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Question: Do you believe that fornication is a mortal sin??
Yes - 28 (66.7%)
No - 14 (33.3%)
Total Voters: 42

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Author Topic: Is Fornication a Mortal Sin?  (Read 25350 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bono Vox
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« Reply #90 on: March 22, 2007, 11:36:07 PM »

Quote
The conduct of several Orthodox Christians is quite shameful indeed. In pride, vainglory, and prelest they condemn their fellow man, so that they may exalt themselves. They desire to be as God...like their dark master did before them; and in doing so they reject God to a degree of which atheists could only dream. They are men without love, save for themselves and their own glory, and are a shame to all who must bear their presence.

But how foolish of me to thing that pride, prelest, vainglory, and blasphemy could be even compared to an offence as great as infringing upon the Roman legal rights of the paterfamilias.

Hey Greek,

Thanks for the judgement! Wink
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« Reply #91 on: March 22, 2007, 11:59:05 PM »

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The conduct of several Orthodox Christians is quite shameful indeed. In pride, vainglory, and prelest they condemn their fellow man, so that they may exalt themselves. They desire to be as God...like their dark master did before them; and in doing so they reject God to a degree of which atheists could only dream. They are men without love, save for themselves and their own glory, and are a shame to all who must bear their presence.

But how foolish of me to thing that pride, prelest, vainglory, and blasphemy could be even compared to an offence as great as infringing upon the Roman legal rights of the paterfamilias

This post is totally ridiculous. So if someone makes a general observation about a valid problem in the church on the internet of all places they are exalting themselves... Roll Eyes Well dang, maybe I should have slept with my Orthodox girlfriend like some of you other hot shots may have done so that I wouldn't be so holy and exalted. I could be just like everyone else & just go with the flow & take communion like it's no big deal.

Greek, I can only dream of achieving the heights of your humility, your humbleness surpasses all. I guess my ole' judgemental self will get back to reading some of those rigid outdated monastic books and thinking about judging others. 

Quote
Hey Greek,

Thanks for the judgement!

Bagpiper, I couldn't have said it better myself! Who is judging who?
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« Reply #92 on: March 23, 2007, 04:46:24 AM »

This is a sin that must be confessed before partaking of Holy Communion, no if's and's or but's!
You missed the point of what I was saying about St. Mary of Egypt. She received Holy Communion on the evening of the day she stopped her fornication without Confessing. She did not Confess until she met St. Zossimas 47 years later. So if you say that fornication must be confessed before Holy Communion, you have just accused St. Mary of Egypt of sacrilege of the Holy Gifts. In your eyes, her repentance was inadequate because she did not Confess before Communion. You are being too judicial. In the Orthodox Church, Confession and Communion are two separate Mysteries which stand alone. We ask God to count us worthy of Communion, but in ourselves, none of us are.
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« Reply #93 on: March 23, 2007, 08:30:53 AM »

You guys - its Lent. I think the purple demons are having a field day with you all trading insults and jabs.

Let's see what we do agree on.

1) Fornication is wrong and is to be avoided at all costs.

2) If one falls into this sin he/she needs to stop and repent

3) Communion is to be received and confession is a must. The timing is what we are disagreeing on.
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« Reply #94 on: March 23, 2007, 09:33:54 AM »

The timing is what we are disagreeing on.
No, I disagree with that analysis. It is not the timing which is the issue, but the understanding of what sin is, and the understanding of what the Mystery of Repentance is, and the Understanding of what the Mystery of Communion is. In other words, they are doctrinal issues. The "timing" issue is merely symptomatic of this.
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« Reply #95 on: March 23, 2007, 10:26:58 AM »

Thanks for the judgement! Wink

Your welcome, anytime Wink
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« Reply #96 on: March 23, 2007, 10:34:42 AM »

This post is totally ridiculous. So if someone makes a general observation about a valid problem in the church on the internet of all places they are exalting themselves... Roll Eyes Well dang, maybe I should have slept with my Orthodox girlfriend like some of you other hot shots may have done so that I wouldn't be so holy and exalted. I could be just like everyone else & just go with the flow & take communion like it's no big deal.

If the alternative was some pride in having done the 'right thing' and the judgement of your neighbour who does not live up to your standard then, yes, by all means you should have slept with her. Even if it would have been a sin, it would have certainly been the lesser of two evils.

Quote
Greek, I can only dream of achieving the heights of your humility, your humbleness surpasses all. I guess my ole' judgemental self will get back to reading some of those rigid outdated monastic books and thinking about judging others. 

Heck, I'm not humble at all...throughout the day I'll ask myself, 'Is that person really worthy of being regarded as having the dignity of a human being?' and more often than not the answer is, no. Of course, there is one difference, I don't consider myself to be a humble, good, and moral person...I tried it once, but it didn't take. So, ultimately, the difference I'm getting at between me and you does not seem to be so much righteousness or morality, you're probably a more righteous and moral person than myself...ultimatley the difference is consistency.
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« Reply #97 on: March 24, 2007, 12:09:44 AM »

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You missed the point of what I was saying about St. Mary of Egypt. She received Holy Communion on the evening of the day she stopped her fornication without Confessing. She did not Confess until she met St. Zossimas 47 years later. So if you say that fornication must be confessed before Holy Communion, you have just accused St. Mary of Egypt of sacrilege of the Holy Gifts. In your eyes, her repentance was inadequate because she did not Confess before Communion. You are being too judicial. In the Orthodox Church, Confession and Communion are two separate Mysteries which stand alone. We ask God to count us worthy of Communion, but in ourselves, none of us are.


George,

In Orthodoxy there are always exceptions to the rule; however, partaking of Holy Communion while living in such a manifest sin should not be done. You are not in disagreement with me, but with the teaching of the church and the Holy Saints. You need to read Elder Cleopa of Romania. Elder Cleopa will soon be cannonized as a Saint. He is a true theologian; a man full of grace and the Holy Spirit. He, like other saints and thelogians, would sharply disagree with you and Greek. If we were having this conversation with a spiritual elder, you two would be set straight.

