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Author Topic: "Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos" and "Canon to the Most Holy Theotokos" ???  (Read 8934 times) Average Rating: 0
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2011, 04:46:10 PM »

^ I really do agree with much of this sentiment, and I'm trying to live it more thoroughly.  

That said, haven't elements within the Church's teachings been in error from time to time?  People didn't simply trust the Church when Iconoclasm gained favor (I'm aware that some or much of Iconoclasm was imposed by outside forces).  Were people in Nestorius' jurisdiction supposed to "trust the Church" while he taught his heresy?  I believe that the Church corrects these errors, but teachings or prayers, in their many forms, may not be entirely accurate or representing the Church's understanding all of the time.

I don't mean to imply that our prayers are heretical.  I simply wonder about our position, as either inquirers or relatively informed laity, to try to better understand issues such as this.

I agree that questioning everything is a sort of infection that has arisen in many branches of Protestantism.  At the same time, is seeking to better understand entirely bad?  While I don't believe the RCC to currently be within the true Church (and hence, not fully guided by the Holy Spirit), couldn't it be argued that a failure to question certain teachings contributed to their errors and eventual departure?
 
I think every individual thing, like an auxiliary prayer, should be tested a little. Especially since some prayers from the 1700's-1800's might be from Latin Catholic influence in Russia and the other Slavic nations.

But is the EO leaning more toward excessive Marian veneration, or away from it? It seems like the fruits are showing that these prayers do not lead to excessive veneration as often as in the RCC.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 04:47:27 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2011, 04:47:24 PM »

^ I really do agree with much of this sentiment, and I'm trying to live it more thoroughly. 

That said, haven't elements within the Church's teachings been in error from time to time?  People didn't simply trust the Church when Iconoclasm gained favor (I'm aware that some or much of Iconoclasm was imposed by outside forces).  Were people in Nestorius' jurisdiction supposed to "trust the Church" while he taught his heresy?  I believe that the Church corrects these errors, but teachings or prayers, in their many forms, may not be entirely accurate or representing the Church's understanding all of the time.

I don't mean to imply that our prayers are heretical.  I simply wonder about our position, as either inquirers or relatively informed laity, to try to better understand issues such as this.

I agree that questioning everything is a sort of infection that has arisen in many branches of Protestantism.  At the same time, is seeking to better understand entirely bad?  While I don't believe the RCC to currently be within the true Church (and hence, not fully guided by the Holy Spirit), couldn't it be argued that a failure to question certain teachings contributed to their errors and eventual departure?
 

But these prayers are not at all new and have been employed by many saints and millions of pious people over many centuries, so I don't see why one would think one needs to question them. It is not like they are an innovation. Iconoclasm and Nestorianism and Arianism, etc. were innovations. They cause disturbances because they were new and did not jive with what had been received. It's not like we're going to wake up one day and realize, "Oh my! We've been in error all this time!" At some point, one has to trust the Church, because it is the Church that gives us these prayers. Heresies come from individuals.
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« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2011, 04:56:45 PM »

But is the EO leaning more toward excessive Marian veneration, or away from it? It seems like the fruits are showing that these prayers do not lead to excessive veneration as often as in the RCC.

This is a very persuasive point for the legitimacy of the prayers. 
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« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2011, 05:22:53 PM »

But these prayers are not at all new and have been employed by many saints and millions of pious people over many centuries, so I don't see why one would think one needs to question them. It is not like they are an innovation. Iconoclasm and Nestorianism and Arianism, etc. were innovations. They cause disturbances because they were new and did not jive with what had been received. It's not like we're going to wake up one day and realize, "Oh my! We've been in error all this time!" At some point, one has to trust the Church, because it is the Church that gives us these prayers. Heresies come from individuals.

I take your point, but how new are they (that's a genuine question, not a point of argument)?  The increase in Marian devotion and the wording of prayer may be an innovation.  When using that word, I'm not ascribing a definitive negative value to "innovation."  The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is innovative.  

There was an interesting thread a few weeks back that dealt with the history of Marian devotion: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35516.0.html
Unfortunately, apart from the Sub tuum praesidium, there was little information on this.  I am inclined to believe that we have followed the correct path, somewhere between the horrible denigration of the Holy Theotokos' role in many Protestant traditions and the heretical, and movements toward further heretical dogmas within the RCC.

Yes, countless holy people have used these prayers.  Similarly, I imagine that many holy people in 5th century Constantinople substituted Christotokos as well.  Again, I must stress that I am not arguing that these prayers are heretical in any way, simply wondering how we are supposed to approach questions like this.

I love the Orthodox Church, and I love my particular parish, but I also believe that there are Icons at my church which are theologically wrong, and resulted from relatively recent Western influence (not to get off on that topic).

Ultimately, I think you're right, and there is far more to be gained from simply following the teachings of the Church, rather than questioning them.  There are issues and debates which are pedantic and distracting, but I hope that searching for a better understanding of the development and meaning of our prayers isn't viewed among them.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 05:25:36 PM by Cognomen » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2011, 07:42:25 PM »

Something that would go a long way to making me feel better would be if there were more prayers said, etc. specifically calling out to God. The Bible is rich with caring imagery applied to Christ and the Father. Abba, the Good Shepherd (I so love that icon), gathering Jerusalem like a hen to her chicks, etc.

