Today: December 13 2018
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Such a "complex" Orthodoxy

Such a "complex" Orthodoxy

Tags: Religion, Christianity

The difference between "right glory" and "the right dogma", mentioned by me in other articles, is actually much deeper and is connected not only with the liturgical sphere. True, throughout the whole of its history, the Church has been concerned that the events in the worship express our faith - there should not be a gap between them. But when it comes to our lives, the situation becomes more complicated. And although we usually accept, as it is necessary to "correctly believe" and "properly praise" God, but at the same time forget about the right inner life and the right heart arrangement (which is denoted by the term "orthopraxia" (Greek), that is "the right action, behavior ").

Father George Florovsky called the doctrine a "verbal icon" of Christ. Anyone can assimilate the system of views, its rules of speech and the model of understanding. But in order to correctly speak and live in accordance with the Orthodox faith, something completely different is required. The verbal icon is truly a true icon, and it must be correctly represented in all respects. Before reading the Symbol of Faith at the Divine Liturgy, important words are uttered: "Let us love one another, so that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, are One and Essential." But no matter how carefully we utter the words of the Creed and whatever meaning they put in, if they are spoken not in the context of our mutual love in Christ, they are pronounced wrongly, and, consequently, the verbal icon of Christ is distorted. We can not properly speak about Christ, if, for example, at the same time we hate our enemies - even if they are the enemies of Christ Himself. For we can not be useful to the Savior, not fulfilling His commandments.

The cross can not be turned into one of ideologies. The cross is either the image of our life, or nothing

Undoubtedly, this is a huge challenge for Christians. But it was so: fighting against evil, one can not resort to evil, no matter how it seemed "convenient" and neither seemed temptingly "effective". It is impossible to protect Christ by crucifying Him. The essence of the cross and its reality in our life is such that it can not be explained from the rational point of view: it can not be turned into one of ideologies. The cross is either the image of our life, the way of our existence, or nothing. No matter how great and noble our feelings and impulses are related to the gospel, only the gospel "clothed" in our life in Christ matters.

Not so long ago, I was asked how to deal with the challenges that threaten the Church. My answer (maybe then not quite clear) was this: "You just have to be a Church." After all, even the gates of hell can not overcome the Holy Church, according to the promise of the Savior Himself. The covenant of the Monk Seraphim of Sarov: "Stretch the spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved" - today some people are very upset. They understand these words as a call to "passive inaction" and detached from all contemplation. I know that the way suggested by Father Seraphim is especially criticized by those who are striving for a more active evangelical sermon. But truly, if we did not acquire a spirit of peace, we can not give anything to our neighbors, even if they themselves come to the temple.

The worry of our time is the concern of "competing projects". Political programs and plans, cultural wars - they all gather on the battlefield and are fighting for leadership in the modern world. For some, the "better world" they want to build is something like the vision of the English writer Aldous Huxley [1]: test tube children, gender fluidity [2] and "renewed" humanity to maximize his pleasures. Others imagine a classical society, even a certain version of the Christian society. Being Orthodox, we are worried about our tiny place in modern civilization and the opportunity to find a saving option for ourselves.

God did not entrust us with the management of civilization. Such an idea is nothing more than our own version of the "modern project". The kingdom of God is something completely different. It can not in any way be a human project: it can not be built, "promoted" or helped to develop. The Kingdom of God can come, manifest, be manifested - but only as the work of God Himself. Perhaps we can say that God has a "project" (if such words are not disrespectful). And this "project" is the Church. It may seem weak, highly prone to decay, moving towards decay. Her story knows many examples of incompetence, etc. However, civilizations and cultures come and go, but the Church remains (and, of course, not as a result of "long-term planning").

I think we are mistaken, perceiving the Church primarily as an institution. I know that very many in the Church who are entrusted with "high responsibility" are extremely concerned about the church life. But about that "life" that really means a lot, it's impossible to "care" - on the contrary, it cares about us! The Church is preserved by the sanctity of her faithful children. As such, the Church is indestructible, although as an earthly institution it is subjected to constant attacks (both from outside and from within).

Holiness is the most "effective argument", and even her silence is broken with her eloquence

In our life we ​​do not see things clearly. We easily notice the flaws and errors of the earthly institution, while not realizing that our sins are the greatest danger. Holiness is the most "effective argument", and even her silence is broken by her eloquence. Holiness is the "right glory" in a person's life.

It is very interesting to observe with what keen interest people today parse statements of various holy elders, trying to find in them political or church prophecy or criticism. Then these torn phrases are thrown into the "swamp" of social networks by trump arguments in our disputes. But how few people use the statements of the holy elders to analyze their own lives! Yes, holy people are a "saving power" in the life of our Church, but this power is not in their arguments and arguments, but in their life and prayer, which we are still kept.

Every prayer, every lighted candle is thousands of times more valuable than any argument, while fear and anger burn false candles before the idols of our imagination. Recently, for the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker, all kinds of "memes" appear in memory of the slap, which the saint, according to legend, was awarded by the heretic Arius. But that slap did nothing to condemn heresy ... It was by charity and love for the poor saint that he gained the protection of the Mother of God. Anyone can strike a heretic, but only a saint is able to refute it.

Be holy. This is our only weapon!

[1] Huxley Aldous (1894-1963) is the author of the famous anti-utopia novel "Brave New World".

[2] Gender fluidity - sexual variability, expressed in repeated changes of sexual orientation with the preservation of the basic gender identity.

Priest Stephen Freeman | Translated from English by Dmitry Lapa
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