According to your guys logic, a person could murder someone and recieve the Holy Mystery of Communion; The Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus, without going to Confession first. Although they are two different Mysteries, a person is REQUIRED to go to Confession if one is going to continue to recieve Holy Communion. If you disagree with this, then you are in disagreement with the Holy Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #98 on: March 24, 2007, 12:50:57 AM »

a person is REQUIRED to go to Confession if one is going to continue to recieve Holy Communion. If you disagree with this, then you are in disagreement with the Holy Orthodox Church.
No, I'm only in disagreement with Elder Cleopa and the Slavic tradition. One is required to prepare themselves for Holy Communion with self examination, prayer, fasting, repentance, and part of this may include Confession, but Confession in itself is not a "requirement" for every partaking of Holy Communion. This is a Slavic tradition, not a universal tradition of the Church. So while I agree that one should not approach the Holy Gifts conscious of unrepented sins, I am not going to impose a Slavic tradition on them if they are not Slavic.
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« Reply #99 on: March 24, 2007, 03:41:29 PM »

Does Orthodoxy have "mortal" sin? I was taught that sin was missing the mark and all of us miss the mark and thus should view ourselves at the most sinful of all people so we do not judge others.

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« Reply #100 on: March 24, 2007, 04:01:37 PM »

Very true Thomas. But What George is trying to get at is that salvation is a realm that the heart has to be in. There is no perticular sin that can affect this realm because it's union with god. If I have time I will get into it later.
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« Reply #101 on: March 24, 2007, 08:07:08 PM »

Very true Thomas. But What George is trying to get at is that salvation is a realm that the heart has to be in. There is no perticular sin that can affect this realm because it's union with god. If I have time I will get into it later.

Demetrios,

I hope you have time because I will be interested in what you have to write. I love your tag line about the meaning of Kyrie Eleison.
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« Reply #102 on: March 24, 2007, 08:39:29 PM »

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You need to read Elder Cleopa of Romania. Elder Cleopa will soon be cannonized as a Saint. He is a true theologian; a man full of grace and the Holy Spirit.

This I would hope for, and would note for George that there are many in the Greek tradition (as in the Romanian tradition of Elder Cleopa) who would agree with the Slavs. Not only the Athonites, but others. I have heard some call Father Maxime of Cyprus an Elder - I am in no position to say it is so (in fact, my own spiritual director wonders if we indeed have any Elders with us in these contemporary times.) But from a pastoral point of view, the canons of the Churches have the guideline that sexual sin does separate one from communion. Evangelically speaking, the Scriptures mark fornication (which includes all sexual sin) as the only sin "against the body". It is quite serious as it not only is soul-destroying, but directly affects the Church community as well. Consider what St. Paul had to say about those communities where sexual licentiousness had corrupted the Gospel. And, if folks are going to claim the saints of my heritage - such as St. Patrick, then they should not ignore their words: St. Patrick mentions virginity as the ideal condition and worthy enough to be persecuted to the death for. That same tradition also included excommunication as a penitent for a number of years with Lenten-like fasting for months on end as a cure for fornication. Having said that, as Nacho said, the winking at fornication that goes on in some places (note, far from all of Orthodoxy or Orthodoxy in America) is a scandal - not only to converts (I was raised AG as well), but also to cradle Orthodox who were raised in piety. There does indeed need to be a recovery of Orthopraxis and righteous living - in Russia, Greece, America - for the spiritual, communal, and *physical* health of all our members.
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« Reply #103 on: March 24, 2007, 09:07:09 PM »

Pre-marital and extra-marital fornication is always a mortal sin in the eyes of the Church. The Church does not change according to the times, though it may be compassionate and understanding of the difficulties people face in their spiritual lives.

On the other hand, there is no denying that we are sexual beings, especially in our younger years, and our loving God did not intend to make us suffer in putting us in the difficult situations we find ourselves in today when we live on our own, away from our parents' homes, because we are pursuing studies and/or careers until our late twenties or even our thirties--For those who must, a good option might be what was the norm in this country decades ago:seperate living quarters for men and women and chaperones. Instead, today's colleges encourage sexual temptation and fornication in co-ed dorms... and even dormitory co-ed bathrooms are not unusual! Ofcourse, we pay a fortune for our children to be put into these situations of temptation in the name of 'their higher education'.

Our God intended for us all, men and women, according to the Judaic tradition, to be married at a young age, which is  the time in which we are most sexual and most fertile. (The Mediterranean customs of past generations of young women marrying older men was also flawed, as it allowed for the double standard that men were allowed to fornicate outside marriage, whereas women were not. The Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in their respective 'macho' cultures were both flawed in that they did not seem to preach male chastity enough, or even at all from what I know first hand.)

I believe that it may have been Frederica Mathews-Greene who wrote an article to the effect of what I have just said...going so far as to say that we Orthodox Christians should encourage our children to get married young, and that we parents should offer whatever support we can to this end. This is surely a difficult proposal in our society which frowns upon all of this (adult children living at home, college students studying at home, young marriage,  young parenthood, offering support to young marriage, and the ridicule and loneliness such young couples might feel amongst their peers, being 'counter culture', as it were....) but one which we should pray will take hold.

In Christ,
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« Reply #104 on: March 24, 2007, 09:32:27 PM »

The Church does not change according to the times....

A little historical research would be beneficial to you.
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« Reply #105 on: March 24, 2007, 09:36:31 PM »

Quote from: alice on Today at 09:07:09 PM
The Church does not change according to the times....

Tom said: A little historical research would be beneficial to you."

My dear brother in Christ, TomS,

A little diplomacy, politness and charity might, likewise be beneficial to you!  Smiley  

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According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, "the Orthodox Church remains faithful to the biblical and traditional norms regarding premarital sexual relations between men and women. The only appropriate and morally fitting place for the exercise of sexual relations, according to the teachings of the Church, is marriage."




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« Reply #106 on: March 24, 2007, 09:56:40 PM »

Quote
I believe that it may have been Frederica Mathews-Greene who wrote an article to the effect of what I have just said...going so far as to say that we Orthodox Christians should encourage our children to get married young, and that we parents should offer whatever support we can to this end.

