So during my daily news browsing I came across a certain article claiming to be an “Orthodox” view of the pope-man’s visit to the US. That is something relevant (in the strictest, traditional sense of the word), you may say; and I would agree with you. But alas and alack, the article has been read and found wanting.
We start out on a good toe (I say “toe” as it goes downhill too fast to say “foot” ) with a clear title and a subtitle calling to mind the schism of which we are all aware. In the first sentence, however, all hopes are dashed against the rocks. I quote, “This past Sunday was my 4-year-old son’s first communion at our local Russian Orthodox Cathedral…” What in the world, I ask the author, was your son doing the first four years of his life without communion? If I remember correctly, one is automatically excommunicated from the Church if they do not receive communion at least once a year. Maybe he was only baptised when he was four years old? If that is the case, what was an Orthodox parent doing not baptising their child until they were four years old? Waiting for them to make their own decision about baptism?
Now, if that wasn’t a kick in the pants this is sure to be: “…here in D.C., like the Orthodox church my family attended in California decades ago, it is in the cafeteria after the service where the real truths come out.” Ok, so I’m pretty sure I can assume that the “service” spoken of here is the liturgy. Now, that being assumed, how can any orthodox person say that coffee talk and gossiping after the liturgy (the purest, and highest expression of truth in this world) can be a vehicle for “real truths?”
On this train of tepidity goes… Concerning the history of the Church we read: “It (the Orthodox Church) hews more closely than most faiths to its ancient theological roots, which stem from the beginnings of Christianity.” An Orthodox Christian wrote this line??? That is not all in this little history lesson: “Included in its communion are the ancient patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem (and now Moscow).” So what happened to the patriarchates of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Georgia?
Moving on to modern history we read the following about that infamous event in “ecumenical” history, i.e. the meeting between Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul: “In the Orthodox retelling of that event, it was a watershed moment, leading to some first real steps towards reconciliation.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that watershed bursting on me… Let me remind you of a better reading of that “historical” meeting: “The Tradition of the Church and the example of the Holy Fathers teach us that the Church holds no dialogue with those who have separated themselves from Orthodoxy. Rather than that, the Church addresses to them a monologue inviting them to return to its fold through rejection of any dissenting doctrines.” and further “No union of the Roman Church with us is possible until it renounces its new doctrines, and no communion in prayer can be restored with it without a decision of all churches…”
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a truckload of OSBs over such an article in a magazine of such widespread distribution and readership as this.
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