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A Conversation With Fr. Thomas Hopko On Orthodox Unity In North America

Again Magazine

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Obviously, what must happen is that the Orthodox people, and first of all the bishops and church leaders, must really want to be one Church. If this were the case, we would have been reunited into one self-governing North American Orthodox Church decades ago. The sad fact of the matter, in my view, is that the Orthodox people don't really want to be one Church. We have grown so used to being separated, and to using our churches for things having little, if anything at all, to do with the Gospel, the Church as Christ's Body, the glorification of God and the salvation of souls, that we carry on as we do, becoming smaller, weaker, and more pathetic every day. ...

We identify ourselves as members of Old-World churches. We are looked upon this way by these churches, however connected to them we may be, or however "autocephalous" or "self-governing." We prefer the status quo, and can't really envisage ourselves in any other way. We are, in St. Paul's words that provided the theme to last year's assembly, "conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2). We enjoy our positions and possessions, our prestige and properties, our pleasures and privileges. We don't want to sacrifice anything. We don't want to give up anything. We don't want to share. We don't want to cooperate. We don't want to be bothered. We don't want to put forth the time, energy, work, and resources it would take to make unity--or even more serious cooperation--a reality. And we surely don't want to face the many troubles that would inevitably arise in our churches if we took concrete steps to be reunited. In a word, we are too comfortable, self-satisfied, cowardly, and (dare we say it?) lacking in Christian faith and conviction to make unity--even small incremental steps toward unity--actually happen.

The entire article is available by subscription to Again Magazine.

Posted: 30-Jun-06



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