Of course, you are right - when it comes to morality, the Church does not change with the times (though some laity, clergy, and even hierarchs may rebel against the morality of the Church. We should know that lesson better - Rome forgot it, and suffered the Reformation for the inability to deal with it when they should have. Sin begets division, and those whose sin makes the cause are as guilty as those who might schism due to sins of others. As the Scriptures say - better for those that they put a millstone around their neck and go into the sea than to cause others to stumble.) Long before I submitted to Orthodoxy, my family were sponsors for immigrants from the former Soviet Union. We also had quite close contact with Greek and Lebanese families in the community. The damage done to the perception of my kin with regards to Orthodoxy is quite great as there was indeed (and is) a remnant of that Roman 'paterfamilias' idea amongst contemporary folk of Eastern society: the women in the family as 'sexual property' of the father, but their males being expected and even respected for having mistresses. Folks outside of Anglo society may not realize - but having a mistress is *not* respectable or normal in our society. Nor is visiting prostitutes, 'shacking up', or casual sexual encounters. In fact, such abnormalities were normally hidden for shame as they were and are understood to be wrong. We don't need the moralism of groups such as the Puritans, but we also need to be more righteous than the Protestants (after all, Our Lord asked that we be more righteous than the Pharisees - and don't think they were normally hypocrites, most Pharisees as most Protestants are indeed morally upright people.)

I read that article of Khouria Frederica - and really had been thinking the same since I was a teenager. We've made our modern society (Eastern or Western) pure madness - marriage is something that can only be achieved after years of delayed maturation, wasted years of trying to find a mate on our own (and too often making the wrong choice which leads to divorce and/or conflict in the family), and only when individual wealth has even made marriage feasible (or marrying without it, and failing purely because of money matters.) We've really made it difficult to marry, difficult to stay married, but have the most hypercharged sexual society - I would argue far more than anything the Romans ever had.

On a tangent - I also agree that the old custom of older man marrying children was quite flawed. All the studies I've seen tend to agree that the longest lasting and most stable relationships is where the man is only slightly older - two to seven years. Any older than that, and it can be very harmful for both involved (especially the woman.) Having that little bit of time for the male to develop is important - it guarantees that he can indeed fulfill a role as provider, and more importantly - that he has time to mature to a mental level closer to the faster-maturing female (like it or not, males have slower development than females; physically, mentally, and emotionally.) The loss of an understanding of generational wealth also has bearing on the same situation. Successful marriage has much to do with the pragmatic economics of assets and income. Yet, in the past few generations most folk have squandered their inheritance and heritage. Not for nothing does it say that the wealth of an adulterer will be inherited by a strange people: my family suffers for it now. My grandfather was quite wealthy, and an adulterer. When he died, his mistress stole all of his assets - leaving neither his first wife, second wife, children, grand-children, or grand-children with *any* inheritance beyond some boxes of second-hand books ... and memories.

But - a word of encouragement. It *is* doable - one can make it to marriage without having participated in fornication. It gives a marriage a far better chance of success, as there is less fuel for temptation, less reason for suspicion or distrust to creep in, far less complications for emotional or physical damage.
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« Reply #107 on: March 24, 2007, 10:43:22 PM »

While I refuse to condemn fornication in the manner the Church traditionally did, neither do I condone it. For while it cannot be viewed as a violation of property rights it can be said to be a failing of our rational mind to overcome the biological impulses of our evolutionary past. It is an elevation of animal impulses over reasonable thought. However, the same can be said for marriages whose purposes is the legitimizing of sex (someone asked me earlier when sex within the context of marriage would be immoral; well, here's one example). And this seems to be what is here being suggested, marriage at a young age so ther is access to sex at a young age, this is nothing short of 'fornication in marriage.' The opportunity our society gives to mature, receive an education, and establish oneself in a career prior to marriage is a good and valuable one which should be encouraged rather than attacked. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 28 is a good age for marriage. Then when marriage does come, the primary purpose should be companionship and friendship, sex should merely be an afterthought as it is in no way essential to marriage. At any age any marriage established for the purpose of legalizing sex is nothing more than ritually condoned fornication.
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« Reply #108 on: March 24, 2007, 11:11:41 PM »

Except Christian theology has always seen sex in marriage as undefiling, and marriage as providing the legitimate outlet for sexual urges: "it is better to marry than to burn." East or West, the understanding had *always* been that virginity and continence were the perfection to strive for, but - if one was not strong enough to gain salvation in virginity, it was better to marry than to fornicate. Sex inside marriage is not fornication - fornication in marriage only comes from adultery (ie, 'alienation of affection'.) Of course, if one is referring to marriage based *purely* upon desire for sex without repurcussions from community (meaning family and/or church - as no one else cares nowadays), there is something wrong with that. Motive is important, but to call it fornication is another matter - more likely a 'wrongful marriage'. Historically, neither Orthodox priests nor Western clergy would give the sacrament of Matrimony to people who desired it only for practicing sexual relations without guilt.

The problem with late marriage (and 28 is late) is that it eats into the child-bearing years. One has far more energy in their 20s to deal with young children than in their 30s and 40s (I know this from experience!) Physically, pregnancy does far more damage to women if they are younger than 18 or older than 30. Damage to the chromosomes of the children increases to a great degree when the parents are over age 35. The reason why 28 *might* seem a good age is because our society has developed this artificial stage of life called 'adolescence' - roughly between 12 and 28. This societal construct of adolescence means that folk no longer behave like adults, nor take those responsibilities at an age that they are indeed capable of doing so - in their teens. In other words, teens and those in their 20s act like juveniles far longer than they should - and purely because it is expected of them. If we change conditions so expectations and behavior in maturity are restored to their normal time-frame, within the context of supportive community (from the family level up through the civic), and life-cycle within the ideal for our biology - then we'd have a good answer. And that answer is not late marriage or late childbearing - just a recipe for delinquency followed by birth defects.
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« Reply #109 on: March 24, 2007, 11:21:16 PM »

Aristibule and Alice,

Welcome to the thread, nice to have you here.  I agree with both of you 100%.

Quote
While I refuse to condemn fornication in the manner the Church traditionally did, neither do I condone it.

In other words, fornication isn't that big a deal. It's ok to shack up and recieve communion.

