OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 18, 2014, 12:38:34 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Absolution necessary for forgiveness?  (Read 8159 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
St. Christopher
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 101


« on: May 22, 2007, 10:58:52 PM »

When I was doing catechism, I was told the penitent's forgiveness isn't conditional on the priest's absolution.  Meaning, when the priest says you're forgiven it's because God has already forgiven you.  If he says you're not forgiven, it's because God hasn't already forgiven you.  He doesn't have the power to forgive you or not forgive you, because only God has that.

When I got in a discussion with some Roman Catholics online, they demanded some documentation of my belief about confession.  I couldn't find what I was taught about absolution online.  Matter of fact, every explicit statement I could find on the topic sounded like the Orthodox agree with the Roman Catholics.

Is what I was taught in catechism the most common belief in Orthodoxy about absolution?


Logged
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,209


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2007, 11:59:57 PM »

Dear Christopher, Rest easy. You were taught correctly. Please read. Hopefully when George awakes in the morning he can add more insight.
sincerely, Tamara

Repentance and Confession - Introduction by John Chryssavgis http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8493.asp

Unfortunately confession at times undermines and even replaces the genuine inner repentance of a Christian: people feel "entitled" to communion after confession. This contradicts the true nature of repentance. It is a result of the sacrament being narrowly and juridically reduced to "absolution." Scholarly theology tended to transpose the concept of sin, repentance and forgiveness into a forensic idiom, and placed the emphasis on the power of the priest to absolve. In the Orthodox Church, the priest is seen as a witness of repentance, not a recipient of secrets, a detective of specific misdeeds. The "eye," the "ear" of the priest is dissolved in the sacramental mystery. He is not a dispenser, a power wielding, vindicating agent, an "authority." Such a conception exteriorizes the function of the confessor and of confession which is an act of re-integration of the penitent and priest alike into the Body of Christ. The declaration "I, an unworthy priest, by the power given unto me, absolve you" is unknown in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is of later Latin origin and was adopted in some Russian liturgical books at the time of the domination of Russian Orthodox theology by Latin thought and practice .[29] The idea served to bring confession into disrepute, turning it into a procedure of justification and exculpation in respect of particular punishable offenses. Forgiveness, absolution is the culmination of repentance, in response to sincerely felt compunction. It is not "administered" by the priest, or anybody else. It is a freely given grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit within the Church as the Body of Christ.

A word must be said about "general" confession, as distinct from a face-to-face confession between penitent and priest. General confession, in certain circumstances, could be a living model of repentance as a communal act, involving the whole body of the Church and as such manifesting the very essence of confession.[30] But it is not strictly a substitute for personal confession, involving intimate self-examination on the part of the penitent and possible guidance on the part of the confessor. Altogether, the function of the priest should not be ignored or minimized. "All who have experienced the blessing of having as their confessor one imbued with the grace of true spiritual fatherhood," writes Bishop Kallistos Ware, "will testify to the importance of the priest's role. Nor is his function simply to give advice. There is nothing automatic about the absolution which he pronounces. He can bind as well as loose. He can withhold absolution - although this is very rare - or he can impose a penance (epitimion), forbidding the penitent to receive Communion for a time or requiring the fulfilment of some task. This, again, is not very common in contemporary Orthodox practice, but it is important to remember that the priest possesses this right ... Not that the penitence should be regarded as punishment; still less should it be viewed as a way of expiating an offense ... We do not acquire 'merit' by fulfilling a penance, for in his relation to God man can never claim any merit of his own. Here, as always, we should think primarily in therapeutic rather than juridical terms."[31]

The most significant effect of confession is indeed due neither to the penitent nor to the priest, but to God who heals our infirmities and wounds. It is not a matter of a let off, a clearance; it has the force of healing, of making the penitent whole. As such it is a gift from God which man must be open to receive, and learn to receive: "Let us apply to ourselves the saving medicine of repentance; let us accept from God the repentance that heals us. For it is not we who offer it to Him, but He who bestows it upon us." [32]  It is significant that the Greek for confession, exomologesis, implies not only confession but also thanksgiving (cf. Matthew 11.25; Luke 10.21): "I shall confess/give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, and tell of all His wonders" (Psalm 9.1).

