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Monday, February 21, 2011

American Thinker: Russian Orthodox Leader Stands for Principle

The "great man" theory of history -- that strong, unique, and highly influential individuals shape history (for good or ill) through their commanding personal characteristics that imbue them with power and influence over a specific period of time or during certain circumstances -- may not be as widely accepted today among professional historians as in the past, but for many of us there is no denying what our own experience shows us: An individual's influence can have dramatic impact in specific situations or historic eras.

One contemporary leader who has that potential is Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Moscow, who serves the Patriarch of Moscow as chairman of External Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church. His education and training has prepared him for profound impact on the church and culture; Metropolitan Hilarion is the author of more than 300 publications, including numerous books in Russian, English, French, Italian, German, and Finnish. In addition to a doctoral degree in philosophy from Oxford, he also holds a doctorate in theology from St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris.

His experience, too, has prepared him for a significant role, not only in his own church but throughout Europe and the United States as well. It was a moment of high drama three years ago this month when then-Bishop Hilarion burst into the consciousness of many American Christians. Thanks mainly to a report from the Institute on Religion and Democracy (the IRD), we know about the bold statement he made at a meeting of the liberal World Council of Churches (WCC) in which he challenged the WCC on the most important moral issues of our day, particularly abortion and modern attempts to redefine marriage. According to the IRD, he asked: "When are we going to stop making Christianity politically correct and all-inclusive?" ... "Why do we insist on accommodating every possible alternative to the centuries-old Christian tradition? Where is the limit, or is there no limit at all?" And this: "Many Christians worldwide look to Christian leaders in the hope that they will defend Christianity against the challenges that it faces. ... Our holy mission is to preach what Christ preached, to teach what the apostles taught, and to propagate what the holy Fathers propagated."

The IRD's observer summarized it perfectly: One could almost imagine a "Preach it, brother!" ringing out from the evangelical amen corner.
Read the rest here.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those who remember his behaviour in the Diocese of Sourozh in England in 2002, will certainly not agree with your assessment of + Hilarion's "potential".

Anonymous said...

Abortion and marriage the greatest
moral problms of the age?

Not the massive poverty and income inequality prevalent in so much of the world?

Why? Perhaps there's some hands out for a "small sum" in order to keep quiet?

Ingemar said...

Anon @ 8:21

Yes, abortion is one of the greatest moral problems of the age. Abortion is the conscious murder of innocent persons. Without their consent, of course.

Differences in wealth among groups can have different causes; say, fiscal responsibility of one group vs. another, prodigal habits of one group vs. another, corrupt banks making the taxpayers pay for their own foolish investments, etc. etc.

Whereas with abortion it is always the mother's (or parent's) choice to kill the child. Not much room for interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Oh bull.

Abortion has been around for millenia, ever since women figured out what pregnancy was about. It has never been taken lightly but has always been seen as a tragic painful act, often not really wanted by anyone.

On the other hand, starving thousands, millions of people for the sake of profit...why, that's acceptable since those affected aren't innocents, right?

David said...

Abortion isn't taken lightly, you must be a medicinal cannibis use. I came from a middle class home with middle class friends (many from church going homes) and there were girls who had several abortions by the age of 18. I think for them it was a matter of wanting to what felt good without having to become a welfare queen. Most of the children I saw being born were to girls who didn't want to work or were hoping it would force the guy on the football team to forever be part of her life. You sound like someone living in a bygone era out of touch with the reality of today. The simple principle of the carrying capacity within a biome says there should be way more people starving and dying. It is only technology and charity that allows us not to have mass human die offs. We live artificially and yes we could do better as a world charitably that is until resources run out. There is no ideological utopia, regardless of our secular politics we have a duty to mitigate suffering where we can, end murder where we can, right wrongsvwhere we can. Knowing of course we will never reach God's standard of perfection. It has always bugged me that my WASP friends are so pro-life up until the child is born and then they don't anything to do with that child.

William Tighe said...

As to what happened in the Diocese of Surozh, can we really forget that easily the disorder into which it had come under the late Matropolitan Anthony -- a man who, however great his charisma and spiritual gifts, openly supported WO -- which it was only natural that the Moscow Patriarchate wished to set right; and can we forget as well what followed, the pretended "laicization" of Bishop Basil by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and giving him permission to marry?

In retrospect, it seems that Matropolitan Hilarion was the man for the job, in the light of what f9ollowed from his rejection.

M. Jordan Lichens said...

Anon,
If you want to pat yourself on the back for having the courage to stand up for the poor and downtrodden, how about signing your name?

Really John, what's with the anonymous poster trolls as of late?

Anonymous said...

Different anon here - but the Christian injunction to aid the poor is hardly trolling. This need not - no, cannot - be either/or.

Ben said...

It's really a silly argumment really. I mean come on. Do you have any clue how much the Church actually does to help women who have chosen to keep their babies? There are many thousands of Christian locations where women can get help once their baby is born, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The Catholic Church in particular is very good about doing this. My church, the Orthodox Church, though we could do better, does try to live what we preach with what little means we may have. In the area there is an organization called Zoe for Life which specializes in helping those women who do not have any support.

I just don't see how it is either abortion or poverty. We shouldn't support either. Try to help where we can, but that doesn't mean that we have a right to deny our faith in the name of misplaced compassion. Yes we can have compassion, but that doesn't mean we should not also support this horrendous practice to be made illegal.

M. Jordan Lichens said...

Making ad hominum attach behind the cowardly mask of anonymity is trolling, no matter how good the intention is. Also I have little patience for people who try to insult someone else's good work by telling them what they're not doing. It's similar to when I was working at a homeless youth shelter and several folks said I wasn't doing enough because I refused to get involved in politics, ergo I didn't care for people. QED

I'm not saying there's not substance behind the argument, and I actually think there is a good argument to be made. To say that the various conservative movements undermine their own arguments with their actions is like saying Chicago politics is corrupt. Quite true and almost universally acknowledged, but what's the bloody point if it's just a rhetorical weapon? However, such arguments are also a casuistic means for the lazy to mitigate their feelings of guilt by tearing down people who are actually trying. Then to project that rather negative attitude by ripping people apart in a public forum and even lacking the good will or common courage to sign your name is what finally gets me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (#'s 1,2 & 4 above) ...perhaps I should call you Barbara Marie (no?)... Abortion could possibly be the most crucial moral issue of any age. How a society treats its most innocent and vulnerable speaks volumes. How can any of us expect justice in our culture when the purest child is so brutally cast away as a matter of personal inconvenience?

T. Dageforde

Anonymous said...

The same child dying if systematic starvation reveals a superior moral order?

I also fail to see why/how posting under some assumed name is superior to honest anonymity. But I guess my moral compass is just broken.

M

M. Jordan Lichens said...

Here's the thing, anonymous, I don't actually think you give a damn about the poor. I think you hide behind that in order to condemn anyone who you disagree with by pointing out that they happen not to be doing the work you find important. Then, when you decide to make these attacks without revealing some identifier it shows that you don't wish to be held accountable for your comments or at least engage in honest debate. In order to have an honest debate, we need to have some way of identifying each other and some means of addressing each argument specifically.

When one posts ad hominum attacks that they even refuse to sign their name to it demonstrates an unwillingness to actually engage and debate and the author is merely trolling. If you care so much about the poor and think that people who are doing other things are so demonstrably evil, at least have courage to stand by your statement and be open to disagreement and debate.