Our Eastern Orthodox Church observes today the beginning of Lent while awaiting a resurrection that is five weeks later than the Western calendar. This is something that certainly does not befit Jesus’ incapable church. There should not be a problem in agreeing over united dates for feasts as there is no difference in essence between one calendar and another, the only differences are astronomical calculations that must not affect the life of believers and their relations with one another.
As the Catholic Church celebrates tomorrow morning the papal inauguration of Francis who is the new revolutionary at the heart of the church, the sympathizer with the poor, the humble and the renovator in a church that suffers a lot of problems, our Eastern Church suffers from an existence crisis that requires united efforts to keep going.
If the new pope has marched towards aiding the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, then all the world churches are required to cooperate to serve what best suits humanity’s interests since Jesus’ message has never been limited to Christians aloneNayla Tueni
The Eastern Church
The Eastern Church lives an era similar to that of Rome’s Church with regards to renewing heads of authority. Our Antioch Church prepares for a new leap with the new Patriarch John X. The Orthodox Coptic Church in Egypt, which has the biggest number of churches in the East, also witnessed the election of a new patriarch following the death of Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria. Also a month ago, a new patriarch was assigned for the Ethiopian church. The Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq also elected a patriarch a week ago. The Maronite Church also witnessed a similar change around two years ago.
These changes come during a critical moment that requires a wise vision regarding structure, rituals, relations with believers, relations with people of other religions and relations with current political structures whether before or after the revolutions erupted.
A race against time
Dealing with these emerging facts is a race against time and traditional means are not enough. If the new pope has marched towards aiding the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, then all the world churches are required to cooperate to serve what best suits humanity’s interests since Jesus’ message has never been limited to Christians alone but has addressed every single human. It is by looking after humans that the church can restore its real roots.
Today as Lent begins, there is a sincere call to give up everything that harms humans in every corner of the world. There is a call to fast from murder, war, strife, theft and kidnapping. Perhaps such a fasting period may save Lebanon from imminent evil.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni