God and Man in Contemporary Christian Thought

Proceedings of the Philosophy Symposium held at the American University of Beirut, April 27-30, 1967

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God and Man

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Proceedings of the Philosophy Symposium held at the American University of Beirut, April 27 - 30, 1967

Edited with an Introduction by CHARLES MALIK

American University of Beirut Centennial Publications 1970

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-131225 Copyright 1970 by the American University of Beirut All rights reserved Published 1970 Printed in Beirut, Lebanon

CONTENTS About the authors





The Contemporary Church



The Contemporary Church, Eastern and Western JOHN G.M. WILLEBRANDS

The Ecumenical Movement and Secularization




The Church and Sincerity


The Reformation: Proclamation of Grace



Philosophy and Christian Faith in an Age of Science JOSEPH SITTLER

An Old Alliance: Retrospect and Prospect ABDO KHALIFE

Le Catholicisme au Moyen-Orient dans les cents dernieres annees KAREKIN SARKISSIAN

The Witness of the Oriental Orthodox Churches



Orthodoxy in the Middle East during the Last Hundred Years ix



First General Secretary, World Council of Churches, since his retirement in 1966, Consultant to its Secretariat; ordained pastor in the Netherlands Reformed Church and the Protestant Church of Geneva; doctorate from the University of Leiden; among his many works are: Anglo-Catholicism and Orthodoxy, The Church and its Function in Society, The Meaning of Ecume­ nical, The Renewal of the Church, Rembrandt and the Gospel. FRANCIS DVORNIK

Professor Emeritus of Byzantine History, Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard Uni­ versity; doctorates from Faculty of Theology, Olomouc, the Sorbonne, and London (hon.); ordained priest, 1916; author of many works in the field of Church History, including: Les Legendes de Constantine et de Methode, The Photian Schism, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe, The Slavs, their Early History and Civilisation, The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium, Early Christian and Byzantine Political Philosophy. JOHN G. M. WILLEBRANDS

Cardinal; Secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity which was responsible for drafting the II Vatican Council documents On Ecumenism, On Religious Liberty, and On the Relation of the Church to the Non-Christian Religions educated in Holland and received his doctorate at the Angelicum in Rome; author of several articles on inter-church relation­ ships and a recently published monograph, La liberte religieuse. :i'


Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Director of the Institute for Ecumeni­ cal Research at Tubingen; studied in Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, London, and received his doctorate from the Institut Catholique and the Sorbonne in Paris; ordained priest, 1954; published works include The Doctrine of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection, The Council : Reform and Reunion, Structure of the Church, The Council in Action, Freedom in the World : St. Thomas More, The Theologian and the Church. REIKO A. OBERMAN

Director of the Institute for Reformation History at the University of Tubingen; received his doctorate from Utrecht University and studied at Oxford and Djakarta; taught at Utrecht and the Harvard Divinity School; xi



Protestant observer at the II Vatican Council; author of Christianity Divided, The Harvest of Medieval Theology, editor (with William Courtenay) Canonis Misse expositio resolutissima Gabrielis Biel. JOHN WILD

Professor of Philosophy, Yale University, and Centennial Professor of Philosophy, American University of Beirut; studied at the University of Chicago (doctorate) and at Harvard; Past president of American philosophi­ cal Association (1960) and Metaphysical Society of America (1954); editor of Journal of Existentialism; author of many articles and books, including George Berkeley, Plato's Theory of Man, Return to Reason (ed.), Introduction to Realistic Philosophy, Plato's Modern Enemies and the Theory of Natural Law, Existence and the World of Freedom. JOSEPH SITTLER

Professor of Systematic Theology, The University of Chicago Divinity School; studied at Wittenberg and Wagner colleges, Hamma Divinity School, Oberlin, University of Chicago, Western Reserve, and University of Heidelberg; author of: The Doctrine of the World, Structure o f Christian Ethics, The Ecology of Faith, The Care of the Earth. IGNACE ABDO KHALIFE

Bishop; Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Conservator of Manuscripts at the Oriental Library, Universite Saint-Joseph, Beirut; doctorate from the Pontificial Gregorian University in Rome; member of the Society of Jesus; editor of the journal Al-Machriq; theologian of the Maronite Patriarch at II Vatican Council; Deputy to Maronite Patriarch in Bkerke, Lebanon; among his numerous articles are: Sifa as-Sa'il litahzib al-Masa'il of ibn Khaldun, Tarih Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar, Catalogue des Mss de la Bibliotheque Orientale, Kitab al-Lahu wal-Malahi of ibn Khurdazbah. KAREKIN SARKISSIAN

Bishop of the Door, Catholicos of Cilicia; theological education: Armenian Seminary of Antelias and Oxford University from which he received a B. Litt.; member of the Faith and Order Commission and Working Committee, World Council of Churches, observer at II Vatican Council; among his works are A Brief Introduction to Armenian Christian Literature, The Council of Chalcedon and the Armenian Church. GEORGES KHODR

Archbishop; Professor of Arab civilization at the Lebanese University; gra­ duated with a degree in law from Universite Saint-Joseph, Beirut; theological degree from St. Sergius Theological Seminary, Paris; author of many articles and essays published in the Arab World� Greece� Europe and America.


