Nationalism in the Eastern Orthodox vs The Holy Catholic Church

I myself am a very traditional catholic and hold strong views, as i look into the church’s history i see alot of cool elements in it for ex christian militancy or simply great catholic warriors and heroes especially the crusaders knights templar. but not only them but also people like Charles Martel, the Battle of Vienna is also something i see as very interesting and an important event in catholic history but thats just one example
i see a militant or a just war theory in both the orthodox and catholic church that war is needed at times
but one thing i see in the orthodox church that i have a harder time seeing in the Catholic Church is this sense of nationalism but not any kind of racist or supremcist ideology but that nations

one quote i found from the following website explains what is meant by christian nationalism

“the Church unites in herself the universal with the national… Orthodox Christians, aware of being citizens of the heavenly homeland, should not forget about their earthly homeland… Christian patriotism may be expressed at the same time with regard to a nation as an ethnic community and as a community of its citizens. The Orthodox Christian is called to love his fatherland, which has a territorial dimension, and his brothers by blood who live everywhere in the world. This love is one of the ways of fulfilling God’s commandment of love to one’s neighbor which includes love to one’s family, fellow-tribesmen and fellow-citizens.”

I’m albanian and even among my community there is a sense of nationalism and pride that were not just albanian but were Catholic albanian
i see the same thing among some polish people and irish and also of course among the eastern europeans who are orthodox
the idea of having a whole nation of people under one faith is interesting and even Christ said to convert all nations
that the nation isn’t a racist or old idea but a truly good one and people should be united by some kind of ethnic or nationality in some way
the idea of God and Country unites people

now im not saying that marrying other an another ethnic group or race is wrong but the traditional belief of staying within one’s culture and being apart of a nation is also a great ideal

i don’t know what do you guys think or have to say about this ??? God did established a nation in the OT but now i guess he made many nations of believers and that these many nations are united by a common faith isn’t this what we call Christendom

so please tell me what you think, i would like to hear from both the orthodox and catholics
please use scripture references and the writings of the early church so we can see if this belief is apart of the christian or at least compatible with the faith

thank you all for your answers in advance

The Catechism says: “The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity.” (CCC 2239)

At a personal level, I have had a strong experience that patriotism is supposed to be combined with faith. I notice it in lots of places. Just as one example, I think the Knights of Columbus are supposed to display the national flag alongside the papal flag at ceremonies, and I think they are supposed to start out their meetings pledging allegiance to their country. I say “I think” because I’ve never looked up the bylaws to see if these things are required, but I am a Knight and it has always been my experience that we honor God first, then our country.

As far as Church Fathers go, you might like these quotes, which indicate that we are supposed to honor our country and its laws but God first:

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96 A.D. - Pope St. Clement I wrote that our obedience is twofold: to God and “to those who rule and govern us upon the earth.” He writes how God has set the rulers of this world in authority and we must obey them in everything that does not violate God’s will. “For you, O heavenly Lord and King eternal, givest to the sons of men glory and honor and power over the things that are on the earth. Do thou, Lord, direct their counsel.” (Pope Clement’s First Letter to the Corinthians, chapters 60-61)

157 A.D. - St. Justin Martyr - “To God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that with your kingly power you be found to possess also sound judgment.” (First Apology, Chapter 17)

197 A.D. - Tertullian - “We respect in the emperors the ordinance of God, who has set them over the nations. We know that there is that in them which God has willed. … [But] in keeping the majesty of Caesar within due limits, and putting it under the Most High, and making it less than divine, I commend him to the favor of God more [than if I regarded him as a god himself].” (The Apology, Chapters 32-33)

248 A.D. - Origen - “We are to despise ingratiating ourselves with kings or any other men… [But] we do nothing which is contrary to the law and word of God…[nor do we] stir up against us the wrath of kings and princes, which will bring upon us sufferings and tortures, or even death. For we read: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” (Against Celsus, Book 8, Chapter 65)

353 A.D. - Bishop Hosius of Cordoba, Spain, who presided over the Council of Nicea in the name of the pope, writes a letter to Emperor Constantius II which includes these words: “Intrude not yourself into Ecclesiastical matters, neither give commands unto us concerning them; but learn them from us. God has put into your hands the kingdom; to us He has entrusted the affairs of His Church; and as he who would steal the empire from you would resist the ordinance of God, so likewise [you must] fear…lest by taking upon yourself the government of the Church, you become guilty of a great offense. It is written, Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. Neither therefore is it permitted unto us to exercise an earthly rule, nor have you, Sire, any authority to burn incense. These things I write unto you out of a concern for your salvation.” (St. Athanasius, History of the Arians, 42-45)

375 A.D. - “[Emperor] Valentinian, who reigned over the Western regions, was an admirer of the [Catholic] doctrines, and was imbued with so much reverence for religion, that he never imposed any commands upon the priests, nor ever attempted to introduce any alteration for better or for worse in ecclesiastical regulations. Although he had become one of the best of emperors, and had shown his capacity to rule affairs, he considered that ecclesiastical matters were beyond the range of his jurisdiction.” (Sozemen, Ecclesiastical History written in 443 A.D., Book VI, Chapter 21)

385 A.D - St. Ambrose - “Let [Christians] receive the rule of obedience, to which we cling. [T]o those who stir up ill-will against us on the emperor’s side [we say]: We pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. Tribute is due to Caesar, we do not deny it. The Church belongs to God, therefore it ought not to be assigned to Caesar. For the temple of God cannot be Caesar’s by right.” (Sermon Against Auxentius on the Giving Up of the Basilicas.)

