For my future reference:
The Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Following Christ in a Violent World
And I thought this was interesting in relation to other stuff I have been reading of late:
The state and anarchy: Regarding Romans and "the sword," my New Testament professor once pointed out to me that there are basically two images from the Scriptures that the Church has used historically to describe the state.
The first is the "minister of God" image from Romans; Romans was written by Paul in a time when his citizenship in the Roman government was offering limited protection in his proclamation of the Gospel.
But the second is the Beast of the Apocalypse, a book written during a period of state-sanctioned persecution of the Church, and which regards civil government (the "kingdoms of this world") as irredeemably corrupted by the principalities of "this age," its power as deriving from Satan, not from God.
Historically speaking, the Church has tended to use one image or the other depending on whether the state was assisting or hindering the Church in its mission at the time. One cannot simply point to Paul's image in Romans as if this were the only way to think about the Church's view of state power; in the pre-Constantinian church, it is the image of the beast that predominates when speaking about the state, not the "minister of God" image.
Regarding anarchy: I think it is fairly easy to detect an underlying stream of what might be called "Christian anarchism" within the Orthodox tradition. For example, the Desert Fathers frequently harbored fugitives from the law, to the point that some abbas advocated lying to authorities in order to protect those charged with capital crimes from the very "sword" that St. Paul refers to in Romans.
The coercive power of the state was mostly unenforceable in Scetis, part of the reason the monks chose to settle there, and the early monastic communities felt free to subvert or ignore that power, in part because their view of the state was more like that of the Apocalypse than that of Romans; as Merton once wrote, they saw the entire culture as "a shipwreck from which every person must swim for his life." They refused to identify the enemies of the state as their enemies, heeded no call to arms, and regarded themselves as citizens of no earthly kingdom.
It is interesting to note that imagery from the Apocalypse forms a dominant theme in the iconography of the monasteries on Mount Athos, something you find hardly anywhere else (books have been written on this subject). This imagery represents, among other things, the deep-seated mistrust of the monks of all forms of civic government as representative of the power of the beast, their absolute non-allegiance to the kingdoms of this world. The anarchist spirit of Scetis lives on in Mount Athos through the fact that Athos constitutes a self-governing entity, not under the legal jurisdiction of any state.
Fr. Paul Schroeder