OCL Review of Patriarch Bartholomew's New Book

Skip to first unread message


Mar 5, 2008, 2:21:59 PM3/5/08
*/Note from Galina: I always look at Orthodox publications and things
for sale two ways. One way is to ask how much information or substance
is given to the faithful without our having to buy it in the
marketplace. And the second way is that whatever we write or sing or
paint or sculpt or say for the marketplace, if we identify ourselves as
Orthodox, must reflect Orthodoxy to the wider world who may wish to join
us. A part of this second way of looking at what we sell is to ask
ourselves whether whatever is being sold should be sold. Has anyone
read this book? If so, what are your opinions?

ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY: Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today/*
(Doubleday, 2008, 302 pages) by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch
BARTHOLOMEW is an extraordinary book on two levels. First, it is an
excellent primer on understanding the cosmic meaning and values of
Orthodox Christianity and how these ancient values are applicable to
transforming 21st Century worldly needs for social justice, religious
and racial tolerance and peace. The fundamental basis of any Orthodox
Christian system is based on the premise of the "sacredness of the human
person, created in the image and likeness of God." Orthodox Christianity
holds that we are to actively apply our Christian values to our daily
lives and be the light that brings forth harmony to our worldly
challenges through love and truth.

On a second level, the book reveals the totally distorted view that the
Patriarch has assumed in his efforts to define himself as a! n Eastern
Pope. If the Orthodox Church is to be a bridge in the world, the
Ecumenical Patriarch must first fulfill his role within the worldwide
Orthodox Christian Community and seek the cooperation of all Orthodox
Bishops on the issues of the day; and collectively, they must speak out
as the Church. Historically, the Orthodox Church has been a Church of
Councils. The true role of the Ecumenical Patriarch is to show the world
that the Orthodox Way of decision-making, by consensus-building and
through the use of the conciliar process, is still a valid, working
model. The perennial values of the Orthodox Church will be reconfirmed
when the Great and Holy Council, which has been under preparation for
100 years, is finally convened. The collective decisions of the bishops,
working in synergy with the Holy Spirit, "encountering the mystery",
will enable Orthodoxy to be the bridge for peace and harmony with all

It is the function of the Ecumenical Patriarch, as the "first among
equals", to provide the bishops with the opportunity in brotherhood to
put the Orthodox Christian house in order. Until then, Orthodoxy will
remain fragmented, enmeshed in earthly and personal power struggles, and
unable to live the perennial values bequeathed to it, and thereby, to
become the bridge to all people of all faiths who struggle for social
justice, racial and religious tolerance and peace.

*/George Matsoukas,/* Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Laity

/It is a pleasure to present this book review for your consideration.
Please check out the OCL web site www.ocl.org <http://www.ocl.org/>to
see other books reviewed in recent months. You may want to check out the
//book review archive/
If you have a favorite book that concerns Eastern Orthodox theology,
history, culture, etc., why not send your review to ocla...@ocl.org for
posting consideration. Thank you.
*Contact Orthodox Christian Laity at: PO Box 6954, West Palm Beach FL
33405-6954 / Tel. 877-585-0245.*


Mar 10, 2008, 4:42:29 PM3/10/08
> ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY: Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today/*
> (Doubleday, 2008, 302 pages) by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch
> BARTHOLOMEW is an extraordinary book on two levels. First, it is an

indeed, that man is really a mystery

Rome: Le pape invite le patriarche orthodoxe Bartholomé Ier
Benoît XVI a invité le patriarche orthodoxe Bartholomé Ier à participer au Synode des
évêques sur l'Eucharistie prévu à Rome du 5 au 26 octobre 2008. Selon l'agence AsiaNews de
l'Institut pontifical des missions étrangères, le patriarche de Constantinople aurait été
ainsi invité par le pape à intervenir lors de l'assemblée des évêques. Le 6 mars, après un
entretien et un temps de prière commune, les deux hommes ont déjeuné ensemble au Vatican et
auraient, selon l'agence de presse, évoqué "l'esprit de Ravenne", en référence aux derniers
travaux de la Commission de dialogue théologique entre l'Eglise catholique et les Eglises
orthodoxes, dans cette ville italienne, en octobre 2007. En outre, Bartholomé Ier pourrait
revenir à Rome dès le 29 juin prochain pour conduire la délégation du Patriarcat de
Constantinople lors de la fête des saints Pierre et Paul.


