Holy Orthodoxy

      No Comments on Holy Orthodoxy

Holy Orthodoxy has its strong ethnic dimensions but at heart it is the right-glorification of the Father by the Son, the Orthodox glorification of the Son by the Father and the Orthodox glorification of the Father by the Spirit in union with the Son.  What is decisive, therefore, is not ethnic acculturation but the hallowing glorification of the Father by the Son and the Holy Spirit bearing witness, in the heart, to the mysteries of the union of the Father and the Son, which are the mysteries of grace revealed in Holy Trinity.  Love of Holy Orthodoxy is love of the wisdom and glory of the Holy Name, love of the revelation of the Name in the hearts of the apostles, love of the glorification of the Name in the hearts of the saints.  The oneness of Holy Orthodoxy is the oneness of God in the hearts of the Orthodox, the communion of those who partake in hallowing communion, empowered by the Eucharist.  The oneness that is lived as communion is the oneness of God in the hearts of all who awaken to God in his Name (John 17:11).  

Hesychast elders do not claim to hand on anything other than the mysteries of Holy Orthodoxy, which are the mysteries of turning transmitted by Baptism, the mysteries of seeing transmitted by Chrismation and the mysteries of union transmitted by the Eucharist.  The saints bear witness to purification through turning, illumination through seeing and deification through union and communion.  Ethnic monasteries graft all this into a given ethnic culture, but their ethnic dimensions do not define their Orthodoxy, despite many apparent indications to the contrary.  Indeed, the failure to acknowledge this is called the heresy of philetism, ethnic tribalism.   Holy Orthodoxy is the uncreated mystery of Holy Trinity transmitting the divine-humanity of Christ, not a nationalistic manifestation of Christendom, which was once, undoubtedly, a widespread social phenomenon and a valuable cultural enrichment, but was never theologically definitive.

Holy Orthodoxy is uncreated glory at work in deification, deifying glory in action as purification, uncreated illumination in action as glorification.  Love of Holy Orthodoxy is love of wisdom’s revelation of glory unveiled in the Holy Name.  It manifests in a variety of ethnic cultural contexts but they are all fundamentally an acculturation of God’s self-revelation in his Name.  The Spirit of truth hallows nations, peoples, languages and ethnic groups in different ways but they all bear witness to what transcends ethnic cohesion.  Holy Orthodoxy is loved for its great ethnic diversity but primarily for its hallowing beauty, which wins hearts when it communicates paradise on earth.  Holy wisdom is the beauty of holiness dazzling hearts with wondrous radiance.  This is what turns hearts, illumines minds and hallows saints in every generation.  When geo-political conflict tears communities apart, dragging episcopal hierarchies into complexity and confusion, the beauty of wisdom’s embrace of glory firmly reminds the faithful that what defines them is not their ethnic divisions but Holy Orthodoxy.