The first clash of the Old World Order with the New World Order came around 350 AD when the Roman king was given two options – will he be a King or will he be a Servant in the Kingdom of God, acting as an agent of the God and fulfilling his mandate? As it turned out, the king chose to be a Servant in the Kingdom of God and not the master of his own realm. The incidents of 382 AD, when the Altar of Victory, the core representation of Roman Power was thrown away from the Senate reveal us clearly the clash in the way of thinking between both the orders. The Roman Senator Symmachus questioned the removal directly in 384.

For each person has their own custom, each their own religious rite. The divine mind distributed different cults to cities to be their guardians. Just as souls are assigned to the newborn, so tutelary spirits of destiny are assigned to peoples. Besides this, there are the benefits which especially recommend the gods to men. For since all reasoning is shrouded in ambiguity, from where does recognition of the gods come more directly than from the recollection and proofs of circumstances that turned out favourably?…Let us now imagine Rome standing here and addressing you with the following words: ‘O best of emperors, fathers of your country, show respect for my years during which devout ritual has led me. Let me practise the ancestral rituals, for there is nothing to regret. Let me live by my own customs, for I am free. This cult brought the world under my rule, these sacred rites drove Hannibal from the walls and the Senonian Gauls from the Capitol. Have I been preserved for this – to have fault found with my longevity? ‘I will see what sort of arrangement is being contemplated, but imposing change late in old age is insulting.’ Therefore we request peace for the gods of our forefathers, for our patron deities. Whatever each person worships, it is reasonable to think of them as one. We see the same stars, the sky is shared by all, the same world surrounds us. What does it matter what wisdom a person uses to seek for the truth? It is not possible to attain to so sublime a mystery by one route alone.

Bishop Ambrose’s response was brash and crude.

Since you, most Christian emperor, have an obligation to make clear your faith in the true God, your enthusiasm and concern for that faith, your dedication to it, I am amazed that certain people should entertain the hope that altars to pagan gods might be restored at your command and funds for the conduct of pagan sacrifices be provided…As a bishop of Christ, I appeal to your faith. All of us bishops would have done so, if what reached people’s ears were not so unbelievable and unexpected – that something like this could be proposed in your advisory council or requested by the senate…Certainly, if something different is decided, we bishops cannot endure it with equanimity and disguise our dissatisfaction. You may come to church, but you will not find this bishop there, or you will find him uncooperative. How will you reply when your bishop says to you: ‘The church does not want your gifts, because you have adorned pagan temples with gifts. The altar of Christ spits on your offerings, since you have set up an altar to idols. For yours is the voice, yours the hand, yours the signature of approval, and yours the deed. The Lord Jesus rejects and refuses your worship since you have offered worship to idols. He has said to you: “You cannot serve two masters.”

Immediately after the the removal of the Altar of Victory by Gratian in 382, Roman Army saw it’s worst defeat in Europe in almost 400 years at Adrionople where the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens is killed. Besides, Rome itself was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. Western Roman Empire, which controlled Rome itself ended in 476 AD. In the next 1600 years, Rome never rose to claim back it’s power. Is it just a curious coincidence or is it the power of the Altar of Victory, I will leave it upon yourself.

But, the fundamental point of divergence still applies. Symmachus said, you are a king and you are supposed to be secular. Ambrose said you are a servant in the Kingdom of God and you should not serve two masters. Should the king choose to be a king in his own kingdom or should he live as a servant in a foreign kingdom? Symmachus said, add another god to the pantheon. Who cares? Ambrose said, only my god is god and everyone else is a demon. And now, if the law of the land where he is a king clashes with the law of the land where he is a servant, which one should take precedence? And the clash is bound to occur when you see someone praying to a different god – the just another god of Symmachus and the devil of Ambrose.

The present state of Andhra Pradesh pushes one into a similar dilemma. Not acting when temples are being destroyed for their wealth is one thing and not acting when someone acts according to religious zeal is another. Ex Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said on the beheading of Kodandarama at Ramateertham, a centuries old temple held in high local esteem –

The latest demolition of Kodanda Rama’s idol atop the Ramatheertham hill in Vizianagaram district was highly condemnable. For reasons not known, the chief minister is just watching the attacks on temples like a silent spectator. During the past 19 months, over 120 attacks have taken place on temples at various places. These attacks are going on as per a premeditated plan. Over 23 idols have been demolished in at least six temples at Pithapuram. The Durgamma temple was brought down in Guntur.

The question now is, should the king behave like a king or should he behave like a servant serving a different master?

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