|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||On Orthodoxy|
“Christian” means “Wayfarer”
From the book “The Orthodox Way” by Bishop Kallistos Ware
In the excerpt below, Bishop Kallistos Ware maintains that “Christian” means “Wayfarer”, and also observes that “There is only one means by which we can discover the true nature of Christianity. We need to open our stride on this path, coordinate ourselves to this way of life, and then we will begin to perceive on our own.”
One of the famed Fathers of the Desert in 4th century
Egypt - Saint Serapion the Sindonite – had travelled to Rome one
time for a pilgrimage.
He was told there of a renowned recluse, a woman who had
always lived in a tiny room, without ever going outside.
Doubtful of her way of life – because he himself was a
great wanderer – Serapion visited her and asked her: “Why do you
stay here?” To which she replied: “I am not staying. I am
Every Christian could use those words to refer to himself.
To be Christian means to
be a wayfarer. Our
condition, according to the Greek Fathers, is like that of the
Israelites in the Sinai Desert.
We live in tents, not in houses, because - spiritually
speaking – we are constantly on the move.
We travel by means of the inner space of the heart, on a trip that is not measured by the hours of our clock or by the days of the calendar, because it is a trip outside of Time and inside Eternity.
One of the oldest names for Christianity was simply the term “The Way”:
Acts 19:23: “ And about that time
there arose a great commotion about the Way. “
Acts 24:22: “But when Felix (the Roman Governor of Caesaria) heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way…”
It is a name that emphasizes the practical
character of the Christian faith.
Christianity is something more than a
theory of the universe, something more than teachings written on
papers; it is a path that we take when we embark on the trip:
or, in its more profound and more essential sense, on the Way of
There is only one means by which we can
discover the true nature of Christianity. We need to open our
stride on this path, coordinate ourselves to this way of life,
and then we will begin to perceive on our own. As long as we
remain off it, we will not be able to understand correctly.
Of course it is necessary to be given instructions before
we start off; it is necessary that we be told which signposts we
should seek, and we also must have companions.
For indeed without guidance from others it is almost impossible to embark on the trip. However, the guidance that others have given can never be a substitute for the immediate, the personal experience.
Each one of us is invited to verify for himself whatever he has been taught; each one of us needs to re-live the Tradition that he has received. “The Symbol of Faith”, said the Metropolitan of Moscow Philaret, “does not belong to you if you haven’t lived it.”
No-one can travel with every comfort on
this trip, which is more important than everything else.
No-one can be a second-hand Christian.
God has children, but He does not have grandchildren.
Article published in English on: 4-5-2017.
Last update: 4-5-2017.