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Author Topic: St. Sophia Greek Heterodox Cathedral (D.C.)  (Read 4745 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2011, 11:41:54 AM »

This whole scenario of utilization of heretical non Orthodox methods for spirituality is unbelievable. Nonetheless this exemplifies what is wrong with the situation in America because of lax faith standards, lack of faith knowledge, Biblical illiteracy, ethnodoxy, cliques that obsess about obscure "traditions" (like toll houses), etc.

I believe that knowing the feast days etc. are important but I do not think there is even much awareness of the creed, the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, the golden rule, the 2 great commands, the relationship of confession & holy communion etc. are clear to many & if you lose focus on these, you get junk like this.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 11:42:35 AM by recent convert » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2011, 12:20:08 PM »

Serb, I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but are you saying that it is not possible for the Orthodoxy of much of the faithful to be diminished or extinguished?  Doesn't Christ speak of a great apostasy in the end times, which would question your view?

You might be...

What I was trying to respond to was this statement in particular:
Quote
Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

It has the potential to devastate the orthodoxy of the faithful?  That is extremely strong language.  Even if the statement is taken at FACE VALUE, all I wanted to do was interject the idea that not all is lost.  even if the orthodoxy of the faithful IS devastated, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church.  Devastation does not = it's over.  That was my basic premise here. 

Does that help whatsoever?
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« Reply #47 on: July 13, 2011, 12:22:33 PM »

This is disgusting. The entire time I was reading, I hoped so dearly to find a notice concerning their status as an "independent" "Orthodox" communion. Alas, this foulness has entered the Body. Those behind this should be offered the chance to recant and repent. If not, then remove them and their supporters from communion with the Church. Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

Yah...i'll just add this to that mix:

http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm

Quote
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

So somewhere between what you said and what Christ said...is the truth.  I would go with our Lord & savior on this one. 
I have said nothing contrary to either Christ or the teachings of the fathers. The Church has always understood the destructive nature of heresy. Why do you suppose countless individuals and doctrines have been anathematized? It was for the good of the faithful and for the preservation of their Orthodoxy.

Are you implying that Christ meant we should disregard heresy and make no effort to stop and destroy it?

Nope i'm not implying that at all.  What I am doing is putting a boundary to that heresy and making sure that you and everyone else understand that no matter what the destruction is or may be, or perceived to be, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church. 

IOW, sometimes we just might be taking ourselves a little too seriously.  Have a little faith in the christians of St. Sophia's, and even more importantly, don't lose hope in the situation there, no matter how vehemently you may disagree with it.  No matter what happens there, the church itself will never be compromised.  If we don't believe that, and hold on to that...well...good luck. 
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« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2011, 12:25:16 PM »

This is disgusting. The entire time I was reading, I hoped so dearly to find a notice concerning their status as an "independent" "Orthodox" communion. Alas, this foulness has entered the Body. Those behind this should be offered the chance to recant and repent. If not, then remove them and their supporters from communion with the Church. Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

Yah...i'll just add this to that mix:

http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm

Quote
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

So somewhere between what you said and what Christ said...is the truth.  I would go with our Lord & savior on this one. 

While an ultra-literal reading of Ioannis' statement might lend to the idea that the Orthodox in general could all fall away because of heresy, and thus negate the Matthew passage, I don't think that was his intention, and that is not how I read it. My imagining of his intention, that heresy can cause mass (but not total) apostasy, I think isn't necessarily inconsistent with Matthew 16.

My answer to this whole thing is..."it depends".  I put Matthew 16 on there to remind us all that no matter what the situation is, there is no "well, that's it, it's over".  It's never over.  Once we accept that, then our battle cry to say "oh how deplorable" must be measured & assessed based on the eschatological understanding of what the church is, as the body of christ.  just because one member may be sick (in OUR opinion) does not mean that the whole body is shut down.  And even if the whole body is shut down, that does not mean that the head is shut down. 

That's all I was trying to get across. 
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« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2011, 12:42:51 PM »

This whole scenario of utilization of heretical non Orthodox methods for spirituality is unbelievable. Nonetheless this exemplifies what is wrong with the situation in America because of lax faith standards, lack of faith knowledge, Biblical illiteracy, ethnodoxy, cliques that obsess about obscure "traditions" (like toll houses), etc.

I believe that knowing the feast days etc. are important but I do not think there is even much awareness of the creed, the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, the golden rule, the 2 great commands, the relationship of confession & holy communion etc. are clear to many & if you lose focus on these, you get junk like this.

The real problem is the absence of monasteries in the GOA until recently.  There are now some monasteries, and the situation is improving in some corners of the GOA as a result, but many more monasteries are needed, and more time is needed for the monasteries to become more foundational to the life of the GOA.  

Yesterday I was reading about St. Cosmas Aitolos, Equal to the Apostles and monk-martyr.  He spent 17 yrs on Mt. Athos before being called by God to the apostolic labor of preaching to the masses.  St. Cosmas travelled far and wide preaching repentance and establishing schools for the propagation of the patristic Faith.  The wealthy he would encourage to purchase writings of the Fathers, prayer ropes, handkerchiefs, combs, and crosses.  The writings of the Church Fathers he would give to those who could read or promised to read, prayer ropes were given to all the faithful with the injunction to say the Jesus Prayer without ceasing, hankercheifs were given to the women to cover their heads according to the instructions of St. Paul, and men were given combs who agreed not to shave their beards.  Today is a time of great impiety that needs true missionaries and new apostles like St. Cosmas.  Another more recent example is Fr. Cosmas, the “Apostle to Zaire”, an Athonite father who baptized so many Africans and taught them the Orthodox faith and genuine piety.  He baptized Protestants and Catholics who converted, just as should be done, gave prayer ropes to the faithful, taught the services according to the Athonite typicon, and instructed all on the Fathers and the patristic faith.  Perhaps there is a new St. Cosmas already among us but we refuse to recognize him as such?  Or, perhaps God is preparing a new St. Cosmas for our land who has not yet been called forth?  This is something we should pray for, and pray that our own hearts be open to not simply “chat” about the patristic faith but to live it in our hearts and lives.
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« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2011, 12:56:49 PM »

This whole scenario of utilization of heretical non Orthodox methods for spirituality is unbelievable. Nonetheless this exemplifies what is wrong with the situation in America because of lax faith standards, lack of faith knowledge, Biblical illiteracy, ethnodoxy, cliques that obsess about obscure "traditions" (like toll houses), etc.

I believe that knowing the feast days etc. are important but I do not think there is even much awareness of the creed, the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, the golden rule, the 2 great commands, the relationship of confession & holy communion etc. are clear to many & if you lose focus on these, you get junk like this.

The real problem is the absence of monasteries in the GOA until recently.  There are now some monasteries, and the situation is improving in some corners of the GOA as a result, but many more monasteries are needed, and more time is needed for the monasteries to become more foundational to the life of the GOA.  

