Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Christian Dogmatics

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1. Introduction



In my opinion, the basic and topmost issue in Ecclesiology is to determine the particular identity of the Church, so that the knowledge thereof will be correct and secure.  Unfortunately, however, the concept of “Church” in our conscience and our theological knowledge does not have a specific identity.  Thus, if someone were to pose the question: “What do we mean by ‘Church’? What is Her identity and Her characteristic?” it is certain that one would hear many and varied replies, which, if examined extensively, can also be said of many other things. Thus, the unique and identifying difference of the Church is not as clear as it should be, in our minds.  For many, the Church is linked to an organized historical community, whose main characteristics do not differ from those that also apply to other communities throughout the course of History. Nowadays (and chiefly in the West), the theological problem appears to be the discerning between Ecclesiology and Sociology. The Church naturally has its social elements also; a macroscopic sociological view of is history will divulge certain characteristics that one also finds outside the Church.

Indeedé, the way that Ecclesiology developed in the Roman Catholic and Protestant world does not differ very much from Sociology. The term “Church” was related to the term “societas”, which –it should be noted- is not an accurate rendition of the broader, respective Greek term “society”. This perception, which required the Church to be an organized society with its own rules on morality, ideology and administration, while dominant for centuries in Roman Catholicism, is nowadays gradually receding.  This of course is happening, because the very sociological concept of “society” as an organized whole, on the basis of an organized morality, ideology and administration, is tending to eclipse in modern times, for many and various reasons. It is not simply because societies differ from country to country; it is also because society itself has become splintered within the boundaries of a country – what we would call “the very fiber of society”. Nowadays, the established morality, the ideology and even the state administration of society is being doubted, in a multitude of ways, while new trends and various other forms of organization of social life have appeared on stage. Bearing in mind these social developments, Roman Catholic Ecclesiology has been transposed from the concept of “societas” that it had until recently. While Roman Catholicism has undergone a different kind of organizing than the state or society, in Protestantism on the other hand, secularization has almost completely absorbed the element of ecclesiastic organization, to such an extent, that the latter has become vague and unstructured and in no way evidently different to the political structure of society. The Protestant element of rationalism has been profoundly influenced by changing social theories in such a way that - depending on the circumstance - one can actually diagnose a Marxist, a capitalist etc. influence in the various Protestant societies.  Protestant churches tend to drift ideologically, depending on the social perceptions that prevail; in the area of morality, they fluctuate between what is commonly acceptable and an irrepressible liberty.  One could say, without oversimplifying, that in Protestantism, Sociology and Ecclesiology have lost their defining boundaries and have merged into each other.  Naturally, depending on the deviation of the individual confessions, there will be a corresponding gradation.

However, mostly in traditional Protestantism such as Lutheranism and Calvinism, where the dogma is stressed more than anything else, we note a dependency of these churches on the confession of their faith. In fact, it is from this last point that the name of the Lutheran or Calvinist Church was derived. Thus it was, that the Lutheran Church is the one that acknowledges its identity in the Augustinian Confession of faith etc..

This general outline pertains mainly to the ecclesiological orientations of the West, however it also directly concerns Orthodox theological thought, which has not yet formulated a comprehensive Ecclesiology.  It is a fact, that the ecclesiological texts by contemporary Orthodox theologians that we have available, are nothing more than a selection of the aforementioned forms of Ecclesiology that I described. The prevalent, borrowed element that they acquired from the West is the confessional approach.  If one were to ask how the Orthodox Church differs from the others, the answer (based on the ecclesiologies that we have) would be that we Orthodox have become entrapped historically by the Protestant -and generally by the Western- perception regarding the concept of “Church”.  By the 17th century, when the Western confessions made their appearance, the Orthodox were challenged to declare which confessions they recognized and acknowledged.  Thus began the formulation of confessions, for the purpose of defining Orthodoxy’s identity. In those points where we disagreed with the West, we would at times obtain arguments from the Roman Catholics in order to turn against the Protestants, and at other times would do the exact opposite.  It was in this context, that the confessions of Peter Mogilas and Dositheus of Jerusalem displayed Latin influences, Cyril Loukareos displayed Protestant influences, while the path followed by Mitrophanes Kritopoulos was something in between.  This fact is easily interpreted, as the nature of Orthodox Ecclesiology is entirely different and it is impossible for its identity to be determined on the basis of a confession of faith.