Mar 13, 2008, 2:00:34 AM3/13/08

*+-indeed, that man is really a mystery

to those of limited sanity

- = -
Vasos Panagiotopoulos, Columbia'81+, Reagan, Mozart, Pindus, BioStrategist
---{Nothing herein constitutes advice. Everything fully disclaimed.}---
[Homeland Security means private firearms not lazy obstructive guards]
[Urb sprawl confounds terror] [Remorse begets zeal] [Windows is for Bimbos]


Mar 14, 2008, 7:47:00 AM3/14/08

Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today
Encountering the Mystery by Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW

In the West, it is truly unimaginable that an organization could exist
for twenty centuries and preserver and prosper through good but mostly
tumultuous times, without a CEO, a president, or a "buck stops here"
take-charge person at the top of the organizational chart. Yet the
Eastern Orthodox Church has always existed in this way. Considered our
spiritual leader, Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, the "first among equals," is
an enigma to our Western minds. Although often, I suspect, not the
most expeditious technique for "managing" 300 million Orthodox
worldwide, this organic method is our way. From the guardian of truth
and holy tradition, but even more of love and respect in the midst of
all cultures and even divergent religions, comes this book, in English
from Constantinople (today's Istanbul), written by a man with comely
appearance and unrecognizable title: The Ecumenical Patriarch.
Knowing the high value of humility, diversity, and cross-societal
involvement, Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW comes explaining to us Westerners
how to "encounter the mystery" and exhorting us to live with our
diversities as one. Mystery? Please, quickly dismiss any notions of
detectives or sinister allegiances and focus instead on a process of
understanding that is quite natural. This Orthodox process, sometimes
explained as a journey, is a way of faith and belief that does not put
man first, not his knowledge, education or station in life, but the
worship of God first, as man knows nothing of Him, without His
revelation. You see, our analytical Western minds must statistically
prove or dogmatically pronounce such ideas. In Orthodoxy, we journey
in faith never fully understanding the mystery yet by encountering it,
becoming transforming and restoring His image in our own personality.
We look for truth and beauty in all His creation unable to judge
others on any part of their own particular journey or belief
confessing our disobedience along the way.
Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW'S 200-plus-page book is profound, yet simple.
His rich education and linguistic abilities would predict a lofty
explanation of theology using Latin or Greek terms. However, this
volume speaks more from the heart than as the treatise one might
expect. He bids us to join him in encountering and experiencing this
faith, belief and way of life by encountering it and immersing
ourselves in it.
It is quite possible that few will read this book. Pity. It is also
possible that it will fill a slot on many bookshelves without being
noticed. Pity. Without proclaiming anything new or contrived,
Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW reveals the secret of life itself - a passage in
which one can journey as a monk, a hierarch, or just a humble work-a-
day sinner, from any culture or background, having innocence or
Although formerly Protestant in background and theological education,
I evolved into a member of the Orthodox Church. I was privileged to
meet the Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW during his visit to San Francisco and
was excited to encourage others to meet him at the airport. Not
knowing what to expect, I believe he gave me a treasured experience.
My wife, accompanied by a blind friend stood with many others on the
tarmac along a low chain fence awaiting the Patriarch's greeting. He
walked down the line greeting each of us. However, when he came to our
blind friend, he stopped, noticed her blindness, took her head in his
hands and prayed and blessed her. Maybe I make too much of this, but
without prompting and without planning or the aid of a public
relations specialist, but moreso as Jesus, he stopped and
compassionately cared for her.
I have the same feeling reading his book. Through the words of his
book, he has stopped to hold our faces in his hands and care for us.
Relatively unknown by many, even the Orthodox Christians in the U.S.,
Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW has explained our faith in simple and
understandable terms, concisely and in the context of the world we are
shrinking into, inviting us to participate together in the mystery of
life with Christ.
Rick Burns (Dismas)

Message has been deleted


Mar 14, 2008, 10:42:42 AM3/14/08
Yo, Rick,

R U gonna buy the book? If so, using passages from the book, preview it

Rick wrote:

>Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today
>Encountering the Mystery by Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW
>In the West, it is truly unimaginable that an organization could exist
>for twenty centuries and preserver and prosper through good but mostly
>tumultuous times, without a CEO, a president, or a "buck stops here"
>take-charge person at the top of the organizational chart. Yet the
>Eastern Orthodox Church has always existed in this way.

Actually, no, it hasn't We have no popes

>Considered our spiritual leader,

Our spiritual leaderS (note large S for plural) have not necessarilybeen
, and usually aren't patriarchs.

>Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, the "first among equals,"

needs defining

Do we know anyone unkind, unfeeling or who would not bless the blind?

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages