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Author Topic: Commentary of the Philokalia  (Read 3537 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: January 09, 2008, 07:33:23 PM »

So I was wondering is there a commentary of the Philokalia available either book or audio of a priest or monk expounding on the practical meanings of the text?
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 10:31:24 PM »

So I was wondering is there a commentary of the Philokalia available either book or audio of a priest or monk expounding on the practical meanings of the text?
I don't know of one. But if one existed. The title would read. DANGER XXX DO NOT ENTER Shocked
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 10:53:07 PM »

If you need a commentary on the Philokalia, then you shouldn't be reading the Philokalia. angel
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 11:15:13 PM »

Irenaeus07,

 The Philokalia, as I understand, should not be read from cover to cover as we read most books.  In addition, it should probably not be read by the uninitiated, which is not to say that the teachings are secret, but should be read under the guidance of an experienced elder.  Don't misunderstand me, it's not just for monastics but I have heard where people have become spiritually disoriented without an experieced elder because there are so many topics and instructions.  Having said that, if you can find the Russian or Romanian translation, which I understand has notes from Saint Seraphim of Sarov or Saint Paisius Velichovski (sp?), these may be better if you're just beginning.  Another suggestion might be to start withThe Way of a Pilgrim.

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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008, 12:07:28 AM »

Which translation do you have of the texts?  Because even if you found commentary it might not match up with what you are reading, which will cause more confusion. 

ON the other hand, if you had LIVE commentary - aka a spiritual father who can help you with it  as others have suggested - then you don't need to worry about the translation. 

Just a thought. 
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 01:17:18 AM »

Wasn't the Philokalia written for monks, so that it presumes that its readers are living the monastic life?
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2008, 01:47:31 AM »

Wasn't the Philokalia written for monks, so that it presumes that its readers are living the monastic life?
Primarily so, but if Ireneaus07 has access to an experieced spirital father who can help him, it might be worthwhile IMO. Undecided  It might be though, that a better choice would be the Ladder of Divine Ascent?
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2008, 02:03:30 AM »

Primarily so, but if Ireneaus07 has access to an experieced spirital father who can help him, it might be worthwhile IMO. Undecided  It might be though, that a better choice would be the Ladder of Divine Ascent?
Just thinking as a general rule based on my limited knowledge and my pastor's counsel...  If one has not yet mastered the basics of life in a local parish community praying the liturgical prayers of the parish church, then one should probably not take on the daunting task of reading the Philokalia.
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2008, 02:16:08 AM »

Just thinking as a general rule based on my limited knowledge and my pastor's counsel...  If one has not yet mastered the basics of life in a local parish community praying the liturgical prayers of the parish church, then one should probably not take on the daunting task of reading the Philokalia.
Agreed. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2008, 03:25:38 PM »

Just thinking as a general rule based on my limited knowledge and my pastor's counsel...  If one has not yet mastered the basics of life in a local parish community praying the liturgical prayers of the parish church, then one should probably not take on the daunting task of reading the Philokalia.

That depends on the one. I found it profoundly helpful and it inspired me to learn much more, indeed I had to in order to come close to understanding Maximos the Confessor.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 01:04:34 PM »

Wasn't the Philokalia written for monks, so that it presumes that its readers are living the monastic life?

Deification to my understanding can be attained by those outside of a monastic life as well.

If not so, then why has the Philokalia been translated by those of the Greek Orthodox Chruch such as GEH Palmer, Philip Sherrad and Bishop Kallistos Ware.
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 02:24:12 PM »

Deification to my understanding can be attained by those outside of a monastic life as well.

If not so, then why has the Philokalia been translated by those of the Greek Orthodox Chruch such as GEH Palmer, Philip Sherrad and Bishop Kallistos Ware.

You are correct. There are practical lessons for all Christians in the Philokalia. I have all 4 volumes translated from Greek to English. As was mentioned earlier in the thread. If you aren't a ascetic than it's best to index topics rather than read through the ascetic battles with Satan. 
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2008, 07:27:17 PM »

Deification to my understanding can be attained by those outside of a monastic life as well.

If not so, then why has the Philokalia been translated by those of the Greek Orthodox Chruch such as GEH Palmer, Philip Sherrad and Bishop Kallistos Ware.

Do you mean then that the Philokalia will tell you how to gain deification? 

