Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"Beauty and Communion"

"The Byzantine saints, and the Eastern Church's deep grounding in a theology of endurance, a theology of beauty and hopefulness... will have much to say for seekers after the beauty of the Risen Lord, even in this time. Such an opening out to other Christians of the richness of the eastern tradition is the deepest level of ecumenical gift possible, far greater in importance than any formal ecumenical dialogue. The principle adopted at the fifteenth-century Council of Florence, when the Latins and Byzantines were desperately seeking ways forward in ecumenical rapprochement before Islamic power finally rode over Byzantium in a tidal wave, is one that still has enduring significance: 'Saints cannot differ in faith.' The disciple recognizes the heart of the Church's experience across the the ages in the writings of its saints and, in the features of the saints who have been formed in the image of Christ, it seems no less than the beauty of the Lord, and is called called out to participate in it personally." - Fr John Anthony McGuckin, Standing in God's Holy Fire: The Byzantine Tradition