Not Ethnic but Global: Orthodoxy in the Western World

April 2, 2015 Length: 59:23

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware addressed the topic of "Orthodoxy in the Western World" as the second session (out of two) on the larger theme of "Orthodoxy in the 21st Century." The lecture was delivered in Cambridge in the Institute's seminar room during the Community Lecture Day of February 22, 2014.





Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware): I have an easier task than you do this afternoon. I have merely to keep talking. You have to keep awake! [Laughter] Not so easy after an excellent lunch. However, David will be serving as an example, because we can all see him. [Laughter] And let me know if he drops off to sleep. [Laughter]

David: I think you’re quite right.

Metr. Kallistos: So, then. “Not Ethnic but Global: Orthodoxy in the Western World.” During the 20th century, the Orthodox Church underwent a major change. Previously, the Orthodox Church had been largely restricted to the Eastern Mediterranean, to Eastern Europe, Russia, these being the traditional Orthodox lands of which I spoke before lunch. But, as with our political and economic pressure, in the last hundred years there’s been a vast exodus to western lands. The Orthodox Church is no longer specifically Eastern; it has become Western as well. It has become global.

Let us note first the size of this Orthodox emigration in the 20th century. In the USA, there are perhaps between three and six millions of persons of Orthodox ancestry. I use that phrase deliberately because they are not necessarily by any means all of them practicing Orthodox. In Australia, a land that I’ve never visited, I suppose there are about a million persons of Orthodox ancestry. In Germany, certainly, half a million. Here in the UK, we have no exact statistics, but I suppose again about half a million persons coming from Orthodox families.

When we think of the greatly diminished size of the four ancient patriarchates—of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem—we realize that they are greatly outnumbered by this Orthodox emigration. Having noted the size of this emigration, let us note also the permanence of the Orthodox presence in the West. We are clearly going to continue to be a global Church. We are going to continue to be Western as well as Eastern during the 21st century.

Often we use the phrase “diaspora” of the Orthodox Church. That’s a phrase that was particularly developed with reference to the Jewish people and their periods of exile, but in the Jewish case they were temporary exiles. They hoped to return home. That is no longer, then, an appropriate term, “diaspora,” for the Orthodox in the West, because most of the Orthodox in the West have no intention of going back to the homelands of Orthodoxy. Many of them have been born here in the West, and most of them would see themselves in the full sense, not as temporary exiles but as citizens of the Western lands in which they dwell, and they don’t expect to go anywhere else. So I try on the whole to avoid the word “diaspora.”

Of course, there are many Orthodox in the West who do think in terms just of a temporary presence and do not see themselves as rooted, but an increasing number do feel rooted. Yes, there are some who still see Orthodoxy as essentially the faith of the mother countries. I think of the no doubt mythical story—let us call him Fr. Aristotle of the Greek cathedral in London, and one day, a nice fine day as today with sunshine, he was seen walking through the streets with his umbrella up. People said to him, “Why have you got your umbrella up? It’s not raining.” “Ah,” he said. “It may not be raining here, but it’s raining in Athens.” [Laughter]

Now, the effect of this situation of emigration, of settlement, in non-Orthodox countries, upon the life of the Orthodox has been in many cases to force us back upon the essentials. Here in the West we can no longer see Orthodoxy as a national church, playing a role in the total life of the community in which we live. We are a minority, but this makes us distinguished in our minds. Now that we are no longer members of a national church and of a church with a privileged position in the state and in education, what is our essential position as Orthodox? We are forced back upon the one thing needful, upon the Eucharist. The parish acquires an importance among the émigré Orthodox such as it did not have in recent centuries in the traditional Orthodox countries. On the whole, our local parish is all we have in the way of a distinct, explicit Orthodox identity.

Looking at the situation of Orthodoxy in the West, let’s call to mind the basic problem, and this is fragmentation. Here in the West we have a plurality of jurisdictions. “Jurisdiction” is not a very attractive word. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said it’s not to be found in the Gospels. It actually does occur at least once, in the Authorized Version of Scripture. Luke 23:7: “As soon as Pilate heard that Jesus belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod.” So that’s the context in which the word “jurisdiction” is used in Scripture.

