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Author Topic: A Sombra's Opinion of OCA and AOC  (Read 5158 times) Average Rating: 0
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A Sombra
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« on: May 31, 2007, 05:31:45 AM »

MODERATION:
I have split this post off from another thread: (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11582.msg158716.html#msg158716   ) so as not to continue to sidetrack the original thread.
George.


 First of all, I want to sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have offended with my remarks about an American Orthodox Church. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea that the few reamrks I made would cause such a fuss! So, please, if I have  offended you, I ask your forgiveness!
     I also would like to explain some things, perhaps in language that does not appear so flip or insulting. By explaining these things, I want to start off by saying I do not mean to offend anyone by my explanations; I will not attempt here to entirely denigrate whole jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church, but merely explain why I said what I did, and how I see some things as regards the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese. Again, no offense meant  here, just an attempt to say things how they are and how that relates to an American Orthodox Church.
     Last of all as a way of introduction, I would like to comment on the reaction that I received from my post, as well as a few other posts that I have made. I know that I have a tendency to say some things rather harshly. I do not to do this to insult, but, I have had many things said to me rather harshly, and possibly this is how I have learned to communicate some of the things I attempt to say. I try to be somewhat gentler sometimes, sometimes not. Sometimes, I say things the way I do purposely, as the reactions are part of the point! I did not dream of getting even 1/10 of the reaction that I got for this post-I think that sometimes, these reactions on here are simply to make a point also! So, let me try to get on with this!

   "ICKY"-what do I mean by "icky"? By "icky," I mean something rather sickeningly unpleasant, sometimes involving things that people try to "get one by" you; things that make your skin crawl a little bit, things that are sickeningly sweet, the candy coating on the poison . . . but, not a totally HORRIBLE thing, but, for the most part, a thing that is more irritating and obnoxious. I hope this meaning of mine has been communicated intelligibly enough for it to be understood-probably one of those words that a few people use among themselves, and have, for the most part, a totally private meaning in that small group. Oh well . . .  Also, the reaction to the use of this word brings up a question-I was accused of using this word like a "child" or a "baby"-why does it seem that, on this forum, a perceived insult so often seems to merit an insult in return-as if it is allowed! Or the right thing to do! I did not whine or cry about that, and it seems that if people were all just a little bit more thick skinned, things could go a lot better on here! So, here we have "ICKY"! In all its glory or ingloriousness!

   The OCA: Yes, I know about OCA parishes that are "traditional." I was not speaking here to insult or denigrate or "write off" the entire jurisdiction of the OCA-only to point out (and obviously not at all clearly enough) that the "official establishment" of the OCA is, and has been (and, probably MORE "has been" than "is") a champion of modernism and minimalism. I have seen these forces at work; I know that not ALL the members of the OCA back this kind of stuff, but obviously enough do to keep these things alive. Some one brought up the OLD argument about pony tails, and how there is tradition and Tradition, etc., etc., etc. First, if I am not grievously mistaken, I do believe there is canonical mention of clergy dress and appearance. These are things that are sort of a barometer: If you are willing to do away with that, what goes next? It is the old slippery slope! I dont know if people are aware of it, or are willing to admit it, but most of these issues became issues right here in America-for one reason and one reason only-ASSIMILATION! The people and possibly the clergy, too, did not want to be seen as weird foreigners in this new country, and hastened to get rid of the robes, hair, stainding in church with no pews, no musical instruments as accompaniment, and many other "odd cultural accretions." ANd, this was not rightly understood by later generations: discussing this witrh an OCA priest, he said, "Don't tell me pews aren't Orthodox! I grew up in the Carpatho-Russian Church, and we had pews!" Yes-pews brought in AFTER these people came to America, pews brought in in order to assimilate and become "American"! Yes, Father, those are certainly Orthodox! So-where does this all stop?
    On the Theological side, the learned gentlemen at the Saint Sergius Institute in Paris pretty much made it their life's work to find the answer to the question: How much can you get rid of and still be Orthodox? As well as, of course, in venting a gew innovations of their own. So, the OCA has been affected, expecially at the "official" level, by the forces of modernism, minimalism, and ecumenism.
    Minimalism in the services-I have seen thirty minute (time it with a stop watch!) Vespers, EXACTLY the same time every Saturday evening! And, of course, other abbreviations of all the services. As well as the outright cancellation of certain services- I am sire the 30 minute every Saturday evening Vespers is not  universal-some have no Vespers. Vigil every Saturday evening? Forget it! Again, I am not saying this is the universal OCA practice, but, it is a practice that does go on, apparently (I am not sure if it was more so in the past as now) with more official approval than disapproval. Unnecessary to go to cnfession before communing-this is one of the reasons that Archbishop Amvrossy (Merezhko, +1974), at  the time ruling bishop of the OCA's largest diocese, left the OCA for ROCOR in 1972. To put it briefly (which by now I am sure everyone has guessed I cannot do!), modernism and minimalism was the chief direction of a large clique-a clique with a lot of power-wanted to go. And still is going, to some extent, but not anywhere near as fast as it went in the past. Ecumenism has also affected the OCA-they participate in Orthodox-Roman Catholic dialogues, in Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox dialogues, the NCC, and more. All to "witness Orthodoxy," it is claimed. Unfortunately, this has affected a large ssegment of the "powerful," the same who favor minimalism and modernism, the same who were involved in the Saint Sergius Institute in Paris, in a direction that goes away from Orthodoxy, rather than towards it.
    Lastly, the current scandal about finances that apparently involves many of the powerful in the OCA. Let me propose a question: Can ANYONE absolutely refuse that ICKY is an apt descriptive word concerning this mess?
    At any rate, I feel that an OCA influence would most necessaily be felt in any newly created American Orthodox Church, for two reasons: numbers alone, as the OCA is one of the larger Orthodox jurisdictions in North America, and the OCA's position as the "Autocephalous" American Church. While this status is not recognized by a majority of the other Orthodox Churches, it still would, no doubt, play some role in a new "American" Church.
    Now, obviously, if the OCA were to influence a new American Church with the positions in favor of modernism, minimalism, and ecumenism, this would not be a good thing, and would be a move away from Orthodoxy from the beginning on the part of this new Church. (I will not even go into the Calendar issue, as I think everyone is well aware of THAT!)

   The Antiochian Archdiocese is very much like the OCA in the areas of modernism and minimalism, and light years ahead of the OCA in ecumenism. Quite obviously, the Antiochians do not (at least the majority) support Orthodox clerical dress, nor long hair and beards. Like the OCA (an area I did not go into) the Antiochians are also somewhat anti-monastic. Thus, in these areas, as well as other, they deviate from Orthodox traditions and practices.
   Ecumenism in indeed a whole other story concerning the Patirarchate of Antioch. And, unfortunately, I will have to continue this tomorrow!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 07:38:39 AM by ozgeorge » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2007, 08:45:24 AM »

A Sombra

It is sad that because of a few thin skinned individuals that you have to begin your thread with a long apology.


The modernism and minimalism is present and I beleive it is a generational thing. My parents were just one generation away from Europe and rushed headlong into the American culture. This is not necessarily a bad thing (they had to learn English for instance to compete in the marketplace) but I think it afflicts new arrivals to this country and others. However, when it creeps into the church that is another matter. I know I have often been critical of new converts but to some extent their desire to be "fully" Orthodox may see a reversal of some of the minimalism. All fads eventually die out the Church will remain triumphant

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 11:28:14 AM »

   The Antiochian Archdiocese is very much like the OCA in the areas of modernism and minimalism, and light years ahead of the OCA in ecumenism. Quite obviously, the Antiochians do not (at least the majority) support Orthodox clerical dress, nor long hair and beards. Like the OCA (an area I did not go into) the Antiochians are also somewhat anti-monastic. Thus, in these areas, as well as other, they deviate from Orthodox traditions and practices.
   Ecumenism in indeed a whole other story concerning the Patirarchate of Antioch. And, unfortunately, I will have to continue this tomorrow!

The Antiochian Archdiocese in America was the first to opt out of the National Council of Churches so I think you should rethink your ideas that we are extreme ecumenists. As far as the patriarchate is concerned, many decisions they have made concern me too but we live in the luxury of religious freedom here in the United States. And all Christians in Muslim countries are generally an oppressed minority. You also need to know the survival of that patriarchate hangs in the balance. If the Assad regime is ever toppled there will be a blood bath and it is unlikely that the patriarchate will survive. I will not judge those who live under the thumb of the Muslims.

