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ReligionChristianitySectarianism in Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy in Sectarianism (1)

Sectarianism in Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy in Sectarianism (1)

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Petar Gramatikov
Petar Gramatikovhttps://europeantimes.news
Dr. Petar Gramatikov is the Editor in Chief and Director of The European Times. He is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Reporters. Dr. Gramatikov has more than 20 years of Academic experience in different institutions for higher education in Bulgaria. He also examined lectures, related to theoretical problems involved in the application of international law in religious law where a special focus has been given to the legal framework of New Religious Movements, freedom of religion and self-determination, and State-Church relations for plural-ethnic states. In addition to his professional and academic experience, Dr. Gramatikov has more than 10 years Media experience where he hold a positions as Editor of a tourism quarterly periodical “Club Orpheus” magazine – “ORPHEUS CLUB Wellness” PLC, Plovdiv; Consultant and author of religious lectures for the specialized rubric for deaf people at the Bulgarian National Television and has been Accredited as a journalist from “Help the Needy” Public Newspaper at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Written by John (Shahovskiy), archbishop of San Francisco

Translation by Peter Gramatikov

It is wrong to think that not all Orthodox are in fact sectarians and that not all sectarians are in fact Orthodox. Not everyone who is Orthodox by name is like that in spirit, and not everyone who is a sectarian by name is like that by spirit, and especially in our time, one can meet just that “Orthodox” who is a true sectarian.

in spirit: he who is fanatical, does not know how to love, and is more rationalistic narrow-minded, who clings to the letter, who is neither hungry nor thirsty for God’s righteousness, but, fed up with his own proud righteousness, sternly judges others from the height of his own imaginary justice – outwardly, dogmatically true, but deprived of birth in the Holy Spirit. Conversely, one can meet a sectarian who clearly does not understand the meaning of the Orthodox service of God in Spirit and in Truth, does not recognize one or another expression of the church truth, but in practice conceals in himself much of what is truly God’s, truly in Christ loving, truly brotherly to men.

The existence of such confusion in Christian society does not allow us to approach the question of relations between religions lightly. Yes, sectarians err in their misunderstanding of Orthodoxy, but we, the Orthodox, do not follow our Orthodoxy by not understanding them – the sectarians, who are sometimes astonishingly fervent and pure in their pursuit of the Lord, in life in Him One.

The narrow-minded, proud and sick human mind, which is not transformed into the Spirit of God, strives equally for division and seeks an occasion for division – regardless of who this mind will belong to: an Orthodox or a sectarian.

We, the Orthodox, believe, spiritually we see that we have the fullness of the truth expressed in human terms. However, this does not mean that we follow this fullness of truth and that this fullness fills us. Sometimes we just have it on our tongues or we think that in our eye it should replace the beam of our spiritual laziness. However, all this is not so. We have the truth and it is the complete truth, but we do not want or know how to live in it, and often we simply do not strive to live in it, because it is too disturbing for the old person in us. However, to be proud, to glorify our Orthodoxy – we do not mind.

And among Christians who profess the faith in different ways, there are many who live in the truth of Orthodoxy – through their spirit. There are sectarians who burn in their spirit and in their love for God and neighbor much more than some Orthodox, and this very spirit of burning love for God and man is the sign of true, vital Orthodoxy. He who does not have it among the Orthodox is not truly Orthodox, and he who has it among the non-Orthodox is truly Orthodox. In a human way he may be deceived, in a human way he may not understand one or the other, he may not see this or that shade in the nature of the world (spiritual color blindness – not seeing, for example, the meaning of the icon, of communion with saints this world), but in spirit, in his inner man he is faithful and true, devoted with unhypocritical love to the Living Incarnate God – The Lord Jesus Christ – even to death. The presence of such authentically Orthodox Christians is noticeable both among the Orthodox in mind and among the Roman Catholics, as well as among the Protestants of all their colors, to whom belong the Russian sectarians, separated by reason and experience from the dogmatic confession of the Church. of this confession in the Spirit, and partly because of bad examples of the realization of this confession in life. It is clear to every Orthodox that Orthodox people in their minds are often not only not an edification for society, but also a corruption for that society. Not to mention examples with politicians or public figures – these examples, of course, apply to a large extent to us, the clergy, who do not always stand on the spiritual height of Orthodoxy, despite their clear awareness of the truth of our Church. And the monasteries… how much under the humble clothes of the monk there was sometimes a deep non-Orthodoxy, how much there was the worldly, perishable spirit. And everything superficial and rotten has surfaced on the surface of church life and has been much more conspicuous than the truly humble and self-denying work of the many pastors and monks of true Orthodoxy who have followed Christ and have died in Him. The revolution showed, exposed the weak layer of the Orthodox Russian clergy, but also emphasized the martyrdom of the Orthodox life of many priests. Someone had said that the presence of sectarianism was an indicator of the religiosity of the people. It can also be said that the presence of sectarianism shows the orthodoxy of the people – the burning of the spirit in it, its striving for the ideal, its thirst not for external religion, but for internal, thirst for its heartfelt covenant with God. And that, in essence, is Orthodoxy. The Orthodox, and even more so the priest, are always more to blame for the existence of sectarianism than the sectarians themselves. Isn’t thinking like that an Orthodox way of thinking, taking the blame and responsibility for the separated brothers? Otherwise, the truth of Christ will not exist – if you do not take the blame on yourself. Human truth is difficult to accomplish by pleading guilty to sectarians – Christ’s righteousness is different, “mad” to the world, and wise only to God.