Yes, what we have is a plurality, a multiplicity of bishops in the same place. And yet, the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, in its eighth canon, explicitly says there should not be more than one bishop in each city. Well, how many bishops have we got, Orthodox bishops in the city of London, or, for that matter, still worse, in the city of New York? So, then, our difficulty is that we belong to, co-existing on the same territory, a series of different ecclesial families, which often have very little to do with one another. And the result is the catholicity of the Church is obscured. After all, in the Creed, we say, “I believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” We do not say, “I believe in many ethnic churches.”

And this fragmentation means that the internal life of the Orthodox Church is greatly weakened. There’s too much duplication of effort, too much—dare I use the unpleasant word?—jurisdictional rivalry. For example, there’s very little cooperation over the planting of new parishes. Often a particular Orthodox group will move in where there already is an Orthodox parish, and in this way they will undermine the life of that parish and split the congregation. So that’s just one example of the way we don’t cooperate with one another, and this harms our pastoral work.

And of course the external witness of the Orthodox Church is greatly weakened, because we do not speak with one voice. I recall back in the 1960s when I was working in the Greek Archdiocese in London, I approached the BBC. In those days, there were a lot of religious broadcasts, but hardly ever was there an Orthodox religious broadcast. Given our numbers, we should have been much more represented, and I complained to my contacts in the BBC: Why were the Orthodox not properly represented? And they replied: If you will set up a single body representing all the Orthodox in this country responsible for broadcasts, then we will deal with that body, but we can’t deal separately with Greeks, Russians, Romanians, and so on. So our failure to speak with one voice, our absence of single organization in Britain meant then, and it still means today, that we don’t get our fair share of religious broadcasting. And we could think of many other examples.

How are we to overcome this fragmentation so as to make manifest, not merely in theory but in practice, the unity of Orthodoxy? As regards the future of the Orthodox in the Western world and the possibility of closer unity, I can see two approaches, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The first is what we might call the Constantinople solution. According to this view, held by some, though not all, the people who belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, all Orthodox in the West ought to be under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From time to time, Constantinople puts out statements which refer to the Western world as their canonical territory, and they appeal in particular to Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, where—I won’t read that canon to you, because it’s quite long, but you read it for yourselves, and you may well ask, “Well, what has that to do with Orthodox in the Western world today?”

But to a limited degree, this approach is being applied. All Greeks in the Western world belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whether they come from the national Church of Greece, from Cyprus, from Alexandria, or from Jerusalem, they would all be under one single authority: the Patriarchate of Constantinople. So the Church of Greece, for example, does not attempt to have its own jurisdiction in the West. From time to time, Jerusalem has tried to set up parishes in North America. This has usually proved highly controversial, and they’ve withdrawn their attempts.

We have, notably, the Russian Diocese based on Paris, which is under Constantinople. In the 1930s, embracing most of their responsible theologians, chose to belong not to the Moscow Patriarchate nor to the Church in Exile, but they said, “Let us go under Constantinople,” and they, of course, have the only Orthodox theological school in Western Europe, the school of St. Sergius in Paris. The Ukrainians some years ago—and they’re quite numerous in North America and Canada—they came under the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well. But I think that most of the Russians have not opted to go under Constantinople, and certainly I don’t think the Romanians in the Western world would want to be under Constantinople either. So I think this first solution, that everyone should be under Constantinople, isn’t realistic.

Now, a second approach is to be found in the decision made at the pan-Orthodox Conference in 2009, that in every country or group of countries, there should be an Episcopal Assembly, including all the bishops who have pastoral responsibility in that specific area. In fact, in many countries, such pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assemblies had existed long before this. In the United States, the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops (SCOBA) has existed since 1960. In France there have been inter-Orthodox episcopal assemblies since the 1970s. But in Great Britain, we had no such inter-Orthodox assembly until this decision in 2009.

Now we do have a pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assembly that meets in London. It meets only twice a year for about three hours in the morning, where we are then given a festal lunch, but that more or less finishes us off for serious business in the rest of the day. And we have three subcommittees—one theological, one educational, one liturgical—who perhaps will do more effective work than the main Assembly. Here in—I shouldn’t say Great Britain, but the British Isles, because it includes the Republic of Ireland as well—we have altogether 14 Orthodox bishops who have some pastoral responsibility. They are not all of them resident in Great Britain—he Serbian bishop, for example, lives in Scandinavia; the Bulgarian bishop lives in Germany; the Romanian metropolitan is in France—but they all have parishes in England, so in principle they all should be represented.

