To the Editor:
I am an American-born, lifelong member of the Greek Orthodox Church. When I was a member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan, I served as a choir director and soloist.
What I’ve witnessed recently, which is quite disturbing, is that many Greek Orthodox priests are not on the same page theologically or biblically. I happened to be listening to a Greek radio station based here in the United States that had a guest speaker, one of many, who was a Greek Orthodox priest from Greece.
He was preaching that Jesus Christ was not Jewish, but that he was “Greek.”
I was quite taken aback, as I was taught that Jesus Christ was indeed Jewish and I recall listening to Greek Orthodox services in church in which the priest recited the entire genealogy of Jesus Christ.This guest priest said that lineage of the mother did not matter, but in Jewish tradition the lineage of the mother does matter. Mary, the Mother of Jesus carried Him in her womb.
In Judaism, Jewish lineage is passed down through the mother, because only from the mother is parentage assured. Today, one can have his DNA tested to discover parentage and ethnic heritage. I’ve heard other Greek Orthodox priests insisting that Jesus Christ was Galilean and therefore “Greek” because “Galileans were Greeks,” which is news to me!
We must remember that according to Judaic Tradition and Scripture, Jesus was circumcised according to Jewish Law, and after 40 days He was presented into the Temple. Jesus was also a Rabbi and preached from the Torah inside the Temple.
I believe it is incumbent upon all our spiritual leaders who preach to us from their pulpits to always be truthful and base their sermons and speeches on facts and not put a Greek-nationalistic spin on the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Sadly, I attribute this fundamentalism to nothing else but anti-Semitism.
I would like for a Greek Orthodox priest to have the courage to step up to the plate and set the record straight and please answer my question: is Jesus Christ Jewish?
Vivian T. Arfaras
New Port Richey, FL