Friday, January 25, 2008

True Christian Love

From an interview with His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren (Serbian Orthodox Church):
Q: One could conclude that there are various theological views within Orthodoxy about co-operation with Roman Catholic Church since, based on the facts, Orthodox theologians also participated in the works of the International Commissions, while the [Ravenna] document has been harshly criticized by their brothers.

A: There exist only those persistent in their confession of Faith and those ready for various kinds of compromise, abatement, and condescension. Many Orthodox participants at those ecumenical gatherings are not confessors of their faith; accordingly, they can not represent the teaching of the Orthodox Church. If they were in fact worthy representatives of the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Teaching, they would, above all, listen to the Apostle Paul who says, "to stay away from a heretical man after the first and second approaches." How far are we going to go with those dialogs, commissions – until there is no end? Are we there counseling those in heresy, in delusion? No, we are seeking to compromise with them. True love for a Christian is to secure eternal life for one's neighbor, which means you straightforwardly say he is in error, and try to return him to the truth, directing him onto the path of salvation. Encouraging someone to remain in his delusion is not love, but hatred, according to St. Maximus the Confessor.
Photograph, L to R: Fr (now Metropolitan) Amfilohije, Fr (now Bishop) Atanasije, "Lepura," Fr Justin, Fr (now Bishop) Artemije, 1977.

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