A ‘Christian” gathering no doubt. And yet with each passing minute, with each speaker who spoke, with each presentation offered I never felt more like a square peg in a round world than I did in that historic church down south. The unorthodox ideas, conjectures and personal postulations were not from Church Fathers, or Ecumenical councils, or Holy saints, or martyred men and women for Christ – but rather it was a conference of innovation through rebellion, a determination to worship self, a movement of anti-everything: authority, hierarchy, institution – you name it. Indeed it was a celebration of “me”; where sin and repentance and confession are not really welcome because ultimately nothing is ever really wrong. It is a movement where everyone is accepted just as they are, and as they remain, and anything goes… because “God is love” don’t you know. I stood thinking to myself: “If this is the apostolic faith, then I am miles and miles from what they are proclaiming here…” but I am certain that what was offered at this gathering of well-intentioned but perhaps misguided people was not from the Holy Tradition, neither would these ideas be found in the unity, or sacred continuity of the historic and apostolic Church… so what is one to do? Simply this: In this world the Orthodox faith and believers, contrary to what was shared at this event, will be called ‘weird’ and rejected, and ridiculed, but let us embrace the teaching of Father Amphilochios below, and not offer rebuttals back in anger or arrogance, but through patient endurance, with humility let Light shine… and in the end apostolic, historic Truth will always win out. Do not be afraid…. with enough searching – some will see the Light and eventually come home.
“Do not be afraid because of your Orthodox faith.
Do not be afraid because as an Orthodox Christian in the West you will be often isolated and always in the small minority.
Do not make compromises, but do not attack other Christians, do not be either defensive or aggressive, simply be yourself – be Orthodox.
– Father Amphilochios – Abbott of Patmos