An excellent and thought-provoking post; I am, as ever, stunned by the insights you bring here.
What a very good statement you make:
Quote: The Church speaks on behalf of Orthodoxy not as an ethnic unit, but on the basis of the Scriptures,and Apostolic and Patristic Tradition, all of which blend together.
Tradition is the living river which connects the past and the future, on which we are but passengers. The last sentence is very profound.
In his treatise on the Lord's Prayer, St. Cyprian describes the Church as: ?a people united in one in the unity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.? I note how it is the same communion which unites the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit which is the model and the source of the fraternal communion which ought to unite Christians. As Our Lord tells us in St. John 15:12: ?Love one another as I have loved you?; and in St. John 17:22 he tells us why: ?that they may be one even as we are one?.
Indeed, Orthodoxy is by definition ecumenical.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)