Olet täällä

The West: a prison or a place of encounter?

The shadows of the past still hover over Europe. The shadows of the Ottoman Empire and of totalitarianism mean that a significant part of the European cultural heritage has practically been overlooked in the Europe of the EU.

There are churches and monasteries in Kosovo that are listed as UNESCO Cultural Heritage sites that are on the verge of destruction at the present moment, and Turkey has hundreds of medieval churches that are just falling into disrepair.

Although Byzantium, the Rome of the East, was also the cradle of the global Orthodox Church, it was by no means a heaven on earth. It was a medieval city-state with all the riches and the faults that went with it.

The Orthodox culture was its most important export commodity, however, and was through Byzantium and its successors that Orthodoxy spread, first to the Balkans and the Black Sea area, then to northern and eastern Europe, and finally as far as America and Australia.

Thus Europe should be the core area for missionary work on behalf of Byzantine Orthodoxy, an area in which the traditions of the early Church enter boldly into dialogue with the new ideologies of our day.

© Suomen ortodoksisen arkkipiispan kanslia, Liisankatu 29 A 8, 00170 Helsinki, puh. 020 6100 240, helsingin.hiippakunta@ort.fi