Sunday, March 24, 2013

The significance of the word ‘Orthodoxy’

Today the Orthodox Church celebrates the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Lent. However, what does Orthodoxy mean? The following passage is taken from an article written by Nikos Nissiotis, who explains the significance of the word ‘Orthodoxy’.

“’Orthodoxy’ is not the adjective or the qualification of one local church or even of all of our Eastern Orthodox Churches: it is the synonym of the words ‘catholic’ and ‘apostolic’. It is not an exclusive but an inclusive term which goes beyond the limits of the churches which call themselves Orthodox. It includes all those churches and believers who seek to offer an honest confession and achieve a life which is untouched by heresies and schisms and to arrive at the wholeness of the divine relevation in Christ. We could echo the words of Father George Florovsky in his analysis of the word ‘Orthodoxy’ as meaning precisely ‘right doxa’, that is with a view to sharing in common in rendering glory to the Lord in thanksgiving, in and through the One Undivided Church. Orthodoxia is the right martyria of truth and is based on the union of God with man in Jesus, lived and understood as the full communion of all those believers who are ready to share fully with each other the glory of the God revealed in the Orthodoxy of the One Catholic and Apostolic Church. If, therefore, Orthodoxy silently accepts that there is salvation in other churches outside its limits, limits which, in this context, seem to be narrow as a result of the very fact of the abnormal situation of division; this means that an Orthodox, through his faith, is invited to become really ‘Orthodox’ by offering himself in humility in order to effect a full realization of Orthodoxy in the life of the Universal Church. It is only then that this ecumenical Orthopraxia would prove and confirm the local existing Orthodoxia”[1].

[1] Nissiotis, Nikos, “The Witness and the Service of Eastern Orthodoxy to the One Undivided Church”, Sobornost, Series 4, No.7, Summer 1962, p. 354-355

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