The Calendar: Practicalities

Further to the delight that I felt at the inter-jurisdictional fellowship at this morning's Liturgy, I feel that the next step for our integration is for us to encourage more of our people to go to the pan-Orthodox pilgrimages. Whenever I go, people always express what I perceive to be genuine delight at the presence of somebody from the ROCOR, yet on every occasion that I have been, I have been the only one. Nobody else seems to go. I do wish that at least a small group of us could make the effort together because the fellowship and the friendship is invaluable.

It is unfortunate that there seems to be an insistence on all liturgies at these pilgrimages being served on the new calendar. This poses a difficulty for many of our people - myself included - and I am not aware of any general blessing for our clergy to serve on this calendar.

For my part, I gladly go and participate. I pray, I worship, and I often sing. Outside of the Lenten and Paschal period, I often question whether to receive communion, (I usually do in the end but the question is always there), and I will certainly not serve as a Reader on the new calendar. I suppose what I find most upsetting is that most of our brothers and sisters on the new calendar tell me that they do not see that it matters which calendar is used. If that is the case, then why do the organisers of pan-Orthodox events not make a concession to those of us for whom it is important? This would allow our clergy to concelebrate and our people to fully participate without further concern. I am not asking for them to change the practice at their own parishes, (although that would be a step forward) - when we visit them we are their guests and ought to receive their hospitality graciously and behave respectfully - but I am merely suggesting that they make the pan-Orthodox pilgrimages inclusive of all Orthodox Christians. Is that, after all, not what pan-Orthodox means?

I think that it may be the case that things that have now become the norm at these events are things that were established on the consensus of participating parishes and clergy years ago. As ROCOR has only recently been considered by many to be mainstream, we and our concerns still fly below many people's radar, and things just continue as they were in the past. The status quo is unlikely to change if we never turn up but it is precisely the status quo that makes it difficult for us to do so. So where do we go from here?

Perhaps the best thing for us to do is to go along and take part as fully a our consciences will allow - but no further. Only when our brothers and sisters are confronted with the practical reality of the problem - clergy who are present but cannot concelebrate, laity who are reticent about receiving communion - will they perceive a need to address it.

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