Also, the poster said that the Philokalia was written for monks, not that deification is for monks.  Of course deification is not just for monastics.  But perhaps the Philokalia is...? 

Just some thoughts...
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2008, 12:50:28 PM »

Do you mean then that the Philokalia will tell you how to gain deification? 

I don't know but St Peter of Damaskos says in the Philokalia volume 3 page 98, "All the Beatitudes make man a god by grace; he becomes gentle, longs for righteousness, is charitable, dispassonate, a peacemaker, and endures every pain with joy out of love for God and for his fellow man."

For the little that I've read of the Philokalia it does appear to be a detailed explanation of the beatitudes and means to attain those characteristics.

Quote
Also, the poster said that the Philokalia was written for monks, not that deification is for monks.  Of course deification is not just for monastics.  But perhaps the Philokalia is...? 

Just some thoughts...

Perhaps it was also written for those who would benefit from it.

If it were not for the Philokalia, I would not have found any interest in studying Christianity.  Before coming across the Philokalia, I always felt Christians were emotional people not spiritual people.  And the Philokalia opened my eyes to a much deeper reality of Christianity.

Because I find most Christians to be everything other then what is in the bible. Judgemental, arrogant etc and to find a book where there are actually has been a group of Christians who are actually concerned about living the bible as it is suppose to lived, those who are truly concerned about being connected to God in the real sense (spiritually as oppose to just emotionally), was truly amazing to me.

If Christians embodied the Beatitudes, they would be the light of the world.

I haven't been to an Orthodox Chruch yet, but I plan on it and I sure hope I am not disappointed.
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2008, 08:14:43 PM »

I don't know but St Peter of Damaskos says in the Philokalia volume 3 page 98, "All the Beatitudes make man a god by grace; he becomes gentle, longs for righteousness, is charitable, dispassonate, a peacemaker, and endures every pain with joy out of love for God and for his fellow man."

You need a commentary to understand that? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2008, 09:41:10 PM »

If it is so easy then explain to me what this means...
Quote
All the Beatitudes make man a god by grace

The emphasis is mine. 

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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2008, 05:23:50 PM »

You need a commentary to understand that? Roll Eyes

That is very general.  But to understand it in a complete sense you would need a commentary.

The realm of spirituality regardless of tradition (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism), have technical vocabulary. So while the Philokalia may appear simple to understand to the untrained reading.  Anyone with a little intellect knows that the untrained person is an fool to think he understands.

Like for example, in the philokalia they mention subject matters such as watchfulness and stillness, and I am quite unsure of what these mean.  However they appear to be very important in respect to attaining closeness to God.

In the texts on watchfulness in volume 3 by St Philotheos of Sinai he writes, "It is very rare to find people whose intelligence is in a state of stillness.  Indeed, such a state is only to be found in those who through their whole manner of life strive to attract divine grace and blessings to themselves."


Now I could sit here and theorize and, well, intelligence in this translation could be referring to the mind, heart or soul. (I don't know).

And if I was to figure out what this meant, what does stillness have to do with it. And what does it mean?  Perhaps stillnes is like when the Buddhist talk about quieting the mind.

The bottom line is I don't know.







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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2008, 05:43:46 PM »

Irenaeus07,

Do not be overly concerned with our brother Jetevan's statements.  Anyone who would who approaches spirituality with those kinds of questions should definitely qualify their statements. 

Like you said, it's not as easy as it seems. 
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2008, 01:53:12 PM »

Do you mean then that the Philokalia will tell you how to gain deification? 

Also, the poster said that the Philokalia was written for monks, not that deification is for monks.  Of course deification is not just for monastics.  But perhaps the Philokalia is...? 

Just some thoughts...

I was reading a book entitled Eastern Orthodox Christianity (A Western Perspective) in the book regarding deification, it says,

The means of Theosis

We have already anticipated the most practical of questions.  Exactly how does one attain theosis?  Orthodox theologicans are unanimous that our final deification will be realized only in the eschaton, with the so-called third birth; nevertheless, a very sure and certain beginning should  characterize all Christian in the present age.  The Philokalia is not only the single most important collection of Orthodox spiritual texts, but an excellent guidebook to the means of theosis.  It is, according to its complier Nicodemos of Athos, the "instrument itself to deification."

