In His All Holiness understanding of the matter: "for St. Paul, Church unity is not merely an internal matter of the Church. If he insists so strongly on maintaining unity, it is because Church unity is inextricably linked with the unity of all humanity. The Church does not exist for itself but for all humankind and, still more broadly, for the whole of creation." (¶ 7)
He continues by tracing out the Christological foundations of the Church's anthropological and soteriological vocation:
Thinking of the exchange of essays on the American Orthodox Institute blog, it is noteworthy that in the view of his All Holiness this evangelical mission is "the supreme obligation of the Church" must be fulfilled "with love, humility and respect for the cultural particularity of each person. Further, "the message and overall word of Orthodoxy cannot be aggressive, as it often unfortunately is; for this is of no benefit at all. Rather, it must be dialectical, dialogical and reconciliatory. We must first understand other people and discern their deeper concerns; for, even behind disbelief, there lies concealed the search for the true God." (¶ 7)
Called as we are to be "the role peacemaker within a world torn by conflicts," the Church (again guided by the bishops as the guardians and sustainers of the bonds of charity in the Church)
In my next post, I want to look with you at the broader implications of the dialectical, dialogical and reconciliatory character of the Church's evangelistic mission.
As always, your thoughts, comments and questions are not only welcome, but actively sought.