A WORD TO THE READER
These pages were not written to justify the author's conversion to Orthodoxy; rather, they constitute the spontaneous overflow of a man's heartfelt gratitude and appreciation and a man's wish to offer an apologetic testimony to the purity of his newly discovered Orthodox faith and the boldness of her teaching. What makes the present work unique is not necessarily the topic, especially given the great number of existing epistemological studies examining it from every possible ecclesiological point of view. What makes this work original is the freshness of its approach and the unique manner of its analysis.
His Grace Bishop Paul de Ballester did not simply discuss the academic aspects of his theological crisis. On the contrary, his theology, intertwined with his very life, was the driving force propelling him toward the most painful spiritual journey and inevitable sacrifice: abandoning his church and subsequently facing his separation from his country of birth. Expressing such a profound theological experience without sacrificing self-honesty could only come to fruition through extraordinary inspiration and an adamant power of will. In each chapter, the reader will have the opportunity to follow step by step the awesome and agonizing journey of this former Franciscan monk from his initial crisis of conscience until his final and decisive confession that Orthodoxy is the true Church of Christ. Such conversions, whose number is progressively increasing, serve as a serious warning to the Roman Catholic Church that it has lost the privilege it had in the Middle Ages to reign as a dictatorial center of a political-ecclesiastical empire. Equally, they represent some of the most expressive guideposts for all those Christian groups still wandering along murky trails in search of the Shepherd's true sheepfold. Above all, however, they give us Orthodox one of the most valuable lessons: an objective avowal on the purity of our religious inheritance, emanating from the author's personal experience. This most pious testimony further illustrates the honor due to our predecessors for their resolve to keep the faith flawless through the harshest of historical trials and most difficult of times.
People such as Bishop de Ballester, who know what they believe and why they believe it, offer an unshakable testimony and a powerful confession of the Orthodox faith through their experience of what it means to come to the fullness of the Truth. With their steadfast and absolute conviction and with the characteristic enthusiasm of one who searched and found the Truth, they are called to shine the light of Orthodoxy onto the darkness of foreign Christian philosophies, and they do so with great zeal and success. Through such people, the ecumenical desire that the one flock be under one Shepherd -for which the Lord beseeched His Heavenly Father with much insistence- will one day become possible.
Stanislas Jedrezewsky Massalia, March 1954
Page created: 20-5-2011.
Last update: 20-5-2011.