The Authenticity and Authority of the Church

The Authenticity and Authority of the Church

by Abbot Tryphon

If she be true to herself, the Church acts with an authority that is grounded in love. She holds within her realm the authority to make her people the children of God. She has the authority to forgive, and the capacity to love. And just as her Head, Jesus Christ, she exists to serve, and not to be served. She guides her people with love, recognizing that each person is unique, and is to be ministered to with an authority that is based on serving, not being served.

Christianity itself is in crisis, and many people are embracing the materialist approach of self-help, rather than ascetic struggle and self-denial. Increased numbers of young people are turning to atheism, or wandering in a wasteland of spiritual confusion, having witnessed the betrayal of Christian morality and faith by many religious leaders.

“The incarnation of Christ was considered and was celebrated by the Fathers of the Church and the worshiping ecclesiastical community as the abolishing of religion and its transformation into a Church. In fact, the memorable Father John Romanides had said in the most categorical way that Christ became human, in order to free us of the illness of religion (Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos).”

Until we put off religion, and put on Christ, we will continue to fail in our vocation as servants. Unless the Church demonstrates, with holiness and humility, and in imitation of the Image of Our Saviour as servant, the Church will have become nothing but a religion that has lost her way, and the authentic witness of Christ will have been lost.

The youth of today are drawn to authenticity, and until they see Christ in the lives of churchman who are living icons of Christ, and who are loving, humble servants of this very Christ, they will continue looking for truth in a wasteland of spiritual confusion. The Church must proclaim the Good News in all humility and love, for

“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45),

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

The Authenticity and Authority of the Church

About Fr. John A. Peck

Director of the Preachers Institute, priest in the Orthodox Church in America, award-winning graphic designer and media consultant, and non-profit administrator.
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