By St. Athanasios of Paros
- The real reason the French were led into impiety is something else. However, because they have shown and continue to show such a fierce obsession with the establishment of secular freedom and equality, the impression is that for this reason alone, by a common decision and choice, they have almost completely eliminated Christ and Christianity and its holy books.
- Freedom, then, is found in two forms. One is the freedom of the soul and the other of the body. Examining the definition of freedom in both of these forms, we find that it is defined as complete autonomy, that is, that no one recognizes any kind of dependence above themselves, nor do they receive orders from another, but that they are the sole master and ruler of themselves and no one else in the world. So if this is defined as an essential feature of freedom, that is, that man is not subject to any principle, I completely reject this general axiom of the most foolish atheists. In other words, I do not accept that people are born free (independent) in the world. On the contrary, I support and will prove that there is no such freedom in the world: people are born and live in the world as "slaves" (dependent) in many ways.
- People are "slaves" of God, just like the rest of creation. That people are "slaves" is so true, that when they are ignorant of their Creator and do not carry out His commandments, they are punished even for eternity. In fact, this punishment does not apply to any other tangible creature, because only people are distinguished from all the rest, since they have reason and have been adorned with the gift of autonomy, so they voluntarily become wicked and worthless servants and disobedient to the orders of their Master.
- Therefore, those who proclaim with words and decide in accordance with the law that people are born free are ignorant and foolish. Those who think this way are among the herd of Epicurus' followers. They are atheists and believe that the soul is mortal. They are apostates of the Divine revelations, rebels against the greatness of God Himself, deserving of hatred and despising by all creation, as enemies of God, the Creator and Lord of all. So here we have a way of "slavery" (dependence) that is necessary and inevitable, as long as it is impossible for the creature to deny its Creator, the formed its Fashioner, the caused its Cause. After all, who is so ignorant that they do not know that the constituent parts of man are two, that is, the body and the soul? And that the rational soul is the one that governs the body, that is, the irrational part, and causes it to move wherever and however it wants? So is there anyone who doesn't know and doesn't accept this truth, which is known even to the Gentiles? A slight observation is enough for everyone to locate it in their consciousness.
- The word "freedom," according to the Greek interpretation, is etymologized by ελεύθειν ένθα ερά. That is, to go somewhere you like, wherever you want. And if one is deprived of this opportunity, if one is prevented from behaving in this way, he is called a slave.
- When we encounter another kind of "slavery", dependence on the body, which is completely natural and necessary, how can various vain people say and write that people are born free? After all, isn't each of us born under parental authority? Don't parents naturally have the absolute power over us to treat us the way they want us to live when we don't live right or obey their promptings? Don't they punish us? Do they not renounce us and deprive us of our paternal inheritance?
- But isn't every head of household a kind of monarch at home? Doesn't he have different people at his workplace and he tells one "come" and they come, and to the other "do this" and they do it? And what happens to every apprentice and students of every specialty? Aren't they subject to the authority of their teachers, as if they were masters? Who can deny that they obey with respect and definitely carry out the orders and are severely punished when they do not obey the rules of apprenticeship accurately?
- When we see people subjected in so many ways and maybe even more, where is their natural freedom? Even if we consider that they can be freed from parental and doctrinal dependencies, how can we ignore the dominance of the innate soul and that of the First and Supreme Cause, that is, the Creator and God of all?
- To the extent that it is impossible for the Creator and Maker not to be the Lord and Master of men, and to the extent that it is impossible for the soul, as a rational and intangible nature, not to be the hegemonic part of human composition, it is to the same degree that it is impossible for people to be free, independent.
- From a political point of view, the most appropriate government for governing states is the monarchical, imitating, after all, God, the King of all. This is because monarchical power is the best and most correct form of government, when the Monarch is not a tyrant, but submits to existing laws and is surrounded by wise and honest counselors, since pansophy and infallibility are qualities of God alone.
