Christian anarchism is any of several traditions which combine anarchism with Christianity. They may be summarized as a belief that the only source of authority to which humans are ultimately answerable is God, as embodied in the teachings of the Bible.
Christian anarchists believe that freedom is justified spiritually through the teachings of Jesus. This has caused them to be critical of government and Church authority. Some believe all individuals can directly communicate with God, which negates the need for a system of clergy.
Many regard Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You  (1894) as a key text in Christian anarchism. Tolstoy called for a society based on Christian love, Christian nonviolence, and freedom. His work was one of the inspirations behind Mahatma Gandhi's use of nonviolent resistance during India's struggle for independence, and the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
The early ChurchEdit
The early church in Acts shared their money and labor equally and fairly among the members. Women played as vital a role as men in the early community.
Some, such as Ammon Hennacy and Keith Akers, have claimed that a "shift" away from Jesus' practices and teachings of nonviolence, simple living and freedom occurred in the theology of Paul of Tarsus. These individuals suggest that Christians should look at returning to pre-"Pauline Christianity". Although there is some evidence that egalitarian Jewish Christians existed shortly after Jesus's death, possibly including the Ebionites, the majority of Christians soon followed the hierarchical and authoritarian religious structure which they claim was founded by Paul. As the Church grew and spread, the emerging central authorities began to advocate legalism and strict obedience to church doctrine. This type of religious authority and adherence could be compared to the theological economy of Israelite sacrificial religion in the second Temple period which Jesus directly attacked in throwing the money changers out of the Temple district (Matt 21:12).
Other Christians point out that Paul's teachings emphasized congregational autonomy, servant-like leadership within the churches, prohibitions on one-man rule even in a local church, and other practices which contrast with this claim. Evidence of this interpretation can be found in Galatians 3:28, in which Paul describes a radically egalitarian Christian community where race, class and gender are abrogated.
The conversion of the Roman EmpireEdit
After the conversion of the emperor Emperor Constantine, Christianity was legalised under the Edict of Milan in 313 bringing an end to the persecution of Christians. It is significant that Constantine was a convert to Arianism (as expressed in his baptism by Eusebius of Nicomedia, an Arian) and not to the orthodox faith as defined in the Nicene Creed. In the Arian argument for a less divine person of Jesus, the possibility of human authority is far greater than in strict, Trinitarian Christianity.
Some Christian anarchists argue that this merger of Church and state marks the beginning of the "Constantinian shift", in which Christianity gradually came to be identified with the will of the ruling elite and, in some cases, a religious justification for the exercise of power.
Anarchist Biblical views and principlesEdit
Some Christian anarchists hold a higher critical view of the Bible and therefore do not feel obliged to follow the complete text as law. They base their beliefs on what they think are the simple principles and historic messages of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount, rather than obediently following every passage in the Judeo-Christian Bible. Leo Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy subscribed to this philosophy.
Pacifism and nonviolenceEdit
Many Christian anarchists, such as Leo Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy, are pacifists opposing the use of both proactive (offensive) and reactive (defensive) physical force. Hennacy believed that adherence to Christianity meant being a pacifist and, due to governments constantly threatening or using force to resolve conflicts, this meant being an anarchist. These individuals believe freedom will only be guided by the grace of God if they show compassion to others and turn the other cheek when confronted with violence.
Christian anarchists appear far more likely to be pacifists than either secular anarchists or non-anarchist Christians.
A few of the key historic messages many Christian anarchists practice are the principles of nonviolence, nonresistance and turning the other cheek, which are illustrated in many passages of the New Testament and Hebrew Bible (e.g. the sixth commandment, Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17, "You shall not murder").
Christian anarchists, such as Ammon Hennacy, often follow a simple lifestyle, for a variety of reasons, which may include reducing taxable income.
States and state controlEdit
One challenge to the legitimacy of states and state control is found in Luke 4:5-8, during the Temptation of Christ, where the Bible quotes Satan as claiming dominion over all the nations of the earth and Jesus replies that not only will he not worship before Satan, but that God is the only authority to be "served". Some hold that it may be necessary to disobey human rulers in order to obey God (Acts 4:19 and Acts 5:29).
