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Metropolitan Anthony: on the events in global Orthodoxy

иерод. Никодим

002Recent events in the Orthodox world cannot leave the Faithful indifferent. An engaged person must make a judgement on the situation, but even for those within the Church it is not easy to understand where the truth lies and how to respond. For those outside the Church it is much harder to find the truth. Secular people are more likely to be influenced by versions of events and propaganda promoted by the media and by public figures standing far from Christ’s truth.

Therefore, a distinguished guest was invited to one of the youth meetings at the Lavra, metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, Chief Administrator of the UOC (the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church). He sought through this dialogue to help young people develop and strengthen their Orthodox faith and trust in the steadfastness of the Сhurch’s ship.

Firstly, His Eminence explained the significance of faith for a Christian, noting that a person has life purpose only if they believe in the Incarnation of God. “If he does not have an objective sense of the presence of God in his life,” continued metropolitan Anthony, “this means that there are serious problems in the spiritual life, this indicates a lack or complete absence of faith.”

Then His Eminence proceeded to a direct examination of problems and conflicts in the Orthodox community. “We are grateful to the Greek Church, its many holy fathers who worked for the defense of the Orthodoxy and the establishment of the theological science,” metropolitan emphasized. “Our pious ancestors received the most important tools for the manifestation of the Orthodox faith and its spread on our lands. However, lately, tendencies towards secularization of Church life in some local Churches have become noticeable, which were especially evident at the Council of Crete, in the decisions prepared and adopted thereby.

It is always important to remember that nationality is a significant attribute, but secondary for a true Christian: according to the words of Holy Apostle Paul, “there is neither Hellene, nor Judaean, nor circumcision, nor noncircumcision, nor barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but all and in all is Christ” (Col. 3:11).

Therefore, our position is to defend the principle of the Orthodox life, according to which entire generations of Christians, the array of saints, martyrs and confessors lived before us. Over many centuries of Church history, we can also notice a struggle with another phenomenon of Church life.

Precisely due to the Greek Church, from the time of the Christianization of Rus, we were able to understand the destructiveness of a sole authority in the Church, the Only Head of which is Christ.

001Especially now it has become obvious that it is impossible to replace the foundation laid in the Orthodox Church, consisting of canons and patristic heritage, with the papacy, albeit in an Orthodox wrapper. The Church can survive in all trials only when it adheres to canonical rules. They protect the Orthodox ecclesiology and the Church consciousness from being damaged by the secular spirit.”

During the conversation, the participants asked many questions about how to behave and how not to despair with all the disturbances within and beyond the Church.

Metropolitan Anthony replied: “Sometimes it seems that there are no outer forces to withstand the modern secular spirit, but one must not forget that the Church has forces against all odds, as was seen from vivid examples of history. There are attempts to break the Church into pieces to make it easier to control from the outside.

Our first defense is our personal firmness in faith without bitterness to everyone and everything.

It is necessary to attain humility and courage, to care more about the inner world, and not about external threats.

005We must ask the Lord Holy Spirit to give us strength to understand, to accept what is inside the Church body, and not to assert ourselves, because no wisdom and education will help recognize the signs of the times if a person is deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Only He can accurately correct our decisions. If we direct our efforts to fight our sins, repent, we will live in such a way that He advises us how to behave. If it is inside of us, then nothing outer will interfere. Fear should not guide us, feasible endeavor should fill us with love.”

At the end of the meeting, the Chief Administrator of the UOC wished everyone God’s help and called God’s blessing on all. Regular participants thanked for the interesting and useful conversation and expressed a desire to see metropolitan Anthony once again.

Hierod. Nicodemus

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