Quote
However, the same can be said for marriages whose purposes is the legitimizing of sex (someone asked me earlier when sex within the context of marriage would be immoral; well, here's one example). And this seems to be what is here being suggested, marriage at a young age so ther is access to sex at a young age, this is nothing short of 'fornication in marriage.' The opportunity our society gives to mature, receive an education, and establish oneself in a career prior to marriage is a good and valuable one which should be encouraged rather than attacked. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 28 is a good age for marriage. Then when marriage does come, the primary purpose should be companionship and friendship, sex should merely be an afterthought as it is in no way essential to marriage. At any age any marriage established for the purpose of legalizing sex is nothing more than ritually condoned fornication.

Once again you fall on the wrong side of the issue. St. Paul tells us in the Holy Bible that it is better to marry than to burn with lust. If a couple wants to stay together, but can't controll themselves, it is better to get married and have sex. This is Orthodox theology. I am convinced that the prolonged adolecense in our contemporary society is one of the problems with our culture. I full heartedly agree with aristibule.
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« Reply #110 on: March 24, 2007, 11:32:26 PM »

But from a pastoral point of view, the canons of the Churches have the guideline that sexual sin does separate one from communion.
I think you misunderstood me. What I am saying is the "Slavic custom" is the requirement of Confession before each Communion received.
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« Reply #111 on: March 25, 2007, 12:03:56 AM »

I think you misunderstood me. What I am saying is the "Slavic custom" is the requirement of Confession before each Communion received.

Ah, yes - I did misunderstand. Mea culpa.

The Slavic custom seems to have also included that often communion was only received a few times a year. I've seen Antiochians from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan also normally follow this same custom. It is also familar to those of us in the West. Probably why the debate has import is because in the West these traditions are in closer contact with each other than they had been in the past, and also because of the revival of the custom of more frequent communion (as Fr. Alexander Schmemann argued for.) Since communion must be received with the fear of God, preparation includes self-examination, fasting, and .. confession. Confession requires true contrition and the resolution to change behavior. Of course, we are to watch our own sins and not those of everyone around us - yet, some are weak. We have the responsibility to our weaker brethren not to make them stumble. Living openly in sin while communing? Those of us who do will have something to answer for at the Judgement.
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« Reply #112 on: March 25, 2007, 12:11:35 AM »

I don't believe that Orthodoxy has a list of specific mortal sins. There are however sins that can seriously affect our salvation if the are not repented. I have heard of murder, adultery & apostasy referred to in this way. Usually a serious (penance) is also involved. There are lesser sins that sometimes are habitual. These can also affect our salvation. These sins also need to be repented. Usually to a spiritual adviser that can help cure the illness through penance, prayer and an ascetic practice. In many cases these sins are a life long battle. The penance usually helps with the cure in that it's aposed to the sin. I'll give you an example of a penance. If one is lacking humility the S.A could give a penance for them to work as a telemarketer for 6 months. This is just and example offcourse. One can see how this penance is actually a very affective tool in helping to root out the sin. With much prayer, effort and god given grace one can cure the particular sin/sins they have a problem with. Even though many will take the temptation to the grave. They restrain from practicing it.
  
  Regarding sex. You have to get past the idea that sex is "good" or "bad". Sex is simply a condition of our fallen state. In one sense, everything about our fallen state is "bad" since it distorts the image of God with which we were created. God is not out to judge or punish us. He is out to heal us. Thus He gives us therapy. The purpose it to "undistort" that image and bring us to His likeness.
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« Reply #113 on: March 25, 2007, 12:52:37 AM »

Except Christian theology has always seen sex in marriage as undefiling, and marriage as providing the legitimate outlet for sexual urges: "it is better to marry than to burn." East or West, the understanding had *always* been that virginity and continence were the perfection to strive for, but - if one was not strong enough to gain salvation in virginity, it was better to marry than to fornicate. Sex inside marriage is not fornication - fornication in marriage only comes from adultery (ie, 'alienation of affection'.)

This Pauline theory about sexuality and marriage was likewise based on a view of marriage based on property rights, illustrating this he also said, 'The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.' Now while Paul was somewhat revolutionary in extending the understanding of property rights within marriage to be mutual property rights (not merely rights of the husband), he still was solidly within the paradigm of marriage being an element of property and contract law.

I am not, by any means, the first to take issue with this understanding of marriage, Chrysostom spoke quite strongly against it and argued that sex was not even a legitimate reason, to say nothing of being a primary reason, for marriage in his treatise 'On Virginity.' Now, of course, my views and Chrysostom's views differ substantially on this issue, his goal was to discourage marriage period, whereas I have no intent to discourage it, but only to seek to insure that it is viewed in the proper context.

Furthermore, the eastern tradition is not nearly as aligned with your position as you believe it to be, such ideas as consummation being necessary to finalize a marriage is purely a popish invention, strongly rejected by eastern canonists. As I said above, Chrysostom rejected the notion that sexuality was in any way a central aspect of marriage. And numerous other saints would hgave agreed with him, including the Cappadocians...I would give more specific references but all my books are in boxes right now.

A liturgical fact that highlights this understanding is that traditionally the marriage crowns were not removed until one week after the wedding, and during this first week of marriage sexual intercourse was forbidden to the newly married couple. This is to say nothing of the long engagements that were generally required, generally lasting for years, and if the couple were to fornicate during this prolonged engagement, marriage between them was to be discouraged and they were to attempt to find other spouses (Basil 26).

Furthermore, there is precedence to call sex within marriage fornication, though in a slightly different context. When speaking of a third marriage Basil (4th Canon) says, 'As for those who are guilty of trigamy, they are excommunicated for the space of three years and often four years. For such a marriage is no longer to be called a marriage, but polygamy, or rather mitigated fornication.' So to insist that sex within a marriage formed under less than ideal circumstances is fornication is hardly a great deviation from the canonical tradition of the eastern Church.

Thus, since we have rejected the notion of property rights within marriage and have recognized the centrality of spiritual and non-sexual relationship (and insignificance of the sexual relationship), to insist that marriages based primarially on sex are fornication is hardly a great deviation from the customs of the Church...not that I feel bound to the same when considering matters of ethics. Sex for the purpose of fulfilling some animal desire rather than in the context of a close well-established relationship based on non-sexual love and attraction is fornication, plain and simple, regardless of what rituals you participated in or hoops you jumped through. Marriage does not legalize sex, and it only has meaning if the relationship in which sex would be morally acceptable already exists prior to the marriage itself.

