This article originally appeared on a new site about the Christian renaissance in Russia: Russian Faith. Their introductory video is at end of this article. You can also take a new Poll at Russian Faith to vote on the next Hero in the Series!
This article is part of the series ‘Russian Christian Military Heroes’, which illustrates the close interrelationship of the church, state, and military in Russian history. In contrast to the uniquely American idea that it is best to keep church and state separate, Russians believe the opposite – that this is, in fact, harmful, and that society is best served by a close cooperation, poetically described as a ‘symphony.’
Weigh anchor, and raise the Saint Andrew’s Cross of the Russian Fleet, it’s time to sail back into history, with this latest Russian Hero’s tale. Amongst his feats, this Hero can boast over 40 battles without tasting defeat; this is Fyodor Ushakov, Admiral of the Russian Fleet.
Admiral Saint Ushakov, was a contemporary of Admiral Lord Nelson, however unlike his British counterpart, Ushakov was never defeated in over 40 battles, oh…and did I mention he once inflicted 2000 casualties without taking more than thirty?
His talent was so great that the famous British Vice-Admiral was to be put under his command during the joint siege at Malta, to the ire of Nelson, who later sabotaged the alliance.
Ushakov was canonized not for his military heroism, that alone does not qualify for canonization—it was instead, how he preserved the spirit of a true Christian in the horrible conditions of battle, always risking and ready to sacrifice his life for those under his command.
While we will discuss his faith, let us first establish that Saints were not magical superhumans without sin, they were normal people like you or I, who obtained Holiness and oneness with God, and to understand them, we must look at the normal aspects of their life.
Saint Fyodor Ushakov was born into a family of petite nobility, in the village of Burnakovo, in the ancient Yaroslavl region, around 150 km north of Moscow. According to Pravoslavie.ru:
“His birthday, February 13th, falls between the commemoration days of two warrior-martyrs—Fyodor Stratilat, and Fyodor Tiron.”
If that is not an omen that Fyodor Ushakov was destined to be a Hero, I don’t know what is. As it was in the story of many Saints, his parents were religious people of profound faith, who set the early Christian values which he would accept as he grew in the Orthodox way. According to Pravoslavie.ru:
“He was baptized in the Church of the Epiphany-on-the-Isle, as if receiving from above a blessing to “serve on water.”
Learning humility form his uncle, a monk, this young nobleman spent much time with the common folk, giving him a strength and understanding of the stark realities of the world, unlike sheltered Western aristocrats, who (literally and legally), purchased their military ranks.
By age 14 he was fully capable of hunting Russian bears, and he entered the Naval College two years later ,graduating as a midshipman in 1765.
He spent his early naval career learning how to survive the cold of the northern seas, and quickly distinguished himself as a worthy sailor. He learned tricks from the older sailors you can not learn in schools, as the old Russian military maxim holds true “The best practices are passed down by the survivors – there is no better practice than surviving the real thing.”
Ushakov learned one of the most important military rules of all – how to be flexible.
He took this flexibility with him the rest of his life, fluid as the waves of the sea and strong like the first of a tsunami. He was the Champion of the Black Sea.
These beautiful pink lakes in Crimea are not far from the site of some of his greatest battles.
When Russia liberated what is now Southern Ukraine from the Ottoman-Turkish rule, he guarded the coasts of what was then “New Russia”.
One of his most lasting and peaceful contributions to Russian and Ukrainian history was when he oversaw the construction of two significant naval bases at Kherson the Old and Kherson the New.
Ancient Kherson was a Greek colony, the northernmost metropolis of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the site of the Baptism of Saint Vladimir of Kiev – the Baptizer of All Russia.
Kherson is derived from the Greek word for Peninsula, as in the Crimean Peninsula.
We know Old Kherson by a different name: the Hero-City of Sevastopol, the greatest city in Crimea. Legendary for its battles, Sevastopol is Russia’s most precious warm water port. Ushakov built the first naval base in Sevastopol, which remains to this day crucial to Russia’s national defence.
The Russian Fleet on Parade at Sevastopol, note that the flag which resembles the British Union jack is actually a Russian ensign.
Since it’s founding by Potemkin on Catherine the Great’s orders in 1778, modern Kherson is Ukraine’s second most famous port after Odessa, and located at the mouth of the legendary river Dnipro (the river where all of Russia was baptized upstream in 988) north of Sevastopol where Crimea meets Ukraine. There Ushakov build the famous docks.
It was in this Black Sea, where Ushakov became a legend, the dread of the Turkish navy who called him “Ushak-Pasha”. Perhaps an insult or a title of infamy and dread, it was one that carried a modicum of respect: “Pasha” is the highest Turkish honorific, similar to Lord in English, Vladica in Slavonic, or Pan in Ukrainian and Polish.
Ushakov distinguished himself as a brave commander during the Russo-Turkish War in 1788. At the Battle of Fidonisi Island, his fleet supported the infantry of the legendary Aleksandr Suvorov, himself the undefeated victor of over 60 battles.
