Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic of historic Poland,
Your Excellency, Mr. Chairman of the Parliament,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Government headed by the Prime Minister,
Your Beatitude, Metropolitan of the Church of Poland,
Honorable Members of Parliament,
Beloved Children In Christ.

It is with great joy and deep emotion that we rise before this podium to address you, the select representatives of the devout Polish people, and through you to all the people whose piety is known throughout the world, the heartfelt and warm greetings, full of love, of our Modesty and those of our Holy Eastern Orthodox Great Church of Christ of Constantinople. We wish to express our warmest thanks your Excellency, Chairman of the Parliament, for the kind and honorary invitation sent to us in order that we may address from this high place the honorable parliamentarians of the historic Polish Nation and convey the ways in which our Orthodox Church responds to the challenges and tensions of the contemporary world, as well as the way in wich politics interfaces with the decalogue in our estimation. We also wish to thank all of you, Honorable Members of the Parliament, as well as all those who are listening to us at the present time, for your attention and labor listening to our humble and unadorned discourse.

The Orthodox Church is not, of course, unknown to the Polish State, given the fact that she has been represented here for many centuries by a significant number of the citizens who are her members. Too, the missionary activity of the Orthodox Saints and Equal to the Apostles, Cyril and Methodios, the Thessalonians, as well as the activities of their successors and co-workers, have left indelible marks and memories in many parts of beloved Poland.

Beyond this fact, the proximity of Poland to many predominantly Orthodox countries, as well as the universal and diachronic radiance of Byzantine civilisation wich was deeply influenced by the Orthodox faith, leave no doubt that some knowledge of the Orthodox faith exists also in Poland. The first period of Christian life in the whole of Europe, where the first among the Orthodox saints are still honored and many Orthodox churches and icons are preserved, was in any event Orthodox. One may say that the entire European civilization began its development on the foundation of the Orthodox faith. However, it seems to have lapsed into today's anthropocentrism since the West, unlike the East, has been unable to combine in a harmonious manner the rationalism of the classical Greeks with the transcendent knowledge Of the church Fathers, thus subjecting the latter to the former. Nonetheless, the brillance of the Orthodox Fathers of the undivided ancient Church, such as Basil the Great, the two Gregories, St. John Chrysostom, and others, not excluding Photios the Great, continues to illuminate both East and West, while deep study of their thought has much to offer to both realms.

The fact that the Orthodox of Poland, a country whose overwhelming majority belongs to the Roman Catholic Church as well at the fact that the Orthodox throughout the world insist on remaining Orthodox, raise the question of what is for them and in truth the essential difference between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. Why do the minority Orthodox not follow the preference or the many, but insist on differenciating themselves religiously from the majority regardless of the consequences ? Your keen interest in the nuanced understanding of the distinctive differences between them is, in any case, evidenced by the invitation to our Modesty to develop this topic before you. Certainly, you are well aware of the Roman Catholic Church's view on the subject. But you are also to be commended for your desire to enrich your knowledge and come to know as well the position of the Orthodox Church on this subject by inviting us, just as the ancient Athenians invited the Apostle Paul to the Aeropagus, and by repeating their words to us "We would like to know what this new teaching is wich you present» (Acts 17, 19-20)

The Orthodox Church does not confront the challenges and tensions of the contemporary world as something different than the challenges and tensions of the world at any epoch. She knows that these challenges and tensions are expressions of an inner disharmony of humanity in relation to that wich humanity was called to be. And that wich humanity was called to be was clearly stated by God at the time of man's creation.

«Let us make man to our image and our likeness» (Gen 1, 26). An image is marked by continual reference to the prototype wich it reflects, in this case, the prototype of humanity is the Triune God, who revealed from the beginning His triune personhood by using the plural «let us make» instead of the singular «let me make». The relationship of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, a relationship of absolute love and mutual indwelling, and also a relationship of absolute harmony of divine wills, is precisely the prototype that humanity has relinquished. In the person of Adam, humanity sought to become independent from its relationship with God, and to become autonomous "as God" (Gen. 3:3,22) by raising its own will as a will entirely opposed to the will of God in an act of rebellion. In other words, humanity to live and act in a way that was different from the manner of life or its prototype, the Holy Trinity. It is in the image of the Holy Trinity that humanity ought to have lived in order to be truly human according to the nature that was foreseen by its Creator.

Therefore, by becoming independent of the prototype in whose image it was created to reflect, humanity lost its original nature and became something ontologically different, namely, an incomplete humanity, bearing within itself corruption, disharmony, division, turmoll, insecurity and to other evil passion, together with the unyleiding desire to be justified by its own power in order to prove that it did not err in seeking to conquer God himself.

