Victor_vlad, in response to yesterday’s posting, asked the question: “Why not a united Orthodox parishes in Namur" (and by extension, elsewhere in the Orthodox diaspora)”
Let me make a couple of quick and rather disjointed comments:
1) A church has to be cognate with the society it lives in. It does not have to agree with it (“in the world, but not of it”), but it does have to live in reference to it, as does any individual Christian, in order to have any relevant witness. I fear that much of the Russian Church in Belgium lives in a sort of no-man’s land, neither in Russia (whom most of its current population chose to leave, and yes, Europe, unless you are a particularly strong character, is simply a more comfortable place to live than Russia), nor in Europe (whose language its flock has been slow to learn – but whose generous social security it has been quick to grasp …).
2) A ‘united Orthodoxy’, presumably more or less in the local language, is a step in the right direction and forces people out of the ghetto. But once you have made this jump, horror horrorum, there is the question of why not make the one extra jump and join up with the Roman Catholics, who are the traditional church of this country (‘Forget also thine own people and thy father’s house’ Psalm 44). I do ask at times whether this is not the more honest solution for second generation refugees. It is certainly better than leaving the Church altogether, which is generally what happens – not helped by a certain ‘Orthodoxy or die’ attitude in certain Orthodox parishes.
3) This forces of course the real question of the ‘Orthodox particularity’. Where does it lie (and, pace Professors Koslov and Vasechko) I am pretty sure it lies elsewhere than in the traditional doctrinal differences trapsed out in comparative theology lessons in every seminary)? If it lies, as I believe, in a particular type of spirituality, are we effectively expressing it in Europe? And does it not effectively already exist, perhaps with rather different vocabulary and mutated forms, in other Christian confessions, or at least parts of them?