These last few days we have been blessed to have the presence among us of Metropolitan Serafim, who is  celebrating the Eucharist at St. Gregory’s this morning. He came to Union Theological Seminary  earlier this week to be one of the main guests of honour, and chief speaker at the History Field Colloquium on Friday Dec. 7th. Archbishop Nicolae of the American Archdiocese was also a keynote speaker, and so too our local bishop, His Grace Ioan Casian. The conference was a great success. It set out in parallel to western theoretical ideas of church tradition, and what is important to remember from the ChrisText Box: tian past, the sense of what Orthodoxy understands about Tradition and  ‘identity’ as Church.  Metropolitan Serafim gave a talk on the nature of the Eastern Orthodox Hesychastic traditions of prayer, as one of the significant ways that the Orthodox church has ‘lived out’ its sense of identity as Christ’s Church  on earth. It can be found below, in this newsletter, in full.
The Hesychastic tradition is the inner life of the spiritual fathers: those monastic teachers from the early Church who  have set out extensive teachings on prayer to guide the Orthodox daily life. Hesychastic faithfulness to prayer keeps at its core the issues of repentance, and ascetic Text Box: fidelity to the Gospel—even in a world where there are so many temptations to   arrogance, and affluence that can easily forget to care for the poor.
The lectures from the Orthodox hierarchs focused on how the repentance of the one, of you and of me, is the beginning of the  turning of the whole cosmos towards God. Such is our duty, and such is our mission

Text Box: St. Gregory’s News Letter
Text Box: Orthodoxy and the West.  Metropolitan Serafim.
Text Box: For a long time now, Orthodoxy has no longer been simply ‘Eastern’. It is present today on all five continents as a living witness to the undivided early Church, named in the Creed as ‘One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic’. Text Box: Because of this presence of the Orthodox in places that had been traditionally Catholic or Protestant, and especially because of the modern ecumenical movement, Christians of the East and the West are today able to know one another more Text Box: accurately, and share in the specific values of one another’s traditions. Perhaps in this age we can witness the Church once more ‘breathing with two lungs.’
Western Christianity tends to be pragmatic in character, orientated towards the Text Box:                  X Theologos 
Text Box: St.Gregory the theologian orthodox chapel

Athonite Fresco of St. Gregory

world and towards human persons in their existential context of suffering, that is both of the body and of the soul.  To be of loving and effectual service to humanity in its most pressing and concrete needs is, according to the Gospel, the fundamental criterion of the Last Judgement. Following from this pragmatic character, Western Christianity has always tended to be marked by a juridical  and ethical (or moralistic) spirit. In the  later Middle Ages the strong ecclesiastical .. (p.3)