Yesterday I was reading about St. Cosmas Aitolos, Equal to the Apostles and monk-martyr.  He spent 17 yrs on Mt. Athos before being called by God to the apostolic labor of preaching to the masses.  St. Cosmas travelled far and wide preaching repentance and establishing schools for the propagation of the patristic Faith.  The wealthy he would encourage to purchase writings of the Fathers, prayer ropes, handkerchiefs, combs, and crosses.  The writings of the Church Fathers he would give to those who could read or promised to read, prayer ropes were given to all the faithful with the injunction to say the Jesus Prayer without ceasing, hankercheifs were given to the women to cover their heads according to the instructions of St. Paul, and men were given combs who agreed not to shave their beards.  Today is a time of great impiety that needs true missionaries and new apostles like St. Cosmas.  Another more recent example is Fr. Cosmas, the “Apostle to Zaire”, an Athonite father who baptized so many Africans and taught them the Orthodox faith and genuine piety.  He baptized Protestants and Catholics who converted, just as should be done, gave prayer ropes to the faithful, taught the services according to the Athonite typicon, and instructed all on the Fathers and the patristic faith.  Perhaps there is a new St. Cosmas already among us but we refuse to recognize him as such?  Or, perhaps God is preparing a new St. Cosmas for our land who has not yet been called forth?  This is something we should pray for, and pray that our own hearts be open to not simply “chat” about the patristic faith but to live it in our hearts and lives.

The Antiochians have also seemed to become reaquainted with the need to reestablish monasteries so perhaps there is a better trend in motion. Personally I do not view this situation as indicative of some great apostacy (although I do not want to argue with anyone expressing their deep concerns since this situation is deeply problematic) but the bad fruit of mediocrity that could further deteriorate. I am aware of the evangelization of Zaire & ministries like FOCUS in the USA and yes, we have even more reason to pray.
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« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2011, 01:25:31 PM »

If it isn't a problem with the Archdiocese, it isn't a problem.

Right, cause the Archdiocese is infallible and an ultimate authority on the faith!

How do you justify making such a statement?   Huh
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« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2011, 01:26:20 PM »

The bottom of that webpage states:

Any questions? Please contact Pamela Harding (email is provided).
http://www.saintsophiawashington.org/bible-study.php

Maybe someone could contact Ms. Harding to inquire as to the content on that page?
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« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2011, 01:29:48 PM »

I was taught many of these methods from my old worship leader (I was in the church band and we did bible studies together.) He was real into the whole emergent church thing. Where you pick the little bits you like out of all the religions and then stamp it with Christ and say it is your form of Christianity. I agree with Jah that the best medicine for something like this is for us all to live more pious lives. The only way for us to dissolve the laxity in the American laity, is by each of us living out the words of Christ, the Apostles, and the Fathers and holding ourselves, not others, to a higher standard.
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« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2011, 01:33:35 PM »

If it was a problem, the Cathedral would stop teaching these "retreats."

Regarding the Cathedral/Archdiocese this way is potentially heretical.

Not in this thread.   Wink
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« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2011, 01:38:06 PM »

Serb, I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but are you saying that it is not possible for the Orthodoxy of much of the faithful to be diminished or extinguished?  Doesn't Christ speak of a great apostasy in the end times, which would question your view?

You might be...

What I was trying to respond to was this statement in particular:
Quote
Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

It has the potential to devastate the orthodoxy of the faithful?  That is extremely strong language.  Even if the statement is taken at FACE VALUE, all I wanted to do was interject the idea that not all is lost.  even if the orthodoxy of the faithful IS devastated, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church.  Devastation does not = it's over.  That was my basic premise here. 

Does that help whatsoever?


OK, now I get what you were getting at.  I've no problem with your statement now that I understand it better. 
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« Reply #56 on: July 13, 2011, 01:39:15 PM »

In my limited experience, I've found that Orthodox folks who aren't very well educated about their faith tend to not have as much discernment about non-Orthodox stuff. In other words, they don't bother to consider that something might be contrary to the faith or just a bunch o' nonsense and not worth their time. They'll pick up lots that's popular, just because it IS popular, without considering anything more.

Things like The Secret, The Shack, various Protestant "prosperity gospel" or self-help gurus, etc., I've seen in the hands of talked or about with knowledge by Orthodox folks who really should know better - they're in church frequently, but act shocked when I've mentioned to them that the "prosperity gospel," for example, isn't a part of Orthodoxy. "But everyone's reading it!" they said. So they might, but that doesn't mean you have to, as well.

My priest doesn't even recommend people listen to the local Protestant radio station. When people mention in conversation they heard something on that station, he tells them it's not Orthodox, and there are better things to listen to. Good for him!
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« Reply #57 on: July 13, 2011, 01:46:22 PM »

This whole scenario of utilization of heretical non Orthodox methods for spirituality is unbelievable. Nonetheless this exemplifies what is wrong with the situation in America because of lax faith standards, lack of faith knowledge, Biblical illiteracy, ethnodoxy, cliques that obsess about obscure "traditions" (like toll houses), etc.

I believe that knowing the feast days etc. are important but I do not think there is even much awareness of the creed, the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, the golden rule, the 2 great commands, the relationship of confession & holy communion etc. are clear to many & if you lose focus on these, you get junk like this.

Do you have any reason at all to believe that this is just the situation in America?  I mean, Russia has less than 20% of its people attending Church regularly, despite countless more who are Orthodox (last I read).  I can imagine that Greece doesn't have great rates of attendance either.  And can you point out any real evidence of "lax faith standards."  It is true that there is a lack of knowledge of the faith in many, but I would guess that this is not exclusively American either.  In fact, I'd wager a greater percentage of American Orthodox are more knowledgeable than Greeks or Russians or Romanians because many American Orthodox are converts, and so are almost guaranteed to have under gone some sort of catechesis.  Again, as for "Biblical illiteracy" do you have any reason to say that this is an American problem as opposed to an Orthodox problem?  Given the number of evangelicals who have converted to Orthodoxy in America, I'd wager that American Orthodox are more Bible literate than Orthodox from other countries.  Umm, I don't no what you mean by "ethnodoxy" as an American problem, given that in Greece, nearly every single Orthodox person is Greek.  In Syria, nearly every single Orthodox is Arab.  In America, there is a wide variety of ethnicities, and many of them are in the same parishes, especially in areas outside of large cities, where there aren't a wide variety of Orthodox Churches to attend.  I will agree that there are cliques that obsess over things like the toll houses, but I don't think this is a very big problem.  I have, for instance, never once even heard anyone mention the term at Church.  As for your second paragraph, do you have ANY evidence at all?  And can you point out how this is more prevalent in America than elsewhere?
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« Reply #58 on: July 13, 2011, 01:51:05 PM »

I should start a toll-house bible study group at my church!
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« Reply #59 on: July 13, 2011, 01:55:31 PM »

I should start a toll-house bible study group at my church!

