In Thee, O Full of Grace: Magnificent Theotokion


From Fr. Hierodeacon Herman’s wonderful Facebook ministry here. Fr. Herman is the Chapel Music Director at St Vladimir’s Seminary which is on the Revised Julian (“New”) Calendar:

Today is the Leave-taking – the last day – of the Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God. The hymn chosen for today is an Orthodox troparion sung during the Anaphora at the Liturgy of St. Basil. It tells of how God prepared the Holy Virgin (after her years of formation spent in the temple) to become a sacred temple herself, the dwelling place of God become flesh. The setting, by Benedict Sheehan of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, is an arrangement of an old Russian melody (from a body of chant actually known as “Greek Chant”) in tone eight. This performance comes from the newly-released premier album of the St. Tikhon’s Chamber Choir.

In thee, O full of grace, all creation rejoices:
the assembly of angels and the race of men.
O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise,
the glory of virgins, from whom God was incarnate
and became a child: our God before the ages.
He made thy body into a throne,
and thy womb he made more spacious than the heavens.
In thee, O full of grace, all creation rejoices.
Glory be to thee!

Hierodeacon Herman was appointed the Chapel Music Director at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in late April of 2010. His childhood and youth were spent immersed in the Anglo-Catholic liturgical and musical traditions, which led him to the study of organ and choral music at Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, New Jersey, where, in 1999, he was received into the Orthodox Church.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Fr. Herman enrolled at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, Pennsylvania, where he graduated with an M.Div. in 2005. The following two years he spent as the choir director and instructor in Liturgical Music and Liturgical Theology at St. Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska. In 2007 Fr. Herman became a novice at the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco, in Manton, California. A year later he was tonsured a Rassophore-monk and ordained to the Holy Diaconate.

In the summer of 2009 Fr. Herman was asked by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, former primate of the Orthodox Church in America, to fulfill various obediences on the East Coast. He was transferred to St. Vladimir’s Seminary and began part time studies there in the M.Th. program. In addition, he is an editor of liturgical publications for St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press, has assisted in the music program at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and, at St. Vladimir’s, has served as the faculty liaison for St. Ambrose Society, the seminary’s student-led Pro-Life interest group.

Father Herman took monastic vows and was tonsured to the Lesser Schema on September 24th, 2011, at Three Hierarchs’ Chapel at the Seminary. He is a member of the Brotherhood of St. Tikhon’s Monastery.

“Ave Dei Patris Filia”: Magnificent polyphonic hymn to the Virgin Mary

From Hierodeacon Herman, a friend of mine who is the Chapel Music Director at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary (on the Revised Julian/”New” Calendar). Earlier this week the Orthodox Arts Journal interviews Fr. Hierodeacon Herman about his ongoing Choral Advent Calendar Facebook ministry here:

Here is another hymn for the Mother of God, as keep the afterfeast of her Entrance into the Temple. John Taverner (c. 1490–1545; not to be confused with the modern composer John Tavener) composed some of the sublime polyphonic music of the English renaissance. Though later in life he became a firm adherent of the Protestant reformation and regretted composing “Popish ditties,” in which category he certainly would have included today‘s selection, we can be grateful such music from his Catholic period has survived.

The text of this motet is long but rich, and befitting the exalted purity and beauty of the Holy Virgin and Theotokos. Taverner’s composition, especially as performed here by the choir of Christ Church, Oxford, is dazzling in its delicacy, majesty, and profundity – increasingly so, as the piece progresses.

Latin: (English translation below)

Ave Dei patris filia nobilissima,
Dei filii mater dignissima,
Dei Spiritus sponsa venustissima,
Dei unius et trini ancilla subiectissima.

Ave summae aeternitatis filia clementissima,
summae veritatis mater piissima,
summae bonitatis sponsa benignissima,
summae trinitatis ancillia mitissima.

Ave aeternae caritatis desideratissima filia,
aeternae sapientiae mater gratissima,
aeternae spirationis sponsa sacratissima,
aeternae maiestatis ancilla sincerissima.

Ave Jesu tui filii dulcis filia,
Christi Dei tui mater alma,
sponsa sine ulla macula,
deitatis ancilla sessioni proxima.

Ave Domini filia singulariter generosa,
Domini mater singulariter gloriosa,
Domini sponsa singulariter speciosa,
Domini ancilla singulariter obsequiosa.

Ave plena gratia solis regina,
misericordiae mater, meritis praeclara,
mundi domina, a patriarchis praesignata,
imperatrix inferni, a profetis praeconizata.

Ave virgo facta
ut sol praeelecta,
mater intacta,
sicut luna perpulcra,
salve parens inclita,
enixa puerpera,
stella maris praefulgida,
felix caeli porta:
esto nobis via recta
ad aeterna gaudia,
ubi pax est et gloria.

O gloriosissima semper virgo Maria!

ENGLISH translation:

Hail, most noble daughter of God the Father,
most worthy mater of the Son of God,
most graceful bride of God’s Spirit,
closest servant of God one and three.

Hail, most clement daughter of the highest Eternity,
most blessed mother of the highest Truth,
most benign bride of the highest Kindness,
meekest servant of the highest Trinity.

Hail, most beloved daughter of everlasting Charity,
most thankful mother of everlasting Wisdom,
most sacred bride of everlasting Inspiration,
sincerest servant of everlasting Majesty.

Hail, sweet daughter of thy Son, Jesus,
bountiful mother of Christ thy God,
bride without the slightest blemish,
handmaid of the coming of the Lord.

Hail, most singularly generous daughter of the Lord,
most singularly glorious mother of the Lord,
most singularly beautiful bride of the Lord,
most singularly obedient handmaid of the Lord.

Hail, queen of the sun, full of grace,
mother of mercy, famous by thy merits,
mistress of the world, preordained by the patriarchs,
empress of hades, foretold by the prophets.

Hail, virgin made
as unique as the sun,
mother unblemished,
as beautiful as the moon,
hail, famous begetter,
diligent mother,
splendid star of the sea,
auspicious gate of Heaven:
be for us a straight path
to eternal joy,
where peace and glory are.

O most glorious and ever-virgin Mary!

Hierodeacon Herman was appointed the Chapel Music Director at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in late April of 2010. His childhood and youth were spent immersed in the Anglo-Catholic liturgical and musical traditions, which led him to the study of organ and choral music at Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, New Jersey, where, in 1999, he was received into the Orthodox Church.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Fr. Herman enrolled at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, Pennsylvania, where he graduated with an M.Div. in 2005. The following two years he spent as the choir director and instructor in Liturgical Music and Liturgical Theology at St. Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska. In 2007 Fr. Herman became a novice at the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco, in Manton, California. A year later he was tonsured a Rassophore-monk and ordained to the Holy Diaconate.

In the summer of 2009 Fr. Herman was asked by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, former primate of the Orthodox Church in America, to fulfill various obediences on the East Coast. He was transferred to St. Vladimir’s Seminary and began part time studies there in the M.Th. program. In addition, he is an editor of liturgical publications for St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press, has assisted in the music program at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and, at St. Vladimir’s, has served as the faculty liaison for St. Ambrose Society, the seminary’s student-led Pro-Life interest group.

Father Herman took monastic vows and was tonsured to the Lesser Schema on September 24th, 2011, at Three Hierarchs’ Chapel at the Seminary. He is a member of the Brotherhood of St. Tikhon’s Monastery.

The French Revolution: Violent from its inception

Violent from its inception:

Dispelling the myth of the “liberal” and “radical” phases

of the French Revolution

French Revolt

This 1789 engraving depicts French soldiers or Parisian militia carrying the severed heads of the Bastille’s commander Bernard-Rene Jordan, Marquis de Launay (1740-1789) and Paris mayor Jacques de Flesselles (1721-1789) on pikes. Both men were killed by enraged Parisians on the same day as the storming of the Bastille on 14 July, 1789. The caption reads “Thus we take revenge on traitors”. This image is part of the Library of Congress’ French Political Cartoon Collection.

Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!

-Marie-Jeanne Philippon, Madame Roland (1754-1793) immediately before her death on the guillotine.

Have we not seen France dishonoured by a hundred thousand murders? The whole territory of this fair kingdom covered with scaffolds? And this unhappy land drenched with the blood of its children through judicial massacres, while inhuman tyrants squandered it abroad in a cruel war, sustained in their own private interests? Never has the bloodiest despot gambled with men’s lives with so much insolence, and never has an apathetic people presented itself for butchering more willingly. Sword and fire, frost and famine, privations and sufferings of every kind, none of these disgust it with its punishment…

-Comte Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), Considerations on France (1796)[1].


The French Revolution began, and for its entire duration remained, soaked in innocent blood. Mob tyranny, popular mob “justice”, and widespread paranoia reigned from the moment the Bastille fell until the dawn of the Terror in fall 1793. Contrary to the self-serving and prevailing liberal historiography which dominated nineteenth century studies of the Revolution, which urged that the conflict be separated into a legitimate, ideal, more civilized “liberal” phase (1789-1793) and a tragically unintended, accidental “radical phase” (the Terror, fall 1793-summer 1794), in actuality a clear, uninterrupted, chronological line of popular violence unrestrained by the revolutionary leaders exists from 14 July 1789 onward. From the storming of the Bastille through the Great Fear, October Days, Champs de Mars massacre, and September Massacres, the Revolution – hardly restrained by the liberal Enlightenment ideals which purportedly united its adherents – saw thousands of people slaughtered without trial in the name of liberty.

In his fifteen years on the throne before the Revolution, the alleged ‘tyrant’ Louis XVI never executed so many people. The pre-Terror revolutionary violence culminated in the infant Republic’s savage suppression of the Catholic royalist Vendee Rebellion, which saw a quarter of a million people, mostly rural civilians, exterminated on the orders of the Republican government in Paris, and the passage of the Law of Suspects a year after the 1792 September Massacres. The Revolution’s true power derived not from the logical appeal and inspiring charisma of its Enlightenment ideals, but from the terror of unrestrained popular violence and brutality which constantly characterized it from the moment of its beginning in summer 1789. This essay will review the major events of the Revolution before the start of the official Terror, and show that these mass murders were all committed by people who believed themselves acting in its name. This was all prior to the Terror which saw some 17,000 people sent to the guillotine. In truth, the entire Revolution was a terror, and no one was safe from its wrath.

When a mob of thousands of enraged Parisians stormed the Bastille on the morning of 14 July 1789, far from being a prison overflowing with oppressed victims of the brutal ancien regime, only seven old men were housed within its decrepit walls.[2] Immediately after seizing the fortress, the mob captured its captain, the Marquis de Launay, and dragged him toward the Hôtel de Ville, the city hall, in a storm of verbal and physical abuse. Outside the Hôtel, a discussion began among the mob as to what they should do with their prisoner. The badly beaten Marquis shouted “Enough! Let me die!”[3], and the crowd readily obliged him. He was repeatedly stabbed and his head sawn off and fixed on a pike. Following his death, as the above image shows, the mob paraded his head through the streets of Paris, but their fury for blood was hardly sated. The very same afternoon after the storming, the unofficial mayor of Paris, Jacques de Flesselles, was assassinated, shot on the steps of the city hall while trying to justify his actions to the mob.[4] As the above illustration shows, his head was also mounted on a pike and paraded around Paris.

In the Great Fear immediately following the storming of the Bastille, uprisings among peasants across rural France and among the urban poor in Paris saw a number of suspected counter-revolutionaries killed between mid-July and early August.[5] In the provinces, peasants began to arm themselves and seize seigniorial estates, murdering some of their landlords and their families in cold blood without trial.[6] Where was the sense of law and the due process of justice to which all French citizens were, according to Enlightenment ideals, supposed to be entitled when these landlords were being murdered? Why were none of these lords, as much citizens of a ‘free’ France as their peasant labourers, allowed to petition to the King or to a local court before they were slaughtered? From its inception, as in Paris at the Bastille and in the rural provinces, the participants in the Revolution proved either pathetically unable or cruelly unwilling to not engage in extrajudicial violence. The National Assembly’s self-serving silence against the mobs served only to embolden their sense of righteousness and impunity in launching attacks against perceived enemies of the Revolution.

