Saturday, December 15, 2018

Jad Ganem: The Conspiracy of Silence

Arabic original here.

The Conspiracy of Silence
For Metropolitan Onufry and his struggling Church

On this sorrowful day for the faithful belonging to the legitimate church in Ukraine, and along with them everyone around the world who loves the Church of Christ; on this sorrowful day that we have reached as a result of the recklessness immersion in the politics of this world of the one called "first" in Orthodoxy and the hiding of those called leaders in the shameful conspiracy of silence; on this day when hatred overcomes love, the desire for revenge overcomes the desire to build up unity, political considerations overcome ecclesiastical considerations, and nationalistic retrenchment and enmity overcome openness and reconciliation between peoples, this words of Metropolitan Georges (Khodr) serve as a reminder for us that "the Church that is impossible by human standards is made possible by the righteous."

"The Church, as the Bible describes her, is something that comes from Christ. In her situations, she is a human gathering that has the fragility of all institutions. In her, you receive the beauty, majesty and truth that come down upon her and in her you suffer your sins and the oppression that besets her sincere children. She is a place of unpleasantness that will repeatedly make you nauseous. This is the paradox. The Church is the place of splendor and stunning liturgies on the one hand and on the other hand the place of oppression and human banality.
The tragedy is that the man of sin sits "as a god in the temple of God" (1 Thessalonians 2:4). This may be related to "the lusts and bodily pleasures", as Chrysostom says, one who is "contentious, a lover of authority" as Ephrem says, irrational, unfit for teaching, intemperate, overbearing (cf. 1 Timothy 3:2-3). At that point, groups are led by the whim and fancy of sects that dream of God, but are a part of society's games and banalities, of influence-peddling, and the slyness of glory. The scepter often breaks the backs of those reaching the threshold of the kingdom. Shepherds relay liturgies that are not from them and might not be within them, if they are immersed in the conspiracy of silence and have traded eternity for the snares of this world... Only by disobedience does the Church devolve into an institution. At that point, her powers are enfeebled, her resources depleted and the Spirit is extinguished within her. She is a theater for great anger, great injustice, scandalous compromises, a playground for authoritarianism, a kingdom of fear.

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