In the academic year 1966-1967 the American University of Beirut celebra­ ted the centennial of its founding. It was on December 3, 1866 that the Reverend Daniel Bliss, an American missionary from New Hampshire, declared in a religious ceremony in which he read r. Corinthians 3 the formal opening of the Syrian Protestant College which became later in 1920 the American University of Beirut. The motto of the College and the University has been the words of Christ, ''that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." The aim of the University­ Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty, and supporting individuals and agencies in America, Europe and the Near East-has always been to share with its students, coming as they do from all over the Middle East and even in recent years from lands beyond, the deepest that there is to share with them, in science, medicine, engineering, agriculture, the liberal arts, and the realms of the spirit. The students are to be educated in the sciences and the professions but they are also, and perhaps principally, to be afforded a glimpse of the truly "abundant life." During the century of its existence the University maintained high standards of education, recognized all over the world, and prepared and graduated men and women for the socially useful life; but it has always meant to impart the idea, at least in suggestion and climate and sometimes in being, that beyond so-called life there is also a quality of life in this life which may be termed "life abundant." Because of its fundamental liberal Christian foundation and spirit, because Lebanon is a unique meeting place of the two great world religions of Christianity and Islam, because of the deep stirrings going on at present in the souls of these two religions, because this age, whatever else it might be, is patently and fatefully ideological, and on account of the inherent impor­ tance of the subject matter, it was natural for the University to plan, among its year-round celebrations, for two symposia on the general theme of God and Man in Contemporary Religious Thought, one devoted to con­ temporary Christian, and the other to contemporary Muslim, thought. xiii



Leaders, scholars and thinkers were invited from all over the Christian and Muslim worlds to constitute these symposia, and the two conferences met, the Muslim one in the week of February 6 and the Christian one in the the week of April ro, 1967. The present volume embodies the addresses delivered in the Christian Symposium with the exception of that of Father George Florovsky on "Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Movement" which was not received by the time the volume went to press; and a companion volume containing the contributions made in the Muslim Symposium will appear shortly.

Dr. W. A. Visser 't Hooft, who served as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches since its foundation in 1948 until he retired in 1966, opened the Symposium with a discussion of "the Contemporary Church" from the standpoint of his immense experience in the Ecumenical Movement. He asks and tries to answer four fundamental questions about the Church. To the question whether there is any longer any place for the Church in modern society, the answer is that such a place certainly exists, but it is not the old one in which the Church identified itself with the character and vicissitudes of society; it will be a "free Church" in a pluralistic society; it will have "no other ambition than to witness to its Gospel and to serve the world in word and deed." Nor have the claims and predictions of Comte, Marx and Nietzsche concerning religion and the Church come true, for were these men to visit our world, Comte "would be astonished to find that leading scientists are less sure today of the ability of science to solve the basic human problems than they were in his time," Marx "would be surprised to find that there is a faith which remains alive after 50 years of communist control," and Nietzsche "would find that the churches which seemed to him tombs can also be places of resurrection." On whether the Ecumenical Movement is a sign of a dying Church, Dr. Visser 't Hooft's position is that in so far as the ecumenical call is for the Church "to be and become the Church," the reconciliation that is then effected in c cthe reality of common belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ" issues in the greatest living strength. As to the relevance of the Church to the future, he sees a fundamental futural orientation in all that is going on at present in both Geneva and Rome, especially in the matter of "deve­ lopment," as shown by the World Conference on Church and Society in 1966 and the Encyclical Populorum Progressio of 1967. Dr. Visser 't Hooft's treatment, based as it is on his vast ecumenical record, faithfully reflects the economic, social, political and peace preoccu­ pations and concerns of the present world situation. It does not go into the more spiritual, more sacramental, more ontological, more personal and



more transcendental aspects of the Church, without which all immersion in the world will remain profoundly questionable. He would certainly agree that when he says, "the Church exists for the world," he does not mean that that is the whole truth concerning the being of the Church. The Church is not an instrument at the mere service of the world, like science or medicine or politics; it does not simply conform to the world according to the world's ever-changing whims and "needs;" the Church,, while serving the world and conferring endless benefits on it, has an independent origin, being and end of its own.The missing dimension is to persuade the world that, with or without problems-and it will always be overwhelmed by problems and tensions-, it really exists for God.