The result of this estrangement is the continual projection of power throughout the centuries as the goal to be pursued.This resulted in the great tensions and conflicts between those who sought to dominate one another. This chase after power, this pursuit after glory, this drive for dominance, whether by means of physical strenth or economic wealth, or scientific knowledge, or military arms, or by any other means marks the root of all tensions and challenges of the past and present.

Naturally, the path of humanity toward dominance of one over another, or of one group over another, or of one nation over another and so forth, has provoked the continual increase of rival powers and will provoke, if not halted, the final titanic conflict that will bring about the complete self-destruction of the human race.

Therefore, in order to avoid the actualization of this (rational, not prophetic) foresight concerning the self-destruction of humanity, we must revise the logic of power and return to the logic disclosed by the Holy Trinity, to wich we are called to be faithfull images in order to remain trully human and "gods" merely by means of egoistic fantasy.

It was impossible for humanity, being distorted by the interruption of communion with its God, to conceive this other logic. And «humanity would remain sleeping», according to the saying of Socrates, if God, did not come down from the heavens in order to reveal the real truth. And God , in one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, became incarnated and as God-man restored the icon of God found in man. More so, not only this, but He also changed ontologically the human nature, restoring it to its original state. As the new Adam, He became then the prototype, not a heavenly or inaccessible one, but one tangible and visible. Moreover, He simultaneously became also the body of the Church to wich each willing person is engrafted and acquires or rather becomes part of the body of Christ, that is to say, a new Adam, a new person, a real person, being able to live the trinitarian life to love, freed from the complex of power. The insufficiency of the complex of power was manifestly demonstrated by the One who emptied himself of all power ; the Almighty who was crucified by the weak, the Immortal who was put to death by mortals, the Glorified who was derided by those who, in turn, were derided by each other and by the malicious devil.

The Orthodox Church, therefore, sees the contemporary world as a world having an «end» in the double sense of the greek word «telos», namely, meaning both «end» and «goal». With regard to goal, even contemporary astrophysists have already accepted that the humanistic principle rules the universe, that is, that the hole world works towards the purpose of serving humanity. In this regard the grandeur of humanity is incomprehensible, yet the psalmist by means of poetic perception and intuition conceived of it and exclaimed : «you have crowned him with glory and honor» (Ps. 8:5 LXX).

With regard to the end, that is, the «eschata» (last things) according to ecclesiastical terminology, the Orthodox Church lives each moment the consummation of the world, the victory of good over evil. Moreover, she lives the final conflict between, on the one hand, him who insists upon the logic of power, and will be defeated, and, on the other hand, him who accepts the logic of the Cross, and will conquer.

Consequently, for the Orthodox, the tensions and conflicts of the contemporary world are none other than manifestations of the final reckoning, wich even though final, is actualized in the present and, even though contemporary, projects before us the last things. This happens in such a manner that the present and the eternal, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, coexists in an ontic and not merely imagined coexistence.

All of these considerations add to our thought another dimension ; they open before us new horizons ; they reveal new visions.

Not many generations have passed since a contemporary, though departed, man of wisdom added to the three dimensions of space (height, widht, lenght) the fourth dimension : time. It is right then also for us to add to all other angles of vision, by wich we see the events of the world, including the conflicts and the tensions of our era, the dimension of the world's continuity (endeleheia), under whatever philosophical nuances of this aristotellan term, but mainly under the christian understanding of the world's «eschata» (last things), that is, as a reality already lived in the present and one to be inexorably consummated when the fullness of time arrives.

This concept of continuity has no connection whatever with the idea of absolute predestination which, in the view of the Orthodox Church, is erroneously taught by some who hold that God foreordains the final destiny of each person.

The Orthodox Church teaches that a christian must live in a state of constant ascetic struggle, not in order to earn by means of works one's ontological conversion, that is, attainment of likeness with God, wich is unachievable by human effort, but in order to demonstrate one's love for Jesus-Christ. Consenquently, the believer who struggles is freely incorporated by Christ into His own body, his uncreated Church, in order that the mortal nature be swallowed up the life of Christ (2Cor 5, 4) and be deified by grace, having been ontologically changed by the divine love of Christ and engrafted to Him. We see history from the perspective of the goal toward wich we are moving, that is, from the outcome which is none other than the final victory of truth. We evaluate all things from this perspective, working and struggling for earthly things not as if these were an end in themselves and the aim of all endeavors (as they are for many), but as if they are (and for us indeed they are) means to cultivate a path of harmony in conformity with the universal harmonious movement toward the triumph of the crucified Christ, wich can be impaded by no conflicts or tensions, or challenges, whether of the contemporary world or the one wich is ahead.

