From 15 September 1944 to 8 May 1945, the great Serbian Orthodox theologian and contemporary Church Father, Bishop Nicholas (Velimirovich) of Zhicha, was imprisoned by the Nazis in the notorious concentration camp of Dachau. There he kept a diary of seventy-six chapters, “Through a Prison Window,” in which he addressed himself to the Serbian people.
In it St. Nicholas the Serb, as many now call him, never mentioned his own sufferings, but rather expressed his profound grief at the spiritual and moral decadence of contemporary mankind, which he called, “Life without aim and death without hope.” According to the Saint, it was this aimlessness and hopelessness which explained the European catastrophe of the twentieth century and its World Wars. Here follows the translation of one of those chapters within which the saint is still calling Europe to repentance.
What could the Old Testament be called in contemporary language? It could be called the court records of the judgment of God and His people, at that time, the chosen people. The prophets literally say that God enters into judgment with His people (Isaiah 3, 13-14; Micah 6,2; Malachi 3,5).
In our own times the we hear of so-called secret records and documents, some of which have been exposed and have even been published. These records are supposed to describe various schemes to subjugate the world. In them there is no God, no prophetic word, no testament, no heavenly holiness in its words, no heavenly imprint. This is because they are vain journalism. These contemporary secret records contain about one hundred pages. But the records of the judgment of God with the Jewish people over thousands of years constitute about a thousand pages. Reading these ancient court records—the Old Testament—each of us has two sincere feelings. The first is amazement at Divine faithfulness and longsuffering; the second—shame at the perfidiousness of the chosen people in their relation to God their Benefactor, at their resistance to Him, that can only be explained as satanic malice, disobedience to Him, a disobedience which even a mule or some other beast does not show to its master and the one who feeds it.
But we, who live in the twentieth century, no longer belong to the Old Testament but to the New Testament. What is the difference? The difference is great. In the Old Testament God spoke to people through the mouths of prophets and angels, but in the New Testament, where He appeared as a man in the flesh, He speaks personally and directly. What can be said of those who flee the light of the Gospel for the darkness of Egypt and seek to enter into judgment with God with the same Jewish obstinacy of Old Testament times? We can only say that Christians who enter into judgment with God, who renounce Christ, show malice and disobedience to God Who is made manifest; such people are foolish and sinful, worse than the Old Testament Jews, who did not wish to hear the angels of God, the prophets and the righteous, for they were insolent to the servants of the Master, but the former are insolent to the Master Himself.
If the history of the last three centuries—the 18th, 19th and 20th—were to be given its true name, then there could not be found a more fitting name than “The Records of the Judgment between Europe and Christ;” for all the significant events in Europe of the last three centuries are connected to our Lord Jesus Christ.
In reality, at the judgment between Europe and Christ the following is happening.
Christ reminds Europe that it is baptized in His Name and must be faithful to Him and His Gospel. The defendant Europe replies:
– All denominations are equal. The French Encyclopedists told us this and it is wrong to force anyone to believe in any one of them. Europe shows tolerance to all denominations as national customs, as it wishes to keep its imperialistic interests, but Europe itself is not attached to any of them. But when it has achieved its political goals, then it will swiftly settle accounts with these vain folk beliefs.
Then Christ asks with sorrow:
– How can you people live solely for imperialistic, that is, materialistic interests, for the animal desire solely for bodily food? I wanted to make you gods and sons of God and you wish to make yourselves equal to beasts of burden.
But Europe replies to this:
– You are obsolete. Instead of your Gospel, we have discovered zoology and biology. Now we know that we are descendants of orangutans and gorillas—monkeys, we are not yours and not of your Heavenly Father. Now we are perfecting ourselves in order to become gods, for we do not recognize any gods other than ourselves.
– You are more obstinate than the ancient Jews. I raised you up from the darkness of barbarianism to heavenly light, but once more you rush headlong towards the darkness, just as pigs rush headlong towards the mud. I shed my blood for you, I gave you My blood, when all the angels had turned away from you, for they could not bear your hellish stench. When you turned into darkness and stench, I alone rose up for you in order to enlighten and cleanse you. Return to me, otherwise you will once more find yourself in an unbearable stench and darkness.
But Europe smiles mockingly:
– Leave us. We do not know you. Greek philosophy and Roman culture are closer to us. We want freedom. We have universities. Science is our guiding star. Our motto is freedom, equality, brotherhood. Our reason is the god of gods. You are Asian, we renounce you. You are a mere fairy-tale told by our grandfathers and grandmothers.
Christ says with tears in His eyes:
– So, I will go away, but you will see and understand that you fell away from the path of God and took the path of the devil. Blessing and joy are taken from you. Your life and your death are in My hands, for I gave Myself up to crucifixion for you. But it is not I Who will punish you; your sins and your falling away from Me, your Saviour, will punish you. I showed the love of the Father for all people and wanted to save you all through love.
But Europe replies to this:
– What love? Sobriety and courageous hatred for all, who do not agree with us, this is our program. Your love is a mere fable. We prefer nationalism and internationalism, the worship of science and culture, aesthetics, evolution and progress to your love. Our salvation is in these, but as for you, go away!
Oh my brothers, nowadays progress is complete. Christ has left Europe, as once before Christ left Gadara at the insistence of the Gadarenes. But as soon as He left, there started wars, misfortunes, horrors, destruction, and annihilation. Pre-Christian barbarianism has returned to Europe, that of the Avars, the Huns, the Lombards, the Vandals, only nightmarishly multiplied a hundredfold. Christ has taken up His Cross and His blessing and left. Darkness and stench have spilled forth. So decide who you want to be with: with the darkness and stench of Europe, or with Christ. Amen.