Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Khomiakov’s Parable

What is the attitude the Orthodox should have towards the non-Orthodox? Should we have any relations with the non-Orthodox? These are interesting questions. The answers differs according to who you ask within the Orthodox World. Khomiakov explains the attitude we Orthodox should have towards the Roman Catholics and the Protestants through a parable:

“A master departed, leaving his teaching to his three disciples. The eldest faithfully repeated what his master had taught him, changing nothing. Of the other two, one added to the teaching, the other took away from it. At his return the master, without being angry with anyone, said to the two younger, ‘Thank your eldest brother; without him you would not have preserved the truth which I handed over to you’. Then he said to the eldest brother, ‘Thank your youngest brothers; without them you would not have understood the truth which I entrusted to you.”[1]
Orthodoxy is the Church which claims to have preserved the faith, with no addition and no subtractions, unlike the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant  Churches. The Orthodox Church has kept the Tradition of the Church. However, it seems that Orthodoxy can rediscover itself through the dialogue with the others. It is no coincidence that Fr. George Florovski, who revived the reading of the Fathers from an Orthodox point of view, being considered one of the most significant Orthodox theologians of the 20th century, was also in the dialogue with the non-Orthodox. He was member of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius (an ecumenical body based in Britain which promotes relations between the Orthodox and the Anglicans). The Western scholastic works on Scripture and the Fathers should be considered important not only for the West, but also for the East. As Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia claims, “We have everything to gain by continuing to talk to each other.”[2] 

[1] Ware, Timothy, The Orthodox Church, (London, Penguin Books, 1997), p. 325.
[2] Ibid. p. 327.

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