Reference has already been made to the cloud of guilt which at times shrouds the sacrament of confession. It is by no means a theoretical question, for guilt is part of the tragedy experienced by many people, whether in their personal lives or in the face of the appalling sufferings and misery - mental, physical, social - which afflict the world at large today and for which we all share the responsibility and the guilt. But in the specific context of repentance and confession, guilt is a highly misleading concept, largely fostered by Western thinking.[33] It originates in a hypertrophied individualistic, self-regarding view of sin and salvation, and indeed of repentance with its attendant legalistically oriented penitential system. Orthodoxy always resisted legalism, whether in repentance or in confession, eschewing both undue confidence in man's achievement or merit and the overwhelming sense of guilt, which is the negative aspect of being centered on oneself and seeking for some means to propitiate God's wrath. By contrast with this God is seen to declare His love for men at their most unacceptable. It is God's identification with man and His loving acceptance of the worst that men can do that makes repentance and confession a way of rediscovering God and one self, and thereby of being set on the road to full and loving relationship with God and with other men. There is no mention in Scripture of the word "guilt" (ἐνοχή), although there is the adjective "guilty" (ἔνοχος). Instead of "guilt" there is "sin" (ἁμαρτία) - failure, loss, a break-up in relations, resulting in a kind of false consciousness. Even "ἐνέχομαι" implies keeping fast within, cherishing, sharing, as distinct from being ashamed in the face of God who inflicts retributive punishment.
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2007, 09:17:19 AM »

Good topic. Good answer.
Welcome Christopher, and thanks Tamara!
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 05:27:26 PM »

What does an Orthodox priest say in the Absolution?

The claim of scholastic heresy against Rome is interesting (although I seem to be quite cautious by it).  When does the author of this article think that the Latin prayer started, and what was the Latin absolution prayer before that?

Why do I have a feeling that even Catholics would agree to the article mentioned, with a few exceptions of the offenses made against them?

God bless.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
St. Christopher
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 101


« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2007, 05:34:19 PM »

Why do I have a feeling that even Catholics would agree to the article mentioned, with a few exceptions of the offenses made against them?

Actually, the Roman Catholics wouldn't agree.  They were surprised and thought I must be misunderstanding the Church's position.  The Roman Catholics said that if the priest had a heart attack before he granted absolution, the penitent wouldn't be forgiven.  That view seems rather extreme to me.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 05:59:58 PM by St. Christopher » Logged
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2007, 07:10:32 PM »

Personally, I have never heard that 'Absolution formula' used before when I went to confession as a RC.  It was always:

"God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Logged

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS
choirfiend
ManIsChristian=iRnotgrEek.
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 903

Rachael weeping for her children, for they are not


« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2007, 09:38:09 PM »

After this, the Priest lays his epitrachelion (stole) on the Penitent's head and says the Prayer of Absolution, which differs in the Russian and Greek practices. In the Greek practice, the Priest says: "Whatever you have said to my humble person, and whatever you have failed to say, whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this world and the next.... Have no further anxiety; go in peace." The Slavonic formula of absolution, introduced by Peter Moghila, Metropolitan of Kiev and adopted by the Russian Church in the 18th Century, is as follows: "May Our Lord and Cod, Jesus Christ, through the grace and bounties of His love towards mankind, forgive you, my Child [Name] all your transgressions. And I, an unworthy Priest, through the power given me by Him, forgive and absolve you from all yours sins."

from http://www.orthodoxworld.ru/english/tainstva/5/index.htm
Logged

Qui cantat, bis orat
choirfiend
ManIsChristian=iRnotgrEek.
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 903

Rachael weeping for her children, for they are not


« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2007, 09:39:37 PM »

The Slav one could be said to be Western-influenced, I would guess---but man having the power to forgive sins is quite Scriptural, and the idea is not tossed out of Orthodoxy--but I would guess it is not quite as legalistic and hard and narrow as the Western version has become.
Logged

Qui cantat, bis orat
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2007, 10:06:03 PM »


Actually, the Roman Catholics wouldn't agree.  They were surprised and thought I must be misunderstanding the Church's position.  The Roman Catholics said that if the priest had a heart attack before he granted absolution, the penitent wouldn't be forgiven.  That view seems rather extreme to me.


