So some rather interesting things went down today in my Telegram channel (join now if you haven’t already – all the cool kids are there), wherein I initially posted up a video that showed two Orthodox priests engaged in fisticuffs in Banderastan. Essentially, the family of a slain Ukrainian soldier called in their local Russian Orthodox Church priest to officiate the funeral ceremonies, because in fact much of Ukraine still holds allegiance to the true Russian Orthodox Church despite the schism that took place some years ago.
The hohol military, however, decided to get a bit uppity and bring in their own Ukrainian Orthodox Church priest. The two priests really didn’t like each other, and one attacked the other with a Cross.
Being of a rather irreverent nature as I am, I quickly dubbed this Cross Maga, in honour of my beloved Krav Maga form of martial arts.
You’ll need to watch the video to understand why the “Cross” part is appropriate. And I can’t quite tell exactly who is the Russian Orthodox Priest, and which one is the
This sort of thing is not new, however. As I noted to my Telegram channel participants, fisticuffs between different denominations of Christians at religious events are not at all uncommon.
Let me explain. I assure you that what follows here is an absolutely true story, hand to God.
When I went to Israel, back in 2014, I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the single most important site in all of Christendom. Now this was back before I got saved, so I had no idea what the fuss was all about, but our group guide told us that fistfights often broke out between different sects of Christians within the Church, due to conflicts over schedules and timings and rites.
Since we were there as part of a Krav Maga tour, inevitably, our Grandmaster dubbed them “Krav Maga Priests”.
I didn’t believe what I heard at first, it just seemed so outlandish and so out of keeping with what I thought I knew about Christians at the time. Then I went and looked it up on TEH YOOTOOBZ, and sure enough…:
See what I mean?
It goes without saying that this sort of behaviour is a direct demonstration of why Christianity is about FAITH, not religion. The two ARE NOT the same thing, at all.
To understand what religion is, you have to understand first and foremost that God is completely beyond human understanding. He is so foreign to us that we cannot comprehend Him, or the power and majesty of His glory.
Don’t believe me? What do you suppose angels look like? If you actually saw a Biblical angel, you would CRAP YOUR PANTS:
God is so far outside of our understanding that, even when presented with absolute and incontrovertible evidence of His existence, works, powers, and glory, we still need to come up with ways to relate to Him – to humanise Him, so that we can reduce Him to terms that we, with our puny little human minds, can understand.
So we invent religious trappings to do precisely that. We cloak our faith in rituals and routines, in the most outrageous mummery imaginable. That is where you get all of the rites and mumbling and tedium so common to every religion, anywhere.
Christians are not immune to this, by any means. Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants of every stripe – we are all guilty of engaging in specific dogmas, because they are comforting.
Catholics venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary as an intercessor, even though there is not one iota of evidence in the Bible that she could ever get His Hugeness to change His mind about anything. Catholics, and more than a few Protestants, insist that you must be baptised in water to be truly saved – even though the Bible discusses baptism with fire and the Holy Spirit.
Orthodox types don’t get off the hook either. You will find plenty of Russian Orthodox priests who insist that, if you don’t go to church every Sunday, you are committing a sin. This is nonsense. You don’t need to go to a church to speak to God – He is your personal saviour, you speak to Him as you do to your own father, to your closest friend, and to a harsh but fair disciplinarian, all in one. You don’t need to stand on ceremony to speak with God – you just talk with Him. It’s that simple.
Most religion is nothing more than the mental equivalent of a child’s blankie – warm, comforting, familiar, and basically useless in understanding the truth. That truth is God Himself, and you need discipline, mental strength, courage, and FAITH to understand Him.
That being said – there ARE times when standing up for dogma through fisticuffs is right and necessary.
Do y’all know the true story of St. Nicholas? This is not the story of the jolly fat man in red who climbs down chimneys to deliver presents to children on Christmas. The true story of St. Nicholas of Myra is really quite astonishing, vastly more badass, and a powerful inspiration for every Christian who wishes to stand firm in his faith.