Monsignor Francis Dvornik examines the situation of the contemporary Church from the Catholic standpoint and on the basis of his vast scholarship in Eastern Orthodoxy. He makes a number of important points which, on account of his authoritativeness in these matters, constitute a real con­ tribution to the continuing dialogue between the Roman and Orthodox Churches. r. That the Great Schism of 1054 between East and West "was effected not so much for religious reasons as by the different development of political philosophy in the East and in the West" -"not for dogmatic, but for administrative reasons." 2. That the superiority of the Sacerdotium over the imperium (namely, that of the church over the state or the spiritual over the temporal order), which led to so much discord and turmoil in the West, was developed by Rome, whereas in the East the principle of the independence and harmony of the two realms, called Christian Hellenism, finally triumphed in the famous Novel VI of the Emperor Justinian I. 3. That the excommunication pronounced by Constantinople in 1054 was not against the Pope but against the legates, while "that of the legates against the Patriarch could have been considered invalid as the Pope had died, and it is doubtful if the legates possessed the authority to go that far." 4. That the Schism was really consummated only after the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and the behavior of the Latin crusaders in Greek lands, including the blood bath which took place in Constantinople. 5. That "justice has yet to be done to Patriarch Photius," concerning whom "a wrong and distorted view" has developed in the West, but who in reality was not only canonized by the Greek Church, but it was he who proclaimed the canonization of his adversary, Ignatius! 6. That the formi­ dable question of infallibility "should be studied and explained on the basis of the Orthodox belief in the infallibility of the Church." 7. That the contemporary Catholic Church is tending more and more to follow the



example of the decentralized practice of the primitive Church in recognizing "national churches united by a common faith, but which worshipped God according to their own customs, their own liturgies and in their own lan­ guages," a practice to which ''the Eastern Church has remained faithful... for centuries." 8. And that now "there is, for the first time in the history of both mediaeval and modern Christianity, some hope that a kind of Christian unity can be attained in the future." All this is excellent news proclaimed in Beirut so far as the truth of history and the prospects of union are concerned-and proclaimed indeed by a learned Catholic priest in good standing in his own Church! From which it cannot be inferred that unity according to the will of Christ is arriving tomorrow, or that we do not still have to surmount formidable obstacles, of a psychological, political, cultural and dogmatic character.

His Eminence John Cardinal Willebrands (he was then bishop but has since been elevated to the cardinalate) spoke on the Ecumenical Movement and Secularization. He distinguishes between secularization and secularism, the former being "a way of living in which one concentrates on problems as they arise, in terms of their ultimate bearing on immediate human welfare, and without being controlled by ultimate metaphysical or religious beliefs about the nature and destiny of man;" the latter an "ideology that denies that man need take account of what is not secular," namely, of a truly independent-but es_sentially relevant-transcendental realm. Besides the profane humanism of the world there is also the sacred humanism of the Church-a veritable cult of man based on God Himself having become Man. From this perspective the secular is also sacred. The secular becomes holy by the Church preaching the transcendent gift of Christ. Cardinal Willebrands speaks of the extensive humanism of Vatican Council II in which he, as Secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, played such a leading part. There is a valid realm for ecumenical collaboration as also for secularization, but the full plenum of Christ could never be wholly reduced to these dimensions. The life of the spirit, while fully bearing on the world and its needs and responsibilities, remains an independent and transcendent life in Christ. The layman, in the words of Pope Paul, is "the bridge to the secular world." The lay apostolate is an authentic Christian function but it is rooted in life in Christ. Side by side with spiritual ecumenism there is also secular ecumenism which receives, for the Christian, all its fundamental nourishment from Christ. For "if the prayer of intercession only has a meaning as a support for action, the prayer of adoration or pure praise loses all meaning."



trusting others? A philosopher who is also a Christian, or a Christian who is also a philosopher, while he may be somewhat dismayed by the conflicting "truths" yielded by philosophy, and while he may stand dazzled before the revolutions effected by science and technology, nevertheless loves at least the living act of philosophizing; it confronts mind with mind and rubs being against being; it keeps his primordial sense of wonder at the mystery of being alive; but he holds firm to the simple truth that real faith is a free gift of God through Jesus Christ, entirely independently from the merits or the state of sin or grace of the believer, and he can never be ashamed either of the Church of Jesus Christ, or of the grace and forgiveness granted him at the feet of His Cross, or of His promise for a real, certain, authentic life eternal. ( 8)

