How to Curb Division in the Church
Abbot Tryphon · September 28, 2011
Refrain from a life of the Super Correct.
Driven by fear, there are people who leave the Church and head into schism. In Greece there are at least eighteen “Old Calendar” Orthodox churches who claim to be the Church, not recognizing each other as canonical. In the United States there are nearly the same numbers, some Slavic and others of Greek origin. They are all filled with prideful people, thinking of themselves as the only remnant of Christ’s Church. These people practice a form of Christianity that is filled with self-righteous rigidity, totally lacking in humility.
Walling themselves off from world Orthodoxy, they become extremely Pharisitical, harsh, punitive, and in many cases rotten to the core. In their legalistic approach to the canons and traditions of the Church, they enter into a state of constant judgment against anyone outside their arrogant, cultish religiosity. In their narrow-minded approach to the Church, they fail to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding and protecting his Church. They don’t see the Holy Spirit operating in the life of people, because they themselves are closed-off to the Holy Spirit.
Where is the life of the Church manifested among such people? They do nothing for the love of humanity, and their lack of love begets more schism. Schism begets schism begets schism: a never-ending downward spiral into the abyss.
Their usual premise is based on the issue of the calendar change and false ecumenism. The calendar issue is more important to them than the unity of the Church, forgetting as they do that the early Church celebrated many of the great feasts on different days. False ecumenism is hardly an issue today, as the number of theologians and bishops who are truly caught up in it has dwindled to almost nothing, along with the liberal thinking that has gone out of fashion since the fall of Communism. The Russian Church, the largest of the local churches, has taken a strong stand against false ecumenism and is powerfully pushing forth the unchanging canons, traditions, and faith of the ancient Church.
Orthodox Christianity has withstood 2,000 years of attacks and persecution, yet the gates of hell have not prevailed against her. This was Christ’s promise to his disciples before his holy Resurrection. To believe otherwise is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.