As a consequence of the eschatological perspective of the Orthodox Church, all short-term human goals, all contemporary events, receive their proper significance from their connection to the «end», the purpose, and goal of this world. Therefore, wherever in the present others see death, the Orthodox Church sees the future Resurrection. Wherever in the present others see the triumph of evil, the Orthodox Church resolutly sees the final victory of the good. And wherever in the present see unresolvable problems, the Orthodox Church beholds with optimism not always the resolution, to be sure, but always the possibility of surmonting them in the sense that, not even these difficult problems can halt the movement of the universe toward its salutary end according to God's design. Blessed is the one who conforms to this course, being indifferent to all intervening difficulties.

On this account the Orthodox Church strives with all its powers and all its love for the resolution of tensions and challenges in the contemporary world, and does not lapse into pessimism when either its own efforts or the efforts of others do not bear auspicious fruit. Of course, she grieves in human terms about all the sufferings visited upon man by man. However, her grief is not the grief of despairing. Because she knows that grief will finally be transformed into joy, she now lives the mystery of «charmolyne», joyfull sorrow.

In the struggle for the delusion of tensions and challenges in the contemporary world, the Orthodox Church does not utilize worldly methods and powers which actually escalate these tensions. In other words, she has never sought, nor does she seek, to impose changes on this world by means of power. It is well known in any case that all periodic reformers have abused their power and have destroyed the life of myriads of their fellow human beings who opposed their schemes either in reality or in imagination of the powerfull.

For this reason the Orthodox Church has never acquired nor desires to acquire state authority and political power which involve the use of the sword (Rom 13, 4), a matter which God subsequent to the human fall has reserved to wordly powers but has forbidden to his disciples (Mt 26, 52 ; John 18, 11). The Orthodox Church has never desired, nor does she desire, to acquire political power in order to complete with other political forces to presumably impose God's Dominion on society instead of a human dominion imposed by those political forces. Also for the same reason, she does not adopt nor supports the creation of political parties inclined towards her, parties through wich she could pursue the imposition of her views on various communities.

The Church's support in any event of a particuliar political party would entall the division of citizens into allies and rivals. This would militate against the catholicity of the Church whose purpose is to embrace all in their totality and not only a part of society alone. On this account the Orthodox Church proclaims appropriate principles and rejoices in seeing these principles adopted and implemented by all her members as well as by any other third party. But she not change herself into either a political party or a state. She utilizes the sword of the Holy Spirit wich is the world of God (Eph 6, 17), and leaves the physical sword to those who bear worldly power which the Church, together with the Apostole Paul, recognizes as «instituted by God» for the fullfilment of necessary and salutary tasks (Rom 13, 1-7).

The chief model for the Orthodox Church is our Lord and God-man Jesus-Christ who was crucified to save the world and did not impose His authority, speaking to Pilate with the words known to all : «my Kingdom is not of this world» (John 18, 36). Consequently, the Orthodox Church does not use «twelve legions of angels» (Mt 26, 53), nor servants to fight in human fashion on her behalf for her own protection and her imposition on others. Nor does she use human weapons, but rather the word of God and His grace, wich grace corroborates the word in ways it deems desirable (Mk 16, 20).

A characteristic of all worldly totalitarian regimes and of all ideologies is their setting up of a prototype as an ideal human model to wich they seek to enforce conformity by all the members of a society, forbidding any thinking that may deviate from this prototype. The Orthodox Church holds as her model the God-man Jesus-Christ who has created every human nation (Acts 17, 28) with all the multitude of individuals bearing an inexhaustible variety of personnalities and gifts. For this reason, the Orthodox Church has always respected every person and every nation.The Church has spoken and continues to speek to every nation in «its own language» (Acts 2, 8), and always with great concern for each nation's growth and development, and not for its induction into one system in wich the Church would be the dominating power. In this way the tension created between those who would absorb othersand those who would maintain their individuality, is eliminated. A positive relationship is established moreover between those who preach the Gospel in an orthodox manner and those who hear it proclaimed, a relationship of total freedom and love, just as in the case between Jesus, who was gentle and humble of heart, and His disciples to whom, when offended by some of His words, He adressed in full freedom the question : «Do you also wish to go away ?» (John 6, 67).

