Thursday, January 3, 2019

Jad Ganem: The Only Orthodox Order

Arabic original here.

The Only Orthodox Order

This year comes to an end with the Orthodox Church suffering from an acute crisis among its constitutent parts and things coming to a head in relations between their leaders, almost reaching the point of a feud that threatens a break or even schism. Perhaps the underlying reason for this crisis is the chronic fall of words and their losing their meaning due to the severity of the chasm between what is said and what is practiced.

After boasting about a conciliarity that they haven't really practiced in centuries, the Orthodox have gone on, starting in 2014, in the course of attempting to practice it, to distort its meaning. The Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Church invented the idea of "representative conciliarity", which required that each autocephalous church be represented by one vote and an equal number of bishops at the promised Great Orthodox Council, out of fear of the numerical superiority of the bishops of the Russian Church.
The distortion of the meanings of words continued with the interpretation given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the meaning of "the unanimity of the autocephalous churches", where it explained unanimity as sometimes being the agreement of those present and at other times as going along with the opinion of the majority.

The terrible loss of words' meaning reached its apex with the so-called "unification council" that was held at the Church of St Sophia in Kiev in the middle of last month. This "council" was unable to achieve the goal specified by its organizers, but it deepened the state of division through Constantinople's recognition of the schismatics and legitimization of the persecution of the legitimate church.

Over the past four years, political and nationalistic concerns, desire for authority, fear of the other, and trial of intentions have led to leaders in the Orthodox Church giving words senses contradictory to their meanings and being immersed in ecclesiastical politics. Clarity of vision has been lost. Churchly concepts have transformed into points of view. Leaders machinate with a handful of court theologians to justify it in the market of ecclesiastical rhetoric   that has come to resemble tragedy.

Faced with this fall [سقوط] that portends even worse, it has perhaps become necessary for faithful laypeople, in their role as guardians of the faith, to retake the lead and press for holding an Orthodox council in which with the participation of all bishops of the Orthodox ecumene in order to rescue words from their loss of meaning and to rescue the Church from fragmentation in the shadow of efforts to create a new global Orthodox order to accompany the new global order that is taking shape.

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