The Rus of Rurik

Πρωτεύουσες καρτέλες

Chapter 1 of Tsarsky Rod (2016)  

“He who correctly explains the name of Rus will find the key to explaining her primordial history,” wrote the Polish historian A.R. Brueckner. What’s more, not only its primordial history, but the very “seed of its logos,” its meaning, and he will find the key to the Russian future. As the monk Andronik (A.F. Losev) wrote, “the Greek expression EIS ONOMA or EN ONOMAK, ‘in the name’, itself proves that a name is a certain situating of divine energies, and the immersion and residence in it of all created beings leads to enlightenment and the salvation of the latter.”

Today we are beginning to grasp, to understand our name. Our own name. Our name – “Russians” – transcends the division into Great Russians, Belarusians, Little Russians, and Rusyns. It is derived from Rus. 

And now the first and oldest question: Where are you from, Rus? In her book, Prizvanie varyagov [The Calling of the Varangians], Lydia Grot says: 

Scholars have long paid attention to the abundance of hydronyms in Eastern Europe, the formation of whose names involved the root component ras/ros/rus’ or rus. The most ancient of known names for the main river of Eastern Europe, the Volga, was Ra. This was maintained by Ptolemy (the middle of the second century A.D.) and has been discovered in Herodotus (the fifth century B.C.) with the same vocalization of the root ra-. The historian A.V. Podosinov believes that there are even more ancient names for the Volga. One of them was preserved on the ancient Iranian Avesta, the commonly accepted dating of which is believed to be the end of the second and first half of the first millennium B.C. The text on this artifact mentions a river called Ravjha (Rangha or Rankha) in which many Iranian scholars see the Volga. In the hymns of the ancient Indian Rig Veda (from the end of the second to the beginning of the first millennium B.C.), there is reference to the northern river of Rasa which scholars equate to the Avestian Rangha and the Volga. In one Greek treatise from the third or fourth century A.D., the authorship of which is attributed to Agapimeno, there is mention of the Volga in the form of Ros. In the space stretching from the Volga/Rasa/Ros to Neman/Ros’ (Rus) can be found Ros’ or Rusa, a river in the Novgorod province; Rus’, a tributary of the Narew; Ros’, the famous tributary of the Dnieper river in Ukraine; Rusa, a tributary of the Seym; the Ros’ of the the Emajõgi river; the Ros’ of the Oskol river; and Poruse, a tributary of the Polist, etc.

The presence of the land of Rus and the Rusians themselves on the territory between rivers with the names Ras/Rus/Ros’/Rus’ speaks to the fact that Rus was supposed to be the ancestral territory of a people bearing the same name. 

But it is completely clear that this is not only and not so much of a matter of ethnonyms. The Rig Veda also contains the word rasa which stands for “liquid,” “juice,” or “main substance,” and in the Mahabharata means “water,” “drink,” “nectar,” or “milk” i.e.,  it possesses related semantics. 

Another example: in studying the etymology of the river in the Novgorod region named Poruse, which in antiquity was called Rusa, some scholars have come to the opinion that the river’s name is ancient Baltic and descends from the root rud-s/roud-s meaning red. However, this is a root word with the same meaning as in Sanskrit, hence it could have been borrowed to Lithuanian (given their proximity). This word is also in the Russian language. In Sanskrit, the word rudhir means red, blood-red, or blood. The Indologist N.R. Guseva explains: “the meaning of red in Sanskrit traces back to the ancient route rudhwhich meant ‘to be red or brown.’ This ancient meaning can be juxtaposed to the ancient Russian words rodryrudy, or rdyany which denoted the color red, as well as the ancient Russian word ruda – blood.” 

But what is this “blood”? What kind of blood?

Lydia Grot concludes that the name Rus, from which many rivers in Eastern Europe received their names, was the sacred name of the ancestor of the Rusian people. 

The entire Hungarian and Romanian region is covered with names reminiscent of Rus: Poiana Rusca, Ruskberg, Russ, Rusor, Rusanesti, Ruscova, Rusova, Ruspoliana, Rustina, Rutka, Rostock, Rossia, Rosaci, Roschina. Many villages’ names are conjuncted with oros or orosh, which in Hungarian is rus.  They can also include olah or vlah, i.e., Roman, Magyarhorvatroman, and nemet. This serves as undeniable proof that the population, at least in the old days, distinguished between themselves Rus, Walachians, Croatians, and Germans. 

But this is by no means limited to “Eastern Europe.”

Besides the conventional singling out of an “Eastern European” Rus (Kuyaba, Slaviya, Ar(s)taniya), the scholar of “paganism” (we employ this concept with a certain degree of reservation), M.L. Seryakov, also distinguished “another Rus” far in the West. Later, over the course of our narrative, we will see the proto-geopolitical meaning of this. 