Or you could start in Inquirer's course entitled "Journey of St. Theodora".  (I beg that nobody runs with this tangent.  Please use the search tool if you want to "jump" on the toll-house reference).
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« Reply #60 on: July 13, 2011, 02:14:09 PM »

This whole scenario of utilization of heretical non Orthodox methods for spirituality is unbelievable. Nonetheless this exemplifies what is wrong with the situation in America because of lax faith standards, lack of faith knowledge, Biblical illiteracy, ethnodoxy, cliques that obsess about obscure "traditions" (like toll houses), etc.

I believe that knowing the feast days etc. are important but I do not think there is even much awareness of the creed, the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, the golden rule, the 2 great commands, the relationship of confession & holy communion etc. are clear to many & if you lose focus on these, you get junk like this.

Do you have any reason at all to believe that this is just the situation in America?  I mean, Russia has less than 20% of its people attending Church regularly, despite countless more who are Orthodox (last I read).  I can imagine that Greece doesn't have great rates of attendance either.  And can you point out any real evidence of "lax faith standards."  It is true that there is a lack of knowledge of the faith in many, but I would guess that this is not exclusively American either.  In fact, I'd wager a greater percentage of American Orthodox are more knowledgeable than Greeks or Russians or Romanians because many American Orthodox are converts, and so are almost guaranteed to have under gone some sort of catechesis.  Again, as for "Biblical illiteracy" do you have any reason to say that this is an American problem as opposed to an Orthodox problem?  Given the number of evangelicals who have converted to Orthodoxy in America, I'd wager that American Orthodox are more Bible literate than Orthodox from other countries.  Umm, I don't no what you mean by "ethnodoxy" as an American problem, given that in Greece, nearly every single Orthodox person is Greek.  In Syria, nearly every single Orthodox is Arab.  In America, there is a wide variety of ethnicities, and many of them are in the same parishes, especially in areas outside of large cities, where there aren't a wide variety of Orthodox Churches to attend.  I will agree that there are cliques that obsess over things like the toll houses, but I don't think this is a very big problem.  I have, for instance, never once even heard anyone mention the term at Church.  As for your second paragraph, do you have ANY evidence at all?  And can you point out how this is more prevalent in America than elsewhere?
I try to keep most of my commentary focused on the USA since it is my country and hesitate to venture to comment on Orthodoxy in other lands. I base much of my observation on the fact that I had read statistics of several million laity in America (& new converts being added) while the truth was that the laity may number around 1 million. I do not believe the inaccurate stats were deliberate but they were way off. I have become knowledgeable of hierarchy upheavals like in the AOCA, OCA etc. & again, I realize this is a fallen world and do not consider these faith breakers but frustrating. I am willing to believe that the increasing number of converts could be narrowing what was  former decrease from cradles as the faith was not handed down properly to next genration cradles (or of cradles) & look at myself since I was the first unbaptised non Orthodox on my paternal side.  I serve my parish in various duties (as an unworthy servant). sometimes I just get a little frustrated also when I see this kind of stuff.
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« Reply #61 on: July 13, 2011, 02:22:28 PM »

I should start a toll-house bible study group at my church!

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« Reply #62 on: July 13, 2011, 04:10:12 PM »

Tangent on "liberality" of EO vs. RC priests moved to Orthodox-Catholic Discussion
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« Reply #63 on: July 13, 2011, 05:04:50 PM »

This is disgusting. The entire time I was reading, I hoped so dearly to find a notice concerning their status as an "independent" "Orthodox" communion. Alas, this foulness has entered the Body. Those behind this should be offered the chance to recant and repent. If not, then remove them and their supporters from communion with the Church. Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

Yah...i'll just add this to that mix:

http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm

Quote
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

So somewhere between what you said and what Christ said...is the truth.  I would go with our Lord & savior on this one. 
I have said nothing contrary to either Christ or the teachings of the fathers. The Church has always understood the destructive nature of heresy. Why do you suppose countless individuals and doctrines have been anathematized? It was for the good of the faithful and for the preservation of their Orthodoxy.

Are you implying that Christ meant we should disregard heresy and make no effort to stop and destroy it?

Nope i'm not implying that at all.  What I am doing is putting a boundary to that heresy and making sure that you and everyone else understand that no matter what the destruction is or may be, or perceived to be, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church. 

IOW, sometimes we just might be taking ourselves a little too seriously.  Have a little faith in the christians of St. Sophia's, and even more importantly, don't lose hope in the situation there, no matter how vehemently you may disagree with it.  No matter what happens there, the church itself will never be compromised.  If we don't believe that, and hold on to that...well...good luck. 

The Church will never be compromised.

NOT

The church will never be compromised.
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« Reply #64 on: July 13, 2011, 05:07:11 PM »

If it isn't a problem with the Archdiocese, it isn't a problem.

Right, cause the Archdiocese is infallible and an ultimate authority on the faith!

How do you justify making such a statement?   Huh

It was a sarcastic statement mockingly characterizing your own.
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« Reply #65 on: July 13, 2011, 05:51:17 PM »

If it isn't a problem with the Archdiocese, it isn't a problem.

Right, cause the Archdiocese is infallible and an ultimate authority on the faith!

How do you justify making such a statement?   Huh

It was a sarcastic statement mockingly characterizing your own.

[sarcasm]
Whatever. Roll Eyes
[/sarcasm]

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« Reply #66 on: July 14, 2011, 02:55:31 PM »

This is disgusting. The entire time I was reading, I hoped so dearly to find a notice concerning their status as an "independent" "Orthodox" communion. Alas, this foulness has entered the Body. Those behind this should be offered the chance to recant and repent. If not, then remove them and their supporters from communion with the Church. Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

Yah...i'll just add this to that mix:

http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm

Quote
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

So somewhere between what you said and what Christ said...is the truth.  I would go with our Lord & savior on this one. 
I have said nothing contrary to either Christ or the teachings of the fathers. The Church has always understood the destructive nature of heresy. Why do you suppose countless individuals and doctrines have been anathematized? It was for the good of the faithful and for the preservation of their Orthodoxy.

Are you implying that Christ meant we should disregard heresy and make no effort to stop and destroy it?

Nope i'm not implying that at all.  What I am doing is putting a boundary to that heresy and making sure that you and everyone else understand that no matter what the destruction is or may be, or perceived to be, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church. 

IOW, sometimes we just might be taking ourselves a little too seriously.  Have a little faith in the christians of St. Sophia's, and even more importantly, don't lose hope in the situation there, no matter how vehemently you may disagree with it.  No matter what happens there, the church itself will never be compromised.  If we don't believe that, and hold on to that...well...good luck. 

The Church will never be compromised.

NOT

The church will never be compromised.

