A first lesson that Orthodox Christians can learn from Pope Francis: Authentic Power is Service.
One of the great tragedies of modern times is that Orthodox Christians constantly argue over power and status rather than service to the weakest among us. Church leaders debate about who is first and who is last. Clergy argue about the physical boundaries of Churches, who is entitled to govern them as well as about ancient titles that have their place in an ancient world that has long since disappeared.
Amidst these arguments, Orthodox Christians need to pause and remember that power in the Church is a paradox. It is also neither a title nor a jurisdiction. Power in the Church is not about who kisses one’s hand but how many feet one can wash in the service of Christ. Pope Francis made this clear when he visited a youth prison in 2013 and chose to wash the feet of the offenders including one who is an Orthodox Christian. “Real power is service. As He did, He who came not to be served but to serve, and His service was the service of the Cross. He humbled Himself unto death, even death on a cross for us, to serve us, to save us. And there is no other way in the Church to move forward.
For the Christian, getting ahead, progress, means humbling oneself. If we do not learn this Christian rule, we will never, ever be able to understand Jesus’ true message on power.” St. John Chrysostom echoes this belief from ancient times: “To love Christ means not to be a hireling, not to look upon a noble life as an enterprise or trade, but to be a true benefactor and to do everything only for the sake of love for God.”
Excerpt from the Orthodox Christian Network.