The Role Of The Church In Orthodoxy Is To Reconcile Man

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The role of the Church in Orthodoxy is to reconcile man to God through healing and ultimately assist man on his quest to deification. The canons are a perfect expression of this journey. In Orthodoxy, the canons are understood to have a deep and profound meaning in the life of the believer. They are intended to guide each believer in their respective time and context. To deny the reality or the expression of the truth in the canons is to deny the influence of the Church Fathers. In addition, the person who holds this view is blatantly passing judgment on the faithful who lived in a different context and age. This inaccurate viewpoint often forces one to judge without a proper understanding of all the relevant facts. Ironically enough it is …show more content…

St. Nikodemos expresses this clearly, “…Deprive the Church of the holy canons, and disorder at once intrudes; and as a result of the disorder all her sacred adornment disappears” (Patsavos 28). The role of salvation has been handed to the Church in order to guide her flock to the ultimate union with man and God. The cannons are a unique instrument that allows for this goal to become a reality, “The holy canons help fallen humanity remain united and in a harmonious relationship with one another in the Church” (Patsavos 27). Therefore, it is clear that in Orthodoxy the canons play a very important role in assisting the sick in order to be healed. However, Patsavos warns against diluting the Church into a mere set of rules (Patsavos 4). Obviously, this extreme point of view ignores all other aspects of the Church and turns the canons into the end and not a means to the end. This legalism is clearly not the intention of the canons.
The canons are meant to be followed in Spirit and are without a doubt pastoral in nature. If we ignore the pastoral nature of the canons we turn the Church into a legal institution. This is where the zeal of many towards the canons often leads to a misunderstanding that the canons must be followed by the letter of the law. Patsavos provides evidence for this point, “Canon 5 of the Holy Apostles forbids a bishop, presbyter, or deacon to put away his wife under the pretext of religion. A later decision of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod

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