Address to the 18th Triennial SOCA Address to the 18th Triennial SOCA

Address Delivered at the 18th Triennial Church Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States of America and Canada

©2003

 

Orthodox Christianity represents the freedom of man in his relationship with God. Orthodoxy teaches the truth about our identity. We are created in God's image. God is love, but not only love: He is selfless love. He is the love that gives and expects no return.

We are, or should be like God. We can never be happy unless we give. The history of our Church proves this. As Christ sent His Apostles to all the world, Orthodoxy established strong missions in the Slavic regions of the European world. The Russian Empire continued this missionary work to the Pacific, into Alaska, and down to California.

Unfortunately political upheavals like the rise of Communism and before that the rise of the Ottoman Empire put an abrupt stop to these missionary activities. But God in His infinite wisdom used those political upheavals to transplant His people to different parts of the world. Today Orthodox Christianity has been planted on every continent through immigration instead of by missionary work.

Here in the United States there are representative groups of all the major Orthodox jurisdictions of Eastern Europe and the middle East.

Unfortunately, we have not retained the spirit of Pentecost, but have been preserving the Western European policy of different and distinct nations. Nationalism has become more important than our Orthodox faith.

One, however, would say that today there is the European union. Nations re coming together. This is true, but they are not coming together in the name of Christ, but in the name of economics. This is the beginning of globalization which is the plan of all the globally dominant corporations and financial organizations.

In the face of this developing reality what is expected of us as members of the Body of Christ? Let us look at ourselves as Orthodox Christians.

Although Orthodoxy was transplanted to other parts of the world through emigration, what did our forebearers bring with them? What have the recent immigrants brought along with Orthodoxy?

October 2003

Metropolitan Isaiah