Sunday, October 28, 2018

Jad Ganem: The Dangerous Rift

Arabic original here.

The Dangerous Rift

The Romanian Orthodox Church has spoken its word with regard to the recent developments that are sweeping the Orthodox world. In its decision, it emphasized the importance of "preserving unity through co-responsibility and cooperation between the Local Orthodox Churches, by cultivating dialogue and synodality at the pan-Orthodox level, this being a permanent necessity in the life of the Church. The unity of the Church is a holy gift of God, but also a great responsibility of the hierarchs, clergy, and lay believers." At the same time, it repeated its call "for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate to arrive at a solution together [to the Ukraine issue], while preserving unity of faith and administrative-pastoral freedom, the latter representing a characteristic feature of Orthodoxy." Anyone who reads this statement cannot but welcome its stressing the importance of conciliarity as the basis for organizing the life of the Church, as a means of resolving internal disputes and preserving the grace of unity. One is however quickly startled by the manifest contradiction between the general principles emphasized in this statement and its approach to solving the Ukrainian issue on the basis of bilateral agreement between the two concerned patriarchates, which abstracts the issue from its risk to the entire Church and is in total contradiction to conciliarity. This statement once again demonstrates the profound ecclesiological crisis from which the Orthodox Church is suffering, as she is experiencing a dangerous rift between her teaching and her practice and for centuries has been incapable of embodying her ecclesiology in the details of her organizational life and her lived reality.

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