His All Holiness, Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW

by Andrea Elizabeth

Two well-known blogs both have recent posts about the above mentioned: Orthodixie and The Ochlophobist. I am very interested in these discussions because of recent developments between me and my previous circle of influence before my conversion to the Orthodox faith.

It has been said that the Church is in martyr mode since the rest of the world is pretty hostile to our beliefs, be they Muslim, Catholic, Protestant or Atheist. I’m sure that these groups think we are hostile to theirs. Probably, but I think ours is more of a defensive posture. The Orthodox I feel the most kindred to take a hard, protective line against compromise and for necessary conversion. But I guess I also want people to get along, I appreciate qualities in other people, and I want to know where the boundaries are as far as engaging them.

I have no problem with the Church’s stand against open Communion, but it’s hard to know how to talk about God to people of other faiths. Some Orthodox go so far as to say it’s not the same God, and others say He is, but that the understanding isn’t complete enough (I tend to fit in here), and I guess some people don’t have any problem with differing understandings in their relations with non-Orthodox. I found this when trying to recall what I’d heard about St. John Maximovich receiving all (I guess in private dealings), no matter what their faith.

Nevertheless, the Orthodox Church does not forbid prayer for those who are outside communion with Her. By the prayers of the holy, righteous John of Kronstadt and the blessed Archbishop John (Maximovich), both Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Muslims, and even pagans received healing. But, in acting in accordance with their faith and request, these and our other righteous ones taught them at the same time that the saving Truth is only in Orthodoxy. Source