Metropolitan Kirill Gundyaev of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the Chairman of the MP Department of External Church Relations, criticised some members of the clergy for their isolationist attitudes, saying that this prevents a fruitful dialogue between the Church and secular society. “Today, there are noticeable isolationist currents in the Church that advocate an avoidance of the heterodox and an aloof stance towards the secular authorities. In general, they accuse those who have dialogue with those outside of the Church as traitors to Orthodoxy”, he said at the 16th annual Christmas Readings in Moscow. Vladyki Kirill stressed that we must discuss the problem of isolationism in the Church “in a conciliar fashion”, however, we can’t solve it by “simply counting votes, and finding a majority position”. He reminded his listeners that, in past Church disputes, the Holy Fathers often “defended the truth whilst remaining in the minority”. Vladyki Kirill emphasised, “Today, dialogue with the secular world isn’t treachery, it isn’t against Orthodoxy, but, it’s the very means of injecting Christian values into the life of our secular society. If the Church were to withdraw from such a dialogue, it would indicate that the mission and evangelical imperative of the Church have failed”. He stated that contemporary society suffers from a crisis of belief that can’t be dismissed simply “by anathemas from the ambo, or, by rambling monologues from Penza caves or other such remote backwaters”. Vladyki Kirill believed that the only fruitful path for the Church today is to emulate the Holy Fathers, “who Christianised Classical Art” and used the achievements of the pagan Greco-Roman culture in order to draw their contemporaries to a greater understanding of the truth. He reminded us that contemporary secular culture has preserved its Christian roots, despite its wanderings, and the pressing task of the Church is “to not allow this link to be broken”.
29 January 2008