So perhaps these Episcopal Assemblies now existing in almost every country of the Western world will lead to a growing cooperation and will lead eventually to the establishment of a single Orthodox Church in each country. (How are we doing, David?) [Laughter]

Now, I can see a possible sequence here. I can see three stages in inter-Orthodox relations in the West. The first stage is where you have merely friendly contacts, information cooperation. For example, getting together once a year for a pan-Orthodox vespers. That was our situation in England until 2009. We exchanged Christmas cards, but we didn’t really do much more than that. Otherwise, each Orthodox diocese in Britain went its own way.

The second stage is to have Episcopal Assemblies: again, all the bishops in a given area to meet together, and that we are now doing in Britain. But this is much more highly developed, for example, in France, where the bishops don’t just meet for three hours; they meet for three days. They have a residential meeting, and I think they don’t just have three committees: they have about 20 committees dependent on the Episcopal Assembly. Now the limitation here is that these Episcopal Assemblies are purely consultative. We merely exchange ideas, but we don’t at present have the power to make decisions that are binding on all our members. If we choose to disagree, well, we just have to go on living with that.

So, beyond this second stage, I can see a third stage where, instead of just having an Episcopal Assembly, we would have true local synod, a group, that is to say, that would no longer be purely consultative, a group that would have a definite canonical status, a body that could be decision-making in an authoritative way. Now, I can see here two possible stages. First, even with a local synod, we might continue to have the co-existence of overlapping national dioceses. All the bishops would sit on the same local synod, but you would still have Greek diocese, a Russian diocese, a Serbian or Romanian or Bulgarian diocese, parallel and side-by-side, but all the bishops together would sit on a synod and would together make decisions that would be binding on their different dioceses. So you would have an intermediate situation where the parishes and the bishops would have a loyalty to the local synod, but they would still continue their links with the mother church.

But beyond that, though, is a further stage, whereby there would be full integration. You would have one autocephalous or autonomous Orthodox Church in Britain, and individual parishes could continue to possess a specific ethnic character, but in each area there would just be one bishop with a territorial diocese, no longer overlapping. Well, we in Britain are still a long way from that, but this I think is our final aim. To look at Orthodoxy through history, the pattern’s always been all the Christians in a given area are under one bishop, whatever their nationality. In Constantinople in the fifth century, there were a great many Goths, and the Goths had their own language and their own tribal customs. So they were given a special bishop to look after them, who spoke their language and understood their ways—but this bishop was merely an assistant bishop under the archbishop of Constantinople. So the Goths were given particular pastoral care because of their special needs, but there was only the one diocese of Constantinople.

And this, I think, brings us to the very essence of the Church. The Church is eucharistic. The fundamental activity for the Church is the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. This is the one thing that the Church does and that nothing and nobody else can do. And the celebration of the Eucharist, on the Christian understanding, from the beginning, always we would gather everyone in each place for a single celebration. So, because the Church is eucharistic, we are organized on an inclusive basis, not on an ethnic basis. There isn’t one Eucharist for Serbs and another Eucharist for Bulgarians; there’s just the one Orthodox Liturgy.

Now, up until 2009, the Ecumenical Patriarchate definitely favored the first approach, saying the emigration can be united if everybody comes under the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. But I think since 2009, the patriarch has shifted, and he now supports the creation of local Episcopal Assemblies in each place, and sees that as the way forward, not asserting exclusive claims for Constantinople, but saying the real solution is for us all to grow together.

I see the crucial stage in the evolution towards a single Orthodox Church as between the second and third stages. We’re at the second stage in Britain with an Episcopal Assembly, but we need to convert this into a real local council. That would be the decisive step forward.

But there is a difference of approach in the Orthodox Church today. The Russian Church, by and large, is in favor of the creation of single local Orthodox churches in each place, and I think the Patriarchate of Antioch is in favor of this approach, but the Patriarchate of Constantinople is somewhat reserved about losing its jurisdiction. There are very few Christians left in Constantinople itself. The island of Crete, the Dodecanese, that continues under Constantinople, but otherwise, if Constantinople were to lose its “diaspora,” to use that word, then it would lose almost all its faithful. So there’s much more reserve in Constantinople than there is in Russia towards this move towards single local churches.