My fault.  that was a typo.  please forgive.  I had meant the first line, with a capital "c". 
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« Reply #67 on: July 14, 2011, 04:01:07 PM »

This is disgusting. The entire time I was reading, I hoped so dearly to find a notice concerning their status as an "independent" "Orthodox" communion. Alas, this foulness has entered the Body. Those behind this should be offered the chance to recant and repent. If not, then remove them and their supporters from communion with the Church. Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

Yah...i'll just add this to that mix:

http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm

Quote
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

So somewhere between what you said and what Christ said...is the truth.  I would go with our Lord & savior on this one. 
I have said nothing contrary to either Christ or the teachings of the fathers. The Church has always understood the destructive nature of heresy. Why do you suppose countless individuals and doctrines have been anathematized? It was for the good of the faithful and for the preservation of their Orthodoxy.

Are you implying that Christ meant we should disregard heresy and make no effort to stop and destroy it?

Nope i'm not implying that at all.  What I am doing is putting a boundary to that heresy and making sure that you and everyone else understand that no matter what the destruction is or may be, or perceived to be, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church. 

IOW, sometimes we just might be taking ourselves a little too seriously.  Have a little faith in the christians of St. Sophia's, and even more importantly, don't lose hope in the situation there, no matter how vehemently you may disagree with it.  No matter what happens there, the church itself will never be compromised.  If we don't believe that, and hold on to that...well...good luck. 

The Church will never be compromised.

NOT

The church will never be compromised.

My fault.  that was a typo.  please forgive.  I had meant the first line, with a capital "c". 

But if that's the case I don't see what the relevance is. It means that Saint Sophia's can be compromised.
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« Reply #68 on: July 14, 2011, 04:14:01 PM »

This is disgusting. The entire time I was reading, I hoped so dearly to find a notice concerning their status as an "independent" "Orthodox" communion. Alas, this foulness has entered the Body. Those behind this should be offered the chance to recant and repent. If not, then remove them and their supporters from communion with the Church. Such ideas are like a small, but growing tumor. If it is not properly treated, it will possess the potential to devastate the Orthodoxy of the faithful.

Yah...i'll just add this to that mix:

http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm

Quote
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

So somewhere between what you said and what Christ said...is the truth.  I would go with our Lord & savior on this one. 
I have said nothing contrary to either Christ or the teachings of the fathers. The Church has always understood the destructive nature of heresy. Why do you suppose countless individuals and doctrines have been anathematized? It was for the good of the faithful and for the preservation of their Orthodoxy.

Are you implying that Christ meant we should disregard heresy and make no effort to stop and destroy it?

Nope i'm not implying that at all.  What I am doing is putting a boundary to that heresy and making sure that you and everyone else understand that no matter what the destruction is or may be, or perceived to be, not even the gates of Hades will prevail against the church. 

IOW, sometimes we just might be taking ourselves a little too seriously.  Have a little faith in the christians of St. Sophia's, and even more importantly, don't lose hope in the situation there, no matter how vehemently you may disagree with it.  No matter what happens there, the church itself will never be compromised.  If we don't believe that, and hold on to that...well...good luck. 

The Church will never be compromised.

NOT

The church will never be compromised.

My fault.  that was a typo.  please forgive.  I had meant the first line, with a capital "c". 

But if that's the case I don't see what the relevance is. It means that Saint Sophia's can be compromised.

Yah I can totally see how someone could have taken it that way/the wrong way.  thanks for the heads up. 
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« Reply #69 on: July 14, 2011, 04:16:59 PM »

Unfortunately, this doesn't appear to be isolated to the D.C. cathedral.

A friend of mine passed along this information from a current St. Vladimir's Seminary professor's (Very Rev. Dr. Harry Papas) online C.V.:

Quote
Other Work Experience:
[4th bullet point listed on his St. Vladimir's profile page]
-Developed “Centering Prayer” as contemplative prayer ministry at St. Mary’s in Minneapolis (2003).

http://www.svots.edu/team/very-rev-harry-pappas

If you examine St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis' site (worship and prayer section) you'll find familiar things, and then, our newly introduced and much beloved Centering Prayer.
So, it's basically:
-Choir.  
-Byzantine Chant
-Orthodox stuff
-Orthodox stuff
-Ushers (no tangents please  Grin)
-Orthodox stuff
-Orthodox stuff
-Centering Prayer

Here is the section on centering prayer:
Quote
Centering Prayer

A spiritual discipline that introduces contemplative prayer through resting in God.  Training includes literature, tapes, guidance, and communal support St Mary’s has a Centering Prayer group that meets approximately every two weeks on Saturday mornings at 10:15.http://www.stmarysgoc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=36&Itemid=60

Notice that this contemplative prayer needs to be introduced, as it is not part of our Orthodox tradition (feel free to correct me if I'm off on this, but just saying a bishop condones it is not much of an argument).  Additionally, I'm sure the "training" literature, tapes, and some of the guidance mentioned are not from Orthodox sources (to be expected, as this is not Orthodox prayer).  My  guess is that the same DVDs used in the D.C. cathedral's "centering prayer retreat" are used here.  

To continue picking on the D.C. Cathedral, here is the page listing Eckhart Tolle and other irresponsible and heterodox reading recommendations, which I failed to find before: http://www.saintsophiawashington.org/bible-study.php?id=997
If you're not familiar with Eckhart Tolle, here are some gems of his:
Quote
"Life isn't as serious as the mind makes it out to be."
"Life is the dancer and you are the dance."
"Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness."
"...the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions."
"Man made God in his own image..."
http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4493.Eckhart_Tolle

More information on this guardian of Orthodoxy recommended by the D.C. cathedral can be found on the nets, including this NY Times quote:  "Tolle is 'not identified with any religion, but uses teachings from Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism and the Bible.'"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle

My apologies for making this post look annoying and link filled, but I am deeply concerned that these Eastern mantra type prayers, now being taught by disillusioned Roman Catholic priests and New Agers are creeping into the Orthodox faith.  Yes, maybe they are swell prayers that captivate the youngins, but appealing to trends and borrowing from other traditions are not really Orthodox methodologies.

Again, I appreciate any insight into why this sort of thing is being allowed.  I'll spare you my rather rough theories.

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« Reply #70 on: July 14, 2011, 04:48:02 PM »

Orthodoxy has it's own tradition of inner prayer and stillness so I'm mostly confused why that isn't being taught and this is? Just doesn't make any sense.
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« Reply #71 on: July 14, 2011, 04:50:33 PM »

Orthodoxy has it's own tradition of inner prayer and stillness so I'm mostly confused why that isn't being taught and this is? Just doesn't make any sense.

Precisely!
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« Reply #72 on: July 14, 2011, 04:54:39 PM »

Orthodoxy has it's own tradition of inner prayer and stillness so I'm mostly confused why that isn't being taught and this is? Just doesn't make any sense.