- I, in this work, am concerned with what contributes to my purpose, which is, as I said at the beginning, the benefit of my simpler brothers. As for which government is best suited for governing a state, let moral philosophers and political scientists investigate.
- After we have proved that people are neither born nor are free, it is time to look at this much-praised and legendary freedom, which has shaken and continues to shake everything. Examining it in the light of truth, we come to the conclusion that it is false in every way and not even worthy of the name "freedom". Judge if I'm wrong.
- He who is a slave only physically, and if he is chained and if he is beaten and if he suffers in many ways, not only is he not inflicted with any accusation from any prudent man, but on the contrary he wins compassion and mercy, since he is a fellow human being who has been out of luck. On the contrary, those who have unwittingly succumbed to the passions of the flesh are not only criticized and hated as mean and immoral, but also punished by the laws of the state as villainous and destroyers of public order and good behavior, and if by chance they escape here the life of punishment they deserve, after death it is impossible to avoid the indisputable decision of Divine Judgment.
- At this point I find it very difficult to find words to describe slavery rather than freedom, on the yoke of which the pseudo-liberals voluntarily submitted themselves. What can I say, what can I list to describe in all its extent their miserable condition? For two hours with the clock they shouted "liberty! liberty!” when they beheaded their king at the guillotine. Freedom! Where is it located, where does it appear, where is this legendary and hidden in the sky liberty - freedom? In bodies only.
- Only the bodies of the French are free, that is, unruly, ungovernable, not subject to any human power. In other words, the molded, shaped and beautifully decorated clay, which is subject to decay and decomposition, the meal of worms, the source of stench! What is perceived today by the senses, dances and chatters and tomorrow withers, dissolves, does not count for anything! That alone is the great thing that caused all this rage, for which there has been and is so much excitement, rivers of blood have been shed, tens of thousands of people have been killed, not enemies, but compatriots and mutual friends!
And, although sin is a common defect of human nature and there is no man who has not sinned, but they as a whole want to shake off all political and spiritual power, in order to be free and unhindered to commit every evil and impermissible thing: they become arrogant, shameless, audacious, malicious, murderous, predatory, cunning, arrogant, proud, fornicators, adulterers, bloodthirsty, to such an extent that I cannot describe how sly, filthy and unclean these Illuminati pigs are. And of course, it is true that the Franks have always been like that, but now their libertarianism has come to an end, sealed them, cut them off from other people, and guided them like irrational animals, whose lives they imitated with their works.
And, if that wise opinion is true (and must be true) that says "it is more burdensome to be enslaved to one's passions than to external tyrants," they are absolutely slaves to the passions, and this slavery is much more burdensome, worse and poorer than enslavement to tyrannical people. Because the body is by nature subject to the commands of the dominant soul, and for this reason it is not paradoxical to submit to some external power and perform bodily services and works. However, it is completely unheard of and paradoxical for the dominant soul to fall from its high order, the utterly free one, and to submit with its own will to the irrational and filthy passions of the body.
And who are those who have fallen into this wicked, filthy and vicious slavery? The Illuminati! That is, the enlightened. From where were they enlightened? From philosophy, as they themselves boast. And of course, no other country and no other nation has been fortunate enough to be as rich in academic schools and in every kind of science as the Kingdom of France. And yet, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Rom. 1:22), according to the Holy Apostle.
- But with their declarations of freedom, they also link the declaration of Equality. And high on their flags they write "Freedom-Equality". And the reckless and relentless mob, what else more attractive, appealing and motivating for uprisings against superiors would they expect to hear beyond these declarations? With the proclamation of Freedom, he imagines himself free from all external human power, which he indiscriminately calls tyranny, even if it is not. With Equality statements, the water carrier and the one who cleans the feces, imagines himself as the most noble and prominent.
