Great Christian Monarchs, Not So Long Ago
Today, anyone would be forgiven for regarding Christianity in Europe as a lost cause. The number of people who are active Christians has declined dramatically, particularly since the 1960's, in many countries the majority are atheists and the fastest growing religion is Islam. Even where Christian churches still operate, one would have to be fairly generous to call them actually "Christian" at all.
In The Netherlands,
the largest Protestant church group claims only 8.6% of the population
and even among those, nearly half have said they do not believe God
exists and 1 out of every 6 members of the clergy are atheists! In
Britain, the Church of England announced not long ago that it would be
closing down many rural parishes other than for Christmas and Easter due
to lack of worshipers. In the Kingdom of Spain, once the strongest
bastion of Catholicism in Europe, while 92% are officially members of
the Catholic Church, only 3% regarded religion as one of their most
important values. Obviously, things are not what they used to be and
this has affected monarchies and republics alike. However, the 'last
stand' of traditional monarchy, in a way at least, the First World War,
shows us that strongly Christian monarchs were not at all uncommon even
in those days.
|King Albert I of the Belgians|
|Czar Nicholas II of Russia|
|German Kaiser Wilhelm II|
|Emperor Charles I of Austria-Hungary|
Cases such as the last Czar of Russia or Emperor of Austria may be well known but for the others, sadly, their very open and devout Christian faith is all too often ignored. This should not be the case and, as can be seen, such faith, while not universal, was certainly not a rare exception. Today it can often seem like Christianity is banned from the halls of power, and often times it actually is, but it is then all the more important to remember that this was not always the case and it was not the case not all that long ago. Today, future monarchs are being raised in an environment very hostile to Christianity but even now there are still faithful Christians among the monarchs of Europe, even if they are not allowed to be very open about it. What is important, I think, to take away from all of this is our own responsibility. If we want God to give us good, Christian monarch as in days past, we might first try becoming a good, Christian public or at least aim to make an effort at such similar to how our forefathers did.