The Cause and Idol of War

The Cause and Idol of War

A bit ago, my wife came upon an audio version, in Russian, of a work by St. Nikolia Velimirovich entitled, War and the Bible. As is her custom, she listens to various audiobooks while doing this or that around the house, many a time small crumbs of audio wisdom waft my way as I am doing whatever it is I may be doing at that time. My ears were much perked as she listened to the above book. I thought, my gosh, he could be speaking about today! I then searched for the book online and found it in a digital print format in Russian. The book is not excessively long, but I am already invested in the labor of directly translating the sermons of St. Seraphim (Zvezdenski), On the Divine Liturgy (in which translation I sit with the printed text and work through it in the traditional translation method). But, my, oh my, how vital and pertinent are the words of St. Nikolia! How, it seemed to me, urgently they need to be heard! And so, I settled upon a compromise, one that I am a little loath of, but expediency won the day. I entered paragraphic portions into an online translation program and then compared the generated English translation to the original, where it seemed clumsy or off a little I modified it. This process gave me the ability to offer the work below in a much shorter time frame than otherwise possible. What I offer below is trustworthy and I believe important given the time. So, in the meantime, may it serve a beneficial purpose. (I discovered after working on this that there is a full English translation of the book, which is available here.)

I offer below not the full text, but rather only the end portion of it. I will be posting it in two parts. Yet even these ending portions of the book speak directly to the spiritual cause of instability and war that is festering in our world. I offer below “part 1” of the selected portion I have been working on. “Part 2” will be forthcoming (order the book to read the full text).

The spiritual principles that St. Nikolai speaks on, not only apply to war but to the turmoil of the world in general. It is undeniable that our world has been in heightened turmoil since the diabolical methods of covidism were instituted in 2020. St. Nikolai offers a stern prognosis but a most hopeful remedy, if we find the strength and wisdom to apply it. I will say no more, for his words are more than enough testimony.

All section titles are original. All footnotes are mine, added simply for clarification. St. Nikolia is addressing someone he calls, the General.


Having turned over those pages of the holy book, which contain the only exact philosophy of war, and having examined – in the light of the Bible – the latest wars, we can now, General, answer your question about the causes of a future war.

Whether or not there will be war depends on the quality of our world. If in peacetime our life is pleasing to God, then, of course, there will be no war. Oh, if only it were so! But a world without God is a cradle of war. War bacilli breed and grow in the world, and when they multiply and grow, then war is inevitable. Whether wanted or not, it is inevitable.

I do not predict that the war will begin with the murder of a missionary or consul, or the villainous sinking of the ship of a neighboring country, or an attack on the independence and property of any people. War can start with any event. But this does not interest us. It doesn’t matter when we are discussing the cause of a war. This is only a pretext or a signal for war, which previously, in peacetime, has been brewing for a long time – the immediate cause only brings near the distant moment of its beginning long ago.

The reasons for the future war have already been inherited by us from the last war[1]Written during the time period of WWI and WWII … They began to accumulate after the last peace conference, to which the belligerents were invited: but neither prayer nor gratitude were invited, nor was that Third, All-Seeing, Decisive Factor, without which there is no victories or defeats. (Publisher’s note: “It is known that only Wilson held the Holy Scriptures before him during the conference and at times, bowing his head, prayed to God.”) The work at the conference proceeded tensely and painfully, like torture.