I am not sure if you are new to Orthodoxy or from a slavic or Greek background but try to keep in mind that all patriarchates have different traditions. We shouldn't judge based on the traditions we hold. There is room for diversity in customs.

If St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, and many of the other early illuminaries entered your parish as anonymous bishops, would you judge them as modernists because of their short hair and abbreviated beards? Cleric clothing styles, lengths of beards and hair have evolved over the centuries and will continue to evolve. The church is not static even though some believe it is. Read below what another Orthodox gentleman wrote on this subject.

Monastic Tonsure clarified

There were actually at least three styles in the undivided Church. 1)The western or "St Peter's" tonsure--the one we commonly see depicted--the head shaved except for the fringe around the top--reminiscent of the crown of thorns and an identification with the suffering and humilitation of Christ. 2)The strict eastern that was a completely shaved head--taken over from the status of slaves in the Roman Empire--and hence, at least at one time favored by some as the identification of being a slave for Christ. 3)The Celtic, which involved shaving only the front of the head in a kind of semi-circle.

The custom of not shaving the head as well as letting the beard grow long must have grown up later, and most probably in the post-Justinian era--and the longer you get away from the old imperial customs and notions the more you find the rural/monastic customs coming to predominate--I think around the 6th century is when most people think that some of the monastic customs also are taken up by the married clergy as well.

More on beards, short hair and rassons

The original exorasson is of a very different cut from the inner cassock. This is especially apparent in the Greek style wear the inner cassock crosses the chest like a bathrobe and the exorasson is kind of open in the front (it ties at the neck). You can't see this in the Russian style because it crosses over to the side just like the Russian style inner cassock. But more importantly, how do you explain the following:

-The Chaldeans (Assyrians), the Orientals (non-Chalcedonians), the Latins, and the Russian Old Believers do not have anything similar to this garment

- the practice of wearing *TWO* cassocks, a regular one, and a flowing, bell-sleeved one for appearing in public does not appear in our iconography or in written documents until the 15th century... and even then it appears only among those who were conquered by Turks (only later was it brought to the Russians when they brought their practice in line with the Greeks.

This isn't really a new or even an especially controversial suggestion. The Greek clergy were made secular rulers of their people and made to wear (publically at least) the robes of a Turkish secular official. That isn't an opinion, it is history.


A beard is a way for the clergy to be icons of Christ. It is a symbol of their priesthood and a connection to the Old Testament priesthood and the unique high priesthood of Christ. As we saw, even the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church gets this right. What we are arguing over is not the beards but how they are worn. Look at an icon of St. John Chrysostom... or St. Gregory the Dialogist... or St. Nicholas. Why do all ancient icons show them wearing the trimmed and rather short beard that was fashionable for Roman men from the 3rd century up through the Middle Ages? Why don't they have the unclipped, untouched beard of the monastic or hermit?

Easy- because this did not become the norm until later. Look at any Medieval icon of St. Gregory Palamas. You will see that his beard is long, but his hair is short and the top of his head is shaved in the wreath-shaped "full tonsure" that we usually associate with Medieval catholic monks. The truth is that this hair style was the norm fro Christian clerics, Eastern and Western, for thousands of years. Why do you think that non-Chalcedonian Christians and Old Believers have nearly all of their presbyters wear extremely short hair (sometimes almost shaved) with long, full beards. With the exception of certain hermits or others who lived especially ascetic lives (EX. St. James of Jerusalem, St. Bishoy, etc.), you would be hard pressed to produce an example from the early centuries of Christianity of clergy with long hair. The explanation that all bishops MUST have long hair makes much more sense if one sees this as one of the things that was brought in when the hierarchy took on the symbols and vestments of the Imperial authority after the fall of the empire to the Turks.


As for St. Gregory's hair...

The hair of the clergy was kept short and tonsured with a full tonsure for most of our history. Sources?

"Those who are called Eremites and are clothed in black robes, and with long hair go about cities and associate with the worldly both men and women and bring odium upon their profession—we decree that if they will receive the habit of other monks and wear their hair cut short, they may be shut up in a monastery and numbered among the brothers; but if they do not choose to do this, they are to be expelled from the cities and forced to live in the desert (ἐρήμους from whence also they derive their name."
(Canon 42 of the Council in Trullo)

St. Clement of Alexandria refers to the long hair worn by the pagan men of his time and calls it "lecherous" and "without God" (Clement of Alexandria Pae. 3; 3 Migne 8, 577).

The Full tonsure is known in Greek as the "papalethra". We can see that there is a distinctive short haircut for clerics in the 21st canon of the Council in Trullo which reads:

"Those who become responsible for canonical crimes, and on this account are subject to complete and permanent deposition from office, and are thrust into the status of laymen, if with a view to returning they voluntarily forgo the sin on account of which they lapsed from grace, and render themselves utter strangers thereto, let them be tonsured in Clerical style. But if they fail to do this of their own accord and as a matter of choice, let the hair grow back on their heads, on the ground that they have preferred the return into the world to the heavenly life."

What is this tonsure in the clerical style? I found this commentary by St. Nicodemus in The Rudder (I have quoted only part):

"The papalethra, which is also called a garrara, according to Peter of Antioch in his letter to Caerularius, is a more or less circular tonsure of the hair at the point of the head, similar to a wreath. It is not a custom confined to the Latins, but one that was adopted by the entire Church, both the Eastern and the Western, as is corroborated both by the present Canon and by the Holy Fathers: for St. Jerome in writing to St. Augustine says, 'I wish I had your wreath'; likewise St. Augustine wrote to Bishop Proculianus, “I beseech you by our wreath.' It is wont to be affected, not in honor of the Apostle Peter, as the Westerners say, but originally and properly, in order to serve as an outward sign of the guise of clerics, by which the latter differed from those who were not clerics, according to the present Canon. Consequently, and in a more allegorical way, it served as a type of the crown of thorns of the Lord, according to the interpretation given by St. Germain in his dissertation on mystical contemplation. Be that as it may, the clerics of us Easterners, unskillfully cut the hair of the head above and a little below, crosswise, that is to say, and leaving the crown untonsured in the center, and wholly untouched, thus today inexpertly and inartistically contrive this papalethra... As for the fact that our own clerics ought to wear this halo at the point of the head, let them learn it from this Canon. For it is not right to do away with eternal devices which our Fathers devised."

This is why I am not at all surprised when icons of Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory the Great, and all of our other hierarchs of the patristic era *DO NOT* show the men wearing a pony tail.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 12:23:31 PM »

The Old Believers would look at the Russian Church of the Nikonian reforms and talk about how they've shortened services, compromised with the world, etc.  They were even willing to burn themselves to death in order to show how unwilling they were to go along with the changes.  A few things occur to me:

Traditionalists/Fundamentalists will themselves always be a liberal in somebody else's eyes, which is the irony in this thread.  As soon as you draw the line in the sand, somebody will be along to out traditionalize/fundamentalize you.

A lot of Orthodoxy is completely focused on externals and ritual correctness as marks of true faith.

People can't help but point out the problem with their neighbor.  Traditionalists/Fundamentalists slam the AOA and the OCA.  I heard people in the AOA slam the GOA, the OCA and the traditionalists/fundamentalists.  I've seen people in the OCA slam all of the above.  Etc., etc., etc.
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 01:02:05 PM »

The Old Believers would look at the Russian Church of the Nikonian reforms and talk about how they've shortened services, compromised with the world, etc.  They were even willing to burn themselves to death in order to show how unwilling they were to go along with the changes.  A few things occur to me:

Traditionalists/Fundamentalists will themselves always be a liberal in somebody else's eyes, which is the irony in this thread.  As soon as you draw the line in the sand, somebody will be along to out traditionalize/fundamentalize you.

A lot of Orthodoxy is completely focused on externals and ritual correctness as marks of true faith.

People can't help but point out the problem with their neighbor.  Traditionalists/Fundamentalists slam the AOA and the OCA.  I heard people in the AOA slam the GOA, the OCA and the traditionalists/fundamentalists.  I've seen people in the OCA slam all of the above.  Etc., etc., etc.