He continues........, "The unifying theme throughout the many texts of the Philokalia, written over over a period of a thousand years and from different cultural perspectives, is precisely how we can fulfill our calling or vocation, which is the summons to theosis or union with God." (pg 135 Eastern Orthodox Christianity (A Western Perspective))
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2008, 07:11:02 PM »

I was reading a book entitled Eastern Orthodox Christianity (A Western Perspective) in the book regarding deification, it says,

The means of Theosis

We have already anticipated the most practical of questions.  Exactly how does one attain theosis?  Orthodox theologicans are unanimous that our final deification will be realized only in the eschaton, with the so-called third birth; nevertheless, a very sure and certain beginning should  characterize all Christian in the present age.  The Philokalia is not only the single most important collection of Orthodox spiritual texts, but an excellent guidebook to the means of theosis.  It is, according to its complier Nicodemos of Athos, the "instrument itself to deification."

He continues........, "The unifying theme throughout the many texts of the Philokalia, written over over a period of a thousand years and from different cultural perspectives, is precisely how we can fulfill our calling or vocation, which is the summons to theosis or union with God." (pg 135 Eastern Orthodox Christianity (A Western Perspective))

Very interesting...

Thank you for citing your sources. This is very helpful to me personally because then I can ascertain where you are getting your information from, and therefore what is the basis of your opinion. 

I could really nitpick here at your sources, but I think in general they have it right.  At the same time the Philokalia is FULL of extremely heavy reading about monasticism and etc. which could cause someone to think that MONASTICISM is the only way to theosis. 

Has this thought ever entered into your mind?  Or have you not even read the Philokalia yet...(sorry if i missed you talking about this earlier...)
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2008, 12:56:05 AM »

The Philokalia is not only the single most important collection of Orthodox spiritual texts, but an excellent guidebook to the means of theosis.  It is, according to its complier Nicodemos of Athos, the "instrument itself to deification."

My response (citing a couple of posts I submitted earlier on this thread):

Wasn't the Philokalia written for monks, so that it presumes that its readers are living the monastic life?
Additional note:  Since very few people, I imagine, pursue the monastic life without having first been Orthodox for some time (like maybe a few years), to say that the Philokalia was written for monks implies that the book presupposes a life lived in the Sacramental worship of the Church and according to her faith and praxis.

Just thinking as a general rule based on my limited knowledge and my pastor's counsel...  If one has not yet mastered the basics of life in a local parish community praying the liturgical prayers of the parish church, then one should probably not take on the daunting task of reading the Philokalia.

I hate to bust your bubble, Irenaeus, but the Church existed for a few centuries before the Philokalia, as also did the Holy Scriptures.  The Philokalia has its place in the Church, but it is the Church that is THE God-ordained means to theosis, the "instrument itself to deification."  If you're asking, as you are on another thread, for proof that one should belong to the Church, then maybe the Philokalia isn't right for you at this moment, since you're apparently not yet ready for its teachings.
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2008, 06:19:49 PM »

  At the same time the Philokalia is FULL of extremely heavy reading about monasticism and etc. which could cause someone to think that MONASTICISM is the only way to theosis. 

Has this thought ever entered into your mind?  Or have you not even read the Philokalia yet...(sorry if i missed you talking about this earlier...)

The Philokalia is FULL of extremely heavy reading about monasticism, however, it is possible to be in the world and not of it.
With that being said, there are things in it that would be practical for those living in the world and then there would be things in it that would not be practical.  Which is one of the reasons I wanted a commentary for the text.  I would have preferred an audio commentary of a living master, because it would be more practical for our age and time.  So the spiritual father, would tell you to practice this and don't practice that, implement this and don't implement that.


Quote
I hate to bust your bubble, Irenaeus, but the Church existed for a few centuries before the Philokalia, as also did the Holy Scriptures.  The Philokalia has its place in the Church, but it is the Church that is THE God-ordained means to theosis, the "instrument itself to deification."  If you're asking, as you are on another thread, for proof that one should belong to the Church, then maybe the Philokalia isn't right for you at this moment, since you're apparently not yet ready for its teachings.

Well I am hoping spiritual aspect will help me understand things in the church.  There alot of things within the church which do not seem logical  to me. Like for example:

Trinity. (Concept I don't quite understand it is like I am forcing my self to accept something which is illogical.)
The need of Jesus dying on the cross for our salvation. (I just don't get it.)
The different Orthodox groups, Coptics, Greek, Latin, Indian etc. (if all are lead by the holy spirit, why are they divided, are they not lead by the same Holy Spirit???)(which goes back to the question the need to belong to a chruch, if so which one???)

