An explanation of the Reformation

The best I have ever seen. From Holy New-Martyr St. Hilarion’s Christianity or the Church? (h/t: Biblicalia):

Latinism gave birth to a legitimate, although very insubordinate, offspring in the form of Protestantism. Protestantism was created from the soil of humanism which was not a religious phenomenon; on the cotrary, all its leading ideas are purely earthly, human. It created respect for man in his natural condition. Protestantism, having carried over the basis of humanism into the religious field, was not a protest of genuine ancient Church Christian consciousness against those forms and norms which were created by medieval Papism, as Protestant theologians are often inclined to claim. Far from it; Protestantism was a protest on the very same plane. It did not re-establish ancient Christiainity, it only replaced one distortion of Christianity with another, and the new falsehood was much worse than the first. Protestantism became the last word in Papism, and brought it to its logical conclusion. Truth and salvation are bestowed upon love, i.e., the Church ― such is Church consciousness. Latinism, having fallen away from the Church, changed this consciousness and proclaimed: truth is given to the separate person of the Pope, and the Pope manages the salvation of all. Protestantism only objected: Why is the truth given to the Pope alone? ― and added: truth and salvation are open to each separate individual, independently of the Church. Every individual was thus promoted to the rank of infallible Pope. Protestantism placed a papal tiara on every German professor and, with its countelss number of popes, completely destroyed the concept of the Church, substituting faith with the reason of each separate personality. It substituted salvation in the Church with a dreamy confidence in salvation through Christ in egoistic isolation from the Church. In practice, of course, from the very beginning Protestants departed from the very beginning [sic] and by roundabout ways, by contraband, so to speak, introduced some of the elements of the dogma about the Church, having recognized some authorities, although only in the area of dogma. Being a religious anarchy, pure Protestantism, like all anarchies, turned out to be completely impossible, and by that, testified before us to the indisputable truth that the human soul is Church-prone by nature.

Still, the theoretical side of Protestantism appealed to human self-love and self-will of all varieties, for self-love and self-will received a sort of sanctification and blessing from Protestantism. This fact is revealed today in the endless dividing and factionalism of Protestantism itself. It is Protestantism that openly proclaimed the greatest lie of all: that one can be a Christian while denying the Church. Nevertheless, by tying its members by some obligatory authorities and church laws, Protestantism entangles itself in hopeless contradiction: having itself separated the individual from the Church, it nevertheless places limits on that freedom. From this stems the constant mutiny of Protestants against those few and pitiful remnants of the Church consciousness which are still preserved by the official representatives of their denominations.

One thought on “An explanation of the Reformation”

  1. This is biased and polemical on its face, and therefore very poor and imbalanced. This is only written for those who already agree with the viewpoint being presented, or for those who are uneducated enough to know better. It is merely an exercise in re-convincing the already convinced. This certainly wasn't written to appeal to any Protestant. In fact, this kind of material only repels Protestants who know better from Orthodoxy. A well-informed Protestant will roll his eyes and move on unfazed by misguided, inaccurate rhetoric like this. Every side has its particular talking points. This is one such example from Orthodoxy.

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