It is a great blessing and it is a great obligation to be Orthodox… When an Orthodox person is away from his fatherland, then he is found in the heart of his fatherland. There is a French writer [Albert Camus] who said, “My fatherland is the French language.” Whereas an Orthodox person would say, “My homeland is the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, because even if I am found far away from my homeland, I find myself in the heart of my homeland.”
— Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron Monastery, “Everything is Prayer: Living on the Holy Mountain in the World.” in The Orthodox Word, July-August 2011 (#279)
This reminded me of Fr. Thomas Hopko’s words, “The Orthodox Christian lives from Sunday to Sunday, from Communion to Communion, from Pascha to Pascha.”
As Christians we strive to be good citizens of the lands in which God has placed us, while realizing every day that all of them — their rulers, their political and economic arrangements, eventually the lands themselves — will pass like shadows.
Our true homeland in this life (and, we pray, in the life to come) is the Church. The nations are a drop in the bucket. My life is a brief flash in eternity. As St. Isaac of Syria said, “This life has been given to you for repentance: do not waste it in vain pursuits.”
The image of Solovetsky Monastery in northern Russia is from an article about the monastery in Pravmir.com.