The Meaning and Application of Stewardship
St. Benedict Orthodox Church
Celebrating in the Western Rite
of the Antiochian Jurisdiction
    “Be fruitful and multiply fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” [Gn. 1:28]

“We are responsible for the world…Only through us can the cosmos, like the body that it
prolongs, receive grace…To the universe, man is the hope of receiving grace, and uniting
with God, and also the danger of failure and fallenness.”  [Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox
Theology: An Introduction, p. 71]

Man, in Orthodox thinking, is viewed as the “Crown of Creation.” We are more than just
another element in the created order, more than just a two-legged animal. We have a
specific purpose, which transcends existence, and it is to be a sort of intermediary between
heaven and earth, between the immaterial and the material. Our function, properly
understood, is to be a steward of God to creation.

The word “steward” comes from an old English word which means to be the “ward” or
keeper, of the estate. Its Greek version, oikonomos, refers to the manager of a household,
and is related to our word “economy.” In theology, we often refer to God’s operations in the
universe as His “economy.” Our responsibility as stewards refers to how we are to operate in
the universe, and this is a responsibility given to us by God.

The concept of “steward” is often related to or presented as synonymous with the notion of
a servant or slave.  A steward, in the ancient world, was frequently a slave, one owned by a
master, and every aspect of his life belonged to another. Now in using this imagery it is
important that we remove our understanding of “slave” from the American experience of it. In
the Jewish application and understanding of the term, it was most commonly referring to
what might be called “indentured servanthood,” a state somewhat willingly entered so as to
repay a debt. It differs from enforced slavery. Nonetheless In every responsibility, the
steward’s work is to do the bidding of the master.
The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant.
It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman.
It is not non-denominational, it is pre-denominational.
It has believed, taught, preserved, defended, and died for the Faith of the Apostles
since the Day of Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago in 33 A.D.
St. Benedict of Nursia Orthodox Church
St. Benedict of Nursia Orthodox Church