The use of the word “ecumenical” with reference to the Church has been twisted to mean something entirely different than it has meant historically. The word itself literally means “universal,” but in the context of the Church it was used to refer to universal councils of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. These councils were not convened in order for Orthodox bishops to hobnob with heretics, or to sweep their differences under the rug. Quite the contrary, these councils were convened in order to drive heresies and unrepentant heretics out of the Church.
Holy Scripture says that you will know a tree by its fruit. What kind of tree will the world, non-Orthodox Christians, identify us as? In other words, will we be known as Orthodox Christians? First, we may want to ask: what makes someone a Christian? Does being baptized make one an Orthodox Christian? Well, our baptism brings us into the family and unites us to the body of Christ. It is the marriage ceremony whereby we become joined to the Church; however, like a marriage, if one does not work every day to love the one they married more and more, then that union falls apart. If one is baptized, but does not practice their faith, then there is no real marriage. It would be akin to legally marrying someone, and then never seeing them again. Would one really still be married? Recall brothers and sisters, Christ says if you love me, you will keep my commandments. So again, what makes us a Christian? To be a Christian is to love Christ, but to love Christ is to keep His commandments. Therefore, we must ask: do we really keep, or attempt to keep, Christ’s commandments? Do we follow Christ’s Church, who the Apostle says is the pillar and ground of Truth?
Renovationists are people who see that the Church is out of sync with the modern world, and rather than conclude that the world needs to repent and come into line with the teachings of the Church, instead assume that the Church is what needs to be fixed. To them, the solution to this problem is to make the Church more like the world, rather than to make the world more like the Church.
The fact that today we have people openly promoting the LGBTQP agenda in the Orthodox Church is something that was unthinkable less than a dozen years ago. But here we are. They are vocal minority to be sure, but like most leftists, they try to convince people that their opponents are the minority, and they are only motivated by hate.
In recent years, there are lines of division that not only show the signs of an emerging schism in the Orthodox Church — it is becoming increasingly clear that we are witnessing the birth of a new religion, which will only retain some of the outward trappings of the Orthodox Christian Faith, but in fact is increasingly becoming unrecognizable as Christian. We see this when it comes to how the innovators see the sanctity of life, sexuality, human nature, the Church, and Tradition.
A way to understand carrying the Cross is ‘maturity.’ When we are young, existence throws many burdens on our shoulders: our minds, our bodies, our families, our societies, etc. The world is mystifying and hard, yet as we get older we look back at the ‘stress’ of youth and laugh. Why? It is because we see the pettiness of youthful worries, and realize that there were much bigger causes for concern that we were blissfully unaware of.
Like many in the Church, I was dismayed to receive news of the latest gaffe from the “Ecumenical Patriarchate,” this time in the form of titular Archbishop Elpidophoros’ widely-publicized Baptism of children of an unrepentant American ‘gay couple’ carried out by deceiving a brother Greek hierarch. Given the Archbishop’s recent ambiguous remarks about abortion in the US and some of his chosen political associations, I cannot say that this is all that surprising.
A special July 4th message from Father Hans about the USA and it’s critics on the left and the right.
Fr. Hans Jacobse has been a priest in the Orthodox Church for over thirty years. He is a senior contributor and a spiritual advisor to Patristic Faith’s team. He has a BA in History from the University of Minnesota, studied the Greek Language from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece where he lived for a year and started and English language school, a sought-after speaker, and contributed numerous articles to various venues on religion and culture.
In the last couple days, a picture from a museum in Montana has made the rounds and a lot of Liberal “Orthodox” have attacked Fr. Tryphon for being in this picture. I share my thoughts on it in this video.
I accepted the invitation to speak with you today only with great trepidation. This was for at least three reasons. The first is that, both for self-protection in an increasingly unfree country and my growing sense that nothing I or anyone else can say will make much difference in averting the horrors I believe are coming our way, I had ceased my public writing and speaking life, such as it was. I reluctantly have made an exception to that less than momentous recusal but plan to resume it at the end of today.