Orthodox right-glorification

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Orthodoxy means right-glorification and Saint Silouan said Orthodoxy is lived as love of enemies.  The Apostle Paul bore witness that love’s glory is uncreated grace which wisdom discerns as the glory of the age to come.  In Christ, glory is breaking in by grace but Orthodox sinners are painfully aware of falling short of glory, which the Apostle called vainglory.  They confess this short-fall from glory and through Christ are restored to grace.  So true Orthodox are constantly aware of falling short of real Orthodoxy, which is glorification, the experience of the glory of divine grace.  They are constantly reminded that Holy Orthodoxy lies in God the Holy Trinity not in themselves or their own performance.  Grace is poured out by the Father, through Christ in the Spirit rather than being the self-interested product of our own vain-glorious efforts.   Wisdom is Orthodox because she discerns where the glory of grace really lies, but the Orthodox do not presume to usurp wisdom because they know that only the pure in heart see God.  Saint Silouan the Athonite taught that humility is crucial if falls into pride are to be cured.  They are healed through Christ by grace, whose glory wisdom discerns.  Saint Silouan kept his mind in hell without despair to sustain humility, knowing that grace inspires love of enemies and prayer for all as for oneself.

Orthodoxy in the diaspora is humbled by the fact that it knows that division into many rival ethnic jurisdictions is not Orthodox.  Although very understandable, due to the traumas of exile, divisions due to ethnic tribalism and ethnocentric nationalism are not canonical.  The Orthodox canons point to One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in each region and a Pan-Orthodox Council in Constantinople in 1872 called ethnic division a heresy, ethnophyletism or nationalistic tribalism.  But when in 1922 the Orthodox Church of America was formed, it was widely rejected by national jurisdictions and so was treated as just another ethnic jurisdiction.  The Orthodox Holy Great Council held in Crete in 2016 began to address the problems of Orthodoxy in the diaspora but was not able to begin to cure the heresy of ethnophyletism.  It spoke instead of how assemblies of canonical bishops in each region might begin to co-operate.  Consequently, Orthodox Christians in the diaspora remain painfully aware that the traumas of exile have left an open wound which the first gathering of a Holy Great Council has not yet begun to heal, but future gatherings might gradually address.  

Saint Silouan’s Orthodoxy, love of enemies, offers the Orthodox diaspora a profound and healing balm.  Unselfish love is therapeutic in the saints and elders bear witness to its glory in the experience of glorification.  Vain glory falls short of glory but we are aware that real Orthodoxy, discerned by wisdom, calls us out from shallow vanity into God’s coming Kingdom of glory.  The elder Sophrony bequeathed the Holy Name I AM to all, the Name which awakens hearts to glory, love of enemies and prayer for all. This therapeutic legacy addresses Orthodox divisions in the diaspora, not with clever theories or managerial techniques, but with the uncreated cross, love that seeks not its own.  It is Orthodox Hesychast wisdom transmitted by elders to saints in every generation.  It is the apostolic prophecy of unselfish love, alight in the writings of Saint Silouan.  It is apostolic because it sends Orthodoxy out of all narrow ethnic confinement to call home the lost, that is, all who suffer confusion and division, so as to bring them home into wisdom’s fold of unselfish love.  It is prophetic because it awakens hearts to love’s glory in the midst.  It is therapeutic because it applies Christ’s saving wisdom to our unhealed wounds.  Only wise, hallowing love can pass through the needle’s eye, and heal the brokenness of our shattered lives, gathering not scattering the faithful with the Logos of unselfish love.