Trust versus Fear

Bishop Seraphim : Article
Trust versus Fear
[Published in the “Canadian Orthodox Messenger”, Autumn 2002]


This year, we were faced with the retirement of our beloved Metropolitan Theodosius for health reasons. The Holy Synod gave the blessing, since we prefer to have him with us as long as possible, even if it be in retirement. Metropolitan Theodosius, in his paternal love, is a living resource, a living connexion with our ancestors. He served in continuity with the bishops and faithful who preceded him. He perpetuated the living Orthodox Christian way of going about life which he had himself inherited, and to which he was exposed both in reading and in world travel. He led Christ’s flock of rational sheep as a good and loving shepherd, following in the foot-steps of such persons as Metropolitan Leonty and Metropolitan Ireney.

The process of choosing a new metropolitan is much misunderstood. We often try to treat it like an ordinary election. This is not so. What happens is that the faithful assembled make nominations. They may nominate anyone who is qualified, and this they did. There was a long list of persons nominated. Since on the first round, no-one received 66% of the nominations, there was a second round. In the second round of nominations, the names of the two persons who received the most nominations were given to the bishops. It is the historical custom of the Church that the people propose two or three names to the bishops, and it is the bishops who elect. Sometimes they vote, and sometimes they choose with prayer by lot. This time the bishops elected Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia to be the metropolitan. Then, he was immediately installed in office. I was, myself, happy to see how he was able, with all his experience, to lead the remaining sessions so well, and to see him acting decisively in other meetings. I am very happy to be able to remain here at home, and to be able to continue our missionary work in Canada together. Glory be to God for all things.

In the course of the coming year, it is our hope and expectation that we may receive in Canada both Metropolitan Herman and Metropolitan Theodosius. Let us support and protect them both with our prayers.

One of the most difficult things for us, it seems, is to trust God. We are trapped in organising and manipulating things, and being in control of things. Because we have fallen away from God's love, we are full of fear. Because we do not seem to be able to trust Him, we fall into the trap of insisting on being in charge. However, it is truly only in trusting Him that we are anything like our true selves. The irony is that the more we try to be in control, the more we are actually slaves of various fears. We then become distortions of ourselves.

Instead, the more we allow the Lord God to be in charge, the more we are liberated from fear, and the more we are truly ourselves. This is so, because we are in harmony with His love and with His pattern for us. Let us ask the Lord Jesus Christ to reach into the dark, fear-bound recesses of our hearts, and shine there the light of His love. Let us help Him to do so both by praying and by encountering Him in our daily reading of Scripture.