July 28, 2014

Fr. Gregory Jenson: The Orthodox Church and Civil Society

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Source: Koinonia Much like the Catholic Church, Mainline Protestant denominations and Evangelical Christians, the Orthodox Church is struggle to decide whether or not Christ has called us to take an active or a passive role in the world. By his example, Metropolitan Jonah has said we should be active–even proactive–while his critics, either out of fear of, or agreement with, the spirit of the age have opted for passivity. This at least is the conclusion that I would draw from the recent Washington Post profile piece about his Beatitude (you can read it here and my post on it here). It seems clear that the Orthodox Church in America is internally divided between those who would rather not step out into the public square with the Gospel and those like his Beatitude are ready, willing and eager to do so. As in every human decision, people do or don’t do for a mix of reasons and just because two people agree on a course of action doesn’t mean they have the same … [Read more...]

The question of European identity

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

From Pat. Kirill's message to the Conference on the Identity of Values for Europe held on November 19-10, 2009, in Venice. The further existence and fruitful development of the European project depends on a clear answer to the question of the European identity. It is necessary to understand what exactly constitutes the backbone and uniting principle for the numerous peoples living in the continent. Only in this way it is possible to overcome their cultural differences and to inspire them for building a common space of mutual trust and aid. Christianity has formed Europe’s values basis and idea. Outside the Christian tradition it is impossible to become aware of the inner contents and driving mechanism of the development of this region and the cultural code of the ethnoses inhabiting it. Therefore, in future, too, every stage in the building of our common home cannot be reached without reliance on the Christian witness. Europe’s Christian identity is an immutable given which … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and Obama’s conscience clause

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A friend sent me an email earlier today. Search Google, he said, with the terms conscience rule obama catholic bishops and conscience rule obama orthodox bishops and then compare the two. Not very impressive. (Actually, the AOI blog article on Abp. Demetrios' awkward praise of Pres. Obama ranks first in Google, but that's beside the point.) It got me to thinking. If there is ever a need for Orthodox unity, the time is now. The authority of the Orthodox moral tradition far exceeds our numbers, but that authority has to be exercised. As long as we remain disunited our voice is muted and the culture does not receive the direction it needs. The Catholic Bishops understand this, just as they understand that the life issues are a matter of not only personal life and death, but cultural life and death. That is why they are ready to use their authority to clarify these issues and, if necessary, offer moral resistance. It is time for us to step up too. Apart from the GOA, the … [Read more...]