Well, where do the Orthodox draw the identity of the Church? We too have an entire history behind us on this point. The Orthodox perception regarding the Church springs from the empirical relationship of Man and the world with God, the way it was experienced by the ecclesiastic community throughout the centuries. Consequently, just as Dogmatics as a whole is experiential, so is our Ecclesiology; it expresses the way of existence of the Church. Then we see theologians coming along and manufacturing perceptions and forms out of that experience, or, quite often, as it unfortunately appears to be happening nowadays, they completely overlook it, and concoct their own perceptions.  Anyhow, regardless of the above, the permanent criterion for viewing Ecclesiology will always be the very experience of the Church.

In generalizing and formulating matters somewhat, I would say that the basic experiences are two, from which we Orthodox draw the content of Ecclesiology: on the one hand it is the Divine Eucharist – the liturgical experience that is accessible to all the faithful of the world – and on the other hand, it is the ascetic experience and the monastic calling, which is the choice of certain faithful within the Church. Beyond these two, there do not appear to be any other experiences that have decisively influenced the Orthodox ecclesiological conscience.  In the Roman Catholic and Protestant West however, it was the missionary experience that influenced their Ecclesiology, given that the identity of the Church included its being the instrument for the promotion of the missionary role.  In Orthodox theological tradition and popular piety on the other hand, missionary activities did not play a primary role. When an Orthodox says that he is going to Church, he doesn’t imply that he is going to preach the Gospel to the natives of another land, nor does he attend church only to hear the sermon (at least not until recently), but to participate in the service, to pray along with the community of the faithful and more especially, to participate in the Divine Eucharist. It was in this way, that in the Orthodox tradition the word “Church” identified with the word “church” (temple). Although the West had also inherited this identification from the ancient Church, the contemporary Western theologians, by rationally filtering things, arrived at the idea that one should not say: “I am going to Church”, but “to the temple”. H. Küng persisted intensely on this distinction, (which had also greatly enthused the late N. Nisiotes), saying that the use of the word “temple” was more appropriate. But no Orthodox says he is going to the temple; he always says: “I am going to Church”. This is by no means coincidental, because it is precisely this popular piety and this manner that designates the identity of the Church. My reference to these differences is intended only to highlight the particular emphasis that the Orthodox Church places on the experience of worship, and not missionary deeds.

In our times, we have all discerned the deviating turn that the neo-Hellenic ecclesiastic conscience has taken, under the influence of the religious fraternities and organizations, which have overstressed missionary work and sermon preaching.  This pietistic trend has also infiltrated the Church’s liturgical functions, causing changes and upheaval in the Divine Eucharist.  It is even more saddening to see these innovations firmly embedded.  Why is the sermon preached during the Communion phase?  The answer is usually the argument that an earlier time for the sermon is not recommended, due to the delayed arrival of the faithful.  Is churchgoing then exclusively linked to the sermon?  A sermon-based piety is therefore being cultivated by many preachers, to the detriment of the Eucharist function and experience, thus causing a fundamental change to the Orthodox idiosyncracy. Quite a few “literate” clergymen recite the Gospel passages during the Divine Liturgy without chanting them, in order to make them more palpable for the lait. Similarly, in other areas, the missionary zeal has diluted the feeling of mystery that envelops the Church. All of us can sense that these trends have deviated from Orthodox tradition and liturgical practice.

In Orthodox theology, the main characteristic that expresses the identity of the Church is not the missionary practice, nor of course the various confessions of faith. In the Divine Eucharist we do not use any singled-out confession or some excerpt from an academic manual. All of these do of course exist, but only marginally in the Church’s life.  At its epicenter –which is the Eucharist worship- only the elementary and common to the other churches and confessions Symbol of Faith (Creed) has any place. Therefore, when identifying the Orthodox self-awareness only on the basis of the Symbol of Faith, it is not possible to differentiate ourselves from the heterodox Christian communities. It appears, therefore, that only the two elements that I mentioned previously, i.e., the Divine Eucharist and the monastic tradition, have decisively shaped the Orthodox conscience as regards the identity of the Church. When looking for it, we must definitely turn to these two ecclesiological constituents.

With this approach, however, a serious theological problem is created, which involves an inbred competition between the liturgical and the ascetic element. I once again pose the issue schematically in order to provoke you to speculate, so that we can examine and re-think in depth certain important things.  The competition between the Eucharist – Worship approach of Ecclesiology and the corresponding Monastic - Ascetic approach has deep roots in History. We shall attempt o make a brief trip to the past, working up to our time, in order to determine how this statement is displayed, which could prove catastrophic.

