by Davor Džalto
How can one be a Christian, meaning a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and, at the same time, a loyal citizen of “earthly kingdoms” (states)? Would this not be a divided loyalty, a submission to two incompatible logics of life, since “no one can serve two masters.” (Mt 6:24)
These questions, and the general problem of how to articulate the relationship between Christianity and the socio-political sphere, go back to the earliest periods of Christianity, and continue to be relevant today.
Historically, there were various attempts to articulate an approach that would bridge the apparent gap between the Christian proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the political reality of “this world.” Bridging this gap meant, more often than not, giving the political sphere a religious meaning, and thereby providing a religious justification for the exercise of state power. Continue Reading…
by Davor Džalto, Effie Fokas, Brandon Gallaher, Perry Hamalis, Aristotle Papanikolaou, and Gregory Tucker
“The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World” offers a clear reaffirmation of the “dignity and majesty of the human person” (1.1) in Christian doctrine. Moreover, the exalted status of the human person is here grounded in its ultimate vocation to deification. While the human being is brought to perfection beyond this life in God, sanctification begins now, in this world, in relation to others. To this end, the Church recognizes that she must speak with her “prophetic and pastoral voice” and act in the contemporary world to foster that “peace, justice, freedom, fraternity, and love” which characterizes the Kingdom of God.
In order to do full justice to the profound witness to the Gospel offered by this document, further serious reflection and dialogue is required on some of its key ideas. For, while this text contains moments of deep insight into the condition of the contemporary world, it also shows the effects of a long period in which the Church has failed to practice her synodality and lost the art of addressing the most important issues of the day with reason and clarity. Continue Reading…