A homage to his life, works and relentless love for freedom
Speakers: Adriano DELL'ASTA, Professor of Russian Language and Literature, Catholic University of Milan, and Liudmila SARASKINA, Russian Literature Historian and Personal Collaborator of Solzhenitsyn
Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center
It is a great pleasure for us to host a discussion devoted to such a significant figure as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Sometimes it is easy for us to think that the experience of the Russian people under Communism, which Solzhenitsyn lived and depicted, was just a result their own culture and their own history, and as such it is not really relevant to us. But is that really true?
In many ways Communist totalitarianism was an extreme manifestation of certain deep currents in the history of the West that are still active today: the idea that human reality can be reduced to its economic and material factors; the idea that society can and should be regulated according to "scientific" principles; the idea that religion is a form of alienation directed towards an imaginary reality, whereas God is unnecessary to live a fully human life here and now; the idea that freedom, morality, beauty are ultimately illusions, byproducts of purely biological and social forces.
These were the philosophical principles of Marxism. Are they really so far removed from today's mentality? Does our culture always understand and respect human freedom and the dignity of the person? Are we completely immune to the big temptation that Solzhenitsyn identified that of taking God's place and in the process lose our freedom? We have to admit that we are still facing some of the same ideologies, in ways that are more subtle and thus even more insidious. For this reason,
Solzhenitsyn still has much to say to us and for this reason the experience of the Russian people that Solzhenitsyn describes is so important, because it is a witness to how human beings can keep their freedom by recognizing that they are made by the Infinite to be in relationship with the Infinite.
Solzhenitsyn’s relentless love for freedom is such a great example for us. And we at Crossroads desire that this event be only a first step in a journey that will bring us to explore, in the next couple of years, some other fascinating aspects of Russian culture, aspects that we believe are relevant to us, such as the unique greatness of the I in some of the great Russian writers; belonging to a people as the essential dimension of the individual in a few Russian composers; the beauty of icons as a unique representation of the relationship between a creature and the Mystery of God and finally, the status of the dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in light of the apostolate of Pope Benedict XVI and the new Metropolitan of Moscow, Patriarch Kirill.
About this Event
Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Location: The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
3900 Harewood Rd., NE, Washington, DC 20017 Metro: Red Line - Brookland/CUA Station
About the Speakers
Professor of Russian Language and Literature, Catholic University of Milan
Russian Literature Historian and Personal Collaborator of Solzhenitsyn