude, recommending that the rest follow the abbreviated list of commandments. Those who wish to join the people of Israel are not by birthright discouraged.

    The Khazar rulers did not mind this – they adopted Judaism and tried to convert their relatives to it in order to protect themselves from the penetration of the beliefs of their enemies: the Arabs and Byzantines. From Europe, other Jews were drawn to the Khazars. But the Jewish state outside the Promised Land did not take place – it collapsed after internal religious wars. He was finished off by pagans from Kiev.

    Even if Prince Vladimir had accepted Judaism, he would not have been able to spread it in Russia. It is hard to imagine missionary rabbis driving Slavic tribes to learn Torah.

    Orthodox Russia

    Krasno Solnyshko chose an alliance with Byzantium, but chose the fate of his people. Russians from the middle of the XV century. they were the only defenders of their faith. Loneliness and the understanding that you need to rely only on your own strength and trust no one (plus, of course, a vast territory and a large population), made Russia one of the great powers. And the fact that this has brought us so much trouble – so Russians also feel like the chosen people, and they don't want to share their suffering with anyone. God endured and told us to.

    Boris Poznyakov / Russian Newsweek.Based on the materials of the United Fatherland website

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