Honestly...maybe they just don't know, or are unwilling to draw a distinction.  Maybe in their mind, they are one and the same. 
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« Reply #73 on: July 14, 2011, 04:56:32 PM »

If someone wants prayer to get still and such, why not use the Jesus Prayer?  Why not study the works of great heysechiasts (sp?)?  Why go outside the Orthodox Church if the Orthodox Church is the fullness of faith?
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« Reply #74 on: July 14, 2011, 05:07:24 PM »

Honestly...maybe they just don't know, or are unwilling to draw a distinction. 

I thought of this too, but I can't buy the ignorance explanation.  It's pretty clear that there are no Orthodox sources teaching this prayer, whereas there are dozens of English language Orthodox books on the Jesus Prayer (isn't that a bit of a clue as to what is and isn't part of our Tradition?).  Who would direct or be given license to direct a prayer group who had no familiarity with the Jesus Prayer, writings of elders, etc.?  Additionally, Fr. Harry Pappas is a professor at St. Vladimir's.  I think the unwillingness to draw a distinction is a much more likely explanation.

Quote
Maybe in their mind, they are one and the same.

I wonder if they think this about the RCC and us as well?

Sadly, many may believe that these are essentially the same types of prayer.  It's the Church's responsibility to clarify these distinctions and present the Orthodox path, not to further muddle the understanding.
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« Reply #75 on: July 14, 2011, 05:14:42 PM »

How can you be an Orthodox priest and not know about the Jesus Prayer and Hesychasm? Ignorance can not be the excuse. And doesn't a priest know that the Church is the fullness of truth and God's revelation of Christ? That means we don't need to go out of the Church even if we didn't have a contemplative tradition. Everything we need the Church already has.
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« Reply #76 on: July 14, 2011, 06:11:29 PM »

How can you be an Orthodox priest and not know about the Jesus Prayer and Hesychasm? Ignorance can not be the excuse. And doesn't a priest know that the Church is the fullness of truth and God's revelation of Christ? That means we don't need to go out of the Church even if we didn't have a contemplative tradition. Everything we need the Church already has.

LOL!  As one of my classmates put it: "C's get degrees".  lol.  Or even more painful was the expression "what do you call a guy who finishes seminary with a C- average?   Father."   Cheesy

I'm being funny & facetious but there's a lot of honesty behind those jokes.  Not every orthodox priest is the same, and not all of them learned exactly the same stuff.  Jesus prayer was never a class in seminary.  if you read about it, you did it OUTSIDE of your regular classes.  the philokalia wasn't even mentioned. 

Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves.  We should be the ones who need to lay the groundwork in our parishes, amongst our friends, acquaintances & even people we don't know.   Or even better, ask our priests to talk about this stuff, or offer a seminar.  We for example have put an article about the Jesus Prayer in every weekly bulletin, for the whole summer. 

Please do not judge our clergy, they are not all created equal (so to say).  It is better that we focus on ourselves and what we can bring to the issue, than blame any one person, or group of peoples. 

 
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« Reply #77 on: July 14, 2011, 06:19:51 PM »

How can you be an Orthodox priest and not know about the Jesus Prayer and Hesychasm? Ignorance can not be the excuse. And doesn't a priest know that the Church is the fullness of truth and God's revelation of Christ? That means we don't need to go out of the Church even if we didn't have a contemplative tradition. Everything we need the Church already has.

LOL!  As one of my classmates put it: "C's get degrees".  lol.  Or even more painful was the expression "what do you call a guy who finishes seminary with a C- average?   Father."   Cheesy

I'm being funny & facetious but there's a lot of honesty behind those jokes.  Not every orthodox priest is the same, and not all of them learned exactly the same stuff.  Jesus prayer was never a class in seminary.  if you read about it, you did it OUTSIDE of your regular classes.  the philokalia wasn't even mentioned. 

Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves.  We should be the ones who need to lay the groundwork in our parishes, amongst our friends, acquaintances & even people we don't know.   Or even better, ask our priests to talk about this stuff, or offer a seminar.  We for example have put an article about the Jesus Prayer in every weekly bulletin, for the whole summer. 

Please do not judge our clergy, they are not all created equal (so to say).  It is better that we focus on ourselves and what we can bring to the issue, than blame any one person, or group of peoples. 

 

Hahaha I love it.

Forgive me. I don't wish to judge anyone, priests none the less. That judgement is saved for myself alone. I was just surprised but spoke out of ignorance thinking that is something that would be covered in seminary. I have read few Orthodox resources that don't mention the Jesus Prayer. Again, forgive me Father. I only mention the priest because I assumed he would have to ok something like this. He could have been too busy or something so again I show my ignorance. And you are of course correct when you say "Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves."
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« Reply #78 on: July 14, 2011, 06:25:28 PM »

How can you be an Orthodox priest and not know about the Jesus Prayer and Hesychasm? Ignorance can not be the excuse. And doesn't a priest know that the Church is the fullness of truth and God's revelation of Christ? That means we don't need to go out of the Church even if we didn't have a contemplative tradition. Everything we need the Church already has.

LOL!  As one of my classmates put it: "C's get degrees".  lol.  Or even more painful was the expression "what do you call a guy who finishes seminary with a C- average?   Father."   Cheesy

I'm being funny & facetious but there's a lot of honesty behind those jokes.  Not every orthodox priest is the same, and not all of them learned exactly the same stuff.  Jesus prayer was never a class in seminary.  if you read about it, you did it OUTSIDE of your regular classes.  the philokalia wasn't even mentioned. 

Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves.  We should be the ones who need to lay the groundwork in our parishes, amongst our friends, acquaintances & even people we don't know.   Or even better, ask our priests to talk about this stuff, or offer a seminar.  We for example have put an article about the Jesus Prayer in every weekly bulletin, for the whole summer. 

Please do not judge our clergy, they are not all created equal (so to say).  It is better that we focus on ourselves and what we can bring to the issue, than blame any one person, or group of peoples. 

 

Hahaha I love it.

Forgive me. I don't wish to judge anyone, priests none the less. That judgement is saved for myself alone. I was just surprised but spoke out of ignorance thinking that is something that would be covered in seminary. I have read few Orthodox resources that don't mention the Jesus Prayer. Again, forgive me Father. I only mention the priest because I assumed he would have to ok something like this. He could have been too busy or something so again I show my ignorance. And you are of course correct when you say "Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves."

Nothing to forgive my friend.  We need however to be very diligent in what we write online.  Unfortunately this medium for conversation leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. 

The truth is, Jesus prayer and in general what may be considered monastic spirituality is not really covered in any class.  You touch on it in church history (but from a historical point).  you touch on it in ethics (b/c of the ethical concepts of sin, etc.).  Even in our Orthodox Spirituality class we only had one section on it, and all that covered was the major AUTHORS on the subject, not the actual subject itself. 

Now I can't speak for other seminaries, but I would be surprised to hear that it would be covered.  If you want to know about the Jesus prayer, and the teachings behind it, and how it's different than the secular stuff around us, you have to read on it yourself, & experience it yourself.  Or got to a monastery & spend some time there...lol. 