M.L. Seryakov points to the Primary Chronicle’s testimony of the existence of Rus on both sides of the Varangian sea, i.e., also in the “English land.” Of course, Seryakov stipulates that he is not speaking of Jutland which, in his opinion, was inhabited by the Angles before their relocation to Britain. He also refers to the Jewish Book of Yosippon (from the 10th century), whose author “places one Rus in the neighborhood of the Saxons and Angels, and the second on the Dnieper.”

This testimony is important because the “Russian-British drama” has lasted across all memorable centuries. But more on this later.

***

The phrase “Ancient Rus” was artificial in its common usage (before the 17th century). It arose from the desire of the official historiography of the 19th and especially the 20th century to identify Russian history with the histories of other peoples and states. The very desire for such an identification, however, betrays the poorly concealed doubt in its subject. In one way or another, it must be recognized that the Russian state of the 8th-10th centuries which is discerned as the epoch of “Ancient Rus” (no more nor less up until Peter the Great) has no relation whatsoever to the ancient, i.e., classical world. Before us is a typical medieval state. As for the actual period of Russian antiquity, then, guided by the methods of positivist science, i.e., documents whose dating is always doubtful, it is difficult here and now to speak of anything at length. It is necessary to draw only the most general outline. 

Certain revelations which, not coincidentally, appeared at the very beginning of the Second World War in the journal Bulletin of Ancient History, appear to us to be extraordinarily valuable. The author of the article “On the Question of the Origin of the word ROS, ROSIA”, Russia, M. Syuzyumov, merely summarized the Old Testament and in particular Byzantine evidence of this ancient sacred name which later became a generally accepted ethnonym. M. Syuzyumov writes:

“It can be asserted with full certainty that the ancient Russians never called themselves ‘rossians’. There is no such word in Russian language in ancient artifacts. Moreover, it can be assumed that even the Byzantine Greeks themselves hardly called the Russians ‘rossians’ in spoken language…Liutprand, the bishop of Cremona who visited Constantinople the mid-10th century, mentions the Russians in his work Antapodosis. He reports that the Russians received their name from the Greek word ROYSIOS (which means ‘red’) and that this name was given to the Russians for the particular color shade of their bodies…In the Greek translation of Ezekiel, one encounters more than once the name ‘ros’ in the form of ‘rosh’: ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him’ (Ezek. 38:2)…However, if one carefully follows the epithets of Patriarch Photios addressed to the Russians, then it turns out that Photios falls into an obvious contradiction. On the one hand, he calls the Russians  a world-famous people. On the other hand, about the same Russians in his second speech, Photios speaks of a people entirely unknown, ETNOS AFANES AL NASION, a mysterious, unknown ETNOS ASEOMOS, unclear people who are MEZE MEKHRI TES KAT EMON EPEL YSEOS GIGNOSOMENON, incomprehensible and unrecognizable upon approach. How can we combine his words TO TRYLLOYMENON, i.e., that they are those ‘about whom everyone speaks,’ ‘commonly-known’, and ‘infamous’ with his words that they are, AGNOSION, ‘unknown’ and AFANES, ‘shady’? If in mind is a concrete nationality, the Russians, who attacked Constantinople, then we are left with a contradiction, a genuinely irreconcilable one.

We will return to this “irreconcilable contradiction” again, and more than once. As for an “introduction to the problem,” let us recall the Varna caste system of Aryan society that was preserved (of course, in a diminished, rudimentary form) up until the French Revolution of the 18th century with its uprising of the “third estate” against the first (the aristocracy) and the second (the clergy). In the ancient Aryan (Japhetic) languages, surmskyrsyr, and sar meant not only the color red, but sun, gold, blood, (metal) ore, race, and generation (all of these concepts are essentially synonymous) and, of course, imperial power, the imperial-warrior, Kshatriya caste – in other words, the Golden Type or Royal Blood (Sang Royal). In addition, as noted in the 19th century by A.A. Kunik and V.R. Rozen: “Rus is from the Gothic hrodh, or glory (hence the definition of the Black Sea Goths as the Hrudgoths. This word was part of the name Rurik (Hrodhrekr) and originally meant the dynasty, only to then transition to mean the country where this dynasty ruled.” 