I agree. We must stop slamming our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we instead look into each others eyes and see the light of Christ instead of judging superficials that will change over time anyway.
My mother, who has always been sensitive to things beyond what most can see, saw an aura of light around the priest who I confess to. He lacks a beard and long hair but since his arrival at my parent's parish there have been many miracles.
A beard and long hair do not guarantee holiness.
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 10:30:15 PM »

Interestingly, the only Canon of an Ecumenical Council which does mention the hairstyles of monastics actually says they should have their hair shaved (Canon 21 of the Quintisext). In his interpretation of this Canon, St. Nicodemus explains in the Rudder that this is a reference to the "papalethra", that is, the wreath like cut where the top of the head is shaved and the remaining hair cut short to recall the Crown of Thorns. St. Nicodemus goes on to explain that allowing your hair to grow was a sign that you were a layperson and clergy who were laicised had to do so! So if you want to get technical, a "truly traditionalist" Orthodox Priest should have his head shaved in order to conform with the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils!
Even today, the rite of admission to the clerical and monastic ranks involves cutting the hair.
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 10:44:53 PM »

A Problem with Traditionalism

The piety many of today's traditionalists want to preserve is of course the piety they know, that of the Old World churches into which they were baptized and of the more recent centuries.  For the majority of the Orthodox world, dominated numerically as this is by the Russian Orthodox Church, this piety is not surprisingly that of 18th and 19th Century Russia.  I see a few problems with the traditionalist desire to preserve the outward forms of this piety.

  • Lack of Catholic (Universal) Perspective - This desire shows little knowledge of the various practices that have developed in Orthodox churches of other countries and geographical regions.  For instance, how many Russian traditionalists are aware that the practice of requiring Confession before EVERY reception of Communion did not really develop in Hellenic Orthodoxy?  How many Russian traditionalists are aware that "extreme" service length has always been unique to the Russian liturgical practice, compared to the rest of the Orthodox world?  A Sombra mentioned the All-Night Vigil (Matins as a continuation of Vespers); this is a distinctively Russian liturgical practice that differs from the Byzantine practice of reading Vespers in the evening and Matins/Orthros the next morning--if one wants to speak of innovation, would not the younger Russian practice be the real innovation?  In fact, many formerly Russian churches are returning to the more ancient practice of reading Matins in the morning, which brings me to my next point.
  • Lack of Historical Perspective - This desire shows little understanding of how various Orthodox practices have developed over time.  I think Tamara has done a wonderful job pointing this out, so I won't repeat any of what she's done.  Just let me add my comments about developments in the length of the Divine Liturgy.  Looking at the Divine Liturgies of St. James, St. Basil the Great, and St. John Chrysostom:  how many of us are aware that the more recent the liturgy is (of these three), the SHORTER it is?  The Liturgy of St. James being the oldest, it is also the longest.  The newest of the liturgies, that of St. John, is the shortest.  I wonder why.
  • Excessive Emphasis on the Outward Forms of Piety (as opposed to the inward content) - Welkodox and Tamara already addressed this.  As I understand the history of Russian Orthodoxy, even the emphasis on ritual correctness is a uniquely Russian trait that the rest of the Orthodox world just doesn't share to the same degree.


Other Comments
To recognize that a practice is historically or culturally conditioned is not to deny the providential guidance of the Holy Spirit in shaping the practice; likewise, to declare the Holy Spirit's providence in developing a practice is not to make the practice universally binding.  IMO, the Holy Spirit is just as active guiding local and national churches as they apply the Gospel to their particular circumstances as He is guiding the Church universal.  In the former scenario, the products of the Spirit's guidance will vary from one place to another and from one time in history to another, and in the latter the products of the Spirit's guidance will be forever and everywhere the same.
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2007, 10:53:07 PM »

Interestingly, the only Canon of an Ecumenical Council which does mention the hairstyles of monastics actually says they should have their hair shaved (Canon 21 of the Quintisext). In his interpretation of this Canon, St. Nicodemus explains in the Rudder that this is a reference to the "papalethra", that is, the wreath like cut where the top of the head is shaved and the remaining hair cut short to recall the Crown of Thorns. St. Nicodemus goes on to explain that allowing your hair to grow was a sign that you were a layperson and clergy who were laicised had to do so! So if you want to get technical, a "truly traditionalist" Orthodox Priest should have his head shaved in order to conform with the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils!
Even today, the rite of admission to the clerical and monastic ranks involves cutting the hair.

Well, of course, when the Turks came in, all married clergy began to grow their hair long and wear black to look like monks so it must have been established custom by the 14th century.

No one argues that things don't develop*, but, they seem to have developed in a certain way, and I don't see much evidence of things being purposely reverted to past times after an analysis of "the way things were in the past."  That notion seems to be modern.

What I find interesting about past liturgical changes is how rapidly they were accepted. This might be a sign of when a development is legit and when not: when the typikon of St Sabbas replaced the previous one, it spread rapidly throughout the entire Orthodox world with no protest and only one lamentation from the bishop of Thessaloniki.  Yet we see today's "reforms" (to some) or "innovations" (to others) to be a fierce subject of debate. But perhaps that is a modern thing too Smiley

Ultimately, for myself, I think traditional Orthodox praxis is what has been received in the typikon and more or less universally practiced around the time of the advent of the New Calendar, the branch theory, etc.  Long hair on monks and priests  is pretty much part of that.

An interesting book on the topic is "The Blessed Rasso" by an independent publisher. Very fascinating detail of how clergy dress and appearance developed.

I know I am rambling now, sorry! Smiley

(*I believe that the printing press, cameras, and video though have almost frozen liturgy and development. While some may think this is itself artificial, I think that perhaps the Lord chose to allow things to slow down or cease developing once they reached a synthesis and rather elaborate and fixed way of being served.  Of course, I'll check back in 500 years to see if my theory is right or if I was just exhibiting a 21st century prejudice Wink )
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 11:05:46 PM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2007, 11:05:13 PM »

A Problem with Traditionalism

The piety many of today's traditionalists want to preserve is of course the piety they know, that of the Old World churches into which they were baptized and of the more recent centuries.  For the majority of the Orthodox world, dominated numerically as this is by the Russian Orthodox Church, this piety is not surprisingly that of 18th and 19th Century Russia.  I see a few problems with the traditionalist desire to preserve the outward forms of this piety.

Which apologetics for traditionalism--in book form and not from internet posts--have you read to get our perspective?

Quote
Lack of Catholic (Universal) Perspective - This desire shows little knowledge of the various practices that have developed in Orthodox churches of other countries and geographical regions.  For instance, how many Russian traditionalists are aware that the practice of requiring Confession before EVERY reception of Communion did not really develop in Hellenic Orthodoxy? 

Development moved towards greater integration over time and these variant practices became less and less over time actually.


Quote
How many Russian traditionalists are aware that "extreme" service length has always been unique to the Russian liturgical practice, compared to the rest of the Orthodox world?  A Sombra mentioned the All-Night Vigil (Matins as a continuation of Vespers); this is a distinctively Russian liturgical practice that differs from the Byzantine practice of reading Vespers in the evening and Matins/Orthros the next morning--if one wants to speak of innovation, would not the younger Russian practice be the real innovation? 

Vigils are not a distinctively Russian practice. The Greek practice of celebrating Matins before liturgy is a modern innovation/reversal/development.  Whether it harkens back to some ancient practice of long ago is irrelevant because the Typikon of St Sabbas (which was edited/revised/replaced by the Greeks in 1888) called for All Night Vigils on Sundays and eves of feasts and this practice is still continued on Athos.  This is why in the modern typikon of the Greeks there is still a Litya, which was part of an All night vigil.


Quote
In fact, many formerly Russian churches are returning to the more ancient practice of reading Matins in the morning, which brings me to my next point.

