Schmemann on the Orthodox understanding of the Church

Alexander Schmemann:

In our [Eastern Orthodox] own "sources"– the Fathers, the Councils, the Liturgy – we do not find any formal definition of the Church. This is not because of any lack of ecclesiological interest and consciousness, but because the Church (in the Orthodox approach to her) does not exist, and therefore cannot be defined, apart from the very content of her life. The Church, in other terms, is not an "essence" or "being" distinct, as such, from God, man, and the world, but is the very reality of Christ in us and us in Christ, a new mode of God's presence and action in His creation, of creation's life in God. She is God's gift and man's response and appropriation of this gift. She is union and unity, knowledge, communion and transfiguration.


Rob said…
It should be remembered, though, that Schmemann does not speak for this "non-existent" Church and I have heard Orthodox speakers vigorously refute some of his ideas. But he certainly is one voice in the Orthodox Church, which may or may not exist :).

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