Is it not interesting that in “Biblical Hebrew”, there is also this letter? Resh means head (including beheading) and prince, i.e., the ruler. The “mystery” of the “Rus race” (which is mentioned as the future race of the liberators of Tsargrad in The Tale of the Capture of Constantinople from the 15th century attributed to Nestor Iskander) is entirely explainable given that Byzantium did not develop dynastic elements. Anyone could become the emperor. At the moment of the fall of Constantinople, the Russians had an obvious, solid ruling princely dynasty. In this sense, the adjective “Russian” which has caused confusion among some modern authors becomes a quite natural designation for the royally anointed, the sovereign. Moreover, it turns out that for Russia the ethnonym and state name coincide with the name of its first ruling line. The meaning of this for Russian historiosophy, as for the Russian consciousness, cannot be overestimated. 

There are just as many meanings and designations in the ethnonyms of the Slavs, or Novgorod Slavs called Slovene in Russian. In fact, we know from so-called “academic history” the names of the “Slavic tribes” – the Drevliane, the Vyatichi, the Poliane, Radimichi, etc. – who did not directly bear the name Slavs or Slovene and, despite the closeness of their languages, frequently did not understand one another. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” – everyone knows this beginning of the Fourth Gospel (John 1:1). The Word of God, or the Eternal Sacrifice slain before the beginning of time (here we cannot speak of time, but of aeonic dimension) is an image both ‘about’ and ‘before’ created from the red (ros) land of man (if we combine the Russian word for “word,” slovo and for “man”, chelovek, we have slovek). This is the “voiced image” (MEROIS or MERORIS) – the “first born from God” and the “first sacrifice” in one and the same name. The eternal sacrifice of the Son of God and God, the Second Face of the Holy Trinity, the “uncreated”, precedes the creation of created man in the sense known to him as materia prima. Jesus Christ from the heavens is the eternal Adam (the Red Clay) and is in one and the same name the new Adam and His Resurrected Flesh. Fallen Adam himself is in one and the same name the ruler, bestowing the names to creations, and the priest is the sacrifice of the mystery of Paradise (“fruit and prayer”). However, with the fall of the first man, the heavenly mystery was been deprived of its fruit and turned into bloody pagan sacrifice (all pagan cults, including the Dionysian), since for the restoration of the heavenly dimension and the new bloodless, Eucharistic sacrifice, the phenomenon of the sacrifice of the God-man himself in history was necessary. The pagan priests, however, and their Varna caste and tradition, preserved a corrupted memory of serving the God Word, of course in “shadow, not truth” in the words of Metropolitan Hilarion. The “shadow”, however, was so profound, down to the depths of the underworld, that it “demanded” human sacrifices as inevitable in a world outside of Christ. These dedicated priests originally, as far as is apparent, were originally Slavs or Slovene. It is from them, as some authors believe, that the ancient city of Slovensk probably received its name, which is precisely in the place of modern Novgorod (some trace it a bit further north and closer to a modern city on the Neva). “The Ilmen Slav sovereigns that founded Slovensk and Rus were the masters of all of Pomerania and even up to the Arctic Sea and along the great Pechora river and Vyma through the high, impassable mountains in the country of Siberia to the great river Ob and to the mouth of the whitewater river.” 

One of the “gods” of the pre-Christian Slavic pantheon was Veles or Volos. Volosy, meaning “hair” in Russian, are an attribute of solar light, the king-priest (let us remember that the Word of God is the King and the High Priest). The first to draw attention to the anagram of the Volos-Word was the outstanding translator and writer Vladimir Mikushevich. In addition to a direct reference to the Adamic, heavenly rites even in “paganism,” before us is a direct indication that “Slav” or “Sloven”, i.e., the “voiced image” (MEROIS), is first and foremost a sacrifice and priest, albeit, of course, before the sacrifice, the God-Word, abolishes the “bloody, human sacrifice.” 

Applying this to the “social structure” of the ancient society of the Slovene, there is the priest who is identical to a druid or sorcerer. Thus, the Slavo-Russian language is the royal, priestly language just as how in Europe, for example, the Franco-Celtic combination is a combination of free (francs) soldiers, i.e., the same people bearing light-brown hair and Celtic druids (kit-kchld – Chaldean – koldun) and the magi-“Slovene.” With the adoption of Christianity, the Varna caste division of Aryan society was, of course, cleansed of its “pagan abomination” and “mystery of iniquity,” i.e., specifically of blood sacrifices. Thus, it was miraculously transformed into the symphony of the Orthodox Empire and yielded the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Orthodox Priesthood. The concepts of “Russian”, “Slav,” “Frank,” or “Gaul” (hl-kl-klt), “Goth,” or “Celt” were gradually transformed into ethnonyms. This can only be realized upon setting aside the famous dispute between the “Normanists” and “anti-Normanists.”