Quote
The problem with late marriage (and 28 is late) is that it eats into the child-bearing years. One has far more energy in their 20s to deal with young children than in their 30s and 40s (I know this from experience!) Physically, pregnancy does far more damage to women if they are younger than 18 or older than 30. Damage to the chromosomes of the children increases to a great degree when the parents are over age 35.

So have one kid at 28 and one at 30...but my concerns with the world's gross overpopulation are another topic for discussion (though, if you do actually go and read Chrysostom's 'On Virginity,' you might find that he could have agreed with me Wink)

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The reason why 28 *might* seem a good age is because our society has developed this artificial stage of life called 'adolescence' - roughly between 12 and 28. This societal construct of adolescence means that folk no longer behave like adults, nor take those responsibilities at an age that they are indeed capable of doing so - in their teens. In other words, teens and those in their 20s act like juveniles far longer than they should - and purely because it is expected of them.

There is a reason this developed in our society, we are no longer have an agricultural or even industrial economy...we have a professional economy. A college education is all but essential for success and economic stability, to say nothing of a secondary school education. Society has advanced, the intellectual requirements on it's members is far greater than it was at any other point in history; our society developed in the manner it did because it is tied to our economy, and just as participation in our economy requires greater rational abilities, so does proper participation in our society that is, in large part, derived from our economy.
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« Reply #114 on: March 25, 2007, 12:58:28 AM »

In other words, fornication isn't that big a deal. It's ok to shack up and recieve communion.

'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #115 on: March 25, 2007, 01:13:13 AM »

'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.

I would agree with that only to a certain extent.  If people haven't confessed for about a year, let's say, then it's not really wise for someone to take the Eucharist, even if someone feels unworthy to take it.  The point is there should be a willing need to confess before taking communion (washing the feet before partaking of the Supper so to speak).

Earlier I asked you a question.  You mentioned that sex outside of marriage is justifiable (or as you say "fornication" although you define it differently).  What would be the justification?

God bless.
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« Reply #116 on: March 25, 2007, 01:42:19 AM »

'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.

I Believe that verse was told to the Pharises because they considered themselves righteous. But I could be wrong offcourse. Was'nt it Christ that stated that no one is good except for god. In any event. I don't believe anyone should be kept away from communion. Spirtual medicine could only convict the heart of a sinner even worse than before communing. Making them go to confession sooner.
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« Reply #117 on: March 25, 2007, 01:51:26 AM »

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.

I would completely agree here. And the spiritual state in which we must approach to receive Communion is "with fear of God, with faith and with love....", there is nothing in the liturgy which says we are to approach for Communion "sinless", in fact, the opposite is true, since we are Communed with the words: "The Servant of God N. partakes of the precious and holy Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ unto forgiveness of his sins and unto life eternal." The incorrect spiritual state to approach the Chalice is having a self-righteous sense of sinlessness and worthiness like the Publican: "I am worthy to receive because I have confessed, but that fornicator over there is not worthy". If I approach the chalice like this, I stand condemned while the fornicator is forgiven.
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« Reply #118 on: March 25, 2007, 02:10:15 AM »

GIC, sorry, but that just looks to me like plenty of rationalization and vain philosophy. What's salvific about that approach? That St. John Chrysostom said one thing hardly matters: he isn't infallible. Even St. Augustine and St. Jerome disagreed with each other on Virginity and Marriage. But, making excuses for sin with the Fathers is a rather Talmudic approach to Patristics. That train of thought sounds suspiciously like the Lubavitchers who argue that the Torah allows for homosexual paedophilia based upon opinions of various Rabbis, and 'permitted interpretations' of Torah. Simply said - the Church *still* considers fornication a sin, and marriage a sacrament (and normal sex within marriage as outside judgement). There is also the fact that fornication, that is sexual relations outside of an exclusive monogamous heterosexual relationship, is physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging (not to mention spiritually damaging.) "Changing Mores" have nothing to do with it - the same thing existed through the past two millenia without being embraced by Christianity: 'hooking up', polygamy, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, temporary or trial marriage, 'open marriages', you name it... There is no good reason why the Church should change its stand - and it has not changed its stand on that issue. However, there have been abuses in the form of laity, clergy and hierarchy over the past two millenia who practiced sexual immorality - excuses for fornication are just more of the same as far as that goes. It's nothing the Medici Pope hasn't done before... *if* I buy your argument, there is nothing to restrain me from justifying all sorts of sexual behaviors that the Church considers Sin.

Quote
...he still was solidly within the paradigm of marriage being an element of property and contract law.

Like it or not, in the world we live in (that is, if you've noticed) marriage is *still* a legal contract involving property. It is the reality of American society where we live.

I'm willing to agree on population control: the wicked will perish, the upright will inherit. Better to leave the child-bearing to those called to it.

I do think it is a little odd that the role of the sacrament of Confession in Christian History is being overlooked - it has *always* been considered preparatory for communion and restoration from sin serious enough to separate one from God. The only difference is that for the first few centuries, Confession and Absolution could only be done *once*. Confession as a repeatable sacrament actually appears first in Ireland with the first Penitentials, and then spread there from the 'Ends of the Earth' back East. The understanding of repeatable confession was coupled with the idea of penance including periods of excommunication with fasting, praying of the Psalter, and separation from the environment and occasions of the sins being treated. Never has confession been considered a 'cure' or making 'sinless' - it is readmission to the strong medicine of the chalice. Approaching the sacrament of confession such would be no different than the Pentecostal Holiness doctrine of Sanctification. The point being, the Church has *always* had an understanding that the Chalice must be approached with preparation (rectification of our sins, fasting, prayers) - living right in itself is not salvific, nor enough in itself to commune. One must also have baptism to commune, and chrismation - if after that we sin, we need confession. There has also always been the understanding of the Bishop or Priest guarding the Chalice - those openly living in major sin, or holding to heresy or schism have always been kept from the Chalice.

