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WHAT THE CZAR WANTS
A French traveler in the East has discovered, according to The Wiener Tagblatt, the ultimate aim of the Czar’s policy. He would be glad enough to obtain Constantinople, but the real object of his ambition is to become „the Pope of Jerusalem.” The war of 1054, the French observer remarks, had its germ in the quarrels over the Holy Places in Palestine, and was a continuation of the conflict between East and West which the crusades left still unsettled. „Every step of the Russians towards Constantinople,” says he, „is a step toward Jerusalem. It is of great significance that the Emperor Alexander III. confides much more upon the power of religious enthusiasm than either of his predecessors did.” He wishes to procure a more officious and ostentatious consecration of his religious authority, and to have his position emphasized as the supreme Protector of the Eastern Churches and the Orthodox Faith, and so rally all the Greek-Oriental Churches and peoples around the person and office of the Czar as the Constantine and Justinian of the modern world. This bold project has been long in preparation, is never lost sight of in any diplomatic movement, and no sacrifice of money is thought too great to secure this end. „Numbers of settlements of Eastern monks, of apparently harmless and unpretending character, have been and are being founded, and Russia finds the money for the purchase of the land. Aid and counsel are always to be had from the Russian authorities. The European powers restrict their attention too one-sidedly to the movements on the Bosphorus, and ignore the extraordinary but quiet movements in the Holy Land.” Two of the Vienna papers—The Politische Correspondenz and The Wiener Tageblatt
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—appear to put some faith in the Frenchman’s observations and predictions. The latter has no doubt that the Czar would hold a coronation on the site of the Holy Sepulchre of the world’s Redeemer, to be the highest possible consecration of his authority. „Many imagine that Alexander III. reckons much upon being crowned Emperor of Asia in Samarkand; but to have the crown of Asia set upon his head in the mother city of Christendom corresponds much more to his character and to the thoughts which he cherishes in the stillness of Gatschina.”—Pall Mall Gazette.
— October, 1887 —