Friday, January 14, 2022

The Law of True Leadership (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Leaders - ecclesiastical, social and political - lead the people to whom they have been appointed and are not led by them. They are in charge of formulating the truth in pure language and of shaping people appropriately to follow it.

This must be done with knowledge of things, with calmness and composure, with sobriety and freedom, but also with many sacrifices. A real leader does their work sacrifically and martyrically. They do not reconcile themselves with the passions of the people, nor are pressured by the people they are supposed to guide.

I made this introduction in order to refer to a speech by Alexis Khomiakov, the Russian theologian of the 19th century (1804-1860) who defined the theological thought of many later theologians because, among other things, be emphasized the relationship between love and freedom. He died in 1860 of cholera.

Of course, his ecclesiastical positions, which were formed in opposition to the Tsarist mentality of his time, created a climate which influenced some other theological movements that circulated in our time, but here I want to highlight some of his thoughts on what it is to be a true leader, a remarkable one.

In his letter to Y. Samarin, based on his theory that, as Christ teaches in the parables of the leaven and the mustard seed, the work of God unfolds in silence, in quietude and in the depths of the soul, and not in the striking spotlight, he writes:

"There is a law which you will not find in historical writings, but assuredly exists in real history: men in leadership do not aspire to become rulers in their own age, nor do they only lead those who follow them, because their contemporaries are not yet ready. For we all stand for a higher service, in which we have to prove ourselves faithful workers."

This speech is astonishing and shows that the real leaders who have inner gifts, cannot become leaders of their generation, because usually the people of their time, involved in their passions, cannot possibly discern the insightful mind of a true leader.

He also writes in the same letter: "Those who have dedicated themselves to the great global endeavor of Christian education must first of all be patient."

I remembered this amazing speech seeing the mentality of the people of our time, who without having sobriety and composure, but are involved in the passions of pride, egoism and fanaticism, cannot see things clearly, nor do they accept those who speak with poise and truth. And this is done, because the law prevails that the real leaders are those who are accepted by the next generation, because their contemporaries cannot understand them, due to various weaknesses.

We see this in the lives of the Old Testament Prophets. Their contemporaries did not understand them, but their speech was fulfilled later. The same happened with Christ, since His contemporaries not only did not understand Him, but also crucified Him.

After all, those who have an enlightened and insightful mind are true leaders, and they usually lead the people of the next generations.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.