During military disasters, people remembered God and called for His help. But as soon as the war was over, people removed God from their affairs. Therefore, the conference talked more about military losses than about peace. God’s blessing was not on it, and therefore such a world was created, which, turning the whole earth into some kind of war factory, began tirelessly, with all the forces and all the property of the peoples, to serve the future war. The allies dictated the terms of the peace and, at their will, divided the property of the vanquished. Did they benefit from this property? They forbade the defeated to have an army and weapons, but they allowed themselves. Why did they allow themselves, but not others? They could not foresee that in this way they would place themselves in the ranks of the vanquished. Who knows, maybe the wealth that was taken by force from the vanquished – if not today, then tomorrow – will go or has already started to be used to strengthen military power and ever-new preparations for war. There is no blessing on such acquisitions! The greatest happiness of the conquered peoples is that their hands are tied and they cannot throw money into armaments for a future war. They don’t have to regret giving their gold to the “winners”. It is better to give it to one’s neighbors than to throw it into the mouth of Mars.[2]The Roman god of war The greatest misfortune of the allies is that they used the property taken from the enemy for military purposes. In human terms, this is the revenge of the Third One Who was not invited to the peace conference. This is what it means to do something without God’s blessing! And at the same time, this means immediately after the fire, again watering the city with kerosene. 

Among the causes of both past and future wars, the main and most important reason is godlessness and falling away from the One Living God. “There is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord” (Is. 42:22). Many Christians in Europe and America, who hurried to church during the war, who sometimes came even before the beginning of the service to take a place, began to cool off towards religion after the war and fall away from faith in God. And if they are reminded of this, they will ironically object that religion has become outdated. How is it so? Is it possible to talk about the reality of modernity or non-modernity? After all, God is the highest Reality, towering over everything that is generally called reality. How can it be that faith in God, which 10 years ago was a living and necessary connection with reality, now suddenly becomes outdated? Unbelief in God means faith in invalidity, in a chimera… And what fate awaits a nation with a large number of unbelievers is clearly seen from the Holy Revelation of God. “There is no peace for the wicked”– this is their fate, this is what is written to them. And they will never be able to avoid war if they do not first eradicate godlessness. An unbelieving person, by the very fact, that he does not believe, does something objectionable in the eyes of the Lord. Unbelief is an insult to the Creator Almighty; it is neglect of the Lord Jesus Christ and the repeated crucifixion of the One in whose name the Christian nations were baptized, for through baptism they swore an oath of allegiance to Him. Every insult to God – if it is not quickly repented of – causes disaster, such as drought, flood, disease, unrest, various crises, general regression and, as the crown of everything – war. And this is not the superstition of the common people, but a fact established both by Revelation and by life itself. 

Let’s move on, godlessness or unbelief is followed by idol worship. As soon as a person renounces God, he begins to fill the emptiness of his soul with something else, which he then worships as the highest reality, the highest value.  The apostate replaces the unity of God with a plurality of idols. Never has any idolater worshiped only one idol. Idolatry causes chaos in the human soul, while faith in the One God pours into the soul the harmony of simplicity, clarity and certainty. Since it is possible to make sense of the current spiritual chaos of the vast majority of educated Europeans and Americans, and since their worst spiritual ailments can be listed, they now have five major idols they serve: while faith in the One God pours into the soul the harmony of simplicity, clarity and certainty. Since it is possible to make sense of the current spiritual chaos of the vast majority of educated Europeans and Americans, and since their worst spiritual ailments can be listed, they now have five major idols they serve: while faith in the One God pours into the soul the harmony of simplicity, clarity and certainty. Since it is possible to make sense of the current spiritual chaos of the vast majority of educated Europeans and Americans, and since their worst spiritual ailments can be listed, they now have five major idols they serve:

1) materialism;

2) personal self (ego);

3) imperialism;

4) nation;

5) culture.

Let’s start in order.

Although it is said and written that philosophical materialism, which poisoned the spirit of Europe during the entire nineteenth century, has died, it is still clear to us that practical materialism has remained after it. What a vile creature of the monster! Matter as the goal of human aspiration and labor is for very many Europeans and Americans something that is valuable in itself, whether it be matter in the form of land, money, things, or the pleasure resulting from all this. The striving for the possession of material objects – is this not the common post-war insanity of the Christian peoples of both continents? The boundless human thirst for the possession of material things for the enjoyment of them can be withstood, in their strength, only by the boundless thirst for God in true Christians and the spiritual joy that comes from God. People who have lost the ability to see and feel God are condemned to worship matter as an idol; condemned to serve her with all their strength, with all their thoughts and with all their hearts. But since many people want to possess the same material object, envy, malice, hatred, mutual friction and struggle inevitably appear among people. All these together comprise the bacilli of war, which, having multiplied, can bring the body to an inflammatory state, that is, to the fires of war.