The popular violence of the Revolution further accelerated in the October Days of 1789, with severed heads on pikes once again making a macabre appearance. Enraged by reports of ostentatious court living at Versailles – where the politically tone-deaf aristocrats callously partied, feasted, and allegedly dared to ‘desecrate’ the tricolour –without concern for the famine gripping the poor throughout France, an armed mob of Parisian citizens dominated by women who had often been involved in capital’s bread riots stormed the royal chateau, slaughtered the royal Swiss Guards, and rampaged through the palace attempting to find and murder Queen Marie Antoinette.[7] The then-popular Marquis de Lafayette managed to take some control of the situation, calming the mob’s fury by appearing with the King and Queen on one of the palace’s balconies, convincing the King to publicly agree to return to Paris, and –tempering the crowd’s visceral hatred of L’ Autrichienne – kissing the Queen’s hand in a gesture of fealty.[8] The result was that King Louis XVI promised to release stores of bread to the Parisian citizens, and, refusing to accept his word, the marchers forced the French royal family and courtiers to return, effectively under arrest, to Paris, with the guards’ heads again mounted on pikes before the royal carriage.[9]

The moderate royalist Lafayette, erstwhile commander of the Paris-based National Guard, lost all his popularity—and moderate reformers their most prominent Paris spokesman – on 17 July 1791 in the Champs de Mars massacre, during which suspected counter-revolutionaries, including many members of the Guard, were murdered by enraged Paris mobs after Lafayette ordered his men to fire and disperse the mob. Both sides suffered rather minimal losses, but the conduct of the revolutionaries – making a demand backed by violence – shows yet again how the republican mob cared nothing for the rule of law. Why had the mob gathered? The National Assembly – the Revolution’s own legislature – had, on the same day, issued an edict confirming that the unpopular Louis XVI would remain king under a constitutional monarchy. The young republican leaders Danton and Desmoulins – neither of whom survived the Terror – led the mob, who carried a petition from the Girondist republican Jacques Pierre Brissot – who also died in the Terror – to compel the King to abdicate[10]. Lafayette’s reputation never recovered from the bloodshed, and thus the moderates and reform-minded royalists lost most of their influence among Parisians.

A key turning point in the escalation of popular violence occurred in fall 1792. The most violent outbreak of revolutionary mob attacks to date occurred with the September Massacres. Fearing that foreign and royalist armies would attack Paris and that the city’s incarcerated inmates represented a fifth column threat, urban poor sans culottes armed with the demagogue Marat’s latest incendiary, bloodthirsty edition of L’Ami du Peuple, attacked the overflowing Paris prisons stocked with suspected counter-revolutionaries. The prisoners included nonjuring Catholic clergy who objected to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, noble mothers and children, prostitutes, and the infirm. Some 1,300 were murdered in cold blood without any semblance of legal process or fair trial, including over 200 priests and the Queen’s closest friend the middle-aged Princess Marie Louise de Lamballe[11], who was, by several accounts, raped by the mob and her breasts cut off before being decapitated and her head struck on a pike.[12]

The violent trajectory of the Revolution before the Terror culminated in the brutal suppression of the Vendee royalist rebellion from March 1793 to March 1796, which began when outraged Catholic monarchists and other French conservatives in that province received word that the Republic’s leaders had ordered a general mobilization (levee en masse), conscripting most able-bodied Frenchmen to fight and defend the Republic against Austrian encroachment. As hundreds of thousands of rural Catholic traditionalists and monarchists rose against the Revolution, republican soldiers were called in to suppress the revolt. The Republic’s generals Jean-Baptiste Carrier and Turreau were ordered by the Committee of Public Safety to put the entire region to the sword and kill all those suspected of any degree of collaboration with the Catholic and Royal Army, as the Vendee rebel leaders called themselves. It is this savage conflict that saw suspected counterrevolutionary men and women stripped naked, tied together, and thrown into local rivers to drown by the Republic’s military forces, who sadistically called these paired executions ‘republican marriages’[13]. Their inability to distinguish between combatant, sympathizer, and civilian in the region led to an unprecedented degree of bloodshed, all conducted in the name and defence of the nascent Republic.

Historians disagree as to how many royalist combatants and sympathizers died, with liberals estimating the dead at some 130,000 and others approaching as high as 250-300,000.[14] The highest figure cited is the controversial estimate of 450,000 dead by Peter McPhee, who argues along with several other scholars that the Vendee suppression can be considered a genocide.[15] If we accept the more mainstream figure of some quarter of a million people killed, and take into account France’s contemporary population of just under 30 million around 1789, then, were a similar proportion of French to be killed today, the figure would be some 550-600,000 out of some 66 million people. This is genocidal in scale. Even if one does not hold the Committee of Public Safety directly responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Vendee civilians who died in the carnage, it is undeniable that the forces loyal to the Republic engaged in these targeted scorched earth campaigns at the behest of the governing revolutionary republican authorities in Paris. Given that the royalists viewed the Republic itself as illegitimate – hence why the Vendee citizens were outraged to hear that their men were to be conscripted to fight in the republican army against the Austrian monarchy – one can only accept the view that the Vendee was an illegal rebellion and example of treason if one views the Republic itself as a legitimate political entity.

When a political movement is soaked in blood from its very onset, it is insulting to basic intelligence to argue somehow that it was not violent from its foundation. Before the guillotine, the “national razor”, severed some 17,000 heads, long before the official start of the Terror, Parisian mobs massacred hundreds of royal guards who were simply doing their duty, slaughtered over 1,300 innocent civilians and clergy in Paris jails, and within four years of the Bastille’s storming (itself a violent event), the nascent Republic’s generals slaughtered approximately a quarter of a million people in three years’ time. The term “liberal revolution” with its conjuring of fidelity to restrained, rational liberal Enlightenment ideals is an ignorant misnomer at best and at worst a crass, deliberate fiction. The supreme irony is that from its foundations the Revolution’s radicals lauded the ideals of liberty and universal justice while never consistently abiding by them; decrying the supposed tyranny of an ancien regime that brutally tortured and executed a handful of would-be-regicides and murderers over several centuries, the radical revolutionaries bathed the infant Republic in blood, slaughtering some 250,000 Catholic Frenchmen and women in three years in the name of liberty and justice.

From its inception the Revolution was bathed in innocent blood, the blood of both real and imagined enemies. It was ‘radical’ and violent from the moment the Bastille fell and the royal guards were hacked to death and their heads put on pikes. Even if the official Terror began in fall 1793, real terror reigned in practice since July 1789. Thus, the true symbols of the Revolution even before the Terror were not the tricolour cockade or Lady Liberty/Marianne, but the haunting spectre of the national razor and the macabre spectacle of heads on pikes. All were truly equal in revolutionary France only when they stood in the shadow of the scaffold or before the fury of the mob. The Revolution betrayed its liberal ideals from the onset, and the fact that neither the National Assembly nor successive revolutionary legislatures ever condemned the popular violence speaks volumes. Where was their commitment to justice, to the rule of law? It was silent, shamed, and cowed before the threat of the mob. Bourgeoisie republican leaders’ self-serving silence served only to legitimize and embolden radical revolutionaries in both the Committee of Public Safety and among les sans-culottes in the Paris streets. The Committee and the urban poor were united in one thing: loyal to abstract Enlightenment ideals and willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to advance them, they consistently showed callous disregard for human life and the values they allegedly espoused, seeing an enemy worthy only of death in anyone who dared challenge the notion of sovereignty resting in a people who showed themselves to be nothing if not violent, inconsistent, changeable, and bloodthirsty. The ancien regime was far less savage than the supposedly liberal Republic which replaced it, and killed far fewer people in the centuries it ruled France than those who died as enemies of the Revolution from 1789-1794. As Louis XVI’s sister Princess Elisabeth said to her tribunal judges shortly before her death under the guillotine – she was condemned to death for the crime of being “the sister of a tyrant” – “If my brother had been what you call him, you would not have been where you are, nor I where I am now”.[16]

The French Revolution was the predominating radical terrorist movement of its day. From 1789-1794 the Revolution killed far more people in the name of Liberty than Daesh (ISIS) or Al Qaeda has ever killed in the name of Allah. Yet, whereas international government leaders, popes, patriarchs, Muslim scholars, imams, and community leaders have all denounced ISIS (an apocalyptic jihadist group which targets non-Wahhabi Muslims along with Christians, Yazidis, and other non-Muslims), in France today the Revolution is idolized on the coinage, museums, art galleries, the national anthem, official flag, all public buildings, etc. Year after year, millions of French people celebrate the anniversary of Bastille Day, blissfully unaware that they are celebrating a revolution which led to the extrajudicial murder and massacring of hundreds of thousands of French men and women whose great ‘crime’ was to oppose the brutal march of “liberty”, of unrestrained, illegal popular violence, and the Republic’s attempted eradication of over a thousand years of French Catholic culture, history, and monarchical tradition.


French Rev 2

A true symbol of the French Revolution: the values of the tricolour and liberty cockade are inseparable and indistinguishable from the macabre spectacle of the severed heads of “enemies of the revolution” mounted on pikes and paraded through the Paris streets. The bottom caption of this 1789 engraving reads “This is how we punish traitors”. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.[17]



Andress, David. Massacre at the Champ de Mars: Popular Dissent and Political Culture in the French Revolution. Suffolk, England: The Royal Historical Society, 2000.

Bergeron, Louis. Le Monde et son Histoire. Volume VII, Chapter VII. Paris: Bouquins, 1986.

Clerk, Kenneth. Civilisation: A Personal View. New York: Penguin, 1987.

De Beauchesne, Alcide-Hyacinthe. La vie de Madame Élisabeth, sœur de Louis XVI, Volume 2. Paris: Henri-Plon Éditeur-Imprimeur, 1870.

Doyle, William. The Oxford History of the French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Hibbert, Christopher. The Days of the French Revolution. New York: William Morrow and Co, 1980.

Hussenet, Jacques (dir.). “Détruisez la Vendée !”. Regards croisés sur les victimes et destructions de la guerre de Vendée. La Roche-sur-Yon, France: Centre vendéen de recherches historiques, 2007.

Jones, Peter M. The Peasantry and the French Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Chapter 3.

Library of Congress. “Prise de la Bastille par les Citoyens de Paris… C’est ainsi que l’on punit les traitres.” Library of Congress.

Maistre, Count Joseph de. Considerations on France. Translated and edited by Richard A. Lebrun. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

McPhee, Peter. Review of Reynald Secher, A French Genocide: The Vendée. H-France Review, Vol. 4 (March 2004), No. 26.

Morris, Gouverneur. A Diary of the French Revolution, Volume 1. North Stratford, New Hampshire: Ayer Publishing, 1939.

Schama, Simon. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. New York: Vintage Press, 1989.

Scurr, Ruth. Fatal Purity: Robespierre And the French Revolution. New York: Owl Books, 2006.


End notes:

[1] Maistre, Count Joseph de, Considerations on France, translated and edited by Richard A. Lebrun (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

[2] Clerk, Kenneth, Civilisation: A Personal View (New York: Penguin, 1987). Pg. 216.

[3] Schama, Simon, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (New York: Vintage Press, 1989). Pg. 405.

[4] Hibbert, Christopher, The Days of the French Revolution (New York: William Morrow and Co, 1980). Pgs. 69-82.

[5] Jones, Peter M, The Peasantry and the French Revolution. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). Chapter 3.

[6] Doyle, William, The Oxford History of the French Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Pgs. 114-5.

[7] Schama, Ibid. Pg. 459.

[8] Ibid, pg. 468.

[9] Morris, Gouverneur, A Diary of the French Revolution, Volume 1 (North Stratford, New Hampshire: Ayer Publishing, 1939). Pg. 243.

[10] Andress, David, Massacre at the Champ de Mars: Popular Dissent and Political Culture in the French Revolution (Suffolk, England: The Royal Historical Society, 2000). Pg. 239.