That's the way it is my friend.  good, bad, or otherwise.  If we did more of the work ourselves, these things wouldn't affect us so much.  Get your hands dirty & I promise you these things won't seem like such a big deal. 
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« Reply #79 on: July 14, 2011, 07:25:55 PM »

LOL!  As one of my classmates put it: "C's get degrees".  lol.  Or even more painful was the expression "what do you call a guy who finishes seminary with a C- average?   Father."   Cheesy

I'm being funny & facetious but there's a lot of honesty behind those jokes.  Not every orthodox priest is the same, and not all of them learned exactly the same stuff.  Jesus prayer was never a class in seminary.  if you read about it, you did it OUTSIDE of your regular classes.  the philokalia wasn't even mentioned.  

Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves.  We should be the ones who need to lay the groundwork in our parishes, amongst our friends, acquaintances & even people we don't know.   Or even better, ask our priests to talk about this stuff, or offer a seminar.  We for example have put an article about the Jesus Prayer in every weekly bulletin, for the whole summer.  

Please do not judge our clergy, they are not all created equal (so to say).  It is better that we focus on ourselves and what we can bring to the issue, than blame any one person, or group of peoples.

I appreciate your response and perspective, Father, but I respectfully don't believe this explains it all.

Regardless of some seminary students' limitations, no warning light goes off in the head of an Orthodox priest when ordering prayer DVD's taught exclusively by non-Orthodox?  The priest who created a program at his parish in MN is now a professor at a prominent Orthodox seminary.  I know little about him, but this doesn't seem to be a case of an underachiever squeaking by.  If I was a betting man, I would wager that he has heard of the Jesus Prayer.

His former parish, St. Mary's church in Minneapolis, looks to otherwise be knowledgeable as well. They have an Intercessory Prayer Group (listed separately from the "centering prayer" topic) that prays Orthodox prayers.  From their site: "Under the direction of the clergy, the service includes the Trisagion prayers, prayers from the Liturgy and from the Church Fathers & Saints, time for meditation and intercession." http://www.stmarysgoc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=36&Itemid=60
It doesn't specifically mention the Jesus Prayer, but one must be quite removed not to have run across it within Orthodox publications (Light and Life is based in Minneapolis).  

I know that seminaries can be cyclical in their effectiveness, but the collective knowledge of the D.C. cathedral doesn't find anything odd about this prayer group, the retreats, etc.?  The same site contained book recommendations and information on the Jesus Prayer (although, comparatively, not much), so this is not a case of them having no idea about its practice.  They are teaching and giving seminars on "centering prayer" instead of, or in addition to the Jesus Prayer.

Finally, is there so little oversight that these parishes can teach these things without any correction?  I respect aspects of parish autonomy and don't want to minimize the rigors of clerical life, but I find it surprising that no one discovers this sort of thing (it's advertized on parish sites and on the St. Vlad's professor's profile page).

I fear that "centering prayer" is being viewed as an acceptable alternative prayer teaching, but I hope I'm wrong.

I agree with your advice, but don't feel as if I'm trying to judge or blame the people involved in this.  I'm glad that there is interest and activity within these churches (both look like great places, minus these concerns).  Yes, we should focus on ourselves, but shouldn't we also confront problematic issues and heterodox teachings?  
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« Reply #80 on: July 15, 2011, 12:32:00 AM »

I appreciate your response and perspective, Father, but I respectfully don't believe this explains it all.

Regardless of some seminary students' limitations, no warning light goes off in the head of an Orthodox priest when ordering prayer DVD's taught exclusively by non-Orthodox?  The priest who created a program at his parish in MN is now a professor at a prominent Orthodox seminary.  I know little about him, but this doesn't seem to be a case of an underachiever squeaking by.  If I was a betting man, I would wager that he has heard of the Jesus Prayer.

His former parish, St. Mary's church in Minneapolis, looks to otherwise be knowledgeable as well. They have an Intercessory Prayer Group (listed separately from the "centering prayer" topic) that prays Orthodox prayers.  From their site: "Under the direction of the clergy, the service includes the Trisagion prayers, prayers from the Liturgy and from the Church Fathers & Saints, time for meditation and intercession." http://www.stmarysgoc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=36&Itemid=60
It doesn't specifically mention the Jesus Prayer, but one must be quite removed not to have run across it within Orthodox publications (Light and Life is based in Minneapolis).  

I know that seminaries can be cyclical in their effectiveness, but the collective knowledge of the D.C. cathedral doesn't find anything odd about this prayer group, the retreats, etc.?  The same site contained book recommendations and information on the Jesus Prayer (although, comparatively, not much), so this is not a case of them having no idea about its practice.  They are teaching and giving seminars on "centering prayer" instead of, or in addition to the Jesus Prayer.

Finally, is there so little oversight that these parishes can teach these things without any correction?  I respect aspects of parish autonomy and don't want to minimize the rigors of clerical life, but I find it surprising that no one discovers this sort of thing (it's advertized on parish sites and on the St. Vlad's professor's profile page).

I fear that "centering prayer" is being viewed as an acceptable alternative prayer teaching, but I hope I'm wrong.

I agree with your advice, but don't feel as if I'm trying to judge or blame the people involved in this.  I'm glad that there is interest and activity within these churches (both look like great places, minus these concerns).  Yes, we should focus on ourselves, but shouldn't we also confront problematic issues and heterodox teachings?  

If you want to find out more about Centering Prayer and Christian contemplative practice, I suggest visiting this site and listening to the audio of a conference given in 2010.

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening: An Ancient Contemplative Practice for Our Own Time

The Contemplative Society

Note that the National Cathedral (including schools, athletic fields, et al.) is adjacent to St. Sophia's Cathedral in DC.

My view is that Christian contemplative practice, as expressed in the above two links, has no business in the Orthodox Church.  Perhaps this is for another thread, there is currently a 12 part series on the keynote speaker's blog titled, "The Future of the Church" and #3 is given below:

Quote
3. Although the institutional expression of faith is in precipitous decline throughout North America and Europe, faith is not in decline. The majority of people still believe in God and have deep spiritual longings. They simply would not think of looking to the church to satisfy their spiritual hunger.

So there is your concern about Orthodox Churches addressing the people's "deep spiritual longings" outside of the physical Church structure.   Undecided  If one sees the blog entries for Items #2 and #1, one might think that the Devil has already prevailed against the other "Christian" denominations of the world.
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« Reply #81 on: July 15, 2011, 01:53:06 AM »

Thanks for the information, SolEX01.  Pretty wild stuff.

If you want to find out more about Centering Prayer and Christian contemplative practice, I suggest visiting this site and listening to the audio of a conference given in 2010.

I'm not sure I want to know much more about it.  This is making me sick enough as is, and I'm far more interested in why it is being taught in Orthodox churches. 