Stupid and vain people! If, as Gregory the Theologian says, the monkey imagines he is a lion, what good will such an imagination do him? Equal! Tell me, where is this equality? He lives in fancy palaces and towering towers, and you, unfortunate one, have a poor hut, enough to house your sick and tired body. He is resting in a golden and ivory bed and on soft mattresses, and by force you have a wooden mat, to lay down your tormented body. There is not much space left on his table due to the abundance of food and wine, and you just have some bread and some poor quality cheese to fool your hunger!
But why expand on the matter? How can two people be called equal when one is very rich and the other is starving and forced to steal because of his poverty? These declarations are an invention of cunning and insidious people, who, wanting to satisfy their passions and fulfill their evil desires, instilled in the minds of the common people this unbridled wind of equality, to help them achieve their purpose. Can there ever be equality in societies dominated by greed, dominated by passions, where no other expression is heard more often than "mine" and "yours"?
Equality, yes, did exist once! But where? In the newly formed Church of those good Christians, the simple and pious! There, as Saint Luke describes it (Acts 4:32), no one had anything of their own, but it was all common - money, clothes and food. But why was everything common? Because, he says, the hearts and souls of the faithful were one! Everyone had an opinion and a will about God and they were all connected with brotherly love, so close that, although they were a lot of people and of different ages, men and women, old and young, they were all so unified that they looked like one body that was moved by one soul.
The same equality and solidarity has existed for many centuries in the coenobiums of the Venerable ones of old, Pachomios, Savvas, Euthymios, Theodosios and many others, because in them brotherly love and solidarity were preserved. That, indeed, was true Equality!
But the equality the new democrats are showing is false, it is naked, as is their freedom. They have been invented by cunning people to carry out their plans with the power of the people. And of course, this double declaration of freedom and equality, as a whole, gained great prestige among the anonymous crowd, not only within the borders of France, but also in the campaigns against Italy, where, although they were campaigning for a war against the armies of its cities, they were welcomed everywhere with open arms, not as enemies, but as friends and brothers and saviors. At some point, however, they realized the fraud, perhaps because they saw that in many other places where the preachers of equality were trampled, "grass did not sprout again," as it is commonly said.
And more than anywhere else, this fraud of the preachers of equality was to be understood by Venice, which unexpectedly became poor, unhappy, and afflicted. Venice, the once glorious city, famous all over the world for the noble origin of its inhabitants, for the cultivation of the arts, for its great and special wisdom and prudence. Venice, the city that for many centuries ruled many cities, now, unchallenged, with only the declarations of freedom and equality, the one that boasted that it would never be enslaved, became, alas, enslaved and, as it seems, fulfilled in it was Isaiah's prophecy, and it was abandoned as a tent in the vineyard, and as a fruit tree in the vineyard.
Oh the paradoxical pitfalls of God's supreme providence! Perhaps it was this cup of Divine Judgment that the Most Peaceful had to drink, because of the tyranny imposed on us, treating us with great hostility.
But for the consequences of external hardships as well as internal annihilation, the total destruction and the merits of many tearful calamities, caused and continue to be incessantly caused by the excitement of pseudo-freedom, a separate historical pain would be needed. At the moment, we have not promised such a thing, nor can we fulfill it satisfactorily. Suffice it to say, among other things, that the Libertines are in vain proclaiming freedom, at a time when they themselves are such tyrants: and if perhaps they were once martyred by one or a few, now, on the contrary, they are all tyrants and kill, exile or impose another penalty on those who are not convinced of their will. That is why many of their so-called priests and bishops and abbots fell victim to the terrible guillotine, not for a crime or an injustice, but because they wanted to preserve the freedom of their conscience and not sign against "the anointed of the Lord," that is, against their king. And of course, if all of them did not die in the communion of papal doctrines, they would certainly all be martyrs.
So freedom is false, it is false and destructive, as well as equality: even the most intelligent people should not be seduced by such false declarations.
Excerpts from the book A Christian Apology. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.