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A Southern Legacy

In all Eastern Orthodox Churches, this troparion or prayer is spoken or sung frequently in worship: “O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.  Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.”

This ancient prayer was, one might say, a “national anthem” that was offered on all public occasions in the Christian empires of Byzantium and Russia.  It originally petitioned God to save the people, to grant victory in war, and to preserve the empire by virtue of the Cross of Jesus Christ.  Today, this prayer is spiritualized as the “adversaries” become both the Devil and his armies and the spiritually wicked and sinful people who flaunt God’s law and tempt Eastern Orthodox Christians.  This prayer presents in microcosm the true nature of God, man, and the Christian sense of place.  It illustrates God’s love for man, man’s need for God to save him from himself, and God’s salvation of man by putting him in a place where he can fulfill his destiny to love and serve God by loving and serving his neighbor.

We need to recover that God-given model and blessed result of living in a community.  This model existed in the antebellum American South.  A study of that last Christian civilization on the North American continent offers a way to reestablish a Christian...

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