I wrote an article along the lines of what I’m saying to you this afternoon some years ago, saying that we must all try to create a single local Orthodox church in each country, and a leading hierarch of the Ecumenical Throne wrote a riposte to that, saying that I manifested “elementary ignorance” of Orthodox canon law and theology. So I continue to display elementary ignorance for your benefit. [Laughter] But personally, I’m in favor of the second approach, of growing together gradually through local consultation.

But the Romanian Church is quite reserved about that. Not long ago, to my great disappointment, the present patriarch of Romania, Daniel, whom I know personally and admire, he put out an encyclical saying Romanians shouldn’t go to Orthodox churches in the West; they should go to Romanian churches. So he was not in favor of a growing-together of all the Orthodox.

Now I recognize the precious value of national identity. It matters very much to Orthodox Christians, and it should matter. Here I would quote the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, his Nobel Prize speech in 1970, but his words are still applicable today.

In recent times (he says), it’s fashionable to talk of the leveling-out of nations, of the disappearance of different races in the melting-pot of civilization. I do not agree with this opinion. The disappearance of nations would have impoverished us no less than if all humans had become alike, with one personality and one face. Nations are the wealth of humankind (he says), its collective personalities, the very least of them wears its own special colors and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.

Well, I agree with Solzhenitsyn. It is significant that on the day of Pentecost, everybody spoke in their own national tongue. They didn’t use Euro-speak or Esperanto. They each spoke in their own tongue. The miracle of Pentecost was not that they all used the same language, but that they used their own languages but they understood one another. So, yes, I wouldn’t wish to see our national differences disappear.

I would like to quote the example of a glass of water. Now, what keeps us alive is not the glass but the water inside the glass. But to drink the water, unless I happen to be walking on the Oxford moors, I need to have a glass, and that applies, I think, to our Church life. What matters is the life-giving water of Orthodoxy, but what makes this life-giving water available to us is that it’s communicated to us in the glass. The glass acts as the means whereby we can drink the water, and the glass in this case is our different specific national identities. It’s through that that we acquire our Orthodox devotion.

And here, I think, we should take note of the situation of the Orthodox Church in America. And if there are people from America here, I hope they won’t be hurt by what I say. In 1970, the OCA (Orthodox Church in America) was set up as an autocephalous church with the blessing of the Russian Church, and it was hoped that it would form the nucleus of a single American Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Most of the different Orthodox mother churches refused to recognize the OCA. They remained in communion with it, but they did not recognize it as being an autocephalous church.

When I was first in America, back in the 1950s and ‘60s, I thought the future lay with the OCA, and I was quite critical of the Greek Archdiocese because of its heavy emphasis on Greek nationalism. In those days, the Liturgy was celebrated only in Greek and not in English. But I rather changed my opinion over 50 years, because in fact the OCA has shrunk; it has lost a great part of its membership. Fr. Thomas Hopko said to me that in his lifetime he reckoned that the OCA had lost two-thirds of its members. And the Greek Archdiocese has also lost many members, but it has grown at the very time when the OCA has declined. So perhaps the Greek emphasis on nationalism as a way of holding the church together has its value. Perhaps American culture, which with all due respect is an amalgam of so many different national cultures, is not enough to act as a glass to hold us together; perhaps we need something more definite. I don’t think we can have a British or American Orthodox Church in quite the same sense as we have had in the past, or even today, a Greek, Russian, or Serbian Orthodox Church.

If you want further reflections on Orthodoxy and ethnic identity, let me recommend a recent issue of St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, a double-issue, a stout volume of some 250 pages, and it is devoted to ecclesiology and nationalism. And there are a number of very interesting articles there, even one by me, but I don’t mostly recommend that.

So there is, I think, the challenge to us in the Orthodox situation of the West: how are we going to grow to a greater visible unity? We share one faith, we are in communion with one another, but we do not manifest ourselves in practice as a single Church. How can we grow to greater and closer unity?

Now let me offer a little example from the Orthodox Church in the West. A case history: the Orthodox in Great Britain. And let me start with a passage from The Classical Journal for 1827, nearly 200 years ago. Here one of the contributors says:

We were once led by a natural curiosity to attend Divine Service at the Russian chapel in London.

That would be the embassy chapel, the Russian embassy chapel, which was the only place of Orthodox worship, I think, in 1827 in London.

