Thursday, June 25, 2009

Orthodox Church Leader Rekindles Relationship with Anglicans

From the web site of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) comes the following new release:

The leader of the Orthodox Church in America has re-kindled the oldest ecumenical relationship in Christian history. Addressing delegates and attendees of the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, said, “I am seeking an ecumenical restoration by being here today. This is God’s call to us.” This significant gesture represents the possibility of full communion being exchanged between the churches.

Metropolitan Jonah represents the American branch of the Orthodox Church, a Christian denomination that has a long history of strong relationships with the Anglican Church. “We have to actualize that radical experience of union in Christ with one another,” Jonah said. Speaking for 45 minutes, the Metropolitan addressed the importance of looking past our differences in order to work together for mission. “Our unity transcends our particularity,” he said.

His Beatitude’s message was focused on unity but did not fail to address areas of contrasting beliefs between the two churches. Though united in upholding the authority of the Bible and uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Orthodox Church and Anglican Church in North America have differing opinions on matters such as the ordination of women and other doctrinal issues. Despite this, the Metropolitan told the audience that “our arms are open wide.”

Following the speech, a representative of an Orthodox seminary, St. Vladimir’s, announced a cooperative effort with Nashotah House, an orthodox Anglican seminary, that would help further these ecumenical relationships and what Jonah described as a “new dialogue between the Orthodox Church in North America and the new Anglican province in North America.

I will post more about this next week after the transfer of this blog to its new host.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory 
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Friendship and The Church's Witness, part 4

And this brings me back to where I began, the mystery of friendship transformed.
Just as in the Liturgy bread and wine, “the fruit of the vine and work of human hands,” are transformed to become the Body and Blood of Christ, human friendships can also be transformed by God's grace into something of eternal beauty and importance. But, and again as with bread and wine, these friendships must be properly formed. They must be real and healthy friendships just as the Eucharist must begin as real bread and real wine. At it best priestly ministry grows out of life long friendships transformed by grace. So to, I would argue, with the internal life of the Church and our Christian witness in the public square. Anything less then ministry, and ecclesiastical life and evangelistic outreach ground in wholesome friendships slowly transformed by divine grace is unworthy of Christ and of the humanity He shares with us.
I have seen my own relationship with Christ and my friends transformed by their ordinations and my own.
If we do not love each other, how can the world believe we love it? And if we do not love the world for whom Christ suffered and died, how can we say that we are love Him or our true to ourselves?
But the real question now is this, how will we proceed?
In Christ,
+Fr Gregory

Augustine's Origin of Species

Christianity Today's online edition has an interesting essay by on St Augustine's understanding of the Genesis story of creation by Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College, London.  McGrath is an Anglican priest who in addition to a doctorate in theology holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University in molecular biophysics.  Given the number of Orthodox Christians who hold to some form of creationism in opposition to the current scientific model of creation, I thought the article worth reading.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th of the publication of his On the Origin of Species. For some, such as Richard Dawkins, Darwinism has been elevated from a provisional scientific theory to a worldview—an outlook on reality that excludes God, firmly and permanently. Others have reacted strongly against the high priests of secularism. Atheism, they argue, simply uses such scientific theories as weapons in its protracted war against religion.
They also fear that biblical interpretation is simply being accommodated to fit contemporary scientific theories. Surely, they argue, the Creation narratives in Genesis are meant to be taken literally, as historical accounts of what actually happened. Isn't that what Christians have always done? Many evangelicals fear that innovators and modernizers are abandoning the long Christian tradition of faithful biblical exegesis. They say the church has always treated the Creation accounts as straightforward histories of how everything came into being. The authority and clarity of Scripture—themes that are rightly cherished by evangelicals—seem to be at stake.
These are important concerns, and the Darwin anniversaries invite us to look to church history to understand how our spiritual forebears dealt with similar issues. 
Read the rest here.

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