There's a new saint in Russia, a martyr in the war with Chechnya. The New York Times had it on the front page today, and I'd do the linky thing, but I have no mad html skilz, and there you are.
I find it astonishing, though, that the icons of this martyr feature him in full fatigues, AK in hand, and, as is traditional, haloed. I am fascinated by the ability of the cult of the saints to give devout Catholic and Othodox Christians the symbols they need in the moment to encapsulate their feelings about -- well, about pretty much anything. That's why I've falling into studying it for a living. But I do have to kind of blink when the image involved is so clearly aggressive.
Let me step out of my scholarly-analytical mode, which comprehends everything because of context, and into my hippe-pacifist-religious-philosophy mode, which clings to basic concepts of human dignity, and say this: carry an AK into Chechnya for Jesus? That's some fucked up shit right there.
I do feel very sad for his mother, though. She claims his icon weeps perfume to warn her when impending travel is dangerous. It's sad that she has nothing and no one better to care for her, to protect her.