Notebook

East & West

Some thirty years ago, Jaroslav Pelikan remarked: ‘It has been evident to Western observers since the Middle Ages that Eastern Christianity has affirmed the authority of tradition more unambiguously than has the West. Repeatedly, therefore, it has been the vocation of Eastern Christendom to come to the rescue of the West by drawing out from its memory the overlooked resources of the patristic tradition. So it was in the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy, when the scholars of Constantinople fled to Venice and Florence before the invader, bringing their Greek manuscripts with them […]. And so it has been again in the twentieth century. One of the most striking differences between the First Vatican Council and the Second – and a difference that helps to provide an explanation for many of the other differences – is that between 1870 and 1950 the Western Church had once more discovered how much it had been ignoring in the liturgy and spirituality, the theology and culture, of Eastern Christendom.’

And today?