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Orthodox bishops in USA condemn racist violence

Orthodox bishops in USA condemn racist violence

On 12 August, clergy took a stand by marching in silent protest through Charlottesville. © Steven D. Martin/NCCUSA

31 August 2017

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, on 18 August, released a response condemning recent racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The bishops lamented the loss of life, and condemned “shameful efforts” to promote racial bigotry and white supremacist ideology.

“The Orthodox Church emphatically declares that it does not promote, protect or sanction participation in such reprehensible acts of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and proclaims that such beliefs and behaviors have no place in any community based in respect for the law and faith in a loving God,” the statement reads.

“The essence of the Christian Gospel and the spirit of the Orthodox Tradition are entirely and self-evidently incompatible with ideologies that declare the superiority of any race over another.”

The Orthodox Church has a long history of standing against racism, the statement noted, as in 1872 hierarchs from around the world assembled in Constantinople and denounced all forms of xenophobia and chauvinism. “They agreed that the promotion of racial or national supremacy and ethnic bias or dissension in the Church of Christ is to be censured as contrary to the sacred teachings of the Christian Gospel and the holy canons of the Church,” the statement reads. “It is formally condemned as heresy, the strongest category of false teaching.”

Actions by self-proclaimed white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and various racists and fascists betray the core human values of love and solidarity, the statement concludes.

“In this, we pray wholeheartedly for the families of those who lost their lives or suffered in these tragic events,” reads the text. “In like manner, we cannot condone any form of revenge or retaliation by any group or individual. Therefore, we fervently appeal to every person of good will, and especially the leaders of our great nation, to consider and adopt ways of reconciling differences in order to rise above any and all discrimination in our history, our present, and our future.”

In Charlottesville, can the power of love prevail? (WCC press release of 14 August 2017)

WCC member churches in the United States of America