[11] Bergeron, Louis, Le Monde et son Histoire, Volume VII, Chapter VII (Paris: Bouquins, 1986). Pg. 324.

[12] Hibbert, Christopher. Ibid, p. 175.

[13] Scurr, Ruth, Fatal Purity: Robespierre And the French Revolution (New York: Owl Books, 2006). Pg. 305.

[14] Hussenet, Jacques (dir.), “Détruisez la Vendée !”. Regards croisés sur les victimes et destructions de la guerre de Vendée (La Roche-sur-Yon: Centre vendéen de recherches historiques, 2007).

[15] McPhee, Peter, Review of Reynald Secher, A French Genocide: The Vendée (H-France Review: Vol. 4 (March 2004), No. 26.

[16] de Beauchesne, Alcide-Hyacinthe, La vie de Madame Élisabeth, sœur de Louis XVI, Volume 2 (Paris: Henri-Plon Éditeur-Imprimeur, 1870). Pgs 199-205, 219-250.

[17] “Prise de la Bastille par les Citoyens de Paris… C’est ainsi que l’on punit les traitres.” Library of Congress.


Further Reading:

Reflections on ISIS attacks on Paris and Beirut

As the world reels from the horrors we have read and talked about since Thursday, our only recourse remains that which is the most powerful: prayer. Across the world, peoples of all faiths are offering prayers in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks and support for the victims and their suffering families.

God protect beautiful Paris, stalwart Beirut, and their suffering people. May Christ the Lord, who suffers with all who suffer, be with them and deliver them and His holy Mother comfort them. Memory eternal to all those poor souls who have died, and may God comfort their families in their loss!

So far, according to numerous news reports such as this, over 43 people have died in Burj al-Barajneh, Beirut in an ISIS attack against a Shia neighborhood, mosque, and market, with over 239 seriously wounded. Today Lebanon — whose government is divided between Shia, Sunni, and Christian leadership — observed a day of profound mourning.

My Muslim friends, all of whom are American citizens, took to Facebook to express their disgust, horror, and revulsion over ISIS’ attacks. One of them, a Peace Corps veteran who served in rural Kenya, is a former Resident Assistant (RA) at American University (he was my RA during my sophomore year). He wrote the following about Islam in particular. He linked to this story of a heroic Beirut citizen, Adel Termos, who lost his life defending others:

ISIS is killing our religion. It’s killing our fathers, mothers, children
Our 5 pillars
Our foundation.

A man sacrifices himself and still loses his daughter. There’s a collective sigh of sorrow in the Muslim world today. I promise that while tomorrow I’ll be hopeful, for now, I’ll grieve for those lost in Russia, Lebanon, France, Yemen, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Peace be upon your hearts as well friends.

ISIS also claimed responsibility for the better-publicized attacks across Paris, which have left at least 129 people dead and over 350 more seriously wounded. President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Merkel, and Russian President Putin all issued statements in support of the Parisian people and France.

As President Hollande’s unpopular Socialist government is likely to suffer a further decline in public support for having failed to prevent the attack, it is possible, though far from certain, that the far-right Front National party led by Marine Le Pen will win several upcoming regional elections. Ms. Le Pen has seen her popularity surge since the attacks after she made strong statements urging the “annihilation” of Islamist radicals and the deportation of such people from France. As Reuters and The Guardian reported earlier today from Paris, the Front National leader made the following comments to French reporters:

We are living the horror … yesterday evening the centre of France was struck by an exceptional barbarity. It was an escalation of Islamist terrorism and the sixth time this year that Islamists have attacked our country.

Islamist fundamentalism must be annihilated, France must ban Islamist organizations, close radical mosques and expel foreigners who preach hatred in our country as well as illegal migrants who have nothing to do here.

As this Lebanese Australian news agency reports, none of the world leaders, as of Saturday morning, had addressed the terrorist attacks in Beirut to the degree that the world was speaking about the events in Paris. God forgive us as a world, and as a society, for those in the media who perpetuate this double standard of covering the attack in Paris (where the victims were overwhelmingly European) and ignoring the earlier attack in Beirut (where the victims were overwhelmingly Arab).

French President Francois Hollande closed the French borders, declared a state of emergency, and vowed that France would issue a “merciless” response against ISIS. All major French political parties agreed to suspend their campaigns for the upcoming regional (departmental) elections, and leading mainstream French politicians including former center-right President Nicolas Sarkozy and former center-right PM Francois Fillon took to Twitter to express their support for Hollande’s decision to order the emergency decree. Sarkozy wrote emphatically that “the terrorists have declared war on France.”

Paris’ Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, wrote the following on her Facebook account at around 6:30 EST:

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Ces valeurs sont la langue vivante des quartiers qui ont été touchés à Paris, hier soir. Les Parisiens sont debout, unis. Les terroristes ont voulu nous faire taire, ils n’y arriveront pas. Nous ne céderons pas. La classe politique doit être à la hauteur des valeurs de la République. Les citoyens nous demandent de ne pas les décevoir. Unité.

My translation:

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. These values are the living language of the neighborhoods that were hit in Paris last night. The Parisians are standing united. The terrorists wanted to silence us, they will not succeed. We will not give. The political class must be equal to the values of the Republic. The citizens demand of us that we not disappoint them. Unity.

Mayor Hidalgo wrote the following in her initial reaction to the ISIS attacks:

C’est avec horreur que j’ai appris les attaques survenues dans notre ville. Face à ces inqualifiables actes de barbarie qui ont fait plusieurs dizaines de morts, Paris est touchée au coeur.
Au nom des Parisiens, je tiens à exprimer mes condoléances les plus vives et les plus attristées aux familles et aux proches des victimes. Je tiens également à saluer le courage sans faille des forces de police et des secours, qui ont immédiatement réagi avec un sens du devoir hors-pair. Paris les remercie. Je tiens enfin à remercier les marques de soutien internationales d’ores et déjà exprimées aux Parisiens, parmi lesquelles celles des maires de New York, Montréal et Madrid.
Je me suis rendue sur place rapidement et dès ce soir, les services municipaux parisiens sont pleinement mobilisés. La Mairie du 11e arrondissement accueille les blessés tandis qu’une cellule de crise est organisée à l’Hôtel de Ville.
Nous sommes debout, nous sommes unis. J’en appelle à l’unité de toutes et tous.

My translation:

It is with horror that I learned of the attacks in our city. Faced with these unspeakable barbarous acts which have caused dozens of deaths, Paris is touched to the heart.
In the name of the Parisians, I have to express my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families and relatives of the victims. I also have to equally salute the unwavering courage of police and rescue forces, who immediately responded with a sense of duty peerless. Paris thanks all of them. Finally, I want to thank the support of international brands already expressed to the Parisians, among which those of the mayors of New York, Montreal and Madrid.
I visited the site quickly and this tonight, Parisian municipal services are fully mobilized. The Mayor of the 11th arrondissement hosts the wounded while a crisis unit shall be held in the City Hall.
We are standing, we are united. I appeal to the unity of you all.

The Legitimist pretender to the French throne, Prince Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, Duc d’Anjou (King Louis XX to French Legitimists) offered this elegant, brief response to the horrors in Paris (I have translated from the original French here):

At the moment that the cowardice which caused this horror saddens all of Paris and France, I express my profound emotion.

My thoughts and my prayers are with the victims and their families. The dead and the injured innocents. The guardians of security and health.

Beyond the pain and indignation, facing this act of war, it is up to everyone to be responsible and confidant in the future. As in other troubled times, France will regain its peace and greatness by the union of that which has always been its strength and consistency, its values obtained from the sources of its history.

Here is a beautiful Latin Requiem sung by the Choeur des moines de l’Abbaye de Saint-Pierre de Solesmes (Choir of the Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre), and here is a magnificent, moving Litany of the Saints of Paris (in French).

Given the Russian Federation’s ongoing bombing campaign along with the Syrian Army, Iraqi Kurdish paramilitary forces, and Iranian fighters — a campaign which has massively devastated the terrorists — it is unsurprising that ISIS released a new video announcing that they intend to begin attacking Russia itself. God protect Russia from these vicious barbarians. In the chilling video, which features gruesome images of executions, ISIS threatens that “blood will spill like an ocean” and refers to Russians as “kaffirs” (infidels).

Who is ultimately responsible for ISIS coming into existence? Certainly the United States did not help matters by creating a power gap in the heart of the Middle East by first backing (under Bush I and Clinton) Iraqi Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein and then (under Bush II) removing him from power, and encouraging Baathist President Assad’s removal in Syria with no real plausible moderate or democratic alternative to the secular dictator. Our arming of so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition was a colossal failure, as many of these “moderates” wound up in ISIS. Who is the closest power, ideologically speaking, to ISIS, and whose muftis and imams and princes have strong ties to leading ISIS figures?

The House of Saud — Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal dynasty. With British support, they usurped and drove from power an ancient, legitimate monarchical dynasty (the Hashemites) in the Hejaz, which became the core of Saudi Arabia. They give real, legitimate monarchies a bad name, slaughter hundreds of their own people and foreigners alike each year in trumped up trials and beheadings, and are extremely racist toward non-Arab, mostly African and South Asian migrant workers. In the wake of the recent tragic stampedes and crane collapses in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, which left over 700 people dead, Saudi emergency workers were criticized for piling the bodies of African victims atop each other like trash.

In terms of providing fertile ideological and educational indoctrination in Salafism, the Saudi regime exports extremely hateful Wahhabi textbooks to Saudi-funded Wahhabi madrasas around the world which refer to Jews and Christians as apes and swine. They despise non-Wahhabi Muslims, especially Shias, as heretics and consider them non-Muslims. Here is a detailed Washington Post article which goes into more detail about these deplorable Saudi textbooks.

In March 2015 the blind Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Saudi Grand Mufti, whom the Saudi King directly appoints,repeatedly called for the destruction of all churches on the Arabian Peninsula, including in neighboring Kuwait. There is not a single legal church in all of Saudi Arabia, where Christians have no freedom of worship and conversion from Islam to any other religion (“apostasy”) is punishable by death.

Saudi Arabia’s current ruling elite — all of whom espouse the same radical Wahhabi sect which ISIS does — stands to benefit more than any other state from ISIS’ presence because the terrorist group’s very existence causes anxious policymakers in Washington, London, and Brussels to think “better to deal with the devil we know than the devil we don’t know”. Instead of seeking realistic alternatives to the Saudi tyranny which directly finances religious hatred and indirectly sponsors terrorism, our leaders say that we must accept the House of Saud as “at least not as bad as ISIS”.

This is unacceptable and abhorrent. It thus comes as a great disappointment, but no surprise, that the Obama administration’s State Department is about to rightfully recognize Iraqi Yazidis as victims of attempted genocide by ISIS, but not Christians.

UPDATE (10 November 2015):

Here is an excellent article in The Economist which reflects very well my present line of thinking, and here is a superb article written by Scott Atran on why and how the West fails to understand ISIS. Here is another superb article from Graeme Wood in The Atlantic on ISIS’ real ideological motivations and why the West’s failure to understand them is so dangerous.

What can we do, as a nation and as a world, to isolate, demoralize, and above all cut all flow of money to ISIS? Charles P. Piece writes the following here for Esquire:

It is long past time for the oligarchies of the Gulf states to stop paying protection to the men in the suicide belts. Their societies are stunted and parasitic. The main job of the elites there is to find enough foreign workers to ensla…er…indenture to do all the real work. The example of Qatar and the interesting business plan through which that country is building the facilities for the 2022 World Cup is instructive here. Roughly the same labor-management relationship exists for the people who clean the hotel rooms and who serve the drinks. In Qatar, for people who come from elsewhere to work, passports have been known to disappear into thin air. These are the societies that profit from terrible and tangled web of causation and violence that played out on the streets of Paris. These are the people who buy their safety with the blood of innocents far away.