Back in the 4th Century AD, the Christian Church struggled mightily with two very different views of the substance and lineage of Jesus Christ. One side of the debate viewed Jesus as literally God made flesh, a being who is simultaneously one with, and separate from, God the Father. The other side took the view that Jesus was a created being, made by God to come down to Earth in human form, containing a spark of Divine essence, but NOT “consubstantial”, as it were, with God Himself.
This might seem like hair-splitting at the atomic level to an outsider. I assure you, it is not. The question of who and what Jesus was (and is), truly is fundamental to the Christian faith.
Everything we as Christians believe in, rests on the belief that Jesus the Son and God the Father are one and the same. His Hugeness literally said so – it’s right there in black and white in your Bible (John 10:30). If that is not true… then how can we possibly take Jesus’s other claims seriously? How can we believe that He humbled Himself to come down to Earth, sacrifice Himself unto Himself, and thereby reunite His Fallen and broken Creation with Himself?
If Jesus is not both Man and God, if Jesus is not consubstantial WITH God, then everything else about the Christian faith becomes an impossibility. Everything we believe, falls apart. The entire design of God’s plan to reunite humanity with His divine family in Heaven, comes to nought.
The blood sacrifice of a human is not sufficient to atone for the sins of humanity – not least because the Big Fella Upstairs considers human sacrifice to be an EXTREME sin. Animal blood was no longer sufficient either – the sins of Man were too great and too terrible. Something outside of humanity had to be sacrificed to appease the wrath of God and to reconcile us with Him. Only the blood of God Himself would be enough – and only God Himself could take on the sins of all Mankind in atonement.
And the only creature that could be both Man and God, was Jesus.
Again, this is not a trivial matter. Yet, the advocates for the view that Jesus was a created being, were very much in the ascendant back in the early 4th Century. Hillaire Belloc tells this story superbly in The Great Heresies. The masses, and in particular most of the rank-and-file in the Roman military, believed in the view that Jesus was a created being. The educated elites believed in the version given in the Apostle’s Creed and the Athanasian Creed, that Jesus was one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
The greatest advocate for that point of view was Arius of Alexandria, which is why we know of this view today as the Arian Heresy. Arius was a most eloquent and persuasive man, and for a time, it seemed as though he had convinced most of the early Church bishops and clergy to his point of view. Nicholas of Myra was very much alone, fighting a difficult and lonely fight to maintain and propound the view that Our Lord was a being consubstantial with – that is, made from the exact same substance as – the Father.
This controversy desperately needed a resolution. It is not at all an exaggeration to state that the integrity and unity of the entire Roman Empire depended upon finding some kind of common ground that everyone could agree with. So, in 325 AD, the Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea to sort it all out. And at that conclave, Arius started on his usual routine, arguing that Jesus the Son was created by the Father, and of a lesser substance than God.
The legend goes that St. Nicholas got so angry listening to a lot of heretical nonsense that he straight up JAP-SLAPPED Arius.
The legend further states that St. Nicholas was then imprisoned, and his Bible and stole were taken away from him. You have to understand that this was a thousand years before the printing press, which meant that Nicholas’s Bible was a hand-copied scroll on parchment or vellum, and therefore was a treasure of incomparable value.
While sitting in prison that night, he was visited by Jesus Himself. The Big Fella asked him, “why are you here?”. And he responded, “Because I love you, my Lord and my God”. And for his courage and fidelity, Jesus gave him back his stole and Bible.
His jailers walked in on Arius the next day, sitting calmly behind bars, with his belongings restored to him, even though the jailers had recorded for a fact that those things had been sitting well outside of his cell, far out of his reach, the previous night.
So, next time someone tells you that Christians should never raise their fists or strike in anger, remember the story of St. Nicholas of Myra, the original Cross Maga Priest, and take heart.