Orthodox missionary work: history, modernity, problems, methods
Recently we celebrated Slavic Writing Day. On this occasion, we decided to collect materials on Orthodox missionary work, but first a couple of common words.
– The problems of translation in Christianity should not be at all: after all, our Holy Scriptures were, as it were, initially “translated”. The Lord spoke Aramaic; the Gospels are written in Greek. Moreover, the Gospels are the texts of the disciples of the Lord, and not of Himself. We have four testimonies of His life, teaching and death, written not by Him, not in His language, but on the one that was then used for international communication. The Gospels were created immediately for everyone, initially, as it were, as a "translation", not an "original". Now they would be written in English.
– Cyril and Methodius fought with the heresy of trilingualism, a teaching that claimed that in Christianity there are sacred languages (Jewish, Greek, Latin). The brothers did not think so and calmly translated into the language of Slavic barbarians.
– Regarding the case of Cyril and Methodius, it is necessary to mention the simple fact that this case was “betrayed” from the very beginning: the glagolitic word they invented was rejected by the first generation of their students. What is known as the “Cyrillic alphabet” is an invention not of the equally apostolic brothers, but of their disciples.
– What is important in all this round dance of translations is that we do not have a “sacred language”. The Good News is for all of humanity and therefore translatable into all conceivable languages.
– The Good News does not “disdain” to wear any language clothes, just as God did not “disdain” to become the son of a carpenter and ascend to the Cross.
To begin with, the study of the outstanding philologist Toporov on the “debut of Slavic poetry” – “Proglas” by Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril: the Apostle of the Slavs “puts three motives in the center of Proglas: the coming of the Word to the“ words ”, comparable to the coming of Christ, announced by the ancient prophets; the sophistry of the Word, whose convinced apologist draws Constantine and other sources; a written ("letter") incarnation of the Word, again referring to the theme of the "Slovenian" word, "one's own" and not "another's." Without the word (“one's own”) – sinful darkness, decay of the flesh, the decline of the soul. With the help of the word, three main tasks related to the three cosmic spheres are solved. It makes it possible to “sinful / darkness to drive away // and this world / to put aside, // and to acquire a risky / living”. It also performs three spiritual tasks – nourishes human souls, strengthens the heart and mind, prepares for the knowledge of God. The word is like light, and like light, it reveals beauty and gives joy. ”
“Byzantine missionary work: Is it possible to make a Christian a“ barbarian ”?” Is a book by the brilliant modern scholar Sergei Ivanov on why the inhabitants of Byzantium were not interested in even the most significant missionary successes. The most "long-lasting" achievements of Byzantium in world history, in justice, are the creation of the Slavic alphabet and the baptism of Russia. Both are the fruits of Byzantine missionary work.
But paradoxically, not a single word is mentioned in one of these Byzantine sources in any of these great achievements! What does this eloquent silence tell us? To understand this, you need to delve into the attitude of the Byzantines themselves.
We recorded a lecture by Ivanov, which is a brief summary of his book.
Everyone, I think, knows about Nicholas of Japan, the founder of Japanese Orthodoxy, – here are his books. It is less known that the future Patriarch Sergius (Stragorodsky), after graduating from the Theological Academy, served in Japan as a missionary under the leadership of Nicholas of Japan. The books “On Japan (notes of a missionary)” and “In the Far East. Letters of the Japanese Missionary. " Orthodoxy in Japan: here is a symbol that Orthodoxy is not “Russian”, not “Greek”; Orthodoxy is an apostolic doctrine designed for all mankind in all its diversity.
“The Apostles of Altai. A collection of short stories from the life of Altai missionaries. ” The book describes the life and works of priests of the Altai spiritual mission, established in the 30s. XIX century for preaching the gospel among the indigenous people of Altai Upland. The book was published in 1909 in memory of the 25th anniversary of the hierarchal ministry of St. Macarius (Parvitsky-Nevsky). About him and his associates with love is told on its pages. The works of the collection are distinguished by a combination of the authenticity of their own memories with high poetry in the image of the untouched nature of the wild Altai. The book colorfully describes the life and customs of the Altai people, it tells of the miraculous help of God in the works of their enlighteners, who in their simplicity and humility perform the great apostolic feat.
