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Eastern Orthodoxy J O S E P H L. H R O M A D K A IN 1853, one of the leading Russian philosophers, A. S. Khomyakov , complained, in a reply to Laurentie's pamphlet on the Eastern Church, of the total lack of knowledge and understanding in Western Europe in regard to Russia and Eastern Orthodoxy . The situation has changed. The Ecumenical movement brought, in the era between the two wars, Eastern and Western Christianity into a close cooperation. The representatives of the East and West honestly tried to understand one another in the deepest motifs of their faith and confession. The method of controversy and polemics was replaced by the method of attentive listening and good will. There was a genuine desire to dig deeply into the common ground of Christian tradition and to discover, behind the old-time formulas and petrified prejudices, the burning lava of common faith and hope. We have learned to understand and respect one another more adequately than ever before. Even Eastern Orthodoxy became a living factor in the world-wide community of Christians. It is no exaggeration if we say that the active participation of Eastern Christians in religious, theological, and philosophical discussions has been one of the unprecedented aspects of the post-war era of the Christian Church. This alone makes our effort to understand the Eastern Church urgent and essential. The rapidly changing political and cultural situation in the East of Europe is another reason for our growing interest in the nature of the Eastern Church. The area of the Soviet Union belongs, historically, to the orbit of Orthodox Christianity. Kiev and Moscow received the Gospel from Byzantium. In the devotional life as well as in theology and church policy, the Christian heritage of the Russian, Ukrainian, White Russian, and Caucasian people has been rooted in the spiritual, moral, and intellectual tradition of the ancient Church of Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Constantinople. Now, the Church in 284 JOSEPH L. HROMADKA the Soviet Union underwent a stupendous trial and ordeal in the years after the collapse of the czardom, and the October Revolution of 1917. A distant observer knew next to nothing about what was then going on in Russian Christianity. Was it an agony of death or a new beginning? How should one understand the Soviet Revolution in its antichurch drive? And, furthermore , how should one understand the reorganization and the restoration of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Russia, in the years of 1942-1945 ? Have we to do with an irrepressible regeneration and growth, a powerful reemergence of Russian Christianity or with a shrewd, tactical move on the part of the Soviet Government? Is the Russian Church going to play an essential role in the spiritual destiny of the Soviet people, or is she just a faithful relic from the past which can be tolerated because she is doomed anyway ? All these questions bear on our understanding both of our times and of the way the Eastern Church may exert her influence in the days to come. Yet we can hardly answer them unless we have some notion of the main spiritual and historical issues of Eastern Orthodoxy in general. THE NAME OF THE CHURCH The names of the Eastern Church vary in different official and unofficial documents: "The Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East," "The Orthodox Eastern Church," "The Eastern Church," "The Orthodox Church." In recent times, the theologians of the East have spoken simply of "Orthodoxy " or of the "Orthodox Church." The term "Orthodoxy" means to them more than right dogma or doctrine; it means the totality of right worship, right confession, and the undisrupted continuity of hierarchy and sacramental communion originating in the apostolic church and going down to the present. The word "Eastern" does not designate any local or geographic boundary of the Church. It indicates the glorious memory of Second Rome, Constantinople, which in the mind of Eastern Christians succeeded the Rome of St. Peter and St. Paul, and became the mother of Orthodoxy and apostolic tradition . After 381 the bishop of Constantinople was granted an 285 EASTERN ORTHODOXY honor second only to the bishop of Rome, and the Eastern Church has never questioned the primacy of honor due to the Roman bishop. However, the head of the Roman Church forfeited his privileges and honors by violating the dogmatic tradition and by claiming a jurisdictional and doctrinal supremacy which contradicts, in the judgment of Eastern Christians, the very spirit...


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