On the Egocentricity of Orthodox Christians

Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople

By: Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople

What have we done? What have we done? Christ has left us. We have driven him away. Our hatreds, our pride, our pharisaical self-sufficiency have driven out the Spirit of the Gospel. And Christ has gone. Christ has gone. Oh, how satisfied we are with ourselves! We are the pure, we possess the truth, and we condemn others! But life and history go on. They are knocking at the doors of the Church, and putting ultimate questions to us. Everything is changing. The scientific revolution is advancing, it is modifying and not only man’s environment, but man himself, his education, the relationship between the sexes, his psychology, and tomorrow perhaps his heredity and character as well. Not that science and technology necessarily build a world without God, as is sometimes said. But they force man, and they will force him more and more to ask where all this is going, what is the meaning of it all, what is the meaning of his own life.

What is most lacking among men of the Church is the Spirit of Christ: humility, selflessness, an open welcome, the capacity of seeing the best in others. We are afraid, we want to hang on to what is over and done with, because we’re used to it. We want to be right over against the others, and under a language of conventional humility we hide the spirit of pride and power. We carry on apart from life. We have made the Church into an organization, just like all the other ones. We have put all our energy into setting it up, and now we put all our energy into keeping it going. And it works more or less; rather less than more, but it works. Only it works like a machine, and not like life.



2 Responses to “On the Egocentricity of Orthodox Christians”

  1. 1 Olive Twist February 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Wow, what powerful words and how appropriate for our time! Peace be with you.

  2. 2 Mary February 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    ^ And with you. God Bless!

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St. Poemen the Great

"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable."

St. Gregory the Great

"Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die."

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins."

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

“Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers….it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord , Lord have mercy.”

St. John of Kronstadt

The candles lit before the icons of the Theotokos are a symbol of the fact that She is the Mother of the Unapproachable Light, and also of Her most pure and burning love for God and Her love for mankind.

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