Thursday, February 11, 2010

Met. Kallistos Comes to Town

Despite all the new-fallen snow, there was a big crowd at church last night for Met. Kallistos' Lecture, Athens and Jerusalem.

The event was sponsored by an organization whose purpose is to promote hellenism, so it was a scholarly lecture rather than His Eminence's usual, more spiritual fare.

It was still very good. It constituted an answer to those who, ironically, accuse Orthodoxy of having swallowed whole too much of pre-Christian Greek philosophy. Ironically, because usually our critics are the ones who turn out to have done that, and they don't realize it.

Maria snagged Demetrios the moment we got there, and marched him (with me close behind) up to two men in the front pew wearing RC clerical garb. "Here's the man who can answer all your questions," she said.

What they wanted to know was, who was that man in the icon painted on the back of the big chair up there?

Demetrios said, "That's where a Bishop sits when presiding over services, and the icon shows Christ, dressed as our Great High Priest. He is our true Bishop."

"And any bishop who sits on that throne isn't going to forget it!" I added.

They laughed, and one said, the other agreeing, "I wish our bishops knew that!"

"Well, if you know it," said Demetrios, "your bishops will soon learn it!"

More laughter.

Then they wanted to know what the open book meant, which Christ was holding open but, curiously, not reading.

I said, "That's the Bible. He's teaching us. He's excercising his episcopal teaching office."

I met these two clerics again at the reception after the lecture, and they turn out not to be Roman Catholics at all, but "Anglo-Catholics." And what's an Anglo-Catholic? I asked.

They're a group that broke away from the Episcopalians when the latter began ordaining women.

So I told them I, too, used to be an Episcopalian, and we compared notes for a while. I told them how my Episcopalian pastor had once commented to me: "Your trouble is that you have a love-hate relationship with the Church. You have no problem with God as your Father, but you are deeply ambivalent about the Church as your Mother." And how that was so true and so insigtful. I said I never resolved that issue until I became Orthodox, because Orthodoxy turned out to be everything I had always hoped the church would be but she never seemed to be. And I added that I hoped these two would find their way to Orthodoxy, as well. To my surprise, they both nodded and said, "We hope and pray the same. We want our entire church to become Orthodox."

So I said I'd join them in that prayer, and I'm sure they would be glad if you would join them, too.


123 said...

They may be part of the the 'Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), a “Province-in-formation” within the global Anglican Communion. Newly formed in June 2008, it represents a traditional, conservative, and “biblically-faithful way of following Jesus,” in opposition to many current practices that members say are “accommodated and incorporated” by the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the Anglican Church of Canada, according to the group's Website'

This is a diverse group of Anglicans, but there are some that are far more Anglo-Catholic and Orthophilic than others. For instance, Bishop Jack Iker of Ft. Worth, TX has been presiding over discussions with the OCA about joining the OCA en masse in the Byzantine Rite! SVOTS has also recently signed an agreement with the Anglo-Catholic (but still ECUSA) seminary in Wisconsin to study and preserve the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue of the late 19th and early 29th Centuries, especially surrounding the person of St. Tikhon of Moscow.

My experience with Anglican clergy, especially, is that they often are too ingrained with the latitudinarianism of the Anglican tradition to stay in one place for long if their 'conscience' or research leads them elsewhere. If it was only ordination of women and gays that got them to simply begin to seriously question their church...

margaret said...

Isn't +Met Kallistos a wonderful speaker? Everything he says is soooo easy to remember.

Chris Jones said...


Given that Anastasia was told that these men were from a group that broke away from the Episcopalians when the latter began ordaining women, I doubt very much that they were from ACNA. If they broke away when ECUSA began ordaining women, they would have broken away in the 1970s or 80s; but ACNA split off from ECUSA in the last year or two.


"Anglo-Catholic" is a term that is much broader than just those who split from ECUSA over women's ordination. An Anglo-Catholic is someone in the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, or some other Anglican Church who believes that Anglicanism is a valid "branch" of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church we confess in the Creed; and who values the more "Catholic" elements of the Anglican heritage, including the threefold ministry, apostolic succession, liturgical worship, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the sacrifice of the Mass.

Of course, within the Anglican Churches, Anglo-Catholics are just one of several "parties" or "movements" within Anglicanism, alongside evangelicals, charismatics, and liberals. And they are by no means the largest such group.

As ECUSA (and Anglicanism in general) has become more and more liberal and heterodox, many Anglo-Catholics have left Anglicanism (as I did in the early 1980s). Some departing Anglo-Catholics have become RC or Orthodox, but some have formed new denominations that seek to preserve Anglicanism as it used to be. These new denominations are called "continuing Anglican" Churches. I think the clergymen that you met were from one of these groups.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Yes, Met. Kallistos has a wonderful didactic style. He says profound things but he spoon-feeds it to you.

Chris and Chris, whatever denomination these men belong to definitely predates ACNA. One of them told me he had left the Episcopalians in 1985, but he'd looked around a longish while before that.

elizabeth said...

How lovely it is that! May God continue to have mercy!

ps: wv is delete - strange eh?!

Mimi said...

What an amazing opportunity, I'm glad you got to go. I heard him speak about two years ago.

DebD said...

I'm so glad it wasn't canceled. I had wondered if he had made it to the US before the storm came. Are you still hoping to come up Saturday?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Deb, don't know. It's supposed to snow again here on Saturday, but the weatherman says the "main event" won't be until Monday. I don't like the sound of that.

But if driving conditions permit, I'm still hoping to spend Saturday afternoon and evening at St. Mark's, and Sunday morning.

Hope to see you!

Kacie said...

I am fascinated by this, as I have been reading about some of the conservative Anglican and Orthodox dialogue. I am attracted to both, and am still reading and investigating, and one of the questions I have had is - why are they separate?

In any case, great post.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Kacie, welcome to my blog!

I spent some time earlier in the afternoon poking around both of your delightful blogs, and intend to link to at least one of them in my sidebar.

I don' know why the Orthodox and the conservative Anglicans are still separate, but perhaps it won't be long before that is corrected.

Perhaps the reasons are mostly historical. There are of course a few theological issues, but not necessarily ones that ought to be stumbling blocks for an Anglican.

Later, when time permits, I'll try to respond in more detail to one or two of your observations in your blog.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Kacie, I've written a post in which I link to your blog, recommending it to my readership. It's scheduled to be published tomorrow evening, just after 5:00 Eastern time.