Membership of the Church

Elder Porphyrios used to say, like all the saints, that Christ should be in the Church. This means that the faithful should be united with Christ and all of His people, and particularly with His archpriest, who is Christ’s representative. Yet this, being a member of the Church, should not be merely a formal act. This, moreover, must be what Elder Porphyrios means in his last testament, in which he prays that we may enter the earthly uncreated Church of God, even though we would superficially reply that we are already in the Church as a result of our baptism.

We are indeed in the Church, although only to the extent that a foreign traveller who has just crossed the border into Greece can be regarded as being in Greece. Although this traveller is formally and essentially in Greece and can travel wherever he likes within the country and get to know all of it, it is as if he is not in the country since all he has done is take a few steps inside it and he still knows nothing about it. In the same way, a Christian who has entered the Church only once cannot be considered to have entered unless he comes further and further in to explore it until he reaches God’s throne.

The Elder had seen in practice that God’s Grace operates within the Church, that the faithful must be united in a single body, the Body of Christ, that nobody can be saved if they seek only their own salvation, that the believer’s experience of and desire and demand for unity is a basic feature of the Church and a requirement of salvation, and that love, which impels the soul to seek unity, is essential if one is to enter and gain salvation in the community that is the uncreated Church of God on earth.

“Former Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals George Arvanitis”