In his treatment of Philosophy and the Christian Faith Professor Joseph Sittler first remarks that the Biblical testimony in itself is "radically strange" to the character of philosophy. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, reveals, not philosophy, but cchistory, experience and an acknowledged Presence of God in judgment and in mercy." But despite Tertullian's exclamation, ccwhat has Athens to do with Jerusalem?," persistent attempts have been made throughout history, by such men as Irenaeus, Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril, Aquinas, Abelard and Dante, to try to bring the two together, whether from pastoral or from purely intellectual motives. A magnificent structure arose which, however, soon fell apart for no absolutely clear reason save what might be termed ccthe mystery of history." Aristotle, with his substance-attribute metaphysics, has been discarded since Galileo, and modern philosophy, modern physics and modern painting proceed instead, in the spirit of analysis, on relational and functional presuppositions. What options, then, present themselves to us today so far as the relations between philosophy and Christian faith are concerned? Professor Sittler discards the God-is-dead option as incapable of prov­ ing its central assertion and as felling with one stroke the object of our search. He thinks that already c cthe tide has turned" away from this sterile dogmatism, as is evidenced by the remarkable constructions of such men as Rahner, de Lubac and others. He considers three live options. There is first Bultmann's demythologyzing of the data of revelation by the strict application of Heidegger's existential ontology. He finds much that is of value in this attempt, but he pronounces it unsatisfactory because, ccnegating or ignoring the natural or historical matrix of self-consciousness," it leaves out of account the social and cosmic dimensions of man. The second option he considers is that of his colleague, the late Professor Joseph Haroutounian, once a student at the American University of Beirut.,



in his book God with Us, in which he elaborates, for theological purposes, a sort of synthesis of Mead, James and Peirce. Grace, spirit, God, love, all theological categories, are given a social, psychological, interpersonal interpretation. Professor Sittler finds this approach yielding "fresh insight into the Johannine dynamics of love," but again he declares it unsatisfactory, because, by absorbing everything into "the sheer empirical data of sociology and psychology," it omits the independent reality of God and the world. We come, finally, to Professor Sittler's own position. He first observes that both theology and philosophy are today in ■ state of utter confusion. Even Roman Catholic theologians "are among the most definite in their negative evaluation of the competence of older philosophical alliances to serve the theological tasks of a new time." And as for philosophy, he just mentions Whitehead, only at once to move on from him; Heidegger he criticizes along the lines of his criticism of Bultmann; metaphysics he seems to think impossible; and the data of experience are so overwhelming in this age of technology and endlessly proliferating disciplines in which each bears on all and all on each, ''that the life of the mind has become a race within maelstrom." He thus appears inclined to the analytical philosophy, namely, to the "investigation of the meaning of statements," because "he cannot think of what other course philosophy at this moment could have taken." What sort of relation, then, subsists between philosophy and Christian faith? Professor Sittler's answer is "chaos!" But while this is a fact, he goes on to affirm that "the achievement of a relation... is nevertheless an obligation." We must therefore "Christianly wait"-wait in the eschatolo­ gical sense of waiting in confidence and hope. He finds three hopeful signs at present: the ecumenical inquiry, the social dimension of salvation, and "society and the creation" considered "as the cosmic theatre for Godly will." There is remarkable honesty in Professor Sittler's whole account­ honesty concerning the state of philosophy and theology at present in the United States, and honesty concerning his own state of mind. With respect, therefore, to any infusion of philosophy and the process of philosophizing by the Holy Spirit of God, and any intellectual elaboration, in a thoroughly integral and authentic manner, of the data of revelation, we have, so far as both America and Professor Sittler are concerned, simply to "wait." And, I agree, the "waiting" is not altogether without hope. (9) Bishop Ignace Abdo Khalife (since the Symposium he has been elevated to the episcopacy) examines the Catholic Churches in the Middle East during the 100 years of the existence of the University. These comprise



