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Author Topic: Liberalism in Orthodoxy  (Read 26384 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 29, 2007, 04:29:00 PM »

Continued from another thread:

My nervousness aside, the kind of liberalism that one sees displayed in Orthodox circles usually pails in comparison to that seen outside.  Still, I do agree that although New Skete has made some interesting strides in liturgical scholarship that some weird things have happened there.

I still think it's funny that some people refer to a "modernist" trend in Orthodoxy, when really, there is nothing in Orthodoxy that closely resembles a modernist trend in the Roman Catholic sense of the word.

I think one of the main reasons why more liberal movements aren't as widespread in Orthodoxy is the history of the societies in which various Churches found themselves.  Because of how the industrialization of France occurred, the emergence of a leftist clerical movement (aka worker priests) was bound to happen.  The political situation in Latin America had the same impact on the development of liberation theology.  In US Catholicism the dominant role of working class immigrants meant that things like social justice would become a high priority.  In short, what a society values so does its church value.  Russia as the most developed Orthodox land at the turn of the 20th century was still an agrarian economy with minimal industrialization.  Still, liberal movements did exist in figures such as Fr. Gapon.  Had the Russian Church not been forced into a time capsule in 1917, these movements really could have evolved into something larger (as it was the planned All-Russian Sobor' had things like switching to Russian as a liturgical language on the agenda). 

I don't see this as bad liberalism.  The society in which the Gospel first flourished was radically different that today's society.  I don't see why it is wrong at least to discuss whether issues that exist today that didn't then (workers' rights, social justice etc.) also have some relevance to Christianity.  As for the Paris School, I had in mind the broader Russian community in Paris.  Especially Mother Maria Skobtsova.  The living legacy of which is in some sense The Orthodox Peace Fellowship.  So the philosophical and theological underpinnings for liberalism do indeed exist in respected Orthodox circles. 

Even in more pragmatic issues, a liberalizing tendency can be found.  Simply look at how things changed from one edition of Ware's The Orthodox Church to the next (especially ecumenism and birth control).  Hence, it is both naive and unhealthfully smug to insist the Orthodoxy is somehow removed from the social and political climate of the societies in which it finds itself. 

I also think that there are plenty of cases of "bad" liberalism that either banal or just plain goofy.  To me it seems that the New Skete crowd falls in this category.  There was also a GOA priest who tried to get an Orthodox Charismatic group going.  IIRC, he was never condemned officially by the GOA.  While the trickle of converts is slowly the process for the time being, I won't be too surprised when the more shocking Novus Ordo style liturgical aberrations start showing up.     
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 05:05:31 PM »

Smaller dioceses and more bishops might keep any weird liturgical practices in check. Also, annual clergy retreats with the bishop will also tend to keep unity of philosophy in liturgical practice. We really need to encourage smaller dioceses in order to head off these aberrations.
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2007, 05:28:39 PM »

Smaller dioceses and more bishops might keep any weird liturgical practices in check. Also, annual clergy retreats with the bishop will also tend to keep unity of philosophy in liturgical practice. We really need to encourage smaller dioceses in order to head off these aberrations.

As long as the number of members in the OCA remains in five digits, you should be relatively unscathed. Imagine having 70 million in your flock like the Catholic Church in the USA. A lot more opportunity for craziness---this is America, after all.
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 05:33:54 PM »

5 digits?
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 05:45:35 PM »

As long as the number of members in the OCA remains in five digits, you should be relatively unscathed. Imagine having 70 million in your flock like the Catholic Church in the USA. A lot more opportunity for craziness---this is America, after all.

Lubeltri,

I am afraid unusual practices might spring up anywhere there is little episcopal oversight. No jurisdiction is immune. And most of our dioceses are quite spread out.
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 05:46:12 PM »

5 digits?

