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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 5 A new Orthodox paradigm for approaching ecumenism

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CHAPTER 5

A new Orthodox paradigm for approaching ecumenism

From what has been gathered so far, it may be said that the Orthodox are particularly susceptible to a reserved conservatism with regards to ecumenism, a stance which denies that the separation between large communities of Christians ever took place. The view is instead that the Orthodox were left by these groups which are essentially schismatic and heretical in nature. It also emphasizes that everything, including the original unity, has been preserved in the Orthodox Church. Since unity in Christ is unalterable, the responsibility and task of actively seeking reconciliation lies squarely with the non-Orthodox. A summary of the starting premises of this approach would include:

• The unity of the Church means a return to the original one catholic and apostolic Church.

• That ancient one catholic Church is the Orthodox Church.

• People who are no longer in the Orthodox Church have left that unity and the plenitude of truth, thus condemning themselves to be outside the Church and becoming forever responsible for their action.

• Orthodoxy as fullness of the Truth of Christ is to be found in the Orthodox Church, which has preserved and safeguarded the Right Faith since apostolic times.

• Ecumenism as a return to the original unaltered Truth of the original one Church, can only mean a return to the Orthodox Church.

• (Therefore) An active engagement on the part of...

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