Orthodox Christian tradition is not defined by its ethnocentric politics nor by the reactionary fundamentalism that narrows its conventional shallows into sectarian nationalisms. True Orthodoxy is right-glorification of God the Father, by God the Son, in God the Holy Spirit, glorification which glorifies the saints who awaken to wisdom’s vision of glory in the Kingdom of God. Ethnocentrism is not definitive in Orthodoxy because the Holy Trinity stands steadfast in wisdom, wisdom that beholds the triune glory of God’s age to come. The power politics is not decisive in Orthodoxy because wisdom loves God’s glory in the hallowed Name, not the vain glory that usurps it when confusion insinuates itself in the midst, nor the shallow kenodoxy that subverts Orthodoxy when satanic division reigns instead of God. Christian Orthodoxy is not parochial fundamentalism, which narrows its integral wisdom to the shallow conventions of its controlled exclusions, separating ‘them’ from ‘us.’ It is the radiance of wisdom beholding light of glory in the unveiled face of Christ, radiance which the Holy Spirit opens in elders and saints like Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who shared his vision of uncreated light with all. This wisdom was handed down by prophets to apostles, who imparted the light of radiant glory to awakened elders, who transmitted it to the saints. Sometimes, the living tradition of authentic Orthodoxy was constricted by the restraints of power politics, almost stifled perhaps, but never totally destroyed. It stands steadfast in the midst where God remains God in God, Holy Trinity untouched by degeneration and so able to regenerate the tradition through elders who share it with the saints in every generation.
There are many conventional reasons why Christian Orthodoxy attracts adherents to its Holy Tradition, but none of them stand steadfast with wisdom when the fires of trial put them to the test. Wisdom preaches the Cross of Christ crucified for God’s Name’s sake, the Name ‘I AM,’ which Jesus shared with his disciples in seven ‘I AM’ sayings without predicates like, ‘Before Abraham was, ‘I AM,’ (John 8:58) and seven with predicates like, ‘I AM the way, the truth and the life.’ (John 14:6). Holy martyrs bore witness to the glory of the Name when they were persecuted by orthodox onomoclasts for God’s Name’s sake, when they too were crucified by those whose ‘orthodoxy’ excluded the mysteries of glory and the Name. The history of these countless stories of martyrdom was always treasured even in circles responsible for the persecution of the saints, interweaving the destinies of persecutor and persecuted in the unbroken tradition of wisdom and glory in the Church. The persecuted prayed for their persecutors with prayers that are always heard and answered, ensuring that all are included and embraced by Christ, inspiring love of the saving Name. The ‘I AM’ of Christ is one, so the fundamentalist exclusions never have the last word. The Spirit of Truth bears witness through the prophets to the Name that Christ gave to his apostles, ensuring that the persecutors were not excluded by the spirit of their own exclusions. The persecuted saints gave birth, in each generation, to wise elders, who presented their forgiven persecutors to the Father as their doxological offering of costly love. The story of the forgiven enemy lies at the heart of the Cross, ensuring that martyrdom continues to witness to glory, glory loved by integral wisdom.
Integral Orthodox wisdom always steps back from the fray of nationalist politics, together with the many martyrdoms this politics engenders. It beholds the glory of persecuted saints with wisdom that restores persecutors within the glory of costly forgiveness. Its love of enemies is woven into the way the sacred history of the saints is told and retold, excluding no-one from love’s glory. The mechanisms of enmity are undone here where wisdom unites with glory in the hallowed Name. When God’s ‘I’ awareness unites with God’s ‘AM’ presence as wisdom restored to glory, the Father is glorified by the Son’s loving embrace of his enemies, an embrace which the Father glorifies in the Son, an integral wisdom embrace which the Spirit witnesses in the union of the Father and the Son. This integral Orthodox Christian wisdom defines true Orthodoxy beyond all narrow definition, opening to the mysteries of the Name without predicates within the veiled mysteries of the Name with predicates.
Martyrdom for the sake of the Name is the unveiled heart of all the saints, whose lives are hid with Christ in death that undoes death. Elders transmit the wisdom of glory’s love of enemies, not their own opinions, still less the shallow ideologies of nationalism. This keeps Holy Orthodoxy truly orthodox, always free to transcend Name-hating onomoclasm, sophiaclast dogmatism, together with the more questionable speculations of sophiology or the shallow conventions of orthodox ethnocentrism. Orthodoxy lives from Christ’s glorification of the Father’s Name and the Spirit’s glorification of Christ in God’s Name above all names. The Spirit proceeds from the Father to restore all creation, in Jesus’s Name, to the Father. Orthodox Christian wisdom is integral because it hallows the Name of God in all, excluding no-one, opening the Name of God to all, so God’s Kingdom comes in all and his will is done by all. Wisdom is the living heart of Holy Orthodoxy and glorification is its fruit, fruit that keeps Holy Orthodoxy truly Orthodox, when elders in the Spirit transmit the deifying glory of God’s Name to the saints.