Church and State

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.

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CHURCH AND STATE

"And He said to them, 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (St. Luke 20:25).

It is a fact that our beloved country finds itself divided, in turmoil, in conflict, and afflicted with hatred. In other words, our country is, among other things, spiritually ill. As Orthodox Christians and citizens of the United States we must continue praying for the welfare of our country and the current president as we do in every Divine Liturgy: "For our country, the President, for every city and land, and for the faithful who live in them, let us pray to the Lord."

"The Church as a Divine-human organism has not only a mysterious nature not submissive to the elements of the world but also a historical component which comes in touch with the outside world including the state. The state, which exists for the purpose of ordering worldly life, also comes into contact with the Church. Relationships between state and the followers of genuine religion have continuously changed in the course of history." 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who reigns over heaven and earth (Saint Matthew 28:18) through becoming man subjected Himself to the worldly order of things, obeying also the bearers of state power. To His crucifier, Pilate, the Roman Procurator in Jerusalem, He said, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above" (Saint John 19:11). The Savior gave this answer to the tempting question of a Pharisee about whether it is permissible to pa to pay tribute to Caesar: "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (St. Luke 20:25).

"Explaining the teachings of Christ on the right attitude to state power, Saint Paul, wrote: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor" (Romans 13:1-7). The Holy Apostles taught Christians to obey the authorities regardless of their attitude to the Church. In the Apostolic era, the Church of Christ was persecuted both by the Jewish and Roman authorities. This did not prevent the Martyrs and other Christians of that time from praying for persecutors and recognizing their power.

Orthodox Christians can render the state (country) its due while serving God. As the Roman coin bears the image of the Emperor and is properly paid to him, so each person bears the image of God and belongs to Him. Conflict arises when the state demands of Christians what belongs only to God.

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7). May God bless America and all its citizens!

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George