Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Greek Orthodox Protagonists

Of great interest is the latest encyclical issued by Rev. Meletis Meletiades of the General Synod of the Greek Evangelical Church [Αστήρ της Ανατολής 10 (Δεκ. 2008)]. He addresses the latest hostilities in Athens and other cities of Greece in a very sober manner, not failing to attribute responsibility to all the public sectors involved. Beginning hierarchically, he places the greatest portion of blame on the country’s religious and governmental authorities.

He rightly points out the spiritual bankruptcy of the country in its entirety which is the ground upon which one would have been ethically conscious towards one’s neighbour.

Rev. Meletiades’ focus remains and concludes with the Greek Orthodox Church which, for him, has been consumed for centuries with its involvement in State affairs, cultic types, and “witch hunting”. “Witch hunting”, for Rev. Meletiades, characterizes the Orthodox anti-heretic war, but as a terminology it is successful in alluding to a “dark ages” mentality which he opposes and wants to see replaced by a love for God’s word, the only source of true ethos.

Rev. Meletiades seems to equate the much-needed reformation of the Orthodox Church with the κήρυγμα of God’s word and at no point does he seem to suggest or imply the Church’s “dethronement”. Instead, he calls the Greek Orthodox Church to a “protagonistic” role in leading the Greek society (“its sheep”) out of its current decadent state. He concludes by calling the Evangelical Church to a likewise self-critical stance.

Rev. Meletiades has fearlessly criticized the Evangelical Church in the past and his “prophetic” addresses seem to be well-balanced between checking his “own eye” and helping the other see clearly. That is precisely the stance that gives him the right to extend condemnation beyond the limits of his own denomination.

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