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Prayer Forum / Re: Fear and depression
« Last post by biro on Today at 11:56:11 AM »
Many thanks, everyone.
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Convert Issues / Re: Catechumens and Lent
« Last post by Mor Ephrem on Today at 11:55:19 AM »
I'm guessing this is probably an "ask your priest" question...

Yes.

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...but to what level are catechumens expected to observe Lent? It strikes me that those who are in the Church can receive the Eucharist each Sunday, and also during the week during Lent, for spiritual sustenance during the fast, but obviously catechumens and inquirers can't avail ourselves of that extra support.

(You might be able to guess from the question that I'm finding Lent hard, especially as, due to having to be on hand for my sick wife almost 24/7, I've not been able to leave her long enough to attend a single service for about 2 months now.)

I'm sorry to hear about your difficult personal circumstances.  I'm sure I speak for many in assuring you of prayer. 

As a general principle, catechumens ought to observe Lent.  The Church they wish to join is fasting: if they want to join in on everything else, why not join in on fasting?  Too often, we think of fasting as some individual exercise.  While the discipline may be tailored to our individual needs (and legitimately so), nevertheless we are joining in a corporate action.  I fast because we fast.  We fast because Christ fasted.  My fasting may not look the same as someone else's, but it is my contribution to what we are doing.  If others are able to do more, perhaps they supply for my lack.  If I am able to do more, perhaps I supply for theirs, and so on.  Also, there is some truth to the point made by someone else earlier that the Lenten fast is connected to the fasting and preparation of catechumens for entrance into the Church, so it is all the more appropriate for catechumens to participate in the fast. 

You should talk to your priest about what, if anything, you should do to observe Lent in your personal circumstances.  It's not all about dietary restrictions or the church services, as important as these are.  For example, you say you haven't been able to go to a single service in a couple of months.  While there may be ways for your parish to help you get to some of them, taking care of your sick wife 24/7 is more "service" than many of us are attending, so it's not like you're not doing anything.  Focus on doing what you can do and work on doing it well.   
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Other Topics / Re: Last thing you drank
« Last post by RaphaCam on Today at 11:54:05 AM »
We bought sesame thinking it was brown sugar, so the last thing I drank was a substantial sip of coffee with sesame. It sounds fancy, but it unfortunately wasn't.
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It's almost impossible to talk Atheists into Christianity, even if they're the naive and infirm in their unbelief. But we can still fight the Kulturkampf on one hand, and on the other keep trying to spread the faith through the means we essentially always did.
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Prayer Forum / Re: Fear and depression
« Last post by RaphaCam on Today at 11:44:50 AM »
Lord have mercy! I hope you can receive proper help.
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Quote from: St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), "On prelest"
Most of the ascetics of the Western Church proclaimed there as the greatest of saints – after its apostasy from the Eastern Church and after the retreat of the Holy Spirit from it – prayed using the above mentioned way and reached visions, of course, false. These imaginary saints were in a terrible demonic delusion. The delusion naturally arises on the basis of blasphemy that perverted the dogmatic faith for the heretics. The behavior of the Latin ascetics, filled with delusion, was always like frenzy, because of extraordinary corporal, passionate excitement. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Order of Jesuits, was in this state. His imagination was so excited and sophisticated that, as he claimed, he could only wish and use some effort, and at his request either hell or heaven appeared before his eyes. The vision of heaven and hell were not produced solely by the action of human imagination; an act of human imagination alone is not enough for this: the vision was accomplished by the action of demons attaching their abundant action to insufficient human action, mating action with action, action to replenish the action on the basis of free will of a man, who chose and assimilated himself a wrong direction.

http://oprelesti.ru/index.php/what-is-spiritual-delusion/587-on-prelest
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Thread locked pending moderator review.

Mor Ephrem, section moderator
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1. What is Orthodox Church's opinion on those Catholic titles mentioned above? As far as I know they present point of view on certain doctrinal issues (e.g. Purgatory) that is incompatible with Orthodox beliefs.

Generally, I suppose we ignore them. In terms of an official evaluation I doubt such a thing has been made in any local churches.

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2. Are there any Orthodox mysitcs or visionaires who have written books that we can place in one of these two groups or something similar? That we can perceive as divinely inspired?

Sure. Some common texts that have been influential include the vision of Theodora, from the life of Saint Basil the New, which lays out a detailed vision of the aerial toll houses through which departing souls must pass. Another is the "Apocalypse of the Mother of God" detailing the Virgin Mary's vision of the torments of hell, which has appeared in many different versions throughout various Orthodox countries. These texts do not have any official ecclesial sanction as far as I'm aware.

Many of the lives of the saints, ancient and modern, have accounts of visions they encountered. Sometimes these are recorded in their own words, but I'm not sure we have many full-length books based on them.

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- do those books teach someting which is contradictory to RC teaching? (this issue is most important for me)

That would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis I guess. At the moment the RC's are keen to keep telling us we share the same faith.
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Faith Issues / Re: Particularly Beautiful Books
« Last post by RaphaCam on Today at 11:36:38 AM »
Jordanville's full-size Psalter for Prayer is lovely though rather bulky. They have also a pocket edition that I haven't laid eyes on.

The Old Orthodox Prayer Book from the Church of the Nativity in Erie is quite nice.
I was thinking about these ones exactly. I have the pocket edition, it's beautiful indeed, but it can't stay open if one isn't holding it still, so that's a minus.
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Convert Issues / Re: Catechumens and Lent
« Last post by RaphaCam on Today at 11:29:09 AM »
My priest explicitly said I shouldn't be fasting before being illuminated in Pascha, while a friend in a group that split from us (they're still canonical, but under another jurisdiction) is fasting. This is really an "ask your priest" one.
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