October 31, 2014

Fr. Harakas: St. Athanasius the ‘supreme model’

Orthodox Christians have “a message and a way of life” that they must present as “an alternative to the morally and spiritually down-spiraling contemporary American lifestyle,” says Fr. Stanley Harakas, Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology Emeritus at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

St. Athanasius

St. Athanasius

Fr. Harakas was the keynote speaker at Fordham University’s Orthodoxy in America lecture on Feb. 17. He said that St. Athanasius is a useful model for Orthodox Christians as they anticipate their future in this country because “his battles for the Orthodox faith, his acceptance of repeated exiles and his unrestrained resistance against opposing forces in high places earned him in history a description as Athanasius contra mundum, or ‘Athanasius against the world.'”

Also, Alexandria, the city in which St. Athanasius was born and raised, was, in the first few centuries of Christianity, “a pluralistic place, full of variety and within the Christianfold of a wide range of contrasting beliefs, especially about the person of Christ,” Father Harakas said. “In that vital and pluralistic context so similar to our own, the life of St. Athanasius stands out as a model for the Orthodox Church to prepare for its future in the United States.”

Fr. Harakas said that that Orthodox Christians can affirm constitutional principles of freedom and be good Americans when “we affirm our identity as Orthodox Christians, while acknowledging that others have the same right.”

“Neither secularism, nor capitalism, nor socialism, or any other ‘ism’ is an authentic component of what it means to be American,” Father Harakas added. “Freedom of belief, of worship, speech and political exercise are the only things that are authentically American.”

Comments

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    May St Athanasius protect and guide The Observer

    St. Athanasius is a useful model for Orthodox Christians as they anticipate their future in this country because “his battles for the Orthodox faith, his acceptance of repeated exiles and his unrestrained resistance against opposing forces in high places earned him in history a description as Athanasius contra mundum, or ‘Athanasius against the world.’

    May the Holy Spirit be the Spiritual Director of The Observer and St. Athanasius be the Patron.

    O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth,
    Who are everywhere present and filling all things,
    Treasury of blessings and Giver of life:

    Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all
    impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

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    Andrew says:

    It is strange that the GOA press office and website does not choose to cover any part of the content of the Lecture at all. Yes we have an announcement on new Chair at Fordham but there is virtually no coverage of Fr. Harakas’ Lecture. You would think with such a visible event that the GOA could reprint the lecture or serialize it in an article.

    Much like with Fr. Aris Metrakos’ wonderful talk on abortion there is no mention of any of this in the normal GOA media channels.

    This is a terrible disappointment. One has to question who or what is shaping the GOA’s outreach to the media these days.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Andrew, perhaps it is political expediency and the NCC and the desperate dreams of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

  4. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Very good question Andrew.

    This is a terrible disappointment. One has to question who or what is shaping the GOA’s
    outreach to the media these days
    .

    As I said, the Orthodox Church is battling the forces of darkness. It seems that in this fight the
    enemy uses the infiltration tactics. This is why we see this kind o abnormalities.

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