Of course, that has little to nothing to do with whether one Christian is watching others in the Congregation and what they do. The fact is, the weak may and do such a thing - and we are charged to protect the weak. If we sin, and others know - but continue to commune (assuming the priest allows it), then we sin against our weaker brothers and sisters. Having said that - *no one* approaches the chalice as if they are worthy. As we say in our liturgy: "Lord, I am not worthy, that thou shouldst come under my roof: But speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed." Also, as the priest prays: "I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord: And so will I go to thine Altar.  Cleanse Thou me from all pollution of mind and body, that I may in purity perform the holy work of the Lord." And there it is - purity is required of us by the Lord to approach Him, and he is the one that purifies. The answer then is not to judge those who are scandalized, but to repent and be purified.
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« Reply #119 on: March 25, 2007, 02:16:20 AM »

Earlier I asked you a question.  You mentioned that sex outside of marriage is justifiable (or as you say "fornication" although you define it differently).  What would be the justification?

The best example I could think of would be the flip side of inappropriate sex within marriage. For example, within the context of a common law marriage, or especially a civil marriage, which isn't recognized as a marriage within the Church, I do not believe that we could say that sexual intercourse is somehow immoral or fornication for the simple reason that they are not married in the eyes of the Church.
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« Reply #120 on: March 25, 2007, 02:43:05 AM »

GIC, sorry, but that just looks to me like plenty of rationalization and vain philosophy. What's salvific about that approach? That St. John Chrysostom said one thing hardly matters: he isn't infallible. Even St. Augustine and St. Jerome disagreed with each other on Virginity and Marriage. But, making excuses for sin with the Fathers is a rather Talmudic approach to Patristics. That train of thought sounds suspiciously like the Lubavitchers who argue that the Torah allows for homosexual paedophilia based upon opinions of various Rabbis, and 'permitted interpretations' of Torah. Simply said - the Church *still* considers fornication a sin, and marriage a sacrament (and normal sex within marriage as outside judgement). There is also the fact that fornication, that is sexual relations outside of an exclusive monogamous heterosexual relationship, is physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging (not to mention spiritually damaging.)

Have you not read a single thing I've written? I did not say that fornication was acceptable, I only said that the traditional condemnations are inappropriate...that doesn't mean that there are not other reasons why it is problematic. And I'm a bit curious claim that any sexual relationship outside an exclusive monogamous heterosexual relationship is physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging...do you have any research and statistical data to back that statement up? I fear I cannot accept it at face value.

Ultimately, I just want people to look at the issue with the complexity that is inherent in it. To say that fornication is acceptable or to say that fornication is wrong, period, is just too simplistic and because of that inaccurate.

Quote
"Changing Mores" have nothing to do with it - the same thing existed through the past two millenia without being embraced by Christianity: 'hooking up', polygamy, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, temporary or trial marriage, 'open marriages', you name it... There is no good reason why the Church should change its stand - and it has not changed its stand on that issue.

Please show me where I am arguing from 'changing mores'? The only changes I have pointed to are changes in matters of law. And from that I have discussed the implications of these changes on other legal principles derived from them. This is a discussion about law (Imperial, Canon, and Modern Civil) first and foremost.

Quote
Like it or not, in the world we live in (that is, if you've noticed) marriage is *still* a legal contract involving property. It is the reality of American society where we live.

But there is an inherent difference in modern legal approaches of western civilization and imperial law. Modern law relating to marriage only discusses property rights and ownership pertaining to things, Roman law viewed property rights as extending to the persons themselves (both the husband and wife, as the husband would, in some instances, become essentially the property of his father in law). It is this ownership of people in Roman law, contrasted with emancipation in modern western legal systems (which is also accepted by the Church), that is of chief concern in the discussion at hand.

Quote
I do think it is a little odd that the role of the sacrament of Confession in Christian History is being overlooked - it has *always* been considered preparatory for communion and restoration from sin serious enough to separate one from God. The only difference is that for the first few centuries, Confession and Absolution could only be done *once*.

Wait a second here, that was only the rule of a particular sect, they were called the Donatists...they were anathematized by the Church as heretics. The Church itself has always upheld the teachings of Christ on this matter:

'Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.'

Quote
The point being, the Church has *always* had an understanding that the Chalice must be approached with preparation (rectification of our sins, fasting, prayers) - living right in itself is not salvific, nor enough in itself to commune. One must also have baptism to commune, and chrismation - if after that we sin, we need confession. There has also always been the understanding of the Bishop or Priest guarding the Chalice - those openly living in major sin, or holding to heresy or schism have always been kept from the Chalice.

Those living in the greatest sins, such as pride, have long approached the chalice and even served the Eucharist from it, you seem to have a very skewed notion of what constitutes major sins...if we were compelled to order them, I would have to say that sexual sins are rather low on the list.

Quote
Of course, that has little to nothing to do with whether one Christian is watching others in the Congregation and what they do. The fact is, the weak may and do such a thing - and we are charged to protect the weak. If we sin, and others know - but continue to commune (assuming the priest allows it), then we sin against our weaker brothers and sisters.

So basically we protect them in their pride and prelest? We let them be content in far greater sins, lest their fantasy that Christ did not come for sinners but the righteous be shattered? Denying yourself the Eucharist in this case would be no service to your neighbour, rather it would encouragement for them to continue to live in grave sin.
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« Reply #121 on: March 25, 2007, 02:49:02 AM »

[quote'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.][/quote]

So if the only people who should not receive communion are "those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion" then by your logic it is ok for unrepentant fornicators (or even unrepentant murderers) to recieve communion. Interesting.........sounds like liberal episcopalian theology.
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« Reply #122 on: March 25, 2007, 03:05:24 AM »

So if the only people who should not receive communion are "those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion" then by your logic it is ok for unrepentant fornicators (or even unrepentant murderers) to recieve communion. Interesting.........sounds like liberal episcopalian theology.

If we truly believe in the healing power of the Eucharist, they I have no problem with such people partaking; for these are the people most in need of healing and forgiveness. Of course, if the Eucharist is nothing more than some special handshake for 'righteous and not in need of forgiveness and healing' club, then no they shouldn't partake of the Eucharist, but neither should anyone else.
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« Reply #123 on: March 25, 2007, 02:50:09 PM »

Demetrios,

I hope you have time because I will be interested in what you have to write. I love your tag line about the meaning of Kyrie Eleison.