Neither disputes, nor disputes, nor contentious or harsh rebukes can show this positive power of God’s Spirit, Who lives in Orthodoxy, Who is Orthodoxy itself – this Spirit can be manifested only in the insane denial of one’s own according to human criteria. reasonable rights and in the granting of the judgment of the Spirit.

In the first place in Orthodox apologetics, a clear and firm emphasis must be placed on explaining the meaning of the creed and on showing this creed in life.

It must be understood that Orthodoxy is a terrible fire – just like the sacred secrets. That those who accept the fullness of Orthodoxy, this fire will either transform them or burn them. That Orthodoxy created the spirit of the Russian people, but again it threw it into the fire. That the Orthodox have been scorched by Orthodoxy, they have become unworthy partakers of the sanctuaries of the fullness of the belief that this sanctuary not only gives life but also burns.

Sectarianism, on the other hand, is an unorthodox search for the paths of Orthodoxy. Due to human weaknesses, it is not done inwards, but around – so to speak, not in dogma, but around dogma. Dogmatic (pure) life around dogma is, of course, greater Orthodoxy than non-dogmatic (promiscuous) life in dogma. And this must be understood with all its clarity, with all the certainty of God’s word, which shows us this at least in the parable of the two sons, one of whom had said that he would not do his father’s will, but he did it. , and the other had said he would fulfill it, but he did not fulfill it. The confession of the Orthodox Creed is the seal of the Gospel. The symbol must be realized in life, to become a reality. In one he is not real in life at all, although this person utters it every day in prayer, and in the other his faith is manifested in life through his love for the Lord Jesus Christ, for Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, and is reflected. on his face, in his words, and in all his deeds. And which of the two is closer to the Kingdom of God? The answer to this is clear – this is the second, which is not Orthodox in name, but is Orthodox in spirit and truth, having been taught to do so by the Spirit Himself.

Those who are Orthodox in their denomination, and because they claim so themselves, are obliged to understand that Orthodoxy is not at all a privilege, nor a reason to condemn others, nor is it pride. On the contrary, Orthodoxy is humility; Orthodoxy is a confession of the fullness of the Truth – both of justice and of love. Orthodoxy must win only with its radiance – like the Lord Himself, and not with the rifle at all – whether it is lead or verbal. Orthodoxy does not shine in Orthodox society – in a society that is proud of its Orthodoxy. It shines in the one who is humble in his Orthodoxy, who understands the purity of the faith not only with his weak mind, but also with his spirit, with his whole life.

The beauty of Orthodoxy was given for the salvation of the people, and the Orthodox began to turn it for condemnation, for the destruction of people. It can be said that there are no perfectly Orthodox people on this earth, but that those who call themselves so and those who do not consider themselves in Orthodoxy, but are counted in the Church of Christ and live in Christ, are partially Orthodox. Orthodoxy is the sunlight that lies on the earth. It shines for all, but not all are sanctified by it, because one is in the basement, another has closed his windows, and a third – his eyes…

Involuntarily, however, the question arises: are not these thoughts, even to the slightest degree, a renunciation of the purity of the Orthodox faith, of that purity for which so much blood and jealousy have been shed by the holy fathers?

Oh, no – this is not only not a renunciation of the purity of Orthodoxy, but it is also a protection, a confession of precisely this purity.

Take, for example, the veneration of saints, the prayers to them. The sectarian – not rationally, not in spirit – denies this branch of the life of the spirit. And we affirm her spiritual reality in Christ. Can a person who does not acknowledge this reality be saved? The question is scary. What should serve as an aid to our salvation, one of its means, can be considered a pretext for condemning anyone who has given up this help, who has chosen another means?

But what do the saints seek – their own glory or that of God? Of course, to God. And every true glorification of saints is above all a glorification of God: “God is wonderful in His saints.” So, if we glorify “directly” God and glorify Him truly, unhypocritically, the saints and angels, of course, rejoice, rejoice, spiritually kiss the one who glorifies in such a way. Conversely, if a person sings glorifications and akathists to the saints, and in his life there is no love for their spirit, the spirit of Christ’s purity and justice, and love, is not such a person more a blasphemer of the saints than one who glorifies them? Thanks to him, perhaps, many have stopped glorifying the saints, seduced by the results of his glorification… Oh, how routine and crude carnal human wisdom, how the pure Lord’s Spirit was crucified in people!

The establishments of the Orthodox Church are a school of the spirit – the most comfortable, as long as it is in the spirit. Everything in the Orthodox Church must come to life and be spiritualized. It is the man’s fault if he lands. We Orthodox pastors are teachers in Christ. The Master is One – the Lord Jesus Christ – and no one but Him can be a teacher. We teach only insofar as we obey the One Teacher – we are not teachers in our own name, but in the name of Christ. Here, however, we see that someone has learned to be a disciple of Christ without us. And what? Will we stand up against him, as the apostles wanted to stand up against the one who “does not walk with us” (Luke 9:49), but for this we received from the Master a worthy and sharp resistance, which is applicable to us, the Orthodox shepherds.

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