The Orthodox Mission Network met in Greece at the start of December. The meeting was attended by 18 Orthodox leaders from Nigeria, Cameroon, Mozambique, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and Greece. The network, which has been active for several years, last met in Albania in September 2013, immediately after the LOI meeting that year, providing an opportunity for some of us to meet their members.
During this year’s meeting Dr. Athanasios Papathanasiou presented a paper on “Contemporary missionary efforts in the Orthodox Churches: limitations and possibilities” in which he called for an emphasis on ‘todayness’ saying, “emphasis on traditional culture alone may hinder the missionary from realizing what constitutes real life in a particular place today.” Papathanasiou went on to argue for local churches that adopt the “Three Selves” principle.” He concluded his paper by saying, “Mission is the work of the First Missionary, Christ, and the Church is the deacon of his mission. Likewise the Church is not the Kingdom. She is the sign and foretaste of the Kingdom; which means that the basic characteristic of missionaries is their functioning as Forerunners – as “prodromoi”. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30).”
A full report of the meeting will be available later.