Orthodox Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 122 quotes )
You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. The power struggle permeates the training, education and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably much face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.
In the "free world" (Natopolis) the centres of ideological orthodoxy are rarely defined. The diversity of intellectual trends within the orthodoxy, the indeterminate and shifting character of its boundaries, the existence of real centres of dissent (and the licence given to even Stalinist opposition)--all these conspire to create the central illusion of "Natopolitan" culture, that there is in fact no orthodoxy but only an infinite variety of opinions among which one is free to choose.
The encrusted religious structure is not changed by its institutional dependents--they are part of the crust. It is changed by one who goes alone to the wilderness, where he fasts and prays, and returns with cleansed vision. In going alone, he goes independent of institutions, forswearing orthodoxy ("right opinion"). In going to the wilderness he goes to the margin, where he is surrounded by the possibilities--by no means all good--that orthodoxy has excluded. By fasting he disengages his thoughts from the immediate issues of livelihood; his willing hunger takes his mind off the payroll, so to speak. And by praying he acknowledges ignorance; the orthodox presume to know, whereas the marginal person is trying to find out. He returns to the community, not necessarily with new truth, but with a new vision of the truth; he sees it more whole than before.
The habits of liberals, their automatic language, their knee-jerk responses to certain issues, deserved the epithets the right wing stuck them with. I'd see how true they often were. Here they were, banding together in packs, so I could predict what they were going to say about some event or conflict and it wasn't even out of their mouths yet. I was very uncomfortable with that. Liberal orthodoxy was as repugnant to me as conservative orthodoxy.
Any Christianity that rests upon a dichotomy - some sort of platonic concept - simply does not have an answer to nature, and we must say with tears that much orthodoxy, much evangelical Christianity, is rooted in a platonic concept, wherein the only interest is in the "upper story", in the heavenly things - only in "saving the soul" and getting it to heaven. In this platonic concept, even though orthodox and evangelical terminology is used, there is little or no interest in the proper pleasures of the body or the proper uses of the intellect. In such a Christianity there is a strong tendency to see nothing in nature beyond its use as one of the classic proofs of God's existence. "Look at nature," we are told; "Look at the Alps. God must have made them." And that is the end. Nature has become merely an academic proof of the existence of the Creator, with little value in itself. Christians of this outlook do not show an interest in nature itself. They use it simply as an apologetic weapon, rather than thinking or talking about the real value of nature.
At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it… Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals.
But in the 17th century Russian Orthodoxy was gravely weakened by an internal schism. In the 18th, the country was shaken by Peter's forcibly imposed transformations, which favored the economy, the state, and the military at the expense of the religious spirit and national life. And along with this lopsided Petrine enlightenment, Russia felt the first whiff of secularism; its subtle poisons permeated the educated classes in the course of the 19th century and opened the path to Marxism. By the time of the Revolution, faith had virtually disappeared in Russian educated circles; and amongst the uneducated, its health was threatened.
I do not mean to say that I viewed those desires of mine that deviated from accepted standards as normal and orthodox; nor do I mean that I labored under the mistaken impression that my friends possessed the same desires. Surprisingly enough, I was so engrossed in tales of romance that I devoted all my elegant dreams to thoughts of love between man and maid, and to marriage, exactly as though I were a young girl who knew nothing of the world. I tossed my love for Omi onto the rubbish heap of neglected riddles, never once searching deeply for its meaning. Now when I write the word love, when I write affection, my meaning is totally different from my understanding of the words at that time. I never even dreamed that such desires as I had felt toward Omi might have a significant connection with the realities of my "life.
When Christianity proscribed the public exercise of the ancient worships, the partisans of the latter were compelled to meet in secret for the celebration of their mysteries. Initiates presided over these assemblies and soon established a kind of orthodoxy among the varieties of persecuted worships, this being facilitated by the aid of magical truth and by the fact that proscription unites wills and forges bonds of brotherhood between men.
Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God.
For it is the fate of every myth to creep by degrees into the narrow limits of some alleged historical reality, and to be treated by some later generation as a unique fact with historical claims...this is the way in which religions are wont to die out: under the stern, intelligent eyes of an orthodox dogmatism, the mythical premises of a religion are systematized as a sum total of historical events; one begins apprehensively to defend the credibility of the myths, while at the same time one opposes any continuation of their vitality and growth; the feeling for myth perishes, and its place is taken by the claim of religion to historical foundations.
But for a younger generation of conservative operatives who would soon rise to power... They were true believers who meant what they said, whether it was 'No New Taxes' or 'We are a Christian Nation.' In fact, with their rigid doctrines, slash-and-burn style, and exaggerated sense of having been aggrieved, this new conservative leadership was eerily reminiscent of some of the New Left's leaders during the sixties. As with their left-wing counterparts, this new vanguard of the right viewed politics as a contest not just between competing policy visions, but between good and evil. Activists in both parties began developing litmus tests, checklists of orthodoxy, leaving a Democrat who questioned abortion increasingly lonely, any Republican who championed gun control effectively marooned. In this Manichean struggle, compromise came to look like weakness, to be punished or purged. You were with us or you were against us. You had to choose sides.
The figure in the icon is not meant to represent literally what Peter or John or any of the apostles looked like, or what Mary looked like, nor the child, Jesus. But, the orthodox painter feels, Jesus of Nazareth did not walk around Galilee faceless. The icon of Jesus may not look like the man Jesus two thousand years ago, but it represents some *quality* of Jesus, or his mother, or his followers, and so becomes an open window through which we can be given a new glimpse of the love of God.
If grace perfects nature it must expand all our natures into the full richness of the diversity which God intended when He made them, and Heaven will display far more variety than Hell. . . a Greek Orthodox mass I once attended. . . seemed to [have] no prescribed behaviour for the congregation. . . the beauty was that nobody took notice of what anyone else was doing.
You don't like the Goths?" "No! Not with the persecution we have to put up with!" "Persecution?" "Religious persecution. We won't stand for it forever." "I thought the Goths let everybody worship as they pleased." "That's just it! We Orthodox are forced to stand around and watch Arians and Monophysites and Nestorians and Jews going about their business unmolested, as if they owned the country. If that isn't persecution, I'd like to know what is!