To those at St. Vladimir's Seminary here in Yonkers, he gives this vision of ministry:
[He] particularly reiterated the need to imitate the sacrificial path of Christ and his mother, the Virgin Mary. “To become the living presence of God, the living temple of God, requires us to crush our ego and shatter our will,” he said, “so that we might conceive God within us and become his presence in this world.
“Seminarians,” he noted, “do not come to theological schools to become ‘professionals’ and to be ‘respected,’ but rather to be crucified and thereby shine forth the light of Christ.” His Beatitude reminded the seminarians that his own title of “episkopos” means not “master of the house,” but “slave of slaves.”
On the topic of being an autocephalous church he said:
“Hierarchy is only about responsibility, it’s not all of this imperial nonsense,” he said. “Thank God that we’re Americans and we have cast that off. We don’t need foreign despots. We are the only non-state Orthodox Church. In other words, we are the only Orthodox Church that does not exist under the thumb of a state — either friendly or hostile.
“So the church is our responsibility, personally and collectively, individually and corporately. What are you going to do with it?”
I love that because it captures a shift in my own self-understanding as an American. The public education I received as a child (which was very good) left the subtle message that the so-called separation of church and state was for the protection of the state. I know realize that it is just as much for the protection of the integrity of faith.
May you be filled with the Holy Spirit as you take up your ministry, Metropolitan Jonah.