Perhaps in the Studite typikon this is how it was done in Cathedrals, but the Cathedral usage was absorbed into the monastic usage in the 14th century and that is what we have now, the Typikon of St Sabbas. All night vigils were celebrated in the monastic practice and made their way into the parish use after this.  So to say one is more ancient than the other may not necessarily be true as the two probably existed side by side, with the vigil winning out in the entire Orthodox world by the 1400's.
Quote
Lack of Historic Perspective - This desire shows little understanding of how various Orthodox practices have developed over time.  I think Tamara has done a wonderful job pointing this out, so I won't repeat any of what she's done.  Just let me add my comments about developments in the length of the Divine Liturgy.  Looking at the Divine Liturgies of St. James, St. Basil the Great, and St. John Chrysostom:  how many of us are aware that the more recent the liturgy is (of these three), the SHORTER it is?  The Liturgy of St. James being the oldest, it is also the longest.  The newest of the liturgies, that of St. John, is the shortest.  I wonder why.

We traditionalists are very aware of liturgical development, but we are also very aware of what liturgical development is not, and the innovations we see in the modern Orthodox world do not jive with the practice of liturgical development heretofore, in our view. Instead of assuming us to be a bunch of knee jerk ignoramuses, maybe take some time to read and learn our perspective better, a perspective that is very aware of historical development.


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Excessive Emphasis on the Outward Forms of Piety (as opposed to the inward content) - Welkodox and Tamara already addressed this.  As I understand the history of Russian Orthodoxy, even the emphasis on ritual correctness is a uniquely Russian trait that the rest of the Orthodox world just doesn't share to the same degree.


This is a strawman. Adhering to the outward form of piety frees one to focus on the interior development of the soul. It's no wonder that among those I knew who promoted liturgical innovation, I noticed often a lack of piety or a formalism beyond anything we traditionalists can be accused of.

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Other Comments
To recognize that a practice is historically or culturally conditioned is not to deny the providential guidance of the Holy Spirit in shaping the practice; likewise, to declare the Holy Spirit's providence in developing a practice is not to make the practice universally binding.  IMO, the Holy Spirit is just as active guiding local and national churches as they apply the Gospel to their particular circumstances as He is guiding the Church universal.  In the former scenario, the products of the Spirit's guidance will vary from one place to another and from one time in history to another, and in the latter the products of the Spirit's guidance will be forever and everywhere the same.

What we had was a move away from liturgical diversity and a codification of one practice which was the received Rite. With the advent of the printing press, change slowed down to a virtual standstill. Only recently has development been used as an excuse for some to introduce foreign elements to Orthodox worship and praxis.  Legitimate development is one thing, but using development as an excuse for modernism is what we traditionalists are opposed to.

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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2007, 12:38:29 AM »

  • Excessive Emphasis on the Outward Forms of Piety (as opposed to the inward content) - Welkodox and Tamara already addressed this.  As I understand the history of Russian Orthodoxy, even the emphasis on ritual correctness is a uniquely Russian trait that the rest of the Orthodox world just doesn't share to the same degree.

This is a strawman.

Not exactly... (I will explain below.)

Quote
Adhering to the outward form of piety frees one to focus on the interior development of the soul. It's no wonder that among those I knew who promoted liturgical innovation, I noticed often a lack of piety or a formalism beyond anything we traditionalists can be accused of.

I have experienced the depth of Orthodox spirituality that is made possible only by adhering to correct external forms of piety.  As such, I have become a bit of a stickler for liturgical correctness both in how I read services at church and in how I read the prayers at home.  Despite the skepticism I voiced above of what I see as the traditionalist mindset, I actually don't consider myself much of a supporter of liturgical innovation--I really have grown to value more traditional forms of piety.

That said, when I spoke of "excessive emphasis on the outward forms of piety," I intended to place the most stress on the word excessive.  I agree with your statement that adherence to outward forms frees one to enter more deeply into the spirit of worship and prayer, but I recognize even within myself the temptation to focus so much on correctness of form that I cease to experience the content of that piety.  I certainly don't mean to imply that all, or even the majority of, traditionalists fall prey to this temptation, nor do I intend to imply that we "modernists" are innocent in this regard.  Traditionalist emphasis on outward form should serve as a necessary corrective to some of the tendencies toward laxity I've seen even in my own "modernist" parish, but this emphasis can lend itself to becoming obsessive, which is what I see in many, though clearly not all, traditionalists.  I do agree with you, however, that this temptation is just as strong and pernicious in what you would call the "modernist" camp.
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 12:40:17 AM »

OK fair enough, thanks for clarifying. I think you make valid points.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 01:15:52 AM »

This is a strawman.


Not exactly... (I will explain below.)
I have experienced the depth of Orthodox spirituality that is made possible only by adhering to correct external forms of piety.  As such, I have become a bit of a stickler for liturgical correctness both in how I read services at church and in how I read the prayers at home.  Despite the skepticism I voiced above of what I see as the traditionalist mindset, I actually don't consider myself much of a supporter of liturgical innovation--I really have grown to value more traditional forms of piety.

That said, when I spoke of "excessive emphasis on the outward forms of piety," I intended to place the most stress on the word excessive.  I agree with your statement that adherence to outward forms frees one to enter more deeply into the spirit of worship and prayer, but I recognize even within myself the temptation to focus so much on correctness of form that I cease to experience the content of that piety.  I certainly don't mean to imply that all, or even the majority of, traditionalists fall prey to this temptation, nor do I intend to imply that we "modernists" are innocent in this regard.  Traditionalist emphasis on outward form should serve as a necessary corrective to some of the tendencies toward laxity I've seen even in my own "modernist" parish, but this emphasis can lend itself to becoming obsessive, which is what I see in many, though clearly not all, traditionalists.  I do agree with you, however, that this temptation is just as strong and pernicious in what you would call the "modernist" camp.


I too am opposed to liturgical "innovation."  That sounds rank of enlightenment notions of individual autonomy and emphasis on reason.

And the "traditionalist" tendency to "get it right" that you quote sounds a lot like the Gilquist group.  And we all know what happened to them - they ordained themselves!  Without proper context to the greater live of the Church  (the "mainstream" Orthodox), the "traditionalists" lose sight of what they're doing and instead focus on "doing it right."
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 01:20:28 AM »

 To continue, with reference to the Antiochian Archdiocese, and their Mother Church, the Patriarchate of Antioch. The Patriarchate of Antioch has, by a very long way, completely outdone any of the other Orthodox Churches in the ecumenical arena. See the follwoing letter:A Synodal and Patriarchal Letter.


"To All Our Children, Protected by God, of the Holy See of Antioch:


Beloved:


You must have heard of the continuous efforts for decades by our Church with the sister Syrian Orthodox Church to foster a better knowledge and understanding of both Churches, whether on the dogmatic or pastoral level. These attempts are nothing but a natural expression that the Orthodox Churches, and especially those within the Holy See of Antioch, are called to articulate the will of the Lord that all may be obey, just as the Son is One with the Heavenly Father (John 10:30).


It is our duty and that of our brothers in the Syrian Orthodox Church to witness to Christ in our Eastern region where He was born, preached, suffered, was buried and rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sent down His Holy and Life Giving Spirit upon His holy Apostles.


All the meetings, the fellowship, the oral and written declarations meant that we belong to One Faith even though history had manifested our division more than the aspects of our unity.


All this has called upon our Holy Synod of Antioch to bear witness to the progress of our Church in the See of Antioch towards unity that preserves for each Church its authentic Oriental heritage whereby the one Antiochian Church benefits from its sister Church and is enriched in its traditions, literature and holy rituals.


Every endeavor and pursuit in the direction of the coming together of the two Churches is based on the conviction that this orientation is from the Holy Spirit, and it will give the Eastern Orthodox image more light and radiance, that it has lacked for centuries before.


Having recognized the efforts done in the direction of unity between the two Churches, and being convinced that this direction was inspired by the Holy Spirit and projects a radiant image of Eastern Christianity overshadowed during centuries, the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch saw the need to give a concrete expression of the close fellowship between the two Churches, the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox for the edification of their faithful.


Thus, the following decisions were taken:


We affirm the total and mutual respect of the spirituality, heritage and Holy Fathers of both Churches. The integrity of both the Byzantine and Syriac liturgies is to be preserved.

The heritage of the Fathers in both Churches and their traditions as a whole should be integrated into Christian education curricula and theological studies. Exchanges of professors and students are to be enhanced.

Both Churches shall refrain from accepting any faithful from accepting any faithful from one Church into the membership of the other, irrespective of all motivations or reasons.

