Zaporozhye, Ukraine, November 3, 2022
Some clergy today are more like spectators at ancient gladiatorial fights than servants of the Church, laments His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
And what’s worse, they also drag others out of the Church and into the stadium with their penchant for political talking points and debate.
“The Apostle Paul wept for those who behaved as enemies of the Cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18). One of the reasons for such discord is that these people mind earthly things (3:19),” the archpastor writes on his Telegram channel.
Imagine a situation where a man is in need of urgent surgery, Met. Luke writes, but the surgeon refuses to come, because his favorite soccer team is playing.
His Eminence continues:
Those clergy who “fight” with their enemies in social networks and play “soccer” with words look the same—instead of leading people to God, on the contrary, the try to bring Christ down from Heaven and make Him the captain of their team. People with crosses and panagias, who have forgotten about their priestly oath, about what they were ordained for, why they went to serve in the Church. After all, they could have become journalists, political observers, war correspondents, and directly fulfill their duties. They didn’t have to put on a riassa and go serve in the Church to do this!
Imagine if the Apostles, instead of preaching the Gospel, would’ve started participating in political disputes or, even worse, would’ve been carried away by gladiatorial fights and spent all their time watching in the amphitheaters. The worst thing is that with such madness, some from among today’s clergy not only ruin their own souls by refusing to live according to the Gospel, but they also drag such enthusiastic fans from the Church to the stadium.
The world is a big arena. There will be wars until the end of time, injustices will be committed, innocent people will die. But God didn’t come to earth to solve social, military, or economic problems, but to save our souls, to lead us to the Kingdom of God, to a world where there will be no more sorrow. And a priest is a guide who’s supposed to show the way to this Kingdom first of all by the example of his own life. But when the guide is known as “His Eminence Ivan Susanin,” it’s a terrible thing.
Ivan Susanin is a Russian figure from the early 17th century who, according to popular legend, was hired by Polish troops seeking to kill Tsar Mikhail. He persuaded them to take a secret path through the forest, and neither Susanin nor the troops were ever heard from again. His name is often used today to mean the inability to show the correct path.