Friday, October 11, 2013

Church or Religion?

Talking to many people, I try to explain that the Christianity is not a religion but a Church. In the Creed we claim “I believe…in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church…” Below, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, Hierotheos, explains in his book The Mind of the Orthodox Church the difference between religion and the Church, claiming:

“We can say that the Church is secular when it is regarded as a religious organisation. There is an enormous difference between Church and religion. Religion speaks of an impersonal God who dwells in heaven and directs the world from there. And man, by different rites and ceremonial acts, has to appease this God and come into contact with Him. But the Church is the Body of Christ, Who assumed human nature and in this way there exists a communion between man and God in the Person of Christ. To be sure, we do not deny that there are some Christians in the Church who have a religious sense of God. But this happens in the lower stages of the spiritual life, it constitutes spiritual immaturity, and nevertheless there is the disposition and tendency for man to go on maturing spiritually and to attain communion and unity with God. At all events, a secular Church simply satisfies people’s religious feelings and nothing more. It is known for beautiful ceremonies and is unaware of the whole neptic and therapeutic wealth which the Church possesses”. (p. 196) 

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