Protopresbyter Michael Pomazanaky
we love the Church, if she is dear to us, then how can each of us serve her? And
if someone were to ask you: "How have you served her?. what activities can
you glory in?
this question was put to the holy Apostle Paul and he had to defend his
authority before the Corinthian Christians, he answered in this way: I glory in it in my infirmities (II Cor. 11:30). Glory in
infirmities? Without question, the humble realization of our infirmities is
beneficial for each of us, but how can we serve the Church in this way? At the
same time, the holy Apostle insists on his answer and explains:
For when I am weak, then I am strong (II Cor. 12:10).
this is no paradox, no play on words, no contradiction. The Apostle shows no
trace of being "imaginative" or 'witty". He writes from the
fullness of his heart, from a deep conviction. His meaning is direct. He speaks
of the Christian principle of life.
upset the usual concepts dominant in the word, and in particular the concept or
power. In Christianity, power is what "seems to the world to be impotence,
what appears to its short-sighted view to be a contemptible weakness. Christian
power is meekness. Meekness is the law of the new life and action, under whose
banner the Gospel declared war on the world: "Blessed are the poor in
spirit. Blessed are they that weep. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit
so, two contradictory laws of life stand one against the other, two kingdoms:
the kingdom of the meek and the kingdom of power. The
kingdom of the meek is forced to wage war against the kingdom of power, while
located in its midst and surrounded on all sides by the kingdom of power and
Church is meek. For this reason she is in need of protection and defense, Only
they must be good means for her defense. In the past, both the Byzantine and
Russian Churches had external defenders: a government system, the emperors, the
tsars.... Times have changed. Now the care or the Church is entrusted by the
Lord to the people of the Church herself and so, to each orthodox Christian. In
this regard, we are returning to the times. of the first Christians. Our times
call us all to a conscious, constant sacrificial stand for the Church,"
each with his talents and means. However the principal power of service lies not
in this and not in our knowledge, abilities and callings
The principal power is in that "infirmity through which the power of Christ comes to abide. It is in
our morality, in our hiving
according to the law of the Gospel, according to the law of the Church...
of us has a place in the ranks of the soldiers of the Church, and the forms of
participation in service to the Church are varied. The Aposlle writes: Let every. man abide in the same calling where in he was called CI
Cor. 7:20). Translating this quotation into contemporary concepts, we can say
that there does not exist a constructive, good profession and a social position
where a good person could not at some time or other contribute his good mite to
the work of the Church...
mast see the Church as the one body of Christ, a single, organism, a. single
substance. Each persons individuality is the plot entrusted to him, for him
to labor over, clean up, and produce fruit on. In working on ourselves, we work
for the whole, for the entire Church, for its Head, the selfless Saviour. In
letting one's plot become overgrown, in neglecting it, condemning it, we bring
harm not only to ourselves but also to the Church. By not gathering for our own
soul, we scatter what belongs to the Church.
service to the Church consists in this: that through our personal Christian life
the spirit of the values of the Gospel flow into the life of the world, thus
putting the enemies of the Church to shame. In our personal qualities lies the
pledge or the internal unity of the Church as a whole and of the parish in
particular; it is from this source that there come mutual understanding,
obedience, unanimity in goals, friendly labor for the glory of God and the glory
of the Church. Thus a completely special Church atmosphere is established. in
such an atmosphere a. person feels that he is in a special world, which gives
rest and joy to the soul, refreshing and renewing it. One strives to come to it
as if to a new earth, the earth of the meek. In it one feels the beneficial
power of the Church within oneself. It is easier in such circumstances for the
soul to open up for the reception of the breath of the. grace of God that abides
in the Church. But if this spirit is absent; if within the groups of the Church
there are divisions, discord, the struggle of ambitions and self-love, then can
one, in such circumstances, speak of the power of the Church?
to the question of how can we serve the Church, the answer is simple: by active
obedience to her. Active obedience to her is a life according to the rules of
the Church, with observation of the moral laws with zealous attendance to the
services in church, with prayer at home and a Christian foundation of and
direction in home life. We can say, then, in general, that for us it consists in
the joy of belonging to the Russian Church Abroad as a true confessor of the
Catholic Orthodox faith and a herald of righteousness, and in the peace in our
personal life, corresponding with that membership.
(From "Orthodox Life," January-February, 1976)[_private/oabot.htm]