My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
By His Eminence Archbishop Averky of Blessed Memory
Few people know that the Orthodox Church is nothing less than that Church which has preserved untainted the genuine teachings of Jesus Christ, the very teachings delivered to every subsequent generation of believers. These teachings came down the centuries from the Holy Apostles, explicated and carefully interpreted by their legitimate successors (their disciples and the Holy Fathers), traditioned and conserved unaltered by our Eastern Church which is alone able to prove her right to be called "The Orthodox Church."
The Divine Founder of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, said clearly, "I will build by My Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her" (St. Matthew 16:18). To the Church, He sent the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended upon the Holy Apostles, the Spirit of Truth (St. John 15:16f), protecting her from error. Indeed, it was to declare this Truth to men that the Lord came into the cosmos (world), according to His Own words (St. John 18:31). And Saint Paul confirms this fact in his letter to his pupil, the bishop Timothy, saying that, "the Church of the living God is the ground and pillar of the Truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).
Because She (the Church) is "the ground and pillar of the Truth," "the gates of Hell cannot prevail against Her." It follows, then, that the True Christian church--palpably unique since Christ established but one church--has always existed on earth and will exist to the end of time. She has received the promise of Christ, "I will be with you even unto the end of the age." Can there be the slightest doubt that the Lord refers here to the Church? Any honest and sane judgment, any act of good conscience, anyone familiar with the history of the Christian faith, must confess that there was but one true Church founded by our Lord, Jesus Christ, and that She has preserved His Truth holy and unchanged. History reveals, moreover, a traceable link of grace from the Holy Apostles to their successors and to the Holy Fathers. In contrast to what other have done, the Orthodox Church has never introduced novelties into Her teachings in order to "keep up with the times", to be "progressive", "not to be left at the side of the road," or to accommodate current exigencies and fashions which are always suffused with evil. The Church never conforms to the world.
Indeed not, for the Lord has said to His disciples at the Mystical Supper, "You are not of this world." We must hold to these words if we are to remain faithful to True Christianity--the True Church of Christ has always been, is and will always be a stranger to this world. Separated from it, she is able to transmit the Divine Teachings of the Lord unchanged, because that separation has kept Her unchanged, that is, like the immutable God Himself. That which the learned call "conservativism" is a principal and, perhaps, most characteristic index of the True Church.
Since the truth is given to us once and for all, our task is to assimilate rather than to discover it. We are commanded to confirm ourselves and others in the truth and thereby bring everyone to the True Faith, Orthodoxy.
Repudiation of and preservation from apostasy which has made such enormous progress demands that we stand apart from the spirit of the age (which bears the seeds of its own destruction). If we expect to withstand the world, it is first necessary to understand it and keep sensitively in mind that in this present age...true Orthodoxy thinks only to serve God and to save souls and is not preoccupied with the secular and ephemeral welfare of men. True Orthodoxy is spiritual and not physical or psychological or earthly. In order to protect ourselves from "the spirit of the age" and preserve our fidelity to the true Orthodoxy, we ought firstly and with all our strength live blamelessly: a total and rigorous commitment to Christ, without deviation from the Commandments of God or the laws of His Holy Church...
We choose the way of fidelity to the True Faith and not the "modern way." We choose faithfulness to the True Church with all Her holy canons and dogmas which have been received and confirmed by the local and Universal Councils. We choose the holy customs and traditions, the spiritual riches of that faith transmitted complete and entire to us from the Holy Apostles, the Holy Fathers of the Church, and the Christian heritage of our venerable ancestors. This alone is the faith of the true Orthodox. We receive only the Apostolic Faith, the Faith of the Holy Fathers, the Orthodox Faith.
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God