The Viking voyages on the rivers of Eastern Europe.
From the Baltic coast, the Vikings sailed up the rivers in Russia and it wasn’t many kilometers they had to drag their ships over land to enter the Dnieper, which flows south to the Black Sea. In St.Petersburg, the Vikings sailed up the river Neva to Lake Ladoga, from here they sailed up the river Volkhov, south to Novgorod (Holmgard). Further south in the Baltic Sea they sailed up the rivers Dvina, Njemen and Wisla. From all these four rivers they made their way into the river Dnieper.
Danube is Europe’s second longest river, it flows into the Black Sea. So does Europe’s third longest river, the Dnieper. It flows from Smolensk in Russia, towards the southwest, through Belarus, through Kyiv in Ukraine and flows into the Black Sea east of Odessa. North of Kyiv, the Dnieper is widened into a lake and the river Pripyat also flows into that lake, from Poland, Belarus and through Ukraine. At Milograd, a side river Bjarezina comes from the northwest, from a lake called Palik. North of Smolensk, the tributary Reka Khmost enters from the north-west. Further north, the Vop tributary enters from the north-west. At Ust’e, the tributary Vjazma enters from the east. With a small tributary from the east, it is connected to a wider river with the same name: Reka Luzhnya. On the google map it appears that the Dnieper began at Istok Dnieper Reki, but then there is a mark on the map a little further west called “Source of Dnieper River”. This is west of Moscow.
The River Svir flows into Lake Ladago further north, from Lake Onega. Through rivers/canals and lakes, this is connected to a large lake far north of Moscow. From here the river Volga flows south-east, to Nizhny Novgorod. Further south, the Volga is expanded into an elongated lake and at the southern end of it lies Volgograd. Here it is not far to the river Don, which flows into the Black Sea just east of the Crimea. The Volga is Europe’s longest river and it flows into the Caspian Sea. In the Stalin era, canals and locks were built, so it is possible to sail from the Baltic Sea into the Volga and out into the Black Sea.
On the Dnieper, the Vikings made it all the way to Gardariket (Kiev Rus) and on to Miklagard (Constantinople). On the map, Svir is not drawn as a route, but when they got into the Dnieper, they could sail north, north of Moscow and Yaroslav, and here they got into the Volga and could follow it all the way to the Caspian Sea or they could cross over to the Don river and follow it to the Black Sea. They were traveling merchants and were keen on trade. These were primarily Swedish Vikings.
The struggle of life and the gospel of Christ.
Life is a struggle for existence, also for humans, but there is a difference in the methods in war and in peacetime. We also see this in the Old Testament. Kingdoms arose and wars against other kingdoms and kingdoms fell. Although they worshiped idols, God claimed that it was he who did his work. He had his prophets prophesy about the gospel to be preached to all nations. Under Emperor Augustus there came a peaceful time in the Roman Empire and then God used the opportunity to send his Son to preach a liberating message, the gospel of God’s kingdom, it was to be preached to all peoples and the methods were peaceful.
Jesus prophesied that there would be war, kingdom would rise against kingdom. We can now read about that in history and hear about it in our time. But those who believe in him should still not be so preoccupied with that, but preach the gospel to all peoples. That is what the world still needs. If someone wants to know what Christianity is, all they have to do is listen to the preaching, read the New Testament and see it against the background of the Old Testament. Testament yes! And you must not change a will, it is not legal.
How did Norway become a Christian nation?
Christianity is a message of peace and freedom, the gospel is a happy message. And Christianity’s method is peaceful. Then the only question is whether it is believed. But this is about another matter as well, where the Vikings used their method. The raid on the monastery in Lindisfarne is considered to be the start of the Viking Age and it was an attack on relatively innocent and defenseless people, but is not considered to be particularly representative of the Vikings. They were brave warriors and when they entered into an agreement to defend a country, they were reliable.
Harald Hårfagre united Norway at the end of the 8th century. It was a politically important event, with consequences for posterity, even though it was a small kingdom and was immediately split up. About a hundred years later, the Danish king Svein Tjueskegg tried to subjugate both Norway and England and he sent a fleet north along the west country, with ravages, but Håkon Sigurdson Ladejarl and his son Eirik Håkonson were alerted by “leidangen” and gathered a fleet and won over them in the battle at Hjørungavåg on Sunnmøre. Later, Olav Tryggvasson and Olav Haraldson tried to unite a much larger Norway into one kingdom, with the help of Christianity. Then it is important to have it clear to us what the political conflict was about and to understand what significance Christianity got.
