April 19, 2014

Radio Free Europe: The Price Of Influence

Writing on the RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Power Vertical blog, Brian Whitmore suggests that there may be a little too much symphonia in a recent move by Russian Patriarch Kirill to work closely with the United Russia political party. Whitmore: What motivated United Russia and Patriarch Kirill I to reach an agreement giving the Russian Orthodox Church an unprecedented voice in the legislative work of the State Duma? Aleksei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center tackles the issue in today's issue of "Nezavisimaya Gazeta." He begins by asking why the ruling party would want to enter into such an arrangement: Why? Because United Russia desperately lacks something despite its triumphs in elections throughout the country and the overwhelming majority in the lower house of the parliament. And what does it lack? It lacks society's respect. It lacks recognition as a genuine political party and not just an organization founded and coddled by the Kremlin. Because … [Read more...]

Fr. Alexander Schmemann on Primacy in the Orthodox Church

Many of the current jurisdictional controversies within the Orthodox Church involving the Ecumenical Patriarch, relations between Constantinople and Moscow, the status of the "autocephalies" -- even the future of the American Orthodox Church -- hinge on the question of primacy. While Orthodox Christians have rejected the Roman model of primacy as "supreme power" over the Bishop and local Church, the question of primacy within the Orthodox Church is a complete muddle. In "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology," an essay written in 1960 and now available on the AOI main site, Fr. Alexander Schmemann examines various aspects of the primacy question, an issue he describes as "on the agenda for our time." As he reminds us, the ecclesiological interpretation of primacy -- regional, autocephalous, and "universal" -- is "virtually absent" from from Orthodox theology. "We badly need a clarification of the nature and functions of all these primacies and, first of all, of the very concept … [Read more...]