It was a small and ordinarily furnished room in an obscure part of the town, and the congregation consisted of some ten or twelve persons, an undistinguishable drop in the population of metropolitan population. But the chanting, the ceremonies, and the pictured vestments of the priest all spoke of antiquity, and the humble place of worship and the diminutive assembly assumed an importance and a dignity in our eyes when considered as the representatives of so many ages and nations.

So that was the situation of Orthodox in Britain in 1827. One chapel in London, the Sunday service attended by ten to twelve people. And what is the situation today? I was looking last night at the directory put out by the Orthodox Fellowship of St. John the Baptist each year for the British Isles. They say “the British Isles and Ireland”; that’s rather redundant: “Great Britain and Ireland,” they should say, because the British Isles includes Ireland, though the Irish might not think so. Yes, I noted in the bookstore—excellent bookstore next door, and I bought a number of books—they have the 2013 edition, but there is now a later edition, 2014, so if you bought the 2013 edition, you get your money back!

Now what is the situation today? In London, we have 40 Orthodox places of worship. Four-oh. In the rest of the British Isles—including the Republic of Ireland—there are 253 places of worship. The Liturgy is not celebrated in each of them each Sunday; many of them are just eucharistic centers with occasional Liturgies, but that shows that the Orthodox presence is quite considerable in Britain today. And yet how large is our influence on the national life?

The roots of the Orthodox presence in Britain go back at least to the 17th century. There was a certain gentleman called Christopher Angell who was a Greek seaman, and he was shipwrecked, I think on the coast of Norfolk, and he came first to Cambridge and then, being a wise man he moved on to Oxford [Laughter], and he is the author of the first little book about the Orthodox Church written in the English language. But another Orthodox Greek who was in Oxford in the 17th century, I recall particularly, was a certain Nathaniel Canopius, and he was a fellow of St. John’s College, and he is reputed to have been the first person to introduce coffee drinking into Britain. People were fascinated by this strange black brew that he produced. Never before and never since had the Orthodox Church had such a direct effect on the English way of life. [Laughter]

Now, 40 places of worship in London, and in many of those churches there are three or four priests, large congregations; 253 places of worship in the rest of the British Isles—most of all of this is very recent. As late as 1940, there were only in Britain five regular places of worship, and only two Orthodox churches in London, one Greek and one Russian. And in the whole of Britain there were [fewer] than ten Orthodox priests in 1940; today there are somewhat more than 200.

It would be interesting to ask, on a given Sunday—not a great feast—how many Orthodox are actually in church in the British Isles. A census was done some time ago, and it was reckoned there were about 26,000 Orthodox in church on a given Sunday, which would give you an average of about 200 in each Orthodox church. Now, many of our parishes have a good deal less than 200 people on Sunday. That means that only about five percent of the total persons of Orthodox origin are actually going to church regularly, so we shouldn’t be too complacent about our situation.

The majority of the Orthodox here in Britain are Greek, especially from Cyprus. Until the 1990s, the Orthodox presence in Britain was overwhelmingly Greek. Now there’s an increasing number of Russians and Romanians, but still the Greeks are in the majority, but no longer an overwhelming majority. This makes the Orthodox situation in Britain—the very great predominance of Greeks—very different from the Orthodox in France, Germany, or North America, where everywhere the Greeks are the majority group, but the other groups are much more comparable. Things have changed, however, in Britain. There used to be, for example, only one Romanian church in London, and now I don’t know how many there are; quite a large number.

I remember the Romanian priest in London, the first Romanian priest who came in the 1960s. I was sitting next to him once at a meeting of the Anglican and the Eastern Churches Association, a body that some of you may belong to, a body that does excellent work, but it isn’t noted for having a very fiery and lively annual general meeting. And what happened was—and I must remind you this is the Communist era in Romania—first of all, the chairman: He was willing to stand again. Were there any other candidates? No—he was elected. The secretary, and the treasurer. They both were willing to stand again. Any other candidates? No! Four members of the committee were due to be replaced. They were all standing again. There were no other candidates. And at this point, Fr. Popescu turned to me and said, “And in Romania, we have many meetings just like this.” [Laughter]

I suppose in the British Isles, the total number of converts—people of Western origin who’ve joined the Orthodox Church as adults—is not very large. Certainly a few hundreds; I don’t know, perhaps even a few thousands, but the great majority of Orthodox are cradle Orthodox. But interestingly, in the British Isles, 35-40% of the clergy are Orthodox converts. So the number of Orthodox clergy who are converts is out of all proportion, but mostly the Orthodox parishes with convert congregations are quite small, whereas the large parishes in London with 500 or more people every Sunday, they are the native parishes, the Greek Cypriot parishes. But a lot of British people have become Orthodox clergy, and that’s quite a new thing. When I was ordained in Britain in all the different Orthodox dioceses there was only one other Englishman who was an Orthodox priest, so I felt myself as something of an endangered species. I no longer feel that way now.

