For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.
Father Dobrushin took Aksinya to dinner. He told her he is willing to marry her to help her be rid of the demon. They have reached the end of their discussion--now is the time for Aksinya to decide...
Aksinya sighed, “Your words confuse me, but I am always very simple and direct. I shall marry you. I shall do as you ask and require. I shall pray with you and for you. All of this to be rid of this demon that eats away at my life and my soul. It is a fair bargain to trade my virtue to you for all you have done for me.”
“There you are wrong, Princess. You can desire without sin when the object of desire is appropriate. You would not give your virtue to me and I would not give my virtue to you. We would rather retain that virtue together in our mutual desire as husband and wife.”
Aksinya turned a gentle smile to him, “I see. Sister Margarethe taught me you can love without lust. Do you intend to teach me that I can love God and still possess desire?”
“I would teach you that you can still love and have desire.” He smiled, “But you are only allowed desire for me.”
“We should accomplish this soon before the demon can work anymore mischief in your life. The first step is marriage.”
“Will Father Makar marry us?”
“I don’t know.” Father Dobrushin lowered his eyes.
“What are you not telling me?”
“It is nothing. We will ask him tonight. Perhaps he will do as I ask.”
They quickly finished their dinner and Father Dobrushin hired a carriage to take them to the Ecclesia.
Father Dobrushin told Aksinya that he wanted to see this whole great problem of the demon through because in it he could know the truth of spiritual things. It made God real to him. This is one of the subthemes of the novel. Few patently disbelieve there is some spiritual reality. Thoughts, emotions, the unexplained are seen to exist in the world of the spiritual. Most of us seek the truth and reality of the spiritual world. Because our lives are bound in thought and emotion, we recognize that inexplicable place is real, but we wish proof. For Father Dobrushin, Aksinya is that proof. Thus, his words confuse her--she sees them as real, he seeks their reality. This was the metaphor in the trials. This was the metaphor in the idea that Aksinya was not sane. We accepted her sanity as a postulate of the novel. We ourselves fell for the assumption of a spiritual reality based on the demon. This is the reality Father Dobrushin wants to experience first hand through Aksinya. He is willing to give up everything for this.
Aksinya doesn't fully understand, but she is willing to give herself to be rid of the demon. Listen to her words, she is still in the mindset of a contract: "It is a fair bargain to trade my virtue to you for all you have done for me.”
And here comes another subtheme explained by Father Dobrushin. Do you remember Sister Margarethe told Aksinya she could love without desire. Of course Ekaterina showed Aksinya about the different types of love. Aksinya has been acting on the preface that to desire is not to really love. Father Dobrushin is about to teach her about Greek eros. I don't use the word in the novel because it it so misunderstood in English. Greek eros is romantic love. In the Christian worldview that Father Dobrushin represents, marriage is the proper place for eros, phileo, agape, and pathos (sexual love). A husband and wife don't give up their virtue to each other, they share these loves and retain their virtue.
Father Dobrushin does love Aksinya--he is just a little embarrassed to say it. This is cultural for the times and place. He makes a possessive statement to her:“But you are only allowed desire for me.”
There is an element of time here. They must hurry to see this through. The demon still prowls the earth and he owns Aksinya through a contract. They would enact another contract--a contract of marriage. Of course in the old world and in ancient thought a marriage is not consummated without sex. That is the point in Tobit.
The large question is where they will be married by contract. This is normative for their culture and their beliefs. They must be married in the church (it is a sacrament) before they can consummate it. The only place they could be married is the Orthodox Church. Remember, they are not Catholic and the Catholic Church has excluded Aksinya. They could not excommunicate her--she was not in communion with them.
Then we begin to see there is a problem. I foreshadowed this problem back at the secular trial. You know there is a problem in this and Father Dobrushin has not told all. He doesn't here either. Soon we will see what this problem is. Tomorrow, will Father Makar marry them?