The Rue Daru crisis: what lessons can be learnt?

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The Rue Daru crisis: what lessons can be learnt?

Message par irene2701 le Mar 1 Déc - 15:56

The Rue Daru crisis: what lessons can be learnt?
1 December 2015

Following the announcement that Archbishop Job of Telmessos will be relieved of his responsibilities as head of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, many will be breathing a sigh of relief. We are thankful this has happened, but the dismissal, announced by the Holy Synod on 28 November, is only a beginning of what we hope will be a healing process.

The Archdiocese has huge problems, so was never going to be an easy assignment. The financial situation is complicated, to say the least; the Institute of Saint Sergius, which closed its doors a few months ago, is in urgent need of physical repair, and measures need to be taken to stem the rot of demoralisation. It will be a remarkable person who can reconcile the disparate elements in the Archdiocese: among others, these consist of new Russian immigrants, French people of Russian descent, and converts of Western European origin together with their children.  

What should be done to safeguard the Archdiocese and what it stands for? Before discussing this, it is worth mentioning what has been achieved so far. The opposition to the leadership style of Monsignor Job, expressed in attempts at dialogue, in assemblies and in orderly demonstrations, was respectful (for the most part) and peaceful. On many internet forums and websites, people are asking the question: where are we going and what sort of a church do we want? Who are we and what do we stand for? This period of oppression may therefore have paradoxically done some good, awaking in people a sense of fraternity and solidarity which is consistent with the command of Christ to “love one another”. We must pray that this watchfulness will continue.  

The internet has changed the way people regard the leadership of the Church. News, not all of it good, gets spread about more quickly. There is great disaffection with the current leadership, expressed in various ways ranging from criticism to diatribes, caricatures, cartoons and songs, and recent events have shown how easily pastoral vocations can be distorted by ambition, lust for power and nationalist/ethnic sentiment. The old deference is on the wane: more and more faithful, especially in Western Europe, expect those charged with their pastoral care to be able to account for their decisions, are less willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

If we can learn to love the sinner while denouncing the sin, all to the good. The danger is that recent events have sown so much distrust among the faithful that they will leave the Church or become cynical. Clearly, the Church has been diminished, and remains so, as a result of certain recent events, including the suspension of priests. In short, several fences must be mended before the Church can even begin to restore its reputation and be a credible witness.          

It is generally recognised that Archbishop Job of Telmessos was imposed on an unwilling Archdiocese. The voters were browbeaten into accepting a list of three candidates, Job himself and two unknown candidates who never would have had a chance. There is a now a general feeling of regret that this was allowed to happen, and it is unlikely that such a ploy would ever work again, if attempted.

From this observation flows another: we must be quite clear about what sort of faith, what sort of Orthodoxy we stand for, and we must proclaim it loud and clear. The Archdiocese was home to Orthodox theologians and intellectuals who remained rooted in Holy Tradition while trying to engage with the modern world. This freedom of thought and expression was not to everyone’s liking, as is shown by an auto da fé that took place in Ekaterinburg in 1998, when books by Nikolai Afanasiev, Alexander Men, John Meyendorff and Alexander Schmemann were burnt publicly. In several places in the world, the Orthodox faith remains bogged down in fundamentalism, the idolization of a (false) Tradition and ethnic/nationalist phyletism. It is the task of Western Orthodox to bear witness to a more supple, more generous Orthodoxy, local but not national or nationalist, at ease with democratic pluralism and human rights, and sceptical of all theocracies, including Christian ones.

In doing so, we will meet powerful opposition. The Archdiocese does not lack for enemies who covet its patrimony, its intellectual heritage, as well as those who denounce its “liberalism” and make out that it is full of heretics and Freemasons. A Church grouping where decisions are taken locally – a limited democracy, if you like – is clearly a reproach to those jurisdictions, including Moscow and Constantinople, which never implemented the Council of Moscow and have no intention of doing so. One suspects that, in preparation for the next Great Council, the Church is being reconfigured in accordance with its most conservative, authoritarian denominators, in order to create a show of unity. We must do all in our power to prevent this from happening.  

So what, finally, can we do? We must become ourselves, try not to be angry, but remain firmly committed to denouncing sins committed against our fellow Orthodox. Where the hierarchy fails, we still have each other. Each time the Church relapses into legalism, clericalism and Phariseeism, we can dare to harbour within ourselves, and in our midst, the vision of a new kind of Church, a new way of deciding things together, a new way of wielding power and discharging responsibility, all under the aegis of a commandment that was new when it was uttered and remains so: “Love one another as I have loved you”.

irene2701

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Date d'inscription : 18/10/2015

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Re: The Rue Daru crisis: what lessons can be learnt?

Message par irene2701 le Mar 1 Déc - 15:57

Tiré du Blog de James Chater.

Merci James

irene2701

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Date d'inscription : 18/10/2015

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