Most stunning perhaps was, in 1996, the conversion of Jaroslav Pelikan, Yale University’s celebrated church historian and Luther scholar. Here is a man who has co-edited 22 of the 55 volumes of Luther’s Works in English, and then late in life he “moved East,” as some theologians like to say.
“I was the Lutheran with the greatest knowledge of the Orthodox Church,” Pelikan reportedly quipped, “and now I am the Orthodox with the greatest knowledge of Luther.”
He is has also been quoted as saying, “When the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist, I became Orthodox.”
Presumably, his implication was that the former two denominations were on the verge of losing their doctrinal clarity.
But he does not talk to the media about this move that exemplifies a trend of sorts among some Protestants and Roman Catholics.
“I have received hundreds of requests for interviews and decided not to respond to any of them,” he told UPI Tuesday.
Some former associates say that he simply does not wish to hurt his former Lutheran coreligionists. But a ranking OCA cleric gave a clue: “Pelikan said he joined us after he had read a work on the Cappadocian Fathers for a fifth time in the original Greek.”