• on March 18, 2024

The Two Communities

There are a number of challenges that lie ahead for Orthodox Christians today. These issues relate to faith and reflect the spiritual state of Orthodox people in the world community today.

To be Orthodox essentially means to live in communion with others. The Church is the focal point of this communion or community; in fact it is the community, it is what makes the community. Without the Church the community cannot exist because the Church is Christ Himself and the community is comprised of the faithful united to Christ – in other words God and His people. The Church is Christ offered for us, we are members of His Body and He is the head of that Body. For Orthodox Christians the word community as the name suggests, is one, whether these people live in Australia, in America or in Europe, they form the one Body as Orthodox Christians. Those who have been Baptised Orthodox and practice their faith are one Body in Christ. This community is therefore a living entity, but it does not become separated at the point of our death. The Orthodox community is a living community both for those who are living and those who have fallen asleep in the Lord – all form the one ‘living community’ as members of the One Body of Christ.

In the last century that has passed us by we have seen massive changes occur in ‘the world community’ which has seriously impacted on the life of the ‘living community’ of those Baptised practising Orthodox Christians. So serious is this impact that we can now clearly see the ‘fall out’ which has resulted from the so called progress of the ‘world community.’ The ‘world community’ holds itself together largely by economic means. At times these economic and political interests identify themselves with altruistic philanthropic ideals, but essentially they are cooperate entities comprised of a collection of self-serving interests. Despite this, it is this prevailing system underpinned by technological advances that dominates the thinking and progress of the ‘world community’. This hard and unforgiving ‘world community’ is a hungry ‘beast’ that seeks to devour everything and everyone it can to sustain itself. It seeks to number (given account of) everyone but not to know (love) anyone. For the beast is a system. A system cannot know anyone by name or relate at a personal level, because the system is not living and cannot know anyone. A system therefore, can only give account of its members by number. The ‘living community’ on the other hand is alive, it is a real ‘living Body’. Those who belong to the ‘living Body’ are known and they are known personally by name. The name by which they are known is eternal so long as they remain true to the communion of love which is of God in the name of the Holy Trinity.

There are many people who are not able to distinguish between these two distinct communities which are two completely different entities. On the one hand we have the ‘living community’ of divine love which is the Church and is eternal, and on the other hand we have the ‘world community’ which is a human arrangement and system of temporary purpose. There are those who believe that they can offer their allegiance to both communities believing they are compatible without conflict and without any ramifications. But the ‘world community’ and its amoral practices that promise to secure material rewards is at odds with the moral ‘living community’ of love. This co-existence of the two ‘communities’ is temporary and it creates a real state of mourning for those who belong to the ‘living community’. Those who live in the ‘world community’ have for the time being a free reign, but this is not without dire spiritual consequence. Those of the ‘living community’ experience mourning because they know what is at stake seeing and experiencing the love of Christ with all its promise as is known by their faith. They then see the opposite that exists and is demanded by the ‘world community’ by means of illusion, corruption and deception.
What is especially distressing to the ‘living community’ are those who will never come to know Baptism and those Baptised behaving exactly as the ‘world community’ demands without distinction. They practice the same sexual immorality and corruption of the ‘world community’ ignorant of its incompatibility with the ‘living community’. They practice the same immoral self-love as is required of the ‘world community’ that knows no compassion or forgiveness.

Fr Emmanuel Stamatiou

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