By Fr. Georgios Dormarakis
The disciples of Christ were first called Christians by the Jews of Antioch who spoke the Greek language. Since then, the word “Christian” has been defining the identity of all believers in Christ. However, it is necessary to determine what being a Christian means nowadays, due to the very strange time we live in.
Moreover, in terms of Greek reality, the Greek Diaspora is not distinguished to the extent that we want to believe. According to opinion polls, the vast majority of the Greek people consider the Greek diaspora as people who speak the same language, have the same religion and share the same blood running in their veins. But in the time of globalisation, we live in multicultural societies and, therefore, we perhaps tend to adopt a different view.
In Greece, our homeland, we have been living in a so-called post-modern era. More particularly, we live in a time when we challenge most of the traditional values, our society is based on rationalism, human beings are considered either as a man or a woman, humans worship technology as if it were a new God, and people constantly change their physical appearance through operations.
For many people, the “intangible” individual, who hides behind a computer screen, is considered as dominant. Human relations change by the constant multiplication of social media that create the illusion that we are a part of society. However, the most important disadvantage of that society is that relations are no longer genuine as they are no longer “tangible”. The new society lacks genuine communication between people, which is vital for human beings.
It is clear that confusion reigns supreme, as century-old social structures are lost and in the light of that pure disorder, which becomes our daily routine, the following question arises: Who can be called Christian? Apart from the unfaithful, who anyway do not believe in Christ, humans have been influenced by the general madness of today’s society. They are trying to orientate themselves in order to follow the path of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
So, is the true Christian the one, who, based on the Bible and the preaches of all saints, speaks tirelessly in favour of the Church and defines it as the living Body of Christ?
We will not go into details. Nevertheless, we will speak of a key and comprehensive definition given by the great ascetic and Father of the Church, St. John Climacus: “A Christian is, as much as possible, the imitation of Christ in relation to the words, the deeds and the thoughts and believes rightly and unmistakably in the Holy Trinity.” (1: 7)
In other words, we are Christians if we believe, as the Holy Church does, in the Symbol of Faith. We are Christians when we live the life of Christ and when we accept His love and humility by having our heart wide open and by building genuine relationships. Here is how we define the true Christian! We are defined, we repent and we move forward!