Indeed, it would seem extreme.  I mean, in the end, all authority and judgment is God's, but I also feel it is quite scriptural that the priest does have the power to "forgive and retain" sins.  The thing is that the priest needs cooperation with the one whose sin is being forgiven.  I think it's quite logical that there's not only guilt but also determination and willingness to repent and to change your ways.  The whole "legalism" rant against Catholics seem to go against with what I learned from fellow Catholics.

But if some Catholics do feel that way, it could easily be argued that it's solely "their" problem.

God bless.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2007, 03:56:34 PM »

Mina,

I must say that the views on absolution in the sacrament of penance as expressed by those Catholics are of the worst kind of legalism and are not at all reflective of Catholic teaching.
Logged
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,209


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2007, 12:53:39 AM »

After this, the Priest lays his epitrachelion (stole) on the Penitent's head and says the Prayer of Absolution, which differs in the Russian and Greek practices. In the Greek practice, the Priest says: "Whatever you have said to my humble person, and whatever you have failed to say, whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this world and the next.... Have no further anxiety; go in peace." The Slavonic formula of absolution, introduced by Peter Moghila, Metropolitan of Kiev and adopted by the Russian Church in the 18th Century, is as follows: "May Our Lord and Cod, Jesus Christ, through the grace and bounties of His love towards mankind, forgive you, my Child [Name] all your transgressions. And I, an unworthy Priest, through the power given me by Him, forgive and absolve you from all yours sins."

from http://www.orthodoxworld.ru/english/tainstva/5/index.htm

An Orthodox priest shared that the Slavonic version is in fact almost a direct lifting from the Jesuit books that crept into Russia during the reign of Peter Moghila. In his opinion the theology expressed in the Russian text is at odds with the teachings of the Church, which never uses the term "I" in its mysteries, and also leads to a false understanding of confession, one in fact that has become prevalent in the Russian Church in particular. He figures this version will eventually wither away.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 12:58:31 AM by Tamara » Logged
augustin717
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: The other ROC
Posts: 5,636



« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2007, 02:11:53 AM »

The only formula used in the Romanian "Molitvenic" has been that of St. Petru Movila, too.
Logged
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,209


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2007, 10:40:13 AM »

The Russian version indicates clericalism because the priest is the one who has power to absolve sins while the Greek version makes it clear that God is the only one who can forgive sins and the priest is only the Lord's instrument.
I hope all of Orthodoxy will return to the original form of absolution. Interestingly enough, the priest who shared this infomation with me is in the ROCOR.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2007, 01:30:37 PM »

First, and please understand that this is just me being the cautious skeptic, there has been no proof from anyone here to show some sort of "original" form used by the Roman Catholic Church.  What if the original was indeed for them "I absolve you" and for the Greeks "may God absolve you."  That makes two originals.  To me, it seems only a manner of interpretation, not difference in beliefs of absolution.

Second, Friul gave us a quote from his experiences in being a RC.  It did say "and I absolve you..." but we are neglecting the part before that where it says, "may God give you pardon and peace."  Am I missing something here, or do you just want to believe that RCs are wrong in EVERY SINGLE THING they do?

God bless.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2007, 02:32:20 PM »

It did say "and I absolve you..." but we are neglecting the part before that where it says, "may God give you pardon and peace."  Am I missing something here, or do you just want to believe that RCs are wrong in EVERY SINGLE THING they do?

Mina,
I think you may be missing something. The issue is more complex than simply "who's right, the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox?" The issue is that we now have two Orthodox formulas which contradict one another.
 
The full "Greek" formula is:
"My spiritual child, thou who hast confessed to my unworthiness, I, a humble sinner, have not the power to forgive sins on earth but God alone can do this. Through that divine voice which came to the apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and said, 'Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted,' etc., we, trusting in it, say, 'Whatsoever thou hast confessed to my deepest unworthiness and whatsoever thou hast omitted to say either through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, God forgive thee in the present world and in that which is to come.' "

The "Russian" formula since the 18th century was changed to include the words:
"I, an unworthy Priest, through the power given me by Him, forgive and absolve you from all your sins."

