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Abstract

At the dawn of the 20th century the Orthodox churches found themselves in a strange, even contradictory situation. On the one hand, they had a rich missionary past (the Byzantine and the Russian missions) and a dynamic theology which accepted local cultures and stressed the importance of trinitarianism and pneumatology. Yet on the other hand, the Orthodox churches had turned inwards, locked in with the national identities of the traditionally Orthodox countries. Thus Orthodox theology was almost completely absent during the first two decades of the International Review of Missions. Then some Orthodox voices began to appear. The most important Orthodox contributions to the IRM have been the holistic understanding of mission as martyria and diakonia, an inclusive approach to Christ's cosmic work, and the understanding of the church as the foretaste of the kingdom and the servant of the missionary God.