We might note, quickly, some of the strong and weak points of British Orthodoxy. We have, glory be to God, a flourishing monastery at Tolleshunt Knights, which is pan-Orthodox, inter-Orthodox, and it’s a blessing for the whole of the Orthodox Church here, but we have no seminary, no theological school for training clergy. And still, in the Greek Archdiocese, and I think this might apply to other groups as well, most of the clergy are imported from the mother countries, and surely we ought to be able to supply our own clergy. I’m afraid that of the Greeks born and brought up in England, the younger generation, very few come forward to the priesthood. And, yes, I feel there is a need—at any rate in the Greek Archdiocese; I won’t speak of others—for greater English. You go to the Greek cathedral in London; you will not hear one word of English. Not for the Scripture readings, not for the sermon, not even for the notices at the end. Surely, that’s a situation that ought to change.

Will our present expansion continue? We don’t know, but don’t be too sure. We are losing a very great number of our young people. There’s no doubt about that. Well, that’s happening to all Christian groups in Britain, but we have no reason to feel complacent and to think that we are just going to grow larger and larger. Maybe in the next generation the Orthodox Church in this country will become trapped. Again, I can only speak for the Greek Archdiocese—I don’t know the other dioceses well enough—but when I go round to some of the Greek parishes in London, I see the same people there as I saw 20 years ago. The only difference is they’re 20 years older. And are they being replaced by a new generation?

A small footnote is this. Would it help our Orthodox mission in Britain if we had a Western Rite Orthodoxy? At present moment what is happening is we are almost all using the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and many of us would feel the way forward is to use this increasingly in English, but some people say here in the West we ought to revive the ancient Western Liturgies and to have Orthodox worshiping in Western ways of worship. In France since the 1930s there’s been quite an active group known as the Église catholique orthodoxe de France, ECOF for short. It was at one point the largest single Orthodox group in France, though it’s now grown… split into various different parts and lost a lot of its faithful.

Should we have the same thing in England? Is that the way forward? Well, we do have a very small Western Rite here under the blessing of ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, with a synod in America. I was looking at my directory, and I see there are Western Rite parishes, or at any rate groups with services in Nottingham and in Poole and also in Oxford, but they’ve made no effort to make any contact with the other Orthodox in Oxford. Well, I myself think that we’ve got enough divisions in Orthodoxy in Britain already. Don’t let’s have another one. Let’s all join together with the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in English, or mainly in English.

It’s time for me to end. In conclusion, looking at the future, should we be optimists or pessimists? Is the glass half-full as the optimists would say, or half-empty as the pessimists would say? Well, perhaps the difference between the two viewpoints is not so very great. Some years ago when I was still at school, our debating society had as the subject that this house would be willing to taste anything once—the sort of silly subject you have in debating societies—and I was put down to defend this viewpoint. Not knowing what to say, I turned, as we all do when baffled, to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and I couldn’t find anybody who had said, “I would eat anything once,” but I did find a gentleman not previously known to me called James Branch Cabell, who had said, “I am willing to taste any drink once.” But I noted that the other thing he said or quoted in the dictionary was: “The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears that this is true.” [Laughter] Which suggests that the experience of drinking anything once didn’t give him a particularly cheerful outlook on life, but perhaps the difference between the optimists and pessimists is not so great.

My own stance, as I gaze into the future of Orthodoxy in the 21st century, is I’m inclined to be a short-term pessimist but a long-term optimist. A short-term pessimist because I think we’ve got major problems to deal with: growing to greater visible unity, making a more serious use of the English language, doing more—but what should we do?—to retain the loyalty of our young people. But I’m a long-term optimist because I believe in the Resurrection of Christ. Thank you. [Applause]