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November 7, 2022

History, Politics and the Church (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

History is closely connected with the Church, since Christ with His incarnation did His work in time and space and the Church lives in historical reality. The written revelation of God is the history of the world, as Fr. George Florovsky said,  "One can suggest that Revelation is the path of God in history - we see how God walks among the ranks of men." That is why "indifference for history always leads to a sectarian dryness, to a doctrinaire attitude." Let us pay attention to the phrase that God "walks among the ranks of men" which is obviously the so-called "sacred history", which is clearly different from common history. Of course, real Church history does not fully identify with historical events, but it is the lives of the saints and the feasts of the Church. Thus, a historian sees the issues in a different way and a Father of the Church in a different way. However, the Church cannot detach itself from historical reality, but neither can it identify with it.

Parallel and differentiated is the relationship between politics and theology. Sometimes they run parallel, but always they are significantly separated. The conflict between East and West, for example, was influenced by political factors, and the political and theological reasons went hand in hand. The differentiation of Western Christianity from the unity of the Church started from political expediencies and was followed by theological reasons. Other times it was the other way around or they evolved in parallel. Sometimes these two causes coexisted, although the Fathers of the Church, but also the Martyrs who express in the best way the inner core of the Church tradition, always acted with ecclesiastical and theological motives and criteria.

Source: From the book The Synodical and Hierarchical Government of the Church. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.