The message of the Orthodox Church is a word adressed to the free conscience of human beings, seeking their consent to enter into their inner world and form their spiritual functional system (please allow this expression taken from the terminology of the science of information). As it is known, the inward functional system of a human being defines his or her action, «those wich proceed from the heart» according to terminology of the Gospels (Mt 15, 18 ; Mk 7, 20). Consequently, radical and stable transformation of people and societies, and thus consistent defusion of conflicts and succesful responses to challenges, are achieved only when human hearts from whence problems arise are changed.

We all know that each person passes through stages of spiriritual growth and development during one's short life. Consequently, people of various degrees of development will always exist in society. There will always be a need for education and its main instrument, the word, for the betterment of human beings. For this reason, the Orthodox Church about wich we are speaking (and so too all the other Churches) continuously uses the gift of the word, having as main and unceasing work the «ministry of the word» (Acts 6, 4).

One example of the word which the whole Orthodox Church adresses to all the world's people is the «Message of the Heads of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches», promulgated recently from the Holy Places on the occasion of Christmas. The Heads of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, among whom the beloved brother and metropolitan Savvas of the Most Holy Orthodox Church of Poland is included, assembled in Bethleem, the place of the birth of our Lord Jesus-Christ according to the flesh, in order to celebrate together in unity and unanimity of soul the second millenium of Christ's birth. On the occasion of this Feast and our assembly, we promulgated the said message extolling both the unbreakable spiritual unity of the Orthodox Church composed of many autocephalous local Churches, as well as certain key aspects of the Orthodox and pan-christian faith. In addition we adressed the position of the Orthodox Church with regard to the topics included in this homily, namely, the tensions and challenges of the contemporay era. More specifically we proclaimed that the Orthodox Church boasts of her «weakness», being adorned with the «purple robe» of the blood of her martyrs, and drawing from the «water of tears» of her saintly ascetics. We confirmed the singular interest of the Orthodox Church in all the problems of human beings. We appealed to the powerful leaders of the earth to safeguard the precious value of peace throughout the world as well in the Holy Land. We declared that the Orthodox Church is prepared to contribute through the means at its disposal (wich cannot be political but of spiritual nature alone) for the maintenance of reconciliation and the elimination of the religious hatred and fanaticism. We extended a cordial hand of support toward all those who are persecuted on account of their convictions, even in cases when these are opposite to our own. We condemned the agressive proselytism of certain religious groups and confessions exercised in particuliar against the Orthodox Church. We marked the dangers wich lurk in the radical interventions into the basic structure and composition of the genetic material of living beings, as well as the risks present in every disruption of the physical environment by human irrational and egoistic interventions. We proposed the principles of the Gospels and the examples of the saints of our Church as sources of inspirations for the resolution of the great social problems of unemployment, hunger, the gasp between rich and poor, the cruel working conditions. In certain instances, the commercialization of human life, as well the training and protection of the youth and the family. We did not hesitate to say that the changes in international order must be conducted in the spiritual light of the Gospel and on the basis of the criterion of respect for human rights. Concerning other contemporary problems we proclaimed a word of truth as well. To our faithful, we exhorted purity of heart, humility and repentance, while expressing our grief for the division of christian world and the failure of many christians to embody the example of Christ in their lives.
Certainly, some may object that the above words are ineffective and that additional means must be utilized for their actualization. As it has been stated, however, the Orthodox Church judges that the use of other means, inasmuch as they are of a political nature and entall the use of power to accomplish those goals, are not within her juridiction. The Orthodox Church leaves the application of such measures to the political authority, whereas measures of philanthropy, education, support for the family and youth, spiritual guidance and help, and the like, are utilized extensively by the Church.
The above observation brings us to the second topic of our address, that of the relationship between politics and the decalogue. As it is known, we call decalogue God's fundamental ten commandments given through Moses to the Israelites after their exodus from the land of Egypt (Ex 20, 1-17). These commandments constitue even today basic principles accepted by contemporary societies. But the first commandment concerning the worship of the one God has become a completely personal matter for each human being, given the society established freedom of religion. The second concerning the prohibition against idols, and the third against taking God's name in vain, have been restricted to each citizen's purely personal domain apart from any governmental interference. The fourth concerning rest on the Sabbath has been legally established as a weekly day of rest almost universally, even though this day is observed in various places on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, according to local religious traditions.
The fifht commandment concerning honor which is to accorded to parents has become a matter of moral ethos, not a matter of legal mandate, with the exception of the acknowledged obligation of sustenance under certain conditions. The tenth commandment concerning not coveting what belongs to one's neighbor, does not concern society's political authority since it refers to the inward disposition of each citizen.