The point is that both the Slavs and the Rus (like the Franks and Celts) ethnologically belonged to one Northern Aryan ethnos today known as the Veneti. In the days of old, one could stumble upon the name mentioned by Strabo – Vindelicum or Vendelicum (and the Baltic Sea was the Sinus Venedicus). Moreover, one of their names was Franks (the “free ones”) and the other was Slavs. As Eckhard wrote, “The Franks once dwelled near the Baltic Sea, where there is now the Vagria” (Franci olim ad mare Balthicum, ubu nune est Vagria). It should thus be clearly borne in mind that all of these ethnonyms are from later times. “The Franconian Slavs,” writes the 19th century Russian scholar Y.I. Venelin (Gutsa), “did not call themselves Vindelicum, just as they did not call themselves Slovene as the name existing only in ethnographic books. The very word Franks is a modern ethnonym derived from one of the names of the kings who ruled the ancient Vagria called Reges Francorum and who, according to Fredegar and the later chroniclers, were the descendants of the Trojan kings (the line of Priam). These are the Trojan Veneti settlers who formed the ruling, princely caste of whom Polybius wrote. According to him, they “differ little from the Celts, but speak their own language. The writers of tragedies often mention this people and speak of its many miracles.”

Everything thus turns out to be very simple: in the West they were called Franks, and in the East, Rus. This also renders clear the process of the transformation of the Varnas (the castes) into ethnoi (and not vice versa, contrary to Marxist and Liberal science) and renders it easier to trace the evolution of the remnants of the old law of the land. 

The modern scholar of the history of law, M.A. Isaev, writes: 

Rus could finally merge with the Slavs no early than the 12th century. The Russian Truth knew very well the Rusin opposed to both the Varangian Kyfling (the foreigner) and the Slav. This is a very characteristic feature of the Russian tradition. The sources of barbarian law usually secured legal position not only among different layers of the population, but also in different forms between ethnoi. The barbarian laws knew a similar differentiation between the conqueror peoples and, for example, the Romans, who continue to live according to jus Quiritium. But what distinguishes the Russian legal as well as cultural and state civilization among the whole lot of barbarian and ancient samples of Western European culture is the rejection of ethnic particularism as a principle of state life… 

The latter is quite natural based on the Divine and Theophonic, not ethnic origin of royal (i.e., Russian) authority. Wherever authors more based in tradition do not literally, i.e., like “foreigners,” understand, for example, the Varangians (we will see below what this word meant among the ancient Aryans), the picture manifests itself more clearly, acquiring intelligible outlines.

The Primary Chronicle of the 15th century and the praise of the Russian language contained therein, the sources of which date back to the Kiev dome, says: 

This will be known by all languages and all peoples that the Russian language is from nowhere and this holy faith and Russian alphabet was not introduced by anyone but God the Almighty, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imbued/breathed faith and the acceptance of baptism and other Church customs from the Greeks to [St.] Vladimir [the Great], whereas the Russian alphabet was given by God in Korsun [Chersonesos Taurica in Crimea] to the Russians, and from this philosopher Constantine learned it, from this he wrote books in the Russian language. […] That same Russian man was virtuous in thought and action, in pure faith he isolated himself, and from the Russian language came early Christians, and it is not known by anyone where it came from. [1]

A.G. Dugin writes: “The Russian monarchical tradition began, as is known, with the calling of Rurik from the Varangians to kingship over a group of Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes. In the later period, descending from the first prince – Rurik – was the spiritual and genealogical justification of royal authority, its legitimacy and sacred legality. This tradition was so persistent and deep, so self-evident and absolute in Russians’ understanding, that it simply could not have been inconsistent with the indigenous archetypes of ancient forms of consciousness which, although they moved into the sphere of the unconscious, nevertheless did not lose their efficiency and validity. In our opinion, the calling of Rurik from among the Varangians was seen as a great, nationwide mystery embodying in itself the script of the supernatural origin of royal power which is characteristic for all ancient, traditional dynasties.” 

Thus, Slavo-Russian means simply Divine-ruling. ROS and MEROIS. MEROIS is the “voiced image,” i.e., the voiced, or slovesny in Russian, and thus Slovensky – one of the names of the First Adam. 

***

The modern world has an exceptionally short memory. While extolling “European civilization” as the kingdom of democracy, i.e., Laodicea (which sounds like the Greek synonym of the word laocracy, or rule of the people), it is forgotten that the history of the latter is the history of a mere three centuries. Moreover, the Russian liberals of the last century, dreaming of the “Novgorod Republic,” did not remember, did not know, and did not want to know of the sacred center of our ancient homeland which had nothing in common with their understanding of the “principles” of the French and American bourgeois revolutions as they envisioned and reflected upon in their minds.