The most common challenge for the Biblical literalists is integrating the passage in Romans 13:1-7 where Paul defends obedience to "governing authorities.For there is no power but of God:the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever resists the power,resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation....for he is a minister of God to you for good....therefore you need to be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake...render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due: custom to whom custom: fear to whom fear: honour to whom honour." Christian anarchists who subscribe to Paul's teachings argue that this chapter is particularly worded to make it clear that organizations like the Roman Empire cannot qualify as governing authorities because they are not "approved" of God and do not recognize Him in word or action. If it could, then, according to Paul, "they [Christians] would have praise from the authorities" for doing good. Instead the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire for doing good, and became martyrs. Further, the "governing authorities" that are legitimate in the passage were never given the authority to make laws, merely to enforce the natural laws against "doing harm to a neighbor" in verses 8-10 (see tort and contract law). This interpretation makes all statute laws of states illegitimate, except as they restate Biblical moral precepts. Some Christians subscribe to the belief that God did not establish all authorities on the earth.
Ernst Kaseman, in his "Commentary on Romans," has challenged the usual interpretations of Romans 13 in light of German Lutheran Churches using this passage as justification to support the Nazi holocaust.
Others hold that Romans 13 teaches submission to the state while not encouraging or even condoning Christian participation in the workings of the state. According to this view Jesus submitted to the state while still refusing its means.
Some Christian anarchists resist taxes in the belief that their government is engaged in immoral, unethical or destructive activities, such as war, and paying taxes inevitably funds these activities.
Adin Ballou wrote that if the act of resisting taxes requires physical force to withhold what a government tries to take, then it is important to submit to taxation. Ammon Hennacy, who, like Ballou also believed in nonresistance, managed to resist taxes without using force.
Opponents cite that Jesus told his followers to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's,"Matthew 22:21, not mentioning unethical activity on the part of Caesar.
Many Christian anarchists, such as Tolstoy and Hennacy, extend their belief in nonviolence and compassion to all living beings through vegetarianism or veganism. Vegetarianism is also common among non-Christian anarchists. Other Christian anarchists point out that the decision to be vegetarian or omnivore is purely a personal choice, as there are many passages in the Bible that could be interpreted as permitting inclusion of meat and fish within a diet.
The spirituality of a Christian anarchist can be as diverse as in any Christian tradition. For Christian anarchists who have their roots in the New Testament their spirituality may be described as mystical but is also very orthodox. An example, Anabaptists, whose founding point for anarchism is the claim “Jesus is Lord” a thoroughly orthodox claim. Christian anarchists reject that their theology can be alienated from worldly matters, like government, and reject any understanding that would reduce Jesus’s teachings, such as “love your enemies”, to just a internal or private matter. For Christian anarchists, feeding the poor, caring for creation, loving ones enemies and resisting the fallen Powers of this world are not a ‘worldly’ activity but the practicalities of their spirituality in imitation of Christ.
Other anarchists would hold to the New Age movement which describes a broad movement of the late 20th century and contemporary Western culture. It is characterised by an eclectic and individual approach to spiritual exploration, such as mixing Christian principles with meditation and yoga practices from the East. One could describe Spirituality as anarchic, as it's based on individual freedom and choice rather than keeping within rigid boundaries. The emphasis in Spirituality is on listening to within and personally connecting with the Divine, rather than following any set doctrines.
Later anarchistic Christian groupsEdit
The origin of the Doukhobors dates back to 16th and 17th century Russia. The Doukhobors ("Spirit Wrestlers") are a radical Christian sect that maintains a belief in pacifism and a communal lifestyle, while rejecting secular government. In 1899, the Doukhobors fled repression in Tsarist Russia and migrated to Canada, mostly in the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The funds for the trip were paid for by the Quakers and Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Canada was suggested to Leo Tolstoy as a safe-haven for the Doukhobors by anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, while on a speaking tour across the country, observed the religious tolerance experienced by the Mennonites.
Catholic Worker MovementEdit
The Catholic Worker Movement, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin on May 1, 1933, is a Christian movement dedicated to nonviolence and simple living. Over 130 Catholic Worker communities exist in the United States where "houses of hospitality" care for the homeless. The Joe Hill House of hospitality (which closed in 1968) in Salt Lake City, Utah featured an enormous twelve feet by fifteen foot mural of Jesus Christ and Joe Hill.
