Ailing Church

The confrontation between Archbishop Christodoulos and his former brothers at the Chrysopigi religious organization once again reinforces the impression that the Church often disregards its spiritual role and gives in to the negative characteristics of every organization which administers power and money. The existence of the organization itself, with the monastic-type obedience of its members toward their venerable father, and its involvement in the rise of the archbishop and subsequently that of new Metropolitan Dimitriadis, have long demonstrated that the Church is anything but above and outside factions which, for example, influence the election of a party leader. Their religious mission has not only failed to avert the formation of groupings and tough confrontation between them, but has also failed to prevent the colorful and often vulgar public language used during conflicts inside the Church that actually seem to absorb all of the insight and ingenuity of several clerics. This plight appears to be reaching its climax now that Christodoulos, feeling strong enough to wean himself from the religious organization and shake off his mandatory obedience to Kallinikos, decided to act as an «archbishop of all metropolitans.» Some Chrysopigi members have attacked the archbishop, warning that they have decided to fight to the end in order to maintain their influence over ecclesiastical affairs and have received Christodoulos’s Christian parables in response. The archbishop may have violated the principles of the religious organization but has acted in accordance with the rules of conduct pervading the Ecumenical Synod. All these developments taint the Church’s image. And as if the cause of the conflict was not harmful enough for that image, the conflicting parties do not spare characterizations and hints which may be worded decently but which, in their essence, clearly do not suit clerics. The metropolitans ought to realize that they are standing on the verge of vilifying the Church itself. The fact that their behavior is being treated as a scandalous reality shows that, rather than being scandalized, the Christian flock should discourage an escalation of the unacceptable style of their attacks and should make them realize that they are all aboard the same ship, which is being jeopardized by self-inflicted turmoil.

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