Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Christian – No Christian

Many ask whether it is a requirement to go to Church, to be with other Christians while praying. Despite being able to pray at home, it is evident that through our participation in the ekklesia we give an emphasis on the unity of the people of Christ. Even our God is not alone; he is a Trinity, a community. Being alone in prayer is not an option, since our God is a Trinity. Fr. George Florovski explains this theme further, claiming:

“Christianity from the very beginning existed as a corporate reality, as a community. To be Christian meant just to belong to the community. Nobody could be Christian by himself, as an isolated individual, but only together with ‘the brethren’, in a ‘togetherness’ with them. Unus CHristianus-nullus Christianus [One Christian-no Christian]. Personal conviction or even a rule of life still do not make one a Christian. Christian existence presumes and implies an incorporation, a membership in the community. This must be qualified at once: in the Apostolic community, i.e. in communion with the Twelve and their message. The Christian ‘community’ was gathered and constituted by Jesus Himself ‘in the days of His flesh’, and it was given by Him at least a provisional constitution by the election and the appointment of the Twelve, to whom He gave the name (or rather the title) of His ‘messengers’ or ‘ambassadors’… Christianity means a ‘common life’, a life in common. Christians have to regard themselves as ‘brethren’ (in fact this was one of their first names), as members of one corporation, closely linked together. And therefore charity had to be the first mark and the first proof as well as the token of the fellowship. We are entitled to say: Christianity is a community, a corporation, a fellowship, a brotherhood, a ‘society’, coetus fidelium…Christians are united not only among themselves, but first of all they are one-in Christ, and only this communion with Christ makes the communion of men first possible-in Him. The centre of unity is the Lord and the power that effects and enacts the unity is the Spirit. Christians are constituted into this unity by divine design; by the Will and Power of God. Their unity comes from above…”[1]                                                                                                    

[1] Florovski, George, Bible, Church, Tradition: AN Eastern Orthodox View, p. 59-60

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