Patriarch of Trashposting
If you want to look at it like a Catholic, who has centralised policies that allow for clear canons on ubi ecclesia, sure, it's hardly the image of visible unity. Unfortunately, many Orthodox Christians see it that way, either due to ignorance or just spite, but actually it's a perfect image of incarnate unity and catholicity, just like a hierarchy of sinners is a perfect image of incarnate holiness and less-than-ideal missionary efforts are a perfect image of incarnate apostolicity. The Church is what it is.Accept mainstream Orthodoxy doesn’t practice what it preaches so there is nothing to be triumphalist about as the recent episodes in Ukraine and Macedonia show. Churches going into and out communion and schism with one another is hardly the image of visible unity.
An Orthodox Christian that looks to the past, however, sees how these things come and go and the Church stays. Over time, things become very clear, and before time comes we believe God's grace will guide and have mercy on people who may be mystically caught up in the outside. Skirmishes like rigorism, Arianism, the Acacian schism, the three-chapter controversy, iconoclasty, the Council of Florence, the resulting Constantinople-Moscow schism, Bulgarian autocephaly and now Ohrid autocephally (which was concluded today with the peaceful creation of a unified Orthodox jurisdiction) made a huge mess and were simply gone. In the cases in which the dissenting party didn't comply, boundaries were eventually made clear anyway.
That's not romantism, that's what actually happens. St. Maximus the Greek suffered to restore communion between Moscow and Constantinople, but he was still under Moscow, and now both sides highly venerate him. The EP commemorates the Holy Martyrs of Batak even though they were not under the EP's own canonical bishop, who'd eventually become Patriarch Neophytus VIII of Constantinople, but rather partaking the Bulgarian schism.
Isn't that all that really matters, more than everybody always knowing with certainty which churches they should attend and which churches they might circumstantially attend, provided they have access to canon law? Is it really worth it? The way "Israeliteness" was dealt with in the Old Testament seems to support our way.
I mean, you guys are not sparing yourselves from the church drama, and, even when you are, maybe God doesn't want you to do it the way you are. For example, the Catholic Church would probably be in a better state if conservative bishops had been able to speak their minds freely in the years after the Second Vatican Council, but instead they were actively repressed. Archbishop Thuc and Bishop Méndez-González might still do their thing, but Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Mayer only did what they did after over a decade of repressive measures, failed negotiations and broken promises. Really weird church government, considering Pope Paul VI claimed the council wasn't dogmatic at all.
Anyway, I'll just stick to St. John 16:33 and keep proclaiming the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I'll still be nice to Catholics of all kinds, and try to be humble about our shortcomings, but I'll not accept some bogus ecclesiology that was made up to justify the Anglican schism and widespread to allow some denominations to have a stronger sway onto others.