A glass of water

H/T: Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, interview with Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) here

How does Your Eminence see perspectives that lay ahead of the Orthodox Church given great challenges of increasingly changing world? Can the world see the Orthodox Church as THE Church, not only as a mere ethnic experience of the Faith? Which challenge of modernity should an Orthodox Christian be concerned with the most?

You are quiet right to emphasize that Orthodoxy is the Church. It is the Catholic, Universal Church of Christ on Earth. We respect the other Christian bodies, but we believe that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church of Christ on Earth. Not because of our own merits, for we are sinners, but because of God’s Grace and we must not forget this. The ethnic element in Orthodoxy,the different national traditions, Serbian, Greek, Romanian, Russian, Georgian, these are very precious, but they must not obscure, the fundamental, Ecumenical and Catholic element of the Orthodox truth. We are not here as a group of ethnic associations, we are here as the church of Christ on Earth, so we need to keep this in mind. To preserve all that is good in our national heritages, but never to allow the ethnic element to obscure the catholic unity of the Church. We could use the analogy of a glass of water. The water in the glass is the life giving through of Orthodoxy. The glass that contains the water is the ethnic traditions that hold us together. To drink the water we need the help of the glass, but the glass must be transparent, not opaque. we must be able to see the thought of Orthodoxy through the glass; we must not forget that it is the drink of water that matters, not the glass.

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