July 23, 2014

Metropolitan Kirill on Economic Globalization

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the President of the Department of Foreign Religious Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, has written a prologue or introduction to “The Ethics of the Common Good in Catholic Social Doctrine” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008) by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. The article by Metropolitan Kirill was translated from the Italian and into English for the first time by Paola Fantini, an intern in the Rome office of the Acton Institute. Considering the Orthodox concept of the common good, it must be noted that this concept refers not only to material well-being, not only to peace and harmony on earth, but most of all to the aspirations of man and human society to eternal life, which is the ultimate good of every Christian. For this reason, according to the Orthodox conscience, the debate on the common good will always be incomplete if it considers earthly life exclusively, while the highest good – life in … [Read more...]

Katopodis Responds to ‘Orthodox Dominionists’

Mr. Harry Katopodis has sent AOI an article to further elaborate on the thinking behind his article in the Hellenic Voice, "Religious Right Must Not Set Agenda for Orthodox Church." Which led to my post, "Where are the Orthodox Dominionists?" The Katopodis response is published here unedited: Dominionists or Pro-Life? By Harry Katopodis Several bloggers have criticized my article because I called called pro-life Orthodox dominionists, however the difference in reality is very small. The point is that whether I call them dominionists or religious right their stands are very similar, put Christian values and doctrine in the government of the United States. I was raised in the Orthodox Church, and I left the Greek Church and went to the OCA so I could hear English services. A few years later I returned home to the Greek Church when I felt I wasn’t welcome in the OCA because I am a Democrat and a proud union member that votes for Democrats because it is in my economic interest … [Read more...]

The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow

A new American Orthodoxy, one more vitalized by the Gospel, is taking shape now. There will be fewer parishes, more and younger bishops, a clergy that is better educated and morally rigorous. And, finally, the ethnic "coffee club" model of Orthodox Christianity will fade away. This is the vision of Fr. John A. Peck in "The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow," just published on the AOI site. "As frightening and disconcerting as it may seem to our leaders, they will learn that emerging from a cocoon, even a Byzantine cocoon, is not a bad thing," Fr. John writes. "Orthodoxy is about to take flight on new beautiful wings. Here he is on the future of the hierarchy in America: If our current slate of bishops has been mostly a disappointment, reducing their number will only tighten this closed circle, making the hierarchy less and less accessible, and more and more immune to things like, oh, the needs and concerns of their flock. The process of selection for the episcopacy will contain a … [Read more...]

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"During all the years until 1961, not only was I convinced that I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared that this would become known. Finally, at the age of 42, this secret authorship began to wear me down. The most difficult thing of all to bear was that I could not get my works judged by people with literary training. In 1961, after the 22nd Congress of the U.S.S.R. Communist Party and Tvardovsky's speech at this, I decided to emerge and to offer One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Alexander Solzhenitsyn's momentous decision to publish his slim volume on Gulag life (he feared not only the destruction of his manuscript but "my own life") ended his period of "secret authorship" and put him on the path of a literary career that earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. But his work meant so much more than that. Solzhenitsyn, who died … [Read more...]

‘Requiem for the Romanovs’

Robert Moynihan, writing for Inside the Vatican, has a moving report on the world premiere of a "Requiem Concert" in Russia's largest church, Christ the Savior, in a commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family on the night of July 17, 1918. The historical texts and music were by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna, Austria, head of the Russian Church representation to the European Institutions. Alfeyev also participated in the performance, reading Scriptural passages in which the sufferings of Christ seemed to foreshadow the sufferings of Christians in communist Russia. In the article "Requiem for the Romanovs," Moynihan wrote: No one can contemplate the bloody murder of four lovely, educated, refined, innocent girls, and their young brother, without a shudder. This sense of horror is multiplied by the sense that the children in some way represented the nation itself. The czar "incarnated" the "essence" of the Russian nation, … [Read more...]

Bp. Hilarion: Russian Orthodox Must Stay in WCC

Moscow, June 30, Interfax - Withdrawal of the Russian Orthodox Church from the World Council of Churches should weaken positions of Moscow Patriarchate in the inter-Orthodox dialogue, the representative of Russian Church in European international organizations believes. "This withdrawal may only weaken our positions today in defending the Church teaching which we consider traditional, which for many centuries was the basis of relations among the Orthodox Churches, and which is now challenged by the Patriarchate of Constantinople," Bishop Hilarion said Monday to Interfax-Religion. He also mentioned that the last Bishops' Council discussed "the claims of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the jurisdiction of the whole diaspora" and the Patriarch of Constantinople's seeking to receive the position "which is somewhat equal to that of Pope in the Catholic Church." "Today, the Russian Orthodox Church is the major opponent of Constantinople, therefore, the Patriarchate of … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox: Human Rights ‘not absolute’

In Russia Profile, Andrei Zolotov Jr. reports on the Russian Orthodox Council of Bishops and its adoption of a new work titled, "The Bases of the Russian Orthodox Church's Teaching on Dignity, Liberty and Human Rights." Zolotov says it's no accident that this report surfaces at a time when Russia and the European Union are "actively engaged" on a discussion of common values. In the Bishops Council document, he reports, the Church says that "human rights are definitely a value, and they belong to everybody, not just to the priests and priestesses of the new human rights religion. But it is not the absolute value. It has to be harmonized with the values of faith, morals, love of thy neighbor (and thus family and patriotic values), and of the environment." Zolotov continued: In essence, what we see here is a process of analysis, adaptation and reception – not in a wholesale, packaged way, but in a "processed" form – of the values that had been developed in the modern period on a … [Read more...]

The Real Byzantium?

In late January, Russian television showed "The Fall of an Empire: The Lessons of Byzantium," a film by Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov. The film has sparked a controversy in Russia about the role that the West played in the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, whether modern Russia faces similar dangers, and whether the Russian Orthodox Church could help prevent a similar collapse. The Moscow Times published two opposing views on the documentary today. Mark Urnov, dean of the political science department at the Higher School of Economics, had this to say: This is not a historical film but a mythological one. It appeals to a myth deeply rooted in the consciousness of many Russians -- one that combines the bold ideas of Moscow as a "Third Rome," the greatness of the 18th- and 19th-century Russian Empire and the Communist fairy tale of a flourishing Soviet superpower that was destroyed by insidious and subversive liberals. The film uses the Byzantine model to advance another myth -- … [Read more...]

Solovyov on Economic Morality

Towards the end of his life, the 19th century Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov published his "On the Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy" (1897). In this book, wrote historian Paul Valliere, Solovyov abandonded his vision of a "worldwide theocratic order" in favor of the more concrete demands of building a just society. With "Justification of the Good," Solovyov (1853-1900) presented a general theory of economic and social welfare based on the idea that all human beings have "a right to a dignified existence." The following excerpt is from the chapter, "The Economic Question from the Moral Point of View" in Solovyov's … [Read more...]

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Liberal Christianity will not survive for a long time

Address at the opening session of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, 13 February 2008. Source: Europaica I would like to draw your attention to the danger of liberal Christianity. The liberalization of moral standards, initiated by some Protestant and Anglican communities several decades ago and developing with ever-increasing speed, has now brought us to a situation where we can no longer preach one and the same code of moral conduct. We can no longer speak about Christian morality, because moral standards promoted by 'traditional' and 'liberal' Christians are markedly different, and the abyss between these two wings of contemporary Christianity is rapidly growing. We are being told by some allegedly Christian leaders, who still bear the titles of Reverends and Most Reverends, that marriage between a woman and a man is no longer the only option for creating a Christian family, that there are other patterns, and that the church must be 'inclusive' … [Read more...]