an American's Reflections - Stephen Lapeyrouse’s website


Watching the recent Russian Orthodox Easter Church Services on television in Moscow, it seems that Russia should – if these “religious leaders” were to have their way – go to sleep spiritually. God was, not is – to adapt the philosopher and poet Emerson.

This liturgy, the Easter service happened – as was visible in the windows of their souls – outside of even the Patriarch and the other high churchmen in the service. They all seemed to believe that they needed only to go through the motions of the ceremony – thinking their own semi-focused thoughts (sometimes fidgeting or chatting, looking around, standing at semi-attention), singing, making the signs of the cross, bowing more or less according to the “divine plan” – all in the new, rebuilt Church building, which is as good an example of the Church’s tendency towards the “possessors’” externalization as anything.

That, through inner development and purification, the individual can relate to God, and participate in the transfiguration of the world, was almost completely omitted. External pomp and circumstance – Sleep individuals! We will wear golden clothes and hats, and we will perform this ancient, secret ceremony in which you need only be present, have faith, follow the outer rules and patterns, etc., and the God who was, not is, will save us!

Oh yes! And thanks to Caesar for the money!

Moscow, May 1997 (unpublished)