Meetings between the two Churches, at the level of their Synods, according to the will of the two Churches, will be held whenever the need arises.

Every Church will remain the reference and authority for its faithful, pertaining to matters of personal status (marriage, divorce, adoption, etc.).

If bishops of the two Churches participate at a holy baptism or funeral service, the one belonging to the Church of the baptized or deceased will preside. In case of a holy matrimony service, the bishop of the bridegroom's Church will preside.

The above mentioned is not applicable to the concelebration in the Divine Liturgy.

What applies to bishops equally applies to the priests of both Churches.

In localities where there is only one priest, from either Church, he will celebrate services for the faithful of both Churches, including the Divine Liturgy, pastoral duties, and holy matrimony. He will keep an independent record for each Church and transmit that of the sister Church to its authorities.

If two priests of the two Churches happen to be in a locality where there is only one Church, they take turns in making use of its facilities.

If a bishop from one Church and a priest from the sister Church happen to concelebrate a service, the first will preside even when it is the priest's parish.

Ordinations into the holy orders are performed by the authorities of each Church for its own members. It would be advisable to invite the faithful of the sister Church to attend.

Godfathers, godmothers (in baptism) and witnesses in holy matrimony can be chosen from the members of the sister Church.

Both Churches will exchange visits and will co-operate in the various areas of social, cultural and educational work.
We ask God's help to continue strengthening our relations with the sister Church, and with other Churches, so that we all become one community under one Shepherd.



Damascus
12 November 1991


Patriarch Ignatios IV
of the Greek Antiochian Church


Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas
of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch"

  From this Patriarchal Letter, it is more than obvious that the Greek Antiochian Church (Eastern Orthodox, Mother Church of the Antiochian Archdiocese) and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch (Oriental Orthodox) concelebrate with each other, recognize each others "Holy Fathers," and undoubtedly, there is intercommunion. If not, wy concelebrate?

  Now, the first problem here is that the Orthodox Church considers that the various Oriental Orthodox churches are heretical, via the Council of Chalcedon: "This is the origin of Oriental Orthodoxy as a distinct communion, which still today rejects the results of this council." see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Chalcedon

  As if this were not enough, the Syrian Orthodox Church (Oriental Orthodox) has been negotiating with Rome for decades:

    " The “Catholic–Syrian Orthodox [Monophysite] Statement” was
signed on July 23, 1984, by Pope John–Paul II and Patriarch Moran
Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of Antioch. This statement declared that
the Roman pontiff and the Monophysite patriarch
…kneel down with full humility in front of the exalted and extolled heavenly
throne of our Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks for this glorious opportunity
which has been granted us to meet together in His love in order
to strengthen further the relationship between our two sister
churches—the relationship already excellent through the joint initiative
of their holinesses of blessed memory, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Moran
Mar Ignatius Jacoub III…. Their holinesses Pope John– Paul II and
Patriarch Zakka I wish solemnly to widen the horizon of their brotherhood
and affirm herewith the terms of deep spiritual communion which
already unites them and the prelates, clergy, and faithful of both their
Churches…, and to advance in finding a wholly common ecclesial
life…. The confusions and schisms that arose between our churches…
arose only because of differences in terminology and culture…. We

find no real basis for the sad divisions and schisms that subsequently
arose between us…, notwithstanding the differences on interpretation
of such a doctrine which arose at the Council of Chalcedon [does this all
sound familiar?]…. Hence we wish to reaffirm our common profession
of faith…, as Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Moran Mar Ignatius Jacoub III
did in 1971. They denied that there was any difference in the faith that
they confessed…. Our identity in faith, though not yet complete, entitles
us to envisage collaboration between our churches in pastoral care…. It
is not rare, in fact, for our faithful to find access to a priest of their own
church materially or morally impossible. Anxious to meet their need
and with their spiritual benefit in mind, we authorize them in such cases
to ask for the sacraments of penance, the eucharist, and the anointing
of the sick from lawful priests of either of our two sister churches…. It
would be a logical corollary of collaboration in pastoral care to
coöperate in priestly formation and theological education…. [W]hile doing
this we do not forget that we must still do all in our power to
achieve the full visible communion between the Catholic Church and
the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch…, thanking the Lord Who has
allowed us to meet and enjoy the consolation of the faith that we hold in
common….2 "
see: Union with the Monophysites: What Comes Next?, at: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ea_mono.aspx

  So, we have some problems here, large problems. According to the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church, those (read: clergy, especially Bishops) who "pray with heretics" place themselves OUTSIDE THE ORTHODOX CHURCH. This Canon is not very ambiguous-Patirarchs, Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops and clergy who engage in "prayer with heretics" are to be deposed. And, as I have been taught, these Canons are not like the Perry Mason show-that is, a long and interesting trial is not the "conclusion" of violatioons-the "penalties" are "auotmatic." Whenever Orthodox Life would publish decisions of the Synod of Bishops, when going into matters of clergy who had been defrocked, there would be a statement that such and such clergyman had violated such and such a Canon or Canons, and therefore, "incurred upn himself . . . " the penalty stated by the Canon.

  Now, the partisans of ecumenism in the Orthodox Church who HAVE prayed with heretics at various WCC functions and elsewhere ALWAYS have the excuse that "the Canon does not mean simple prayer, it means Liturgical Prayer, when the clergy are vested, such as the Liturgy, Vespers, etc., etc., ..." An example of such is the statement of Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna and Austria (Moscow Patriarchate) in an interview on the website of ROCOR:  "Also , when canon law speaks of the inadmissibility of prayer with heretics , it refers , in my opinion, to prayer of a liturgical character, not to "common" prayer. When you invite a non-orthodox Christian to your home, could you not together with him, read the Lord's Prayer before the meal? Or at inter-Christian conferences—could we not, before a meeting begins, read "O Heavenly King?" Or, as an Orthodox Christian, when entering a non-orthodox temple, even during a service, could you not raise a prayer to God? One can pray in the forest, one can pray in a bus (filled, maybe, with atheists or those of other religions), but one cannot pray in a Christian church, even if it is not Orthodox?" see: http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/engdocuments/enart_interviewrocor.html  

  Of course, again, it is quite obvious that the arrangement between the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch go a bit farther than praying "in the forest," or, "in a bus." It is full fledged Liturgucal Prayer-concelebration. And, the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch's various agreements with Rome only further complicate matters.  The fact that Syrian (Oriental) Orthodox and Roman Catholic priests can confess, "anoint," and commune each others flocks is only a bit short of concelebration. Which puts the Eastern Orthodox Patirarchate of Antioch in "closer proximity" to Rome than even Costantinople!  
  
   All of which, I must say, fits my definition of "icky," especially in the context of an American Orthodox Church. Why should a newly formed American Orthodox Church have to contend with such issues, and this from one of its largest supposed "components." Seeing that the Orthodox Churches that are in the majority in North America at this time are the more liberal, the more anti-traditional, the "components" of an American Orthodox Church would surely make itself in "their own image."

  While the Moscow Patriarchate is in such a total majority in Russia, it still feels paranoid enough about tiny Traditionalist Churches that it feels compelled to appeal to the government for help in exterminating these "threats" (!?!) to the MP! I can foresee, in a climate that breeds an American Orthodox Church comprised of the various liberal and modernist Orthodox entities that would engender persecution of Traditionalist Orthodox here. No, not "persecution" as in Russia, where priests are arrested, churches are taken, etc., etc.,  but only more of the persecution that already takes place: ridicule, marginalization, and the more or less ignorant flinging around of the "C" word- "Canonical." (That is, that it has some meaning of "official," "authorized," etc., etc., only as opposing those who are "not.")

   Interestingly enough, the liberal and modernist Orthodox Churches NEVER make reference to any of the Holy Canons that have to do with matter sof the Orthodox Faith, or the relations (or non-relations) of the Orthodox Church with heretical entities; they do, however, refer time and again to those Canons that enforce the authority of the Bishop (even though the Canons DO make allowance for leaving one's Bishop if that Bishop "teaches heresy bareheaded," or is involved with "prayer with heretics").  In other words, it seems their largest worry is that their AUTHORITY not be lessened one iota. The Traditional Churches, however, are concerned almost solely with Canons having to do with matters of the Orthodox Faith, and the violation, watering down, weakening, and apostasy from that Faith.