From my studies of History, I have formed the opinion that this competition did not exist initially, because the predominant element in Ecclesiology used to be the act of Worship, and in fact the Divine Eucharist. This is verified, by the New Testament and by the two first centuries –at least- of the Church. In Saint Ignatius of Antioch and Saint Ireneos of Lyons, and even by the apologete martyr Justin (in other words, throughout the entire spectrum of the 2nd century), the identity of the Church had its foundations in the performing of the Divine Eucharist. The problem, and the other competitive factor, appeared during the Alexandrian theologians - mainly Clement and Origen – and it developed in the East, in parallel to the institution of Monasticism which became deeply influenced by the spirit of the untiring Alexandrian teacher, thus shaping a new approach and basis for Ecclesiology. It must be stressed, that Origen and the Alexandrian theologians of that period were influenced by the ideological principles of Platonic philosophy.

For Platonism, the identity of every being is found in the original idea of that being - the idea pre-existing before History and Time, which contribute towards the deterioration of tangible things. In accordance with the theory on eternal and self-existing ideas that comprise the archetypes of all beings, if something possessing a specific identity is true, then it is not attributed to its present, material, corruptible and constantly changing state, but to the corresponding idea of that thing, which idea is the only thing that remains eternally unchanging. To the extent that a certain changeable being participates in the eternal archetype idea of that being, it will also acquire its true identity. According to the Platonizing Alexandrian theologians, the Church likewise acquires its identity from the beyond-Time and eternal world of Ideas, as well as its present hypostasis. Dominating this world of Ideas is the Logos of God, which unites within it all the logos of beings. Therefore, the Church itself refers its true identity, when its participants approach and partake of the universal Logos during their union.  Thus, the question regarding the “being” of the Church is replied to by the Alexandrian teachers as the convergence and the union of the eternal souls with the eternal Logos. Even though Origen’s idea regarding the eternicity of souls (which was condemned by the 5th Ecumenical Synod) did not succeed in decisively entering the monastic conscience, nevertheless, the essential element of Alexandrian tradition –the union of the soul with the Logos- played a significant role in the shaping of the ascetic spirit.  But because the tangible elements and the corporeal aspect of the generative cause of sin within the flow of Time intercede during the harmonious union of the souls with the Logos, the Church’s primary mission is to provide man the opportunity for a catharsis from whatever obstructs his union with the Logos. Thus, the identity of the Church is seen as an infirmary for souls, whereas Monasticism constitutes precisely that charismatic method -within the Church- which is destined for the realization of the soul’s catharsis from its passions and its union with the Logos of God. It is clear how, in such a visualizing, great importance is placed on the human mind (Nous), which has to be cleansed of its tangible thoughts, because it is only through this cleansing that the mind’s thoughts can attain a proximity and a relating with the supreme Logos, with which they are also naturally related to.

During the particular emphasis that is given here, in the method and the course of catharsis and expulsion of tangible thoughts, all the weight of Ecclesiology begins to be shifted towards this direction. Thus, the worship and the eucharist elements gradually lose their primary significance and are transformed into a means serving an end. The eucharist assembly of the Church, holy communion, is used simply in support of one’s struggle to combat passions. The demotion of the liturgical factor by the Alexandrian approach, in conjunction with the development and the proliferation of Monasticism, had a broad response in the natural location and the surrounding atmosphere of Platonism, as was our East – the Hellenic-speaking regions of “Byzantium”.  Besides, during this same period, the idea that there is an intelligible world superior to the tangible and material one became more and more accepted. All this contributed towards giving precedence to the therapeutic –so to speak- perspective of Ecclesiology, and not to the Eucharist perspective. Nevertheless, once again, the one element had not eliminated the other, so that one could be sure that only one of the two now comprised the prominent element.

