The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

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Pilgrimage to Orthodoxy
04-02-2009, 01:35 PM,
Dear Chad

It is always a good thing to see any non-Orthodox community seeking to integrate aspects of Orthodox spirituality. Indeed the British Orthodox Church has developed the British Orthodox Fellowship with just such an end in view.

But there must be a limit to what can be acheived without a person or community becoming formally and sacramentally Orthodox.

If we take the instance of a Baptist for instance. He could begin to fast, to use the Jesus Prayer, even to venerate the Saints. And all of this could have a beneficial effect on his spiritual life. But he would be isolated from all the sacraments, and it is in the sacraments that the life of Christ is given and received. He would be part of a community which denied much of what Orthodox spirituality exists to achieve. He would increasingly be like a fish out of water, or else would simply be an idiosyncratic Baptist. It is just not possible to develop a coherent Baptist-Orthodox tradition since much of that which the Baptist tradition stands for is contrary to that which Orthodoxy stands for.

And surely this is the same situation in Anglicanism. Even if a congregation could become Anglo-Orthodox, and my local parish is close to that, it is missing much of what is most important about Orthodoxy. It is not part of a communion which thinks and believes in the same way, it would constantly have to deny that which other Anglicans believed, it would have to pretend that it was not in one communion with those who deny not only Orthodox beliefs but the traditional beliefs of generations of Christians.

Where will the Orthodox sacraments come from in an Anglo-Orthodox community? Surely they will be served by those who do not believe the Orthodox faith, or are in communion with those who do not believe the Orthodox faith. Therefore, from an Orthodox point of view, they cannot be Orthodox sacraments.

What is left? An Anglican community which is seeking to use Orthodox spirituality - not a bad thing at all, yet it can never become entirely Orthodox in the spiritual sense because it must be cut off from the source of Orthodox sacramental life. Does such a community decide to remain Anglican and deny the end to which Orthodox spirituality leads? Or become more Orthodox and accept that Anglicanism as a system is not Orthodox? That seems to me to be the question that must always be asked.

In the case of my local parish, I think that when the present very Orthodox minded priest retires the Church will fairly rapidly tend back towards ordinary Anglicanism. It cannot help but do so since the Orthodox congregation is rooted in an Orthodox communion with an Orthodox bishop, whereas an Anglican congregation is rooted in the Anglican communion with an Anglican bishop.

It is always good for an Anglican community to pray more, fast more, venerate the saints more, but to be of value there is surely also a need for such a community to become more theologically Orthodox, and this requires taking account of Orthodox ecclesiology, and also facing up to the fact that the majority of Anglicans do not hold to the Orthodox faith.

What then? Some Anglican priests have left and become Orthodox with their communities. We have some among the British Orthodox Church. Is it possible to become Anglo-Orthodox? I have to say that my personal opinion is that it is not possible. This does, at some point, require a rootedness in the Orthodox communion.

The issue of orders etc doesn't really come up for Orthodox. The Orthodox would say 'how can an Anglican bishop have valid orders if he doesn't confess the Orthodox faith?'. And is it really the case that there is a great connection to the Anglican tradition? I think that time has passed. As I witness to my colleagues at work I find a general openness to speak about my faith but no real connection to Anglicanism at all.

I am sure that others from a more Anglican background will also have more to add. This is only my opinion and should not be taken as anything more.

In Christ

Deacon Peter

Messages In This Thread
[] - admin - 04-02-2009, 01:35 PM
[] - Simon - 04-02-2009, 04:25 PM
[] - Michael Kennedy - 06-02-2009, 05:42 PM
[] - Michael Kennedy - 06-02-2009, 05:42 PM
[] - Simon - 06-02-2009, 11:25 PM
[] - admin - 19-02-2009, 09:12 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 20-02-2009, 02:10 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 20-02-2009, 02:57 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 23-02-2009, 02:05 PM

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