November 27, 2012

What’s this all about?

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith” (1 Tim 1:5)

Life periodically gives us the opportunity to review what we’re doing and why. For members of the Orthodox Church in America the election of a metropolitan is one of those times, although paradoxically it is also the time when everything heats up with all systems go after a long period of uncertainty and waiting to see what would happen. The epistle readings now take us into Saint Paul’s pastoral letters, a good place to promote reflection on the work ahead.  At the start of 1 Timothy Saint Paul sets out the ultimate purpose of all that is done in the Church: visible, demonstrable love. Where does this come from? From an invisible inward well of a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith in the mercy, love and goodness of God, revealed in Christ Jesus. Our task is simply to keep that inner well in good repair, so that it can flow with the pure water of the Spirit.

The danger is that we forget this simple task or get bored with it and want something more exciting. Looking around at his fledgling communities Paul can already see this happening and the focus being lost. “Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion…” (1 Tim 1:6).  And this leads to the sorts of disorder and disruptions that Paul will describe in these letters. He is no self-righteous know-it-all. He is aware of his own weaknesses and blasphemies and considers himself the foremost of sinners, but this is what makes him aware too of the overflowing grace of God. And that’s the message he wants shared and lived, undistracted by any other discussions or preoccupations.

Metropolitan Tikhon’s First Video Message

Metropolitan Tikhon will spend most of this week working at the Chancery and already has a number of events to attend in the New York area. Last Sunday he started moving in to the Metropolitan’s apartment and will go back to Pennsylvania on Wednesday to continue packing-up before coming back to Syosset on Thursday. 

Today, after meeting with the chancery officers this morning, Met Tikhon met briefly and had lunch with the Pension Board, chaired by John Sedor and overseen by Archbishop Nikon.

Metropolitan Tikhon Video

Yesterday His Beatitude spent a good part of the day preparing and filming his first message to the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America. The short message was filmed by Yury Olshansky, a Russian actor, director and documentary film-maker who divides his time between New York and Rome. In New York he has been attending Christ the Saviour Church on 71st Street for many years. In Rome, Yury is one of the founders (with his brother) of the Italian branch of “Clown Care,” volunteer actors, magicians and clowns who visit hospitals and help relieve the distress of patients, especially children in pediatric wards (for more see