   Also, an American Orthodox Church would, sooner or later, be comprised mainly of converts. I have read some things about the "psychology" of converts, and found very interesting the thought that converts find it extremely difficult, if not downright impossible, to TOTALLY accept their adopted faith. "Totally" mostly referring to those parts or practices of that faith that are seemingly extremely "odd" to ones contemporaries, or "out of place" in todays world, or those things that others would refer to as "superstition," etc., etc.,-mainly this was interesting to me as it seems to draw the "battle lines" between the "liberal. modernist" and "Traditionalist" Orthodox. And, this is a battle that does not need to be fought by a newly born American Orthodox Church.

  Hopefully I have explained my thoughts clearly, and without insulting anyone too much; in today's world, I realize, one cannot SPEAK AT ALL without insulting someone. I think that many people are simply too thin skinned, and for some reason feel that they should NEVER have to hear anything that is in disagreement with what they think of believe or think they believe! I myself am not and have never been very thin skinned-and I have endured the insults, believe me-some of the more liberal and modernist of the Orthodox in America have seemingly made "careers" out of insulting ROCOR and its faithful. It does not really bother me all that much, because, for the most part, they did not have much of an idea as to what they were talking about. And, before anyone accuses me of terribly insulting the Antiochian Patriarchate, I would first recommend that you read the applicable Canons, and also realize that Orthodox Patriarchs, Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops, and parish priests are not infallible, their word is not "LAW,", and they have absolutely NO AUTHORITY whatsoever to change one iota of the Orthodox Faith, nor the Canons. This also includes those who feel certain aspects of the faith are "outdated," or that some of the Canons are "no longer applicable," or "embarrasing," etc., etc., etc. In other words, they are NOT Popes!

    I ask all of you to pray for me, a sinner, and hope that you all can work your salvation in peace!


    
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2007, 02:02:15 AM »

A Sombra,

Your line of logic is somewhat circular.

Have you considered the idea that the Antiochian Church has not in fact, from her perspective, violated any canons by virtue of her findings that the Syrian Orthodox Church is not heretical in the first place?

Your conclusions presume from the outset that, from an EO point of view, the Syrian Orthodox Church must be heretical by virtue of its rejection of Chalcedon. The Antiochian Church (and the Alexandrian Church for that matter) evidently feel otherwise. Though a non-adherent of Chalcedon myself, I am not posing a challenge to the authority of Chalcedon here, but rather a question of the interpretation of it amongst those who accept its authority. The Antiochian Church upholds Chalcedon no less than you do, so what makes your understanding of it, which gives the rise to the premise that the Syrian Orthodox Church is necessarily heretical, any more enlightened than theirs?
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2007, 02:04:17 AM »

A Sombra,

Are you totally familiar with the reasoning the Antiochian and Syrian churches employed in their recent reunion discussions, and this from a much more objective point of view than that to which you have apparently been exposed?  The Council of Chalcedon also dealt with some major political issues, such as the ascendancy of Constantinople to a position of primacy in the Eastern Church.  I can understand why the partisans of such powerful sees as Alexandria and [ancient] Antioch would reject Chalcedon on these grounds alone--to them, Constantinople must have seemed some kind of upstart trying to usurp their traditional authority.  Also, what if it happens that the Syrian (and Coptic) rejection of Chalcedonian Christology truly proves to be nothing more than a matter of linguistics, as many on all sides claim, and not genuine differences in Faith?  (I really don't know.  I'm just trying to challenge you to look at this picture from a different angle.)
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2007, 02:48:23 AM »

 The reasoning that these Churches employed in their decisions is neither here nor there-whether or not THEY THINK one or the other is not heretical is neither here nor there-ANY SINGLE ORTHODOX CHURCH OR PATRIARCH does not have the power nor the authority to, in essence as you are saying-overturn one of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Using your argument, ANY CHURCH could use ANY reasoning to do anything they wanted! Say that tomorrow, ROCOR used some "reasoning" to decide that Orthodoxy itself was herewtical, that the Jehovah's Witnesses were really the "True Church"-would you make apologies of that, too? Can you unerstand the "reasoning" that the Antiochian Church can be considered by some as outside the Orthodox Church duw to its vilatioons of the Canons? It does not say, after all, that Patriarchs who pray with heretics are deposed unless they have some sort of different reasoning that we who wrote the Canons have . . . what is that called, uh, when people can have different reasoning to attack different problems or different situations, any reasoning that offers an excuse for their "solution," any reasoning that makes everybody happy, any reason that "overcomes" the "mistakes" of the past, in short, any reason we want to use to do anything we want to do? Whatever you want to call it, it is not Orthodoxy!

  Also I would like to address the "outward piety inward piety" deal, and all the other reasons people feel that they need to come up with to throw things out, change things, etc.,-first of all, it has to do with the "convert psychology" i wrote about last post-there are just some things that converts CANNOT ACCEPT! Things are just too hard for some people to swallow-and then the "what if St Basil walked in your church etc etc etc," -Church tradition has developed; it developed into what we have today-traditionalst Orthodoxy, and those trying to change things to suit themselves, whether to assimilate in America, or to fit an intellectual fad or fashion (Paris-St Sergius Academy).

  I attended an OCA All American Convention once-in St Louis, I forget the year-there were priests there who you cvould not tell were priests-they looked like hippies-long hair, beards, jeans, work shirts-only ay you could tell they were priests was by the name tag; there were those whom ou could in no way differentiate from Roman Catholic priests-Roman Collar, Roman Collar shirt, black suit coat; there were those who were venerable Archpriests and Protopresbyters, in riassa, and he heavy jewelled crosses, clean shaven, and the good ole American crew cut; then there were those with the traditional appearance of an Orthodox priest.

   Of course, then there are those who study very hard to find things in the distant past-"they did this in the 4th century," they didnt do that in the 5th century"-intellectual nonsense! fine for hsitorical studies, NOT for arranging things today, I am sorry! It is no longer the 4th or 5th century-dont ya know?
This is QUITE the education for me-the only forums I have been on were MAINLY for the Traditional Orhtodox-even apologists for the OCA or Greek Archdiocese who "hung out" were rather sympathetic!

  Has anyone read how the Theosophical Society of Madame Blavatsky influenced some of those luminaries who went on to star at the Saint Sergius Institue in Paris? Who went on to influence the OCA greatly? HHHmmmm . . . would THAT be a way to get away from all this old stale traditional thinking?
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2007, 03:01:45 AM »

QUOTE:
   "And the "traditionalist" tendency to "get it right" that you quote sounds a lot like the Gilquist group.  And we all know what happened to them - they ordained themselves!  Without proper context to the greater live of the Church  (the "mainstream" Orthodox), the "traditionalists" lose sight of what they're doing and instead focus on "doing it right."


    Comparing the Gilquist group in any way, shape or form to true Orthodox Traditionalists is absolutely ludicrous!
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2007, 03:05:38 AM »

The reasoning that these Churches employed in their decisions is neither here nor there-whether or not THEY THINK one or the other is not heretical is neither here nor there-ANY SINGLE ORTHODOX CHURCH OR PATRIARCH does not have the power nor the authority to, in essence as you are saying-overturn one of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. ...Can you unerstand the "reasoning" that the Antiochian Church can be considered by some as outside the Orthodox Church duw to its vilatioons of the Canons? It does not say, after all, that Patriarchs who pray with heretics are deposed unless they have some sort of different reasoning that we who wrote the Canons have . . .

The above comments do not address the issue raised in my post at all.

