It has been foretold by Saint Kosmas the Aetolian: “The blonde race will provide assistance and the City shall be given to the Greeks.” Saint Paisios also confirmed this, stating that “the blonde race shall intervene from the North and everything will transpire as is contained in the prophecies.” An inscription of the sarcophagus of Saint Constantine the Great is reported to read: “the blonde race shall vanquish the agents of Ishmael.” Agathangelos, the supposed prophecies of the Rhodian monk Ieronymos Agathangelos, which were actually written by the archimandrite Theokleitos Polyeidis, predict that the “blonde race,” will rise to attack the Turks and save the Greeks.
The great battle will be in the City. There, all nations will gather, and so much blood will be spilled as for a calf to swim in. The victor will be the blonde race. We will be with the blond race. – St Kosmas the Aetolean
All this is a prelude to the ultimate prophecy, made by the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Wise in his collection of Oracles about the Fall of Constantinople: “With regards to the legendary, poor and chosen king, who is well known and yet unknown, who lives at the edge of the geographical area of the Byzantine empire. The true king, whom people have chased from his abode… will be revealed at the time when the end of the Ishmaelites approaches… It will be on a Friday, in the third hour of the morning when he will be revealed… He, who is to be revealed, will be identified by means of celestial signs. While he is sleeping, he will hear a voice and see and Angel who will appear like a royal servant dressed in white; the Angel will take him by the hand and will tell him: you, who are sleeping, get up… Jesus Christ will be with you. It is your calling to lead a chosen people; and the Angel will add: you, who have been concealed, do not hide yourself any longer, many are asking for you… and furthermore, the Angel will give him plaques of stone upon which are etched two commands: Punish the evil doers and rule justly over your defeated enemies.”
The problem is for centuries, the Greek people have not been able to figure out just exactly who the blonde race is. In 1750, when the prophecies of Agathangelos were first published, readers automatically assumes that the blonde race were the Russians, as the prophecy clearly describes Russian encroachment upon Tartar held territory in Ukraine and the Crimea, territory to which Greeks were invited to settle and given a remission of taxes for a decade by Catherine the Great. When Rigas Feraios published the prophecies of Agathangelos in Vienna in 1795, he implied in his introduction that the blonde race must be the French, under Napoleon. This is despite the fact that one of the prophecies reads as follows: “O Frenchmen, where are you going? The new king leads you to the slaughterhouse, and you shall leave your lives upon the high mountains; and your enterprises shall be manifestly abandoned.”
Publishers of the Athenian 1838 edition on the other hand pointed in the direction of Otto and the Bavarians. During the Second World War, on the other hand, readers of the Agathangelos in Cyprus interpreted the prophecies in such a manner as to have the Germans as the blonde race. Supposedly, they would liberate the island from British rule and restore it to its former glory. We all know how that went for them and the Cypriots ought to have been a bit more careful considering that apparently, Agathangelos said the following: “Germany, Germany, why are you so proud? You will be divided into two.” Ever since that time, generations of idealistic millennial Greeks have been painstakingly scouring the Agathangelos, along with the various dubious additional fabricated prophecies that are created to suit all occasions, in search of clues.
Gentle readers will therefore take comfort to learn that the search is over and the true nature of the blonde race has been revealed. It turns out that it is after all, the Russians. It makes sense when you think about it. Russia is to the north (a prerequisite), it is, in its present manifestation, to all intents and purposes, a pious orthodox country and even though Greeks are commonly aware that the Rus in Rus-sian means ‘the red ones'(it actually doesn’t, it comes from the old Norse word ‘rods’ meaning ‘the men who row’) their leader, Putin is fair and blonde. His sallow features remind one of Tsar Ivan the Terrible riding his destrier in the great medieval icon of the Church Militant, an allegorical representation of the conquest of Kazan. Not only is he a judo champion of repute, a muscled and agile all-round sportsman, jet flyer and racing car driver, tranquilliser of polar bears and shooter of whales, he is also the leader of the largest country in the world. Further, it is widely rumoured that Putin is descended from the royal Tverskoy family and in particular, from Mikhail of Tver, the Grand Prince of that principality. I cannot think of anyone suited to be an agent of the cosmic forces that will return the Emperor to his throne in Constantinople.
The monks of Mount Athos think so too, which is why they recently enthroned Putin on the despotic throne, during his brief visit to Mount Athos, to the fury of the president of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who despite being the nominal ruler of the region, was not offered even a sub-throne at Putin’s side. Then again, there is nothing contained in the prophecies about a white haired Professor of Administrative Law with the countenance of a person sucking a lemon in any way saving the Greek people.
