On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon delivered the inaugural lecture of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary’s [STOTS] 2019 October Lecture Series. This year’s lecture series focuses on the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America.
Metropolitan Tikhon’s address titled “Primacy and Service”, approached the topic from a broad perspective of the relationship between primacy and obedience. “Too often, autocephaly and primacy are understood as concepts which grant or assure certain rights and privileges,” said Metropolitan Tikhon. “I think it would be more fruitful to see them as obediences, in the monastic sense of something that has a purpose. The granting of autocephaly was not a reward or a recognition but rather a call to service.”
Throughout his address Metropolitan Tikhon offered personal reflections to illustrate the expression of primacy throughout the Orthodox world.
Commenting on recent divisions in world Orthodoxy, and even breaks in communion between Churches over the definition and interpretation of primacy, His Beatitude called on the faithful to offer fervent prayers for the alleviation of these tensions, and suggested that the present challenges facing the Orthodox Church, “calls us to reflect on our own local circumstances and to discern whether our own experience as a local church for the past 50 years might be able to make a small contribution, if not towards a resolution of global conflicts, then at least to a normalization of the canonical situation in our own region of North America.”
His Beatitude concluded his address by urging each of us to offer service, obedience and primacy in our own lives and communities, “because all of these things depend not so much on what is external to us, as on what is within our heart.”
The October series will continue this evening with a lecture by Archpriest Thomas Soroka titled, “Autocephaly and Mission”.