Reflections On The Scandal
A Reflection on the State of the OCA
Fr. John Memorich: Broadview Heights, Ohio
“If any one is confident that he is Christ’s, let him
remind himself that as he is Christ’s, so are we.”
(2nd Cor. 10:7)
Orthodox Christians, as the embodiment and legacy of
the One, True, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,
also maintains the perpetual responsibility to be ever
mindful that just as we belong to Christ, so does
everyone else around us. People of all races, creeds,
and cultures enjoy our Lord’s divine presence; even
those whom we deem to be our enemies and who are
actively persecuting us!
Because of this simple fact, we, as Orthodox
Christians, must always strive to maintain our
composer with all people and treat everyone with
dignity, honor and respect. We may disagree with a
person, we may even dislike a person, but we must
still treat those people with the same mercy,
compassion, forgiveness, and *love* that we have so
come to expect from God Himself. Although this grace-filled sentiment is to be embraced by all Christian’s in body and soul (regardless of their denomination or affiliation) as a New Commandment in God’s Law to, “Love one another as I have loved you,” it nevertheless also needs to be taken from the realms of mere theory and put into God-pleasing practice!
Unfortunately, given everything that seems to be
happening within the OCA right now and, with everyone spreading their own unique opinions, forms of gossip, self-serving mandates and/or shamefully concocted “ultimatums” – both on and off the “ocanews” website – I find that this all-important tenet to “love one another,” is something which is fearfully and woefully lacking amidst the current conflict and factiousin-fighting.
Instead of *the many* rising high above such
Satanically-fueled flames and calling for this to
possibly be our “finest hour” as the unified Body of
Christ, the masses have nonetheless opted to resort to
acting like anything but the One, True, Unified Church
of Christ upon which our heritage and soul so depends.
(In a way, one might even add that some of my brother
clergy, regardless of rank and stature, who one, a)
would expect them to know better, b) should be setting
a Christ-centered example by their pastoral leadership
and attention to duties, and, c) are usually the first
rail against such actions, behaviors, and practices
within their own congregations - are themselves acting
much like that same type of “crazed parishioner” they
have so come to detest!)
Vast and ever-widening divisions are being formed as
we draw ourselves deeper and deeper into
in-inescapable and inexcusable camps with: “‘I belong
to Archbishop Job,’ or ‘I belong to Fr. Kondratick’ or
‘I belong to Metropolitan Herman,’ or ‘I belong to Fr.
Kucynda.’” And just as it was with St. Paul in his
time, it appears that only *the few* are daring enough
to step forward and demand, “Is Christ divided?” (cf.
1st Cor. 1:12-13).
Satan, because of his evil nature is not only
considered to be the “father of darkness” and the
“father of all lies,” but of “all divisiveness,” as
well. Needless to say he must obviously be rejoicing
at such exquisitely degenerative workings amidst the
“People of God.” It should also be noted that when we
do mistreat, bad-mouth, or act vindictively towards
another individual we not only disregard the image of
God within them but, ultimately dishonor the image of
God within us. Again – all to the delight of the Evil
Fr. Alexander Schmemann once quipped that the Orthodox Church in this country was little more than, “a babe in the woods.” With two hundred years now firmly behind us, I’d say we’ve definitely moved from this position and now reached our “terrible twos;” a
painful time filled with obvious selfish “me-isms”
and brutal tantrums so recognizable to anyone who has
been blessed with children.
However, from this moment onward, whether we choose to grow out of this stage, or simply succumb to its withering affects, will ultimately depend on how
humble, how prayerful, how forgiving, how
compassionate, how merciful, and how God-like we, as a Church, can be.
Rather than calling for our hierarchs to step down,
asking for the withholding of funding to the National
Church (which, by the way, has already adopted new
policies and procedures regarding its finances),
requesting congratulatory letters of support (???) to
be sent (which will only serve to further alienate and
divide), and promoting the endorsement of blatantly
deplorable “blackmail tactics,” should we not be about
the “real” business of the Church? For the business of
the Church is not at all about *business,* but to love
each other as Christ loves us!
Perhaps this is one reason why the Church has failed
so miserably within a business context, and why those
who are now following after leaders of the
“business-world” are failing to see Christ in each
other. As my beloved mentor, Fr. Karp Pateyuk, once
told me about money, “When you look through a clear
pane of glass and then coat one of its sides in
silver, all you can see is yourself.” And in case you
didn't realize, solipsism is in-congruent with the
teachings of Jesus Christ.
Archpriest John Memorich