Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Essays about Orthodoxy


The scandalmongers

(1 Corinthians 9:2-12)

by Archmandrite fr. Joel Konstantarou, Sermon preacher, Holy Metropolis of Konitsa.



There are certain people who have made "censure-seeking" among the laborers of the Gospel their purpose in life, and who - opportunely and inopportunely - judge and censure the words, the works and in general every action by pastors.

That prejudiced "Inquisitors" most certainly exist in every age and will naturally not cease to exist until the end, is made evident in the most characteristic incident with the Apostle Paul, when examining the Apostolic excerpt that is to be read in our Sacred Temples on Sunday.

Exactly what had taken place?  The sworn enemies of the Apostle of Nations had accused him (to the faithful, whom he had catechized and made members of the Church!) that he supposedly wasn't a genuine Apostle.

In other words, he was faced with a immensely serious slander, which could have easily ruined his entire apostolic opus, if he hadn't given a convincing reply and a dynamic rebuttal of that falsity.

Instead of any other supporting argument to counter that slander, the Apostle clearly stated, with complete spiritual outspokenness, the following view:  "The stamp of my mission is you all, in Christ" (1 Cor.9:2) - in other words, here is the stamp of my apostolic opus:  the faithful Christians; these souls, which have been cultivated and are living their lives in the Lord Jesus, as organic members of His Body - His Church.

Of course with this "catapult" of a response by the Apostle, the slander that his enemies attempted to impose on him - and the responsibility thereof - now also weigh upon the shoulders of the faithful: the faithful who must likewise prove to the enemies of the Church, through their attention and their labours, that they are truly genuine and authentic and that they duly observe the suggestions and the divinely-inspired teaching of the great Apostle.

Should we now perhaps underline that the same responsibility lies on our shoulders also, when someone either naively or intentionally "slings mud" against our spiritual Fathers and Teachers?

That, my beloved, is a certainty; however, let us pause for a moment on this point, which directly concerns us...

All of us, on a daily basis, are witnesses to this capricious tactic - not to mention that we ourselves also get carried away, in the vortex of hatred and slandering.... But, what causes chagrin to spiritual people - and in fact to a serious degree - is that we are so ready to accept the various accusations that are spewed by the "machine-guns of Hades", mostly against the conscientious workers of the Gospel.

How many lies, how many forged accusations, how many poisons are launched, in order to slur those who labour selflessly and with all their strength and their charismas within the Lord's vineyard! People who live for the Church, not off the Church...

In fact, there are certain news reporters whose objective is to "inform the public" (or, rather, to tear down all societal structures and completely scandalize all unsupported souls), who, before putting pen to paper, seem to first dip it into "a serpent's throat".... 

There is no doubt that there are cases who have wandered away from their mission, however, this should in no way make us reject the entirety of our pastors - just as the first Christians did not reject the Apostles, just because one individual - Judas - ended up in betrayal and committed the crime of all centuries.

When a doctor or an educator prove to be below par in their missions, we do not reject medical science altogether or all educators; likewise, we should not be scandalized by the mistakes - big or small - of a few clergymen and allow them to become the cause for others to be shaken in their faith.

Now, let us in turn pose a question, to all those who - like dung beetles - dig around trying to find the mistakes and the "crimes" of the pastors:  "Gentlemen, why don't you organize a campaign and present the multi-faceted opus of our Church?  Why don't you do your research and find those authentic pastors who labour in a multitude of ways, and who in fact are more numerous than you have imagined?"   If you really want to be objective, you must also present the issues that will duly satisfy the community sentiment. That way, no-one will dare accuse you of behaving unethically.

My brethren, we are certain that this proposition of ours will not be accepted by the Mass Media, because behind the smear campaign against our Orthodox clergy, there is no desire to present the truth; rather, it is a case of systematic implementation of the plans by the dark forces whose objective is to attack the Priesthood and our Church.

We can do nothing more except uphold our struggle, all together, both clergy and laity, and with a clear conscience and outspokenness reply to the instruments of darkness and contemporary slanderers as follows: "My apology to those who question me is this" : the truth, and the conscientious way of orthodox living.



Translation:   K.N.

Article published in English on: 9-8-2010.

Last update: 9-8-2010.