The enthronement of Putin should have come as no surprise. There were signs and portents everywhere. A week before his arrival, countless articles were posted on Facebook, proclaiming that Putin had threatened the leader of the Ishmaelite horde with the conquest of Constantinople, should he choose to persecute the Greeks. A night owl, flying over Saint Sophia was heard to screech the song of the Volga Boatmen before crashing into a minaret and its GPS mysteriously vanished and could not be recovered for analysis. Did not the righteous leader prove his suitability for his pre-ordained role, by acknowledging, while ensconced upon the bishop’s throne, that “a very important and necessary att is undertaken on Holy Mount Athos. This act is about the preservation of the moral traditions of our society. To a considerable degree, you are a source of this well-being and grace?” Did he not state that the Athonites are “fighting for the faith,” thus implying that he would also do so? Most tellingly, did he not, not-so obliquely hint at the unity that is to come by stating: “I am confident that Russia’s ties with Holy Mount Athos and Greece as a whole will continue to strengthen, and spiritual kinship and trust will continue to set the tone of our traditionally close and friendly relations?” Truly then he is the chosen one and all that remains is to locate who is the poor and chosen king who Putin will install upon his throne. Those monks who have seen in Alexis Tsipras’ inability to afford a neck-tie, some type of correlation, have been excommunicated.
Οἱ μισοῦντες αὐτόν, which is good imperial Greek for the ‘haterz’, are incensed for various reasons. The more religious-minded of them maintain that the bishop’s throne upon which Putin is installed represents the teaching authority of a bishop and should not have been usurped by a secular leader, no matter how gifted, and that this episode represents the way monks, who should be concerned with things spiritual cannot resist the temptation to meddle with the chthonic matters of this corrupt world. The Byzantine Imperial party, on the other hand, refute this, arguing that the true throne of the bishop is in the apse behind the holy altar. This location is referred to as the “high place” and represents the presence of Christ presiding over the services, even when the bishop is not present and therefore an icon of Christ is often placed above the bishop’s throne. The throne located along the southern wall of the church, on the kliros, in which Putin stood, is just an elaborately carved monastic kathisma or choir stall on steroids which has no liturgical significance save that during the divine liturgy, the deacon ascends to this throne to read the gospel, facing west. This was traditionally where the Byzantine Emperor stood during church services in the Great Church of Saint Sophia and it is the bishops who have actually, in their use of that seat, actually usurped a throne that properly belongs to the Emperor and must remain vacant until his return. The fact that in the Russian tradition, there is no kathisma and instead, there i a large square platform set in the very center of the nave, with a removable chair or faldstool placed on it, a remnant of the ancient bemah or amvon, borrowed from the Jewish synagogue, which stood in the center of the church in ancient times should provide perspective as to the full extent of this usurpation. According to the purists therefore, Putin is an upstart, an anti-Emperor who will lead the righteous astray, clad as he is in improperly given, ecclesiastical authority. Then there is Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who stubbornly maintains that he should have been the one enthroned, but his supporters number himself and his neutered cat and thus does not deserve further mention here.
Nonetheless, those aggrieved can have their consciences put to rest. Putin is a mere throne warmer. For the chronicles state that it is the Emperor St John Vatazes who is rumoured to return after Putin’s exertions are over. When he was exhumed, the dead emperor appeared as if he were sitting upon a royal throne, without any darkening, without any odor, without any signs that he was dead. He appeared as if made of marble. It is he who shall arise at the appointed moment, to re-mount his throne, pushing aside any bishops or presidents who happen to be in his way.
These are dark and troubled times pious readers. The Greek people are languishing under a kleptocracy foreseen by St Kosmas: “There will come a time for your enemies to take even the ash from the fire, but do not change your faith like others will.” Perhaps, mired in the quagmire of their own misery, they cannot recognise their saviour when they see him. Quoth St Kosmas: “There will come once a foreign crowd who will believe in Christ. But you will not know it.” Yet salvation truly is at hand. Just as St Kosmas predicted a way of the μνημόνιον: “They will impose you a huge and unbearable tax, but will not catch up,” so too did he see the coming of the blonde ones. “The great battle will be in the City. There, all nations will gather, and so much blood will be spilled as for a calf to swim in. The victor will be the blonde race. We will be with the blond race”. Brace yourselves therefore good people. The battle for Middle Earth is beginning.
* Dean Kalymniou is a Melbourne-based solicitor and freelance writer.