It must be said that the most significant refutation of liberal forgetfulness is the historical and archaeological science of recent years that has paradoxically confirmed the Church Tradition (the chronicle tale Of the Slovene and Rus, the Christian Cosmography of Saint Cosmas Indikoplov and others), just as has practically all of the archaic Byliny, ancient Japhetic, and semi-fantastic corpus. A scholar of the Romans from the ’80’s and ’90’s of the last century who compared the results of historical-archaeological science with legend speaks of a place approximately covering the space between present-day Novgorod and St. Petersburg: 

Great Slovensk. The ancient northern capital of the Japhites founded in 2409 B.C. and defunct after the rejection of the Apostle Andrew and the outbreak of hostilities by Princes Lalokh (Khalokh) and Lakhern against the ‘scepter of the Greek kingdom.’ In the 9th century, under the reign of Rurik, the northern capital was transferred down the river Volkhov and called New City, or Novy Grad. The works of the eastern geographers containing data related to the 50’s-’80’s of the 9th century speak of three groups of the Rus, the main of which was As-Slaviyu with its center in the city of Slava…usually identified with the Ilmen Slovenes and their center with the precursor of Novgorod, whose name has been preserved by eastern authors (see the works of A.P. Novoseltsev and V.Y. Petrukhin). The oldest part of Novgorod bears the name ‘Slavno’ which is consistent with the names in Arab sources. Based on this, it is clear that the expanses of Slovensk should, if not surpass, then at least match the square of the ancient part of Novgorod. However, contrary to common sense, the majority of Soviet archaeologists have identified such an enormous metropolis as Slovensk presented in sources as a small, princely ‘Rurik settlement.’ The real Great Slovensk, whose kilometer-long ramparts are covered by forest, remains unexplored and is not marked on archeological maps to this day.

Speaking of the history of Novgorod (from the 8th-9th centuries), much allows the assumption to be made that it was conceived of long before the official Baptism of Kiev as an Orthodox Christian city, as early Novgorodian Orthodoxy, with its special veneration of the Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, which also houses the genealogical mystery of (and indeed answer to) the House of Rurik itself.

Conventional historiography depicts the baptism of the land of Novgorod as the deed of the famous Dobrynya Malkhovich, the “uya” (uncle) of Saint Vladimir, done “by fire and sword”, and Novgorod itself and the Russian North in general as “pagan Wandea.” However, an attentive reading of local Novgorodian literary sources reveals a significantly more complex picture. Let us recall that in ancient times, Northern Rus was an integral part of Northern Europe as a whole in which the confrontation between Christianity and “paganism” – before the mass genocide orchestrated in the 9th-10th centuries on the order of the Carolingian papacy – did not acquire such tragic severity as in the Roman Empire. Let us also recall that behind the “round table” of King Arthur, the Druid Merlin sits adjacent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in the Edda both pre-Christian cosmogony and Christian historiosophy coexist. Only under the Carolingians did the destruction of entire ethnic groups, such as the Saxons and Bretons, begin on religious grounds…

And yet was the Russian North “pagan” or Christian on the eve of the official Baptism of Rus?

In the Tale of Bygone Years that Passed in Great Novgorod, it is said: 

In the age of our pious Russian great princes living in Novgorod and voluntarily at peace with all the lands, the Germans [foreigners] sent their envoys from all 70 cities. They bowed to the earth in front of the archbishop of Novgorod, and the local government, and military, and the entire city of Novgorod and said, “Dear neighbors! Give us a piece of your land in the middle of Great Novgorod where we can place a shrine according to our own faith and customs. [2] 

The Novgorodians responded, saying: 

By the grace of God and that of the Most Pure Mother of God and our father, the archbishop, through blessing and prayer, in the birthplace of our lords, great Russian princes in Great Novgorod, there are only Orthodox churches of our Christian faith here. After all, how can light and darkness join forces? How can your shrine be built in our city? […] Mayor Dobrynia, blinded by a bribe and taught by the Devil, ordered to move the Church of St. John the Baptist to a different location and gave its place to the Germans [foreigners]. […] And when the Germans [foreigners] built their own church [of a different faith], they hired Novgorod icon painters and ordered them to paint the image of the Savior on the southern wall at the top in order to appeal to and seduce [Orthodox] Christians. And when these icon painters painted the image of the Savior in the [foreign] church without informing the archbishop about this, and took off the covers, then immediately at that moment came rain and hail, and the place where the image of the Savior was painted was knocked out by hail and washed away by rain without a trace. [3] 