To be honest, I have no idea:

The exact number of OCA parishioners is debated. According to the 2006 edition of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the OCA has 1,064,000 members, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2005. This figure places the OCA as the 24th largest Christian denomination in the United States, and second to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.[25] A study by Alexei D. Krindatch of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, performed in 2000, presented a substantially lower figure—115,100 adherents (baptized Orthodox who attend services on at least an occasional basis and their children) and 39,400 full members (persons older than 18, paying annual Church membership fees). The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, by comparison, was listed as having 440,000 adherents.[26] In response to the study, an OCA representative stated the Church had "around 750,000 adults and children."[27]

In 2004, a Fr. Jonathan Ivanoff stated in a presentation at the OCA's Evangelization Conference that the Church's census population in 2004 was 27,169, and that membership from 1990–2000 declined 13 percent. It further stated that the OCA population in the continental United States declined between six and nine percent per year.[28]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Church_in_America

Why such an enormous discrepancy?

Well, whatever it is, it is small.

This looks like a good summary of EO numbers in America by jurisdiction:

http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/quick_question17.html
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 07:09:56 PM »

To be honest, I have no idea:

The exact number of OCA parishioners is debated. According to the 2006 edition of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the OCA has 1,064,000 members, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2005. This figure places the OCA as the 24th largest Christian denomination in the United States, and second to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.[25] A study by Alexei D. Krindatch of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, performed in 2000, presented a substantially lower figure—115,100 adherents (baptized Orthodox who attend services on at least an occasional basis and their children) and 39,400 full members (persons older than 18, paying annual Church membership fees). The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, by comparison, was listed as having 440,000 adherents.[26] In response to the study, an OCA representative stated the Church had "around 750,000 adults and children."[27]

In 2004, a Fr. Jonathan Ivanoff stated in a presentation at the OCA's Evangelization Conference that the Church's census population in 2004 was 27,169, and that membership from 1990–2000 declined 13 percent. It further stated that the OCA population in the continental United States declined between six and nine percent per year.[28]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Church_in_America

Why such an enormous discrepancy?

Well, whatever it is, it is small.

This looks like a good summary of EO numbers in America by jurisdiction:

http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/quick_question17.html

We are not even on the radar screen.  And, maybe thats a good thing.

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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2007, 08:24:43 PM »

I heard a Milan Synod priest call the Orthodox theologians of the St. Sergius Institute in Paris  (Frs. S. Bulgakov, G. Florovsky, A. Schmemann, I. Meyendorf, Vl. Lossky-Jr., et al.) "liberal school." Is this a common view in Orthodoxy that those men were "liberals?"
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2007, 08:43:27 PM »

I think it is, Heorhij.
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2007, 09:08:39 PM »

The Paris School also had a good relationship with the School of Athens, which continues a more modern approach to theology to this day. Metropolitan John Zizioulas is perhaps the most notable member of this school of thought (most notable in the west, at least).
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2007, 10:37:44 PM »

I heard a Milan Synod priest call the Orthodox theologians of the St. Sergius Institute in Paris  (Frs. S. Bulgakov, G. Florovsky, A. Schmemann, I. Meyendorf, Vl. Lossky-Jr., et al.) "liberal school." Is this a common view in Orthodoxy that those men were "liberals?"

I don't know why they would be classified as liberals. I believe that they are actually going back to the beginnings of what Christians use to believe in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. I tend to favor there theology. Most notably Metropolitan John Zizioulas
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2007, 10:46:49 PM »

I don't know why they would be classified as liberals. I believe that they are actually going back to the beginnings of what Christians use to believe in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. I tend to favor there theology. Most notably Metropolitan John Zizioulas

God bless !

Yes, usually they are called the liberals of Paris.....there was a case a few years ago, when a russian Bishops of Jekaterinburg( I hope I am right) ordered to throw out books of Schmemann.......from the libary..

In CHRIST
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2007, 11:43:00 PM »

Smaller dioceses and more bishops might keep any weird liturgical practices in check. Also, annual clergy retreats with the bishop will also tend to keep unity of philosophy in liturgical practice. We really need to encourage smaller dioceses in order to head off these aberrations.

Indeed.  Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the US and there is nary a bishop to be found here, despite there being about a dozen functioning parishes. Of course the solution would entail the merging of jurisdictions and redrawing jurisdictional lines by geography.  So something I'll never see in my lifetime. 

