Who is it that will harm you, if you are followers of what is good?
(1 Peter 3, 13)
1916 was the year when the bankrupt British government was taken over by new and alien forces dependent on transnational financiers in New York and the year that the Russian Revolution was planned, in part inside the British Embassy in the Russian Capital. One century on, 2016 is also proving to be a year of great temptation internationally, especially because of Syria, and for the Russian Orthodox Church. Here there is great controversy, as throughout the Orthodox world, about the documents prepared for the proposed Inter-Orthodox meeting in Crete in June, especially that on the Church. Secondly, there has been the surprise meeting between Patriarch Kyrill and the Bishop of Rome, which has upset and disturbed many within the Russian Orthodox Church in particular.
As a result, there are a few clergy who have ceased commemorating Patriarch Kyrill. Then there have been meetings in Russia, the Ukraine and Moldova where small numbers of activists protesting at the use of the word ‘Council’ and the contents of the documents and they have used words like ‘uncanonical’, ‘heresy’ and ‘heretic’. And certain Russian bloggers, well-known for extremism and immaturity, have made dishonest and disrespectful accusations, falling into abuse and gossip, insults and unjust accusations, rumours and innuendo, proving that they are in fact secular-minded, not Church-minded. Our modernist and ecumenist enemies, who want schism from the Church, are rejoicing at the actions of such zealots. they are already imagining the full-scale destruction of the Church.
What should our attitude be?
Firstly, we must pray for the Russian Patriarch. There are those around him who are still under the influence of the humanistic and unOrthodox ‘theology’ of the 20th century Russian emigration, of the Paris School of Bulgakovism and Schmemannism, and have learned nothing from the Sourozh schism. Individuals subject to that ideology, which is what it is, are in fact fifth columnists, who are bringing divisive spiritual impurity into the Church. Secondly, we must rewrite the documents for the Crete meeting, making clear that we will never accept compromises of the teachings of the Church and especially of the teaching on the Church, the main dogmatic issue here. Fortunately, many in other Local Churches, especially in Georgia, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus, are already undertaking this.
We must also make sure that the voices of all Orthodox in the monasteries and parishes, clergy and laypeople, those at the grassroots of the Church, are heard. The Church is not the bishops, and certainly not a select group of bishops, and certainly not a group of uprooted intellectuals and disincarnate philosophers; the Church is everyone, the whole body of the faithful, the people of God, both now and in ages past. That is the meaning of the word ‘catholicity’. However, in doing this, we must show honesty, respect and courtesy, defending the Church and Church Truth from all Her enemies, from left or right, whatever their sect. And we must act without hysteria, from inside the Church, for we know that the Church is not ours, but God’s, and that Christ will always be triumphant in the long term.