At first glance, the Tale of Bygone Years was compiled and written by the zealots of piety. However, a reading of the commentary to it written by L.A. Dmitriev leaves one to think somewhat differently about its origins and – especially! – the reasons for its emergence and distribution. Dmitriev writes: 

This tale dates figures among those landmarks of Novgorodian literature at the heart of which lie oral traditions of local origin…V.L. Yanin believes that the ‘there exist visible signs of the reliability of this legend.’ The legend itself apparently appeared very early, no later than the 12th century, but the tale was written down considerably later. E.A. Rybina noted that the Khutyn abbot Zacchaeus is named in literature dated to the years 1477-1478. Accordingly, the Tale of Bygone Years could not have been written earlier than the second half of the ’70’s of the 15th century. The pronounced anti-Boyar orientation of the Tale of Bygone Years, the words in its beginning on the independence of Novgorod, and the clearly evident condemnation of Novgorodian customs – all of this speaks to the fact that it was written after Novgorod’s loss of independence, i.e., once again no earlier than the late ’70’s of the 15th century. We cannot say what the thrust of the original legend of Dobrynya was, but the character of the Tale of Bygone Years is evidence that this work was forged in a democratic environment, and religious motives are no longer at the fore in the Tale…

But if not religious motives, then what kind? Let us pay attention to the words of this historian, namely, that this work was created in a democratic environment.

The book of the Novgorodian historian and archaeologist of the last century, Vasiliy Peredolsky, which we shall have to repeatedly cite (the book was published only in Novgorod in 1898 and has never been reprinted, neither before nor after 1917) indeed speaks of several mysterious temple (and not only temple) buildings somehow subsequently destroyed over the course of approximately the 8th-16th centuries. First and foremost, this most inquisitive historian, who was also the author of studies on the prehistoric tombs of the Novgorodian Slavs, points to the existence in Novgorod at least until the 13th century of an Orthodox church named after the Apostle Peter whose services were held in Latin. This church is also mentioned in the famous The Questions of Kirik. During the war with the sword-bearers, i.e., the Catholics, this temple was not disturbed but, moreover, all Novgorodians came to it for sacrifices. “Was it not Fryazian, i.e., did it not at all belong to the Christians of Roman Orthodoxy, the Fryazians, and did its original appearance have no relationship to the centuries before the division of the Church into East and West?” According to V.S. Peredolsky, this church standing on the corner of Malo-Mikhailovksaya and Nutnaya streets was destroyed. Overseas merchants established the Orthodox Pytatnitskaya church in 1156. The first Novgorodian church in general was thus, according to Peredolsky, the Orthodox church of St. Lazarus established in the pre-chronicle times (i.e., in the 9th-10th centuries at latest), and was completely destroyed. After the destruction of the temple, in its place remained Lazarev Hill on the Volkhov, upon which the temple was rebuilt in the 18th century in honor of the same saint. This Novgorodian historian also tells us that then, i.e., before the construction of the churches of Saint Elijah and Saint Sophia and before the famous Dobrynin campaign unleashed upon the “pagans” with “fire and sword,” an Orthodox church of Saint Mary Magdalene (who according to the Gospel of John and more detailed interpretations of the ancient Western exegetes was Saint Lazarus’ sister) stood in Novgorod. Peredolsky does not say where this church stood and what subsequently happened to it. However, his analysis of the history of the other churches points to certain peculiar points. 

In the official chronicle, it is said: “In 1194 was established in Great Novgorod a wooden church of the Holy Trinity on the Sofia side, on Redyatin street of Shchetishcha Yugorsha which is now called Novinka.” In the same parchment book under the year “6673 since the Creation of the World”, it is written: “there was built the Church of the Holy Queen of Shchetitsinita.”  Soon after the name of this church was changed to the Church of the Holy Trinity of Shchetinitsa. But in honor of what queen was the church built and why was its name changed? It was officially claimed that it was erected by German merchants from the city of Stettin. However, in 1194 they could not have built an Orthodox church. In such a case, what was meant was clearly not the city of Stettin (Szczeczin), but a holy queen covered in shchetina, or “bristles.” The merging of pre-Christian with Christian symbolism is obvious in the name of the church. Here one can, of course, recall the ancient Hyperborean totem of the White Boar traceable back to the “primordial tradition.”

If we recall the purely northern location of the lands of Novgorod, the “Land of Saint Sophia” as the Novgorodians themselves called them, then we have an unexpected confirmation of the guesses of some contemporary authors. A.G. Dugin, whom we have already cited, wrote in particular: “But this country, as we have already said, was also called Varakhi, the ‘land of the Wild Boar,’ which corresponds exactly with the Greek root bor, i.e., north, or the country of Hyperborea (‘lying in the far north’)…And it is no accident that, according to Ancient Greek sources, the Hyperboreans sent symbolic gifts of wheat to Delphi via the Scythian and more northern Russian lands. It is curious that the word varakhi reminds us also of varyagi, i.e., the legendary people who gave the Russians a sacred monarch.” 

