Talk:Nicholas Roerich

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No offense meant (the article is pretty well-written, really), but I'm not really seeing the relevance of including this article on Orthodox wiki. I know we have articles on a number of heretics and heresies, but besides the mention of the Roerichs being "posthumously expelled from the Russian Orthodox Church in the year 2000," there really is no mention of the Church or Nicholas Roerich's effect thereupon.

Am I completely off-base here? Gabriela 18:31, January 5, 2008 (PST)

The Roerichs are the most significant influence on most Russian and East European New Agers. Also, the Roerich-ites are one of several groups complaining (I think credibly) of persecution at the hands of Orthodox authorities.Zla'od 19:22, January 5, 2008 (PST)

Ok... but what in the world does the Russian New Age movement have to do with Orthodoxy? See the following from the Orthowiki Style Manual: "Ostensibly, anything directly to do with the Orthodox Christian faith and life is appropriate. In addition, however, articles especially on historical subjects and persons related to Church life are also appropriate."
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In order for this article to be appropriate for Orthowiki, it needs to focus on the beliefs of the Roerichs, and, mostly importantly, refute them from an Orthodox standpoint. This isn't Wikipedia: we don't have articles on people just because they were famous. There needs to be an Orthodox focus to the article at some point (though a bio of Nicholas Roerich is fine at the beginning), telling how the Roerichs contributed to this New Age movement, what the New Age movement believes (and why such is wrong), and specific examples of how it's affected the Church. Hence, I've added the "Orthodoxize" tag.Gabriela 15:52, January 6, 2008 (PST)
Ditto. We do have articles on heretics, but they're heretics (rather than simply excommunicants) because they caused significant disturbance in the life of the Church itself. Unless that can be shown for this subject, this article will be deleted. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 18:51, January 6, 2008 (PST)
The Roerichs were Orthodox in the sense of having been baptized into the Church, and maintaining loose ties with it throughout their lives. Their writings are of importance to the Russian Church mainly because of their common social environment. During the Soviet period, both were involved in samizdat publications, secret meetings, human rights agitation, and the like. Now that Orthodoxy has attained political power, the Roerich people are in much the same position as the Hare Krishna and other sects, of having to defend their religious freedom against Orthodox enemies.
Perhaps we could compare the Roerichs' spiritual situation to that of L. Tolstoy--a son of the Church whose creative work bears its mark, yet moved away from it in the course of his life, ultimately identifying more with the Quakers and Doukhobors.
I assumed the philosophical differences would be obvious from a simple description. In a nutshell, the Agni Yoga writings affirm some aspects of Orthodoxy (e.g., the Philolalia is praised, as are several saints), but incorporates these into an essentially foreign framework (Theosophy). The idea of the "Masters" comes from Mme Blavatsky, who I suspect of having been inspired more by Orthodox legend (Athonite monks with supernatural powers) than by Eastern religions on this point.
Incidentally, Nicholas Roerich painted several hundred (?) paintings with Orthodox themes (such as churches, monks, and angels), some of which are fairly well-known. I can give you links if you want.
Fr. Andrew, what is your role here? Are you the editor-in-chief, or an ordinary contributor, or what? Either way, I do not appreciate your tone. Do you really believe that all things Orthodox--history, culture, etc.--must be reduced to theological assertions? If so, that would make for a poor encyclopedia. Zla'od 22:18, January 6, 2008 (PST)
I still remain somewhat unconvinced regarding Roerich's relevance to OrthodoxWiki. It seems his only commonality with the range of our subject matter is that he was Russian. It's not a question of theological assertions, but of keeping our topic narrow enough to be useful. If you take some time to browse many of our best articles, you'll find that they're by no means "reduced to theological assertions."
As to my role, I am one of the administrators, like Gabriela. I've been working with OrthodoxWiki since it was just the Main Page with a list of suggestions. Of the currently 3,653 user accounts, mine was the 10th created. (You can often find information users provide about themselves by looking at their user page, such as mine.) The editor-in-chief and founder, however, is FrJohn.
In any event, I certainly didn't mean to offend you with my tone. If anything, "matter of fact" was the tone I was looking to convey. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 04:15, January 7, 2008 (PST)
All right then, fair enough. I understand that it is often difficult to convey tone over the internet.
It's not just that Roerich was Russian--he was a Russian religious figure who produced well-known paintings and somewhat influential New-Age writings about Orthodoxy, and whose followers (themselves predominantly Orthodox, or former Orthodox) are involved in an important political conflict with church power-holders.
You seem to want to approach this by exploring the various points which disagree with Orthodox theology. (Reincarnation, the uniqueness / centrality of Christ and the Church...) But I see all this as kind of obvious. In any case there is no shortage of un-Orthodox opinion in the world. (Would an article on the Dalai Lama--focusing, perhaps, on his Orthodox contacts--have to explain that Tibetan Buddhism is un-Orthodox too?) To me, his significance for Orthodoxy lies in the social and cultural spheres.Zla'od 16:47, January 7, 2008 (PST)
The fact that the Roerichites (both ideas and, by extension, people) are outside even the greyest lines of the Church is rather obvious to anyone reading this article. The problem that this makes is that OrthodoxWiki is an encyclopedia about Orthodoxy - for this article to stay, its relationship to something related to Orthodoxy needs to be brought out. Some examples from this talk page include the interaction between the Russian New-Agers and the Russian Orthodox Church, how the interaction has changed from before and after Soviet government, what parts of Orthodoxy the Roerichites affirm and deny (perhaps some similarities with the Gnostics in the early centuries of Christianity), influence that Roerich's paintings have had on Orthodox or on Orthodoxy. As it stands now, it's an article on a Russian new-ager who spent a lot of time in America and India. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 18:51, January 7, 2008 (PST)
Just picking up on this discussion 6 1/2 years later...agree with Fr Andrew's comments above and Pistevo's. Maybe a subject matter expert can update this? Otherwise, there is an extensive article on him in Wikipedia. Angellight 888 13:42, August 26, 2013 (HST)
I do see your point. He is connected to Orthodoxy mainly in the sense of having been raised in it, reacting against it (while simultaneously absorbing its influences), and being posthumously excommunicated by it. For comparison's sake, Vlad the Impaler was probably not Orthodox at all, though I understand that this is disputed, and anyway he has become something of a folk hero.
In any case, I have little to add about Roerich at this late date, except to mention a few good critical books which have come out in the last few years (but are only tangentially related to Orthodoxy). I can do that this week, if anyone is interested. If you are looking for a subject matter expert, then Andrei Znamensky might be suitable, depending on what information you wanted. (I have no idea what his religious beliefs are.) Actually, Daniel Entin, the director of the Roerich Museum in New York (and yes, a Roerich believer), is wonderfully patient and affable, notwithstanding the hostility shown to his group by nearby Orthodox churches. I'm sure he would help if asked. He is an authority on the history of the Roerichs and their movement. Zla'od 23:06, September 30, 2013 (HST)