Perhaps the easiest thing would be for one to say that both elements comprise the identity of the Church. But such a viewpoint does not satisfy a speculating mind, because in reality, the absolute and final identity cannot be located in these two approaches.  Between the eucharist and the therapeutical image of the Church, what can be called final and absolute? What is relative, and what is it supportive of? This, in Orthodox Theology, is where the whole issue of Ecclesiology pivots in my opinion. In other words, is the Church tending to be transformed into a society of intelligent beings, into an angelic state?  Is man’s model - the model with which he wants the Church to be identified – to be found in the world of immaterial and incorporeal angels or the materialized and incarnate Logos?  What is more, is the incarnated Logos simply a road leading to the non-carnate Logos? When studying the texts of the Fathers, we can discern that they too present certain analogous differentiations.  Many are those who, with a western perception of “concessus patrum” are scandalized by this observation.  What is certain, however, is that such differing approaches do exist. Saint Ireneos’ or Saint Justin’s approach is not the same as Origen’s.  The latter, albeit not a Father of the Church, nevertheless greatly influenced many Fathers. The Origenic element is quite prominent, up until the Cappadocians, without disappearing altogether in the centuries that followed, even through to our time. At the same time, it has permeated ecclesiastic poetry and hymnology, where the model of sanctity is the blessed ascetic.  In the divine Eucharist however, the model of man is the incarnate Logos – the God-human Christ – Who also assumed all of material nature with His human nature.  This assumption, and this reference to Christ of the entire world, is the par excellence experience of the divine Eucharist. Thus, with the eucharist approach, the purpose and the identity of the Church, as well as who is Holy within the Church, is viewed through an entirely different perspective.  The harmonious relationship between these two theories (therapeutic and the eucharist Ecclesiologoy) was achieved by Saint Maximus the Confessor, in a dynamic theological synthesis.

The author of «Mystagogia» -as a monk- is well acquainted with the Origenian tradition, as well as Neo-Platonism which was the philosophy and the terminology of the time. The use of all these parameters by Saint Maximus made most researchers align him with Origen – the so-called “Platonizing” Fathers. A characteristic example is that of H.V. von  Balthazar, who first brought to light the theological thought of Saint Maximus in his book «kosmische Liturgie» (Secular Liturgy) in 1941.  In this book, the Swiss theologian accomplished an excellent analysis of Saint Maximus’ thoughts, albeit locating certain Origenist elements throughout all the thoughts of the Confessor Saint. It was necessary for the American P. Sherwood to contribute, who, in a deeper analysis of the theology of the great Father, corrected the mistaken evaluations of Balthasar, proving that Saint Maximus had merely gone through an “Origenic crisis” as he called it; correcting and finally expelling Origenism from the theology.  In his second edition of 1961, Balthasar was forced to rectify whatever Origenism he had asserted that existed in Saint Maximus’ work.  Given that he had, on the one hand, a good knowledge of Origen and Neo-Platonism –as most scholarly monks of the East did- and on the other hand, by living the experience of the Church fully, Saint Maximus was obliged to make changes, in order to be aligned with what I have named Eucharist Ecclesiology.  With his richly endowed mind, Saint Maximus achieved a truly majestic synthesis of these two approaches. When placing the Divine Eucharist in its secular dimensions, he considers the eucharist reference to be the ultimate element that expresses the identity of the Church.  For him, therapeutic Ecclesiology lies in the transformation and the presentation unto Christ of the entire tangible and intelligible world, as well as the relationships between people. In other words, catharsis and the riddance of the world of its negative element are necessary, but that is not what constitutes the final destination of the Church; it is the Eucharist transformation of entire Creation and its referral to God – to the heavenly Liturgy of the Kingdom.  The Church, therefore, is the “workshop” where catharsis is attained, not for the purpose of creating a community of incorporeal angels (as Origen would have wanted), but to salvage this material world, providing it with the dimension of eternicity by referring it to God.

Sainté Maximus’ synthesis therefore is most revealing, as regards the identity of the Church. We cannot overlook the therapeutic element, but we cannot make it the ultimate criterion of Ecclesiology without incorporating it in this eucharist view of the world as a transformation and not as a scorning and a rejection of the material and somatic element. The History of the Orthodox Church sails along this specific course; at times emphasis is placed on the one factor and at other times on the other factor, but always within the framework of the harmonious synthesis as formulated by Saint Maximus the Confessor.