Besides ISIS, Gulf state radicalized financiers have supported Boko Haram, the ISIS-affiliate operating in Nigeria and much of west Africa. The African Salafist group has claimed responsibility for a vicious attack in the northeastern Nigerian town of Yola which killed at least 32 people and wounded 80. Meanwhile, in Baghdad, over 20 Iranian exiles living in a displaced persons camp on the edge of the city died in a nighttime bombing on Thursday, the same day as the Paris attacks. Over the weekend, more violence continued as a Saudi-led Yemeni airstrike on a Houthi separatist (Shiite Yemeni) wedding party left over 131 people dead.
With one exception — a non-practicing Shiite friend from Iran — all of my Muslim friends are Sunnis from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Palestine, Turkey, Sudan, Malaysia, and Jordan. One of my Sunni friends, whose family hail from Karachi, is a follower of the Sufi tradition (Ahl e Sunnah wal Jama’ah), a mystical and often more perennial path which has a lot of influence from non-Islamic intellectual and theological sources. Her sect’s imams and sheikhs have repeatedly taken to the internet, as well as Friday sermons, to condemn Daesh in ringing terms.
One of the leaders of her community, an internationally renowned Islamist jurist and scholar, Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, has published this book denouncing ISIS in particular and Wahhabism generally. She also directed me to this book-length fatwa (decree or treatise) written by an eminent Pakistani jurist and scholar, Sheikh Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri which seeks to demolish ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups’ intellectual arguments and claims. I have read reviews of the book and plan to order it. Please look into whether or not the book is something you would like to purchase to learn more about opposition to ISIS and terrorism from a Sufi perspective. My Sufi friend also told me that there were prophecies made by Muhammad about the eventual rise of a group just like  ISIS, known as “khwarijites”. The Wahhabis have historically savagely persecuted Sufi orders in particular, despising their veneration of saints and martyrs (along with the Shia who also do this) and their less legalistic, more mystical approach to the divine.
One of my professors is Iranian, a descendant on her mother’s side of Muhammad himself (in Shia Islam, the majority sect in Iran, most of Iraq, and large portions of Syria and Egypt, the descendants of Muhammad may use various honorifics and are the class from whom imams are chosen). All of my American Muslim friends, and this professor, are largely theologically liberal or perennialist. Many of them pray,  most of them observe the lunar month Ramadan fast, and all of them do charitable works as their religion commands. As they themselves have told me, they recognize that their theological liberalism/perennialism is very different from the attitudes of most Muslims around the world, who are often influenced by the more puritanical, stringent Salafist interpretations through Saudi-funded madrasas and mosques.
We have seen examples of this latent radicalism and hatred most recently at, of all places, a football game in Turkey. On Tuesday, 17 November, Turkish football (soccer) fans booed and chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the minuter of silence which was to be observed in commemoration of the Paris attacks. The game, between traditional enemies Greece and Turkey, was supposed to be a friendly symbol of international solidarity in the wake of the attacks across the world. Some Muslim friends of mine actually defended the barbarous behavior of the Turkish fans, saying the boos were to protest the lack of news coverage of the attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and Yemen which left mostly Muslims dead, but one has to wonder: how does booing during a moment of silence for other people, also killed tragically, really make your point that other terrorist attacks should also be included in the commemorations? The chanting of “Allahu akbar” (takbir) speaks for itself: though most Muslim scholars would claim that this is an abuse of takbir, the reality is that sympathetic Muslim radicals across the Middle East have shouted it repeatedly after terrorist attacks launched by Islamist Wahhabis against Westerners. Unsurprisingly, many crude Turkish football spectators also booed and jeered during a moment of silence held for victims of last month’s Turkish bombing at the start of the Turkey-Iceland game.
ISIS has announced in videos plans to attack Russia, Washington DC, and New York City, since both Russia and the United States have stepped up their attacks on ISIS. While public opinion and political opinion among elites seems to be united in the need for an international coalition to destroy ISIS, there exists much more pronounced divisions among leading members of American political life as to how to deal with the human cost of the most senior American politicians seem to have mixed feelings about President Obama’s decision to open the U.S. borders to some 10,000 Syrian refugees with no additional security checks. On Monday, November 16, 23 governors — mostly Republicans — issued statements that they would not be opening their state borders to these people. One Minnesota Democratic congressional candidate, Dan Kimmel, cluelessly tweeted an astonishingly ignorant, tone-deaf comment about ISIS in the wake of the Paris attacks. Deluged with a cascade of outrage from all observers, he soon after ended his campaign.
Today, Speaker of the House and 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan condemned President Obama’s promise to veto the House bill (which passed today 289-137) which would require the nation’s three top security officials — the Homeland Security secretary, FBI director, and national intelligence director — to certify to Congress that each Syrian or Iraqi refugee is not a security threat before the refugee can be admitted into the U.S. On his Facebook account, Speaker Ryan wrote the following:
If we cannot, without a shadow of a doubt, make sure and confirm that a person does not pose a threat to this country, then they shouldn’t come here. And that’s the point we’re trying to make. I don’t want this to be Republicans versus Democrats. This is Americans. This is our national security.
On the White House Facebook account, the following statement appeared late last night (the 18th):
We can welcome refugees and ensure America’s safety and security. The U.S. will provide refuge to at least 10,000 vulnerable refugees fleeing violence in Syria over the next year, after subjecting them to rigorous screening and the highest security checks of any category of traveler we allow into our country.
From Manila, Philippines, President Obama tweeted the following on his official Twitter account:
Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.
Regarding the influx of Syrian refugees/migrants (the US is planning to accept only approximately 10,000, compared to the hundreds of thousands Turkey and Germany plan to accept), President Obama recently offended Republican members of Congress and state governors who are advising caution on opening the borders to these people, whom they term “economic migrants”.
My thoughts are somewhat divided on this. I do not think refugees should be turned away simply for being Muslim. Obviously, it would violate the First Amendment to close down mosques en masse. I do think that every mosque that operates under funding that (1) largely originates from a foreign country, and (2) can be traced back to sources with radical, anti-Western agendas, must be shut down, and their imams and preachers investigated. As one of my friends observed, “Some Islamic organizations in the U.S. fall under this description, and I imagine that the number in Europe is much higher.”
In France and across the West, any mosques with proven, clear financial or personal links to radical pro-terrorism groups, or to terrorist organizations themselves, must be searched once a warrant is obtained, closed if evidence is found, and their imams put under surveillance. We must be vigilant, but we must not and cannot resort to violence against innocent Muslims. Those who are proven to be radicalized must be arrested, but we cannot justly punish one person for another person’s crimes.

We must consider that while most of the refugees coming in from Syria are sane, normal people simply seeking a new home after their lives were destroyed by horrific years of war, ISIS is also deliberately sending in some of their operatives among these refugees to in turn live among us. Besides people who are openly Muslim, this could include some ISIS operatives posing as non-Muslims. The solution is not to reject all the refugees, but to carefully screen them. We can and must be a safe country without violating the constitution. We cannot ignore the reality that the past week has seen more ISIS and Boko Haram-launched terrorist attacks in close proximity to each other than ever before. To respond with “keep the status quo” on vetting refugees when the situation is anything but the status quo reveals a tremendous dearth of leadership on the President’s part.

The White House claims to be giving priority to those refugees most threatened by violence and yet the State Department has refused to classify Christians from the region as threatened by genocide. This means that they are, in fact, not given priority. I am happy to welcome those fleeing from Syria and Iraq who are members of persecuted minority groups: Christians, Alawites, Shiites/Shia, Yazidis, etc. As for Sunni refugee-seekers, it is hardly unreasonable to ask to see evidence that they are not sympathetic to ISIS, Al-Qaeda and co. Anyone who ignores the fact that all of ISIS’ recruits come from disaffected Sunni Muslims, thousands of whom have migrated from Western countries to join the terrorists, is willfully blind. Then there is the issue of radicalized Sunni Muslims living within, for instance, France, as this poll disturbingly shows.
The US should make significant financial and material contributions to efforts to assist all refugees from the conflict. The US is largely responsible for the escalation of violence in Syria and therefore has a moral responsibility to help. However, we can and should provide financial and medical assistance, food supplies, the setting up and maintenance of refugee camps, etc. in Turkey for most of the refugees. Eventually many of these refugees will want to return to their homeland once the war is over. The US should open her borders only for those most in danger of suffering further violence and discrimination. This position has nothing to do with being ‘anti-Muslim’. The Shia are the friends and allies of the Orthodox communities across the region, and many Sunni families have been innocent victims of ISIS.
As France is now seeking a close military alliance with Russia, the main issue that has divided the West and Russia thus far– support for keeping embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power (Moscow) or removing him (Washington, London, and Brussels) has come into stark relief once again. Despite strong objections from President Obama, Secretary Kerry, PM Cameron, etc., Russia has continued to stand by Assad, vesting in him — as in the brutal Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov — their hopes for long-term regional stability and stabilization. Just yesterday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that Assad’s immediate removal from power not be an absolute precondition for an international response to drive ISIS from Syria. As The Guardian observes:
In recent weeks, the US, Britain and the other countries that had previously insisted on Assad’s immediate departure have been signalling he could stay on for a transition period of a few months but would eventually have to go. The Russians have seized on this as evidence that the debate about Syria is going their way.
The Moscow Times reports that it seems as though Moscow and Washington may at last be inching toward some degree of cooperation:

On Sunday [Putin’s] informal conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama gripped public attention. It reportedly lasted 20 minutes, and it is still unclear what was discussed, but the mere fact that it happened was interpreted by many as a positive sign of improving relations with the West.

The next day Putin stated that Russia is ready to support the opposition in Syria in its fight with the Islamic State, basically declaring resolved one of the main issues at the core of the disagreements between Russia and Western countries blaming Putin for helping Assad fight the opposition.

“Part of the armed opposition [in Syria] contemplates starting a military operation against IS with Russia’s support, and we are ready to supply that support from the air,” Putin was cited by TASS as saying Monday. “It might be grounds for later work on resolving political issues [in Syria],” the Russian leader added.

At that same time Hollande spoke at the French parliament, both chambers of which gathered at the Palace of Versailles for the first time since 2009. Among other things he called on creating a unified coalition that could include Russia.

“[It’s necessary] to gather everyone who can fight IS into one coalition,” he said, promising to meet with both Russian and U.S. presidents in the nearest future, the RBC news agency reported.

All this led to the belief that relations between Russia and the West are finally warming up, a belief that Putin mentioned during a final press conference at the G20.

“[A year ago at the G20 summit] the relations were much more tense [than now]. One can feel it, it’s true,” he said, adding that creating a joint coalition in Syria is a necessity, and “the tragic events that followed only proved our point.”

The only question that remains unanswered at this point — and probably the only thing keeping the parties from shaking hands and officially accepting Russia into the coalition — is the fate of Assad, whom the West wants out of the picture, but whom Russian officials call the only legitimate leader in Syria.

“Until there is a compromise about Assad, Russia and the coalition of the Western countries will fight in Syria in parallel, but not in tandem,” Alexei Makarkin, deputy director of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies, told The Moscow Times.


On a positive note, in a raid on a St Denis flat yesterday, French security forces killed 27-year old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian mastermind behind the Paris attacks. A woman at the flat – reported in French media to be Abaaoud’s cousin – died during the raid after activating a suicide vest. The reality that Abaaoud, a France-hating Wahhabi terrorist, was killed in a flat in a Paris suburb where the Basilica of St Denis stands (the burial place of French kings) is almost too surreal for words.

On the coronation and anointing of French monarchs

Titled women of the French nobility (duchesses and countesses) could inherit land and titles from their fathers if they had no surviving male issue to succeed them, but from antiquity the throne and crown of France adhered to Salic Law, which permitted succession to the throne only through the male line and excluded all females. A central theological and ceremonial reason for why the French monarchy did not permit female succession was the highly sacramental nature of the coronation rites, in which the king exercised a quasi-sacerdotal role and held certain sacred instruments which, it was believed, women could not touch. While queens of France were customarily crowned and anointed at their husband’s accession, this was often done in a separate ceremony. While French kings were most often crowned at the Reims Cathedral. French queens were crowned most often at the St Denis Basilica.