the Maronites, the Melkites, the Chaldeaens, the Syriacs, the Copts, and the Armenians, who are in thoroughgoing communion with Rome. The basic problem of all these Churches, living as they have been for centuries in the midst of adverse political and social conditions, has been to maintain their loyalty to the Holy See without losing their proper Oriental identity and traditions. This meant in effect a struggle against Latini�ation and 11 revival of Oriental spirituality-the passage from relative spiritual lethargy to the opening of the eyes to the immense riches of the native traditions, from a self-defensive and self-withdrawn frame of mind charged with suspicion and condemnation of others to one of greater objectivity, fraternity and trust. The two specific issues were the liberty and validity of the Oriental liturgical rites and the dignity and authority of the Oriental Patriarchs, especially as the Patriarchal institution was the traditional form of ecclesias­ tical government in the Middle East, recognized and honored by Rome from the beginning. Bishop Khalife distinguishes four periods in the evolution of these Churches during the century under review : (I) the period of disorders and massacres which opened with the peasant revolt in Lebanon of 1858 and culminated in the "reglement organique" for Lebanon of 1864, period in which the old organization of Christian Lebanon was destroyed and "the twofold discipline," as opposed to uniformity of legislation and outright Latinization, began to take shape; (2) Vatican Council I in which Patriarchal authority, the election of Bishops by local synods, the preservation of native customs and usages, and "disciplinary dualism," were all defended and recognized; (3) the slow inner development that has been maturing since 1870 - the founding of schools, colleges and universities, of semi­ naries, monasteries, convents and missionary institutions, of hospitals, homes for the aged, and homes for young women, the rise of religious orders, both for men and women, the founding of journals and magazines and the publishing of innumerable books, both general and religious, and the emer­ gence of an intellectual elite expressing their witness in national and social solidarity ; and (4) Vatican Council II as the culmination for the Catholic Christians of the Middle East of a process, already begun since World War I, of preoccupation with the temporal city, and thus of ecumenical openness, at once to one another, to the Orthodox and other Christians, and to the Muslims, with the result that the closed system of communal particularism began to break down. Bishop Khalife rightly stresses the incalculable con­ tribution of the Saint Joseph University towards this century-long matura­ tion and development. There is a separate long section treating the relations between the Oriental Churches and Rome during the century under study. This compri­ ses the reigns of eight Popes: four Piuses, Leo XIII, Benedikt XV, John XXIII, and Paul VI. During this period the Orient started exercising an



increasing pull upon Rome. The Latinization problem was solved by the "twofold discipline;" one Encyclical after another recognized the theological, spiritual, liturgical and disciplinary patrimony of the Churches of the Orient; a conference of Oriental Patriarchs was called and presided over by Leo XIII in 1894; Benedikt XV established the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Institute for Oriental Studies, and proclaimed St. Ephrem Doctor of the Church; the project of an Oriental Canonical Law was first conceived by Pius IX in 1862, then taken up by Pius XI and promulgated in part by Pius XII and in full by Paul VI in Vatican Council II; but it was first under John XXIII, and then under Paul VI who carried on the impulse through the instrumentality of Vatican Council II, that ecumenism took a decisive turn, in a remarkable new spirit and attitude, and in a disarming openness and comprehension. The Oriental Patriarchs, three of whom were made cardinals for the first time, played an important part in the deliberations of the Council, and were given a special place of honor apart from the other Fathers of the Council; and this rapprochement between East and West was crowned by the lifting in the final day of the Council in December, 1965, by both Rome and Constantinople, of the mutual excommunications that had been standing for nine centuries. The Encylicals between the two Vatican Councils to which Bishop Khalife alludes manifested in fact a different tone from the spirit evident in the pronouncements of Vatican Council II. Among other things, we find Pius IX speaking of "Greek schismatics" and "the schism of Photius," Leo XIII expressing "the yearning desire... that the day is not far distant when the Eastern Churches, so illustrious in their ancient faith and glorious past, will return to the fold they have abandoned," and remarking "that bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling, if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors," and Pius XII insisting that "the true Church of Jesus Christ" must be "Roman." I discern a different spirit in John XXIII and the impetus he started. Perhaps the results of the researches of Dvornik and Congar, as to whether Photius was really "schis­ matic," as to whether it is, so far as the Orthodox Church was concerned, ever really a matter of "return to the fold," and as to the real character of the so-called "secession," were either unknown or insufficiently appre­ ciated by the earlier Popes. In my opinion, Rome should never weaken in (I have no fear it ever will)-should in fact always absolutely insist on (I am certain it always will)-affirming the absolute integrity of its own conception of itself; for were this weakening ever to take place, which, in the nature of the case, is absolutely impossible, it would literally be, in my view, the end of the world. At the same time, I believe that Constantino­ ple and all the Orthodox Churches in direct communion with it absolutely constitute the true Church of Jesus Christ. These two categorical statements



of mine about Rome and Constantinople, far from putting me before an horrendous contradiction, argue in my mind for the absolute necessity of reunion. The reunion is coming, and in it both Rome and Orthodoxy will be proven right. Only we must be patient, loving, humble, and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. For what is human contradiction and narrowness and error, what are nine centuries, befor� the might of the Holy Spirit ? The will of Him who conquered the world is bound always to win in the end. And everybody knows that unity m diversity is His will. ( IO )

