01.03.2024

The Orthodox Church Is on the Wrong Side of History

There are extremely couple of occasions in our lives– vital, crucial occasions– that are really life-shattering. We Orthodox define them as kairos moments. World War II was just one of these. In my life time, there was 9/11. Individuals and organizations are specified by such moments.

We could remember exactly how the Roman Catholic Church failed to stand up to Mussolini as well as Hitler; thankfully there was the altruism of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship. Or we might bear in mind the hostility and also conspiracy theory generated by the strike on the Twin Towers; the good news is there was the altruism of very first -responders as well as sacrifice of those whose lives are memorialized at Ground Zero.

Amongst these moments, I would consist of the intrusion of Russia in Ukraine– perhaps a life-changing minute for the autocephalous churches that make up global Orthodox Christianity. The current meeting in between Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Porfirije of the Serbian Orthodox Church– where the latter was given thanks to for supporting sufferers of a war blessed by the previous– was shameful and exasperatingly hypocritical. Greater than anything else, the episode is representative of the here and now decrease of the Orthodox Church as an establishment.

As well as just as I assumed that Orthodox diocesans might stoop no reduced, Patriarch Kirill dug his primatial team deeper and also aggravated his ideological immorality, looking fully the “Putin church young boy” that Pope Francis alerted him about. Exactly how unpleasant for all of us that Patriarch Kirill is now being taken into consideration for EU and U.S. permissions as a Putin oligarch. It doesn’t quite help his reason that his loudest advocate is Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban.

For Patriarch Kirill, Russia is the perpetual victim; every person else is to blame: the West and Ukraine, the Phanar as well as Vatican, the U.S. and also UN, NATO as well as LGBTQ. It’s not constantly understandable just how to link the dots of this “affliction,” but somehow President Putin and also Patriarch Kirill do so rather flawlessly. I would certainly anticipate this of a political bully; however should we not anticipate even more of an Orthodox patriarch?

How do we translate the reality that numerous of our diocesans continue with life inside and outside the church as though absolutely nothing is occurring in Ukraine? For instance, how does a senior prelate like Patriarch Kirill serve and also increase the chalice with the blood of Christ at the altar of a church developed by a military general as well as specialized to the militaries, flaunting frescoes with beautiful and earthly warriors along with medieval and modern-day battles?

Or just how does a blessed diocesan like Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev attend a meeting in Cyprus for an Orthodox pre-assembly meeting of the World Council of Churches to go over “discussion” and “settlement” with blood on his hands? Exactly how does any kind of Orthodox hierarch passively endure the bloodshed Ukraine? An overwhelming bulk of diocesans stay silent concerning more carnage than those they savagely implicate for abortions. How many dioceses, abbeys, and seminaries disregard, also as they relish blood money from “the potter’s area”?

How have Orthodox leaders reacted in the greater than two months considering that Russia’s ruthless as well as unprovoked assault on Ukraine?

  • Four of the 15 autocephalous primates (Patriarchs John of Antioch and Theophilos of Jerusalem, along with Porfirije of Serbia and also Neophyte of Bulgaria) have yet to condemn the war; Patriarch Kirill, certainly, unforgivably sustains it.
  • A number of churches, for fear of incurring the rage of Kirill yet under stress from their own faithful, have denounced war as well as urged tranquility with platitudes extra pertinent in times of tranquility than times of suffering. For me, the most frustrating among these have been the statements of a remarkable hierarch– a personal hero, instructor, as well as coach– Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who mored than happy merely to price estimate the Beatitudes as well as “condemn all forms of violence, appealing for peace and settlement in Ukraine.”

Maybe several of our diocesans throughout the globe can take a lesson from their meticulous and bold congregations. Perhaps a few of our bishops in the United States must take a step back from their single-issue partisan thrones. Maybe our hierarchs can derive inspiration and also adoration from the thousands of priests who defiantly took the chance of apprehension by attending to a protest letter to Patriarch Kirill; from the over a thousand theologians who openly decried the spiritual ideology of russkii mir; or from the global demo arranged by laypeople and headed by women.

I am additionally conscious of very first -responders around the globe who have selflessly contributed to altruistic companies or taken in millions of Ukrainian evacuees, whose churches have condemned the intrusion, or whose governments have actually imposed sanctions on Russia, usually at incredible economic sacrifice in your home. These are the authentic silent heroes and also titanic generous activities of this kairos minute.

The emphasis of my post is the state of the Orthodox Church, which frantically requires resolving. Probably the Orthodox Church needs to hit– or we need to admit it has actually already struck– all-time low. Perhaps we need to confess that our church constantly turns down liberty and also freedom. Maybe we need to value what we know in our hearts however hardly ever admit with our lips: that once more we are hopelessly as well as shamelessly on the wrong side of background. Then, as well as only after that, will certainly we have the ability to take the initial– originally awkward as well as careful– actions toward reconciliation with our church and also with our world.

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