24 February 2013
Can the disunity of the different Protestant sects be compared to the apparent disunity of the different Orthodox jurisdictions?
No. At least, not by someone who can recognize the boundaries of the Church.
The "disunity" in the Protestant world can not be compared with what superficially seems like disunity in the Orthodox world. In reality there is no disunity in the Orthodox Church – the Church is One. But in this fallen world, there are necessary separations within the One Church. Two things illustrate what I mean:
The Holy Fire. Notice how the Holy Fire comes to all Orthodox: even to the heretical Copts, even to the prison of the true Patriarch Irenios, even to the pseudo-patriarch freemason Bartholomew. There is no "disunity" here. But the Holy Fire does not come to Jesuits, Baptists, or etc. You are either inside the Church or you are outside the Church. Outside the Church, in the world, there is great disunity. Christ did not pray for those in the world. He specified in His prayer, "I pray not for the world" (John 17:9). Christ's prayer does not apply to Protestants. The disunity of the Protestants is not analogous to the necessary separations within the Orthodox Church.
The Letters to the Churches.
Revelations chapters 2 and 3. Notice how the different Churches are separated not just by geography, but by their different spiritual conditions: the faithful one is tested, the sinful one reproved, the indifferent one faces expulsion. They are united under His Wing, but there are going to be necessary separations when a Church remains in unrepentant sin. Such is the state of our fallen world, the wheat and the tares are permitted to grow side by side – the wheat and the tares being the individuals who are members of the Churches. But yet, if we look past the world [the Church Militant] to the heavenly [the Church Triumphant] we see perfect oneness of the Church.
St. Ilarion New Martyr:
Archpriest Michael Pomazansky
St. Cyprian of Carthage
An intellectual understanding is only the beginning. As you grow in the Life of the Church through Her sacraments, this understanding becomes much more than an intellectual understanding – it becomes an experience. You can look forward to this.