In calling the Church ‘catholic,’ Orthodox Christians confess belief in a Church for all ages, nations, and races.Read the rest here.
The Catholic Church is whole, complete, and lacking nothing—for this is what ‘catholic’ truly means. It is a calling for all, and Christ our God is sacrificed ‘on behalf of all, and for all.’
There is often confusion—especially for those either outside or unfamiliar with the Orthodox Church—in viewing our local, autonomous churches as ‘ethnic’ churches. Nevertheless, such a perspective was condemned as heresy (termed ‘ethno-phyletism’) by an ecumenical council in Constantinople (August 10, 1872).1 In that context, the concern was the uncanonical creation of an ethnic church for Bulgarians—a church sharing essentially the same ‘space’ as the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Both the fall of monarchy and the wiles of the Enlightenment led even Orthodox Christians into the arms of the nineteenth century’s pseudo-replacement for imperial veneration and identity in Christian faith: nationalism. Logical ends of nationalism were, of course, both racism and Hitler’s Third Reich. To be clear, a pride in one’s cultural or religious heritage is not necessarily a problem, but pride based solely on the superiority of one’s race over others is far removed from the Orthodox faith.