What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

The Last Sunrise Over Greek Rome

I see that somewhere along the line, the fine people at Touchstone magazine put my 2007 essay on the Fall of Constantinople online.

A series of omens shook the city in her last days: a lunar eclipse; thick fog for days, a phenomenon unheard of in those lands; an eerie red glow around the dome of Hagia Sophia. Some historians now attribute this glow to the local effects of a massive volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean, but pious and mystical Byzantines naturally interpreted it as the withdrawal of the protection of divine providence from the Second Rome.

A Mass was said at Holy Wisdom on Monday, May 28; at last, in this final hour, Catholics and Orthodox joined together in worship of the Risen Lord. Greeks who had sworn oaths never to darken the doors of a church contaminated by Romish heretics heard liturgy next to Italians who had declared the Orthodox more loathsome than the infidel Turk.

[. . .]

It is one thing to recite a great and moving story from history; to remember alone is a worthy endeavor; but it will always be asked what we can take from this history. What relevance has it for us today? Allow me to suggest some principles or lessons.

First, though the Queen of Cities did fall, and though the Holy Orthodox Church was taken into bondage, yet the faith endured. I am not myself Orthodox, but I have dear Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ. Their church yet stands in dignity and witness. The end of a civilization was not the end of a church. The Orthodox Church has rendered, and still renders to a bewildered world, a stirring witness of suffering and perseverance in the Lord.

None should dare minimize this suffering. None should dare let his theological differences with the Orthodox Church blind him to her agony under the yoke of the Turk. Above, I called the dhimma contract “Jim Crow for infidels.” This was no piece of polemical hyperbole. The similarities are unmistakable, and gather, as it were, around the same points of emphasis.

Both the Jim Crow system in the American South, overthrown relatively peacefully in the Civil Rights era, and the dhimma system, which endures in various locales to this day—and is still, according to some studies, the genuine aspiration of millions upon millions of Muslims—were purposed toward a terrible thing: the degradation and servitude of a people.

[conting reading]

Comments (9)

Well done.

Paul, I can sometimes find your style a bit orotund - but in this case, it's perfectly suited to the subject.

Just beautiful - thanks.

Excellent, excellent, Paul. Thanks so much for posting this. The call to Christian unity is especially timely. I hope that W4 can be a tiny example of that principle in action.

By the way, I saw on Mere Comments recently (and I wish I could remember the name of the blogger) a hard-hitting analogy: He referred to the present secular educational system as an attempt to raise Janissaries.

You ought to have a gig at First Things, in place of Gateway Pundit.

Enjoyed that.

Thanks, folks.

Lydia -- that is indeed an arresting analogy. Maybe it was Esolen?

It's in a piece called "Domestic Disturbances" by Patrick F. Fagan.


Paul, I enjoyed that when I first read it Touchstone. Superb and timely.

Paul, are you working on a book on that era; that of the great Philippe Villiers and Don Juan? Roger Crowley's Empires of the Seas was a rousing good read, but he is a little too ecumenical for my taste.

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