There is clearly a problem, since the "Greek" formula specifically says that the Priest has "no power to forgive sins on earth", while the "Russian" formula says the penitent's sins are forgiven by the Priest's divinely given power to forgive sins on earth. The two formulas contradict one another on a doctrinal level. One says the Priest cannot forgive sins on Earth, while the other says he can.The Greek formula expresses the belief that forgiveness is a free gift given to those who sincerely repent and is therefore not dependant on the Priest's prayer, whereas the Russian formula suggests that God's forgiveness is "administered" by the Priest.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 02:32:57 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2007, 05:09:31 PM »

The Russian version indicates clericalism because the priest is the one who has power to absolve sins

It is not the priest's power. It is as much the priest's power as it is the priest's power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood. If he did have that power, rather than being a mere instrument of it, he would be able to use it however he liked. A priest, for example, who decided to retain the sins of a penitent out of spite or some other unjustified reason would not have the power to do so. A more common example would be a priest's pronouncing forgiveness of the sins of a secretly unrepentent penitent. The priest does not have the power to forgive such sins, and they will be retained regardless of what the priest says.

Christ established servants who would act in his Name to wield and administer the sacraments, and they are priests and bishops. They act in persona Christi. Thus, when they say, "I absolve you. . . in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," they are saying that God has forgiven you. It certainly makes more sense than to have God's voice come down from heaven proclaiming that fact every time.

I'm with Mina here. It's splitting needless hairs again.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 05:16:34 PM by lubeltri » Logged
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,209


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2007, 05:13:46 PM »

Second, Friul gave us a quote from his experiences in being a RC.  It did say "and I absolve you..." but we are neglecting the part before that where it says, "may God give you pardon and peace."  Am I missing something here, or do you just want to believe that RCs are wrong in EVERY SINGLE THING they do?

God bless.

Hi Mina,

I am not criticizing the Roman Catholics. They are of course free to believe as they wish. But what I am concerned about is our theology being changed. And many of those who are new to Orthodoxy are trying to understand what the Orthodox Church teaches in regard to absolution and forgiveness of sins. The OP is an example of someone who is trying to learn.

George,

You would make a great catechism instructor or perhaps one day you may become an Orthodox priest.  Wink

thank you, Tamara
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 33,141


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2007, 07:09:35 PM »

We also need to take into account the very strong Orthodox emphasis on lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of faith).  We need to make sure our prayers, including the priest's prayer of absolution over the penitent, match those doctrines we believe and proclaim, because what we pray cannot help but shape our beliefs.  This is why I don't feel very comfortable with the sentiment Lubeltri expressed in the quote below (nothing personal intended).
It is not the priest's power. It is as much the priest's power as it is the priest's power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood. If he did have that power, rather than being a mere instrument of it, he would be able to use it however he liked. A priest, for example, who decided to retain the sins of a penitent out of spite or some other unjustified reason would not have the power to do so. A more common example would be a priest's pronouncing forgiveness of the sins of a secretly unrepentent penitent. The priest does not have the power to forgive such sins, and they will be retained regardless of what the priest says.

We may know in our heads that the priest has no authority intrinsic in his office to forgive sins, but if our prayers contradict our intellectual knowledge, there is a disconnect that needs to be resolved.  Either change our prayers to match our doctrines, or change our doctrines to match our prayers, but the contradiction needs to be resolved.
Logged
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,209


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2007, 07:53:09 PM »

We also need to take into account the very strong Orthodox emphasis on lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of faith).  We need to make sure our prayers, including the priest's prayer of absolution over the penitent, match those doctrines we believe and proclaim, because what we pray cannot help but shape our beliefs.  This is why I don't feel very comfortable with the sentiment Lubeltri expressed in the quote below (nothing personal intended).
We may know in our heads that the priest has no authority intrinsic in his office to forgive sins, but if our prayers contradict our intellectual knowledge, there is a disconnect that needs to be resolved.  Either change our prayers to match our doctrines, or change our doctrines to match our prayers, but the contradiction needs to be resolved.