Thank you Tamara. I will atempt to try and explain it. Bare with me if I fail to do so. First we must realize that the ultamite sin is pride. Pride is what the devil was cast out of heaven for, and the reason we were cast out of paradise. Everyday we are basiclly reliving the fall. Lets use balancing scales for this depiction. On one side of the scale there is the sin of pride. On the other side we place all the other sins. As we develop in our youth our scale tips to the pride side because we are the images of god. Because of this we start to build our selves up thinking were better than others and imediatley we begin our jeorney into a pride full state. This is a distorted view of  our image because were trying to be god our selves. Now that we have established our selves as gods other sins affect our lives. These sins actually help our pride by humbling us in our fall. They Humble us so that we become grounded. This side of the scale gets tipped and now we find our selves in dispare for our souls. But our pride may still get in the way of repenting. Throught the church we are restored to a balance between the two. This realm is salvation. The scales are always tipping back and forth through out our lives. If we are aware of our sins we can try and have a god pleasing life (humble). The true image of God. I hope this helps.
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« Reply #124 on: March 25, 2007, 03:12:53 PM »

If we truly believe in the healing power of the Eucharist, they I have no problem with such people partaking; for these are the people most in need of healing and forgiveness. Of course, if the Eucharist is nothing more than some special handshake for 'righteous and not in need of forgiveness and healing' club, then no they shouldn't partake of the Eucharist, but neither should anyone else.

And St Paul's talk of the unworthy partaking unto damnation? And dying as a result of it?

Obviously we must reject the two extremes: the extreme that says you have to be worthy to partake (no one is worthy ever) which results in no one communing hardly ever; and the extreme that GisC professes, which is that communion heals even people who have rejected God. Given your extremist universalist views this does not surprise me (in Church this morning I was listening to the canon of today's feast talking about the rich man being condemned to eternal flames & unending fire and I thought about your positions GisC)!) but the fact of the matter is that this is not some kind of supremacy club but a simple case of recognizing in humility that we are not always predisposed to receive holy communion.

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« Reply #125 on: March 25, 2007, 03:18:12 PM »

Quote
So if the only people who should not receive communion are "those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion" then by your logic it is ok for unrepentant fornicators (or even unrepentant murderers) to recieve communion. Interesting.........sounds like liberal episcopalian theology.

I'm just shaking my head in disbelief at this entire thread that there is even a debate about fornication and its implications. You are right Bagpiper, this thread is something that I would expect to find on an Episcopalian site. I'm surprised that this is even debatable among some Orthodox here no matter how flawed you might think the canons of the church & issues of property rights might be. On this issue, you don't even have to look at church history or what the church fathers say (for arguments sake), it's clearly condemned in the bible. This is the slippery slope that can lead to great heresies down the road when you start questioning the core teachings of the faith. This approach has been a disaster for the Episcopalians. They 'innocently' started with women's ordinations, now they are electing gay Bishops. Do we really want to start examining our faith in such a way? Some of you guys are making this way too complicated in my opinion. When your daughters & sons ask you what the church teaches, are you seriously going to sit there and tell them about church canons, property rights, civil & moral laws lol!  Grin   
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« Reply #126 on: March 25, 2007, 03:22:10 PM »

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If we truly believe in the healing power of the Eucharist, they I have no problem with such people partaking; for these are the people most in need of healing and forgiveness. Of course, if the Eucharist is nothing more than some special handshake for 'righteous and not in need of forgiveness and healing' club, then no they shouldn't partake of the Eucharist, but neither should anyone else.

Are you sure you aren't reading from an episcopalian theology book? Any serious Orthodox obviously believes in the healing power of the Eucharist. It is also necessary for EVERYONE to prepare themselves to take it, and approach the Chalice in humility and REPENTANCE. This isn't an "either or argument". It is the teaching of the church. There are certian sins that a person needs to confess before partaking of Holy Communion. Murder and fornication are two of them. Saint Paul warns of people even dying after having partaken in an unworthy manner. Pride is a serious sin that everyone struggles with to one degree or another. We developed the ego after the fall of Adam and Eve. Everyone also judges to one degree or another until they reach Theosis; however, most serious believers continually repent of their pride and ego. They know that nobody is worthy to recieve Communion; however this does not necessarily bar one from partaking of Holy Communion like murder and adultry do. According to your reasoning, it is ok for anyone to partake of Holy Communion no matter what they did unless the think that they are worthy. Your view is clearly contrary to the techings of the Holy Elders. I would suggest that you start reading them brother.
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« Reply #127 on: March 25, 2007, 03:42:58 PM »

GiC is taking an extreme position, whether he actually believes that is another story. 

If you cut through the hyperbole and rhetoric, he makes a very valid point that those of us who go up to the Holy Eucharist thanking God that we aren't like those fornicators are in a deep spiritual sickness of our own.  Ultimately Orthodoxy is holistic and the start of the healing process is confession.

That being said, one of the things that has troubled me about Orthdoxy (in my area) is the lack of any real moral authority or ethical voice.  Most sermons focus on how to feel good and being spiritual.  On many moral issues the Orthodox Church simply has no voice (for instance birth control) and on others a complete blind eye is turned.  It is hard for those of us from a background where calling oneself Christian actually had some moral obligations attached to it.  So in a sense I agree with Orthodox Bagpiper and Nacho....but I think GiC does actually add a good reminder.
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« Reply #128 on: March 26, 2007, 03:35:29 AM »

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GiC is taking an extreme position, whether he actually believes that is another story. 

If you cut through the hyperbole and rhetoric, he makes a very valid point that those of us who go up to the Holy Eucharist thanking God that we aren't like those fornicators are in a deep spiritual sickness of our own.  Ultimately Orthodoxy is holistic and the start of the healing process is confession.

That being said, one of the things that has troubled me about Orthdoxy (in my area) is the lack of any real moral authority or ethical voice.  Most sermons focus on how to feel good and being spiritual.  On many moral issues the Orthodox Church simply has no voice (for instance birth control) and on others a complete blind eye is turned.  It is hard for those of us from a background where calling oneself Christian actually had some moral obligations attached to it.  So in a sense I agree with Orthodox Bagpiper and Nacho....but I think GiC does actually add a good reminder.


