Monday, December 04, 2006

A World Split Apart

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an Orthodox Christian writer, delivered the commencement address to the Harvard University graduating class of 1978. He had won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. In 1974 the Communists deported him from his beloved Russia. The speech he delivered at Harvard on June 8, 1978, entitled, A World Split Apart, describes the decline of Western culture. His words remind us about the connection between our present cultural sickness and our loss of spirituality. I find his words inspiring. They remind me of how critical Orthodox Christian spirituality is to the healing and renewal of American culture.

"If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era. This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but -- upward." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart

The text of the speech, A World Split Apart, is available on the Columbia University website or at The National Review Online.

You can listen to a recording of the original speech (including the original English translation from Russian) at the American Rhetoric site.

Read more about Alexander Solzhenitsyn at

The photo from Wikipedia is in the public domain.