In antiquity, both a woman’s comb for long hair and long hair itself were called bristles. The ancient Christian legend of Saint Mary Magdalene describing her voyage to Rome and Gaul (together with the righteous Lazarus, St. Martha, St. Joseph of Arimathea, and St. Maxamin) took particular note of her ascetic life in Sainte Marie de la Mer in southern France, where the saint appeared with long, ankle-length, reddish-brown hair. But is such a reference to the Land of the Wild Boar and the equally-apostle woman who bore the world not incompatible? Let us recall the ancient art of “making the incompatible compatible” which penetrated the entire medieval worldview and all of science from the apophatic theology of the Eastern Fathers to Western alchemical investigations. Let us also recall that the image of the “long-haired woman” or even “queen” in folk legends often bears an obviously chthonic-infernal shade. This should not surprise us. Traditional, sacred symbols are always twofold, just as the ‘smart light’ for the holy turns out to be the flames of hell for the sinner. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is the day for flowering the fern and “rusalli merrymaking” (which was repeatedly pointed out in the lectures of V. Mikushevich), and so on. 

What can be said of the mysterious “Shchetsinitsa”? This is the Slavic Marena, Marina, Mara, mora, kikimora, the French Cauchear (female kind). For the Carpathian Rusyns, this is lisova pannanyaukaperelestnitsavtreshchamayka –  a young woman with long hair but backless and with exposed entrails. This is the divje devojka, the mistress of the reindeer who nurtures them with milk. To her come the young, but they leave as the very old…According to the “Golden Legend”, Mary Magdalene was of the Japhetic royal family (her parents were Sir, i.e., Kir, and Eucharia) who ran from Herod, and in the canonical Gospels the Savior casts seven demons out from her (Luke 8:2), i.e., precisely those Japhetic “deities” who she, as princess, could serve.  Such a figure so teeming with canonically unconfirmed (but nowhere denied) dualistic characteristics could, among other things, have affected the fate of the most ancient temple built in her honor still during the time of the united church before it was later destroyed and, as part of the gradual “moralization” and institutionalization of a consciousness, she acquired new names – the “Holy Queen of Shchetitsinita” and the “Holy Trinity.”

No fewer mysteries are to be found in V.S. Peredolsky’s reference to two ruined monasteries. The first of them was destroyed in approximately the 10th century which bore the name of Zverinsky Monastery. The second suffered such a fate in the 16th-17th centuries – the monastery of Saint Arcadia or the Arkadsky Monastery in the place of which also existed the similarly destroyed village of Arkazha. What’s more, the location around the former Zverinsky Monastery also bore the name Zverinets up until the 18th century. Herein are revealed the mysteries of these names (and the causes of the monasteries’ ruin), and here it is sufficient to offer a few most general observations. Homer referred to the Arcadians’ role in the siege of Troy and how later the Priam line of Trojan kins moved to the North through Arcadia. The Arcadians themselves claimed that they descended from the fabulous deity of the land of Arkas which translates to mean “bear.” According to mythology, Arkas was the son of the nymph Calypso, the main star of Ursa Major (the star of Arkas “heads” the Ursa Minor). Artaios (the “bear-like”) is an epithet of the Celtic Mercury (the Gaelic arto – bear; Greek ARKTOS – the name of the Centaur). The name of Hesiod’s centaur is ARKTOYROS, a designation of Arcturus, the guard of of Ursa Major in the Boötes constellation. The bear is the ancestor and the pervotsar (“first-king”), hence the Celtic King Arthur as well as the “secret,” “unpronounced” names of the beast – urs, rus, syr = tsar. At the same time, in Christian symbolism, the bear, like the lion, is a symbol of royal authority. Artos is the blessed Paschal bread distributed in the Orthodox Church on the Saturday of Bright Week in memory of the Risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The North, the Arctic, is the polar paradise, the land of the bear (ber, bjorn) and the white boar, the unity of the King and High Priest, the military element and the spiritual, the red and white castes. Understood in a meta-historical and eschatological perspective, the symbolism of such unity is genuinely Orthodox. It was revealed and then found expression in the famous images of the Reverend Sergey on Makovtsa and the Reverend Seraphim of Sarov who nurtured the bear in the forests of Russian Paradise – Diveeva. 