As I stated eariler, I don't think that any serious Orthodox thanks God that they aren't like the fornicators, or any other sinners for that fact. I would assume that is a given. I also assume that one approches the Holy Chalice in humility and repentance. I believe that I have laid out a balanced and reasonable approach to the issue; one that is in line with Holy scripture, tradition, the cannons and Holy Saints of the Church.

There is a moral obligation attatched to being a Christian. That does not mean that a person is 100% perfect, or has to be a pharasee, but it is extreem and unbalanced to say that there are no moral obligations; moreover, it is a false humility. We have the sacramento of confession to help us in our repentance and growth towards Theosis.

One of the shameful things about the Orthodox who live a lifestyle of immorality is that they repel many people away from the faith. I have seen this first hand. Many sincere Christians from protestant sects have said to me that they have a hard time beilieving the claims of Orthodoxy because of the highly immoral conduct of many of it's members. Sure, they may be judging, but they are also the weaker brother and we are obliged to show them the light and love of Christ.


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« Reply #129 on: March 26, 2007, 06:25:50 AM »

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One of the shameful things about the Orthodox who live a lifestyle of immorality is that they repel many people away from the faith. I have seen this first hand. Many sincere Christians from protestant sects have said to me that they have a hard time beilieving the claims of Orthodoxy because of the highly immoral conduct of many of it's members. Sure, they may be judging, but they are also the weaker brother and we are obliged to show them the light and love of Christ.

Good point Bagpiper. This is what precisely kept me away from initially joining the Orthodox Church for so long. As I stated earlier in this thread, my first experience of Orthodoxy was through my ex - Greek girlfriend who was constantly pressuring me to mess around with her. Allot of her friends at church were also very promiscuous. I actually had to explain to her why pre - marital sex was a horrible sin and that she should maybe seek the advice of her priest. Some of her friends thought I was some kind of ultra Christian whack job or something, but clearly these people were obviously wrong. Being part of the Assemblies of God at the time that stressed moral teachings and personal holiness, this was all quite a shock to me. With virtually no understanding of Orthodoxy at the time, I thought these people were like heretics or something clinging to cultural symbols of Christianity because they apparently were doing things contrary to how a Christian should conduct themselves. Its sad because I actually really enjoyed going to Liturgy with her and had no hang - ups with such things as icons, incense etc. like many Protestants have. What turned me off was the personal conduct of many of the Orthodox I met. After that whole ordeal I pretty much wrote off Orthodoxy because I didn't see to many examples of people striving towards holiness, though to be fair my experience was somewhat limited. A few years down the road, I saw things from a totally different angle when I attended an Antiochian Church that happened to also be a convert EOC Church. I spent over a year talking to the priest and many of the members of the church who made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. These people also took their faith very seriously; I give them much credit for my conversion. 

Quote
That being said, one of the things that has troubled me about Orthdoxy (in my area) is the lack of any real moral authority or ethical voice.  Most sermons focus on how to feel good and being spiritual.  On many moral issues the Orthodox Church simply has no voice (for instance birth control) and on others a complete blind eye is turned.  It is hard for those of us from a background where calling oneself Christian actually had some moral obligations attached to it.  So in a sense I agree with Orthodox Bagpiper and Nacho....but I think GiC does actually add a good reminder.

Νεκτάριος, this is truly something that has bothered me about Orthodoxy also. It's not in just your local area, but I have noticed this also where I'm at. I believe this is a systemic problem in the Orthodox Church. The lack of uniformity on such important moral teachings is badly needed in my opinion. How come Rome has it together and they can properly catechize their people? With the RC, you know where the Church stands on such important issues and they make it very clear over & over. I have never heard one homily by any Orthodox Priest or Bishop (I have heard many from various clergy) to this day that has even remotely touched upon fornication or adultery. I think something is seriously wrong.
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« Reply #130 on: March 26, 2007, 12:02:39 PM »

Our priests touches on it, as well as drunkenness, pornography, drugs, lying, stealing, etc in every sermon he preaches to denote how far we have all failed to  hit the mark and thus are sinners in need of Gods forgiveness and love.

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« Reply #131 on: March 26, 2007, 12:47:36 PM »

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Our priests touches on it, as well as drunkenness, pornography, drugs, lying, stealing, etc in every sermon he preaches to denote how far we have all failed to  hit the mark and thus are sinners in need of Gods forgiveness and love.

Thomas

I think mine does too.
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« Reply #132 on: March 26, 2007, 03:15:48 PM »

That's great guys! I wish more Orthodox clergy would be brave enough to instruct their parishioners in such matters.
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« Reply #133 on: March 26, 2007, 05:31:17 PM »

That's great guys! I wish more Orthodox clergy would be brave enough to instruct their parishioners in such matters.
So we must treat very one as if they are sinners. The problem with this way of thinking in particular, is that the orthodox doctrine of making spiritual progress toward perfection, or deification, has been dropped off. Therefore, a moral understanding of salvation exists in it's place. Sounds like Protestanism to me.
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« Reply #134 on: March 26, 2007, 07:02:33 PM »

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So we must treat very one as if they are sinners. The problem with this way of thinking in particular, is that the orthodox doctrine of making spiritual progress toward perfection, or deification, has been dropped off. Therefore, a moral understanding of salvation exists in it's place. Sounds like Protestanism to me.

My undestanding is that the Eucharist is like a medicine, and the priest is like a physician. A physician does not give unlimited refills on medication because it can become harmful if not taken the right way or with other medications. That is why doctors require followups to and adjust treatments accordingly. I don't think it is about a "moral salvation". Deification does require morality. You are making a false dicatomy. Just like protestants say it's faith vs. works. We say it is faith and works. They don't have to be opposed. Morality does not have to be opposed to Deification, I think it goes hand and hand.
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Troparion - Tone 1:
O Sebastian, spurning the assemblies of the wicked,You gathered the wise martyrs Who with you cast down the enemy; And standing worthily before the throne of God, You gladden those who cry to you:Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
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