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The Orthodox Nationalist: The Deadly Errors of Patriarch Gabriel of Serbia – TON 110817

TON 110817

In 1941, Yugoslavia was weathering the storm of the Depression due to its favorable treatment by Hitler's Germany. About half her exports went to the German economy. As Hitler prepared to invade the USSR, he offered the Tripartite Pact, making Yugoslavia a member of his New Order. He wanted a strong, unified Yugoslavia that would cause him no problems during the war. He would protect Belgrade from the designs of Italy and Hungary, and keep the fanatical and psychotic Croatian nationalists in check. As the militant and massive Soviet Union sought to absorb Europe, this seemed to be a very good idea

It was not a good idea to Great Britain, who needed Belgrade to use up it’s army against Germany to buy the Soviets a bit more time to prepare for war. Hitler wanted neutrality, Churchill wanted blood. Such a position could only be achieved by bribery. Soviet, American and mostly British money poured into the pockets of politicians and military men, especially Dusan Simonovic, who led the coup against Prince Paul of Serbia, a sometime supporter of the Pact. They installed a pathetic Peter II, who later welcomed the Soviet armies as liberators (and they responded by removing him from office)

This lecture deals with the Patriarch of Serbia, the Russian Church in Exile and their differing views of Hitler. Arguing against the Pact, Gabriel said
The Church can not accept this. . . . in the Tripartite [Axis] pact we see the danger of enslavement as all our traditions are in danger and our national feeling offended. . . . Serbia will not be a slave. Under the leadership of their clergy Serbs fought against the Turks and established their own state, and even today, when we are once again in danger again, the Church wants and needs to lead the fight.
The head of the Russian church, Metropolitan Anastassy, in 1938 said in a letter to Hitler:
We know from reliable sources that true believing Russian people, suffering under the yoke of [communist] slavery and awaiting their deliverer, are constantly raising their prayers to God that He will save you, lead you, and give you his all powerful help. Your accomplishments for the German people and the greatness of the German Empire make you an exemplary model worthy of imitation as well as a model of how one should love his people and nation; how a leader should stand for his ethnic customs and their eternal values. For even these latter [ethnic customs, that is, nationalism] find their sanctification and perpetuation in our Church. Ethnic values make up the honor and glory of every nation and therefore find a place in the Eternal Kingdom of God. We never forget the words of the Holy Scripture that the kings of the earth will bring the glory and honor of their people to the Heavenly City of God (Rev 21: 24,26). Thus, the creation of this temple [in Berlin] strengthens our faith in your historical mission. . . May He give you, your country, your Government and army health, prosperity and all good things for many years (Gribanovsky, 1938).
Anastassy's position was one almost universally held by the Orthodox outside of the USSR. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Church and the Romanians, as well as Bulgaria, were behind him in the crusade against the USSR and for the development of a new nationalist order.

Patriarch Gabriel's point of view and his anti-German activities directly led to the destruction of the Yugoslav army, the victory of Stalin and the slaughter of the Italian-based Croatian nationalists in the NDH. While a man of holiness, his political acumen was tainted by Anglophilism and Allied propaganda. His error in rejecting Hitler led almost to the total destruction of Serbia.

Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: The Deadly Errors of Patriarch Gabriel of Serbia – TON 110817


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