Sufis, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Rosicrucians, and Wiccans do interesting stuff too.  I've done some searching myself and settled on Orthodox Christianity, in part, because of its confident proclamation of being the original Church and preserving its teachings and fullness.  So much for the "Ancient Faith" claim with this innovative rubbish.   

Quote
My view is that Christian contemplative practice, as expressed in the above two links, has no business in the Orthodox Church.
Then we are in agreement.  We have our own contemplative tradition; we don't need this nonsense.

Quote
Perhaps this is for another thread, there is currently a 12 part series on the keynote speaker's blog titled, "The Future of the Church" and #3 is given below:

That seems like an interesting topic as well.  I must say that these sites, and many of the replies on the blog were very troubling.  For those who won't click on them, there were plenty of people who just substitute this New Age dross for all liturgical worship.  I'm truly glad that people are turning away from atheism and secularism, but blind spirituality is not always the answer.  Aleister Crowley was "spiritual" too. 

Quote
So there is your concern about Orthodox Churches addressing the people's "deep spiritual longings" outside of the physical Church structure.   Undecided  If one sees the blog entries for Items #2 and #1, one might think that the Devil has already prevailed against the other "Christian" denominations of the world.

I'm not entirely sure I'm reading you correctly.  Do you mean the other "Christian" denominations are non-contemplative societies?
Regardless, this is all very disturbing and blatantly heterodox.  If that word has somehow developed a pejorative tone that people have become uncomfortable with, it's a legitimate phrase, and it applies here.

SolEX, I apologize if I misread your previous posts.  I'm glad we seem to be in agreement on this.

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« Reply #82 on: July 15, 2011, 12:18:37 PM »

The deep concern within the RCC re centering prayer: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9711fea1.asp
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« Reply #83 on: July 15, 2011, 01:27:43 PM »

The deep concern within the RCC re centering prayer: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9711fea1.asp

This is a pretty good article on the subject, and I was glad to see that the author made use of the quote from Elder Sophrony which I had included in a previous post on this thread.  These words are very important and relevant:

Quote
Archimandrite Sophrony of Mount Athos and an authority in Orthodox spirituality, speaks from his own personal story. He was for years involved in Eastern religions, before he returned to the Orthodox faith of his youth. I quote him at length, for he speaks with clarity and power:

"In advising against being carried away by artificial practices such as Transcendental Meditation I am but repeating the age-old message of the Church. . . . The way of the Fathers requires firm faith and long patience, whereas our contemporaries want to seize every spiritual gift, including even direct contemplation of the Absolute God, by force and speedily, and will often draw a parallel between prayer in the Name of Jesus and yoga or Transcendental Meditation and the like. I must stress the danger of such errors. . . . He is deluded who endeavors to divest himself mentally of all that is transitory and relative in order to cross some invisible threshold, to realize his eternal origin, his identity with the Source of all that exists, in order to return and merge with him, the nameless transpersonal Absolute. Such exercises have enabled many to rise to suprarational contemplation of being, to experience a certain mystical trepidation, to know the state of silence of mind, when mind goes beyond the boundaries of time and space. In such like states man may feel the peacefulness of being withdrawn from the continually changing phenomena of the visible world, may even have a certain experience of eternity. But the God of Truth, the Living God, is not in all this.

"It is man’s own beauty, created in the image of God, that is contemplated and seen as divinity, whereas he himself still continues within the confines of his creatureliness. This is a vastly important concern. The tragedy of the matter lies in the fact that man sees a mirage which, in his longing for eternal life, he mistakes for a genuine oasis. This impersonal form of ascetics leads finally to an assertion of the divine principle in the very nature of man. Man is then drawn to the idea of self-deification—the cause of the original Fall. The man who is blinded by the imaginary majesty of what he contemplates has in fact set his foot on the path to self-destruction. He has discarded the revelation of a personal God. . . . The movement into the depths of his own being is nothing else but attraction towards the non-being from which we were called by the will of the Creator" (His Life is Mine, 115–116).

As indicated previously, having spent several years in this "contemplative prayer movement" before my conversion, I agree that these practices are not at all acceptable for an Orthodox Christian.  However, prior to this post I never heard of Centering Prayer being offered in an Orthodox Church and I doubt it is very common.  Regardless of what may happen in Orthodox parishes, however, Orthodox monasteries do not teach Centering Prayer and any Orthodox layperson who wants to learn how to pray more deeply will visit an Orthodox monastery where, if they ask, they will be told about the Jesus Prayer and the impermissibility of an Orthodox person practicing Centering Prayer. 

I wouldn’t worry too much about other people’s parishes, other people’s priests, other people’s bishops, etc.  If there is interest in your own church in the subject of prayer, why not coordinate a trip to an Orthodox monastery and arrange for the abbot to give a talk on the subject to your group while there, or invite an Orthodox monk to the parish to speak about the tradition of the Jesus Prayer (with your priest’s blessing of course)?  Why not recommend some good, solid books for the parish book store to carry,  on the subject of the Jesus Prayer and the lives of recent and past saints and elders who were known for their teaching and practice of the Jesus Prayer?  Why not try to use your own prayer rope more, and in addition to asking the Lord to have mercy on you, add another round praying for the guidance of all Orthodox and non-Orthodox who are struggling to learn how to pray.  All of these things would be fruitful and edifying undertakings.  However, if Centering Prayer is being offered in your own parish and you are close to your priest, it would not be out of line to provide him with information on the concerns associated with this practice, and to discuss these concerns with him in a humble and sincere manner.     
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« Reply #84 on: July 15, 2011, 02:28:40 PM »

Thanks for the information, SolEX01.  Pretty wild stuff.

I'm glad to be of assistance.  I needed to find a source that I could relate back to this thread and provide some background as to why people are interested in revisiting "contemplative practices."

I'm not sure I want to know much more about it.  This is making me sick enough as is, and I'm far more interested in why it is being taught in Orthodox churches. 

Sufis, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Rosicrucians, and Wiccans do interesting stuff too.  I've done some searching myself and settled on Orthodox Christianity, in part, because of its confident proclamation of being the original Church and preserving its teachings and fullness.  So much for the "Ancient Faith" claim with this innovative rubbish.

If I tried to attend one of these "Centering Prayer" groups, I wouldn't last 15 minutes before walking out in disgust.     

Then we are in agreement.  We have our own contemplative tradition; we don't need this nonsense.

But there are many differing interpretations, even among the Orthodox, of the contemplative tradition.  Saying the Jesus Prayer once or twice is one practice; so is saying the Jesus Prayer thousands of times a day.  Who is to say that either practice is correct?  People have written books on Orthodox contemplative practice; however, Churches have easier access to non-Orthodox writings in that they have not bothered to compare/contrast these non-Orthodox sources to Orthodox ones.

