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Saturday, December 22, 2012

From +John X of Antioch

Via Notes On Arab Orthodoxy:

[Excerpt:] My fathers and brothers, I ask for your prayers and supplications so that hand in hand we will make God's Church of Antioch a fitting image of the Bride of Christ and the Church that we all know she is. ... We all realize that our people are are a good people and that their service is sweet for our hearts. We are from this country. Our soil is a part of us and we are a part of it. I say to you, let us remember the prayer of our Lord to His Father, "Make them one as We are one." Let us be one, so that we may pastor our people, so that we may strive to make our Church that Church that is adorned in a white bridal garment that testifies to our Lord, so that people will see this Church and praise our Father who is glorified in heaven...

Blood and soil stuff, by golly. I can't imagine an Archbishop of Canterbury saying anything like that much less, say, the US Episcopals' presiding bishop.

Further to my comment in the +Bartholomew thread, Antioch's newly elected Patriarch articulates what it means to be the local expression of Christ's universal Church. A people in their geographic redoubt accept the Church and over generations are wedded to the Church as the Church to Christ, an indivisible part of a particular people, place and culture, and eventually standing as a unique and autocephalous expression of Christ's Church in the global Communion.

Until America (or any other locale) can show successive, sustainable generations baptized, married and buried in the Church, over time having the people, the culture, the land conjoined to the Church as the Church to Christ, the Orthodox Church in America will remain a diaspora mission, regarded by outsiders as no more than one particularly idiosyncratic (and not really American) option among many.

Having Metropolitans who are essentially sojourners, always subject to recall back to the authentic place--the one with the blood and soil in it--is probably not helpful to this evolution. Of course, this is a two-way street. If America or other locales do not consider nationhood as befitting them, then they really are not sufficient soil for their own Church, and are best left as missions.

1 comment:

Ingemar said...

On a more cynical note, a Church's hesitance to use "blood and soil" rhetoric is proportional to its geopolitical ambitions.

Can Rome use blood and soil language when it has colonized an entire hemisphere?

I wonder why people chide the "Old Testament" law. If our Church had something equivalent to its their of Jubilee, we could see something like the return of each church to her original canonical boundaries every fifty years.