Tag Archives: Racism

Racism: An Orthodox Perspective

by Aristotle Papanikolaou  |  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский  |  српски

The primary goal of the Orthodox Christian is to struggle toward theosis—deification. The word theosis often conjures up images of a super hero like Thor or a Greek god like Zeus. When St. Athanasius proclaimed that “God became human so that humans can become gods,” he was not envisioning super-human strength, nor was he envisioning a life of moral perfection. To become like God is to love as God loves, which means, as Jesus proclaimed, even the enemy and the stranger. The struggle for theosis is one that entails a learning how to love. It is often so very difficult to love even our parents, siblings, friends—imagine now learning how to love the enemy and the stranger.

This learning how to love ultimately entails seeing all human beings as created in the image of God. This is not as easy as it seems. It’s one thing to declare that all humans are created in the image of God; it’s another thing to form oneself in such a way that such a belief is evident in our thoughts, feelings, actions—our very being toward the other person, especially the one who is different from us. Continue Reading…

Deafening Silence

by Inga Leonova  |  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский

Three years ago, a scandal broke out. An outspoken white supremacist by the name of Matthew Heimbach was received into the Orthodox Church on Lazarus Saturday. A few days later, on Bright Monday, Heimbach and his cohorts from the Traditionalist Youth Network (a white supremacist group affiliating itself with Orthodoxy) beat up a protester at a hate rally with an Orthodox wooden cross.

The story went viral. There were multiple demands on the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America (ACOUSA) to speak out against the white supremacy and the racists’ claim that it is “ontological” to Orthodoxy. Quoting Heimbach,

“As an Orthodox Christian I believe in the separation of races into ethnically based Church’s. That is why even in Orthodoxy there is for instance a Greek, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, etc. Orthodox Church. Regional and racial identity is a fundamental principle of Christianity, must to the dismay of Leftists. I believe black Christians should be in their black Church’s, with black priests, having black kids, going to black Christian schools, etc.”

Instead, the Antiochian Archdiocese quietly dealt with the matter by excommunicating Heimbach and his mentor Matt Parrott (another chrismated Orthodox and leader of the “parent” Traditionalist Workers white supremacist group) and posting a notice on the parish website. No public statement was ever made by the bishops of either the Archdiocese or the Assembly. Continue Reading…

Two Blocks from the Culture War

by William J. Antholis

Photo Credit: Susan Melkisethian

Robert E. Lee’s statue stands on 2nd Street NE in Charlottesville. I live two blocks away—in the same small redbrick Cape Cod where we have lived since 1999. For the last 18 years, this house and the rest of our idyllic downtown have been my retreat—the place to which I have escaped, after one world event or another.

This weekend my retreat became the frontline in America’s culture war. And yesterday’s event was different than any I’ve ever experienced.

Over the past two decades, as a government official or policy analyst, I’ve attended at least a dozen major protests—that is, protests that were so large or significant as to garner national or international media attention. At some, I was a White House official, including two G-7 summits and two climate change negotiations. At others, I was an observer—including the infamous riot-filled 1999 Seattle WTO meeting, several anti-globalization protests, and two major Greek-crisis protests.

I’ve seen the power of protest, and also the chaos that it can unleash. I’ve seen protests move public opinion. I’ve also had my eyes burned out by tear-gas more times than I’d like to count, and watched abuses by protesters and police alike.

Yesterday’s protest was different in two senses. First, the introduction of firearms into peaceful protests. Second, that hatred was the centerpiece of the protest. That toxic brew spilled over. Continue Reading…