As far as the Antiochian Church is concerned, she is not overturning the authority of Chalcedon; this is a presumption you are making, hence the circular logic of your conclusion regarding her alleged violation of the canons regarding "praying with the heretics". Again, as one who does not accept the authority of Chalcedon, I am not here challenging that authority, but asking you to consider the fact that it is your interpretation of that authority and its consequent implications that is in conflict with the Antiochian Church, rather than your allegiance to that authority.
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2007, 04:20:28 AM »

   According to the Eastern Orthodox Church and its adherence to the Council of Chalcedon, the Syrian Orthodox Church (also known as the Jacobite Church, Oriental Orthodox, Monophysites, etc.) are heretics; the Antiochian Orthodox Church is Liturgically concelebrating with the Syrian Orthodox Church; the Antiochian Orthodox Church is "praying with heretics."
   As far as John Travolta and Tom Cruise, all religion is a bunch of garbage, and only Scientology can set you free; according to the Pope all the "Separated eatsern Churches" are schismatics; according to Mohammedans, at least of one of the varieties abroad in Iraq, it is apparently OK to behead 14 and 15 Christian boys who refuse to accept Islam, the peaceful religion; we can learn important things from these three statements-just because someone -"as far as they are concerned" thinks something, does not mean that it is so.
   And, if you do not accept the authority of the Council of Chalcedon-why do you even care? 
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2007, 04:32:15 AM »

 I recognize this line of thinking about the Council of Chalcedon. It goes something like this-the Holy Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon were NOT influenced by the Holy Spirit; they were influenced by politics, they were influenced by commerce; they were infleunced by the spirit of the times. In fact, then, the Holy Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon were WRONG. And we, from the SPIRITUALLY ENLIGHTENED, PIOUS and GODLY twenty-first century have discovered this fact that was apparently hidden from the Orthodox Church for centuries. And yes, it is we, here and now, who know MORE than the Holy fatehr sof the Council of Chalcedon; it is we who are not influenced by politics, by political correctness, by intellectual fashions, by commerce; IT IS WE who are influenced by the HOLY SPIRIT, and therefore, WE KNOW MORE AND BETTER THAN THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.

Which leaves a question-which Council of the Orthodox Church would you like overturned next?

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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2007, 05:34:15 AM »

Quote
According to the Eastern Orthodox Church and its adherence to the Council of Chalcedon, the Syrian Orthodox Church (also known as the Jacobite Church, Oriental Orthodox, Monophysites, etc.) are heretics; the Antiochian Orthodox Church is Liturgically concelebrating with the Syrian Orthodox Church; the Antiochian Orthodox Church is "praying with heretics."

You’re essentially just repeating yourself. I refer you to my last two posts in response to this repeated argument, which stand unaddressed.

Quote
And, if you do not accept the authority of the Council of Chalcedon-why do you even care?


Because I do believe that I am nevertheless obliged to take an interest in matters which concern Orthodox unity and evangelism, and I feel that your position serves as an instrumental catalyst for misleading and potentially harmful propaganda in that regard.

Quote
I recognize this line of thinking about the Council of Chalcedon. It goes something like this-the Holy Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon were NOT influenced by the Holy Spirit; they were influenced by politics, they were influenced by commerce; they were infleunced by the spirit of the times. In fact, then, the Holy Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon were WRONG. And we, from the SPIRITUALLY ENLIGHTENED, PIOUS and GODLY twenty-first century have discovered this fact that was apparently hidden from the Orthodox Church for centuries. And yes, it is we, here and now, who know MORE than the Holy fatehr sof the Council of Chalcedon; it is we who are not influenced by politics, by political correctness, by intellectual fashions, by commerce; IT IS WE who are influenced by the HOLY SPIRIT, and therefore, WE KNOW MORE AND BETTER THAN THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.

This is nothing but hot air and reductionism. I don't think the Antiochian Church believes her Fathers to have been unenlightened by the Holy Spirit. It seems like the Antiochian Church simply has the ability and acumen to appreciate the complexity of the historical context, and the reality of human limitations/weaknesses which surely played a decisive role in the outcome of the event.

In any event, I’ve tried to engage you in some meaningful, rational, objective and edifying discourse, but it doesn’t seem to have too much hope of taking off. I think I’ll bow out at this point until you, or anyone else who supports your position, wishes to actually address the issue I have taken up with your argument.
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2007, 05:47:20 AM »

Have only read a little of the latest posts, from an Oriental Orthodox perspective this is very easy to solve:

There are only three Ecumenical Councils. Any others are simply local councils which have been accepted by various Churches but are not ecumenical because not everybody agreed.
It's rather like how various Orthodox Churches recognise different deuterocanocial books. If you like, the books which everyone recognises could be refered to as the "ecumenical Scripture" however this does not mean that other Scriptures are not true nor does it acknowledge them as completely true.
Indeed, you will find that even the OOs agreed with the earlier parts of the Council of Chalcedon. I could enter an argument here about reasons for rejecting it but obviously the Syrians and Antiochans have sorted this out and the other EO Churches seem to be moving closer. Many of the OO Churches are almost ready to reunite and I hope to see this in the time wherein the Lord grants me life.
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2007, 06:02:55 AM »

Dear Didymus,

The OO perspective doesn't really have any relevance here.

The point is that the Antiochians clearly do not believe OO's to be heretics, nor do they believe their allegiance to Chalcedon necessitate that they believe so, and hence from their perspective communing with OO's violates no ancient canon. A Sombra, on the other hand, is presuming the idea that OO's are heretical, and that allegience to Chalcedon necessitates that, to be axiomatic, and upon this presupposed axiom is concluding that the Antiochians are in violation of the canons. I have essentially been attempting to get him/her to question the asserted axiom instead of presupposing it and imposing it on the Antiochian Church.
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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2007, 06:13:36 AM »

EkhristosAnesti, so from what I understand of what you say, you are arguing that following Chalcedon does not require one to hold that those who do not follow it are without The Church. Is not this the same as saying that Chalcedon was not an Ecumenical Council?

Please forgive me if this seems provocative as I am not meaning to be. I am just trying to understand what it is that you are arguing having come in part way through the debate.

Thank you.
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« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2007, 06:24:11 AM »

EkhristosAnesti, so from what I understand of what you say, you are arguing that following Chalcedon does not require one to hold that those who do not follow it are without The Church. Is not this the same as saying that Chalcedon was not an Ecumenical Council?

I am not arguing for any abstract theory, I am simply observing the fact that the Antiochian Church does uphold Chalcedon, and as an Ecumenical Council at that, whilst communing with the Syrians on account of the belief that the Syrians are not heretical. It's not like the Antiochians are saying, "well, the Syrians are heretics, but we choose to liturgically concelebrate with them nevertheless". In that regard they do not seem to be violating any ancient canon, but can only be said to be according to a presupposition that the Syrians, from a Chalcedonian perspective, are necessarily heretical.

Whether the Syrians, from a Chalcedonian perspective, are necessarily heretical or not, is not so much of a significant issue to me given that, being a non-Chalcedonian, the Syrians are measured by a non-Chalcedonian standard. They are only significant insofar as their implications to the ecumenical and evangelistic ministry of the OO Church are concerned, hence why I believe I have some sort of a stake in this discussion.
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« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2007, 06:29:00 AM »

EkhristosAnesti, so from what I understand of what you say, you are arguing that following Chalcedon does not require one to hold that those who do not follow it are without The Church. Is not this the same as saying that Chalcedon was not an Ecumenical Council?
No. I accept Chalcedon and I agree with EA. It does not follow necessarily that those who do not accept Chalcedon are heretics even if it is an Ecumenical Council. That council anathematised monothelitism, not the OOs (that communion not existing as such at the time). A Sombra is assuming that modern OOs (not saying ancient ones were, either, but the modern position of your communion is the only aposite thing in this instance) are monothelites and thus fall under the anathemas. EA is, I think, suggesting that this is not the case and that the Syrian Church has convinced the Antiochian Church that miaphysite Christology is Orthodox. Assuming, I understand EA corectly, I agree with him, and the Antiochian Church, whilst still being convinced that Chalcedon was Ecumenical. Such a view would render (from our perspective) the OOs schismatic but not heretical.

Quote
Please forgive me if this seems provocative as I am not meaning to be. I am just trying to understand what it is that you are arguing having come in part way through the debate.

Thank you.
Your question does not seem provocative at all to me.

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« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2007, 02:48:15 PM »

It is useless to argue with certain traditionalists. Some of them claim they are always the point of derision among "modernists." I honestly have never heard anyone in the Antiochian Archdiocese (whether new to the Orthodox church or not) deride  or insult traditionalists. As someone who was raised in the archidiocese I was never taught to show disrespect to Orthodox Christians in other jurisdictions. But I have heard with my own ears insults and derision of my archdiocese by a former "traditionalist" ROCOR monk. He had nothing good to say about our bishops or our parishes. He had the same antipathy toward the Greek Archdiocese. Over time, he found himself at odds with his own ROCOR bishop. He eventually was defrocked and excommunicated by his bishop for disobedience. He joined himself with another excommunicated bishop from the GOA, who turned out to be a convicted pediophile. This former ROCOR monk is now on his own without a place to call home. I am always wary of so-called "traditionalists" because of that experience. It has been my experience that those seeking the most "pure" or most "correct" jurisdiction sometimes end up as schismatics because of their disobedience to authority in their search for purity.

