Monday, March 28, 2005

Eastern churches
From Fr Michael (Wood)

The Orthodox are coming

It would help to understand that most of us Orthodox clergy mix almost daily with laity and fellow-clergy who to and fro very frequently between the west and Russia/the Ukraine/Belorus/Serbia etc. They go there and look at what is happening with cynical western eyes, and are not too willing to accept anything at face value. Particularly is this so of our ROCOR people, who really want to accurately assess the position of Orthodoxy in those countries as it is a matter of current policy decisions which all of us will have to make in the near future. Quite frankly, we are privy to the everyday details (good and bad) of Church life there than outsiders ever will be.

You can sniff all you like at the Russian Church's attitude, but the reality is that there is a different worldview inherent in Orthodoxy, a different society in those countries, and Russian/Ukrainian/ Belorussian Orthodoxy is growing at a phenomenal rate, right back into the permeation of society, and it seems to be taking a strong Orthodox hold. It is for us to judge its Orthodoxy, not outsiders.

It is a very American Romano-protestant
[sic] attitude to assume that the Church of Russia will have to "come to grips with pluralism". No it doesn't. Nor does Russia have to adopt American style "democracy" (or anything much else if it's smart). Just because American RCC and protestants "want" to bust their way into Russia, doesn't mean that their wants and money will get them in.

Not long ago, I had a man staying at the monastery - he had been sent in to Russia as a western Baptist missionary - Russia sent him back ..... an Orthodox Priest - missionary to the west .... and he isn't alone in being thus turned. I know that ROCOR has recently offered suggestions to Moscow regarding additional methods of dealing with RCC proselytising in Russia.

I proposed the article as a serious think-piece, not a matter for sour grapes. However, ... it might be sobering for the Vatican if it finds itself with the Patriarchate of Moscow right there in Europe, since the Patriarchate is a rather large, well-organised operation which is rapidly learning the ways of mass public leadership. It might be at least as attractive to many within western Europe as a moral leader as is the Vatican - perhaps more so, since it does not carry the historical baggage for people in the west. It could certainly become an attractive alternative for Anglican and even Lutheran people as an alternative to an increasingly inaudible, irrelevant and bumbling Lambeth Palace.
- Fr Michael

Officially the RCs don’t solicit born Orthodox. That’s not the goal — corporate reunion/restoration of communion is — and is seen as counterproductive to it.

Fr Michael makes a couple of good points.

The things the seculars and liberals hate about the Orthodox are often the Catholic things and perhaps a way Orthodoxy can be saving medicine for the whole Catholic world could be through some healthy competition in the West.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment