Friday, November 2, 2018

Jad Ganem: A Prophetic Stance

Arabic original here.

A Prophetic Stance

In a lecture by Patriarch Ignatius IV of blessed memory about "the feelings of the eastern churches" that he gave in Vienna, he lingered on the situation of the Church in Antioch, which "is made up of five churches, each with its own juridical organization and each with its own adherents, synod, patriarch, bishops, liturgy, holy canons and variants in what pertains to the faith and its institutions." He then outlines the historical reasons and crises that led to this situation "without any form of current or retroactive hostility" before summing up by saying, "Let us state it directly: Antioch would not have divided into five patriarchates if an Antiochian council had been held to face each of the crises that we have mentioned, free from any outside political or ecclesiastical pressure." He adds, "Conciliarity must be the starting-point for the new Antiochian unity because the cause of every blow-up was the effacement of the sense of conciliarity. At the foundation of every rift lies a wound in the communion of love, followed by or initiated by opposition in the formulation of the faith. Instead of the pastors' love dressing this double wound, it considered it untreatable and moved on to the level of the canons. The churches on each side withdrew themselves into a sort of canonical self-justification." This prophetic stance, these golden words that do not grow old no matter how much time has passed, must be read by the leaders of the Orthodox world today. Perhaps they might learn a lesson and hurry to hold a Pan Orthodox council that would be free from political pressure and complexes about numbers, a council convened in an atmosphere of prayer, accompanied by the fervent prayer of the faithful, a council open to the activity of the Holy Spirit, whose members lay aside the language of "rights" and go forth like doctors to dress the wounds and work to heal them, a council that transforms the current difficulty into an opportunity to leap forward. Perhaps we will not go on to fragmentation, but rather depart to chant in a harmonious voice, "Christ is risen!"


Elias Nasser said...

Stuggling to recall the 5th church

1. Greek Orthodox
2. Syriac Orthodox
3. Maronite
4. Melkite Catholic
5. ???

Elias Nasser said...

Although the ideal of a council free from political influence would seem uncontroversial my limited knowledge of the history of the Ecumenical Councils is that it was impossible for such detachment to exist

The first council of Nicea was called by Constantine no less; politics seems entangled with Christian history from antiquity

Samn! said...

5. Syriac Catholic

Elias Nasser said...

thank you Sam