The Oriental Orthodox Churches treated by Bishop Karekin Sarkissian are those called "Monophysite," "Ancient" or "Lesser Eastern." What constitutes them into a separate family is the fact that they have not been in communion with Orthodoxy or with Roman Catholicism since their "common rejection of the Council of Chalcedon" in 45 1 and of "the Tome of Pope Leo." They comprise the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church in India, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Church. The term "Ortho­ dox" here should be sharply distinguished from the Orthodoxy of the See of Constantinople and the churches in communion with it, as all these chur­ ches subscribed to the definitions of Chalcedon. The total number of adherents of these non-Chalcedonian Churches is of the order of 25 million faithful. From the point of view of Christian witness, they are providentially located in some of the most strategic regions of the world : at the heart of Africa in Ethiopia, at the heart of the Middle East in Egypt and Syria, at the heart of Asia in India, and in Soviet Armenia as well as in the Armenian diaspora throughout the world. People had tended to view these Churches as "sheer relics of ancient venerable traditions," and the West was in the habit of looking upon them as "cultural, archaeological" phenomena, but this has all changed. They are living Christians carrying on in a living way their witness to the faith as it has been handed down to them. Three circumstances have helped them to come out of their age-old isolation and stagnation : the general world-wide awakening, the challenging and vivifying ecumenical contacts and partici­ pations which these Churches have had in recent years, and an inner process of maturation. The result for all of them has been a new awareness of their distinctive theological, liturgical and spiritual traditions, a discovery of their common faith, a new involvement in the challenges of their immediate environment, including the possibilities of evangelization, the opening of new churches, schools, seminaries, orphanages, etc., and an ever more active participation in the ecumenical movement.



The Conference of the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches which was held in Addis Ababa in January, 1965 was a landmark in the history of these Churches. ((For the first time, since the 4th-5th centuries, the Heads of these sister Churches were seeing and meeting each other in the whole company of the family." The findings and resolutions of this Conference constitute an important text for these Churches and for the contemporary ecumenical movement. The Standing Committee appointed by the Conference to further the task of rapprochement and plan for future contacts and meetings has held several meetings since the convening of the Conference. Progress has been slow, but this is to be expected after fifteen centuries of separation. Bishop Sarkissian speaks of three processes determining the life of these Churches both in the recent past and in the future: recovery, rediscovery and renewal - recovery from the terrible political and social persecutions to which they had been subjected for centuries, as well as from the hampering effects of Catholic and Protestant attempts at proselytization; rediscovery of their own traditions, their great Fathers, and the transforming power of the liturgy, including especially the absolutely central importance of the Eucharist; and renewal of Church life in all its aspects. The three pre-eminent contributions which these non-Chalcedonian Churches can modestly make to the Church Universal are, according to Bishop Sarkissian, the bringing "of the presence of the divine dimension" into this secularized world, namely, the abolition of the sharp distinction between sacred and secular, which is born out of cctheir full integration in the national life of their peoples;" providing a unique model of unity in diversity for the Church unity so ardently sought under the general ecume­ nical impulse of our day; and "to bear witness to what it means in the context of a given situation to live as a minority in the midst of a stronger and dominant non-Christian environment," since the one overpowering single fact of the whole life of these Churches throughout all their history has been oppression, persecution, suffering, at the hands both of Christians and non-Christians alike. The problem of understanding one another in successive conferences and re-establishing a common fellowship among them is relatively easy; nor will it be difficult to sharpen and deepen their social consciousness and responsibility in their native lands, as the unrelenting pressures of modern existence will inevitably see to that. What is more difficult is how to heal the tragic breach which occurred at Chalcedon, by facing squarely and from the depths the basic Christological issues raised at that Council and coming to a settled agreement with Rome and Constantinople on them. The conferences at Aarhus, Denmark of 1964 and Bristol, England of 1967 have helped to clear up many misunderstandings, but the depths of the matter are yet to be plumbed. Nor can these Churches agree on the



