Sunday, 29 July 2012

St. Cyril of Jerusalem on Church Politics

This particular quote refers specifically to the doctrinal divisions that took place in the Church in St. Cyril's day - primarily the battle of the Orthodox against Arianism - but I feel his words are in many ways applicable to those of us who take an often unhealthy interest in Church politics and spend more time worrying about which patriarchs are fighting over jurisdiction in a particular area, or different figures who clash over opposing ideologies, etc. than we do about our own sinfulness and relationship with Christ.
"If you shall hear that bishops advance against bishops, and clergy against clergy, and people against people even unto blood, be not troubled; for it has been written before. Take no notice of the things now happening, but the things which are written. Even if I who am teaching you am to die, you do not die with me. No, a hearer may even become better than his teacher, and he who came last might be first, since the Master receives even those of the eleventh hour . If among the Apostles there was found treason, are you surprised that even among bishops there is found hatred of the brethren? But the sign concerns not only rulers, but the people also; for He says, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Will any then among those present boast that he entertains sincere friendship towards his neighbour? Do not the lips often kiss, and the face smile, and the eyes brighten truthfully, while the heart is planing guile, and plotting mischief with words of peace?" 
Catechetical Lectures 15:7

1 comment:

  1. Nice. A good reminder. I especially like the phrase, "If among the Apostles there was found treason, are you surprise that even among bishop there is found hatred of the brethren?"