Sir Steven Runciman on Christianity’s past and future

P.: What do you believe about the presence of Orthodoxy in modern Europe?

S.S.R.: Sometimes – what can I say – I feel very disappointed from the other Churches of the West. However, I am glad with the thought that within the next 100 years Orthodoxy will be the only historical Church existing. The Anglican Church is in a very bad state. The Roman Catholic Church keeps losing ground. But, fortunately there is the Orthodox Church. The increasing number of people embracing Orthodoxy is impressive, especially in Britain. I believe it offers real spirituality which the other Churches cannot transmit any longer. All this leads me to the conclusion that Orthodoxy will be sustained, in contrast to the others.

P.: What do you think Orthodoxy could offer a united Europe and generally the whole world?

S.S.R.: I should say that I very much doubt we will ever have a united Europe or world. I believe, however, that it offers a wonderful solution to the problem of unity among the Orthodoxy peoples, because to start with, it does not project nationalism at all. But also because through it are given wider and more liberal views in comparison to the Roman-Catholic Church. All this fills me with the conviction that Orthodoxy has a certain and very good future ahead of it.

P: Which Byzantine figure do you admire the most and why?

S.S.R.: This is a very difficult question…! I am interested in so many personalities. But mostly I admire some religious men. Generally, the non-spiritual but important people of the Byzantium are not, generally, for me worthy of admiration, some of them have certainly offered something. But I believe that some spiritual statures are more admirable. They have offered a lot of things and service to the European civilization.

Read the rest of this fascinating interview here.


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