Peter,  Great points and I am in complete agreement with you. We also have to take in consideration that there are those who are young, naive, mentally deficient or vulnerable who will hear the words of absolution and take them at face value. I am sure many ignorant Orthodox peasants believed the priest had the power to forgive their sins through the authority of his office.
Logged
St. Christopher
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 101


« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2007, 08:09:58 PM »

I starting to see why the Internet sources weren't clear about absolution.  I agree with the others that the prayer of absolution should match our theology.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2007, 08:40:18 PM »

Dear George,

That's fine and all, but I'm asking do you have proof of the original Latin version.  I understand you can speak for Russian and Greek.  But can you make the same claim for the Latins, that they changed?

The idea here is that you are accusing them of a different theology (which I don't see the difference; in fact, I'm not saying who's right, I'm saying you may be wrong about RC's, and they probably believe in what that article believed) especially when this power to "forgive and retain" is actually a Biblical doctrine, and not just something the RC's made up.  Unless you don't believe Christ gave priests the power to "forgive and retain" and to "loose and bind" and to "possess the keys of the kingdom."  Now, granted that even if they changed, they can still affirm something they always affirmed, just never expressed in prayer.  But I'd like to see proof of two things:

1.  That RC's really do believe in some sort of heretical juridical clericism
2.  That RC's changed their original absolution prayer

Dear Tamara,

I'm only trying to be fair.  For one thing, we do have an RC here who speaks for himself and is, as I trust him, quite knowledgeable in RC beliefs.  We may indeed disagree in other things (like Petrine primacy for instance or Purgatory), but when it comes to prayer of the absolution which is something that has never been addressed as a difference in the history of the split, that is when we have to question our selves and really look for the research.

So, as Lubeltri says, from his RC experience, he believes that this power that priests have is not something absolute, but only through Christ.  Likewise, as Friul showed, the prayer given by the article he "never heard before" and gives us a quote that shows that the priest prays that God is the one who pardons.

I only want to be fair.  We have to listen to both sides.

God bless.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2007, 09:54:10 PM »

Unless you don't believe Christ gave priests the power to "forgive and retain" and to "loose and bind" and to "possess the keys of the kingdom."
I don't.
I follow the Greek tradition in which the authority to "bind or loose" is given only to the Bishop, and to those Priests who are appointed by the Bishop to hear confession. It is not automatically part of a Priest's ordination that he can hear confessions.  Of the 108 priests in my Archdiocese, only 14 have the authority to hear confession from the Bishop. There is a special rite in the Greek Orthodox Church for the appointing and blessing of a priest by the Bishop to hear confession.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
jlerms
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 826


O sweet Jesus, cleanse my soul.


« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2007, 10:16:40 PM »

Sorry for interrupting but I have a related question about confession and absolution.  If the priest is present during confession as only a witness (and not for absolution) why is it necessary to confess in their presence vs. another lay person.   Of course I believe that one must truly repent for their sins before God's grace of forgiveness is bestowed.  I assume that since the Orthodox Church (and the RC Church) consider confession to be a Mystery (Sacrament) that a priest must reside over the confession.  So if one confesses directly to God...honestly and contritely, it would not be valid as a sacrament?? 

just curious,   Juliana
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2007, 10:44:34 PM »

Juliana,
The Scriptures command us to confess our sins "to one another" (James 5:16). Originally, Confession was public and was made before the entire Church which witnessed the penitent's repentance and prayed for their forgiveness. It is an act of the Church, and therefore a Mysterion or Sacrament. With the advent of Monasticism in Egypt, the concept of the Spiritual Father evolved to whom one revealed their sins and thoughts. A Spiritual Father is not necessarily a clergyman, even today. For example, St. Silouan the Athonite was a Spiritual Father to many, but he was never ordained.
The "modern" form of Confession is a combination of these two- Confession to the Church and Spiritual Counsel. And while sincere repentance and contrition is what obtains forgiveness from God for the penitent, when we sin, we also damage our relationship with the Church, and the Church must receive us back and the damage needs to be healed.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 33,141


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2007, 11:07:15 PM »

Sorry for interrupting but I have a related question about confession and absolution.  If the priest is present during confession as only a witness (and not for absolution) why is it necessary to confess in their presence vs. another lay person.
We also need to account for the priest's role as guardian of the Sacred Mysteries of the Eucharist.  This requires the priest, for one, to vouch before God, whose Mystery the Eucharist is, and before his bishop that no impediment exists that would hold the penitent back from receiving Communion.  Some sins are serious enough (such as adultery) that, even when confessed, the penitent has traditionally been refused Communion for a time (maybe several years).  Many other sins also cause someone else personal offense and require that the penitent be reconciled with the offended party in obedience to Christ's teaching of Matthew 5:23-24.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