Second-in-Command Ushakov saw the Turks outnumbered the Russians by almost three to one. Realizing this was a fair fight, he did what any Slav would do and charge directly at the Turkish flagship.
In all seriousness, he made a brilliant but risky decision. He knew his troops were better trained and equipped than the Turks, but their numerical advantage could spell the end for him in a battle of attrition, so he decided to leverage his strength while he had it to even the odds swiftly.
Seizing the initiative, he charged the enemy flagship. He awestruck the Turks, winning the day not only for the navy, but paving the way for Suvorov and Potemkin to drive the Turks from Ochakov fortress.
At the decisive Battle of Kurch, now Rear-Admiral Ushakov found himself yet again at a numerical disadvantage (come to think of it, I believe during every battle he fought he was outnumbered), the result? He took less than 30 casualties and lost no ships while the Turks lost five ships, hundreds of men, and had their admiral and captains captured.
At Tendra he continued this trend, but inflicted thousands of casualties on the Turks, and at Cape Kaliakra, he won the Naval War. He was soon promoted to Vice-Admiral and given command of the Black Sea fleet.
It’s remarkable his life is not known in the West, and the Russian Navy is thought of as insignificant. Ushakov had feats even Admiral Nelson could not match, having captured the unconquerable fortress of Corfu, Greece, from Napoleon in three months, whereas Nelson spent a year besieging Malta. The power of Orthodox culture aided him at Corfu, as Orthodox Greeks fought on land with their Russian brothers.
Orthodox Greek natives welcomed Ushakov with a triumph. He ordered a thanksgiving service in gratitude to the Lord for saving his people. On Easter, 1799, he led a cross procession with the relics of St. Spyridon Trimifuntsky, a beloved saint to Greeks and Russians.
Here is how Pravoslavie.ru describes the meaning of his works:
“Here, on the islands, the God-loving admiral manifested yet another of his God-given talents: that of statesman and public figure. He not only ensured “peace and order” for the Greeks, but gave them one of the most democratic for that time constitutions, setting up the “Republic of the Seven Islands,” opening an episcopal faculty on Corfu and inviting an Orthodox bishop, which they had not had since the sixteenth century.
When the time came for Ushakov to leave the Ionic isles, their population turned out with tears in their eyes to see him off. They presented him with medals with the inscription: “These peoples unanimously proclaim him to be their father.” Children were named in his honor, and one and all promised to never let time obliterate his merits and achievements from their memory.”
Ushakov earned his promotion to [full] Admiral for his heroism at Corfu.
He, was later sent to assist the famous Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (whom he technically outranked), though his English colleague reacted to the idea of cooperating with a Russian equal quite negatively, and reacted shamefully.
After Napolean was finally defeated, Nelson offered the French garrison terms of surrender so amicable, it could be mistaken for a truce. They would be ferried back by British ships, permitted to bear arms, and, most ridiculous of all, not even forbidden from “waging war”.
So great was Nelson’s spite at the thought of working with Ushakov, and moreover, he so badly wanted to keep the Russian Admiral from parading in French-controlled Rome and receiving the praise he deserved. Ushakov considered this treason, and in return, paraded his troops through Rome, even though the French had already left.
Ushakov behind the Saint Andrews Flag (a white flag with a blue x), the standard ensign of the Russian Navy. The Russian Navy also uses another flag which resembles the British union jack.
Though his military carrier was the thing of song and legend, he fell out of political favour, and was eventually recalled to Russia. To read more about his military carrier, see here. Finishing his service honourably, he withdrew to Sanaksary Monastery, 500 kilometres east of Moscow, never to fight again.
He struggled in prayer for the rest of his life, praying for every comrade, and even those wanderers he met by chance. He spent his final years thusly: First in prayer, which lead to peace, which lead to mercy in the Kingdom of Heaven.
He died in 1817, at the age of 74, and was buried at the Sanaksary Monastery. In his honor, the local newspapers wrote:
“You knew him as a great naval commander, we knew him for his outstanding charity to others.”
Cathedral of Saint Ushakov in Saransk, Mordovia
He wasn’t a Saint because he won hundreds of battles, or because he was brilliant, he was a Saint because this highborn officer was never afraid to take a bullet to the heart for the common man. He was merciful and never forgot what it means to be a Christian “There is no greater love than laying down your life for another.”
And thus passed into legend the life of Admiral Fyodor Ushakov, Patron Saint of the Russian Navy.
Which Russian Hero would you like me to write about next?
These articles are part of the series ‘Russian Christian Military Heroes’, which illustrates the close interrelationship of the church, state, and military in Russian history.
As the author, I would like YOUR feedback. Take this Poll at Russian Faith to vote on which Russian Hero you would like me to write about next, or let me know in the comments down below!
A video introducing Russian Faith:
Census 2022 – what difference does it make?
Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.
But what it is it all about?
At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.
The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.
The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.
Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.
Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.
And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.
Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture
Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.
At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.
During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.
When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”
He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.
House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022
House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.
Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.
The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.
Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.
This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.
MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.
It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.
“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.
“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.
“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.
“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.
He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.
Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.
Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.
The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.
“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”
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