December 17, 2009

ROCOR - Better and Different?

I do not like to blog Personal opinions or experiences, I tend to just report about orthodox news, articles, and books with a traditional outlook. However, recently I was confronted by an Orthodox Priest with the question of why I am a member of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russian (ROCOR) instead of his closer Orthodox parish of another jurisdiction. The best I could answer at the time was that I felt called to membership in ROCOR and could identify myself better with the Russian traditions and left it at that in order to avoid any polemic discussion. Within this conversation it was implied that ROCOR thought of itself as Better and Different than other Orthodox jurisdictions in America. The truth is Better and Different is a matter of opinion. I do not see ROCOR as necessarily better, as this would be a unorthodox virtue, as we are called to meekness and to think of ourselves as the chief of sinners. Nor is ROCOR different in comparison to the Orthodox faith from centuries ago. ROCOR is only different in comparison to other jurisdiction in America. Most might think of ROCOR as an ultra conservative in tolerate jurisdiction for its adherence to tradition and the old calendar, but that would be confusing conservatism with traditionalism.

ROCOR is actually very moderate and teaches a simple Orthodox faith and tradition. For this ROCOR stood apart from other Orthodox groups on two fronts. First is the New Calendar ecumenists and modernists that have gone against the tradition of the Church by introducing a new ecclesiastical Calender outside of a decision of an Ecumenical Council and who continue to renovate and abbreviate liturgical services. On the other front ROCOR battles Old Calendar super correctiveness that "preached asceticism without love, the application of akrivia (the strict and literal interpretation of the canons) and never ikonomia (pastoral dispensations).1"

Despite this ROCOR has never officially expressed views of these Churches being without grace or outside of the Church. Thus, ROCOR is neither Better or Different in fact it has remained the same despite so many Better and Different views that have encamped round about Her.

1. Archpriest Andrew Phillips

1 comment:

Chris said...

When I lived in Omaha, I worshipped at the Orthodox Church farthest from me. Though I had extensive contacts with priests from the other jurisdictions, never was I asked why I didn't come to their churches which were geographically closer.

Unfortunately, I think that many Orthodox, both laity and clergy, view the ROCOR as "too traditional" and "too conservative" and even "too old world" for today's modern Orthodox Christian since it observes the Old Calendar, does encourage teh faithful to fast and pray and give alms and still uses Slavonic in a lot of its liturgies and offices.

Orthodox is Orthodox. Some can't accept that, though.