By Metropolitan NICHOLAS (Hadjinikolaou) of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki, locum tenens of the diocese of Attica, Greece:

In the Protestant world ierapostoli (mission) is understood as proselytism, as an effort to persuade others to follow that which they preach as the truth. In the Orthodox tradition ierapostoli (mission) means witness and confession. It means to give the opportunity to our fellow human beings for God to speak within them, that they may go from becoming creations of God to His children and from our fellow human beings to our brothers in faith. Perhaps some of them will approach us in a spirit of proselytism [as understood above]. Let us respond by giving them a clear witness but in a phronema of love in Christ. In such an age as that in which we live, the temptation to relativize everything, to sacrifice the clarity of our confession on the altar of a worldly-minded tolerance, to call into question the divine gift of our Orthodox faith on account of a wrongly-understood ecumenistic unity, to replace the ierapostoliki (missionary) witness of the conversion of all with the ecumenist vision of universal co-existence, is more than obvious.

However, within the many opportunities presented by contemporary ideological pluralism, the blessing to submit our witness – not as intolerant persistence in crude ideas, but as magnanimous confession of personally-experienced truths, which we don’t uphold as if they are in danger, but rather confess because without them we are in danger – is exceptional great.

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