As guardian of the Holy Mysteries, the priest is responsible before God and before his bishop to make sure you have reconciled yourself with the person you offended before he can offer Communion to you.  A layman simply has no blessing to fulfill this liturgical responsibility, which makes confession to a layman alone insufficient.
Logged
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2007, 11:18:28 PM »

I would add that those early public confessions were, correct me if I'm wrong, in front of the whole local church---bishop included. It was the shepherd of the local church who adjudicated this (penances, etc.). Of course, that was before the churches became so large that presbyters under bishops were necessary (and, eventually, "private" confession). I certainly don't see anything wrong with that today, if it were practical (which it isn't).

---

On the other note, I can certainly understand where you are coming from from a catechetical point of view. Some of the ignorant might misinterpret the prayer (the Russian one, not the Latin one, which I think is more clear) and see the priest as some sort of potentate over their souls. But then, that is common with much else---some of the harsher-sounding psalms, for example, require discernment to understand properly. Much in the liturgy requires catechesis to prevent misunderstanding. I think each tradition probably should stick with its traditional language. I do not accept, however, that there is a real theological difference. I thank the Lord every day that we Catholics and Orthodox have kept this most indispensible mystery! I don't know what I would do without it. 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 11:22:28 PM by lubeltri » Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2007, 02:14:25 PM »

Dear George,

Thank you for that insight.  I must say that in the Coptic tradition, I never heard of a priest that doesn't have the power to bind and loose.  All priests ordained in the service (at least in my experience) are given this power, especially when the demand for spiritual and confession fathers are high in our congregations.

We do have certain exceptions.  For example, we have a celibate priest who was requested by the Pope not to take the confessions of married couples.  Then, we also have monk priests who probably have some other rules among themselves as well that I might not be aware of.

At the same time, so far, I have to agree with Lubeltri that I find no theological difference.

God bless.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 02:15:22 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,143


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2007, 02:15:18 PM »

I don't.
I follow the Greek tradition in which the authority to "bind or loose" is given only to the Bishop, and to those Priests who are appointed by the Bishop to hear confession. It is not automatically part of a Priest's ordination that he can hear confessions.  Of the 108 priests in my Archdiocese, only 14 have the authority to hear confession from the Bishop. There is a special rite in the Greek Orthodox Church for the appointing and blessing of a priest by the Bishop to hear confession.

I don't know how old this tradition is, though.  I know of a few of the Metropolitans who attribute this only to the eras when the training of priests was hit-or-miss; they insist that the grace to hear confessions (and to loose and bind sins, as Jesus said) is a part of the ordination to the priesthood, but the practice of not hearing confessions until one has the blessing of the Bishop developed to defend the people against poorly trained priests.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
jlerms
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 826


O sweet Jesus, cleanse my soul.


« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2007, 04:43:31 PM »

Thanks to George, Lubetri, Peter et. al,
An interesting note:
I was told by my priest that public confessions of the Early Church were stopped partly because of it encouraged  others to sin by gossiping about what other people confessed.  Apparently  it was a temptation.

Juliana

Logged
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2007, 08:47:55 PM »

I can only imagine! Can you imagine confessing in front of your whole church every month? Yikes! There's enough gossip already.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,143


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2007, 09:11:45 PM »

I can only imagine! Can you imagine confessing in front of your whole church every month? Yikes! There's enough gossip already. 

Take it all with a grain of salt: public confession was the practice when the worshiping community was much smaller - and it was more likely that each transgression affected the community at large in some way.  When the church exploded in size and people were not "intimately" connected with each and every person, the practice changed.  There were many factors behind the change.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 09:12:49 PM by cleveland » Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2007, 01:58:24 AM »

Or perhaps that there were communities that were much friendlier and supportive.  Kinda like walking into a "Sinner's Anonymous" meeting, until one stupid person had to ruin the tradition for everyone.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 01:58:52 AM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,209


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2007, 11:02:50 AM »

Or perhaps that there were communities that were much friendlier and supportive.  Kinda like walking into a "Sinner's Anonymous" meeting, until one stupid person had to ruin the tradition for everyone.

What a great description! Perhaps another reason public confession worked in earlier times was because the Christians thought Christ's return was imminent.  Wink
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,143


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2007, 02:28:17 PM »

Eh, IMO Christ's return IS imminent  - this is one of the truths all the Saints understood.  If we've only got 80-100 years of life on this Earth, it doesn't get more imminent.  If we all had a better understanding of that, then we'd all be better Christians - and would all be better able and more willing to help our brethren to climb out of the pit of sin.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Nigula Qian Zishi
Administrator Emeritus, Retired Deacon, Inactive Poster, Active Orthodox Christian, Father, and Husband
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Posts: 1,836


我美丽的妻子和我。

nstanosheck
WWW
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2007, 02:48:51 PM »

Mina,
I think you may be missing something. The issue is more complex than simply "who's right, the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox?" The issue is that we now have two Orthodox formulas which contradict one another.
 
The full "Greek" formula is:
"My spiritual child, thou who hast confessed to my unworthiness, I, a humble sinner, have not the power to forgive sins on earth but God alone can do this. Through that divine voice which came to the apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and said, 'Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted,' etc., we, trusting in it, say, 'Whatsoever thou hast confessed to my deepest unworthiness and whatsoever thou hast omitted to say either through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, God forgive thee in the present world and in that which is to come.' "

The "Russian" formula since the 18th century was changed to include the words:
"I, an unworthy Priest, through the power given me by Him, forgive and absolve you from all your sins."

There is clearly a problem, since the "Greek" formula specifically says that the Priest has "no power to forgive sins on earth", while the "Russian" formula says the penitent's sins are forgiven by the Priest's divinely given power to forgive sins on earth. The two formulas contradict one another on a doctrinal level. One says the Priest cannot forgive sins on Earth, while the other says he can.The Greek formula expresses the belief that forgiveness is a free gift given to those who sincerely repent and is therefore not dependant on the Priest's prayer, whereas the Russian formula suggests that God's forgiveness is "administered" by the Priest.

George, you are absolutely right. This difference in formula, along with some very important differences even in the Divine Liturgy would almost necessitates a Great Council to be called to sort this all out!

http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/krivoshein-greekandrussian.html
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 02:54:34 PM by FrChris » Logged

在基督         My Original Blog
尼古拉         My Facebook Profile
前执事         My Twitter Page
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2007, 02:54:29 PM »

Are we looking at the alleged Jesuit influence in the 18th century Russian Church?
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2007, 03:55:15 PM »

The prayer my priest says over us after we confess:

Quote
O Lord God of the salvation of Thy servants, gracious, bountiful, and long-suffering, Who repentest Thee concerning our evil deeds, and desirest not the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn away from his wickedness and live; Show Thy mercy now upon Thy servant, N., and grant unto him (her) an image of repentance, forgiveness of sins, and deliverance, pardoning his (her) every transgression, whether voluntary or involuntary. Reconcile and unite him (her) unto Thy holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with Whom are due unto Thee dominion and majesty, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Nigula Qian Zishi
Administrator Emeritus, Retired Deacon, Inactive Poster, Active Orthodox Christian, Father, and Husband
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Posts: 1,836


我美丽的妻子和我。

nstanosheck
WWW
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2010, 09:18:56 AM »

*bump*
Logged

在基督         My Original Blog
尼古拉         My Facebook Profile
前执事         My Twitter Page
88Devin12
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antioch
Posts: 4,981



« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2010, 03:05:41 PM »

Just to add...
I talked to my Priest a while back about this sort of thing, as I know we have confession, and during communion the Priest says:
"The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is given to the servant/handmaid _________ for the remission of their sins and unto life everlasting."

So I asked my Priest if my sins are forgiven both after confession and after communion, and he told me that its basically both/and. That we are confession the state of our souls, and confessing our need to change and that we are seeking improvement and repentance. I may ask God to forgive me outside of confession/communion, and he will forgive me, but confession and communion are a part of that repentance and part of the therapy to fixing my broken soul. So it isn't really a legalistic thing, but it also isn't a superficial act either. We don't "need" it for God to forgive us, but it comes naturally as a part of our repentance and fixing our souls, and reaching communion with God.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,957


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2010, 04:44:50 PM »

The way it has been described to me is that the priest takes the sins of those who confessed them, and then on the time of Eucharist places them on the altar that they be obliterated by the body and blood of Christ.  This is why it is necessary one must confess his sins to the priest before partaking of the Eucharist.

Many Church fathers have interpreted the washing of the feet of the disciples before the Holy Supper as the necessity of repentance and confession before the Eucharist.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
David Lanier
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South - OCA
Posts: 49



WWW
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2010, 11:33:30 PM »

May I change gears on this topic just a bit?

Someone in my parish told me that they had not gone to confession since they were 14 years old (they're middle aged now). At first I thought I should bring this up with the priest, but then thought that this isn't really any of my business and so I should just not concern myself.

The more I think about this though, the more I believe this it is not Orthodox for someone to be receiving Communion having not gone to confession in so long. In the parish I converted into some 20 years ago, the priest would give everyone until Holy Wednesday every year to come to confession if they wanted to receive Communion on Pascha and thereafter (until they did come for confession, that is). In this way he made sure everyone came to confession at least once a year.

Personally, I feel compelled to go to confession whenever some transgression or sin is weighing on my conscience. I haven't said anything to the priest about this yet. Your thoughts?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 11:36:17 PM by David Lanier » Logged
bogdan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,615



« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2010, 12:09:53 AM »

Each person's salvation is their own business, but I also believe we're all in this together and need to sharpen each other. I'm not sure what you should do about this information, but I don't think it's wrong to want to do something about it.

Because this person has either excommunicated himself, or is communing without repentance, and both of these are dangerous things. In the former case, he is cut off from the purifying body and blood of Christ, in the latter case he may be "partaking unto judgment" by not doing even minimal preparation.

I think you're right to be concerned for him, but someone wiser than I would better say what to do about it. Pray, certainly.
Logged
augustin717
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: The other ROC
Posts: 5,636



« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2010, 07:46:11 AM »

May I change gears on this topic just a bit?

Someone in my parish told me that they had not gone to confession since they were 14 years old (they're middle aged now). At first I thought I should bring this up with the priest, but then thought that this isn't really any of my business and so I should just not concern myself.

The more I think about this though, the more I believe this it is not Orthodox for someone to be receiving Communion having not gone to confession in so long. In the parish I converted into some 20 years ago, the priest would give everyone until Holy Wednesday every year to come to confession if they wanted to receive Communion on Pascha and thereafter (until they did come for confession, that is). In this way he made sure everyone came to confession at least once a year.

Personally, I feel compelled to go to confession whenever some transgression or sin is weighing on my conscience. I haven't said anything to the priest about this yet. Your thoughts?
You have no business in telling the priest anything about any parishioner. We are not a sect in which we spy on each other. My opinion.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,143


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2010, 08:21:55 AM »

Someone in my parish told me that they had not gone to confession since they were 14 years old (they're middle aged now). At first I thought I should bring this up with the priest, but then thought that this isn't really any of my business and so I should just not concern myself.

The more I think about this though, the more I believe this it is not Orthodox for someone to be receiving Communion having not gone to confession in so long. In the parish I converted into some 20 years ago, the priest would give everyone until Holy Wednesday every year to come to confession if they wanted to receive Communion on Pascha and thereafter (until they did come for confession, that is). In this way he made sure everyone came to confession at least once a year.

Personally, I feel compelled to go to confession whenever some transgression or sin is weighing on my conscience. I haven't said anything to the priest about this yet. Your thoughts?

Don't say anything to the priest about the parishioner, or at least make the story so vague that he won't know who you are talking about; you do not need to put yourself in a position to be tempted into judging the fellow - there are people who sin less in 14 years than I do in one week, so who knows whether they need confession as often as I do? 

Otherwise, your former priest's policy was a sound one - thank you for sharing.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
David Lanier
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South - OCA
Posts: 49



WWW
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2010, 11:35:11 AM »

You have no business in telling the priest anything about any parishioner. We are not a sect in which we spy on each other. My opinion.

I was not spying on anyone. They volunteered this information to me freely.
Logged
Tags: sin absolution forgiveness Peter Moghila 
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.148 seconds with 72 queries.