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« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2007, 03:46:06 PM »

It is useless to argue with certain traditionalists. Some of them claim they are always the point of derision among "modernists." I honestly have never heard anyone in the Antiochian Archdiocese (whether new to the Orthodox church or not) deride  or insult traditionalists. As someone who was raised in the archidiocese I was never taught to show disrespect to Orthodox Christians in other jurisdictions. But I have heard with my own ears insults and derision of my archdiocese by a former "traditionalist" ROCOR monk. He had nothing good to say about our bishops or our parishes. He had the same antipathy toward the Greek Archdiocese. Over time, he found himself at odds with his own ROCOR bishop. He eventually was defrocked and excommunicated by his bishop for disobedience. He joined himself with another excommunicated bishop from the GOA, who turned out to be a convicted pediophile. This former ROCOR monk is now on his own without a place to call home. I am always wary of so-called "traditionalists" because of that experience. It has been my experience that those seeking the most "pure" or most "correct" jurisdiction sometimes end up as schismatics because of their disobedience to authority in their search for purity.



While what you say above is sober and true, there are cases from your own Archdiocese of absolutely knee-jerk things published against traditionalists, such as the notorious book "Orthodox Fundamentalists: A Critical View" by Fr John Morris--a book which I read in absolute disbelief at the shallowness of his analysis.

At seminary, I met several seminarians who routinely made fun of traditional Orthodoxy--rivaling the kind of characterizations of "modernists" one finds on the internet.

It seems that some people--on either side of the fence--take things to unhealthy extremes.

Anastasios
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« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2007, 05:28:49 PM »

While what you say above is sober and true, there are cases from your own Archdiocese of absolutely knee-jerk things published against traditionalists, such as the notorious book "Orthodox Fundamentalists: A Critical View" by Fr John Morris--a book which I read in absolute disbelief at the shallowness of his analysis.

At seminary, I met several seminarians who routinely made fun of traditional Orthodoxy--rivaling the kind of characterizations of "modernists" one finds on the internet.

It seems that some people--on either side of the fence--take things to unhealthy extremes.

Anastasios

Anastasios,

I have never heard of the book you mentioned but I trust what you say is true. I try to see the diversity within Orthodoxy as a good thing. We balance each other out so that neither extreme can dominate the other. There are so few Orthodox Christians in this country I really feel like we are commiting a type of suicide when we go after one another with anger, spite or jealousy in our hearts. The evil one instigates these battles. There are ways to gently correct each other without the animosity or contempt displayed by some on either side. I even hate to use the word "sides" because that defines division. I guess what I want to say is we can learn from one another if we can put aside our passions and really try to love one another. The warmth of the Holy Spirit will enlighten our minds if we have humility.

sincerely, Tamara
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« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2007, 12:01:49 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,
  I do not get your point, being the fool that I am I suppose. You tell me that the Antiochian Church is NOT concelebrating with heretics because they have decided that the Syrian Orthodox are NOT heretics. So, please, explain this to my stupidity-ANY GROUP whom the Antiochian Church decides are "not heretics" are trul NOT heretics? Why? Because they decided it was so? Can ANY CHURCH make these decisions, or only the Antiochian Church?
  You keep repeating that I continue to repeat MYSELF and am standing undressed-oops I mean that I am not addressing your "point"-it seems to me that you have repeated THAT several times yourself.
  What would you like to me do to address this "point" of yours? Say, ojh, yeh, I get it-they decided the Syrians aren't heretics, because they dont wanna concelebrate with heretics (I mean who would?) so the Syrians REALLY ARE NOT HERETICS? Or they are only REALLY NOT HERETICS for the Antiochians? Can the Antiochians decide that the Melkite Eastern Catholics are not Papist Heretics, and concelebrate with them too? I mean how far does this go? Can only entire Churches decide that groups viewed as being in heresy by the Orthodox Church for centureis are no longer in heresy? Or does this power spread also to individual Dioceses? Deaneries? Parishes? Individuals?
   Perhaps this power you have discovered works in reverse? Can Churches, Dioceses, Deaneries, parishes, and individuals pronounce that a group that the Orthodox Church NEVER found in heresy are NOW in heresy?
   Or maybe your point is this: "Whatever we say, that is how it is"?!?! Again, how far does this go? I mean, rally, that is quite a popular way to go today-look at all the koo-koo groups who call themselves Orthodox or Catholics-people who wouldnt know an Orthodox or Catholic Bishop from swiss cheese, go out and buy a set of vestments (preferably with both eastern and Western accoutrements!) and pronounce themselves to be Orthodox Bishops-are they really Bishops?
   That is about as far as I can get with your -uh- theory here, because, you know, I really do not have too much of an idea just what it is that you are attempting to communicate. You lips is movin but i caint hear nuthin! If you catch mah drift . . .

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« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2007, 12:12:07 AM »

A Sombra,

When you joined our community, did you bother to read the archives to see previous discussions on this topic? Did you read the rules of the forum which state where Eastern Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox debate/discussion belongs? And why do you feel that you have a right to write in such a flippant way (frequent interjections of -uh-, swiss cheese, catch mah drift, etc)?  I can tell you right now that no matter what your position is, if you continue down this path, you will not have a productive career here. That's not a warning, but simply an observation from past experience.

Anastasios
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« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2007, 12:53:10 AM »

A I can tell you right now that no matter what your position is, if you continue down this path, you will not have a productive career here. That's not a warning, but simply an observation from past experience.

And that's because, in most cases, given enough rope, they end up hanging themselves.
Unfortunately, I think another set of DIY gallows are being completed.
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« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2007, 01:27:50 AM »

MOERATION:
All posters are requested to read the following forum guideline which has been available to read for 17 months.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7834.0.html

as well as this one which has been available to read for 4 months:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10945.msg148884.html#msg148884

Furthermore, all posters are reminded that childish derision constitutes neither debate nor polemics.

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« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2007, 06:51:59 AM »

A Sombra,

Quote
So, please, explain this to my stupidity-ANY GROUP whom the Antiochian Church decides are "not heretics" are trul NOT heretics? Why? Because they decided it was so?

There is a hint of irony in this remark, because in actual fact, the essential sentiment of my replies to you is: “Why are the Syrian Orthodox heretics? Because you decided it was so?” Ofcourse, you are then going to reply, “no! The Council of Chalcedon said it was so!” But such a response, maintaining a circularity of logic, would still nevertheless miss the essential point of my replies to you, which, in more refined terms would be: “Why are the Syrian Orthodox necessarily heretics by the standards of Chalcedon? Because you decided it was so?” You see, A Sombra, the point here is that you keep presuming what you are yet to prove in your conflict with the Antiochian Church i.e. that by virtue of one’s allegiance to the Council of Chalcedon, the Syrian Orthodox are necessarily heretics.

For the sake of clarification (though I hope that it is already be clear by now), I am not making any judgments as to whose position is “correct”--as to whether or not, by the standard of Chalcedon, the Syrian Orthodox are necessarily heretical; insofar as I’m concerned, Chalcedon is not even the standard to begin with in regard to the ecclesiastical identity of the Syrian Orthodox. What I am doing is attempting to draw your attention to the fact that since your premise--that Chalcedonian standards of authority necessarily entail that the Syrian Orthodox Church is heretical--is one with which the Antiochian Church would disagree, then you need to stop presuming it, and you need to start proving it (a move which would probably be suited for another thread—probably in the private section as suggested by our administrator and moderator).

Again, one last time, and for the sake of emphasis, my point is not, as you suggest, that:

Quote
"Whatever [they—the Antiochians] say, that is how it is"

But rather, "whatever you say, is not necessarily how it is, and hence you cannot presume so in an argument against the Antiochian Church given that they do not accept your presupposition in the first place; you must essentially prove it first."

I hope I have cleared up any confusion.
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