We offer, on the eve of the Gregorian new year for 2011, our best wishes for the coming year, a most blessed feast of the Nativity, and may every feast this year be filled, for all of the True Orthodox Christians, with the Joy of our Risen Lord, whose coming into the world we commemorate shortly.
“In the service of True Orthodoxy” is NFTU‘s Mission Statement which we settled on in October of this year, since we promised years ago– and promise again– to do everything in our power to advance the cause of the True Orthodox Christians in all their jurisdictions throughout the world in defense of Orthodoxy.
Since we’ll be covering the Top Ten Ecumenist events of 2010 during next week’s NFTU Radio shows, I thought I’d take a moment to look back at the progress made in dialogue between True Orthodox jurisdictions, which, frankly, is amazing. 2010 was a year that surprised even a hardened skeptic on these matters: Metropolitan Agafangel of ROCOR-A reached out to three jurisdictions, ROAC sent representatives to talk to them, RTOC and ROCOR-Vl responded (somewhat differently), HOCNA and the GOC-Kallinikos began serious discussions towards full reunion, the GOC-Kallinikos and Synod in Resistance dealt with the results of previous discussions in 2009, leaving the doors open to future discussions, RTOC began discussions with the Synod of Kallinikos. This was a year of making contact. I watched my own Archbishop endeavor to meet Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa, just to thank him for fighting to preserve the Church Abroad. (Some of us were just happy making new friends. And sadly some ascribe ulterior motives to anything.)
It was not all successful, but it was definitely something new: it was a year where many True Orthodox –largely converts who weren’t fully aware of the presence of other jurisdictions before– began to hear the voices of other Orthodox outside their jurisdiction. For some it was a disturbing feeling, so alien to them that they treated it as an evil that needed to be stopped. For others, it was a relief as they realized they weren’t so alone anymore. The ship wasn’t in as many pieces as they thought.
To watch on email lists and other places, the clerical defenders of ecumenism and Sergianism try the same old methods to “divide and conquer” (even down to the last moments of the year!) using the same trite techniques to bring disorder among True Orthodox who wish more than ever to befriend those who share their love of Orthodoxy and cut out the contagion of the heretics from their daily routines, were finally shown for what they were: disingenuous and laughable ploys. More and more “false inquirers”, whose goal it was to spread division and rancor, revealed themselves as the lines between Orthodoxy and the hypocrisy of “world Orthodoxy” were ever more clearly drawn.
To those who want to see the True Orthodox unite and vanquish the new heresies of ecumenism, modernism, and Sergianism, as one Body once and for all within their lifetime, 2010 was a good year.
Of course, the backlash was to be expected to this sea change in True Orthodoxy. A few new triumphalists were out in force, cheering the old cheers: “we alone are the Church and all others must submit to us”, and so on. Much more common was a new spin on triumphalism, designed to deal with the new realities of Bishops communicating, and working together wherever they can: “You cannot trust them, they are enemies of our [insert jurisdiction here] “– but the amazing part was that it was not a division between “moderates” and “hardliners”. Some of the most “hardline” clergy showed themselves open to dialogue and discussion, and some of the most “moderate” sounded like extremists. The truth was that extremism is a condition of the heart and soul, not of fidelity to one’s faith.
A new day is dawning in 2011, and the Traditional Orthodox have no illusions. Too many of us have been hurt by false hope. We have seen false unions, we have seen failed unions. We can expect failure, but we have reached a point where we are no longer ashamed to try. We learn, day by day, we have nothing to lose by reaching out to our brethren, our real brethren who share the same zeal for the Faith handed down by the Apostles to the present day.
On another note– in short, NFTU had a good year:
– Over a quarter of a million people read NFTU this year!
– We expanded the Map of Traditional Orthodox Jurisdictions encompassing all the major jurisdictions of True Orthodoxy.
– Diaconissa Xenia developed a new template for the year designed to increase visibility, while taking into account user suggestions.
– Due to the work we did to try to bring True Orthodox together, we gained an editor!
– We were able to work with a number of great people throughout the various traditional Orthodox jurisdictions to get the news out.
– Finally, we started a project I had been considering since 2009: NFTU Radio!
Not all of it was good:
– NFTU became maligned as a “True Orthodox Ecumenist” site by various “Jurisdictional Elitist” sites and a “True Orthodox propaganda” site amongst World Orthodox fan sites.
– Due to the work we did to try to bring True Orthodox together, we also lost the editor we gained to jurisdictional elitists.
But we have to assume that the bad happened because so much good’s been happening. As True Orthodox continue to work to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world during these last days, we hope here at NFTU to be there for every moment.
We say– more clearly then ever to all True Orthodox Christians– we are at your service.
May God shine upon all of us who strive to preserve the unadulterated Orthodox, Catholic Faith, the One True Faith of the One True Church, and may God preserve and protect each of us in the coming days!
Thank you, children of True Orthodoxy, for letting us be at your service. Have a wonderful 2011.