I heard a Milan Synod priest call the Orthodox theologians of the St. Sergius Institute in Paris  (Frs. S. Bulgakov, G. Florovsky, A. Schmemann, I. Meyendorf, Vl. Lossky-Jr., et al.) "liberal school." Is this a common view in Orthodoxy that those men were "liberals?"

Back in my newly converted days, I too was told these were "liberals" to be avoided like the plague.  Thankfully in my old age Wink I've mellowed out.   

I don't know why they would be classified as liberals. I believe that they are actually going back to the beginnings of what Christians use to believe in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. I tend to favor there theology. Most notably Metropolitan John Zizioulas

That is precisely why I think having a strong liberal element in the Church is important.  Many of today's self proclaimed traditionalists are just ossifying customs from the late middle ages through the 19th century as the touchstone of Orthodoxy, rather than the heart of Gospel message. 

Yes, usually they are called the liberals of Paris.....there was a case a few years ago, when a russian Bishops of Jekaterinburg( I hope I am right) ordered to throw out books of Schmemann.......from the libary..

Actually it was an all out book burning.  Nothing speaks so eloquently of our Gospel than a book burning. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2007, 11:54:52 PM »

I don't know why they would be classified as liberals. I believe that they are actually going back to the beginnings of what Christians use to believe in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. I tend to favor there theology. Most notably Metropolitan John Zizioulas

I would argue that attempting to go back to the earlier times is artificial. The Church developed in a certain direction and that was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Not everything old is good, but I am speaking in general terms.

Metropolitan John's theology is not necessarily primitive though--I am no expert but his personalism seems to be more in line with some modern philosophers than the Fathers.  In this vein, I would suggest you read the reviews of his work by Fr John Behr (who thinks Zizioulas's book "Being as Communion" is almost heretical) who is a noted Patristic scholar and who has training in the really ancient stuff--St Ireneaus Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2007, 12:08:35 AM »

I would argue that attempting to go back to the earlier times is artificial.
I agree. The Holy Spirit seems to work differently in different ages of the Church. For example, glossolalia seemed to be important in the beginning of the Church, but by the time of St. John Chrysostom, it was considered an "ancient practice".
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2007, 01:22:17 AM »

Metropolitan John's theology is not necessarily primitive though--I am no expert but his personalism seems to be more in line with some modern philosophers than the Fathers.  In this vein, I would suggest you read the reviews of his work by Fr John Behr (who thinks Zizioulas's book "Being as Communion" is almost heretical) who is a noted Patristic scholar and who has training in the really ancient stuff--St Ireneaus Smiley

Attempting to go back to the earlier times is artificial. The Church developed in a certain direction and that was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Not everything old is good, but I am speaking in general terms. Wink
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2007, 09:22:35 AM »

I agree. The Holy Spirit seems to work differently in different ages of the Church. For example, glossolalia seemed to be important in the beginning of the Church, but by the time of St. John Chrysostom, it was considered an "ancient practice".

I would venture to say that indeed the times are changing. Atheism is the norm throughout the world. Most intellectuals have taken hold of Darwinism. The Pagan days are over. The message is shifting to take on evolution as the Enemy. Actually to embrace it. The Orthodox faith is very versatile. It can shift over night. In other words there is no escaping it.
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2007, 10:36:17 AM »

I think it is, Heorhij.

So, if the Paris School is "liberal," who is on the opposite side ("conservative")? Thanks for your explanations.
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2007, 11:20:22 AM »

That is precisely why I think having a strong liberal element in the Church is important.  Many of today's self proclaimed traditionalists are just ossifying customs from the late middle ages through the 19th century as the touchstone of Orthodoxy, rather than the heart of Gospel message. 

Actually it was an all out book burning.  Nothing speaks so eloquently of our Gospel than a book burning. Roll Eyes

God bless !

Traditionalists ( I even do not like this classification), do not reduce anything - in the contrary - the others reduce... We are not concerned only on some unimportant parts of Tradition, we want to have the full package. I think this is not contrary to the heart message of the gospel.

What is the Difference of the orthodox church and other confessions- her liberalismus - perhaps I am wrong, but I think not.

