28/06/2022 01:00 AM EET
The parish is the nucleus of the ecclesiastical body since it encapsulates and epitomizes the whole mystery of the Church in place and time. It was the initial ecclesiastical community, one under the presiding bishop, which contained and experienced the whole of the life of the Church.
What happened later, with the evolution of the institution of the parish, is due to purely historical and practical reasons. There was an increase in the number of Christians and their geographical diffusion, which led to the creation of more ecclesiastical communities, under the supervision of priests. These communities thereafter constituted larger ecclesiastical units, under the bishop of the diocese. This new administrative and pastoral configuration may, of itself, have given rise to the functional operation of each local ecclesiastical community, but not to any form of autonomy from the bishop or diocese, which remained the reference points of the unity of the body of the Church. By the same token, the bishopric did not absorb the parish, the spiritual life of which still remains centered on the assembly of the faithful at the eucharistic/liturgical celebration conducted in the name of the bishop.
Believers experience the mystery of the Church in the life and practice of their parish, in which they strive and are sanctified, are unified with Christ and their brothers and sisters in the Lord, continuously putting into practical effect their existence in Christ and their attachment to the Church. So any discussion about the parish and its life is, in essence, a discussion about the Church itself and its presence in the world.
But how is the life of the parish structured, according to our Orthodox tradition? To begin with, the parish is established with a single aim: the sanctification of its members. This aim has remained firm and unchanged throughout the centuries. Any alteration of this would automatically mean a mutation of the parish and its descent into a secular grouping (association, company, etc.) which would have lost its ecclesiastical character.
The question, therefore is clear: what is to be done today? Only patristically can it be understood that the main purpose of the parish is not to fulfill some sort of social or humanitarian role or to be taken up entirely with ‘rituals’, and ‘feasts’ and certification of births, marriages, and deaths, but to be a living and active ‘workshop’, for salvation and glorification. It should be an arena for combatting death, sin, and corruption, as well as a font for rebirth and resurrection. Its social (humanitarian) work will then be mobilized in the struggle for glorification, while its sociability and fraternity will be the natural fruits of communion with the uncreated grace of God. When a parish becomes fully aware of the reason for its existence, then it will cease to be a place for occasional meetings and will become the entire center of the whole life of those who want to be Christians. The church will then not be merely a locus for rites, or- in the best case- a center of worship, but will function precisely as the main church of a monastery. Just as, in the monastic coenobium, there is a permanent combination of the altar, refectory, and cell, with the act of worship in the church continuing into the refectory and cell, so, in an authentic parish, the act of worship in the center of the parish extends into the home of each parishioner, which then becomes a ‘home’ church. Mutual interaction and reciprocity of the church and the home are imperative. And, I would add, so is the inclusion of local authority, as was the case at the time of the Turkish occupation. This will achieve the necessary unity between spiritual and socio/political life which is the natural life of Orthodox people.
- Date: Monday 27 Jun 2022
- Time: 7.00pm-9.30pm (EST)
- Price: Single Seminar Ticket: € 37, Full Series (13 Seminars) Tickets Bundle: € 337 (30% Discount)
16.00pm PDT Pacific Time | 23.00 pm GMT Greenwich Mean Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 00.00 am CET Central European Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 01:00 EST Eastern European Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 02:00 MSK Moscow Standard Time Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 08:00 am JST Japan Standard Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 07:00 am AWST Australian Western Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 09:30 am ACDT Australian Central Time | Tuesday 28 Jun 10:00 am AEDT Australian Eastern Time |
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- Lectures 11
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 3 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 0
- Assessments Yes
Parish personalities in the history of the Church
Establishment and operation of parishes
Administration and organization of the parish
The Word of God in the parish
Pastoral advice and spiritual guidance
1. Pastoral care in an urban/suburban parish
2. Pastoral care in a rural parish
Young people and the parish
Voluntary efforts and the work of the parish
The parish: problems, difficulties and prospects