At 4pm on Sunday, January 22, Saint Thomas welcomes the Very Rev’d Professor John McGuckin, Pastor of St. Gregory’s Chaplaincy (Romanian Orthodox Church), Nielsen Professor of Early Church History at Union Theological Seminary, and Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies at Columbia University, to preach on the subject of Christian unity.
In advance of his visit, Fr McGuckin has this message:
I am delighted to have the invitation to speak, as an Orthodox theologian, in Saint Thomas on the theme of Christian Unity. Our Lord himself set the tone for our reflection on the notion of the oneness that Christians should aspire to, but he did it in his usual surprising style. Whereas we tend to hope, in terms of practical Church Unity, for something approaching a kindly tolerance or, perhaps somewhat better, a neighborly friendliness that takes into account the realism of our various distances and longstanding alienations, Jesus himself simply set before the Church the duty to be one “in the manner the Divine Father and Son are One” (John.17.21). This apparently impossible standard is presented as a basic witness – martyria – of the Church that is its fundamental energeia, or life force. The Lord suggests that this kind of unity is not a matter of ecclesiastical polity, therefore, but of high theology, holiness, and evangelism to the world. Perhaps we already know this type of unity which, in striving to make it more of a lived reality in our lives, might make our various differences in polity less alarming to us.
Archpriest John A McGuckin.