The Church developed through the Holy Spirit and our Fathers and Saints, it would be a mistake to put this development aside and try to return to the 2nd century...and I think this return can be a temptation....do we want to return to the early practice of penalty - to weep and kneel for years in the Narthex......do we want to return to the Arcanum....No I think such "return" is only an excuse to change the church .

Yes it was a book burning, I didn't want to say it not so clear. Embarrassed

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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2007, 12:08:19 PM »

Smaller dioceses and more bishops might keep any weird liturgical practices in check. Also, annual clergy retreats with the bishop will also tend to keep unity of philosophy in liturgical practice. We really need to encourage smaller dioceses in order to head off these aberrations.

Clergy retreats are annual? In my home Metropolis, the clergy meet with the Metropolitan every two months. Of course, not everyone can make it every single time, but, in general, the priests come from far and wide.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2007, 09:20:31 PM »

Clergy retreats are annual? In my home Metropolis, the clergy meet with the Metropolitan every two months. Of course, not everyone can make it every single time, but, in general, the priests come from far and wide.

Our diocese is huge (Diocese of Los Angeles and all the West plus Alaska).  It will eventually be split into two dioceses in time. And the clergy are all required to attend this yearly retreat. It lasts five days. The bishop spends the rest of the year visiting parishes each week. We also have parish life conferences each year and the bishop meets with the clergy again at the beginning of this conference. When he was visiting us a few weeks ago, he and I discussed the possiblity of planning a clergy and wives retreat for our deanery. I think he wants to meet with both the priests and their wives to find another way of spending more time with them. He is always looking for ways to see his people more often. But right now the diocese is too large for one man. The traveling is very hard on him. It really needs to be split in two.
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« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2007, 06:32:15 AM »

So, if the Paris School is "liberal," who is on the opposite side ("conservative")? Thanks for your explanations.

I wouldnt quite classify George Florovsky as liberal but the others yes. Bishop John Zizioulas has become liberal thru his involvement in the ecumenical movement. His first book "Eucharist Bishop Church" was hardly liberal, it was a great piece of scholarship. 

The opposite side, the conservative side tends to be those theologians who are not apart of the diaspora but are concentrated in traditional Orthodox countries. Such as Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos, John Romanides, Dumutru Staniloa,  and of course the Church Fathers.
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« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2007, 09:08:20 AM »

and of course the Church Fathers. 

Some of the Church Fathers were quite liberal for their time, our considering them "conservative" now notwithstanding.
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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2007, 09:31:51 AM »

Buzuxi, Cleveland, - thanks for your explanation.

I am probably a liberal then, too. Of everything I read of the Orthodox literature, nothing is closer to my heart than the writings of Fr. Schmemann. But then, I haven't read all that much thus far, and I never really read anything that is considered "conservative."
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2007, 07:44:34 PM »

Buzuxi, Cleveland, - thanks for your explanation.

I am probably a liberal then, too. Of everything I read of the Orthodox literature, nothing is closer to my heart than the writings of Fr. Schmemann. But then, I haven't read all that much thus far, and I never really read anything that is considered "conservative."

George,

OzGeorge recently posted a link to an article by Bishop Hilarion, who is well-respected among many conservative Orthodox, and he defended the Paris school. In fact, in the article he mentions the Russian Church must eventually absorb and process the work done by this school of theologians if they ever want to move out of the dark ages. I tried to find the link but I can't remember which thread he posted it in. The article is in the Russian European site.

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« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2007, 02:45:31 AM »

I wouldnt quite classify George Florovsky as liberal but the others yes.

To classify Florovsky OR Schmemann OR Meyendorff OR Lossky(!) as liberal in a pejorative sense makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  What on earth have Meyendorrf or Lossky (The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church Huh) in partictular written that people dismiss them as "liberal"? 

I can tell you that despite the ideas for liturgical reform that Schmemann floated around that he did everything absolutely by the book when he was alive. 