"Notes of the missionary" priest Alexei Ionov – the recollections of one of the participants in the Pskov Orthodox mission, operating in the territory occupied by the Nazis.
A collection of lectures, speeches and audio recordings of Professor Andrei Efimov (Deputy Dean of the Missionary Department of the Orthodox St. Tikhon University, Head of the Department of Missionology) about the history of missions (Palestinian, Urmian), outstanding missionaries (Archbishop Nikolai Yaponsky, Protopriest Vsevolod Shpillerstvo Christians and others) Russia, Orthodox brotherhoods, the principles and main periods of Russian missionary work, missionary work in the Soviet era, the difficulties that preachers face, and about much more.
“Missiology” – lectures by Hegumen Sergius (Dankov): Byzantine mission, Cyril and Methodius, Makarii (Glukharev) and Altai mission, N. I. Ilyinsky and linguistic principles of missionary work, Apostle of Siberia and America Innocent (Veniaminov), missionary feat of Nicholas of Japan.
“Mission is possible” – a practical course for organizers and an active of Orthodox youth ministry, a collection of teaching materials. The “Mission Possible” course is designed for different audiences, united by a single spirit of faith and a desire to serve with all my heart the active fulfillment of Christ's commandments. The basis of the entire course is a joint study of the Holy Scriptures in the traditions of the Orthodox Church and the mastery of the skills of missionary and social service in our society. Together with the skills and knowledge necessary in the missionary’s work, this manual will help to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings that arise in the process of translating the gospel ideals into real life conditions. Therefore, it is very important to be able to work with groups and in groups where, with the right spiritual approach, the words of Christ are fulfilled “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among them.” The purpose of the course is “the formation, equipping and support of teams for the missionary and social service of youth to various target audiences”.
“The Missionary Crisis of Orthodoxy” is a book of probably the best contemporary Russian missionary of Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev:
Missiology is a reflection on how we look in the eyes of non-Christians. What is the truth and what is the lie of these not our ideas about us. How can I change these Today.
There are no schools of such studies in Orthodoxy. Mission was and is, missiology is only emerging.
In particular, because although the mission was in our history, there was no tradition of mission in Orthodoxy.
In order to become a tradition, a mission should not reveal itself to be scattered facts of non-temple preaching, not tied together and scattered across different centuries and countries, but a golden chain of continuity, transfer of experience and mentoring in missionary work. Even if such a tradition existed, it was crushed in the 20th century.
Here are a number of issues that are relevant to the researcher of Orthodox missionary work:
1. Was there a tradition of Orthodox missionary work?
2. If so, was it recorded?
3. Have specific mission facilities been retained, including the preacher’s arguments?
4. Was this tradition self-reproducing? Was the continuity of teaching later missionaries earlier?
5. Is there any opportunity today to enter this continuity?
6. How did the Church relate in past centuries and now refers to the missionary pages of its history and life?
7. How to transfer past missionary finds today? (A simple example: all Orthodox believe that St. Cyril and Methodius correctly did that they translated the Liturgy into a language understandable to the Slavs. But what it means today to be faithful to the covenants of the Slavic apostles is to serve in the Slavic language of the 9th century or in languages that modern people understand ? Are we students of Cyril and Methodius when we store and reproduce their translations of prayers into the Old Slavonic language, or when we try to bring these prayers closer to the understanding of modern people?)
Too lazy to read Kuraev, listen to “Missiology” – his seminar lecture course delivered at the Moscow Theological Seminary (Trinity-Sergius Lavra) in 2006/07. Amateur audio recording made in the audience of MDS by the students of the course:
“The first thing I should warn you about: we enter terra incognita. Neither you nor I know what the subject called “missiology” should consist of. ”
Lectures by the Odessa priest Vyacheslav Rubsky on missionary issues: atheism, March 8, Orthodoxy / Protestantism, and much more.