As regards the Zverinsky Monastery, in the local Novogorodian dialect only the bear was called a beast (zver) and the name Rus (Urs) was taboo, never to be pronounced even in Christian times. In Latin, urs remained. The very name of the beast, “bear”, or in Russian medved is clearly a euphemism. In remote areas in the North and Siberia, hunters to this day still cautiously call a bear “that” or “the main one” or even “forest Archimandrite.”….Saint Urs from Ravenna can still be found among the Latin saints. 

A certain semantic tie between the two “bear” monasteries and the church of the semi-folkloric “Holy Queen of Shchetitsinita” cannot escape our attention. After all, the bristle, schcetina, is an attribute of the boar. In the Golden Bristled Pig tale, for example, it brings prosperity and belongs to Baba Yaga. In any case, we believe that there apparently exists a link between the destruction of the churches of Saint Lazar and Saint Mary Magdalene (perhaps the “Queen of Shchetitsinita”) and the Arkad and Zverinsky monasteries. It is so obvious that it can be considered proof of the existence of Christian temples in the epoch of the still united – Orthodox! – church during the period that preceded the baptismal campaign of Dobrynya Malkhovich hitherto famously described as accomplished “by fire and sword” and as having met widespread resistance from the Novgorodians. Thereafter, this resistance was often represented as the resistance of the “Russian people” to allegedly “foreign” Orthodoxy. Moreover, the question begs itself: what kind of “paganism” did the “son of Malekh Lyubechanin” fight? We stand before the fact that at the time of Rurik’s calling to rule, the Russian North-West (the land of Rus and Sloven) was fully, if not to a considerable extent Christian, Orthodox. The worship of ever since unknown saints was observed there. 

As an example which could serve as a further guide and key to the Introitus Apertus ad Occulusum Regis Palatium, we can refer to the testimony of the so-called Old Russian treasure found in 1892 in the Seltsa district of the Old-Russian district. Among the images on the coins of this treasure dating back to the 12th-13th centuries, V.S. Peredolsky discovered an unknown martyr in a hat like in the case of Boris and Gleb, with a cross and two lilies on both sides of the image. Who is this clearly royal martyr with lilies who was unknown to later Russian history? 

We will come back to this. In the meantime, let us recall how in 679, in the Ardennes not so far from Novgorod, per dolum ducum et consensuum episcoparum (“with the participation of the leaders and consent of the bishops”), Dagobert II, the last truly reigning representative of the Merovingian dynasty, was killed under an old oak tree near a stream while hunting. He was killed on the orders of Pepin of Heristal, his own attendant, the grandfather of the future usurper of Pepin the Short, the founder of the “second” Carolingian “race” of the Frankish kings. Soon, however, the remains of the king turned out to be miracle-working and even defended the city of Stene from a Viking attack. One hundred years later, the martyr king was canonized by a meeting of Frankish bishops without the Pope’s approval. The spring of Saint Dagobert can be found in the Verdun forest in the Ardennes to this day and is revered as a shrine. However, Dagobert was put on the official list of French kings only in the 17th century and is absent in some French textbooks to this day. 

We meet the cult of “unknown saints” as it once was directly preceding the history of ancient Novgorod in Europe (part of which in those ages was Northern Rus, named in some chronicles “Bretania”. G.P. Fedotov, who wrote a series of outstanding works on medieval studies alongside his passion for “Christian socialism”, summarized his observations on these phenomena in the following way:

Question can be raised as to such a peculiar phenomenon as the veneration of nameless saints confined to ancient tombs. This is the moment of transition from popular cult to canonization by the church, the transitional moment in the established biography of a saint. When did the church close its altars to these unknown, chosen representatives of the people’s faith?…In the least, the Carolingian Renaissance finds this cult to be still alive in order to inflict a fatal blow upon it…The age of Carolingian “enlightenment” apparently put an end if not to popular worship, then to the church’s reception of nameless cults…In the 17th century, Mabillon tells of a place in his contemporary France where a cult of unknown saints emerged. But this cult repressed by the Carolingian church could never rise again.

Indeed, the Carolingians themselves and the Roman “Catholic” Church that they produced, and the clergy of the Roman diocese, might have thought so. 

But centuries pass and

The worm and mob will learn of the Lord

By the flower growing out of his hand

And “worm” and the “mob” – this is a democratic environment.

***

[1] Translated from Old Church Slavonic by Nina Kouprianova

[2] Translated from Old Church Slavonic by Nina Kouprianova

[3] Translated from Old Church Slavonic by Nina Kouprianova

 

Translators: Jafe Arnold, Nina Kouprianova

https://eurasianist-archive.com/2017/02/04/the-rus-of-rurik/