417 A.D. - St. Augustine - “[The Church], while it sojourns on earth…does not scruple about diversities in [national] manners, laws, and institutions… [It is] far from rescinding and abolishing these diversities, [but rather] preserves and adopts them, so long only as no hindrance to the worship of the one supreme and true God is thus introduced.” (City of God, Book 19, Chapter 17)

439 A.D. - Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, Book VII, criticized mixing of Church and State both when done by Church officials (chapter 13) and when done by State officials, which he calls a “degeneration” of “secular domination” (chapter 11).

494 A.D. - Pope St. Gelasius I - “There are two powers, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power. … [The kings] are permitted honorably to rule over humankind, yet in things divine [they] bow [their] head humbly before the leaders of the clergy.” (Letter to Anastasius I)

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6th century A.D. - Pope St. Symmachus -“Let us compare the honor of the emperor with the honor of the Pontiff, between whom the distance is as great as [this:] that the former bears the care of human things and the latter of divine. … You administer human things, [the Church] dispenses to you divine things.” (Apology against the Emperor Anastasius, as it appears in “Defense of the Catholic Faith” by Francisco Suarez, Book III, chapter 6, paragraph 17, translated by Peter Simpson)

700s A.D - St. John Damascene - “Kings have no call to make laws in the Church. What does the holy apostle say? ‘And God, indeed, hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors and shepherds for the training of the Church.’ He does not say ‘kings.’ … The political prosperity is the king’s business; the ecclesiastical organisation belongs to pastors and doctors, and to take it out of their hands is to commit an act of robbery.” (Apology Against Those who Decry Holy Images Part II)

796 A.D. - Emperor Charlemagne - “It is our part with the help of divine holiness to defend by armed strength the holy Church of Christ… It is your part, most holy Father, to help our armies…by your intercession and by the leadership and gift of God.” (Letter sent in 796 to Pope Leo III, translation from: Church and State Through the Centuries, by Sidney Ehler and John Morrall)

829 A.D. - Council of Paris - “Principally therefore we know that the body of the holy Church of God is divided into two distinguished persons, namely the priestly and the royal, as we accept has been passed on by the holy Fathers.” (Annals of Worms, Relation of the Bishops to the Emperor Capitulary 1 Paragraph 3)

Before 1073 - St. Peter Damian - “[T]he human race [is] governed by…two sovereign powers, which preside, the one over the temporal, the other over the spiritual… [And since] Jesus Christ, sole mediator between God and man, has established, by his divine wisdom, a harmony between the two powers,] the priestly and the royal…let the pope, as father, have the pre-eminence due to that august title, and let the prince, as his only and well-beloved son, repose in his bosom.” (Opusculum 4)

1123 A.D. - Ninth Ecumenical Council - “[In] accordance with the statute of the most blessed pope Stephen, [we resolve] that lay persons, however religious they may be, have no power to dispose of any ecclesiastical business; but following the apostolic canons, let the bishop have the care of all ecclesiastical matters, and let him manage them as in the sight of God. Therefore if any prince or other lay person should arrogate to himself the disposition or donation of ecclesiastical things or possessions, let him be regarded as sacrilegious.” (Canon 8)

1215 A.D. - Twelfth Ecumenical Council - “Clerics and laity are not to usurp each others rights.” “Just as we desire lay people not to usurp the rights of clerics, so we ought to wish clerics not to lay claim to the rights of the laity. We therefore forbid every cleric henceforth to extend his jurisdiction, under pretext of ecclesiastical freedom, to the prejudice of secular justice. Rather, let him be satisfied with the written constitutions and customs hitherto approved, so that the things of Caesar may be rendered unto Caesar, and the things of God may be rendered unto God by a right distribution.” (Constitution 42)

1250 A.D. - The Speculum Regale, or Mirror for the King, in Section III, openly declares: “King Solomon illustrated the division of duties that God made between Moses and Aaron; and he did not wish to disturb this arrangement, lest he should fall into disfavor with God. For God had marked out their duties in such a way that Moses was to watch over the rules of the holy law, while Aaron was to care for the sacrifices that might come to the sacred altar. And you shall know of a truth that this arrangement ought by right to stand even at this day… [For] God has established two houses upon earth, each chosen for a definite service. The one is the church… These two houses are the halls of God, and He has appointed two men to keep watch over them. In one of these halls He has placed His table, and this is called the house of bread; for there God’s people gather to receive spiritual food. But in the other hall He has placed His holy judgment seat; and there the people assemble to hear the interpretation of God’s holy verdicts. And God has appointed two keepers to guard these houses: the one is the king, the other the bishop.”

1613 A.D. - Francisco Suarez - “It is manifestly clear that this spiritual power is altogether distinct from the temporal. …[F]or the temporal power is ordered to preserving the peace and moral decency of the republic…**ut the ecclesiastical power is ordered to attaining eternal salvation… And for that reason, finally, these powers differ as material and spiritual, natural and supernatural, earthly and heavenly.”

1885 A.D. - Pope Leo XIII - “[God] has given the charge of the human race to two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human, things. Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by its own native right.” (Immortale Dei 13)

I hope that helps. God bless!**

dmar198 thank you for those quotes but i feel those quotes from the fathers were more about the relationship between the state and the church then it had to do with christian nationalism

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