The Mission of the Orthodox Church as a whole is very simple and straightforward, and the specific goal of the Orthodox Church in Australia aligns with this mission. Let’s learn what this mission is, and how it is specific to Australia.
The Orthodox Mission has as its twin goals:
- the “incarnation of the Logos of God into the language and customs of a country,” and
- the “growth of an indigenous church which will sanctify and endorse the people’s personality.”(1)
Unlike the Western Church, which has historically believed that there were three holy languages (Hebrew, Greek and Latin), the Eastern Church has never believed this. When missionaries went to new countries with the Christian Gospel they translated everything into the language of the people. If the people did not have a written language of their own, one was invented for them by the Orthodox missionaries (e.g. Slavonic).
Our mission here in Australia is entirely consistent with the Mission of the Orthodox Church over the centuries:
- the “incarnation of the Logos of God into the language and customs of Australia, which is English-speaking,” and
- the “growth of an indigenous church which will sanctify and endorse the Australian people’s personality.”
1 Bishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos), “Discovering the Orthodox Missionary Ethos,” (St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Vol. 3, 1964), p. 144-145. Quoted in “Orthodox Alaska — A Theology of Mission” by Archpriest Michael J. Oleksa, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. ISBN 0-88141-092-6