''Our Saint Patrick'': Vsevolod Chaplin for return of the West to Orthodoxy
Why has ROC included the patron saint of Ireland in its menology?
Europe is ours, it was and should be again, — the statement with which the columnist of Realnoe Vremya, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, reacted on the ROC decision to include St. Patrick and other saints venerated by the Western Christian confessions in its menology. By the way, in Ireland and other countries, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated today, on 17 March. The Moscow Patriarchate, dating according to the Julian calendar, celebrates St. Patrick's Day on 30 March. In a newspaper column written specially for our online newspaper, the Orthodox priest emphasizes that this recognition has dragged on. A similar Synod's decision, in his opinion, indicates a gradual return of the West to the Christian fundamentals.
The saints' recognition has dragged on
The West was Orthodox. It's probably the main reminder associated with the recent decision of the Synod to include in the Russian calendar the names of Christian ascetics of Western Europe. But it is strange that the reminder of the undivided Church of the first millennium has become ''news'' to some media. The West should become Orthodox again — that is my addition to this ''news''.
Yes, the process of recognition by our Church of these saints has already been lasting for a long time despite the fact that discussions have been conducted for more than a decade. Saint Patrick, Saint Genevieve, Vincent of Lérins, Saint Alban were also venerated by many Orthodox Christians before — their icons are in several churches of the Western European countries. It's not just ''immigrant'' parishes created by ethnic diasporas. Among Orthodox Christians in the West there are many native British, French, Italians. These people are generally disappointed in local Christian / post-Christian communities, which, in the terminology of the New Testament, have become lukewarm and have become ''salt that lost power''. These people found out that there is the Church claiming the uniqueness of truth and the only surviving line of succession from Christ and the apostles — the succession of faith, hierarchy, community-based organization.
''Saint Patrick, Saint Genevieve, Vincent of Lérins, Saint Alban were also venerated by many Orthodox Christians before — their icons are in several churches of the Western European countries. It's not just ''immigrant'' parishes created by ethnic diasporas.'' Photo: pravoslavie.ru
The West is spiritually close to us, but…
Created by these people ''Western Orthodoxy'', sometimes with Latin, ''Catholic'' ritual worship, is still considered a hardly noticeable phenomenon. Large non-Orthodox communities long convinced — and almost convinced — our Church leadership ''not to rely on marginals'', that is, to abandon the mission in the West in favour of diplomatic relations with Vatican and Protestant communities as well as in favour of the division into the spheres of influence with them (however, regularly violated by the West side, for example, in the same Ukraine). I have often heard in Moscow talks about the fact that they shouldn't argue with Catholics, Anglicans or Lutherans, for the sake of ''a bunch of converts''.
However, the emergence in our churches of prayers and services turned to the ancient Western saints can everything turn upside down. We can once again feel and say to the West: it is spiritually close to us, but for the common way to the future it should abandon misconceptions that led them up a blind alley. For example, the doctrine that ''the Holy spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son", which eventually gave rise to the political idea of separation of powers controversial for Orthodox civilization. Or false mysticism, perceiving Christ as the subject of semi-erotic lust — by the way, it became the root cause of the shamelessness of the Western mass culture. Or the rejection of the doctrinal authority of the Holy Tradition — the decisions of the councils, canons, the works of the saints. After all, the rejection of all of this greatly impoverished the Protestant world, sending it on the path of repeating mistakes long corrected in the past — for example, foolish hopes on rationalism.
Active Russian people should not be afraid to return the West to Orthodoxy — that is, to their true soul that created it, gave the opportunity to form nations and states, provided the moral capital of the Middle Ages, not ''eaten through'' until today. The fact that the Western saints have become ours again sets a specific duty — the resumption of the goal to which they devoted their lives, and the duty to accomplish that goal.
''We can once again feel and say to the West: it is spiritually kindred, but for the common way to the future, it should abandon misconceptions that led them up a blind alley. For example, the doctrine that ''the Holy spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son", which eventually gave rise to the political idea of separation of powers controversial for Orthodox civilization.'' Photo: wikimedia.org (a detail of the altar of the 15th century, the Louvre)
Do not be shy to speak about ''forbidden'' topics
By the way, the Orthodox mission leads to conversion of thousands of people — in Indonesia, the Philippines, Africa and Latin America. Unfortunately, in some cases, especially in the latter — ''political correctness'' concerning Vatican and its local structures leads to the fact that the ''new Orthodox Christians'' are trapped by dubious non-canonical organizations, but the recognized by the international Orthodox churches are afraid to accept them. Similar thing is happening in France and Italy. However, in the world where the boundaries — especially information ones — have become conventionality, the winner is the one who addresses with their message not only to a particular ''city'' but also to the ''world''. Especially that rapid departure of some Lutheran and Anglican communities from the foundations of Christian faith and morality (for example, ''the wedding of same-sex marriages'') has to bury any talk about the delimitation of spheres of influence between them and the Orthodoxy. If you can't recognize someone as a Christian — this person once again becomes an object of the Christian mission but not of Ecumenical agreements.
What is happening in the West, by the way, is pushing many local people perceive themselves Christians, to convert to Orthodoxy, or at least to the interested study. And it's not just about ''gay marriages'' and other departures from the letter and spirit of the Bible. Leading religious communities too strong reconciled with liberal tendencies in politics, which, by the way, came to power through the struggle with traditional Christianity. Sometimes a bloody struggle (remember the ''great'' French revolution, which became a real genocide of Christians). Now the ''spiritual'' leaders of the West, trained by politicians and the media, dutifully approve the massive migration of non-Christian population, ''priority'' of human rights over the rules of faith, the rejection of the Christian foundations of the social structure and lifestyle. Thai is why the Orthodox mission in the West should be political as well. In the course of this mission they should not be ashamed to speak about ''forbidden'' topics that concern people, and they should do it under the Christian banner. Perhaps, under the banner of the return from the godless republics and dictatorships of the bureaucracy of the European Union to the entire sovereign Christian monarchies.
In short, the appearance of British, Irish, French names in our menology inevitably calls to life a huge body of thinking — after all, having recognised the fact of long-standing belonging of Orthodoxy of the Western peoples and their retreat from it, people are bound to ask whether it is possible return. Not to the ''past'' but to eternal values.