[Lucifer, Vol. III, No. 15, November, 1888, pp. 256-57]
If King Henry VIII, the much-married king of England, stopped in some of his proceedings for divorce, or at least was stopped by the ecclesiastical authorities at the first of his acts, and was warned by them that his divorce with Catherine of Aragon was contrary to the laws of God, and could hardly be made by any sort of modus vivendi to fit in with the laws of men, King Milan of Servia has certainly sent in a greater amount of tickets to entitle him to a final “distribution of gifts.”
I wish that some authority from the Editorial chair of Lucifer would tell me whether the recent action of King Milan of Servia will not entail upon him a Karma, a never-ending penalty of remorse, shame, and future sorrow, for the cruel and unjustifiable act which he has committed by the divorce of his Queen Nathalie.
I would like to know whether the Russian Christian Church, as well as the West, considers marriage as a thing which may not be cast aside by the decision of a civil tribunal. Your own creed of the Russian Church appears to my unassisted intellect to be emphatic, pronounced, and unchanging.
I quote from the creed of the Russian Church:—
“Ad finem usque vitae, quocunque rerum discrimine, constanter servaturus, nec alter alterum deserturus sit.” (“The Orthodox Confession of the Eastern Church, A. D. 1643,” in P. Schaff, A History of the Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols., 8vo. London, 1877; Vol. II, p. 393.)
I may also state that there is not a single Latin priest who would dare to contravene the commands of his church by pronouncing a divorce a vinculo matrimonii in a case like that of King Milan. They are much too careful of the words “Whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Surely the Russian Church has the same pure tradition. If the old Patriarchs of Constantinople could speak, their voices would be emphatic to declare that the sacramental ties of marriage arc eternal and indissoluble, and that their authority has been decreed by the oracular and changeless fiat of everlasting veracity.
Some of the inferior Jew papers in London have recently had letters on the subject “Is Marriage a Failure?” But they have in this respect often confused the civil and religious ties. In the marriage of King Milan we have both. He may be civilly allowed to emulate King Solomon, but religiously he has only one wife, from whom he is now divorced.
Let us now consider the matter. The world, at the end of the present century, and approaching its descending cycle, gradually becomes worse and worse as artificial civilization progresses, and moral improvement diminishes. We see this in the tendency for facilitating divorce, either in Servia or in England, the less attention paid to individual aspirations after holiness, and the probability that the next generation will be a great deal worse than the present. We live in a time when the words of Horace,
Aetas parentium, peior avis, tulit
Nos nequiores, mox daturos
are deeply applicable to us, and those who are born of us, and then the action of men like King Milan is only a forecast of the future, when the coming race “Sans Dieu, sans foi, sans loi” shall preach “the principles of 1789,” “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” Liberty, each to select his own punishment; Equality, before the throne of some self-invoked infernal power; Fraternity, such as was that of Cain towards Abel.
Still, for those who do not contemplate decay on a large scale, it is hard to perceive individual instances of blasphemy and immorality, and harder that they should have the sanction of any religious body.
The old feeling of chivalry in the West makes me inclined to break a lance for the divorced Queen of Servia, and by advocating her strive
“For the cause that lacks assistance,
From the wrong that needs resistance,
To the future in the distance,
And the good that we can do.”
C. CARTER BLAKE.
There is no “authority” on ecclesiatical law in the “editorial chair of Lucifer.” The present editor recognizes no such laws, rejects and cares very little about
* [Horace, Odes, Book III, vi, 45-48; the first line being: damnosa quid non imminuit dies? In English: “What do the ravages of time not injure? Our parents’ age, worse than our grandsires’, has brought forth us less worthy and destined soon to yield an offspring still more wicked.”—Compiler.]
them. But there are laws of honour, and honour—“stands at another bar than that of laws,” whether social or ecclesiastical. And there is a woman in the said editorial chair, whose whole being revolts against such an infamous act of despotism and injustice as perpetrated by Milan of Servia, he who claims to reign “by the grace of God” and sticks fast to his throne only by the abject cowardice of his subjects. Of crowned despots, sots and even snobs, there were many, but hitherto even they had tried to preserve an appearance, at least, of honour. In our modern day, however, it becomes a matter for serious consideration, whether honour is ever to be found, to a dead certainty, at home—anywhere, except perchance among thieves! We live in a strange world of incongruity and paradox. When one knows that upon discovering a sharper in their midst, even the members of the poorest club would not fail to kick him out, one can only stare in finding all the modern sovereigns, great or small, remaining undisturbed and quite unconcerned before the perpetration of the most brutal act of licentiousness and abuse of power by one of their own fraternity. That Milan, the lineal descendant of swineherds is no gentleman—though his late uncle Michael Obrenovitch was decidedly one—is no wonder. But that other Kings and Emperors, some of whom boast of a long lineage of knightly ancestors and "kings gentiluomini”—should allow such an unprecedented outrage upon a woman, a Queen, innocent and pure as few, go unpunished—is most marvellous—even in this age of depravity, and Crowns sold at auction.
“O, that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not derived corruptly! and that dear honour
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!”
But, since the day of Solon, to paraphrase him: “Honours created far exceed those that are achieved.”
To the second question of our correspondent, we answer—“most decidedly, the Greek Church would countenance and permit no such breaking of her laws. Nor shall the St. Petersburg Metropolitan or his Synod
ever recognize the act of the Servian Theodosius; who is officially branded by that Synod, hence by the press, as the “pseudo-Metropolitan.” The orthodox Greek Church is greater than Milan, “King” of a kingdom from an opéra comique. But what of that? Russia does not recognize Ferdinand of Coburg; yet the Austrian usurpator rules to this day over Bulgaria, the land of Brigands and Generals Boum-boum. The Synod of Russia is not what it was only thirty years ago, when no divorce could be obtained on any consideration, and divorce plans were smashed against the Synodical rock even when backed up by the Imperial will and protection. Now things have changed. One can obtain a divorce in Russia as easily as in the United States. Russia is getting civilized, you see. The government may protect and defend Queen Nathalie, but Russia will not go to war to punish a—Milan. Yet the religious feeling is strong both in Russia and Servia. . . .
It remains to be seen what the Servians will do. Ah, now is a fine and easy-going time for the Milans and—“Jack the Rippers.”
FACIMILE OF DOCUMENT APPOINTING WILLIAM
QUAN JUDGE SOLE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESOTERIC
SECTRION IN AMERICA