The Catholic Worker Movement has consistently protested against war and violence for over seven decades. Many of the leading figures in the movement have been both anarchists and pacifists. Catholic Worker Ammon Hennacy defined Christian anarchism as:
"...being based upon the answer of Jesus to the Pharisees when Jesus said that he without sin should be the first to cast the stone, and upon the Sermon on the Mount which advises the return of good for evil and the turning of the other cheek. Therefore, when we take any part in government by voting for legislative, judicial, and executive officials, we make these men our arm by which we cast a stone and deny the Sermon on the Mount.
"The dictionary definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ; kind, kindly, Christ-like. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation for good, with the right of secession. A Christian anarchist is therefore one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world".
Maurin and Day were both baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church and believed in the institution, thus showing it is possible to be a Christian anarchist and still choose to remain within the Church. After her death, Day was proposed for sainthood by the Claretian Missionaries in 1983. Pope John Paul II granted the Archdiocese of New York permission to open Day's "cause" in March of 2000, calling her a Servant of God.
Biblical passages cited by anarchistsEdit
The Golden RuleEdit
- Love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31).
- Do to others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12).
- Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).
- Do not judge, or you too will be judged (Matthew 7:1).
- Let he who has not sinned throw the first stone (John 8:7)
Pacifism, nonviolence and nonresistanceEdit
- You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).
- But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matthew 5:39).
- Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27).
- And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well (Matthew 5:40).
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
- If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Matthew 19:21).
- Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back (Luke 6:30).
- Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19).
- Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24).
- All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:44-45).
- At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts (Deuteronomy 15:1).
- You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess (Deuteronomy 23:18-19).
- You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you (Matthew 20:24-28).
- We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
- For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
- No king but the Lord shall rule over you (Judges 8:23).
- Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7).
- This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.(Jeremiah 17:5).
- So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God... But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7: 4 & 6
Anarchist Biblical interpretationsEdit
- The Kingdom of God - there are no monarchs, rulers, states, borders, governors or governments, except for one, God.
- To seek rule by man is to reject the rule of God (1 Samuel 8).
- Honest people are too busy making an honest living to accept political power, so only the corruptible will accept political power (The Parable of the Trees Judges 9:7-15).
- The devil controls man-made governments (Matthew 4:8-10).
- The gentiles have rulers over them, but it shall not be so among Christians (Mark 10:42-45). (Notice that the word for rulers here in the Greek version is archos. Therefore some say Christians are by simple deduction an-archos or in English anarchists).
- So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined, let man not separate.(Matthew 19:6)
- All of the Book of Exodus can be viewed as a revolution inspired, led, and achieved by God on behalf of the oppressed.
- The man who obeys God needs no other authority (over him).
- An anarchist is anyone who doesn't need a cop to tell him what to do.
- Oh, judge, your damn laws: the good people don't need them and the bad people don't follow them, so what good are they?
- Being a pacifist between wars is as easy as being a vegetarian between meals.
- The people of Maine and Texas, of England and India, could never become enemies or be involved in strife and war, save through the intervention of human government to spread enmity and excite to war. [. . .] Whatever tends to wean men from this government of God, and to substitute other governments for it, brings confusion and strife (95).
- All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.
- In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
- Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
- In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
- There are different forms of anarchy and different currents in it. I must, first say very simply what anarchy I have in view. By anarchy I mean first an absolute rejection of violence.
- What seems to be one of the disasters of our time is that we all appear to agree that the nation-state is the norm. [ . . . ] Whether the state be Marxist or capitalist, it makes no difference. The dominant ideology is that of sovereignty. (Anarchy and Christianity, 104–5.)