The problems commenced, when theologians began to conceive a point of view and then unilaterally exhausted the entire truth therein, while the psychology that leans toward fanaticism – the recriminations – that “odium theologicum” and easy heresiology are responsible for various morbid phenomena and situations. Misinterpretations and unilateral aspects of this kind appear in Saint Maximus also, who, by the way, is mentioned only for his eucharist perspective.  For many, he is considered to be the expresser of therapeutic Ecclesiology. Greater damage was however caused by the pursuant Fathers, and in fact with Saint Gregory of Palamas, whose teaching was projected like a flag that defined Orthodoxy, as opposed to the Christian West. The researchers to date of Palamas’ theology unilaterally regard that the hesychast saint was a classical representative of simply the therapeutic and not the eucharist theology. Furthermore, many researchers –mainly westerners- maintained that there was a certain contradiction between the hesychasts and other, eucharist theologians of the 14th century, such as Saint Nicholas Kavasilas. I believe that we need to re-approach the theology of this archbishop of Thessaloniki, in the entirety of his treatises – from his speeches of objections to his poemantic homilies – in order to show that he does not deviate in the least, but rather develops even further Saint Maximus’ tradition, in which both Ecclesiologies are in a harmonious synthesis, with the ultimate criterion being –as I believe - the eucharist one

However, beyond the purely theoretical symptoms of the competition that I described, there were certain practical extensions to it, which created poemantic and institutional problems in our contemporary ecclesiological situation. These problems are summarized, I believe, chiefly in the relations of the institution of bishop and that of the monks. On the one hand, the bishop – as the chief officiator of the Divine Eucharist and the expresser of eucharist Ecclesiology – is the one who judges exactly where the identity of the Church should be located. The monk, on the other hand, with his therapeutic ascetic living, provides the measure of sanctity on which the Church should recognize Her identity.  Naturally, the problem of competition between these two institutions has always existed, which is why, in the 9th century, the synodic canons had made provisions for strict penances against those monks who claim any absoluteness within the Church, by subjecting them to the spiritual jurisdiction of the local bishop.

In our day the problem of monasticism as an institution and a mentality infiltrating the Church in the world is especially obvious. Monasticism, which had begun as a departure from the world, is now inside the world. The trend is developing, where not only are monks circulating in society, but they are also often conveying into the lives of people and their families the criteria and the ascetic methods, the visions and the objectives of ascetic living, as applied in monastic living. For example, the notion of obedience as an ascetic ideal that a monk undertakes from the moment of his tonsure, before God and people, promising to uphold it, is also being transferred beyond the monastic institution, thus shaping a corresponding ecclesiastic life and act. This is why we observe – on the one hand – the phenomenon of certain lay people struggling to become monks without undergoing tonsure and the promise of obedience, and on the other hand, those who give their promise of obedience and their lifelong retreat in a monastery, and the next day are out in the streets, making monks out of Christians living in the world. These morbid situations appeared during our time, after the catalytic influence of the western experience of missionary zeal, which was introduced in Greece through the various Christian organizations, causing complete confusion in Ecclesiology. The Orthodox conscience nowadays appears more confused than ever before. When a monk leaves his retreat to speak to the world, he is usually overcome by the disposition to save the world, which constitutes a substitution and transference of the missionary spirit into the monastic ideal. In older times, a monk retreated from the world, having felt his great need to be saved. Nowadays, one becomes a monk in order to save others.  Needless to say, that there is a significant number of the laity who, for instance, are puzzled as to where they should show obedience, but are also puzzled in numerous other areas. Thus, nowadays, there is a whole lot of practical problems for people who do not know what to do at a given moment or situation in their life; problems that never used to exist.

The confusing of missionary zeal with the therapeutic method, the underestimating of the eucharist view and the confession-oriented mentality of theology, brought on such a condition to Ecclesiology, that the identity – the place and the way of determining the life of the Church – is no longer discernible. We are living in a time of theological confusions, therefore our essential poemantic responsibility as theologians is to help man to exit this confusion. This of course is not achieved only through the discerning by our mind; this is necessary too, but always within the framework of the organic synthesis of Ecclesiology’s liturgical and ascetic perspective.


Q: The problem with therapeutic Ecclesiology is, perhaps that, with its gnosio-theoretical method, it seems to forget the par excellence eucharistic – social aspect of the person.  Is this absence of the Person indeed discerned in therapeutic Ecclesiology?  

A: -In Ecclesiologys therapeutic approach,
a priority is definitely given to gnosiology. This is precisely why we observe an intense preoccupation with the issue of knowledge, whether it be of God, or the charismas of having this knowledge, which have a particular weight and attraction. If someone were to divulge what is to happen to you tomorrow, or what you are thinking of right now, then you would quite possibly think: How can the essence of things – the very Church itself – depend on the charisma of far-sightedness?  If someone else was spending his time in a hospital tending to a sick person, it would be considered of secondary importance. Gnosiology acquires a kind of priority versus ontology, where the theological dimension of the Person and society –as the identity that emerges from within a specific relationship- has a more weighty significance. This relationship and this society extend towards the entire material world; towards the natural environment.  Let it be noted, that we are only just beginning to become aware of the “spiritual” prerequisites of the so-called ecological problem. Incidentally, the indifference displayed by many orthodox towards the dangers that threaten our natural environment is, unfortunately, very disappointing.

