The Purpose of Ecclesiastical Institutions

As I struggle through my own formation, thinking back to the retreat last weekend, my interaction with various people in positions of power in certain ecclesiastical institutions, my readings about the Orthodox faith and my readings for seminary, one quote from Frederica Matthewes-Green in her book Welcome to the Orthodox Church particularly jumps out at me.

But to learn Orthodoxy itself is a different matter. Because once you’re on the inside, you find that Orthodoxy is not primarily a religious institution, but a spiritual path. The institution exists for the sake of the path.

It sometimes feels that both Protestants and Roman Catholics miss this important idea. To paraphrase Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, “The Sabbath [and ecclesiastical institutions] were made for man, not man for the Sabbath [and ecclesiastical institutions]”.

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