The Danish king tried to gain power over both Norway and England, while he was preoccupied with winning power in England, Olav Tryggvasson tried to unite Norway, with the help of Christianity. Later Olav Haraldson also tried it, while the Danish king was preoccupied with securing his power in England. It was a political power play that caused Olav Haraldson to fall to Stiklestad. “Trønderane” won the battle at Stiklestad, but the Danes reaped the rewards. Knut the Mighty installed his son, Svein, as obedient king in Norway, even though he was only a child, so it was under the guardianship of his mother, the Anglo-Saxon Ælfgifu, whom the Norwegians called Alfiva. Instead of ruling through the earls. The Norwegians noticed that they had “come from the ashes to the fire”. The Danes introduced new laws, taxes and burdens that were unheard of for them. The Norwegians were so dissatisfied with this, that Alfiva and her son had to flee the country. And the people had become so enlightened about Christianity that it led to the Christianization of the people and the country. It seemed to bring the people together and the kingdoms that Olav Tryggvason and Olav Haraldson gathered were much larger than the kingdom that Harald Hårfagre gathered. Christianity is a message of peace that made the Vikings more peaceful and thus enabled them to get along in larger societies.
Kiev Rus, Novgorod and Moskow.
Khagan was the Turkish-Arabic word for the rulers of the Russian steppes and the Vikings introduced themselves to them as khagans. But they were called Rus, probably from rowing and from the Rotslagen in Sweden, because they were the people who rowed. So “Gardariket” was called Kyiv Rus, hence Russia and Belarus also comes from row.
The Viking Rurik founded the Garda Kingdom, through his son Igor he became the ancestor of the dynasty that ruled in Moscow.
Kiev Rus was divided, but Kiev remain the capitol of the Ukraine part. It was still devided, but mostly it became a part of the Polish-Lithuanian empire.
Novgorod (Holmgard) south of Lake Ladoga became the capitol of a republic. It wanted alliance with the Polish-Lituanian empire. But the grand duke of Moskow claimed the power over Novgorod and it’s land. Moscow managed to free itself from the mongole empire and after that it took Novgorod as well, Ivan the Cruel burnt down the city.
The Rurik dynasty lasted until 1598. Ivan the Terrible married Anastasia, daughter of Roman Yuryevich, who became the ancestor of the Romanov dynasty that took over. It descends from Rjurik on the female side and is closely related to the German princely house of Holstein-Gottorp.
In the 17th century, Tsar Peter the Great became so interested in modern science and rational systems and thus so western-oriented that he even moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
The Ukraine war seen in historical context.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, many nations became independent. We can explain it both with the liberating message of the Gospel and Western philosophy of freedom. The EU is an association of such states, where they have agreed on free trade, free movement of goods and services, labor as well, so there is free movement of people. Then the question arises as to whether human beings are becoming a commodity, more and more like slaves. But that problem is so fundamental that it is certainly not limited to the EU. In any case, this problem needs the fundamental solution that the gospel of Christ gives us.
Ukraine became independent upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then, the EU and NATO have expanded eastwards and Ukraine has shown an interest in joining both the EU and NATO. That is why Russia went to war against Ukraine. The contrast between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church is then fundamental and the historical background for it was that the Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire. I have set this in historical context here:
Nordic Vikings traveled on Viking expeditions both in Eastern Europe and Western Europe and made good contacts and got to know Christianity, and that’s how they became Christians. And Christianity has the characteristic that it creates good relations between people.
The Nordic countries and our neighboring states to the south and west are Protestant, so there is probably one reason why this distinction is not so important to us. Since we are Protestant, we should have understood that the gospel is a liberating message to be preached to all peoples. Then do right in preaching it to ourselves first, then to our close neighbours, both in Western Europe and in Eastern Europe. But it is important to bring it to those who have not yet heard it. First we received the spiritual blessing through faith in Christ and we bring it forward with joy. Then came modern science and technology and there was prosperity, so the material blessing came after the spiritual blessing, then there should be nothing to prevent us from bringing it on as well, after the spiritual blessing.
But if someone replaces this liberating message with something else, then they also replace the blessing with the curse. And it is clear that many politicians in the western world have chosen “bread and circus” instead of rational thinking, here in The Nordic countries they are trying to tear down and destroy the nationality, by making the “welfare society” into a “parasite-society”. This we also see in the EU. This is deception and many people have been deceived, both in the Nordics and else in the West, and it may well happen that when Eastern European states become Western-oriented, through the EU, they will also be deceived. They join in the madness of breaking down the society.