matter of Chalcedon with Constantinople alone; for Chalcedon is not the exclusive property of Constantinople. Since therefore on this question both Constantinople and Rome absolutely see eye to eye, Constantinople cannot agree on anything with the non-Chalcedonian Churches on this all-important issue without first making sure that Rome also agrees. Even this formidable problem, which demands infinite humility and brokenness at the feet of the Cross, is not beyond the pale of mastery under God, especially at this wonderful moment in history in which the Holy Ghost is most active and most creative among all those who seek the truth and the will of Christ in absolute sincerity, and in utter detachment from them­ selves, from their past, and from the world. ( II ) The last contribution is printed here in the original Arabic in which it was delivered. I propose therefore to give it a slightly more detailed treatment for the benefit of those who do not know that language. Bishop Georges Khodr (he has since been elevated to the episcopacy; thus three of our participants, Willebrands, Khalife and Khodr, have received ecclesiastical promotions since their participation in our Sym­ posium in 1967) addressed the Symposium on Greek Orthodoxy in the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries. The principle of Christian Hellenism determined Byzantine Christianity, and not that of Caesaropa­ palism as the West until recently mistakenly believed. A harmony and a parallelism between the two realms, the sacred and the secular, had been instituted and practiced for centuries. With the fall of Constantinople under the Ottoman Turks the dhimma system was applied to the Christian subjects of the Empire, and the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople was granted special privileges and rights in the secular order, and his traditional religious prerogatives were uncurtailed. With the dissolution of the world view of Byzantine civilization a narrow Greek phyletism arose under Ottoman rule, which in turn provoked and induced the phyletism of the Bulgar and Arab faithful. With vanishing exceptions in the Middle East, the Church now is run by nationals and not by Greeks, both in Bulgaria and the Middle East. The interest of Russia in the Orthodox of the Middle East had been persistent and deep throughout the centuries. Up to the First World War more than 100 schools had been established or supported in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine by the Russian Orthodox Church, but since the Revolution this massive religious interest has dwindled almost to the vanishing point. In the struggle between the two phyletisms, the Greek and the Arab, the Russians supported the latter. The eternal Eastern Question in all its dimensions and intensities unfolds itself in the saga of Orthodoxy in the



Middle East. The mixed councils, which the Ottomans instituted for the Church in the 19th century under the impulse of their democratic liberalism, itself induced by the underlying Eastern Question, were an invasion of the spiritual by the secular order, and therefore a departure from the strict tradition of the Church. Bishop Khodr, now a member of the Holy Synod of the See of Antioch, appears quite reserved towards the Greeks, the Russians, the Protestants, and the Vatican. He defends the independence of Antioch. In contemplating the history of the relations of Rome with Orthodoxy, he evinces a clear bitterness on many grounds, especially as regards the pillagings and mas­ sacres of the late Latin crusades. Despite the meetings of Athenagoras I and Paul VI in Jerusalem, Istanbul and Rome, and despite the lifting of the mutual excommunications between the two Churches at the end of Vatican Council II, Bishop Khodr remains to be convinced that there are fundamental changes in the attitude of Rome towards the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox are happy to cooperate in the World Council of Churches, always of course without any compromise on matters of doctrine or order, and it must be remembered that it was the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople which issued the first call for such a council in 1920. Bishop Khodr finds in Athenagoras I a giant among men willed of God for our times to lead in the movement for unity among Orthodox and for deeper understanding and rapprochement between Orthodox and non-Orthodox. A drawing together of the Orthodox Churches has been going on for decades, but especially during the sixties in the conferences at Rhodes and at the meetings, councils and assemblies of the World Council of Churches. It was at Rhodes that Orthodoxy took a decision to institute a dialogue with Rome, severally and, where possible, through the Ecumenical See. Bishop Khodr calls for some meeting, some understanding, some union between Orthodoxy and the non-Chalcedonian Churches. In general, he distinguishes between four Christian traditions or spiritualities; the Roman-Latin, the Graeco-Hellenic-Byzantine, the Aramaean, and the ancient Eastern. The first two are Western, the last two are Semitic. There are affinities between the first two, there are of course affinities between the last two, but there are also special affinities between the last three. He holds that Antiochian spirituality is very close to that of the Aramaean and ancient Semitic, and therefore the See of Antioch has a special role to play in relation to the Copts, Armenians, Syriacs and Indian Syrians. The clergy have been educated at Khalke near Istanbul and at Russian and Greek seminaries. A seminary is now arising at the Belmond Monastery in Lebanon which will be a milestone in the revival of Arab Orthodoxy. Important canonical studies have appeared in recent years in the Orthodox Church of the Middle East; we glimpse in these studies the germs of a ( (living theology ;" and ((perhaps the truth of the local Church is the most



