Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
In a recent speech to the 21st General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy in Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk called on Orthodox Christians to speak out on current issues in international relations, including morality, the global economic crisis, and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Among other things, he said:
The voice of many millions of Orthodox believers living in various parts of the universe should be heard and taken into account in discussions on pressing problems on the international agenda. It is what the Assembly as a mouthpiece of values of the Orthodox world should contribute to. This organization is also called to demonstrate to skeptics that there are factors of international relations other than stock market indexes and investment climate. The non-material dimension of human life is primary and therefore should be decisive in international relations. I mean first of all moral ideals and meanings and the dignity of a human being, which is inseparable from his or her virtue and ability to love those around and to renounce egoism. The latter is viewed by the world of business as rather a brake on the way to successful economic development. This attitude to matters of morality has become one of the principal causes of the world economic crisis, whose consequences have not been overcome to this day.
Do you agree? Should the Orthodox Church take a pro-active role in international politics and policy?
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