The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

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Orthodoxy through another perspective
01-04-2010, 09:21 PM,
Dear Rick,

Very perceptive and you get right to the heart of the matter.

I suspect it is inevitable, given the rarity of Orthodox Churches in this country (and most of the USA) that most of us come to Orthodoxy with an 'idea' of what it is rather than experience of what the reality is; this is one reason Fr. Peter advises those browsing the site to come and see.

The author of the piece catches something of this when he writes that one 'cannot be Orthodox in general'. He may also have something when he says that Protestant evangelicals have an 'inadequate understanding' of their new Faith; but I'd be more convinced if he did not insist by implication that our faith is something which can be adequately grasped with the intellect alone.

This is where it is so useful to know you find the BOC grounded 'in reality' because that is the only place we can encounter our faith; in the reality of our encounter with the Risen Lord. And, for me, that is at the Eucharistic feast. One of the hardest parts of the past year for me is that various factors have kept me away from it; I am all in favour of fasting, but this particular fast is too hard for me. In the reality of that encounter at the Eucharistic feast I find the reality which feeds me most.

In another area too, the BOC keeps it real. There is no romanticised or exoticised ideal. Some converts to EO I have read about are clearly drawn to the challenge of that other culture, finding in it the change of mindset they need. The BOC lies at the other end of this because it meets those of us who are British where we are. It is what it says on the tin - Orthodoxy with a British ethos. So, there's no acquiring a new foreign accent, there's God 's Church meeting us where we are.

Here is where our Metropolitan, Abba Seraphim is the epitome of what I mean (I do wish you could meet hm, Rick). He is just quintessentially British. You could meet him in any part of the world and know at once he was an English gentleman. He is also a senior member of the Coptic Holy Synod. I know that in the early days of our time under the jurisdiction of Alexandria there were those who would not come because they feared 'copticisation' (whatever that might be). Well, Abba Seraphim remains who he has always been, effortlessly bridging whatever gap may be thought to exist between Alexandria and London. But is there any such gap in reality?

In the Catholic Church they are familiar with the idea that the Pope is the head of the Church on earth, but that a hierarchy has a national flavour; indeed, were the latter more pronounced it might, some would say, be better. The BOC achieves this. Of course it is small enough to do so, but there is no sign that it is anything but the way in which British people can approach orthodoxy.

Long before I had heard the word theosis, that was what I thought happened. I never found the language in which the theologians I knew discussed things like 'justification' convincing; I took to the language of orthodoxy like a man finally being talked to in his own tongue.

We can come back, in further posts, to other points around the differences (as the author supposes them) between 'salvation' in the east and west, but I just wanted to say thank you for your insightful comments, Rick.

Good to be back here with you.

In Christ,

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)

Messages In This Thread
The Church of the Imagination - Rick Henry - 01-04-2010, 08:11 PM
[] - John Charmley - 01-04-2010, 09:21 PM
[] - Fr Gregory - 02-04-2010, 02:52 AM
[] - John Charmley - 02-04-2010, 08:04 AM
[] - John Charmley - 02-04-2010, 10:12 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 03-04-2010, 11:50 PM
[] - John Charmley - 04-04-2010, 09:12 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 05-04-2010, 03:46 PM
[] - John Charmley - 05-04-2010, 06:16 PM
[] - Fr Gregory - 06-04-2010, 05:32 AM
[] - John Charmley - 06-04-2010, 09:07 AM
[] - Simon - 06-04-2010, 12:48 PM
[] - John Charmley - 06-04-2010, 01:18 PM
On Playing Our Part - Rick Henry - 06-04-2010, 04:03 PM
[] - John Charmley - 06-04-2010, 04:31 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 06-04-2010, 05:09 PM
[] - John Charmley - 07-04-2010, 01:14 PM
[] - Simon - 07-04-2010, 01:27 PM
[] - admin - 07-04-2010, 01:41 PM
[] - John Charmley - 07-04-2010, 02:12 PM
[] - Antony-Paul - 07-04-2010, 08:15 PM
[] - John Charmley - 07-04-2010, 10:06 PM
[] - admin - 08-04-2010, 09:01 AM
[] - John Charmley - 08-04-2010, 11:06 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 08-04-2010, 01:20 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 08-04-2010, 01:38 PM
[] - admin - 08-04-2010, 04:24 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 09-04-2010, 11:35 AM
[] - Antony-Paul - 09-04-2010, 04:34 PM
St. James? service - James-Antony - 09-04-2010, 09:04 PM
[] - admin - 10-04-2010, 12:26 PM
[] - Simon - 10-04-2010, 04:46 PM
[] - Fr Gregory - 11-04-2010, 06:31 AM
[] - John Charmley - 12-04-2010, 05:11 PM

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