Q: - Given these so confusing situations, what is left for us as a practical possibility and hope?

: - My suggestion would be to delve into and study these problems in depth, aspiring to something beyond today’s confusion. I do have a positive outlook however – and it is supported by History and a theological perspective – that in Orthodoxy, in spite of the present state of confusion, there are underground currents which, if one encounters them, will reveal the authentic ecclesiological experience.  The historical course of Orthodoxy in Russia is stunning. What events didn’t invade the orthodox conscience of the Russian people: the invasion of Protestant and Papist propaganda, westernization, confusions and schisms, atheist ideology, persecutions.... And yet, despite all these, certain people such as the late, memorable G. Florovsky, succeeded in encountering the true meaning and the authenticity of Orthodoxy. Such expressions and displays of underground currents in the Orthodox tradition – albeit unfashioned – are frequently observed in non-theological circles which, however, possess a sensitivity cultivated by art and other factors.  At any rate, the role of theology nowadays is to unearth whatever underlies the surface of what we call Orthodoxy, with all its accompanying confusions and problems. I have the conviction that something is happening.  When, for example, I see simple people swarming to churches that are celebrating, they are giving witness with their life and their act –almost instinctively- of what the identity of the Church truly is. The rationalistic and pietistic sermon by various theologians may of course have attempted to correct this lay piety; by imposing an entire system of behaviour and mentality, neo-Hellenic pietism strove to bend and change this underground current of Orthodoxy, which has been flowing through the ages. My optimism however, is based on the experience of recent History. No matter how many attempts have been made, nothing and no-one was able to eliminate this underground current of Orthodox self-awareness. Contemporary theology might perhaps have to return and be re-baptized within these lay manifestations of true Orthodox piety.


Q: -Would you like to give us some indicative information on this?

: -The manner in which people perceive their relationship with the Church, the Saints, the icons, is a relationship of direct and personal familiarity; an ontological relationship that is not filtered through one’s mind, so that things do not become confused, either from a gnosiological and moral aspect, or a missionary and ideological one.  More specifically, my view is that the sub-stratum of the orthodox conscience is the relationship with God as a “relationship of saints”, which includes and cares about the material element of Creation. When someone presents a promised offering, when one light a candle as tall as his stature, the preacher will probably comment that “these things will be of no benefit, if, at that moment you are not thinking of.......”.  Anyway, the important thing is not what one is thinking of, but the fact that one is acting: he has left his home and entered the Church – he is in a communion with the Saints.  From a gnosiological point of view, he might not actually be there, but ontologically, he is. It is also necessary to cast out every concept that suggests the Liturgy has any other purpose, other than the realization of one’s ontological relationship to God, to others and to the entire world. The Divine Eucharist – unlike a sermon - does not serve any gnosiological purpose.  In Church, the simple believer does not go there to think, which is probably why he doesn’t comprehend the sermon, no matter how plainly it is delivered.  Things become more obvious, when, for example, at the mention of a saint’s name, the congregation instinctively makes the sign of the Cross.  This signifies that the faithful, even though not intellectually participating during the delivery of the sermon, their personal relationship to the saint is nevertheless directly activated.  The faithful will go to honor a personal relationship with the community of saints, while the preacher seeks to provide him with ideas of things. We usually don’t bestow the appropriate priority that befits the Divine Eucharist. It is a sad phenomenon that is observed, mainly among the ranks of the “educated clergy”, when they are under the impression that they must preach, because the people “have come to hear the sermon”.  Without the knowledge of where the Church’s identity is located, we preach to others about what they should be doing.  Of course Orthodoxy can judge and teach the world, but first we need to filter the perception that we have of Her, from all the foreign trumpery that is hiding Her Truth and her personal identity.



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Transcript: Anna Navrozidou and Nick Zarkantzas

Proof-reading: Stavros Yiagazoglou

Typing: N. P.

Webpage format: N. M.

Translation by A. N.


Article published in English on: 15-1-2007.

Last update: 15-1-2007.