The sixth commandment prohibiting adultery is a moral and to a great extend legal injunction, irrespective of wether or not provisions are enacted for legal or other sanctions. The commandments «do not steal», «do not bear false witness», and «do not kill» continue to be legally institued and enforced.
It becomes obvious from the above that the question of the relationship between politics and the decalogue consists in the following : should governmental authority establish either all or some of the commandments of the decalogue as legal mandates ? Or should government abolish the legal enforcement of either some or all of the commandments ?
It has to be made clear that the purpose of civil authority is the maintenance of peace in order that the citizens may live and work together unimpeded within a sphere of religious freedom and tolerance of religious diversity. In non-totalitarian regimes state law confines itself to external obedience by citizens without inquiring into their inner disposition. On the contrary God's law seeks both inward acceptance of and external conformity to the commandments. In any event, a citizens' conformity to mandates because of necessity of fear of legal sanctions, as in the case of the command «do not kill», is socially very significant. From a christian viewpoint, however, although this fact constitutes moral progress with reference to murder, it is something less than sufficient because the Church calls for the sanctification of the inner disposition, as well, that is, for the achievement of release from bitterness itself (Eph 4, 31) ; for forgiveness and even more, for love towards one's ennemies (Mat 5, 44).
The Orthodox Church is deeply imbued with the conviction that «that the shadow of the law has passed with the coming of grace» and that the imposition of good order and salutary social rhythm belongs to the juridiction of secular authority (Rom 13, 4) to wich the Church can only present request and make suggestions. The Church invisions, as we said, that its primary concern is the inward transformation of citizens wich contributes to the betterment of societies. In view of the freedom we enjoy in Christ and the rejection in Christ of the imposition of views by mean of violence (despite the demand of obligatory conformity of citizens to legal mandates), the Orthodox Church does not hold that for religious reasons the decalogue must be endowed with aspects of legal force. On the contrary, given the contemporary social conditions, the institutionalization of any commandments of the decalogue as legal mandates for assuring their observance by citizens would generate only reaction and thus will result in harm rather than benefit. We are referring of course to murder, theft, or bearing false witness, the legal prohibition of wich are socially accepted, nor to the acknowledged measures of support for the elderly and the concomitant obligations of the children, measures wich each state will enact as a minimum level of legal obligations. We are rather reffering to the purely religious issues of the first and second commandments, and the purely ethical issue of the fifth commandment, the observance of both of wich the Orthodox Church clearly and openly views as being obligatory for the faithful. As far as the fifth commandment is concerned, the Orthodox Church does not of course wait for the legal mandate of the state in order to condemn the sinful act, wich is specifically and repeatedly condemned by the New Testament even as a mere movement of the soul (Mat 5, 28) and irrespective of the acceptability of a sinner's repentance (John 8, 3-11). In conclusion, the Orthodox Church views the commandments of the decalogue as principles to be kept by her members, whether the state enacts regulations in this regard or whether it judges that legal mandates against transgressions of some of the commandments are not to be instituted. The Church leaves to the state the responsibility of establishing necessary legislative and administrative measures, while the Church itself is concerned only with the teaching and the application of obligatory spiritual measures.
And thus we complete this summary presentation of basic positions of the Orthodox Church on the subject at hand. To recapitulate, these consist of the fact that the Church is powerfully concerned about the correct responses to tensions and challenges in the contemporary world and that she herself is energized to contribute to solutions by using the gift of the word and the measures at its disposal, without involving itself in politics and without making use of power to impose her views.
The above views of course, are not only ones which the Orthodox Church has to contribute for the enrichment of the Polish society and thought. The Church also possesses the great tradition of the hesychastic and ascetic Fathers, the liturgical tradition which is equally impressive, the immutable tradition of theological experience and thought, and the cultivation of letters and fine arts, particularly byzantine iconography and music, as well as the equally important tradition of social philanthropy and concilliatory spirit, and much more. It is for this reason that interest of Orthodox tradition is growing and continues to develop as a longing for a renewal experience in early christian spirituality. Your nation is blessed that it has within its bounds a living part of this Orthodox tradition, deeper knowledge of wich reveals both its riches and its relevancy. We are assured that the Orthodox Church of Poland enjoys and will continue to enjoy appropriate governmental care for the solution of its practical problems in the area of equality before the law and free developpment of its life, since it is not a foreign body but flesh of your flesh.
We express once again our deepest gratitude for the patience and the attention with wich you received our homily. We paternally wish to all health, long days, and divine illumination in the fullfilment of your manifold responsibilities. We invoke upon all the grace and the rich mercy of God. Amen.

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