“For the Life of the World”

Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and All Finland's speech at the 19th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America

  Source: Finnish Orthodox Church

July 27, 2018

oca.org oca.org


Tertullian famously asked: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem”? In the same way, one might ask why I am speaking to you today.

The OCA has a very diverse membership in three countries spread out over a hemisphere; the Church of Finland ministers in but one country, and to a rather homogenous, but more and more international population, of which more than a quarter live in metro Helsinki alone. We are under the canonical protection of Constantinople; you are tied to neither Constantinople nor Russia. It is true that one of our parishes, Ilomantsi, St. Elijah’s pogost, village, was founded in 1492 - the same year Columbus discovered your continent; but it is your language that is spoken around the world; while Finns are most famous for being quiet. So, what does the Church of Finland have to share with the Church in America?

The fact is that we share a special vocation among Orthodox Churches today. Unlike other Orthodox Churches, neither the OCA nor the Finnish Church have a large Orthodox population to sustain us, nor great monuments that have existed for thousands of years to keep us in society’s memory. Unlike other Orthodox Churches we have been given the unique challenge to witness Orthodoxy as minority churches (even among the Christians of our countries) in western, secular democracies. Our present requires, no, demands, that our two Churches, unlike other Orthodox Churches, focus not on the past but the future. In America, as in Finland, we are required to evangelize if we are to survive. Or to use Tertullian’s imagery again, our two Churches do not have the luxury of living in either Athens or Jerusalem.

...Read the rest at Finnish Orthodox Church.


to our mailing list

* indicates required