Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Orthodox Church to hold first council in 1200 years

Really?  And this is the first time I've heard it mentioned in the press?   That's no small thing.  I wonder what they will be discussing.  Beware the desire to make friendly with the latest, hippest.  It never seems to go well.  Anyway, the crux of this story seems to be the political turmoil between Russia and Turkey.  That's no small thing of course, but that seems to be the reason that the Washington Post is running the story, as opposed to what the council is really all about.  It does mention the invasions that changed the historical situation for the Orthodox, like the museum where they were going to have it in Istanbul, which is of courses so named as the result of the Islamic invasion and conquest of Byzantium.

Which makes me wonder, as I am wont to do.  Here in the old US of A, we are pretty rough on our ancestors. As I mentioned here, we've pretty much made peace with the fact that there was little praiseworthy or good that came out of our conquest of the Americas by Europe.  It's pretty much an apocalyptic holocaust by a genocidal, mass slaughtering mob of racist killers, and the results that are felt today make it necessary for us to repeatedly remind ourselves of the slaughter of the Native Americans, slavery, sexism, imperialism, fire bombing Dresden, Hiroshima, why the list goes on and on.  This is a sentiment shared by at least some of those who are descended from folks who were on the receiving end of said atrocities. 

Should then the Orthodox have reason for doing the same to their conquerors?  And as we celebrate when others join in our contempt for our ancestors, shouldn't we therefore join the Orthodox in similar chastising of their conquerors?  After all, much of the plight of the Orthodox Church has been the result of either Islamic conquest, or the travails of Russia, many of which could be blamed on the dark years in which it was subject to the Mongol Yoke. 

I mean, instead of always making nice with Muslims, shouldn't we say 'Hey, we can be pals and admit your Golden Age and all, but have you considered your destruction of Eastern Christian Culture?  The 500 years of oppression?  The ongoing trials and struggles that Orthodox Christians have as a result of your civilization's warring ways?' 

It's interesting to me that we approach these things so differently.  You'd think if all we can do is shame ourselves for our past and agree when others do the same, then we should shame everyone else for their past.  But I don't think we will. 

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