Monday, November 20, 2006

Chalk One Up for the Church's Catholicity

YouTube has videos of a Byzantine Orthodox service celebrated in Yokohama, Japan:

Elsewhere, this blog discussed the ancient roots of Chinese Christianity. You can read more on the modern church in China at the Hong Kong Metropolitanate and the Orthodox Church of Taiwan.

Fr. Daniel Byantoro planted the Orthodox Church in Indonesia.

The Orthodox Church has missions in Mexico, Guatemala, and throughout Central and South America.

We've also discussed African Orthodoxy, including the Ethiopian (Oriental) Orthodox Church (a part of which had accepted a Western Rite diocese last year) and their brethren in Eritrea.

And I recently mentioned the Indian Malankara (Oriental) Orthodox.

Ari (or Huw) mentioned the Orthodox Church's mission to Israeli Jews, Rum Orthodox Ivri.

Naturally, this blog is devoted to the Western Rite, worship familiar to those Europeans not historically associated with the Eastern Church.

The Church is a catholic Ark containing all ethnicities and "races" (really only one: the human race). How shameful that, of all the ways the Orthodox Church had to be divided in the diaspora, ethnicity walled us off from our brothers and sisters in Christ.


Blogger Stephen said...

Thanks for the post, though my response to it is ambivalent. I'm sorry to be such a wet blanket, but I thought your post gave the impression that Orthodoxy is more widespread than it really is.

I grew up as an evangelical missionary kid in Taiwan. When I end up talking about Orthodoxy with my parents or other missionaries and pastors, the question that almost always pops up is, "Yeah, but do the Orthodox evangelize and attract non-Christians?", because the veiw in N. America, as I am sure you know, is that a lot of Orthodox converts are from other Christian traditions. This is also a big question for me. I have pointed out the mission work the Orthodox have done in the past, but I wasn't so sure about what was happening today. So I am very glad to see from this post that yes, the Orthodox are involved in missions on a global scale. I have also recently met in England two Taiwanese graduate students who are interested in Orthodoxy, which I found surprising and encouraging.

On the other hand, my parents have been in Taiwan for eighteen years and counting. But it wasn't until after I left Taiwan for university that I heard about Orthodoxy, and through searching the web discovered that there is one Orthodox parish with one priest in Taiwan. Taiwan has about 23 million people. A good start for the Orthodox, yes, but the bulk of evangelism in Taiwan is being done by non-Orthodox Christians, and I reckon that this is the same in most places outside of Eastern Europe and North America.

So I am really glad that the Orthodox are reaching out to the non-Orthodox and non-Christian countries. I hope and pray that this drive for missions will continue and increase, but for now these missions are still tiny, and until they grow I for one will also continue to pray for and support the established evangelical missions that are also spreading the word of Christ.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Hi Stephen,

The Orthodox Church could do a much better job breaking out of "traditionally Orthodox ethnicities" to presenting the Gospel to all God's children. I'm just thankful there are such efforts -- including the Western Rite -- and want to draw attention to the positive.

Are you familiar with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center? They might be a good focus for your own missionary efforts.

Thanks, may God bless you in your investigation of the Orthodox Church, and please don't hesitate to stop by if you have a question or comment!

God bless,

2:55 AM  

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