The people of Ukraine are fighting for their national independence and receive a lot of sympathy from the Norwegian people, also on the left. But the lefties have been fighting to break down the nation, it turns out like the Ukrainians will just be deceived after all, contrary to what they are fighting for.
How fundamentally did Norwegian politics change at the end of the 1970s?
Norway has always been a large shipping nation with a lot of trade and we have gained large export industries. So we can surely say that we have used market forces to build the country. But it does not replace the fact that it is Norwegian men and women who have built it with their work. It again does not replace the explanation that God has built it with his Word and his Spirit. But we are right to rest on the foundation of what God has done, both with creation and the work of salvation, and to honor our parents and our ancestors for what they have done.
The labor movement with the Labor Party has honored the worker for the work they do and demanded that they be “properly” paid for it. But in the 1970s there was protest against the Bible’s teaching that God created woman to be a help to man and this broke with how our society has been constructed. It breaks with the love God has for us in Christ, it breaks with the man’s love for the woman that makes him work for her too and it breaks with her responding to his love with love. So it breaks with their love and care for their children. Then they are no longer able to build up society as before.
What is the alternative? She sells herself as a whore and expects him to buy her as a whore, so he sells himself as a prostitute customer. She preys on him and he exploits her. The so-called women’s liberation and the politicization of women then act so that he still has to pay for her, as a whore, but he gets nothing in return. Because they have both become slaves and others have run away with their money. In addition, they spend money on things they do not need and which do not help build the country. So that they don’t use the market-forces to build the country like before. They are deceived.
Previously, the priests were given the blessing and the vast majority of politicians agreed. But now they say something else instead and what is it? The curse!? Who says it first and who chases after, one can now wonder. But the most important thing for the people is to choose the blessing.
The Russians, led by Putin, criticize Western freedom and claim that the West is racist/fascist. It is not easy to connect, but there is a philosophical tradition of liberation with immorality and injustice, being used as an argument for dictatorship and thus many people are deceived.
We can see it in a historical context, but what about thoughts in the present. The woman should free herself from the man and it is especially the white woman who should free herself from the white man, as if he is not good enough for her. Then it is even claimed that he is racist, but if there is anything racist in this, it is precisely the claim that he is not good enough for her. So this is the new race theory. The women’s movement preached its hatred of men already at the end of the 1970s, and now it has turned into religious racial hatred, which goes against both Christianity and natural science.
But it is difficult to understand the war in Ukraine as a race war, it is the white man who is at war against the white man, so in that sense it seems rather pointless, man becomes cannon fodder. It makes me think that the woman allowed herself to be fooled and seduced by the fall and then she lured her husband with her and therefore he was sentenced to death. It is history repeating itself, it is easy to use that explanation. That’s surely true, so what? It is a bit strange if the man should not be trained to talk for his own sake, in his own defence? That was precisely what Christian education was supposed to aim for. For all who accepted Christ, he gave the right to be children of God, he talks to us and we talk to him and ask for good gifts. And he educates us so that we are able to speak for ourselves to worldly authorities.
The gospel was to be preached to all nations. Can the West still take the lead.
The people of Europe, the white man and woman, were blessed on the basis of the gospel of Christ. Around 1600 AD the development of modern science began in Western Europe, then came modern technology and that led to a development of prosperity. This is typical of western culture.
In the past there had been enmity and war between Moscow and the Polish-Lithuanian Empire, but in the 17th century Tsar Peter the Great was so interested in modern science and rational systems and therefore so western-oriented that he moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Many philosophers have thought and meant that the truth should set us free, we also find this in the rational philosophy of this time (cf. Spinosa), it is consistent with modern science and it is central in Christianity; Christ is the Word of God, we need the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us, so we realize that Christ is the Truth that set us free.
It started in Western Europe and is typical of Western culture, but Eastern Europe also took part in it, so we can call it European culture. And it spread further too. Yes, why not? The God of the Bible is the right God for all nations, so the gospel should be preached to all nations. When we preach the gospel to other peoples, it is not so strange if modern science and technology follow along. First we received the spiritual blessing, then the material blessing. Then it may well be the case for the other peoples as well, that first they get the spiritual blessing, by believing in Christ, then the material blessing comes afterwards, of course with modern science and technology, as with us. But there is also a point in developing new technology that matches the natural environment they live in and the needs they have.
But if we replace the gospel of Christ with something else, then firstly we are deceiving ourselves, and secondly we are deceiving others to whom we should preach the gospel.