Much is done in the name of missionary work. Some of it is good, but some of it is bad, for some compromises are made not in the name of pastoral dispensation (‘economy’), but in the name of seeking after personal popularity, that is, seeking after the vanity of fame, of having their photo everywhere. Those who do this (the name of the disgraced Protodeacon Andrey Kurayev comes to mind, among others…) always fall and their work comes to nothing.
The authentic missionary’s work is deep, it lasts for generations and centuries, it is always heartfelt, a living example of sacrifice. We can think of the apostles, and also equal to the apostles like St Helen and St Nina of Georgia, Sts Cyril and Methodius, St Olga, St Stephen of Perm, St Herman of Alaska, St Seraphim of Sarov, St John of Kronstadt, St Nicholas of Japan, St John of Shanghai….
The inauthentic missionary’s work, always headborne and not heartborne, is superficial and soon fades. Most of those ‘converted’ by its mere intellectualism fall into philosophy and theorizing, or else reformism, or else cynicism, always lapsing and disappearing, like their gurus, the pseudo-elders or self-appointed ‘startsy’, who ‘converted’ them to their personal fantasies.
How do we recognize the true missionary? ‘By their fruit, ye shall know them’.