Saturday, January 5, 2019

Patriarch Ignatius IV's Commandment

Arabic original here.

The Patriarch's Commandment

Perhaps one of the concerns that most occupied Patriarch Ignatius IV of blessed memory was making "Orthodoxy not only an element of the present and the past, but also a constituent element of the future." He always reminded that "it is fundamental for us to know what belongs to the tradition of the Holy Spirit and the Orthodox Church and what fundamentally belongs to historical circumstances, environments and cultural traditions," stressing that "change requires more adhesion to  Orthodox dynamism instead of adhesion to ancient texts tied to specific theories and a specific mentality." He also thought that in order for the Church to undertake her role, she must study "the various situations and circumstances that Orthodoxy knows today" and formulate "a new adaptation" because it is not sure "that analogy is the best manner in which to find the answers" to all the challenges of our age.

He observed that "We Orthodox behave in many areas as though God spoke once and after that kept silent and as though the Holy Spirit came down once upon the Church. Everything after it is an extension of this one and only event." He expressed his conviction that "It is necessary for us to do something serious to realize the witness of Christ's Church here and now."
In words resembling a commandment, he said, "Behind us is a long past. Now we must face the future by rising up to the foundation and reaching the level of the starting-point... We need to push true tradition to the heart of the Church. This is what we confess whenever we say that the Lord is alive in His Church and that wherever there is Christ, there is the Church... Christ is before us and not behind us. We do not need to turn around to see Him."

Patriarch Ignatius was constant motion with deep roots, always reaching forward... May his memory be eternal.

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