That seems like an interesting topic as well.  I must say that these sites, and many of the replies on the blog were very troubling.  For those who won't click on them, there were plenty of people who just substitute this New Age dross for all liturgical worship.  I'm truly glad that people are turning away from atheism and secularism, but blind spirituality is not always the answer.  Aleister Crowley was "spiritual" too. 

Never heard of Crowley although I agree on the New Age emphasis.

Quote from: SolEX01
So there is your concern about Orthodox Churches addressing the people's "deep spiritual longings" outside of the physical Church structure.   Undecided  If one sees the blog entries for Items #2 and #1, one might think that the Devil has already prevailed against the other "Christian" denominations of the world.

I'm not entirely sure I'm reading you correctly.  Do you mean the other "Christian" denominations are non-contemplative societies?

No, but other Christian denominations have issues with declining Church attendance (including the Episcopalians, RCs) and what Dr. Bourgeault argues is that a physcial Church structure is not necessary to spread the word of God (and if you read deeper in her blog, apparently, God can also embrace homosexuality even as he clearly forbids it in both Old and New Testaments).  So, the most dangerous form of contemplative practice is to craft God in your own image akin to the children of Israel declaring the golden calves as the God who led them out of Egypt.

Regardless, this is all very disturbing and blatantly heterodox.  If that word has somehow developed a pejorative tone that people have become uncomfortable with, it's a legitimate phrase, and it applies here.

I'm not following you....   Huh

SolEX, I apologize if I misread your previous posts.  I'm glad we seem to be in agreement on this.

I'm glad that we are on the same page.   Smiley 
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« Reply #85 on: July 15, 2011, 05:40:13 PM »

LOL!  As one of my classmates put it: "C's get degrees".  lol.  Or even more painful was the expression "what do you call a guy who finishes seminary with a C- average?   Father."   Cheesy

I'm being funny & facetious but there's a lot of honesty behind those jokes.  Not every orthodox priest is the same, and not all of them learned exactly the same stuff.  Jesus prayer was never a class in seminary.  if you read about it, you did it OUTSIDE of your regular classes.  the philokalia wasn't even mentioned.  

Before we question our priests however we need to question ourselves.  We should be the ones who need to lay the groundwork in our parishes, amongst our friends, acquaintances & even people we don't know.   Or even better, ask our priests to talk about this stuff, or offer a seminar.  We for example have put an article about the Jesus Prayer in every weekly bulletin, for the whole summer.  

Please do not judge our clergy, they are not all created equal (so to say).  It is better that we focus on ourselves and what we can bring to the issue, than blame any one person, or group of peoples.

I appreciate your response and perspective, Father, but I respectfully don't believe this explains it all.

Regardless of some seminary students' limitations, no warning light goes off in the head of an Orthodox priest when ordering prayer DVD's taught exclusively by non-Orthodox?  The priest who created a program at his parish in MN is now a professor at a prominent Orthodox seminary.  I know little about him, but this doesn't seem to be a case of an underachiever squeaking by.  If I was a betting man, I would wager that he has heard of the Jesus Prayer.

His former parish, St. Mary's church in Minneapolis, looks to otherwise be knowledgeable as well. They have an Intercessory Prayer Group (listed separately from the "centering prayer" topic) that prays Orthodox prayers.  From their site: "Under the direction of the clergy, the service includes the Trisagion prayers, prayers from the Liturgy and from the Church Fathers & Saints, time for meditation and intercession." http://www.stmarysgoc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=36&Itemid=60
It doesn't specifically mention the Jesus Prayer, but one must be quite removed not to have run across it within Orthodox publications (Light and Life is based in Minneapolis).  

I know that seminaries can be cyclical in their effectiveness, but the collective knowledge of the D.C. cathedral doesn't find anything odd about this prayer group, the retreats, etc.?  The same site contained book recommendations and information on the Jesus Prayer (although, comparatively, not much), so this is not a case of them having no idea about its practice.  They are teaching and giving seminars on "centering prayer" instead of, or in addition to the Jesus Prayer.

Finally, is there so little oversight that these parishes can teach these things without any correction?  I respect aspects of parish autonomy and don't want to minimize the rigors of clerical life, but I find it surprising that no one discovers this sort of thing (it's advertized on parish sites and on the St. Vlad's professor's profile page).

I fear that "centering prayer" is being viewed as an acceptable alternative prayer teaching, but I hope I'm wrong.

I agree with your advice, but don't feel as if I'm trying to judge or blame the people involved in this.  I'm glad that there is interest and activity within these churches (both look like great places, minus these concerns).  Yes, we should focus on ourselves, but shouldn't we also confront problematic issues and heterodox teachings?  

Cognomen,

I totally agree with you on that last part.  we SHOULD confront problematic issues.  However, in a CONSTRUCTIVE way.  Not "hey what the heck is going on here!" kind of way.  In my heart of hearts I want to say that this is all a basic misunderstanding, but the truth is probably more in your corner than mine.  They just might think that this centering prayer stuff is orthodox.  Personally, I think there's no excuse for these kinds of things.  Pastoraly, and as a christian, I like to give EVERY benefit of the doubt before I cast judgment. 

That's where i'm at on it.  I definitely appreciate your honesty.  I do think there is something fishy going on here and I DO think someone should say something to them.  I just might write an email...
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« Reply #86 on: July 15, 2011, 09:46:47 PM »

There is a tree depicting the various forms of contemplative practice here.  There have been discussions on this forum on whether or not it was appropriate for Orthodox Christians to perform yoga, tai chi, etc.

Here is one definition of contemplative practice:

Quote
Contemplative practices, including prayer, meditation, yoga, and many contemplative arts, help individuals regain balance and calm in the midst of challenging circumstances. This state of calm centeredness provides effective stress reduction and can also help address issues of meaning, values, and spirit. Contemplative practices can help people develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and concentration, reduce stress and enhance creativity. In time, with sustained commitment, they cultivate insight, wise discernment, and a loving and compassionate approach to life.
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« Reply #87 on: July 16, 2011, 04:48:32 PM »

There is a tree depicting the various forms of contemplative practice here.  There have been discussions on this forum on whether or not it was appropriate for Orthodox Christians to perform yoga, tai chi, etc.

Here is one definition of contemplative practice:

Quote
Contemplative practices, including prayer, meditation, yoga, and many contemplative arts, help individuals regain balance and calm in the midst of challenging circumstances. This state of calm centeredness provides effective stress reduction and can also help address issues of meaning, values, and spirit. Contemplative practices can help people develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and concentration, reduce stress and enhance creativity. In time, with sustained commitment, they cultivate insight, wise discernment, and a loving and compassionate approach to life.

Per the site, I think I'll start trying mindful eating and finger labyrinths  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #88 on: July 16, 2011, 06:42:21 PM »

This is weird. If I ws the bishop, I would replace the priest, until things change.
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« Reply #89 on: July 16, 2011, 07:20:50 PM »

I would write or call the priest or the bishop.
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