Saturday, December 13, 2014

Do we truly cherish belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad?

protodcn-german.jpgBecause I was overloaded with all sorts of concerns, I did not look at the internet for a few days. Then, I opened the “Internet-Sobor” site, and sincerely rejoiced at the sight of a large number of very useful material, of which we all are much in need. I have in mind a number of edifying articles by the pillars of our Church, - the First Hierarchs of the historical Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Anyone who wishes, may find much edifying material in the thoughts of the First Hierarchs, if he only approaches this priceless treasure with humility - a treasure which was given to us so generously for eighty years.

And again I say – let us proceed to the study of the spirit and thought of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, in the same way as small children start to study letters. We are all in fact no different from such children, and we will not approach these writings in order to find phrases pulled out of the general context in order to destroy our alleged “ideological enemy”, who indeed was a brother yesterday. Such behavior would be the best indication that a person does not understand the writings in the spirit and mind of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

So one should not be surprised that some “political” articles on the topic of the day cause many stormy, passionate comments and thoughts, whereas there usually is no reaction to the thoughts of our First Hierarchs and Metropolitans. Of course we would like to believe that this is a kind of reverent silence, and not a consequence of disinterest of the readers…. God forbid that the presentation of such articles be turned into “casting pearls before swine …”!

bishop-constantine-essensky.jpgAll Orthodox Christians have the same Christian doctrine, the same Holy Fathers, the same Creed, the same dogmas, but nevertheless the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has its own distinctive, unique “fragrance”, its special spirit, which formed in a unique life and historical experience. This experience opens up before us the path that we must, we are obligated to follow, if we want to belong to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad - not in words but in deeds. And this is not phyletism or misplaced patriotism. Recently we learned of another incredible account, namely the opening of the incorrupt relics of Bishop Constantine, who served as Bishop in London for several years. This is the third case of opening incorrupt relics of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad! Let us all think about that

This kind of glorification FROM ABOVE is of particular importance, which would not be the case had it happened with a pious layman or Priest. This is a glorification of a Bishop, who by his rank expresses the doctrine of the Church led by him.

Archbishop John of Shanghai, and also Metropolitan Filaret, occupy a very special, or even the first place in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is not true of Bishop Constantine, although this in nowise diminishes his spiritual qualities. Nevertheless, he was quite equal to them in their high rank.

Would it be a sin to think that among the multitude of the ever-memorable Bishops which the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad knew in its history, both the most prominent and lesser known, there may still exist yet other relics, quietly resting in incorruption, in anticipation of a possible opening of their holy relics?

That is why we should all forget today’s squabbles, which seem so inappropriate and inconsistent with our state as Christians of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. We must thank God for the joy of belonging to this Church, in which flourished so many “spiritual flowers” - and we must try to be worthy of this affiliation, increasingly venturing into her spiritual heritage and engaging in mutual settling of accounts. In fact, sometimes one starts to think – do we truly cherish our belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad as we should?

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In connection with the mention on “Internet Sobor” of the miracle of the renewal of Metropolitan Anthony’s portrait, and in particular the circumstances related to this wonderful phenomenon, it is impossible to not see this as a sign from above. I would like to once again bring to the discussion of all conscious members of our Church the proposal of glorification of all four First Hierarchs. Of course, we are aware that each of them could be wrong and sin, as this is common to all people – for no one is without sin, except Christ our God. But because they all together, as one, made evident and told us of the true path of our Church, we must strictly hold to this path without deviation, in the midst of the surrounding stormy sea of life.

It seems that this is a solution that is able to unite all of us.

Protodeacon German Ivanov-Trinadtsaty

Source

Read a short life of Bishop Constantine, who at one time served as Bishop of Brisbane.

Account of the re-burial of the incorrupt remains of Bishop Constantine, which occurred in Jordanville, NY on the 2nd of December (ROCOR(MP)).
More photos here and here

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Metropolitan Agafangel
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