“Imperialism” has taken possession of the dreams of not only great, but also small peoples and peoples. It means the seizure of foreign land for the sake of power and trade, that is, for the sake of matter. Just as the legendary Zeus gave birth to Vulcan, so did European imperialism emerge from European materialism. Indeed, what Zeus was among the pagan gods is what imperialism is among modern idols. Since among many nations, the desire for imperialism is boundless, and our land (on Earth) is limited, it is not surprising that mutual envy, hatred, friction, and struggle appear among the nations. All these are the same bacilli, inevitably leading to the fire of war.

“Nation,” like all idols, leaves no room for God. We often meet atheists who are also ardent nationalists. Modern nationalism can most easily pass into imperialism and is always inseparable from it. In its ugly forms, it does not so much mean love for one’s people – this would be quite natural – as it does contemptuous hatred for one’s neighbors, which, of course, is disgusting in the face of the Creator of all peoples.

The personal “I”, raised to the level of an idol, almost constantly accompanies all people. It has replaced God for them – both for those who want a lot and have a lot, and for those who want a lot, but have little or nothing at all. The revelation of God is replaced with human personality, it is then natural that each person seeks for this idol a temple, worshipers, and wealth, i.e. every material possession with which to surround your idol in the brilliance of a deity. This kind of idolatry is most pronounced in the struggle of the parties of the European intelligentsia, in the struggle for primacy, power, and wealth. The characteristic properties of this idol are pride, selfishness, and promiscuity. Since in this frenzied struggle, God and His law are forgotten, the only true means of sobering up here is war.

“Culture” is the most senseless idol of our day. Having removed God, Who is the only true cause and inspiration of noble culture of soul and body, unbelieving people began to deify the works of their own hands, and this they designate in one word – culture. And the deification of human creations is the greatest “abomination before God .” In His law, God strictly forbade the adoring of His creations, among which the most insignificant is much more perfect than the most perfect human culture. How far the works of human hands are from God’s creations! Since culture is dependent on the other idols mentioned above – especially on materialism – it also contributes to the breeding of germs of war, which sooner or later will cause an inflammatory state.

Of these five idols, two can be called meaningless and three are hypocritical. Culture and nationalism are meaningless because they only shout about themselves and advertise only themselves; and materialism, imperialism, and egoism are hypocritical because they pretend and lie, hiding behind other names. In the language of Dostoevsky, all these idols could be called demons. All of them, these idols, were, of course, once true values ​​and could become so again if they are sanctified by faith in the One Living God and imbued with the spirit of God’s law. In other words, when they are of value when they are absolutely subordinate to God and serve to the glory of His name.

Matter was given by God to people so that it would serve them, and not to rule over their souls.

In the idea of ​​empire, God allows that nations with greater wealth (gifts) may act to serve the weaker nations that may have less wealth (gifts), like a strong brother is given to help a weaker one.

The nation is a wonderful and righteous, albeit limited, field for serving God and people. God has given a personal “I”, that is, a rational soul, to each person in order to, by service and love, elevate him to likeness to Him, His Creator.

God breathed into man the desire for culture so that through it the human soul would show its victory over the world of matter and its devotion and service to God. Thus, the goal is that all these values ​​would take on an angelic form through the service and love that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded. But just as the angel who fell away from God and was once called Lucifer, but became the devil, so these values ​​became idols and demons without God.