This is not to say one should not call out to Mary as loving mother, but I'm concerned that posters in this thread and others "make everyday Mother's Day" to the exclusion of Father's Day, you know? If you were dying right now, would your last thoughts and crying out be of the Theotokos only?

I'm not meaning to judge, just trying to articulate my concerns.
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« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2011, 08:26:53 PM »

Something that would go a long way to making me feel better would be if there were more prayers said, etc. specifically calling out to God. The Bible is rich with caring imagery applied to Christ and the Father. Abba, the Good Shepherd (I so love that icon), gathering Jerusalem like a hen to her chicks, etc.

This is not to say one should not call out to Mary as loving mother, but I'm concerned that posters in this thread and others "make everyday Mother's Day" to the exclusion of Father's Day, you know? If you were dying right now, would your last thoughts and crying out be of the Theotokos only?

I'm not meaning to judge, just trying to articulate my concerns.

?

What is your prayer rule, if you care to share, cause for me and others I know the "Our Father" compromises a great deal of it along with other prayers to the Persons of the Trinity.
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« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2011, 08:42:12 PM »

I'm not Orthodox. I just stick to semi-random, extemporaneous style prayers from my Pentecostal days, if you wanted to know. Plus some occasional prayers to the saints. My devotional life is pretty shabby, and for this I have no excuse.

I think I should just shut up, in fact. I'm putting my foot in my mouth. I should have known better regarding daily prayer rules. I've seen enough examples of what's in them. Yes, they are admirably God-centered.

I need to quit obsessing over the Peraklesis. Sorry.




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« Reply #52 on: May 26, 2011, 08:48:16 PM »

This is not to say one should not call out to Mary as loving mother, but I'm concerned that posters in this thread and others "make everyday Mother's Day" to the exclusion of Father's Day, you know? If you were dying right now, would your last thoughts and crying out be of the Theotokos only?

I'm not meaning to judge, just trying to articulate my concerns.

Does it help that the akathist is only celebrated four or five times a year (mother's day), whereas the Divine Liturgy (father's day) is celebrated at least once each week, and in some places every day?

For me, the best statements of the Orthodox attitude towards the Theotokos come from the Divine Liturgy itself:

1. Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most-blessed, glorious lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary and all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life unto Christ our God.

2. [silently] again we offer to you this spiritual worship for those who have gone to their rest in faith, forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and every righteous spirit perfected in faith [and aloud] especially for our all-holy, pure, most-blessed, glorious lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary.

So many superlative adjectives of praise are attached to the Theotokos during the liturgy -- nevertheless, it is to Christ our God that we commend our whole life and to the eternal Father that we offer our spiritual worship, by the operation of the Spirit.
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« Reply #53 on: May 26, 2011, 08:49:48 PM »

No worries, Volnutt.  What Orthonorm wrote is true.  Many people do not even have these hymns as part of their daily prayer rule, and the vast majority of other prayers, as you mentioned, are focused on/directed to the Holy Trinity.

I hope my inquiry into some of the phraseology didn't inadvertently imply that we don't adequately focus on the Holy Trinity; we do.  
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« Reply #54 on: May 26, 2011, 09:10:37 PM »

It's not you.

The past couple of days have opened some old wounds related to a big blow-up over these issues that happened on another forum. I have some stinging rebukes ringing in my ears and I'm trying hard to make sure I truly quiet them instead of just hiding them behind convenient rationalizations, not that anyone here is trying to make those.
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« Reply #55 on: May 26, 2011, 09:23:45 PM »

It's not you.

The past couple of days have opened some old wounds related to a big blow-up over these issues that happened on another forum. I have some stinging rebukes ringing in my ears and I'm trying hard to make sure I truly quiet them instead of just hiding them behind convenient rationalizations, not that anyone here is trying to make those.

I pray the charitable responses you've received here will encourage you, not drag you down!
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« Reply #56 on: May 27, 2011, 10:19:09 AM »

It might help you to investigate the other prayers of the Orthodox Church. What we have is immense. There are prayers for everything--the daily hours of prayer, the liturgies, special services, morning and evening private prayers, etc. One has to look at the totality in order to judge rightly.
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« Reply #57 on: May 27, 2011, 11:09:55 PM »

I pray the charitable responses you've received here will encourage you, not drag you down!
Thanks, they are helping.

I didn't notice your previous post, also. That is helpful.

It might help you to investigate the other prayers of the Orthodox Church. What we have is immense. There are prayers for everything--the daily hours of prayer, the liturgies, special services, morning and evening private prayers, etc. One has to look at the totality in order to judge rightly.
Yeah, as someone said in another thread, I do have a tendency to miss the forest for the trees. I am very impressed with wealth of different prayers that there are in Orthodoxy!
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