Patriarch Kirill: Continued attempts are made to impose on the Church a life according to the rules of this world
In his address to the Russian Orthodox Church Bishops’ Council, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia reminded its members of the principal calling of the Church to be the salt of this world (cf. Mt. 5:13), to bring people into unity with the Lord, to give them the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 38-39). ‘The Lord’s Church lives by sanctity of her Divine Founder who has chosen weak and imperfect people for realizing His visible presence in the world’, the Primate stressed.
His Holiness pointed out that continued attempts are made to impose on the Church a life according to the rules of this world in order to make the institution of the Church an equal opponent and to deal with her on their own field. ‘It grieves me to see how some church servants contribute to it by recklessly offering the sacred things, which the Lord has called us to preserve, for the service of momentary, vain and ultimately perishable things’, His Holiness continued his thought, ‘This also happens when a celebrant of the Sacraments and a preacher of the word of God in a priest yields to an administrator or a media personality claiming the popularity of a public processes moderator. In such a cleric fades the image of priest as a living icon of Christ and witness to a different life arranged according to laws different from the ordinary world. After all, the example of such a priest can make people stop seeing the sacramental nature of the Church, equating her with public organizations’.
His Holiness recalled the words of the Saviour ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’ (Mk. 16:15) as a call to the missionary openness of the Church. But these words do not mean a call to the Church herself to merge with the world to the extent of assimilation of its untruth.
‘The Church’s service in the world is, figuratively speaking, is the service of a leaven that makes sour the whole dough. It is this path that the Church has taken since the apostolic times – the path of moral and sacramental transformation of people, not by way of, for instance, political power. Our service is authentic only when it proclaims the transformation of the world by the power of God, whose magnitude is higher than all our actions. When the Church prays for peace in the world, she brings this prayer to the Heavenly Father with confidence, with profound awareness that God alone can give salvation to the world’, His Holiness stressed.
He believes that authentic Christian public service is possible only there where the special identity of the Christian and Christian assembly is confessed, where the God’s gift of sanctity is revered, where Christian life shines with its center in the Eucharistic prayer as an experience of the real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savoir of the world.
The world of people long for unity and always seeks unity, Patriarch Kirill stated. The forms of organized human common life has changed many times in history, going through various stages beginning from the primitive mode of life in antiquity to the rainbow of national states and multinational empires. ‘Today even these ways of organizing societies, to which we are accustomed, are being exhausted with crisis raging everywhere’, His Holiness noted, ‘The borders between people have come to lie where nobody expected them to lie nor could even suspect, while the former borders between peoples and states are becoming transparent. Actualizing themselves are centers of power headed by little known people elected by no one, while the might of some corporations already today exceeds the power and resources of some states’.
The unity that is revealed by the Church lies beyond transient barriers and divisions, Patriarch Kirill said. ‘This unity is eternal and timeless, unperishable, always actual and never obsolete – the unity that God-Man Jesus Christ prayed for to His Heavenly Father. In the light of this, in the public service of an hierarch all that can become an obstacle for particular people on their way to faith in the One Church inevitably moves back to the background, namely, the personal interests of a bishop, his private opinions and preferences…The episcopal ministry is a visible means of realizing the church unity. It is only a united community headed by a bishop, not divided and isolated groups, that is a real Church’.
The Bishops’ Council information service
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