Thus, due to the strict enforcement of Salic Law, France has never had a female monarch. Reflecting their crucial importance in dynastic marriages, however, several queens of France were the daughters of previous French kings or reigning provincial dukes whose fathers, lacking any surviving male issue, married them to the men who ultimately succeeded to the French throne as king. Numerous French queen mothers also governed as regents on behalf of their underage sons until they reached their majority.

Three examples of French queens who were themselves the daughters of French kings or powerful dukes were 1) Queen Anne de Bretagne (1477-1514), consort to King Charles VIII from 1491-98 and then after Charles’ death consort to King Louis XII from 1499 to her own death, reigned as Duchess of Brittany in her own right from 1488; Anne’s daughter Queen Claude (1499-1524), consort to Francois I (1515-24) and daughter of King Louis XII, reigned as Duchess of Brittany in her own right after her mother’s death in 1514; and Queen Marguerite (1553-1615), consort to France’s first Bourbon King Henri III de Navarre/ IV de France (1572-1599), sister to French kings Francois II, Charles IX, and Henri III, who was the daughter of King Henri II and (from 1559-89) the powerful Queen Mother and regent Catherine de Medicis.

BNF - Latin 9474 - Jean Bourdichon - Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne - f. 3r - Anne de Bretagne entre trois saintes (détail).jpg

Jean Bourdichon – Les Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne, painted between 1503 to 1508 while Anne of Brittany was Sovereign Duchess of Brittany and Queen consort of France.

Treaty with the Kingdom of England which Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, signed and sealed in her capacity as the reigning Duchess of Brittany.

Claude of France, Duchess of Brittany.jpg

Claude de Bretagne, fille de France, daughter of King Louis XII and Queen Anne, Duchess of Brittany in her own right from 1488 to her death. Claude succeeded her mother as Duchess in 1514 and became Queen of France in 1515, dying in 1524.

Portrait of Henri III, King of Navarre (he himself succeeded his mother Jeanne d’Albret, who reigned as Jeanne III from 1555-1572) and from 1589 King of France, and his consort Queen Marguerite, fille de France, daughter of King Henri II of France and Catherine de Medicis. Marguerite’s mother Catherine de Medicis, infamous as a poisoner, allegedly had Henri’s Calvinist mother Queen Jeanne III of Navarre poisoned, and the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre (Catholics killing Huguenots) which followed Henri and Marguerite’s wedding seems to have taken place with Catherine’s foreknowledge, if not her explicit permission. Henri narrowly escaped the massacre with his life.

An overview of the French Sacre from 1364 to 1825 (from King Charles V de Valois to Charles X de Bourbon):

Like the English coronation ritual, the French ritual after being subject to considerable influence from the Roman ritual in the 12th and 13th centuries reverted to earlier French forms in the 14th century. The Roman text and ritual, however, were not completely abandoned but combined with the earlier texts and ritual so that this fourth and final recension was nearly twice the length of the earlier recension.[5]

The king spends the night before his Sacre at the Palace of Tau and is awakened in the morning by the clergy and officials involved in the coronation ritual. They assist in dressing the king for the Sacre and the king then chooses which of his nobles will serve as the Hostages for the Sainte Ampoule and the clergy, as well, also swear to return the Sainte Ampoule to the Abbey of St. Remi after the Sacre.

The king enters Reims Cathedral after the singing of the canonical hour of Prime. At the king’s entrance into the cathedral a prayer is said and, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ is sung. Upon his entrance into the choir the prayer, “God, the Ruler of heaven and earth, etc.” is said and Terce is sung as the abbot and monks of the Abbey of Saint-Remi come in procession bringing the Sainte Ampoule in its reliquary hanging by it chain around the abbot’s neck while four monks in alb bear a silk canopy over him. Upon arriving at the entrance of the cathedral the Archbishop of Reims and the other archbishops and bishops present solemnly swear to return the Sainte Ampoule to them after the Sacre. Then the abbot and monks enter the cathedral and proceed to the altar, everyone bowing reverently as they pass before them.

The coronation proper begins with the bishops’ petition that the traditional rights of the Church be maintained and the king’s reply, followed by the king’s taking of the coronation oath[6] in the Bourbon era on the Reims Gospel. Then the Recognition takes place followed by the singing of the Te Deum. Then the prayer, “Inscrutable God, etc.” is and then the buskins and spurs are placed upon the king’s feet and his invested and gird with the Coronation Sword, Joyeuse, with the formula “Accept this sword from our hands, etc.” Then the antiphon: “I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). The king removes his coat and other outerwear and the special silver lachets on his silk shirt are opened to expose his chest, upper back and the joints of his arms. While special versicle and response and a collect (unique to the French rite) are said, a paten with Chrism on it is place on the altar, the Abbot of St. Remi presents the Saint Ampoule to the Archbishop, who with a small golden stylus removes a small particle from the contents of the Sainte Ampoule and carefully mixes it with the Chrism on the paten.

The king kneels while the Litany of the Saints is chanted by two archbishops or bishops, concluding with two prayers. The Archbishop then says the formal prayer of consecration:

God eternal, All powerful, Creator and Governor of the Heavens and the Earth, Maker and Disposer of angels and of men, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Thou who madest Abraham Thy faithful servant to triumph over his enemies, who hast raised to the highest in the Kingdom David, Thy humble servant, and hast delivered him out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the beast, and likewise from Goliath, and from the malicious sword of Saul, land from all his enemies, and has enriched Solomon with the wondrous gift of wisdom and of peace, forgive and accept our humble prayers, and multiply the gifts of Thy blessings on this Thy servant, who with all humble devotion, we, with one accord, choose for King, and we beseech Thee encompass him evermore, and in all places with the right hand of Thy power, so that strengthened by the fidelity of Abraham, possessed of the patience of Joshua, inspired with the humility of David, adorned with the wisdom of Solomon, he may be to Thee ever pleasing, and walk evermore without offence in the way of justice, and henceforth in such wise succour, direct, guard and uplift the church of the whole kingdom, and the people belonging thereto, may he administer with puissance and right royally the rule of Thy power against all enemies visible and invisible, may he not abandon his rights over the kingdoms of the Franks, the Burgundians, and of Aquitania, but aided by Thee inspire them with their sometime loyalty so that made glad by the fidelity of all his people, and provided with the helmet of Thy protection, and ever guarded with the invincible buckler, and compassed about with the celestial armies, he may happily triumph over his enemies, cause the infidel to fear his power, and with joy bring peace to those who fight under Thy banner. Adorn him by many a gracious blessing, with the virtues with the which Thou hast enriched Thy faithful ones aforesaid, counsel him richly in the government of the kingdom, and anoint him plenteously with the grace of the Holy Spirit.[7]

The Archbishop, sitting, then anoints the king with the Chrism in the form of a cross on the top of the head, on the breast, between the shoulders, on both shoulders and on the joints of both arms, each time saying:

I anoint thee with the holy oil in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.[7]

And all, within the sound of his voice, each time respond: “Amen”. While this anointing was taking place the choir sang the Antiphon:

Zadok the priest and the prophet Nathan anointed Solomon King in Jerusalem, and did proclaim this right joyfully, saying, May the king live forver.[7]

The Archbishop then said these prayers:

God Almighty anoint Thou this king to the government, as Thou hast anointed those priests, and kings and prophets and martyrs, who by faith have subdued kingdoms, exercised justice, and obtained the promises. May this Thy most holy unction fall upon his head, descend within, and penetrate even unto his very heart, and may he by Thy grace be made worthy of the promises, the which the most famous kings have obtained, so that in all happiness he may reign in this present life, and may be one with them in Thy heavenly kingdom, for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and by virtue of the cross has triumphed over the powers of the air, and has destroyed Hell, and vanquished the kingdom of the Evil One, and is ascended into Heaven as conqueror, to whom belongs all victory and glory and power, and who lives with Thee, and reigns in unity with Thee and the Holy Spirit to all eternity.

O God, the Strength of the Elect, and the uplifter of the humble,who in the beginning didst punish the world with a flood of waters, and didst make known by the dove carrying the bough of olive, that peace was yet anew restored to the earth, and hast with the holy anointing oil consecrate as priest Aaron Thy servant, and by the infusion of this unction hast appointed the priests and kings and prophets to govern the people of Israel, and hast by the prophetic voice of Thy Servant David foretold that with oil should the face of the church be made to shine, so we pray Thee, all-powerful Father, that Thy good pleasure may be sanctified in the blessing of this Thy servant with the oil of this heavenly dove, so that he may bring as did the dove of old, peace to the people committed to his charge. May he follow with diligence the example of Aaron in the service of God, and may he ever attain in his judgments to all that is most excellent in wisdom and equity and with Thy aid, and by the oil of this unction, make him to bring joy to all his people through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May Jesus Christ our Lord and God, and Son of God, who by the Father was anointed with the oil of gladness above all others who are one with Him, by this present infusion of the sacred unction pour upon thy head the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and make it go even unto the innermost recesses of thy heart, so that thou canst by this visible and material gift, perceive the things invisible, and after having with right moderation accomplished the temporal kingdom, mayest thou reign with Him eternally for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.[7]

Then the Archbishop and the assisting priests and deacons the close the silver lachets of the king’s shirt which opened for the anointing.
After this, the king, standing up, was vested in the tunicle, dalmatic and royal mantle, all of ‘azure blue'[7] velvet sprinkled with fleurs-de-lys of gold, representing the three Catholic orders of subdeacon, deacon and priest.[8] by the Grand Chamberlain of France. Kneeling again, the king was anointed in the palms of both hands by the Archbishop with the formula:

Let these hands be anointed with holy oil, as kings and prophets have been anointed and as Samuel did anoint David to be king, that thou mayst be blessed and established as king over this people, whom the Lord, thy God, hath given thee to rule and govern, which he has vouchsafed to grant, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, three in person and one in unity, be blessed and praised, now and for evermore. Amen.[9]

After this the royal gloves are blessed with two prayers (adapted from those used to bless those of a bishop) and are placed upon the king’s hands. Then the ring is blessed with the prayer “Bless, O Lord, and sanctify this ring, etc.” and placed upon the king’s hand with the original French formula, “Receive the ring, etc.” and the prayer “God to whom belongs all power, etc.” Then the scepter is placed into his right hand with the formula “Receive the scepter, the sign of kingly power, etc.” and the prayer “Lord, the fount of all good things, etc.” and the Hand of Justice in his left hand with the form “Receive the Rod of virtue and equity, etc.” Then the peers[10] were summoned by name to come near and assist. The Archbishop of Reims took the Crown of Charlemagne from the altar and says the forms “God crown thee with a crown of glory, etc.”, “Receive this crown, etc.” (a conflation of the old French and the Roman forms) and the prayer, “God of eternity, the Commander of all powers, etc.” set it on the king’s head, while the other eleven peers touched it with their right hands. The Archbishop then says a number of blessings (all of them also found in other coronation rites). After this, the king was lifted up into his throne on the rood screen by the lay peers, as the Archbishop said the words “Stand fast and hold firm the place, etc.” and as the choir sings the antiphon:

Let thy hand be strengthened and your right hand exalted. Let justice and judgment be the preparation of thy Seat and mercy and truth go before thy face.

The Archbishop says the prayer “God, who gave to Moses victory, etc.” and kisses the king with the words “May the king live forever” and his cry is taken up by the peers and all the people present as they acknowledged him as their duly anointed, crowned and enthroned king.

Mass is then said, with the collect “God, who didst visit those who are humble, etc.”, the Epistle is Lev. 26:6-9 and the Gospel is Matthew 22:15-22, the king receiving Holy Communion under both species (bread and wine).[3][11] At the conclusion of the Mass the Oriflamme is blessed.

The king’s return to Paris and his Joyous Entry into the capital through the gate facing the Abbey of St. Denis (i.e., the same exit by which his corpse would later be brought for burial in the same abbey church) completed the inauguration of the French king


3. “Coronation — LoveToKnow 1911”. Retrieved 2008-10-12.

