Friday, March 21, 2014

The Church, Visible and Invisible, Divine and Human

There are countless books on what the Church is and isn’t, numerous definitions that try to explain its ontology, life, practice, objective and so on. Below is a brief exegesis of what the Church is, given by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia in his book The Orthodox Church (p. 243):

“This Church – the icon of the Trinity, the Body of Christ, the fullness of the Spirit – is both visible and invisible, divine and human. It is visible, for it is composed of specific congregations, worshipping here on earth it is invisible, for it also included the saints and the angles. It is human, for its earthly members are sinners; it is divine, for it is the Body of Christ. There is no separation between the visible and the invisible, between (to use western terminology) the Church militant and the Church triumphant, for the two make up a single and continuous reality. ‘The Church visible, or upon earth, lives in complete communion and unity with the whole body of the Church, of which Christ is the Head’[1]. It stands at a point of intercession between the present Age and the Age to Come, and it lives in both Ages at once”.

[1] ‘The Church is One’, section 9.

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