Recently, there’s been some very impressive examples of the reawakening of Christian civilization in Eastern Europe.
First, let’s look at what happened recently in Poland. In a ceremony at the Church of Divine Mercy in Krakow last November 19th, the Catholic Bishops of Poland in the presence of President Andreiz Duda and many Catholic pilgrims, officially recognized Jesus Christ as the King of Poland and called upon Him to rule over their nation, its people and their political leaders.
At the mass, they prayed “Immortal King of Ages Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, bowing our heads before You, King of the Universe, we acknowledge Thy dominion over Poland, those living in our homeland and throughout the world. Wishing to worship the majesty of Thy power and glory, with great faith and love, we cry out: Rule us, Christ!”
This ceremony was repeated at many Polish cathedrals and parishes on the following Sunday, which was the feast of Christ the King in the Catholic liturgical calendar. The prayers as part of the liturgy are just beautiful in dedicating the nation to Jesus Christ. For example, in one litany, the priest prays: “In our hearts,” and the congregation responds: “Rule us, Christ! In our families, Rule us, Christ! … In our schools and universities, Rule us, Christ! … Through the Polish nation, rule us, Christ! … And then he goes on: “We pledge to defend Your holy worship and preach Thy royal glory,” and the people respond: “Christ our King, we promise!” The priest prays: “We pledge to do Your will and protect the integrity of our consciences,” and the people respond: “Christ our King, we promise! We pledge to care for the sanctity of our families and the Christian education of children, Christ our King, we promise!
The fact that this liturgy was conducted with the President of Poland in attendance was of course highly significant; and was the fruit of the most recent rounds of elections that put Polish nationalists in charge, who emphasize Poland’s sovereignty in light of European Union and Eurasian pressures. And this re-Christianization of Poland is being accompanied with a brand new effort to ban abortion almost entirely in Poland as well. So, we’ll make sure to keep an eye on what’s going there in the future.
Of interest as well is what’s going on is the pro-life, pro-family revolutions going on in Hungary and Croatia. Since coming into office in 2010, the Prime Minister of Hungary – Viktor Orban has led the way to ratifying Hungary’s constitution to define marriage as a union between man and woman; he’s been on the forefront of prolife legislation, and has brought back religious education in Hungary’s public schools.
And in Croatia, something’s extraordinary going on. There’s been a studied released that found that belief in God among Croats has risen from 39 percent in 1989 to 75 percent in 1996 and 82 percent in 2004. And what they’ve found is that even though Croatia’s population has for a number of reasons declined over the years, the amount of priests studying in seminary has actually remained unchanged. And we further see the moral maturity of Croats in their overwhelming support to amend their national constitution to defined marriage as between a man and woman – nearly 65 percent of the population voted to keep so called same-sex marriage permanently out of Croatia.
In Georgia, before the 2012 elections, there was a real backlash against the pro-Western, pro-EU government which sought to take Eastern Orthodox curriculum out of the public schools, and this just galvanized Orthodox groups such as the Orthodox Parents’ Union. When the elections of 2012 came along, a far more traditionalist government was elected that reinstituted Eastern Orthodox education into the public schools, where icons and Orthodox crosses are displayed throughout the school buildings. And this has been accompanied by the Georgian Orthodox Church’s campaign to revitalize the Georgian family which has been very successful. Georgia’s gone from having one of the lowest birthrates in Eastern Europe to now one of the highest.
Romania is currently building perhaps the tallest Orthodox Church in the world in Bucharest. And in terms of Russia, I mean this just goes without saying; there’ve been over 15,000 churches rebuilt since the end of communism. You have Article 148 of the Russian criminal code which Vladimir Putin signed in June of 2013, which threatened prison sentences of up to three years for “insulting the feelings of Christian believers.” And on the very day that law was passed you had the law approved that prohibits what they call “homosexual propaganda.” And of course, the laws against offending the church were used to incarcerate the punk rock band Pussy Riot when they desecrated actually two churches with inappropriate behavior. Putin has banned abortion ads, and signed legislation banning abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, and the Russian Orthodox Church is calling for an all-out ban of abortions.
So, we are seeing some very impressive examples of the reawakening of Christian civilization in Eastern Europe, and it’s just par for the course of the re-traditionalization that’s going on all over the world in response to the virulently anti-cultural, anti-traditional dynamics of secularism and secular globalization. I think we can expect only more examples of this re-Christianization going on throughout Eastern Europe in the foreseeable future, and what we’re going to need to do is keep an eye on comparable re-traditionalizing trends going on in Western Europe and the U.S. as well, which promises then a real bona fide post-secular future on our immediate horizon. God bless.
Make sure to sign-up on our email list and get your FREE ebook: The Face of Infinite Love: Athanasius on the Incarnation.