5. The following account is based on that given in Coronation Rites by Reginald D. Maxwell Woolley, B.D. Cambridge University Press, 1915 and from “Pertinent Extracts from the Ceremony of the Sacre” in The Legend of the Ste. Ampoule by Sir Francis Oppenheimer, K.C., M.G., London: Faber & Faber Limited, 24 Russell Square.

6. From 1364 to 1484, this contained a clause in which the king promised to main the rights of the French Crown (i.e., against English claims to the throne of France)

7. Oppenheimer. Translation by Mrs. Kemp-Welsh.

8. Oppenheimer only mentions the dalmatic and royal mantle.

9. Text not given in either Woolley or Oppenheimer. The text quoted is translation of Archbishop Laud for the Coronation of Charles I of England.

10. Francois Velde (2005-10-11). “French Peerage”. 2009-06-20.

11. Le Goff, Jacques (1990). “A Coronation Program for the Age of Saint Louis: The Ordo of 1250”. In Bak, János M. Coronations: Medieval and Early Modern Monarchic Ritual. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved 2008-10-12.

Further Reading:

  • Menin, Nicolas. A Description of the Coronation of the Kings and Queens of France, Printed for S. Hooper, 1775.

A window into the real Marie Antoinette: devoted mother and conscientious queen

Princess Marie Thérèse Charlotte de Bourbon, fille de France, was born at the Palace of Versailles on 19 December 1778 as the first child and eldest daughter of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette.[3] A child was anxiously expected after seven years of her parents’ marriage. Marie Antoinette almost died of suffocation during this birth due to a crowded and unventilated room, but the windows were quickly opened to let fresh air in the room in an attempt to revive her.[3] As a result of the horrible experience, Louis XVI banned public viewing, allowing only close family members and a handful of trusted courtiers to witness the birth of the next royal children.

When she was revived, the Queen greeted her daughter (whom she later nicknamed Mousseline[4]) with delight:

Poor little one, you are not desired, but you will be none the less dear to me! A son would have belonged to the state—you will belong to me.[5]

Marie Antoinette painted with her two eldest children, her firstborn child Princess Marie Therese (1778-1851) and her eldest son and heir the Dauphin Louis Joseph (1781-89). The Queen and her two children are painted here in the Petit Trianon’s gardens at Versailles by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller (1785).

The Princess was baptized on the day of her birth.[6] She was named after the Queen’s mother, the Princess’ maternal grandmother, the reigning Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Her second name, Charlotte, was for her mother’s favourite sister, better known as Maria Carolina of Austria, Queen of Naples.

Marie Thérèse’s household was headed by her governess, the princesse de Guéméné, who later had to resign due to her husband’s bankruptcy and was replaced by one of the queen’s closest friends, the duchesse de Polignac. Louis XVI was an affectionate father, who delighted in spoiling his daughter, while her mother was stricter.

Marie Antoinette was determined that her daughter should not grow up to be as haughty as her husband’s unmarried aunts. She often invited children of lower rank[7] to come and dine with Marie-Thérèse and encouraged the child to give her toys to the poor. In contrast to her image as a materialistic queen who ignored the plight of the poor, Marie Antoinette attempted to teach her daughter about the sufferings of others. On New Year’s Day in 1784, after having some beautiful toys brought to Marie-Thérèse’s apartment, she told her:

I should have liked to have given you all these as New Year’s gifts,but the winter is very hard, there is a crowd of unhappy people who have no bread to eat, no clothes to wear, no wood to make a fire. I have given them all my money; I have none left to buy you presents, so there will be none this year.[8]

Marie-Thérèse was joined by two brothers and a sister, Louis Joseph Xavier François, Dauphin of France, in 1781, Louis-Charles de France, Duke of Normandy in 1785, and Sophie Hélène Béatrix, Madame Sophie, in 1786.[9] As the daughter of the king, she was a fille de France, and as the eldest daughter of the king, she was styled Madame Royale from birth.

Sources on Princess Marie Therese (from Wikipedia):

3. Isabella Frances Romer (1852). Filia dolorosa, memoirs of Marie Thérèse Charlotte, duchess of Angoulême. pp. 4–6

4. Castelot, André (1962). Madame Royale, Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris, chapter Mousseline la sérieuse, p. 13.

5. Thieme, Hugo Paul (1908). Women of Modern France 7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: George Barrie & Sons. Retrieved2013-12-01.

6. Isabella Frances Romer, Filia dolorosa, memoirs of Marie Thérèse Charlotte, duchess of Angoulême. p. 4.

7. Susan Nagel (2009). Marie-Thérèse: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter. Bloomsbury. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7475-9666-0.

8. Campan, Jeanne-Louise-Henriette, Madame. (1823). Mémoires sur la vie de Marie-Antoinette. Paris: Nelson Éditeurs. p. 184.

9. Gregory Fremont-Barnes (2007). Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760-1815: A-L. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-313-33446-7.

Further Reading on Princess Marie Therese Charlotte de France:

Elizabeth I’s last letter to her dying half-brother Edward VI

Letter excerpt from then-Princess Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603) to her dying half-brother King Edward VI (1537-1553, r. 1547-1553).

Princess Elizabeth, second daughter of King Henry VIII, painted in about 1546, a year before her father's death and her half-brother's accession as Edward VI. Formerly attributed to William Scrots (fl. 1537–1554).

Princess Elizabeth, second daughter of King Henry VIII, painted in about 1546, a year before her father’s death and her half-brother’s accession as Edward VI. Formerly attributed to William Scrots (fl. 1537–1554).

This letter was almost certainly written in 1553, when the future Queen of England was 20 years old. Elizabeth’s letter reveals the personal costs behind the power struggles of the troubled Tudor dynasty. She tells her young half-brother, Edward VI, how she had tried to visit him during what would prove his final illness, but had been turned away.

Elizabeth's last known letter to her reigning half-brother King Edward VI.

Elizabeth’s last known letter to her reigning half-brother King Edward VI.

I have transcribed Elizabeth’s letter here (with modernized spelling):

Like as a shipman in stormy weather plucks down the sails tarrying for better wind, so did I, most noble King, in my unfortunate chance a [on] Thursday pluck down the high sails of my joy and cofer [comfort?] and do trust one day that as troublesome wane’s [winds] have repulsed me backward, so a gentle wind will bring me forward to my haven. To chief occasions moved me much and grieved me greatly, the one for that I doubted your Majesty’s health, the other because for all my long tarrying I went without that I came for, of the first I am relieved in a part, both that I understood of your health and also that your Majesty’s lodging is far from my Lord Marque’s chamber, Of my other grief I am not cafed [saved?], but the best is that whatsoever other folks will suspect, I intend not to fear your grace’s goodwill, which as I know that I never disarmed to faint, so I trust will still stick by me. For if your grace’s advice that I should return (whose will is a commandment) had not been, I would not have made the half of my way, the end of my journey. And thus as one desirous to hear of your Majesty’s health though unfortunate to see it I shall pray God for ever to preserve you. From Hatfield this present Saturday.

Your Majesty’s huble [humble] sister to commandment. Elizabeth.

Reflections on a superb article on the differing childhoods of rival queens Mary and Elizabeth

Conor Byrne is a history student at the University of Exeter whose research interests include gender, cultural, and social history. His excellent blog focuses on historical issues but also touches upon contemporary political and social events. 

The Creation of Anne Boleyn, a fascinating website maintained by controversial feminist author Susan Bordo and her former research assistant Natalie Sweet, republished this incisive short article by Conor Byrne, a graduate of the British University of Exeter, who maintains a superb blog here.

I would urge you to read Mr Byrne’ essay in its entirety. It is very well done. I offer but one small correction to this otherwise excellent article:

Byrne writes that
John Knox, the vehement Scottish Protestant preacher, opined in his The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women, attacking the rule of female monarchs such as Mary Tudor and Mary of Guise and published in 1558, that female rule was contrary to Biblical law.
Knox did indeed write this 1558 polemical treatise, which he published in exile at Geneva, arguing that, as Byrne notes, “female rule was contrary to Biblical law”. The treatise was all well and good for him when Scotland and England were both ruled by Catholic queens he despised, but in November 1558 his enemy Mary Tudor, first queen regnant of England, died, leaving her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth as monarch. While Elizabeth should have been a natural political ally to Knox, she took tremendous umbrage at his scathing treatise, which has the worst possible timing of release, and refused to treat with him. Mr Byrne’s one error here is his description of Mary of Guise as a “monarch” alongside England’s first queen regnant, Mary I Tudor.
While it is common enough to refer to both a king and his queen consort as “monarchs”, this is factually incorrect. In a royal marriage, the monarch is the sovereign, he or she to whom the throne has passed and in whom sovereignty resides. His or her consort is the royal spouse, the husband or wife of the monarch. The indomitable Queen Marie de Guise (1515-1560), a widow before her second marriage to the also widowed King James V of Scots (1512-1542) and mother to Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587), was not a monarch, a queen regnant in her own right. She was a queen consort as the wife of her sovereign husband and then, after his December 1542 death when their only surviving daughter Mary as only six days old, Marie de Guise remained a dowager queen of Scotland and Queen Mother (the mother of the reigning monarch) until her own death in 1560.
Born to Claude de Guise (1496-1550), duc de Lorraine, and his intelligent wife Antoinette de Bourbon (1493-1583), in 1534, at 18, Marie married Louis II d’Orléans (1510-37), duc de Longueville and comte de Dunois (1). Theirs was a happy marriage, but short-lived; the Duke did in 1537, leaving Marie a young, pregnant widow (she had given birth to a son, Francois, in October 1535, and after Louis’ death gave birth to a son, Louis, who lived for only four months). (2)
Detailed oil painting showing James V, King of Scots, and his second wife Queen Marie de Guise, daughter of Claude, duc de Lorraine and head of the powerful House of Guise.

Detailed oil painting showing James V, King of Scots, and his second wife Queen Marie de Guise, daughter of Claude, duc de Lorraine and head of the powerful House of Guise.

Beautiful stone engraving showing Marie de Guise's coat of arms as Queen (consort and then regent) of Scotland. She is referred to as Maria of Lorraine because she was born in Lorraine, where her father Claude was Duke and Head of the House of Guise. Her arms and those of Lorraine are quartered with the Scottish royal lion, her husband and daughter's royal standard.

Beautiful stone engraving showing Marie de Guise’s coat of arms as Queen (consort and then regent) of Scotland. She is referred to as Maria of Lorraine because she was born in Lorraine, where her father Claude was Duke and Head of the House of Guise. Her arms and those of Lorraine are quartered with the Scottish royal lion, her husband and daughter’s royal standard.

Marie married James V of Scots, Henry VIII’s nephew, in May 1538. Prior to this triumph, when the widowed Henry was looking for a new queen after Jane Seymour’s death, he sent representatives to propose marriage to the widowed Marie, then the dowager duchess of Longueville. Marie was all too aware of the fate that had befallen Anne Boleyn less than two years earlier. Anne had quipped before her May 1536 execution that the Calais swordsman should find beheading her easy because “I have a little neck”. Keeping this in mind, Marie responded to the King’s envoys with words that must have mortified them: “I may be a big woman, but I have a very little neck”. (3)
After her husband’s premature death following his nervous collapse in the wake of the decisive English defeat of the Scots at Solway Moss, Marie struggled to keep her infant daughter safe from various conspiracies that sought to control the baby queen regnant and, thus, to control Scotland through her. (4) After initially being excluded from power, Marie de Guise governed in her daughter’s stead as the official Regent of Scotland from 1554-60 with strong French support against the English who had been attacking Scotland since late 1543. (5) Marie insisted on being personally present to watch the siege at Haddington, and was nearly killed when English cannons fired upon the Scottish position, killing many in her entourage. (6). Under Henry VIII’s ‘Rough Wooing’, the English devastated Scotland, seeking to force the young Queen Mary to be sent to England and marry Henry’s heir, Prince Edward, uniting Scotland and England with Edward as king of both kingdoms (the opposite of what ended up happening in 1603 when Marie de Guise’s grandson James VI inherited the English throne as James I). Scotland’s reigning Queen regnant was just a child at the time, and Marie strategically sent her daughter to France in August 1548 to marry into and secure an alliance with the royal Valois House of France to strengthen then-Catholic Scotland’s position with the French against the English. (7). Henry VIII, who had twice sought Marie’s hand in marriage, was furious: he had earned the hatred of the Scots and his sought-after prize, his great-niece the child Queen Mary, had eluded him and gone to ally with France, his main rival.
In 1558-59 — right when Marie’s daughter Queen Mary married the Dauphin Francois of France and became, in 1559, queen consort of France — violent Calvinist-inspired iconoclastic mobs began destroying and ransacking Catholic shrines and churches across Scotland. (8) Popular anger linked the Queen Regent’s French political and military support — including the presence of French troops in key bastions — with anti-Catholic sentiment, and the ‘Lairds of the Congregation’, a group of leading Protestant lords, sought English support from Elizabeth I to remove Marie de Guise from power. Elizabeth’s natural religious sympathies and political desire to see a Protestant Scotland free of French Catholic soldiers were buttressed by her her offence at Mary, Queen of Scots’ naive provocation of quartering her and her husband Francois’ royal arms with those of England after Mary Tudor’s death in November 1558. Henri II of France, Mary’s father-in-law, had publicly proclaimed his son and daughter-in-law King and Queen of England, since most Catholics regarded the Scottish queen regnant as the rightful heir to the English throne after Mary Tudor, seeing Elizabeth as unacceptable due to her bastard status and her religion.
Portrait of James Stewart (Stuart), Earl of Moray, by Hans Eworth. He served as Regent for his half-nephew, James VI, Mary Queen of Scots' son, from her forced abdication in 1567 til his assassination in 1570.