Anyway, I don't know if I should get into this discussion.  When I think liberal, I think of someone who wants to give communion to everyone who walks in off the street, who wants to concelebrate with Catholics and Anglicans or wants women priests now.  That's what liberal in a pejorative sense means to me.  Vladimir Lossky was a vocal critic of the liberal ideas of Paul Evdokimov, for crying out loud.  I get the feeling that some people who proudly refer to themselves as "conservative", not all of them, but some of them, simply haven't read the books of any of these theologians, or if they have, than they certainly haven't tried to understand the ideas that they are putting forth.
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« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2007, 02:55:04 AM »

To classify Florovsky OR Schmemann OR Meyendorff OR Lossky(!) as liberal in a pejorative sense makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  What on earth have Meyendorrf or Lossky (The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church Huh) in partictular written that people dismiss them as "liberal"? 
And I think this highlights another issue, and that is, the meaning of the term "liberal".
"Liberal" is not the opposite of "conservative" in English speaking nations outside the US. In fact, in Australia, the conservative political party is called the "Liberal Party". The word "liberal" has come to be used in the US to refer to one's perceived political enemies if one is "conservative".
What exactly does "liberal" mean? What would be the equivalent term in "Orthodox parlance"? Would it be "licentious"? I challenge those who use the term "liberal" to describe others in the Church to show me a word used by the Fathers which would be an equivalent to it.
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« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2007, 02:57:14 AM »

And I think this highlights another issue, and that is, the meaning of the term "liberal".
"Liberal" is not the opposite of "conservative" in English speaking nations outside the US. In fact, in Australia, the conservative political party is called the "Liberal Party". The word "liberal" has come to be used in the US to refer to one's perceived political enemies if one is "conservative".
What exactly does "liberal" mean? What would be the equivalent term in "Orthodox parlance"? Would it be "licentious"? I challenge those who use the term "liberal" to describe others in the Church to show me a word used by the Fathers which would be an equivalent to it.
Sometimes it seems that people think "liberal" simply means "less conservative than I am".
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« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2007, 02:59:48 AM »

To classify Florovsky OR Schmemann OR Meyendorff OR Lossky(!) as liberal in a pejorative sense makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  What on earth have Meyendorrf or Lossky (The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church Huh) in partictular written that people dismiss them as "liberal"? 

Whatever gave you the idea that I (a self-identified religious liberal) was using the term in a pejorative sense?  Shocked Cheesy

Seriously though, the term liberal simply means that they are theologians, that rather than rehashing old ideas they actually do their job, they do theology. This means deviation from some who have gone before, but, of course, that's the point of publishing. While they may not be as liberal as I wish they were, they are liberals and good for them.

Quote
Anyway, I don't know if I should get into this discussion.  When I think liberal,

Well, I'm pretty far left when it comes to religious matters (politics and economics are different issues entirely), so let me give your views a shot.

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I think of someone who wants to give communion to everyone who walks in off the street,

Not at all, of course the priest shouldn't drill people at the Chalice but there is nothing wrong with having a closed communion since everyone is free to join our Church if they want to. I might suggest making some allowances for Catholics and Anglicans, but only in specific situations (last rites, inability to commune from their own priest, etc.), though this is hardly giving it to 'everyone who walks in off the street'.

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who wants to concelebrate with Catholics and Anglicans

Concelebration can't happen until we have formal communion; serving the Eucharist to each other's faithful may come first, but concelebration between priests is an ecclesiological statement in and of itself.

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or wants women priests now.

OK, you got me on that one. Wink
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« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2007, 03:05:17 AM »

Sometimes it seems that people think "liberal" simply means "less conservative than I am".

A large part of the problem is that we have no clear definition of 'liberal' in the English language. It could mean one who opposes the crown or the aristocracy, it could mean one who values liberty as the ultimate ideal, it could mean an imperialist, it could mean a socialist, it could mean a capitalist, it could mean a modern American democrat. These are all very different things, but they are all 'liberal'.
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« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2007, 03:15:02 AM »

And I think this highlights another issue, and that is, the meaning of the term "liberal".
"Liberal" is not the opposite of "conservative" in English speaking nations outside the US. In fact, in Australia, the conservative political party is called the "Liberal Party". The word "liberal" has come to be used in the US to refer to one's perceived political enemies if one is "conservative".
What exactly does "liberal" mean? What would be the equivalent term in "Orthodox parlance"? Would it be "licentious"? I challenge those who use the term "liberal" to describe others in the Church to show me a word used by the Fathers which would be an equivalent to it.

