Translator's Note: Here is the translation of the 22nd missionary letter of St Nikolai Velimirović expressing his thoughts on the Sino-Japanese war during the thirties. About St Nikolai one can get the impression that he was very well versed in Classical Chinese literature, and generally it is known that he had a profound interest and sympathy for the Asian peoples. Often in his works you can find scattered quotations of Confucius and Laozi, and among his missionary letters I saw one in which he sympathetically commented on the campaigns of Gandhi in India.
St Nikolai Velimirović

Letter 22


I must admit, I was bewildered by your comments concerning the ongoing war between the Chinese and the Japanese. You say: “The danger of war is being put away from Europe. The war is taken to the other side of the world, where, when it is night, we over here are enjoying daylight”. And you even rejoice, predicting a peace to Europe.

How can this peace of yours be sweet to you while you are hearing about a raging war among people anywhere in the world? Can you really enjoy your meals and drinks, your parties and the cinema, jokes and laughter when you extend your thoughts to the fields of Manchuria and look at those frozen, blood tainted, hungry, miserable people, who are offspring of the same forefather, as it is the case with your own people and yourself, for that matter? Every evening you listen to the crap from the radio, and you think you are becoming ever wiser because of it! The most important thing which could be communicated to you by the radio these days is the cry of the thousands of wounded men and the howl of the dying people, as well as the sobbing of the mothers, the widows and the children in two great realms of humanity. All of them are people just like you, living souls, thirsty for life and happiness. Above them shines the same sun as it does above you. They too are watched by the tearful eye of God, just like you.  

Therefore, it is not time for rejoicing, but for mourning. And this shouldn’t be mourning of one or two persons, but mourning of all the peoples, tribes and countries. When the rulers of Europe proclaim a public mourning in honor of the death of a Savoy or Bourbon prince, how are they forgetting to announce mourning for the violent death of thousands and thousands of human beings, who in the eyes of their Creator are all princes? Could have peoples of Europe been more enlightened, they would have immediately proclaimed nation wide public mourning for any war happening in whatsoever part of the globe. They would have closed all the taverns, dancing halls, casinos and cinemas and would have banned all wild parties during the time when bloodshed is going on among brothers and neighbors. Oh, just how would heavens rejoice if the Slavs where the first who could practice this!?

Probably you will have a good laugh over the things I am writing to you. I know, Pilate would have laughed too. But I know for certain, Christ would not have laughed.

And concerning your prediction, that Europe has ensured its peace because the flames of war have burst far away from it, take your caution. Do not believe neither to yourself neither to your prophecy! When the wood is burning in one of its ends, couldn’t the wind just take the flames to the other too?

Peace and mercy to you from God.     

Translated into English by Igor Radev from the original Serbian:

22. Писмо, Пензионеру Који на Свој Начин Тумачи Кинеско – Јапански Рат (стр. 32-33),
Епископ Николај,
Мисионарска Писма,
Православна Општина ЛИНЦ, Линц – Аустрија, 2001.