O God the Great and the Eternal, who formed man in incorruption, and death which entered into the world by the envy of the devil, you have destroyed, by the life-giving manifestation of your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord God and saviour Jesus Christ. You have filled the earth with the heavenly peace, by which the hosts of angels glorify you saying,”Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will toward men”.
By from the Prayer of Reconciliation (Coptic Orthodox Divine Liturgy of St. Basil)
“It’s a sin when some Clergy divide people according to their parties criteria and identify with one party faction. This is the reason why the canon laws of the Church forbid to Clergy involvement in politics”, said Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios toBriefingNews.
When asked about clergy who involve themselves with political issues, and generally politics, and whether there are limits to this, the Hierarch stressed that the Church is the Body of Christ, the spiritual mother of all Christians, and should remain open to all people, regardless of color, race, class, or political order.
He further said:
“This is the greatness of the Church, that it is not enclosed in small intimate groups that are distinguished by particular political parties and ideologies. And like every mother, She shows Her love for all children, who may belong to different parties, and so much more should this be done by the Church.
It is within this framework that the Clergy should move, as Spiritual Fathers and spiritual mothers of people who are looking for affection, love, freedom, meaning of life.
So it’s a sin when some Clergy divide people according to their parties criteria and identify with one party faction. This is the reason why the canon laws of the Church forbid to Clergy involvement in politics.
Of course, we must make a distinction. Politics is one thing when it is an adjective and involves the life of the city, and it is another thing when politics is a noun and is involved in party practices.
With the first a Clergyman is doing politics, after damage has been done to a society and he participates in events, dealing with social and charitable works. Not so with the second meaning, when he becomes a party member and openly supports one political party formation.
When there are elections the Cleric is free to vote for the party he thinks will better address the social and economic problems, but cannot propagate to the Parishioners the party he has chosen.
Some parties try to get backed up by the Clergy and people of the Church, but Clerics should not succumb to this temptation.
On this occasion I want to emphasize my view that the Church should be disentangled from the tight embrace of the state in order to gain Its freedom, to manage Its house, according to canon law.
I cannot understand why we need a Charter which is the law of the State, to determine the many details about the inner life of the Church. One law would suffice to define the personality of the Church to be authorized according to the sacred canons.
Also, I cannot understand why there is a law of the State on Ecclesiastical Courts, which regulates many details, even as to what a Clegyman-judge should wear.
It would suffice for one law and a few articles that would set out some basic principles and leave the Church to judge their Clergy in accordance with the sacred canons, without interfering in secular law.
Unfortunately, the current situation in some areas is the prevalence of a conducive political-state spirit. We must put forward an order in these matters, so that the inner life of the Church will not to be considered and understood as a prisoner of state-civil law.
However, if we Clergy see things through the ecclesiastical perspective, we will not be possessed by insecurities and will not divide the parties into hostile or friendly, and will not engage in electoral dilemmas.
One is the work of the Church and another is the work of the State and party.
When a State seeks and is able to address poverty and unemployment, then it must be welcomed, because it cares for the interests of the people.”
“I am very sorry to hear about some religious groups in the United States that support the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories. Such support cannot be justified from a Christian point of view because Christianity is against any sort of occupation and the…
(Just received this Email from the Syriac Orthodox Church-UK media and press section.)
His Eminence Yohanna Ibrahim the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of Aleppo and His Eminence Paulos Al-Yaziji the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of Aleppo and Eskandaron.
Both were kidnapped by Syrian Rebels yesterday on their way back to Aleppo after conducting a humanitarian duty. They were kidnapped from the car they were in and the Deacon who was driving the car was killed.
His Eminence Mor Athanasius Toma Dakkama the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop in the United Kingdom denounces this inhuman and cowardly act. He prays to our Lord Jesus Christ for the safe return of Their Eminences and asks all parishioners to light candles and pray to God for all the kidnapped and for peace and stability in the Middle East and particularly in Syria.
Lord have mercy! May God deliver them from their captors.
Except: “Christ told His disciples, “Go into all the world and make disciples….” The missionary imperative that has become a standard in modern Christianity was certainly a major part of the life of the early Church. Every reachable continent was evangelized. The Church in Ethiopia is Apostolic in origin. The Church of Georgia and Armenia as well as Ireland and Scotland point to mission beyond the bounds of empire. Nestorian Christians had a very significant presence in China in the latter part of the first millennium. The Church of India traces its origin to St. Thomas the Apostle. Missionaries traveled, proclaimed the gospel and often died as martyrs as part of their efforts.
In the Colonial Age, mission took on another role. Missionaries became tools for “civilization” as well as supports for the spread of empire. On occasion these efforts created some of the saddest points in Christian history. The evangelization of Native Americans comes especially to mind (in contrast with an almost ideal evangelization of Native Alaskans by the Russian Orthodox).”
My response: IMO, every American Christian (or at least every Christian living in America) should read this. Fr. Freeman just dropped some knowledge on this one.
The Orthodox faith has generally held to this tradition of stillness. To the seeker who wants to know the “truth” of Orthodoxy, the advice given is usually, “Come and see.” The noise of argument and the cacophony of comparison are not the place of discovery.
By Father Stephen Freeman
The New Testament of the eastern orthodox Bible is finally finished. The Old Testament and the Psalter still in development. Here’s a link to the Eastern Orthodox Bible app made by the same people who translated the book. It’s only $2.99. I got it and it’s great.