Author Topic: The mysterious Orthodox community  (Read 2823 times)

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Offline Antiochian

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The mysterious Orthodox community
« on: August 14, 2005, 06:18:16 AM »
Hi all, long time no post, hope all are well.

I have a pressing issue that recurrently appears in my mind, and it's that of the socio-political status of the Orthodox in the world.

On an international level, the notion of Orthodox brotherhood is hardly existent, and there is little co-operation or plans to expand Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox regions of the world.

On a social level (using Australia as my case study), I would also say that the Orthodox are merely unknown souls floating amongst the rest. In a country of 20 million, I would approximately put the number of Orthodox Christians at 2 million. Taking into account 1.5 million Australians of Greek descent, I might be underestimating considering I'm lumping Orthodox Australians of Serbian, Romanian, Macedonian, Russian, Ukranian, Lebanese, Syrian and Egyptian descent in the remaining 500,000. Regardless of the total figure, what we can deduce is that the Orthodox presence in Australia is large, but not significant.

Why is Orthodox Christianity not considered an official or significant religion as part of Australian society?

Why has there been no coherent effort between the Orthodox parishes in Australia to push forward the Orthodox agenda (if there even is one)?

Despite the fact that we number more than 10% of the population, the majority of the remaining 90% are completely ignorant of the existence of Christian Orthodoxy.

Whilst Catholic and Anglican parishes are reporting declining participating numbers, the bulk of Orthodox Australians are still adherent to their faith (going against the trend of declining traditional churches and rapidly growing new-age churches).

The Islamic community, which only numbers 200 - 300,000 in Australia, has successfully had its presence felt. Universities have Muslim prayer rooms, Islamic issues are often highlighted in the media (with the assistance of international events), and as such, the Islamic teaching is receiving more exposure than, dare I say, Orthodoxy.

Although I have always been disturbed by the failure of the Orthodox community to assert its presence in society and spread our teaching, I have drawn this issue to light after hearing of a Greek Orthodox Australian of Greek origin turning to evangelical Christianity to find Christ (the fastest growing religion in Australia).

I was hoping many of you could relate and discuss the above as the majority of us do live in Western countries and face similar issues.

Are we too inclusive of our matters that we have become an exclusive church to those who are either born in the church or search for us instead of us searching for them?

Offline Silouan

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Re: The mysterious Orthodox community
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2005, 07:56:11 AM »
On an international level, the notion of Orthodox brotherhood is hardly existent, and there is little co-operation or plans to expand Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox regions of the world.

Not all Orthodox are complacent of missionary work - although it is sad had little has been done.  Still I would point out Father Kosmas of Grigoriou and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania as two modern day Orthodox missionaries. 

The reason why Orthodox tend to go unnoticed is because of our worldliness - through ecumenism many Orthodox don't even want to admit they are uniquely the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  The lack of true Orthodox monasticism and ascetical life is another factor in this.  When we all repent and turn back to Christ then the world will be forced to notice us and Orthodox Christianity.  Slowly things are changing though, Elder Ephraim of Philotheou has done much to bring Athonite monasticism to the diaspora and many great ascetics in Orthodox nations have fostered many revivals (such as Elder Cleopa in Romania, Elder Paisios in Greece etc.).