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Regarding the charge that Orthodoxy "does not evangelize"

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  • Christopher Orr
    Regarding the charge that Orthodoxy does not evangelize : * * ... Christopher [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 16, 2010
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      Regarding the charge that Orthodoxy "does not evangelize":
      *
      *
      >
      > *By Charles R. Hale, American Church Review (July 1877), **from "The first
      > biography of St. Innocent, part 1"<http://orthodoxhistory.org/2010/07/the-first-biography-of-st-innocent-part-1/> by
      > Matthew Namee*
      >
      > It has long been the habit of persons unfriendly to the Orthodox Churches
      > of the East to speak of them as well night *dead* Churches. The charge has
      > been but too eagerly repeated by such as, determined upon a certain course
      > of public policy, through a blind selfishness which must surely bring, if
      > persisted in, a dread Nemesis, were not inclined to think well of Eastern
      > Christians, whom it would have been inconvenient to recognize as brethren. A
      > favorite specification in the accusation brought against Christians of the
      > East has been, that they were utterly wanting in a missionary spirit. In
      > these days, we know something of what enslavement to the Turk involves. And
      > what, in common justice, to say nothing of Christian charity, have we a
      > right to expect from those groaning under such bondage? Does not Mouravieff�
      > well demand, as to these, in *Question Religieuse d�Orient et d�Occident*,
      >
      > Have we the conscience to ask that they should make converts, when, now for
      > more than four hundred years, they have been struggling, as in a bloody
      > sweat, to keep Christianity alive under Moslem tyranny? And, in that time,
      > how many martyrs, of every age and condition, have shed a halo around the
      > Oriental Church? No less than a hundred martyrs of these later days are
      > commemorated in the services of the Church, and countless are the unnamed
      > ones who have suffered for the faith, in these four hundred years of
      > slavery. In 1821, Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople, was hung at the door
      > of his cathedral, on Easter Day. Another Patriarch, Cyril, they hung at
      > Adrianople. Cyprian, Archbishop of Cyprus, with his three Suffragan Bishops,
      > and all the Hegumens of the Cyprian monasteries, were hanged upon one tree
      > before the palace of the ancient kings. Many other prelates and prominent
      > ecclesiastics were put to death in the islands and in Anatolia. Mount Athos
      > was devastated. And yet, none apostatized [sic] from the faith of Christ.
      >
      > Are not such martyrdoms the best way of making converts? It was thus that,
      > in the first three centuries, the Church was founded in those lands. How can
      > it be said that, among people who could so die for the faith, there was no
      > real spiritual life? Has not the Greek Church shown by her deeds the
      > steadfastness of her faith? The kingdom of Greece, in its fifty years of
      > independence, has labored nobly to repair the desolations of many
      > generations. But surely we, who find excuse in the circumstances of the
      > times for the apparent lack of interest of the American [Episcopal] Church
      > in the missionary cause during the first half century of our separate
      > national life, must readily admit that the Hellenic Church has had and still
      > has ample scope for her energies *at home*.
      >
      > We come now to the Church of Russia, and what do we find? A large part of
      > what now makes up the Russian Empire was, when it became such, inhabited by
      > Mahometans and heathen. Yet everywhere the Gospel is, and long has been,
      > preached, and God�s blessing has manifestly followed the proclamation of His
      > word. Says Mouravieff, to quote again from *Question Religieuse, etc.*:
      >
      > The loving principles of the extension of Christianity are at work here.
      > The Russian Church, as dominant throughout a great empire, diffuses
      > gradually the light of Christ�s Gospel within her own borders. Her more
      > immediate duty is to labor for the conversion of the heathen, Jews,
      > Mahometans and schismatics, who belong to her, scattered over the one-ninth
      > part of the habitable globe. In those dioceses where there are heathen or
      > Mahometans, the languages spoken by them are taught in the theological
      > seminaries, so that, not only those specially devoted to the work, but the
      > parochial clergy also, may be enabled to act as missionaries. Russia has
      > sowed the seeds of Christianity over a vast field, ever establishing new
      > parishes, which most naturally become also mission stations. In this mode of
      > working, there is little to excite attention, or to create talk. When and
      > how have so many of our heathen become Christians? It is not every one who
      > knows. But multitudes of these *are* now enjoying the blessings of
      > Christianity and civilization. There is yet, however, much to be done for
      > the conversion and establishment in the faith of many tribes, who are more
      > or less in darkness, and the Church still labors for and with them.
      >
      > But the missions of the Russian Church are not *confined* to the heathen
      > or false believers within her own borders. For many years she has had a
      > mission at Pekin [Beijing], and the most successful mission work in Japan
      > would seem to be that carried on by her.
      >
      > If information in regard to Russian missionary work is not forced upon the
      > attention it is yet not unattainable to those who *seek* for it. The
      > literature of Russian missions is not a small one. The writer, in giving at
      > the head of this paper a list of works now before him, has mentioned but a
      > small part of those bearing on the subject. Let us cast a hasty glance at
      > these. We shall find them filled not so much with talk *about* missions as
      > with records of faithful missionary work. In the work first mentioned on
      > this list, Mouravieff gives a *Compte Rendu d�une Mission Russe*, *dans
      > les Monts Altai*. This paper, one of those translated by Neale, in �Voices
      > of the East,� under the title *The Mission of the Altai*, describes a most
      > effective work, begun in 1830 and still carried on, amongst wild nomads in
      > the southern part of Siberia....
      >
      Christopher


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