Tag Archives: Nicolas Kazarian

An Orthodox Ethos of Solidarity Against COVID-19

by Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian

In the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it is often hard or even impossible to think about what comes next, after the crisis ends. What will our life after lockdown look like? What will happen to our personal dynamics after social distancing? And what about our spiritual life after not going to Church for what feels like an eternity? All these questions, and many more, are legitimate. Every crisis gives rise to a judgment. In a way, that is the role that crises play in history, sorting out the chaff from the wheat as we start to make sense of a tragedy and discern the opportunity to live up to the radicality of the Gospel.

Within the Orthodox Church, we have seen a wide range of answers and solutions, but also an increasing polarization of the members of Christ’s body, with virulent arguments raging about questions that touch the essence of our faith, particularly whether, since the Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Christ, we can get sick by receiving Holy Communion. But I am afraid that by engaging in these debates, we are missing what is really at stake here. We find ourselves paralyzed by these arguments at a time when we need to rediscover the virtue of being and becoming more apostolic. In other words, we are at risk of trying to save the Church and Christianity rather than seeking our salvation in them. In this sense, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had one of the best insights into the challenges we face in a recent message when he said: “However, that which is at stake is not our faith—it is the faithful. It is not Christ—it is our Christians. It is not the divine-man—but human beings.” In this time of crisis, we need to be less argumentative and defensive and more apostolic: our true priority is our neighbor.

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The Crisis of Orthodox Multilateralism

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…

The First Test for Orthodox Unity after the Holy and Great Council: The Chieti Document

by Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian

September 2016, Chieti, Italy. The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, established in 1979, gathered once again. But this meeting was crucial in many ways, and not only for Orthodox-Catholic relations. It was also the first test at a global level for inter-Orthodox unity on a topic that is far from consensual among the Orthodox Churches, namely ecumenism. Continue Reading…

Orthodox Reformation

by Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian

As the Orthodox Church prepares to convene its Holy and Great Council, the Protestant world is getting ready to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will be celebrated next year. While at first glance these two events seem to have nothing in common, they are linked by a common desire to bear witness to the authenticity of the Christian faith by translating the experience of the early years of Christianity into today’s world. This issue is central for the Pan-Orthodox Council, and in addition to raising the question of Orthodoxy’s relationship to Protestantism, it asks the Orthodox Church to define its path towards reform and renewal while safeguarding the unity of the Church in time and space. Continue Reading…