Note that the relative satiety with these idols leads people to laziness, corruption, putrefaction, disgust for everything, imbecility, and suicide (as, for example, towards the end of the Roman Empire); and dissatisfaction leads to extreme grief, envy, grumbling, shamelessness, all kinds of violence and, in the end, again to suicide. In both cases, these idols breathe hatred and contempt for the Meek and Good Lord Christ and, therefore, lead to war.

You have noticed, of course, that I am speaking only of Christian nations. I do this not without reason, General. After all, it was they who waged the last World War,[3]WWI and they are preparing a new one. During the last 150 years, since the fight against God arose in Europe, the European peoples have fought incomparably more than the rest of the world. War was the scourge of God to bring the fool to reason. But the foolish have not come to their senses. They fall deeper and deeper, and fly into the abyss … Those who are chosen by God to be “salt and light” have lost their strength and faded away. Although they boast that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, no one believes them anymore. Neither India, nor China, nor Africa any longer look at white people as the salt and light of the earth, considering them nothingness and darkness. From what has been said, it is clear that:

1) the reasons for the future war(s) are the apostasy from God and the idolatry of the Christian peoples and their leaders;

2) these causes are identical with the causes of the wars from which Israel suffered and perished, which was once the salt and light of the world;

3) these causes must be quickly destroyed by repentance and a return to God because otherwise, a whole series of future wars will undoubtedly lead to the death of Christian nations, but not Christianity itself.


All wars, from the beginning to the end of history, are biblical wars, i.e. all of them are dependent on the living, active, and omnipotent will of the Third, Invisible and All-Deciding One; they all spring from sinfulness on both sides (of the parties at war), or only one of them; all wars operate according to the biblical law of causality and end in the way that Eternal, Infallible Justice will award them. India was more cultured than the hordes of Akbar, and yet it was defeated by them. Rome was more cultured than Genseric and Attila, but was defeated by them. Byzantium was much more cultured than the Turks and yet was defeated, Spain was also more cultured than the Moors, but was conquered by them. England was more cultured than America, but 125 years ago America freed itself from it. Austria was more cultured (in the European sense) than Serbia – and perished. Russia lost the war with Japan, although its population was larger.

Therefore, we can – first of all – say with confidence that the side to which the will of God gives victory shall win. From the Holy Revelation of God, it is clear to whom God will grant victory. This is clear from the example of all the wars in the history of mankind if they are considered in the light of the Holy Revelation. In short: the will of God grants victory to those who have the clearest and strongest faith in God and who fulfill His law. The apostate and wicked people will be defeated, even if they were as many as leaves in the forest. The wicked and apostate from God, the leaders of the people will not be helped by their mind, calculation, army, culture, weapons, diplomacy, eloquence, or anything else of a material nature. But the people who, together with their leaders, remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ (we are still talking about Christian nations), will either be spared from the war, or will emerge victorious from it, regardless of their numbers, culture, and weapons.

You ask, General, whether there is such people in Europe or in America? Before the great war, such could be found among the small, enslaved peasant peoples. And after the war, don’t you see that after the war all peoples are the same in their evil? The unbelief and modern idolatry of white Europeans poured like a fiery river into all four corners of the world, penetrating not only small patriarchal peoples, but pouring into Asia, Africa, and Oceania. “The culture of monkeys and stinking gases,” as the famous thinkers of Asia call our culture, which is so hated and ridiculed by the peoples of different cultures but is now beginning to be assimilated by them. Why do these people of a different, non-selfish, peace-loving culture adopt the European-American culture, which they hate and laugh at? Yes, therefore, General, why also did David, not having his sword, snatch the sword from Goliath and killed the giant with his own sword? The peoples of non-European culture began to hastily arm themselves with European culture in order to defend themselves against Europe and so that – this is their sincere desire – if the opportunity arises, cut off its head with its own weapon. No matter how many times India, Japan, China, and Egypt – through their great sons – spoke about European culture, each time it was its condemnation. And so, they hasten to assimilate the warlike culture of Europe in order to fight it and take revenge on it. This is the only answer. But, of course, they are mistaken in thinking that European culture is a greater guarantee of victory than their own. They forget—if they knew it at all—that it is not this or that culture that wins, but truth and righteousness. Culture in the event of war is equal to zero. These nations do not take into account the Third, the Invisible, the All-Deciding One. But well, what will happen if, say, they, having become Europeanized, defeat Europe? Will it not turn out that small Europe will disappear from the face of the earth, and a big one will appear instead? Will they gain anything from this? I think they will lose. But who will now reason with our Asian brothers and convince them that it is better for them to endure the tyranny of Europe than to become tyrants themselves? Will they listen to us when they don’t want to hear what their spiritual leaders Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, and Lao Tzu are telling them about this? 

