So you’re not Orthodox. That’s not your background or your profession. You’ve heard that the Orthodox Churches are having a big and important meeting coming up soon. (It starts tomorrow-Sunday, June 19.) Maybe you’ve had a friend suggest that you pray for it. But you’re sitting there thinking that doesn’t seem worth your while. Why should I as a non-Orthodox person pray for a meeting that won’t impact me?
There are many things that I could say, but I keep coming back to one word: love. Christ calls us to love one another as he loves us. (John 13:34) I may not be a member of the Orthodox Church, but I share a common belief with them in the Risen Lord Jesus. I have a special fondness for them as my brother (and sister) Eastern Christians. They are my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am called to love them. We are all called to love them.
Prayer is, as the late Madeleine L’Engle once said, an act of love. When we pray for others, we are demonstrating our love towards them. I don’t know what the Synod holds for my Orthodox brothers, but I know that the Lord has called them to this moment. It’s a big moment; they haven’t done anything like this in over 1200 years. Think about that; they haven’t done anything like this since before the Great Schism. It’s massively important in terms of the work of God among His people.
Now it appears that four of the churches will not be attending. They are calling for the council to be postponed, but Patriarch Bartholomew says that’s not an option. The council will continue, and any and all decisions will be enforced regardless of who attends or doesn’t attend. With this in mind, our brothers need prayers even more. They are making decisions for their Churches in a difficult hour. They need wisdom and grace from the Holy Spirit. They need our love and our support. At this juncture, the best way that we can do that is through our prayers.
We are called to love our Orthodox brothers and sister as St. Peter and St. Andrew loved one another. Let’s support them in prayer. Let’s pray for each of the bishops who will be there. Pray for Patriarch Bartholomew who will be leading his brother bishops. Also pray for those Patriarchs who have chosen to not attend. Pray that God will bring peace and unity among the Orthodox Churches and among all Christians.
St. Andrew, St. George, St. Nicholas, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Francis of Assisi, and Sts. Vladimir and Olga, pray for the Great and Holy Synod. Pray for unity among all Christians!