"Church. World. Mission. Thoughts on Orthodoxy in the West ”by father Alexander Schmemann:
“Until very recently, the Orthodox Church was considered non-missionary in the West. According to the general opinion, the powerful missionary commotion, so characteristic of the Christian West of recent centuries, somehow bypassed the "static" Christianity of the East. Today, this opinion seems to have shaken. New historical research proves that the achievements of the Orthodox in missionary work – albeit of a different kind than those of Western Christians – were quite significant and impressive. "
“The theology of mission is always the fruit of the whole being of the Church, and not some special area relevant only to those who have had a special missionary service. The Orthodox Church, in particular, needs to clarify the main motives of the mission, for its “non-missionary” character is too often attributed to the very essence, the “holy of holies” of Orthodoxy is its “sacramental,” “liturgical,” “mystical” nature. Even now, when a close study of the Orthodox mission has led to a change in traditional Today, attempts are still being made to see in it a peculiar epiphenomenon in the history of the Orthodox Church – something that exists contrary to its main paths and tendencies. That is why theological clarification is necessary here. Could the Church, whose life is concentrated almost exclusively in the liturgy and sacraments, whose spirituality has a predominantly mystical and ascetic coloring, be truly missionary? And if so, in what layers of her faith are the origins of missionary jealousy hidden? Such, in a somewhat simplified form, is the question that the Orthodox ask directly or indirectly to everyone for whom the term "ecumenical" always and everywhere means "missionary."
The worker and professor, the monk and journalist, the soldier and the pensioner – the number of recipients of the “Missionary Letters” by Vladyka Nikolai Serbsky is amazing – as well as the coverage of topics: from the meaning of lighting the lamp in front of the icon to the most profound questions of spiritual life and theology. Bishop Shabatsky-Valevsky Lavrenty says that the beauty and value of the “Missionary Letters” of Nikolai Serbsky
“They consist in the fact that the great expert on the human soul, the Orthodox faith and all areas of earthly human existence explained the deepest thoughts and truths simply and easily, explained them to every God-seeker, despite his age and degree of education. His style is poetry, his language is pure, like a mountain spring. He himself is the bearer of patristic Orthodoxy, gold, melted into seven Ecumenical Councils. Answers to a wide variety of questions that torment a feeble person, immediacy of speech, deep thoughts and the convincing power of the author’s language today make this book the best spiritual textbook of the Serbian people. “Missionary letters” saved many Serbian souls from wandering around in empty fields, where spiritual hunger reigns, from falling away from patristic Orthodoxy, from despondency and despair in the most difficult conditions of slavery and frequent wars. ”
“Prayers of a missionary, or How to pray for the non-Orthodox?” Nikolai Serbsky:
Prayer for children
Prayer for the rulers of nations
Prayer for the Mentally Ill
Prayer for those who do not honor the saints
Prayer for the Atheists (Atheists)
Prayer for the Jews
Prayer for the Parsi (Zoroastrians)
Prayer for the Russian people
Prayer for the Chinese people
Prayer for the Japanese people
Prayer to the Mother of God for the conversion of the lost, st. Gabriel of Novgorod
Prayer Serapion Kozheozersky about the conversion of unbelieving neighbors
Prayer Andronika (Nikolsky)
Prayer for missionaries Makaria (Glukhareva)
Within the framework of the Mission Conference, on January 20–21, 2012, in the halls of the State Tretyakov Gallery, a contest of missionary-catechetical and social-missionary projects “Go, teach all peoples …” was held. The goals of the conference were the need to gather active missionaries and catechists from different regions of the country to enable them to exchange experience in missionary-catechetical and social-missionary activities.
St. Nicholas of Japan with Paul Nakai, one of the first Japanese to adopt Orthodoxy
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