Portrait of James Stewart (Stuart), Earl of Moray, by Hans Eworth. He served as Regent for his half-nephew, James VI, Mary Queen of Scots’ son, from her forced abdication in 1567 til his assassination in 1570.

Despite the Queen Regent’s best attempts to suppress it, the Calvinist-inspired Scottish Reformation was underway with strong English support; Marie de Guise combated it diligently, even offering a degree of religious toleration in the Articles of Leith as a means to avoid further bloodshed. (9). Bolstered by French arms, the Queen Regent maintained control of most of the key Scottish fortresses, and by late 1559 the Protestants were dreading their imminent defeat. Despite Elizabeth sending an English fleet to the Firth of Forth in January 1560, temporarily forcing the French to withdraw to Leith, Marie retained control of Edinburgh Castle and, with it, the Scottish capital. (10).
By early spring, however, Marie’s health began to fail: she succumbed to dropsy (edema), with which she diagnosed herself, in June 1560, devastating her daughter in France, whose husband, the frail King Francois, would die in December, leaving Mary a bereft widow just before her eighteenth birthday. Some of Marie’s French and Scottish Catholic supporters believed she had been poisoned on either Queen Elizabeth’s orders or by her late husband’s Protestant illegitimate son James Stuart, the Earl of Moray (who ultimately cooperated and helped organise her daughter Mary, his half-sister’s, forced abdication in 1567, ruling Scotland as regent afterward ). Most modern historians believe Queen Marie died of natural causes (dropsy/edema). As per her wishes, after the situation began to stabilise in Scotland, Marie’s remains were removed from Edinburgh Castle and transported to France, where in March 1561 the Scottish Queen, by then already widowed and thus a dowager queen of France, attended her mother’s June funeral along with a host of Guise relatives and French royalty. Marie de Guise was buried at the Convent of Saint Pierre in Reims, where her sister Renée was abbess.
Compared to her own politically ineffective daughter, Marie is generally regarded as a much more effective and capable ruler in Scotland. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Mary Queen of Scots’ immensely tragic life was that her mother sent her to France for her own safety from the English, and thus Mary did not have the enormous political education of growing up close to her politically capable mother and seeing her govern Scotland with wisdom, fortitude, and, when needed, the ruthlessness which Mary herself never proved able to use in wielding power. Whereas her cousin and rival Queen Elizabeth grew up witnessing the example of her father’s sixth queen Catherine Parr serving as regent in England during Henry’s last French campaign (and thus Elizabeth developed a powerful personal and psychological impression of women’s capabilities at ruling in their husbands’ absence), Mary instead grew up at the Valois French court where all political power derived either from a very much male king (the womanising Henri II) or from women’s ability to clandestinely influence their husbands or lovers (especially the strong influence exerted over Henri’s long-term official mistress, Diane de Poitiers). Thus, while Mary showed a willingness to refer in her numerous letters to her “absolute” status as a queen regnant, she never seems to have learned how to effectively wield power and establish herself as supreme or even predominant over Scotland’s factious noble clans who were even more riven by the Catholic-Protestant religious divide. As I expand upon in my essay here, Mary was never able to conceptualize her own power apart from that which a husband could give her; in contrast, Mary’s own mother, like Elizabeth, learned firsthand the reality of what it meant to exercise power in the absence of a husband.

Apart from her bitter enemy Knox, the preeminent leader of the Scottish Reformation, historians have generally regarded Marie de Guise favourably. Historian Rosalind K. Marshall says that “her biographers, Strickland in the nineteenth century, McKerlie and Marshall in the twentieth, [have] been unanimous in praising her intelligence and fortitude”. In evaluating her life, Marshall observes that:

Sacrificing her own comfort, interests, and ultimately her life, Mary of Guise had fought a long, desperate, and, in the end, hopeless struggle to preserve Scotland as a pro-French, Roman Catholic nation for her daughter….Charming, highly intelligent, and hard-working, with a diplomatic manner and an ability to fight on regardless of hostility, disappointment, and ill health, Mary was never merely a pawn of the French king.

End Notes:

  1. Wood, Marguerite, ed., Balcarres Papers: The French Correspondence of Marie de Lorraine, vol. 1, Scottish History Society (1923), p. 228, c. 1542.
  2. Marshall, Rosalind K, Mary of Guise, Collins, (1977), 36–39: Wood, Marguerite, ed., Balcarres Papers, vol. 1, SHS (1923), 1.
  3. Fraser, Antonia, Mary Queen of Scots, Weidenfield & Nicholson, (1969), 7.
  4. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 9 (1911), 195.
  5. Ritchie, Pamela, Mary of Guise, Tuckwell Press, Ltd. (2002), 94
  6. Calendar of State Papers Spain, vol. 9 (1912), 569: Teulet, A., ed., Relations politiques de la France et de l’Espagne avec l’Écosse au XVIe siècle, vol. 1 (1862), 220-221
  7. Marshall, Mary of Guise, 175.
  8. Ritchie, Pamela, Mary of Guise, 205–207.
  9. Magnus Magnusson, Scotland: the Story of a Nation (New York: Grove Press, 2000) p. 337.
  10. Ibid.

Further Reading (besides the sources above):

  • Lee, Patricia-Ann (1990). “A Bodye Politique to Governe: Aylnter, Knox and the Debate on Queenship”. The Historian 52 (2): 242. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.1990.tb00780.x.
  • Healey, Robert M.; et al. (1994). “Waiting for Deborah: John Knox and Four Ruling Queens”. The Sixteenth Century Journal 25 (2): 371–386.doi:10.2307/2542887. JSTOR 2542887.
  • Fitzsimmons, Tracy (2000). “A Monstrous Regiment of Women? State, Regime, and Women’s Political Organizing in Latin America”. Latin American Research Review 35 (2): 216–229. JSTOR 2692141.
  • Brammall, Kathryn M. (1996). “Monstrous Metamorphosis: Nature, Morality, and the Rhetoric of Monstrosity in Tudor England”. The Sixteenth Century Journal 27 (1): 3–21. doi:10.2307/2544266. JSTOR 2544266.
  • Richards, Judith M. (1997). “‘To Promote a Woman to Beare Rule’: Talking of Queens in Mid-Tudor England”. The Sixteenth Century Journal 28 (1): 101–121. doi:10.2307/2543225. JSTOR 2543225.
  • Felch, Susan M. (1995). “The Rhetoric of Biblical Authority: John Knox and the Question of Women”. The Sixteenth Century Journal 26 (4): 805–822.doi:10.2307/2543787. JSTOR 2543787.
  • Kyle, Richard G. (1988). “The Church-State Patterns in the Thought of John Knox”. Journal of Church and State 30 (1): 71–87. doi:10.1093/jcs/30.1.71.
  • Abernethy, Susan. “Marie of Guise, Queen of Scotland”. The Freelance History Writer. 1 October 2012. Accessed 11 November 2015.
  • Abernethy, Susan. “Antoinette of Bourbon, Duchess of Guise”. The Freelance History Writer. 17 May 2013. Accessed 11 November 2015.
  • Abernethy, Susan. “Claude, Duke of Guise”. The Freelance History Writer. 24 August 2012. Accessed 11 November 2015.

Insight into the poor state of catechism among many Novus Ordo Catholics

Examining a poorly [non] catechised Roman Catholic friend’s critique of the 2011 changes to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass (also known as the Mass of Pope Paul VI or the “Novus Ordo Missae”, the New Order of Mass):

A typical Novus Ordo Mass (Mass of Pope Paul VI). Note the celebration is versus populam (

A typical Novus Ordo Mass (Mass of Pope Paul VI). Note the celebration is versus populam (“facing the people”) as opposed to ad orientem (“to the east”).

In January 2012, my friend Malinda (Mindy) Nafziger published this piece which she titled “The New Mass: Anti-Catholic Ideals?” on her blog Cor Ad Cor Loquitur (“Heart Speaks to Heart). She is a very kind person who, prior to graduating, was active in the Roman Catholic Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form) choir at American University. She taught Sunday school for a number of years, having been blessed by her parish priest to do so. She is someone who is always there for her friends, and in critiquing her piece, I keep that in mind. Here is the post in question:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The New Mass: Anti-Catholic Ideals?

Hey there everyone. As you all know, I studied abroad last semester and have been away from this blog because of that. I’m writing today about the new changes to the Catholic mass. After you read this, I would love your comments!
I have several issues with the new translation of the mass. The way we went about making the changes hurt the cause of being the universal church we claim to be. Let’s start with the beginning. The priest says “the Lord be with you” as a form of greeting to the congregation. The logical thing to say when someone gives such a greeting is “you too” or, as it were, “and also with you.” We once believed as Catholics that the priest was our advocate, and therefore one of us. Human. With the change to “and with your spirit,” we place the priest on a different level. He is no longer our advocate, but a different spiritual being we cannot comprehend or relate with on a personal level.
The changes don’t stop there. The Penitential Rite places Catholic guilt out in the open. “through my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault”?! We get it. We have found fault with the Lord.  We don’t need to repeat the fact that we sinned through our own fault a hundred times to feel bad for what we’ve done. Doing so makes it seem like we are hopeless for our own salvation. Christians supposedly believe in hope and salvation for all people equally through Jesus. This guilty rambling seems to say “salvation for the worthy but not for me, I’m too guilty.” but even this isn’t the biggest flaw in the new mass.
When I have talked to people about the new mass and mentioned my final argument as to why it’s not Catholic, many people have not even noticed this change. When the priest lifts the cup and is telling the story of the Last Supper, he used to say “…this is the cup of my blood, … It will be shed for you and for ALL so that sins will be forgiven.” Now, the words are “…this is the chalice of my blood, … It will be shed for you and for MANY for the forgiveness of sins.” MANY?! What?! Not the Jesus I know. Not the Jesus I learned and taught about in Sunday school. Jesus didn’t pick and choose who to die for and who to leave to rot in hell. He died so we wouldn’t. I asked a priest about this, who shall remain nameless, and he said “well, this is implying that some people won’t get in.” Sorry, father. I don’t believe in that. And neither should this church. I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t change His mind on us from heaven this last year. “Catholic” means “universal.” It’s time we started acting like it.
Here is my response:

Hi Mindy,
Thanks for your thoughtful post. I hope you’ll let me share my own thoughts here.

