Here, I hope to share theological reflections from an Orthodox perspective. I am a traditionalist Orthodox Christian; I support preserving in all its splendour the ancient liturgical rites of our faith. I also support our Western Rite communities, and if possible, reconciliation with the Oriental Orthodox, on the basis of a shared faith in the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
I am in general opposed to the Ecumenical Movement, in terms of its implementation, ethos, and practical effect. I fervently support the reunification of the Christian Church, but this reunification must be accomplished on the basis of one dogmatic accord. The lowest common denominator minimalism by which the World Council of Churches hopes to achieve reunification is entirely inadequete, and when one looks at the membership trends of the major denominations outside of the Orthodox Church, one can see that active participation in the Ecumenical Movement has been profoundly destructive for those churches that have chosen to participate in it.
Being opposed to the Ecumenical Movement does not entail opposition to the reunification of Christians, however, and a good example of such a reunfication occurring outside of the Ecumenical Movement would be the reception into the Antiochian Orthodox Church of a large contingent of former evangelicals in the 1980s, under the leadership of men like Patriarch Ignatius IV, Metropolitan Philip Saliba and Peter Gilquist, all of blessed memory. Furthermore, being opposed to the Ecumenical Movement does not entail an exclusivist view of salvation; I agree with St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco that a loving God will not punish those who sincerely reach out to Him. I do believe that, in general, one is generally much better off as a Protestant Christian than as an atheist or a member of another religion; one would simply be still better off as a member of the Orthodox Church, which being the authentic Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, is capable of dispensing grace on a scale that significantly exceeds that of other confessions.
At its core, the Orthodox Church is filled with love, and in this environment of deep love, sacramental efficacy is a given; one can, within those Orthodox Churches that have remained true to the ancient traditions of the church, perceive the authentic holiness transmitted through the ages from Christ through his Apostles.
My great passion is the liturgy of Christianity in general. I see the Western Rite as being of vital importance to the Orthodox Church; I feel we should go beyond that, and embrace all liturgical rites that are not contrary to the Orthodox faith, or that contain elements that are inherently blasphemous (for example, liturgical dance or "Christian rock" music). However, these liturgical rites should obviously be limited to new mission parishes that use them from the start; those churches that have always worshipped with the splendid Byzantine liturgy should always continue to do so. The liturgy is timeless, and any change to the liturgy, even the minor alteration of a particular local custom at a small parish church, is a potential disaster, as is demonstrated by the alienation and persecution that resulted from the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Nikon in the 17th century, a process that is now repeating itself on a far more extreme scale in the Western heterodox churches of today.
In this blog, therefore, I hope to discuss Orthodox theology, and the great worship tradition of the Christian faith. I also hope to occasionally venture into comparative theology, that we might discuss what makes Christianity unique among the world religions, and at the same time, come to a deeper understanding as to the importance of religion in general, and the sacred worth of all human beings. Finally, this blog hopes to alert readers to the extreme peril faced by Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa, as well as the plight of other persecuted minority religions in the region.
May God bless You, the reader. All comments are welcome.