- So I can very well say without hesitation that all those who have political power, even if they use it well have acquired it by demonic mediation and even if they are not conscious of it, they are worshippers of diabolos. (Si tu es le Fils de Dieu, 76)
- It is beyond dispute that the state exercises very great power over human life and it always shows a tendency to go beyond the limits laid down for it. (Slavery and Freedom, 145)
- There is absolute truth in anarchism and it is to be seen in its attitude to the sovereignty of the state and to every form of state absolutism. [ . . . ] The religious truth of anarchism consists in this, that power over man is bound up with sin and evil, that a state of perfection is a state where there is no power of man over man, that is to say, anarchy. The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power . . . the Kingdom of God is anarchy. (Slavery and Freedom, 147–48)
The following people may be considered key figures in the development of Christian anarchism. This does not mean that they were all Christian anarchists themselves.
Adin Ballou (1803 - 1890) was founder of the Hopedale Community in what is now Hopedale, Massachusetts, and a prominent 19th century exponent of pacifism, socialism and abolitionism. Through his long career as a Unitarian minister, he tirelessly sought social reform through his radical Christian and socialist views. Tolstoy was heavily influenced by his writings.
Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), a Danish philosopher and theologian who some consider to be the archetypal Christian anarchist for his theory that the claims culture and state make on an individual lie in opposition to the claim God makes on all people. Kierkegaard advocated perfect obedience to God even if that conflicted with customs, secular law and government. He has been compared to Max Stirner, the great individualist anarchist. Kierkegaard is regarded as the father of Christian existentialism.
Henry David ThoreauEdit
Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) was an American author, pacifist, nature lover, tax resister and individualist anarchist. He was an advocate of civil disobedience and a lifelong abolitionist, who dreamt of the world becoming a utopia. Though not commonly regarded as a Christian anarchist, his essay Civil Disobedience is accredited with inspiring some of Leo Tolstoy's ideas.
William B. GreeneEdit
William B. Greene (1819 - 1878), an individualist anarchist based in the United States, was a Unitarian minister, and the originator of a Christian Mutualism, which he considered a new dispensation, beyond God’s covenant with Abraham. His 1850 Mutual Banking begins with a discussion (drawn from the work of Pierre Leroux) of the Christian rite of communion as a model for a society based in equality, and ends with a prophetic invocation of the new Mutualist dispensation. His better-known scheme for mutual banking, and his criticisms of usury should be understood in this specifically religious context. Unlike his contemporaries among the nonresistants, Greene was not a pacifist, and served as a Union Army colonel in the American Civil War.
Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) is notable for having written extensively on his anarchist principles, which he arrived at via his Christian faith. Notably his books The Kingdom of God is Within You , What I Believe (aka My Religion), The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, and Christianity and Patriotism which criticised government and the Church in general. He called for a society based on compassion, nonviolent principles and freedom. Tolstoy was a pacifist and a vegetarian. His vision for an equitable society was an anarchist version of Georgism, which he mentions specifically in his novel Resurrection.
Nikolai Berdyaev (1874 - 1948), the orthodox Christian philosopher has been called the philosopher of freedom and is known as a Christian existentialist. Known for writing "the Kingdom of God is based on anarchy" he believed that freedom ultimately comes from God, in direct opposition to anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin, who saw God as the enslaver of humanity (symbolically; Bakunin was an atheist). Christian anarchists claim Man enslaves Man, not God.
Léonce Crenier (1888 - 1963) first rejected religion, becoming an anarcho-communist when he moved to Paris from rural France in 1911. In 1913 he visited his sister in Portugal where he stayed for several years. During this period he suffered a debilitating and agonising illness. Receiving the attentions of a particularly caring nurse, he survived, despite the gloomy predictions of the doctors. Converting to Catholicism, he became a monk. He is particularly known for his concept of precarity, and was influential on Dorothy Day.
Ammon Hennacy (1893 - 1970) is notable for writing extensively on his work with the Catholic Workers, the IWW and at the Joe Hill House of Hospitality. He was a practicing anarchist, draft dodger, vegetarian and tax resister. He also tried to reduce his tax liability by taking up a lifestyle of simple living and bartering. His autobiography The Book of Ammon describes his work in nonviolent, anarchist, social action, and provides insight into the lives of Christian anarchists in the United States of the 20th century. His other books are One Man Revolution in America and The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist. Ammon Hennacy is also noted for several famous quotations dealing with force, law, and state powers which continue to inspire nonviolent anarchist action today.