important contribution of Orthodoxy after the Second World War." In the Sees of Alexandria and Antioch inquiries have been conducted on the nature of the episcopus and his relations to the people, and on the Patriar­ chal role and its relations to the Holy Synod. The Arabic translations of the Bible and their wide distribution among the faithful, the extensive publication of prayer and liturgical texts, the revival of church music and the great work of Mitri Murr in adapting the Arabic text to the Greek scales and tones, and the non-corruption of Middle Eastern iconography, by comparison with what happened in Russia and Greece in recent centuries, are among the signs of the resurrection of Orthodox spirituality in this area. Special mention must be made of the publication of portions of the Philokalia, a fa.-nous prose anthology of Greek monastic texts, edited by Bishop Makarios of Corinth and Nikodimos Hagioritis of Mount Athos. This great mystical handbook, 1207 pages long, helped considerably in reviving the mystical way of life in Russia, Rumania and lately Lebanon, through the practice of ''inner asceticism" and especially the "Jesus prayer" which is uttered in a particular bodily position with a special way of breathing. Bishop Khodr underlines the contributions of Orthodox in the cultural renaissance of the Arab world and especially in the national, political and social life. It is not an accident that three important political movements which played decisive roles in shaping events in recent history were all led by Orthodox. This is due to the fact, according to Bishop Khodr, that Orthodoxy stresses "our freedom in the Holy Ghost" and teaches that "all the people, and not only the clergy, are the custodians of the Faith," and to the further fact that "our people do not receive the truth passively from on high, they do not recognize it by the men who hand it down to them, but they recognize the men by it, and they regard themselves responsible for the entire life of the Church, for the comportment of leaders and followers alike, and for the state of affairs of institutions. " · Of the Orthodox Youth Movement, of which he is at once a founder, a leader and an inspirer, Bishop Khodr, doubtless from personal modesty, says little. But he conceives it as having taken shape in the early forties of this century from a sense of ccfear and trembling before the God whose depths had been forgotten." This led to the establishment of Syndesmos, a world Federation of Orthodox Youth Movements, with headquarters in Beirut; among its founders were Bishop Khodr himself and Maitre Albert Laham of Lebanon. So far as the achievements of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Syria and Lebanon are concerned we are told of "thousands of circles, meetings, retreats, of numerous writings, publications and educational formations, of religious orders and clergy arising under its influence, seeking the face of Christ in asceticism, worship, contemplating the word, manual labor, and preaching the Gospel." Some of Bishop Khodr's doctrinal and historical judgments call for



greater precision and elucidation, and in some instances deeper scholarly research. But his spirituality is authentically and unmistakably Antiochian, especially when he says at the end that the renewal in which he believes and which he has helped so devotedly to foster opens its heart to the homes of the spirit in Athens, Moscow, the Balkans and the Orthodox diaspora, as well as to every person who praises the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost throughout the entire universe, with "a Christianity perpetually nostalgic for the desert from whence it sprang, a Christianity hoping for a meeting with Muslims in dialogue and love in which only He who is the light of the heavens and the earth is recognized as Lord." It is of course alien to the whole intention or belief of Bishop Khodr to Arabicize or Syrianize or Levantinize Jesus Christ and His Church. Yet his language here and there and some of his meanings lend themselves to this erroneous interpretation. There is a touch of phyletism in the phrase ttthe Eastern Christian personality," and the assertion ttArab Orthodoxy... assumed responsibility for political history" raises profound questions concerning the relations of Christ and His Church to politics and history. Moreover, when he himself says the Orthodox Church must realize its ttcosmic dimensions and appreciate its uniqueness, not to assert it fanati­ cally, but to release it a movement in the service of humanity around us and the cause inherent in it," we find ourselves before a serious theological vagueness which demands clarification. It is one thing to be aware of one's own distinctive heritage and be humbly and thankfully proud of it; it is another thing to be proud of that heritage on the ground of nationalism or culture or apartness from the rest of the body of Jesus Christ. Christ is not to be ttused" for the world, no matter how high or worthy ttthe cause" might be; whatever service the Church can do for this desperately needy world must be proffered and performed to the glorification of His Holy Name. I find the Donatist heresy of North Africa from the third century on most instructive in this regard, a heresy which the East was mercifully spared at the time, although our forefathers were swaying under enormous troubles of their own. There is such a thing as completely forgetting the past and not dwelling on it; the Holy Ghost at times asks nothing less than that from us. It is a cross, but for the sake of His Cross it is nothing. How else can we hope to reconstitute ourselves again with our useparated brethren" into the one Church of Jesus Christ? And I am miserably unhappy until that happens. I'd rather forget and forgive even if others do not forget and forgive them­ selves, even if they continue hurting, trusting my act wholly to God. The unity of the whole is more important than the spotless perfection of any part, and ariy spotless perfection of the part apart from the whole is pride and illusion. I love my Orthodoxy and will never prove disloyal to it, but oh how I long for unity in faith and mind and heart with all those, in



Asia and Africa, in Europe and Russia, in the Middle East and America, who loved and suffered and died, and all those now who love and suffer and are prepared to die, for Jesus Christ! How I want to see only Jesus Christ in the face of each one of them! Let this longing be simple and deep on the part of a few, and unity will come in God's own day and way, without any loss of dignity or uniqueness. And while the Arab world and the Middle East need Orthodoxy, and while Orthodoxy can do much for them, Orthodoxy can do nothing until it is really worthy of Jesus Christ. Let us worry about Hirn first, in our individual lives, in the corporate life of the Church, and in our relations with other Churches, and our worry about the world then will take care of itself. Neither "the nation" nor > C'est, dit-il, > Leon XIII va plus loin et affirme