I just know that through spirituality things will start to become clearer.  There is a need for spirituality (closeness to God).  Fear God and He will teach you. The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.
But there is a right way to fear God and a wrong way to fear God, and only the spiritual masters or spiritual fathers, know this.

I once read, "The one who leads you to works, leads you to works and the one who leads you to the Lord, leads you to the Lord." The following is a detailed explanation of this statement.

In the book the Art of Prayer, Igumen Chariton of Valamo quotes, Theophan the Recluse,

The essence of Christian Life

People concern themselves with Christian upbringing but leave it incomplete: they neglect the most essential and most difficult side of Christian life, and dwell on what is easiest, the visible and external.

This imperfect or misdirected upbrining produces people who observe with the utmost correctness all the formal and outward rules of devout conduct, but pay little or no attention to the inward movements of the heart and to true improvement of the inner spiritual life.  They are strangers to mortal sins, but they do not heed the play of thoughts in the heart.  Accordingly they sometimes pass judgements, give way to boastfulness or pride, sometimes get angry (as if this feeling were justified by the rightness of their cause), are sometimes distracted by beauty and pleasure, sometimes even offend others in fits of irritation, are sometimes too lazy to pray, or lose themselves in useless thoughts while at prayer.  They are not upset about doing these thinbgs, but regard them as without significance.  They have been to church, or prayed at home according to the established rule, and carried out their usual business, and so they are quite content and at peace.  But they have little concern for what is happening in the heart.  In the meatime it maybe forging evil, thereby taking away the whole value of their correct and pious life.

Let us now take the vase of one who has been falling somewhat short in the work of salvation; he becomes aware of this incompleteless, and sees the incorrectness of his way of life and the instablility of his efforts.  And so he turns from outward to inward piety.  He is led into this either by reading books about spiritual life, or by talking with those who know what the essence of Christian life is, or by dissatisfaction with his own efforts, by a certain intuition that something is lacking, and that all is not going as it should.

Despite all his correctness he has no inner peace; he lacks what was promised to true Christians, 'peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Rom. xiv. 17). Once this troubling thought is born in him, then by talking with people who have knowledge he will come to realize what the matter is, or he may read about it in a book.  Either of these things will enable him to see the essential defect in the order of his life, namely his lack of attention to the movements within himself, and his lack of self-mastery.

He understands then that the essence of the Christian life consists in establisihng himself with the mind in the heart before God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, by the grace of the Holy Spirit: in this way he is enabled to control all inward movements and all outward actions, so as to transform everything in himself, whether great or small, into the service of God the Trinity, consciously and freely offering himself wholly to God."

My comment:

That is very profound.  I would like a spiritual connection first. It may not be important to you, but it is important to me.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." [/color] (Matt 5:Cool And this is seeing with the eye of the soul, which is the heart. And this heart has to be pure.  Jesus also said, "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" [/color] (Matt 6: 22-23) The limbs follow the heart. When one is endowed with the Holy Spirit, He will guide you.  It seems like it takes a year before you can get baptised in the Church.  I was hoping to jump in with my feet first, get baptised and receive the Holy Spirit and then understanding will come. Church laws, I suspect.

Right now, I just believe going to a Church will lead me to works and not necessarily the Lord. I made an appointment to visit a priest, and the priest cancelled.  Made another appointment and the priest didn't show up, and it was at his church. Everything happens for a reason.

I don't know if God is telling me, that I should first visit a spiritual teacher of the Orthodox Church first.  But I am not sure which monastary to go to.  Or perhaps it means I should visit the church first without meeting the priest. Or I don't know if God is telling me Christianity is not for me.

Spirituality (a real connection with God) is important to me.

So perhaps you have a better understanding of where i stand.

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« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2008, 07:59:25 PM »

^ The problem, though, is that you stand "church" and "true spirituality" (the classic spiritual vs. religious dichotomy?) against each other.  You identify the Church as being merely a human institution from which you must flee if you want to experience true spirituality.  This is not how the Orthodox (and the writers of the Philokalia) view the Church.  We view the ecclesiastical institution and the Sacred Mystery, the religion and the spirituality, as necessarily intertwined--you can't have one without the other.

