Source: The National Herald
BOSTON, MA – Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is one of the most prolific writers and prominent Orthodox theologians of our times.
He came to know Orthodoxy at age 17 in London, when he accidentally entered a Russian Orthodox Church that happened to have been conducting a vigil Service at the moment, and immediately realized “this is my home.”
Worship, the mystical tradition and especially the prayer attracted him, so six years later he formally converted to Orthodoxy. Since then, he has become the preeminent voice of Orthodoxy in the West.
Metropolitan Ware visited Boston recently for the Conference of “The Divine Compassion and Women of the Church” and he granted the following exclusive interview to TNH:
TNH: What are some of the most pressing challenges the Orthodox Church faces today?
KW: One challenge is the situation of the Orthodox in the Western World. We are divided into so many different jurisdictions; we have many Orthodox Bishops in the same city. If we could be more closely united with one another, we would have a far greater influence.
TNH: Obviously, you are talking about the problem of Diaspora. According to your estimation what is the most practical way to resolve this problem?
KW: If I had a simple and clear answer to that question, then you could immediately make me Patriarch of the West. I don’t think that there is at this moment a complete solution. But the first step forward is to develop in each country Episcopal Assemblies gathering together all the Orthodox Bishops in that country – and this is already happening. Of course, in many countries, inter-Orthodox Conferences had existed in the past, in America you’ve had SCOBA since 1960. These Episcopal Assemblies need to be develop, need to be given greater authority, and this is, I think, the best thing that we could do at the moment.
TNH: Don’t you think that we should make the differentiation between Synaxis (Assemblies) and Synod?
KW: Yes, at the moment we have inter-Orthodox Assemblies (Synaxis) but they have not yet become, in a canonical sense, Synod, and so we must work towards that.
TNH: Regarding the ministry of women in the Church, do you think it is practical to go back to the ancient tradition of the Church of the Deaconesses?
KW: I certainly would welcome the revival of the Order of Deaconesses, it was never officially abolished. Their main function in the early Church was to help at the baptism of adult women converts, and when adult baptism ceased they tended to disappear. But if we revive that Order today, we could give them new and different functions. They can help in teaching the work of the Church. They could be appointed to preach homilies in Church.
Read the full interview here:
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware Talks to TNH