June 19, 2012

On Nationalistic Schisms

From an interview with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:

Question: In conclusion, your Eminence, what would be your message and advice to the Orthodox Christians in our country (FYROM/Macedonia) in these moments of tribulation for them?

Answer: I think that what I have said so far in your questions can be considered as an answer to this last question. In general, at present there is a great need for unity in church life, so that spiritual gifts are united with the canonical structure of the Church, neptic life with the Holy Eucharist, man’s cure with the doctrinal teaching of the Church.

Regarding your country, in particular, I think a proper way must be found in order to obtain canonical unity with the other Orthodox Churches under the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. God does not bless schisms and divisions, and no correct Orthodox spiritual life can be developed within such schisms.

Above all, we have to realize that the Orthodox Church exists beyond nations and countries, and this is why the Churches cannot be considered as national and as bastions of nationalism.

Saint Paul the Apostle clearly advises: “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philip. 3:20). Our center of attention, our vision, our expectation, and our hope is the heavenly polity, where the saints are now, united with Christ. When we think this way, that other saying by Saint Paul the Apostle is applicable: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:1-2), and then all personal and social problems are resolved.

From Sobornost, September 2006.