Holy Disobedience: Resistance to Secular and Ecclesiastical Authority in Orthodox Christian History
As one begins a study of Christian history, and in particular the patristic period, what becomes immediately apparent is how often figures regarded as “heroes” of the Christian narrative found themselves at odds with both secular and ecclesiastical authority. These heroes and saints were the ones who, to protect the orthodox faith, disobeyed the biblical injunction to “submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men” (1 Peter 2:13). They were the ones who ignored Ignatius of Antioch’s plea to be obedient to the bishop, respecting him “as you respect the authority of God the Father.” Of course, this dynamic is not exclusive to the patristic period. For example, during the thirteenth and fifteenth century debates over union with the Roman Catholic Church, once again we find the saints actively struggling against both ecclesiastical and secular authority in order to preserve the Orthodox faith.
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Also Published In
- Power and Authority in the Eastern Christian Experience: Papers of the Sophia Institute Academic Conference, New York, December 2010