Hilarion Alfeyev on Music and Unity


It’s no secret I am an unabashed fan of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev and of his writings and his music, which I’ve linked to several times over the years.

Joseph Susanka — who is a pretty busy guy, what with six kids, a job and his weekly column here at Patheos — managed to snag an interview with the bishop, and treats us to a fascinating exchange on music, liturgy and Christian Unity. Here is a little bit:

. . .today a different problem is acquiring primary importance – the problem of the unity of Orthodox and Catholics in the cause of defending traditional Christianity. To our great regret, a significant part of Protestant confessions by the beginning of the 21st century has adopted the liberal values of the modern world and in essence has renounced fidelity to Biblical principles in the realm of morality. Today in the West, the Roman Catholic Church remains the main bulwark in the defence of traditional moral values – such, for example, as marital fidelity, the inadmissibility of artificially ending human life, the possibility of marital union as a union only between man and woman.

Therefore, when we speak of dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, I believe that the priority in this dialogue today should not be the question of the filioque or the primacy of the Pope. We should learn to interact in that capacity that we find ourselves in today – in a state of division and absence of Eucharistic communion. We ought to learn how to perceive each other not as rivals but as allies by understanding that we have a common missionary field and encounter common challenges. We are faced with the common task of defending traditional Christian values, and joint efforts are essential today not out of certain theological considerations but primarily because we ought to help our nations to survive…

Because it is brief but far-reaching, the interview is difficult to excerpt, but I urge you to read it all. Hilarion’s accessibility is, for me, similar to Pope Benedict XVI’s.

A bit of Hilarion’s St. Matthew’s Passion:

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About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://theviewfrom302.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I just wanted to talk a little about unity. I am Lutheran, I love the liturgy, and I believe that Jesus is truly with the communion meal we take each week. I watched with profound distress as my denomination swung away from an “Orthodox” (sorry to use that word but I think you know what I mean) view to a profoundly liberal one. The last step was too great. My family left our church. After a significant amount of prayer and reading, we joined with about 50 other families and formed a new Lutheran church.

    However, I also believe that we will see our little sect of Lutherans restored to the Catholic church in a move toward Christian unity. I think it will happen in my lifetime. I am not sure what God has in store but I will faithfully follow.

    I do believe that blogs like yours and the Internet in general will be a tool to accelerate the unification.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I would love one day for a full reunification with the Orthodox churches. We all need to be part of one body of Christ. On my trip to Kazakhstan almost two years ago, I explored the Russian Orthodox churches and felt as comfortable in one as a Catholic. I came to the conclusion if I couldn’t be Catholic for some strange reason, I would be Orthodox. I’m still waiting for an Orthodox portal here on Patheos.

    @Cheryl
    That is wonderful. These schisms have hurt Christianity as a whole. This Catholic would gladly welcome you.

  • Alexandra G

    The music is profound. I was playing it and my teenage daughter was quite curious to find out what it was. The interview is a delight. Thank you, Anchoress & Joseph. I think the Metropolitan is correct that focusing on what unites us is very important at this time.


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