EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): Sir Steven Runciman is the greatest Byzantine scholar of the 20th century who was baptized an Orthodox Christian in his late life. Please link here for his obituary form the Guardian… Also you may link here for the whole interview of Sir Steven Runciman with “Pemptousia” published by Fr. John Peck…
BELOW THE EXCERPT IN ENGLISH AND GREEK
Sir Steven Runciman: Only Orthodoxy Will Survive
I have great respect for Christian doctrines, and especially for Orthodoxy, because only Orthodoxy recognizes that religion is a mystery.
Roman Catholics and Protestants want to explain everything. It is pointless to believe in one religion, believing that this religion will help you to understand everything.
The very purpose of religion is to help us understand the fact that we can not explain everything. I think Orthodoxy preserves this precious sense of mystery.
The Roman Catholic Church has always been a political institution, apart from a religious one, and has always been interested in the law. We must remember that when the Roman Empire collapsed in the West and the barbarian kingdoms came, the Roman rulers were lost, but the ecclesiastical men remained, and they were the only ones with a Roman education.
So, they were used by the barbaric kings to enforce the law. Thus, the Western Church “interfered” with the law. You see the law in the Roman Catholic Church: he wants everything to be legal. In Byzantium – and it is interesting how after the Turkish conquest the substrates remain – the Church is only interested in the Canon, the law of the scriptures. It has no desire to determine everything. In the Western Churches that followed from Roman Catholicism, the need for law, for absolute determination, has been inherited. It is very interesting to study – and I have been studying for a long time – the dialogue between the 17th century Anglican Church and the Orthodox Church.
The English were very upset because they could not understand what the Orthodox thought about the change of wine and bread into blood and body. The Orthodox said “it is a mystery that we can not understand. We believe that it is possible, but we do not know how “. The English – like the Roman Catholics – wanted a clear explanation. This is the typical difference between the Churches and that is why I love the Orthodox.
I rejoice in the thought that in the next 100 years Orthodoxy will be the only Historical Church to exist.
Σερ Στίβεν Ρανσιμαν: Μόνο η Ορθοδοξία θα επιβιώσει…