by Sergei Chapnin | ру́сский
The reform of the judicial system, which practically never acquits and is fully subordinate to law enforcement agencies, has long been discussed in Russia. However, only civil activists are involved in the debates. The government keeps evading any participation in the discussion, and the courts continue arbitrarily to pass unreasonably strict verdicts for both civil activists and businessmen. In mid-September, a number of professional societies called for a review of the decisions concerning the cases of participants in unauthorized demonstrations in Moscow from July 2019. An appeal by Orthodox clergy was among the first, followed by public petitions by teachers, doctors, publishers, and philosophers. However, the clergy’s letter was most unexpected and had an unexpectedly profound resonance in Russian society.
What is the letter about?
On September 17th, a group of Orthodox priests came to the defense of young people who were detained after unauthorized protests in Moscow. The chosen format of the letter—clerical intercession—was unexpected and has never been used in post-Soviet Russia. Continue reading →
by Irina Paert
Opening ceremony of IOTA’s inaugural conference, National Theatre of Iasi, Romania
Just when we all thought that global Orthodoxy was in a state of deep crisis, God had a surprise for us.
Indeed, when four member churches of the Orthodox global family rejected the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew to attend the Holy and Great Council of Crete, which had been in preparation for several decades, and when the saga of Ukrainian autocephaly unfolded before our eyes during the last few months, many felt that the worst stereotypes about Orthodoxy were coming true. And yet, in January 2019 in the Romanian city of Iasi, an impressive gathering of people took place. A mixed crowd of people who gathered for a four-day conference were people who had just the same right to represent the Orthodox Church as those whose names are usually preceded by numerous medieval titles but who need much less maintenance than the former. To be sure, there were all ranks of the Orthodox cosmos, those whose heads were decorated with miters and those whose were not. Yet, here was a gathering of intelligent, interesting, socially and ecclesiastically engaged, passionate, humorous people, some of whom happen to be bishops and priests. Here was IOTA.
When a little over a year ago I was asked to become a co-chair of a IOTA’s Asceticism and Spirituality section, I said yes and then asked, ‘And what is IOTA?’ I was not the only one who asked this question. Continue reading →
by Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian | ελληνικά | ру́сский | српски
The contemporary Pan-Orthodox conciliar process appeared in parallel to the creation in 1920 of the first global, political and multilateral institution, the League of Nations, which later became the United Nations after the Second World War. This correlation is even more apparent when we look at the well-known Encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued in 1920, which clearly established a link between the international response to the tragedy of the Great War and the multilateral engagement of states in preventing future war and called Churches to come together and act as peace builders.
“Wherefore, considering such an endeavor to be both possible and timely especially in view of the hopeful establishment of the League of Nations we venture to express below in brief our thoughts and our opinion regarding the way in which we understand this rapprochement and contact and how we consider it to be realizable; we earnestly ask and invite the judgment and the opinion of the other sister churches in the East and of the venerable Christian churches in the West and everywhere in the world.”
This quote is often used as proof of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s leadership in terms of Ecumenical Dialogue. The creation of the World Council of Churches three years after the United Nations, in 1948, proved it right. Continue Reading…