Monday, July 10, 2006

AGAIN features Fr John Behr on Orthodox Unity

One of the great struggles facing Orthodoxy in America is the problem of jurisdictional unity. While the various canonical Orthodox groups share the One Faith and are in communion with one another and the Church through the ages, Orthodox Christians in North America are not organized in a way that reflects this unity.

The latest issue of AGAIN magazine, published by Conciliar Press, features a series of articles addressing various aspects of this situation. An article by Fr John Behr, professor of Patristics at St Vladimir's Seminary, is especially worthy of note:

ONE IN CHRIST: An Historical Look
By Fr John Behr

That we are to become one, as Christ is one with His Father, is our Lord’s own prayer (John 17:11). This movement towards unity applies to many areas of our lives as Christians: husband and wife are to become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5), we are each to become one spirit with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17), and, in the petition of the Great Litany, we pray for the welfare and unity of all the churches of God.

This unity, in a very real sense, is a gift and is already given: in the sacrament of marriage, the bride and the groom become one; in baptism we put on the identity of Christ, becoming His body; and in the Creed we confess our belief in “one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Yet in the case of marriage and putting on Christ, we also have to work on ourselves—or more specifically die to ourselves—to receive the gift fully. Is this also the case with regard to the unity of the Church?

(Read it all by clicking here)