Dorothy Day (1897 - 1980) was a journalist turned social activist (she was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World) and devout member of the Roman Catholic Church. She became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. Alongside Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, espousing nonviolence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden. Dorothy Day was declared Servant of God when a cause for sainthood was opened for her by Pope John Paul II.
Jacques Ellul (1912 - 1994) was a French thinker, sociologist, theologian and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books against the "technological society", and some about Christianity and politics, like Anarchy and Christianity (1991) asserting that anarchism and Christianity are socially following the same goal.
Thomas J. HagertyEdit
Thomas J. Hagerty was a Catholic priest from New Mexico, USA, and one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Hagerty is credited with writing the IWW Preamble, assisting in the composition of the Industrial Union Manifesto and drawing up the first chart of industrial organization. He was ordained in 1892 but his formal association with the church ended when he was suspended by his archbishop for urging miners in Colorado to revolt during his tour of mining camps in 1903. Hagerty is not commonly regarded as a Christian anarchist in the Tolstoyan tradition but rather an anarcho-syndicalist. Christian anarchists like Dorothy Day and Ammon Hennacy have been members of the Industrial Workers of the World and found common cause with the axiom "an injury to one is an injury to all."
Philip Berrigan was an internationally renowned peace activist and Roman Catholic priest. He and his brother Daniel Berrigan were on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for illegal nonviolent actions against war.
Ivan Illich was a libertarian-socialist social thinker, with roots in the Catholic Church, who wrote critiques of technology, energy use and compulsory education. In 1961 Illich founded the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC) at Cuernavaca in Mexico, in order to "counterfoil" the Vatican's participation in the "modern development" of the so-called Third World. Illich's books Energy and Equity and Tools for Conviviality are considered classics for social ecologists interested in appropriate technology, while his book Deschooling Society is still revered by activists seeking alternatives to compulsory schooling.
John Dear is a Jesuit priest, writer and peace activist.
Dave Andrews is a prominent member of the Waiters Union, community developer, Neopelagian thinker, author of Christi-Anarchy (1999), speaker, and activist.
Vernard Eller is a member of the Church of the Brethren and author of Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers (1987).
Some Christians today believe that the Bible teaches that it is right to submit to both state government, and church leaders, although God is ultimately a higher authority in cases where the rules contradict. Some Bible passages used in favour of obeying the state include:
- "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." -- Romans 13:1-2
- Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. -- 1 Peter 2:13-14
Many Christian anarchists point out that while these verses can be read as commands to obey or submit to agents of the state, none of them are commands for Christians themselves to do the coercive acts that are vital to the existence of the state.
Passages used to support church leaders having authority include:
- "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." -- Hebrews 13:17
- ... if it is leadership, let him govern diligently... -- Romans 12:8
- "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor..." -- 1 Timothy 5:17
Passages such as Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 are used in support of the view that it is appropriate to submit to human governments, and that these have roles in restraining evil. Christian anarchists counter this by stating that submission and obedience are not the same thing and that these passages reflect a call for Christians to submit to persecution at the hands of government while offering obedience only to God. They argue that when these passages are taken in context they highlight Christ's example of self-sacrifice and his loving submission to oppressors rather than returning evil for evil. A case for this is argued here: Deconstructing Romans 13: Verse 1-2
These passages however, are discussed by John Howard Yoder in his book, The Politics of Jesus.
"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" Matthew 7:23. Christian anarchists, like Christian fundamentalists, counter this passage as a defense of the state by saying there are many laws made by Man that do not necessarily reflect the "Word of God", such as "just wars". The Judeo-Christian Bible often differentiates between the laws of God and Man.
In defense of the state, mainline Christians often cite Jesus' response to the teachers of the law who wished to trap him in his words. When asked, "tell us plainly, is it right to pay taxes or not?" His response was "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." Mark 12:13-17. The dominant theological stance on this scripture is that everything given to man is from God; so Christ escaped their trap by referring them to their national concessions already made. Other Christian anarchists, however, reason that since fiat currency is coined and printed by the state, it belongs to the state. Christian anarchists, such as Ammon Hennacy, attempt to use simple living and bartering instead.
- Life and Labor Commune
- Plowshares Movement
- Tolstoyan Moscow Society