Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Psychotherapy and Orthodoxy


Mindless Zeal
by Protopresbyter fr. Dionysios Tatsis



Quite often, one notices people inside the sacred space of a Church who go to extremes when adhering to the various formalities of spiritual life.  They observe everyone around them with a keen eye - both the clergymen and the laity - and they jump to conclusions all too easily, then proceed to displays of objection, some of which are at times quite tempestuous and dynamic.  The "mindless zeal" of these brethren creates unpleasant situations that are a nuisance to others in the Holy Temple who are worshipping God and seeking solace.
These people find it extremely difficult to agree with something different. No matter how much you try, they persist in their erroneous impressions, and they also entertain a continuous turmoil in their soul.  They want everyone else to agree with them - which is something that will never happen. This behaviour essentially alienates them from the Church, even though they are unfailing churchgoers.  They do not regard the Church as something of their own, just as they do not regard the other people in there as their brethren. 
They prefer to differentiate themselves, to judge and to condemn, and they also believe that everyone around them is irreverent and a transgressor of God's will. When they approach others, they have a purpose: to demonstrate, to censor and to intimidate.  They do not aspire to becoming friends and participate in the various problems that the others may be facing. They have the same attitude towards priests also; they persistently require them to conform to their suggestions, because only they (supposedly) possess the genuine Orthodox criterion. 
An observation worth noting is one that was made by a Bishop, and is at the same time a word of advice:
"Do not always trust the one who will instantly display pretentiousness at the sound of an inappropriate word, or one who does not omit to cross himself a hundred times when passing outside a church, or one -finally- who is liable to fast even on a Sunday.  Usually, these types are nothing more than wolves, with the external innocent semblance of sheep."
Displays such as these would not have existed, if those brethren had pursued a spiritual struggle and were humble. Unfortunately, the focus of their interest is deflected towards others and not themselves, which is why they remain dissatisfied.  They worry about all the secondary, immaterial and changing things, whereas they remain indifferent towards whatever is important, necessary and salvific.
Apart from humility, we also need to have God-given wisdom - which is usually missing from those brethren, who become unnecessarily noisy and unsettled.  
 Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 7-3-2010.

Last update: 7-3-2010.