Good point. How about heterodox? That's a word they would have used.

In Catholic parlance we often use "liberal" or "progressive, -ist." But the more official term is "Modernist" (capital M). 100 years ago, Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, called Modernism the "synthesis of all heresies." It rejects the idea of objective, unchanging truth itself.

So I would vote for that.

Another pretty good term is relativism. Benedict XVI has famously spoke of a "dictatorship of relativism" since becoming Pope.
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« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2007, 03:16:27 AM »

Good point. How about heterodox? That's a word they would have used.

In Catholic parlance we often use "liberal" or "progressive, -ist." But the more official term is "Modernist" (capital M). 100 years ago, Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, called Modernism the "synthesis of all heresies."

So I would vote for that.

How about 'New Man' as opposed to the 'Old Man'...good scriptural terms, surely even St. Athanasios would have approved. Wink
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« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2007, 03:26:50 AM »

OK, you got me on that one. Wink

A practical question: How would we get beards on these EO priestesses? Testosterone injections?  Wink
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« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2007, 03:33:17 AM »

A practical question: How would we get beards on these EO priestesses? Testosterone injections?  Wink

http://extremewigs.com/hhbeard.htm Grin
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« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2007, 03:36:14 AM »

A large part of the problem is that we have no clear definition of 'liberal' in the English language. It could mean one who opposes the crown or the aristocracy, it could mean one who values liberty as the ultimate ideal, it could mean an imperialist, it could mean a socialist, it could mean a capitalist, it could mean a modern American democrat. These are all very different things, but they are all 'liberal'.
Precisely my point. So I'd like to see what those who accuse others of being "liberal" in the Orthodox Church actually mean by the term.
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« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2007, 03:51:00 AM »

Good point. How about heterodox? That's a word they would have used.
"Heterodox" means something completely different to "liberal". What is "heterodox" is a teaching outside of the Orthodox Church. The case would first have to be proven that the views held by "liberals" are not reconcilable with Orthodox doctrine. "Liberal" and "heterodox" are therefore not interchangeable terms.
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« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2007, 10:01:52 AM »

To classify Florovsky OR Schmemann OR Meyendorff OR Lossky(!) as liberal in a pejorative sense makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  What on earth have Meyendorrf or Lossky (The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church Huh) in partictular written that people dismiss them as "liberal"? 

I can tell you that despite the ideas for liturgical reform that Schmemann floated around that he did everything absolutely by the book when he was alive. 

Anyway, I don't know if I should get into this discussion.  When I think liberal, I think of someone who wants to give communion to everyone who walks in off the street, who wants to concelebrate with Catholics and Anglicans or wants women priests now.  That's what liberal in a pejorative sense means to me.  Vladimir Lossky was a vocal critic of the liberal ideas of Paul Evdokimov, for crying out loud.  I get the feeling that some people who proudly refer to themselves as "conservative", not all of them, but some of them, simply haven't read the books of any of these theologians, or if they have, than they certainly haven't tried to understand the ideas that they are putting forth.

OOPS, in that case we better throw in Bishop Kallistos Ware and Fr. Thomas Hopko but not as from the french school
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« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2007, 11:09:21 AM »

George,

OzGeorge recently posted a link to an article by Bishop Hilarion, who is well-respected among many conservative Orthodox, and he defended the Paris school. In fact, in the article he mentions the Russian Church must eventually absorb and process the work done by this school of theologians if they ever want to move out of the dark ages. I tried to find the link but I can't remember which thread he posted it in. The article is in the Russian European site.

Tamara

Thank you so much for this, Tamara - that's very important for me to know.
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« Reply #38 on: December 02, 2007, 11:14:15 AM »

A large part of the problem is that we have no clear definition of 'liberal' in the English language. It could mean one who opposes the crown or the aristocracy, it could mean one who values liberty as the ultimate ideal, it could mean an imperialist, it could mean a socialist, it could mean a capitalist, it could mean a modern American democrat. These are all very different things, but they are all 'liberal'.