Sure, the Church has its institution with its structure and laws, but this structure grew out of her spiritual experience of Christ and is totally dependent on this Sacred Mystery.  This structure is absolutely necessary to guard a true experience of closeness to God.  Institutional structure keeps spiritual experience from falling apart, and, for this reason, true spiritual experience naturally seeks to institutionalize itself.  You just cannot experience the true spirituality of the Philokalia apart from the Sacred Mystery of the Church that gives it life.
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2008, 03:06:43 PM »

^ The problem, though, is that you stand "church" and "true spirituality" (the classic spiritual vs. religious dichotomy?) against each other.  You identify the Church as being merely a human institution from which you must flee if you want to experience true spirituality.  This is not how the Orthodox (and the writers of the Philokalia) view the Church.  We view the ecclesiastical institution and the Sacred Mystery, the religion and the spirituality, as necessarily intertwined--you can't have one without the other.

Sure, the Church has its institution with its structure and laws, but this structure grew out of her spiritual experience of Christ and is totally dependent on this Sacred Mystery.  This structure is absolutely necessary to guard a true experience of closeness to God.  Institutional structure keeps spiritual experience from falling apart, and, for this reason, true spiritual experience naturally seeks to institutionalize itself.  You just cannot experience the true spirituality of the Philokalia apart from the Sacred Mystery of the Church that gives it life.

Well, I went to Church today for the first time.  It was quite interesting.  I went to an Orthodox Church, in which everything was prayed in English, and sermon was pretty good.  It was based on these verses, in the Gospel of Luke.

[35] As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. [36] When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. [37] They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."

[38] He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

[39] Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

[40] Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, [41] "What do you want me to do for you?"

"Lord, I want to see," he replied.

[42] Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." [43] Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.


It was interesting what the father said about this man.  He said, the blind man called out to Him, Jesus Christ saying, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

The father mentioned that the fact that he referred to him as son of David means that he did not necessarily see Jesus as fully God, but he did know that he was from God.  And the fact that he addressed sought Jesus first before asking Jesus to cure him, shows that getting close to God was more important then becoming healed, and because of that intention Jesus healed him.

After the meeting I had a talk with the father and I told him, I am the blind man. I don't see Jesus as fully God, but I do the Jesus Prayer in with the hope I will see some light. Because I know Jesus is at least of God and that Jesus and Father are one.  And I do believe what I say to Jesus will be heard by the Father. Either way, I am remembering God.

If going to Church is required I don't have a problem going to Church.  But just because it is called Church doesn't necessarily mean it is spiritual.

With all that being said, in general you are right. So I will attend the Church for the next couple of months, to see if this is my calling.  Because I know knowledge is only taken from its people and in Christianity it is the Church.
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2008, 12:41:03 AM »



If going to Church is required I don't have a problem going to Church.  But just because it is called Church doesn't necessarily mean it is spiritual.



If the only reason you go to church is to feel spiritual, you might want to look into the heresy of Donatism.  It might enlighten your eyes to some things.  We go to church because:

a.  It is God's house
b.  It is our hospital
c.  The cure is Christ, who is present in that church in the sacraments, and the body of the faithful communing. 

I may have oversimplified that... Sad
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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2008, 01:14:01 AM »

The Eucharist--i.e., Christ in us, the hope of glory--is the sacred Mystery and very life of the Christian.  The sacred institution of the Church's hierarchy--i.e., the bishop--exists to make the Eucharist present and protect its sanctity.  You cannot have one without the other.
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« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2008, 05:21:07 PM »

The Eucharist--i.e., Christ in us, the hope of glory--is the sacred Mystery and very life of the Christian.  The sacred institution of the Church's hierarchy--i.e., the bishop--exists to make the Eucharist present and protect its sanctity.  You cannot have one without the other.

I said in the previous post, in general you are right. So I will attend the Church for the next couple of months, to see if this is my calling.  Because I know knowledge is only taken from its people and in Christianity it is the Church.

Thank you for your input.
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« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2008, 05:29:29 PM »

I said in the previous post, in general you are right. So I will attend the Church for the next couple of months, to see if this is my calling.  Because I know knowledge is only taken from its people and in Christianity it is the Church.


True. All knowledge is embodied knowledge.
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