We took Asia into account, and we do this because if God does not find a single worthy people of the white race either in Europe or in America, then in case of war He will grant victory to one of the Asian peoples.

The small states: Serbia, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Poland were more like winners than the big ones. Emancipation from slavery made them so. But since these former slaves – who should have remained the most devoted and grateful to God – began with tragicomic haste to reckon themselves among the European organism – so infected with unbelief and idolatry – it is truly very difficult to find in Europe pure hands that can accept victory from the Most-pure hands – God’s.

There will be nothing surprising if, in the coming clash of Christian nations, God will bring His servant, say, China or Japan, to punish Christian Judah and Israel, i.e. Europe and America.

All this, however, is conditional, not only in the eyes of people but, most importantly, before God Himself. Victory in any future war is conditional on repentance. The people who, being brought to war by God’s Providence, will repent before others and, having called upon God, will correct their sins, such will win.

You ask what would happen if all Christian nations repented? Who would have won then? Then, General, everyone would win, and such a victory would be the most brilliant because then there would be no war. For just as the quality of the human spirit determines victory, so it also determines war itself. Oh, what happiness it would be for mankind if everyone repented and everyone won! But, although there is nothing easier and more salutary than repentance, today’s people have chosen the hardest and most pernicious path for themselves. Therefore, General, they will suffer the most grievous and fatal disaster, and you have the same right to worry about your homeland, as we do about ours. The American people are proud of their success in the World War and do not pity Europe, but look at it with contempt. Not only to Europe, but to the whole world.

While other victorious nations have their pride in victory softened by their poverty, America prides itself not only on its victory but also on its wealth.

The war must not necessarily start where it is supposed to. Extinct volcanoes are still smoking, and new ones are already beginning to act. Before the general military conflagration begins, there will be several terrible clashes between two or three peoples. Many victories will be pyrrhic, i.e. when summing up, it turns out that they are equal to defeat.

From the above, it is clear that:

  1. in the coming war, the nations that are most proud before God will also be the most affected;
  2. in a future war, victory is already conditioned by repentance and a return to Christ;
  3. if not a single Christian nation repents and returns to Christ, the center of its soul and life, then God will give victory to the Asian, and non-Christian peoples.

About the author

Husband, father, and Priest.

Schooling: Kharkov State University (Ukraine); Brownsville School of Ministry; St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary (M.Div.).

Author and illustrator of St. Patrick, Enlightener of the Irish Lands (Conciliar Press, out of print) and illustrator of The Life of St. Brigid (authored by Jane G. Meyer).

Proprietor and writer at the Inkless Pen Blog, at which, based on the foundation of the teachings of Orthodox Christianity, a wide variety of topics are addressed. Fr. Zechariah has translated some works by St. Dimitry of Rostov and New Hieromartyr Seraphim (Zvesdensky), these translations are also available on his blog.


1 Written during the time period of WWI and WWII
2 The Roman god of war
All comments are moderated and must be civil, concise, and constructive to the conversation. Comments that are critical of an article may be approved, but comments containing ad hominem criticism of the author will not be published. Also, comments containing web links or block quotations are unlikely to be approved. Keep in mind that articles represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Patristic Faith or its editor or publisher.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter!