Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - June 27, 1999
The Swinging and the Singing,
the Smells and the Bells are Orthodox
Someone recently addressed some people in Chicago with the following:
"Orthodox priests in America must be more than ritual technicians. The swinging (censer) and singing, the smells and the bells by themselves will not take everlasting roots in this culture. The reality is Americans look for substance."
The reality that the speaker seems unaware of is that Orthodoxy is "The Substance", if not the bedrock, of all Christian religion. That the speaker of the ethnically prejudiced material above was cited as an Orthodox theologian is unfortunate ... for him! Perhaps the speaker whose words were cited May 30, 1999 on GOAL's website and who obviously wishes to ethnically cleanse our Church of its roots never read The Rudder of the Orthodox Catholic Church: The Compilation of the Holy Canons by Sts. Nicodemus and Agapais, edited by J. Nicolaides and D. Cummings?
From Act 7 of the Seventh Ecumenical Council:
"Worship must be paid in the way suggested by the form of the precious and vivifying Cross and the Holy Gospels and the rest of the sacred institutions, and the offering of wafts of incense and the display of beams of light..."
The editors of The Rudder in "Concerning the Essence of Religious Forms" (an essay included in the text) not only cite the 7th Ecumenical Council, but also take great care to state:
"Even the very sign of the cross, as well as every other sensification of a spiritual action, are mysteries in the Church, because they conceal within them the invisible grace of the Holy Spirit."
- "... Protestantism ... along with [its] abolishment of the religious forms and types, abolishes also the essence of the religion."
- "Illogical thought mistakes religious forms and types [symbols like censers] for religion..."
For the record, the Orthodox Church has never identified any symbols (i.e., sounds, chanting or incense) as the substance of the religion; nor has the Church separated such symbols in the name of the substance or essence of the Orthodox faith. Moreover, the Orthodox Church uses religious types, or symbols such as incense or chanting, to elevate the spirit of man in his natural state to a knowledge and recognition of spirituals.
No true Orthodox theologian would have ever sought to reform Orthodoxy, much less put it into words! Finally, since the article in which these words were cited refers to a "mature church," it is important to note that there is nothing "mature" about a dissident group OUTSIDE the Church that promotes such Protestantism all the while claiming to be Greek, or Orthodox, and how much less, "leaders"!
Written by Eleftheria
For the Eleftheria (Freedom) of Orthodox NOT to conform!
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
June 27, 1999 ]