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Orthodoxy and Ecumenism

Towards an Active <i>Metanoia<i>

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Razvan Porumb

This book explores the relationship between the Orthodox tradition and the ecumenical practice of engagement with other Christian traditions. This relationship has for a long time been compromised by an underlying tension, as the Orthodox have chosen to participate in ecumenical encounters while – often at the same time – denouncing the ecumenical movement as deficient and illegitimate. The author perceives this relationship to be even more inconsistent since the core of Orthodoxy as professed by the Orthodox is precisely that of re-establishing the unity and catholicity of the Church of Christ. This vision informs Orthodox identity as essentially a Church of exploration, of engagement and dialogue, a Church committed to drive all other traditions, but also itself back to the «right» primordial faith. The book exposes the risk of Orthodox theology turning into an oppositional picture of Orthodoxy as necessarily opposed to a heterodox antipode, rather than being the continuous dynamic reality of the living Church of Christ. The author proposes the rediscovery of a set of paradigms in an ethos of humble, active metanoia that would enable a more plenary ecumenical operation for the Orthodox as well as a renewed awareness of their own spirituality.
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Chapter 2 A fresh theological vision of ecumenism

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CHAPTER 2

A fresh theological vision of ecumenism

In the first chapter of this book we explored the meaning of Orthodoxy beyond the accepted image of the Orthodox Church as the one true Church of the apostolic times, and we discovered a vision of Orthodoxy that is not merely a set of inherited doctrines, but rather the way of life in Christ and the fullness of truth which inexorably seeks to make itself known to the world. The Orthodox have kept alive a spirit of dynamism and action, a vision of Tradition as a dynamic process of continuity and renewal in the Holy Spirit.

This second chapter will tackle the modern-history phenomenon of the ecumenical movement with a view to exploring its origins, course and inner dynamics, thus enabling a parallel examination of Orthodoxy and ecumenism, and, it is hoped, a better understanding of the tension between the two realities. The theological interaction between Orthodoxy and ecumenism will be the central focus of the third chapter of this study.

The syntagm ‘modern ecumenical movement’ will be used throughout this chapter to differentiate from the more general understanding of ecumenism as a continuous aspiration and activity of the Church, its origins going back to the time of Christ, the Apostles and the early Church. Although this study will refer back to the core of the Christian faith in its biblical expression and through the understanding of the tradition of the...

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