Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Babushki not Convertniki save the Faith

persecution.jpg“Converts will not save the Church ­ the Church will save them. There is a very scary trend in the Orthodox world today. Recent converts (traditional Orthodox canon law and spirituality would call them “neophytes”) have a disproportionate voice in the Orthodox religious media and their voice is often less than charitable. Those voices come across loud and clear: “we have found the True Faith, and we are going to rescue it from those who have squandered it for the last 2,000 years.” Their opinion is that the Orthodox Church is in such terrible shape that it is lucky they came along to save it. Publications like The Christian Activist, while seeming to provide a wide-spread vehicle for Orthodox thought and reflection, actually comes across more like a “right-wing” diatribe against the liberal movements corrupting our Church. Such movements which now seem to be corrupting the Church are things like working towards a modern language version of the Liturgy, discussing the Faith with those who are not Orthodox, etc.

The problem with that thinking (Has there ever been a time when the Church was not beset by problems? Ever a time when the Church was not populated with both the zealous and the lukewarm?) is that it ignores the lights and luminaries of the Church for the past 2,000 years that have preserved and handed down the faith. Such luminaries include famous ones like the Fathers and Mothers of the Church, people such as St. Innocent, St. Herman, St. Tikhon, St. Alexis, Bishop Raphael, Metropolitan Leonty, Archbishop Kiprian, Fr. Georges Florovsky, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Fr. Stanley Harakas, Serge Verhovskoy, Sophie Koulomzin, etc. But it also includes not so famous ones like the simple people of Russia who kept the Church alive through Communism despite threats, torture and death, the priests who handed the parishes down to us through the ages, the babushki and dedushki who kept their families Orthodox, etc.”

Cradle-born Thoughts – Fr. John Dresko


February 7, 2008 - Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , ,


  1. An Orthodox luminary of the sixth century, St. Benedict of Nursia, taught something in his Rule for monasteries which may be of benefit as a complement or balance to the article above. He says that when a neophyte, some brand-new person, arrives at the monastery, and has a criticism, the Abbot should listen carefully to it, in case God sent him for the very reason of having “fresh eyes” and being of use to the monastics well-established in the place.

    It can be both-and and not just either-or.

    Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | March 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. Good post.

    Comment by Andrew | December 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. Good stuff!

    I recently picked up the game of golf. I am now writing Tiger Woods, his game is so messed up!! If only he would listen to me. Poor Tiger.

    Comment by parchemente | February 7, 2008 | Reply

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