Met Seraphim (Kykkotis) of Zimbabwe: The Sunday of Orthodoxy and the Ukrainian Crisis

Greek original here.

The Feast of Orthodoxy was instituted in the 9th century on the occasion of the victory of the correct faith (right belief > right opinion > Orthodoxy) regarding Christ’s theanthropic person and the honoring of our saints through the holy icons.

Gradually, however, the feast expanded and took on a particular significance, in the sense that it came to be a celebration of the victory of Orthodoxy over every form of false teaching– that is, every heresy– and, more generally, of the Church’s resounding victory over her various enemies.

The Feast of Orthodoxy has great theological significance for the life of a Christian because it is connected to his salvation.

The attempt by heretics to distort and misrepresent the correct Christian teaching of our Church as it was revealed by the Triune God and  taught by Jesus Christ, His holy Apostles and their successors (Apostolic Succession) were, in fact, an attempt to block the path of man’s salvation, to keep him away from God, away from salvation in Christ.

This is why His Beatitude the Primate of the Orthodoxy Church of Albania, Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos, as one of the leading theologians of Orthodoxy, recently stressed with regard to the Ukrainian issue that is endangering the entire Orthodox world, among other things, that by recognizing laymen who have never received canonical ordination, the canonical order of Apostolic Succession is placed in jeopardy.

The reason that the Church is so strict is that those who do not have canonical ordination simply do not have the grace of the Holy Spirit and therefore they lead us to schisms and heresies.

The two other issues raised by the Ukrainian crisis, as the Archbishop of Albania has quite rightly pointed out, are the issue of the Divine Eucharist (it being used as worldly blackmail for matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction) and the issue of the non-functioning of the Church’s Synodal institution for the solution of ecclesiastical crises, as happened in the case of the Iconoclasts, which was given a salvific solution by an Ecumenical Council.

Let us all pray that God may enlighten those who are responsible for the vicissitudes of the Ukrainian issue, that they may work with love and humility to protect and enhance the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Here, too, respect for our predecessors must be self-evident, those who endowed us with the functioning of the institution of the Pan-Orthodox Conferences that began over the past sixty years with the participation of all the Local Orthodox Churches.

This respect is, after all, a function of the canonical principle of apostolic succession and we experience with the unity of the faith the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. This is with the canonical functioning of our Church’s Synodical institution, continuing the tradition of the first Apostolic Council of the first century of our Church’s life, as well as the Ecumenical and major local councils.

A brother Hierarch, who enjoys special esteem and respect from all the Local Orthodox Churches and who in the past served as Protepistates of the Holy Mountain, proposed, in the fear of God, a very interesting solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

First, that the fullness of time for Ukraine’s autocephaly has come. Second, those who were never ordained with the canonical order of the Orthodox Church should be ordained with a canonical ordination. Third, that the head of the Autocephalous Church should be kyr Onufry and the vice-president kyr Epiphany.

There must still be a canonical settlement, as His Beatitude the Primate of the Most Holy Church of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II, previously stressed, expressing the voice of the other Primates. The Patriarchate of Moscow should have access to and a spiritual relationship with its spiritual center, Kiev.

The question of Orthodoxy is that of the defense and predominance of truth. The appearance of false teaching was an attempt to impose falsehood.

Man is neither edified nor saved with a lie. The darkness that seizes him becomes darker. Then comes a callousness. We arrive at forms of life worse than animals, such as those of Sodom and Gomorrah. There comes disaster, pain and misery.

In the modern world of progress– but also of anxiety– Orthodoxy’s role continues to be a living hope for a better and more just world.

The responsibility and fidelity of Christians toward the principles of the Gospel is a basic prerequisite for a persuasive Orthodox witness to the world in which we live.

We are called to become Apostles of Christ, but after first becoming His disciples, leaving aside the old man of sin and beginning to apply militantly and consistently in our own life the divine commandments of Jesus Christ.

It is only when we participate in Christ’s life that we live as Christians.

The Sunday of Orthodoxy is also the feast of those who remain standard-bearers and pioneers in Orthodoxy’s struggle and witness in the contemporary world, most especially those whom God has made worthy to serve the Orthodox Mission and all those who support it in every way, so that it may be at the forefront of mission.

God’s grace exists and is at work within us, when our lives draw near to the life of Christ.

With our worthy participation in the mystery of Divine Communion, the entire world becomes our body. This is the mystical Orthodox dimension of divine grace.

Let us feel and experience the problems of the world as our own.

God’s grace exists within us, not only when we speak correctly about theological topics, but also when we feel an inner improvement within us.

Our life is a time of repentance.

So that we may be aware of our limitations, our weaknesses and our imperfections, we must compare ourselves to the Person of Jesus Christ.

Whenever something happens without faith in Jesus Christ, there is a danger that we commit sin. For you to live as a Christians means that you behave as you should wherever you are.

The believer’s life is “hidden” in the life of Jesus Christ, when we participate in His life, when we imitate His life and works.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close