After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


Just in time for Halloween

A Horror of Intellectual Pride

In the 2003 summer issue of Etna's publication Orthodox Tradition is included Etna Bishop Auxentios' 12-page argument defending Harry Potter books and John Granger's book, The Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Understanding the Meaning, Genius, and Popularity of Joanne Rowling’s Harry Potter Novels.

Harry Potter Phenomenon, by Bishop Auxentios, Etna
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Starting on page 14.

The Harry Potter Phenomenon
and Orthodox Reactions
by Bishop Auxentios of Photiki

THE ORTHODOX CHURCH contrary to certain well-meaning but misguided efforts by the Faithul and some clergymen to prove otherwise, is not opposed to science, progress, or human intellectual development...

And on page 20 Bishop Auxentios cites a book review in The National Review.

Quite rightly, Dave Kopel, in a review of this book (The Hidden Key to Harry Potter) in the widely-read, conservative American political magazine, The National Review, says that Mr. Granger,

...demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that Harry Potter is anti-Christian.  And even if you've never worried about charges brought by misguided fundamentalists, The Hidden Key will substantially augment your understanding of what's really at stake in Harry's adventures. 4

Fast forward to 2012.  Does Etna still defend the Harry Potter books?   To find out I sent an inquiry email to both of the Etna bishops simply asking, "Do you still stand behind the Harry Potter books?"

An answer came from Etna the next day – not a simple yes or no:

...We do not "stand behind the Harry Potter books," which is an absurd statement, nor do we disavow what we consider intelligent commentary that may or may not suit your personal opinions, which, however much you may exalt them, are not the criteria of Christianity or Orthodoxy...


A month later I received an email from a ROCA priest who found the url to Bp. Auxentios' Harry Potter article somewhere on this blog.  He wrote to me:

Hello Joanna!
Hope you are well. Just perused your latest piece on this subject with the SIR link on the topic.  Are you pro or con this?  I hope and think con.  As much as I respect Archbishop Chrysostomos, I can't agree with his position.  After digging through all the preface trying to have the Holy Fathers approve of this mess I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth.  Firstly this is a private email to you and I don't wish my name to be brought into it as I have no PhD and therefore am incompetent to form an opinion.  But, here it is.
Joanna, I and you grew up with the 'Halloween' culture' and for me drooling for free candy.  Then we become Orthodox and mature and follow the true path as exemplified by the likes of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco and learn that this is not harmless but very dangerous spiritually.  I am all for knowledge and science and don't subscribe to a flat earth belief.  But, come on, all that eloquence to support this... Sorry if I am pontificating on this, we need Hierarchs to lead and not give approval tacit or not to magic black white or green.
In Christ,
(ROCA priest)

When I became a Christian I voluntarily crucified my mind, and all the crosses that I bear have been only a source of joy for me.  I have lost nothing, and gained everything.
– Eugene Rose


Joanna said...

World-orthodoxy apparently approves of Etna's article. They reprinted it in one of their AOI publications:


AOI = American Orthodox Institute
You can't get any lower on the world orthodox spectrum than AOI, the next step is into pure undisguised Protestantism.

Joanna said...

Just in case there is any doubt about how Etna views people who don't go along with their Harry Potter ideas, Abp. Chrysostomos published a follow-up article a year later in 2004:
The “Uncertain Riches” of Fundamentalism



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