We must refrain from living the life of the super-correct
Driven by fear, there are people who leave the Church and head into schism. In Greece, there are at least eighteen “Old Calendar” Orthodox churches claiming to be THE Church, not recognising each other as canonical. In the USA, there are nearly the same numbers, some Slavic, others of Greek origin. Prideful people populate these groups; they think of themselves as the only remnant of Christ’s Church. These people practise a form of Christianity filled with self-righteous rigidity, totally lacking in humility. Walling themselves off from World Orthodoxy, they become extremely pharisitical*, harsh, punitive, and rotten to the core. In their legalistic approach to the canons and traditions of the Church, they enter into a state of constant judgement against anyone outside their arrogant cultish religiosity.
- Pharisitical: A portmanteau of “pharisaical” and “parasitical”; by this neologism, Abba Tryphon suggests not only pettifoggery, but also a vampiric parasitism. It suggests how such an attitude not only deadens the conscience and narrows the mind, but also how it feeds upon the very life-force and humanity of the individuals involved. I’d call this a rather inspired turn of thought.
In their narrow-minded approach to the Church, they fail to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding and protecting His Church. They don’t see the Holy Spirit operating in the life of people because they closed themselves off to the Holy Spirit. Where is the life of the Church manifested among such people? They do nothing for the love of humanity and their lack of love begets more schism. Schism begets schism begets schism, becoming a never-ending downward spiral into the abyss. They base their usual premise on the issue of the calendar change and false ecumenism. The calendar issue is more important to them than Church Unity is, forgetting, as they do, that the early Church celebrated many of the great feasts on different days. False ecumenism is hardly an issue today; the number of theologians and bishops truly caught up in it has dwindled to almost nothing, along with the liberal thinking that has gone out of fashion since the fall of communism. The Russian Church, the largest of the Local Churches, has taken a strong stand against false ecumenism and is powerfully pushing forth the unchanging canons, traditions, and faith of the ancient Church.
Orthodox Christianity has withstood 2,000 years of attacks and persecution, yet the gates of hell haven’t prevailed against her. This was Christ’s promise to His disciples before His Holy Resurrection. To believe otherwise is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.
20 June 2016
Igumen Tryphon Parsons
My reply to this was:
Our Church is the BIG TENT. Oikonomia, kids… the Church “bends” the rule for this-or-that individual, but the rule doesn’t go in the dumpster. Remember, the Church has Christ’s mercy in it, not Judas’ pride and stiff-necked judgement. I do daresay that the Church will survive being compassionate to save souls… after all, the Apostle did say, “Love God and do what you will”. That isn’t licence to do vice… but it does imply that there are several roads to “good”… do think on that…