You write, “Catholic” means “universal.”” It actually doesn’t. Just to give you the context of where I’m coming from, I took a semester of biblical Greek at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh Divinity School.
During my studies there, I learned that the word “universal” is a really inaccurate Latin corruption which evidently didn’t translate the original Greek well. κατα ολος, “Kata holos”, is a Greek composite (katholikos) which means ‘according to the whole”, literally “by the total”. This refers to the wholeness, the internal unity and truth, of the orthodox (correct) faith.
Catholic doesn’t mean “universal” as in something that applies to everyone. Rather, it specifically refers to the wholeness and internal unity of the faith of the early Church as those beliefs held by orthodox (right-believing) Christians against the early heretics. This is why the first Church ecumenical councils were called, and why the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed was produced (AD 325-381): as a rebuttal to several major Christological heresies. Thus, the statement of faith is just that: it’s intended as a proclamation of our beliefs, the most basic teachings of the Church.
You also mention that you don’t like the reintroduction of “And with your spirit” in the people’s response to the priest. This response was used exclusively for the entirety of the Church’s history before the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae in English. “And with your spirit” is still used in all non-English language Catholic liturgies today. “Y con tu espiritu”, “E con tuo spirito”, etc.
The Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians around the world also use only “And with your spirit”. So actually, the response “And also with you” is something that *only* English-speaking Catholics used, along with mainline Protestant denominations. Why is this, that the Ordinary Form of the Catholic Mass in English started using a Protestant-inspired response to the priest’s greeting of peace? You may not know this, but the Vatican Commission that was charged with implementing the New Order Mass in English-speaking countries had several Protestants on it who served in an advising capacity.

So if you want to talk about the universal witness of the Church, the response “and also with you” is a departure from that universal witness. You contend that “The logical thing to say when someone gives such a greeting is “you too” or, as it were, “and also with you.” While that is correct in ordinary day conversation (“peace dude!”), the Eucharist is not an ordinary experience– at least, it’s not meant to be. A priest isn’t just a guy you say “you too” to, or else, what is the point of having priests? (This falls into the Lutheran argument of the ‘priesthood of all believers’).

You write, “We once believed as Catholics that the priest was our advocate, and therefore one of us.” The priest very much is still our advocate, which is why, when we wish peace to his spirit, we are honoring in him his dignity as a priest, a servant of God set apart by his ordination, as someone whose soul is wrapped up in love of God and love for us.

It is your view that “With the change to “and with your spirit,” we place the priest on a different level. He is no longer our advocate, but a different spiritual being we cannot comprehend.” I’m very surprised by these words, since I actually feel the opposite. By referencing the spirit of the priest, we are reminded that all existence has a spiritual dimension.

If you respond “and also with you”, this greeting basically implies that the priest is just another “guy”, and this casualness reduces the reverence offered to God by the respect we give to the office of the priest who offers the Eucharistic sacrifice with the people (laos) for the whole Church, living and departed.

By wishing peace to your priest’s spirit, you are actually addressing a much higher spiritual dimension than you would by saying “and also with you”, which, colloquially, could be substituted with “You too, buddy!”

You’re in the Mass, the divine liturgy where bread and wine are miraculously, mysteriously transformed into Christ’s body and blood. When we partake of the Eucharist, thus, we imbibe Christ, we partake directly of our Saviour. In this atmosphere, to me at least, why would we not speak only in a spiritual mindset, when we are in the direct presence of our God?

Just some food for thought.

Peace in Christ,


Reflecting on this exchange with my old friend, I am struck by something: the near complete contrast or separation between the “Spirit of Vatican II” as manifested through my friend’s words, and what the documents of Vatican II, even in their vagueness, authorize, recommend, and insist upon. There is no conclusive evidence that the Council Fathers at Vatican II wanted to create the Novus Ordo Mass.  Vatican II documents stressed the importance of maintaining Latin in the Mass and the “Pride of Place” of Gregorian Chant.  There are no documents dedicated to removing the sacredness and the breaking of the continuity with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of all ages.  But because of the ambiguous wording, modernists and “progressive” Catholics were emboldened and the liturgical revolution happened. It is immensely disturbing to many Orthodox that these abuses and alterations took place at all, but what is most disturbing is that many of these alterations were explicitly blessed by Pope Paul VI when he published the Novus Ordo Missae. It is telling that the New Mass of Pope Paul VI (published in 1969) came four years after the closing of the Second Vatican Council (1965); the Council never authorized the development of a new rite, yet it was done all the same with full papal blessing.

In practice, and as my friend’s words reveal, the Novus Ordo Missae, as normally and most commonly celebrated, has unfortunately incorporated and allowed for a variety of Protestant theological elements, especially in the atmosphere of the worship and the sheer scale and scope of so many ancient prayers greatly simplified or entirely omitted. Eucharistic Prayer II, in the New Mass, can be said by all the people and priest together as if they were all concelebrating the mass together like Protestants believe. The community becomes very important at the expense of the priest’s sacredness as a “set apart” ordained minister of Christ and at the expense of emphasizing the oblational nature of the Mass. In contrast to this imbalance in the Novus Ordo, the Orthodox Divine Liturgy carefully maintains the sacrificial language of the Eucharist while making clear that everything that is offered is in the third person plural, a communal, corporate offering in which the clergy and laity alike supplicate God and offer to Him “this spotless, unbloody sacrifice”– e.g. the use of phrases such as “We offer thee…”, “We praise thee”, “We worship thee”.  A notable departure from the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass and earlier Roman rites is that in the Mass of Pope Paul VI the ancient Roman prayers of purification and absolution at the foot of the altar are entirely missing, and, similarly, there is no absolution of sins given by the priest at the beginning of the Mass; now, everyone says it together with the priest. Thus, it becomes unclear in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite: just who is doing the absolving? Before, only the celebrating priest or bishop pronounced the absolution because only a priest or bishop acting in Jesus’ place and by His grace and authority can absolve sins. Instead, today in the Novus Ordo, the celebrating priest says these prayers with the people, implying that lay people have a role in effecting their own absolution without the sacramental grace conferred by a priest or bishop.

While, on one hand, the communal nature of the Eucharist tends to be over-emphasized in the New Roman Mass, the sacrificial aspect of the Mass has been deliberately well hidden. The ancient Roman marble or stone altars of sacrifice bearing relics of saints were removed and a wooden table/altar is used often without any relics of the saints built into the altar. Our Orthodox practice of requiring an antimension to be placed upon every altar — into which relics of saints are sewn along with the local bishop’s signature conferring his approval of the altar for Eucharistic oblations — helps us avoid such tragedies as the use of unconsecrated altars. Canon II of the Mass of Paul VI has only one word that implies the idea of sacrifice and instead a “community meal” gathering has been emphasized. Before the New Mass, people understood that the Holy Mass was Calvary re-made present among us, truly a holy oblation, as we Orthodox understand our Divine Liturgy.

My biggest concern with the Mass of Paul VI/Novus Ordo is how it represents such a rupture in the historical and liturgical life of the Roman Church. Liturgy develops very gradually over a long period of time. The Holy Liturgies of antiquity were inspired by God and handed down (traditio) through the generations; in contrast, the Mass of Paul VI was created in an extremely brief period. True liturgy passes and carries on from generation to generation by adding and subtracting small elements over centuries and centuries; in contrast, the New Mass marked a huge rupture from organic Catholic tradition as it was essentially created by the Concilium and Pope Paul VI.  His Mass is a clear breach with the past; truly divine liturgies alter slowly and gradually over time, and are not created in a short span of time by men.

As one Catholic friend of mine said to me earlier today, “many individual Catholics – especially in the Americas and Europe – have been tainted by the liberal theologians that have distorted Catholic teaching since the 1960s. Also – lex orandi, lex credendi – with so many OF Masses not being done according to rubrics, the loss of piety, etc. – many individual Catholics do not believe what the Church teaches. I have no idea, of course, how many Orthodox are afflicted by this, but I’m guessing it’s a smaller percentage.”

Why I am a monarchist

“Loyalty to a doctrine ends in adherence to the interpretation we give it. Only loyalty to a person frees us from all self-complacency.”
-Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913 – 1994), aka “Don Colacho”

I am a monarchist, wishing that the Queen of the United Kingdom still reigned over this country. Had the United States lost or only partially won the Revolution, we would have become a Dominion of the United Kingdom, in much similar way to how Canada did — and much bloodshed would have been avoided.

Pietro Annigoni - Queen Elizabeth II, 1954-5.

Pietro Annigoni – Queen Elizabeth II, 1954-5.

Why am I a monarchist? Above all else, because I am an Orthodox Christian and a careful student of Christian theology, both Eastern and Western, Church history, and European history. My areas of specialisation are the Classical Greeks and Romans, Late Antiquity, Byzantium, medieval and early modern Britain, Renaissance Italy, early modern and Imperial Russia, and the British Empire. Aside from being a purely academic interest, I am fundamentally of the belief that monarchy constitutes the ideal form of human governance and have an abiding conviction that monarchy offers the best form of government known to mankind. Monarchies have existed for the entirety of known human civilisations, while democracy originates in Athens in only the sixth century BC, the Roman republic from the same period, and communism and fascism are both less than 150 years old (and already rightfully and widely completely discredited).

I believe, and thousands of years of history have shown, that a man or woman instructed from youth in the art of government, a person who is trained from childhood to see their rule as a sacred duty, a solemn service, and a public stewardship rather than an earned right, governs more benignly, sincerely, capably, and nobly than someone who has either taken power through brute force, violent revolution, or contested elections. Democratic elections are an extraordinary thing in that they propose that, upon being elected, a politician who has previously been partisan, divisive, and factious will somehow, almost magically, cease to be partisan, divisive, and factious upon taking office. I believe it is the very height of naivete to believe that a popularly elected, partisan politician can somehow serve as a supra-political, unifying figure.

My views are closest to those of the “High Tory” tradition in Britain, or, a distant second, the “Red Tory” one in Canada. In terms of political influences, besides Plato, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, and the Christian Scriptures and writings of the Eastern Church Fathers, I have been most strongly influenced by the writings of Edmund Burke MP, Antoine de Rivarol, and Count Joseph de Maistre (anti-French Revolution) and then, in the twentieth century, the writings of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Roger Scruton, and Russell Kirk.

The tomb of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in the royal Basilica of Saint Denis outside Paris.

The tomb of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in the royal Basilica of Saint Denis outside Paris.

Along with several monarchist friends, I administer the “Monarchists” group on Facebook, which you are welcome to join., the Moscow Stretensky Monastery’s online publication, has published a number of my pieces on monarchy and Church history, including this essay “In This Great Service” in defense of monarchy. I wrote it from a theistic perspective generally, a Christian one more specifically, and an Orthodox one in particular.

Here are some quotes relevant to my political beliefs.

1. “The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”
– Russell Kirk

2. “There are some people, nevertheless — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe.”
– G.K. Chesterton

3. “Monarchy can easily be debunked, but watch the faces, mark well the debunkers. . . Even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”
– C. S. Lewis

4. “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils — no, nor the human race, as I believe — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.”
– Plato

5. “We enemies of universal suffrage never cease to be surprised by the enthusiasm aroused by the election of a handful of incapable men by a heap of incompetent men.”
– Nicolás Gómez Dávila

6. “The voter does not even vote for what he wants; he only votes for what he thinks he wants.”

7. “Our society insists on electing its rulers so that an accident of birth, or the whim of a monarch, will not suddenly deliver power into the hands of an intelligent man.”

8. “Humanity is not ungovernable: it merely happens that rarely does a man govern who deserves to govern.”

9. “Politics is the art of searching for the best relationship between force and ethics.”

10. “Political science is the art of quantifying the amount of freedom man can handle and the amount of servitude he needs.”

11. “Democratic elections decide who may be oppressed legally.”


12. “The absolute ruler may be a Nero, but he is sometimes Titus or Marcus Aurelius; the people is often Nero, and never Marcus Aurelius.”
– Antoine de Rivarol

The double-headed Romanov imperial eagle, inspired by and adapted from the Christian Roman empire (Constantinople).

The double-headed Romanov imperial eagle, inspired by and adapted from the Christian Roman empire (Constantinople).

Here is a list of recommended monarchist reading materials: