by Archimandrite Georgios Kapsanis, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Gregoriou †
Today the Church is facing another iconoclast controversy: the pressure being exercised upon it by secular society to conform to its values and ideals, so that the Church will also become secularized.
The danger to the Church from secularization is enormous. Instead of the Church helping society to become more ecclesiastical, the world is attempting to influence the Church and turn it into the world. So, the Church will retain its forms and norms, but will lose its faith. It will suffer the same fate as Papism, about which Saint Nektarios wrote:
‘Through the dogma of infallibility, the Western Church lost its spiritual freedom, it lost the adornment of this freedom, it was shaken to its foundations, it was deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, of the presence of Christ. From being spirit and soul it became a speechless body’.
The essence of secularization is anthropocentrism. The essence of the Church, on the other hand, is theanthropocentrism. If the Church loses or reduces its divine/human nature, it declines into being merely a religious foundation or into being only one of the numerous religions in the world.
Secular people accept the Church as one of the religions of the world, but not as the sole Truth which saves people, in Christ. With this in mind, they attempt to equate the Orthodox Church with other religions. This leads to a universal religion through the collaboration of all religions. The aim isn’t the Truth which saves, but world peace. Naturally, this aspiration is in the interests of the world leaders of this age, who want nations to be subject to their authority and peaceful (cowed) through the co-operation of religions.
For the sake of peaceful co-existence, the Orthodox don’t confess Christ at interreligious gatherings. And so they allow the Church to be enlisted among the monotheistic religions, together with Judaism and Mohammedanism. But it’s a fundamental teaching of the New Testament and the holy Fathers that those who do not believe in the three Person of the Holy Trinity and in the incarnate Word of God are atheists. ‘Those who do not honour the son, do not honour the father who sent him’. ‘Those who do not believe in the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon them’. According to Saint Basil the Great: ‘Those who have not believed in the Son, do not believe in the Father’.