Excellent point, IMHO. In my native Ukraine, proponents of Adam Smith-ian "laissez faire" in economy are universally called "liberals." In the US, people with these exact same views are universally called "conservatives" and are thought to be something like 100% opposite to "liberals." AFAIK, historically, a "liberal" was always somebody who wanted to introduce more freedom into an existing order of things as opposed to a "conservative" who saw things just fine and dandy as they were.
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« Reply #39 on: December 02, 2007, 12:37:27 PM »

Indeed, in the 19th century, the Republicans were the liberals and the Democrats conservatives.
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« Reply #40 on: December 02, 2007, 04:59:19 PM »

Good point. How about heterodox? That's a word they would have used.

In Catholic parlance we often use "liberal" or "progressive, -ist." But the more official term is "Modernist" (capital M). 100 years ago, Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, called Modernism the "synthesis of all heresies." It rejects the idea of objective, unchanging truth itself.

So I would vote for that.

Another pretty good term is relativism. Benedict XVI has famously spoke of a "dictatorship of relativism" since becoming Pope.
What need do you see to present Rome's perspective on this issue on an Orthodox thread, particularly your possible mischaracterization of how the Fathers would define liberal?
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« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2007, 03:28:18 AM »

Since the sort of smug accusation was made that Orthodoxy doesn't have "liberalism" like those Catholics, do I decided to keep that in the title. 

Initially I took it to mean a concern with social issues and a development of social morality - something akin to the French worker priests.  While this did occur in some limited Orthodox circles, my belief is that this solely because of the lack of industrialization in Orthodox countries and not any inherent incompatibility of this with Orthodoxy. 

My question then is, since a definite liberal trend in that sense does exist at some level in Orthodoxy - does that mean that the other things that seem to be related to it in the RCC will eventually follow (i.e the liturgical anarchy going on in the US)?  Are the two phenomena separate things altogether, are they related, or are they a single phenomenon?  Or for that matter, some of the propaganda from Eastern Europe is trying to paint today's political liberals (i.e European liberals = neo-liberal economics, free markets, etc.) as anti-Orthodox forces.  In the coming decades the Church will be forced to deal with this questions of liberalism in all its forms.   
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« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2007, 03:41:05 AM »

My question then is, since a definite liberal trend in that sense does exist at some level in Orthodoxy - does that mean that the other things that seem to be related to it in the RCC will eventually follow (i.e the liturgical anarchy going on in the US)?  Are the two phenomena separate things altogether, are they related, or are they a single phenomenon?

That's a good question, to which I do not know the answer. Sometimes liturgical change and theological liberalism are linked, but it's not the academic liberalism, it seems to be more of a personal liberalism amongst lay members that encourage this (which we have plenty of). I guess I don't think that such a connection is necessary, but it is likely.

Quote
Or for that matter, some of the propaganda from Eastern Europe is trying to paint today's political liberals (i.e European liberals = neo-liberal economics, free markets, etc.) as anti-Orthodox forces.  In the coming decades the Church will be forced to deal with this questions of liberalism in all its forms.   

Oh, it will have to deal with them, but yesterday's liberal is today's conservative. I think the Church will ultimately conform to society, but will always be with the more conservative element (but that element in the future will be what the liberal element is today).
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« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2007, 03:42:19 PM »

What need do you see to present Rome's perspective on this issue on an Orthodox thread

Because we have come up with terms for these things, having dealt with Modernism longer. I was throwing out the terms we use in answer to George's question.

You guys have taken Rome's lead before---calendar, seven sacraments .  . .  Wink

But seriously, I think Modernism is probably the best term to describe "liberal Christianity."
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« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2007, 03:43:34 PM »

Since the sort of smug accusation was made that Orthodoxy doesn't have "liberalism" like those Catholics, do I decided to keep that in the title. 

Kind of reminds me of Queen Victoria and her comment about lesbians.  Cheesy
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