Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Questioning Ecumenical Patriachate Openly Contradicts Christ's Calling
The welfare of the Ecumenical Throne is the sign post of the unity of the Church. Without unity among the brotherhood of bishops and therefore a coalition from canonical jurisdictions of the faithful the credibility of the Faith is questioned. Any division within the Church or disregard for the Ecumenical Patriarch and his role as First Among Equals, openly contradicts Christ's calling and scandalizes the Church. Even within the Trinity there appears to be a First Among Equals: God the Father does not to diminish God the Son, or God the Spirit. The OCA and Metropolitan Jonah in his short time in 'command' has created an unhealthy rivalry with the Mother Church while in his attempt for ecumenicism with the Anglican Church he seems to speak with an conventional indifference to the theological differences.
This is indicative of the OCA's continued misunderstanding of what is evangelical. The tendency is to underplay and dismiss the pastoral care and missionary work within an Orthodox parish. It doesn't legitimise such care to the flock which the Greek Orthodox Church has done so effectively. Rather it slanders the GOA calling such evangelical or missionary work ethnocentric on the mild end and prejudice and discriminatory on the other end. (Let's not forget the Saints Cyril and Methodios were Greeks sent out by the Mother Church to preach the Good News to the Slavs). The position of the OCA is largely due I believe because envy of the great success the Greek Church has had in the United States. Could anyone honestly imagine the state of the Church in the Americas without the GOA? Hardly. The OCA begrudges the Greeks with their huge numbers, support of the Ecumenical Throne and financial success and political influence. All this while the OCA has spent the last 20 plus yeas misappropriating church donations to such a degree that its corruption could pale in comparision any ponsey scheme.
The OCA has tried to make its position about language and ethnic division but the OCA with all of its English services and ethnic cleansing is not flooded with the faithful. While the Greek Orthodox Church raises and cultivates clergy from among the faithful, the OCA seems bent on transplanting them from other faiths. Another reason why the OCA is off track is because it seems to misunderstand the holistic and complete understanding of evangelism. Failing to recognize that you cannot separate missionary work within the parish or among the faithful with evangelism outside of the community. They forsake the faithful in other jurisdictions of course for the promise yet to come in their own. They dismiss totally the ancient churches Constantinople, Anticoch, Alexandria, Jerusalem which have maintained the Faith until modern times no small task and not without great expense to the Martyrs. You cannot rationally put on par any of the more modern saints on any continent with the Church Fathers. Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the Theologian, Saint Gregory of Nyssia, Saint John Climacus ...etc because it is from their teachings and legacy all others spring from.
Lastly, we are all called to live according to the Faith. We must to take up our cross daily and to witness and fully proclaim our faith among believers and non believers. What if the salt loses its saltiness? It may if we follow the path laid out by the OCA and other splinter groups. True evangelicalism is possible only when the faithful are living the Orthodox life not only in name. Only in knowledge which comes from cultivation and tending to the vineyard of the priest can we hope to being Orthodoxy as it was intended to the unbelievers. The current state of confusion and chaos demonstrated in the OCA is antithetical to the Orthodox Order. Remember Liturgy is a Taste of Heaven not an expression of ourselves. We cannot try and impose some affirmative action within the Church.