Archimandrite Vasilios (Gondikakis)

Организација Цркве као тројична мистагогија

translated by: Hieromonk Irinej (Bulović)

pages: 148-160

Abstract

By the Incarnation of the Word of God the way to reconciliation is opened. The Church reflects the unity of the Holy Trinity among men. Christ has not come to give us just a „peaceful coexistence“ but to unite us with His Father and His Holy Spirit. He has come to make us new creatures, to bring unity of Mankind according to the unity of Three Divine Persons. He brought down on the Earth His heavenly peace. Therefore, He is not a supporter of any earthly peace movement. On the contrary, His preaching is so radically different from the ideas and leaders of those „who reached unanimity in evil“, so that He appears to them, to the worldly-minded peacemakers, as the One who brought separation and sword (Matt. 10, 34—35).

Christ brought His divine way of life into history. He wanted to extend the trinitarian unity on Earth as it is in Heaven: „that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee“ (John 17,21). The only source of the true unity is the way of life of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the believers should be united „as We are“. This trinitarian „as We are“ is worth more than any humanly conceived unity. For that reason the Orthodox always defend the trinitarian ecclesiological basis of the Church’s unity.

The world is in a need to feel that God loves it, and the Church’s mission is to confess by her wiay of life: it is not any longer that I live but the Holy Trinity within me. Who has really seen the Church has seen the Holy Trinity. The Church is Heavens on Earth. Eschatology has already begun in her, since there are holy men who shall not come to judgement, but have passed from death unto life.

If God had wanted an administrative unity for His Church, He would have ordered the ecclesiastic unity on the pattern of the Roman Empire. But He insisted that the Church’s unity should reflect the trinitarian „as We are one".

The Holy Spirit, by leading His Church into all truth, does not impose it upon the Church, but gives her freedom of cooperation. Therefore, the Apostles at their Council could have said: „The Holy Spirit and we have decided" (Acts 15, 28). The truth of the Holy Spirit has been given to the whole body of the Church. This truth was defined at the ecumenical and local councils, but it is received in the atmosphere of freedom by the Church's pleroma with which the Episcopate has a canonical and sacramental bond of love.

The Council of Bishops is nothing else but the mouth of the Church. The responsibility of the People of God is clearly stated in the Encyclical Letter of the Eastern Patriarchs. Thus the believers actively take part in the life of the Church.

The Roman infallibility dogma is undercutting the conciliar structure of the Episcopate because the channel of infallibility is exclusively one individual bishop. The Roman teaching deprives also the laity of their responsibility for truth.

Each and every Church member is called to be a theologian. The channel of infallibility in the Orthodox Church might be someone that is not a member of the Episcopate. Theological insights are the fruit of ascetical sanctification. Therefore, the Orthodox believe that the infallible answer comes from the Cross.

The conciliar structure of the Church reflects the trinitarian unity of Godhead. And „as“ the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity are one in action and love, so in the same way the believers should be one in action and love.

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