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Author Topic: I still rather like the West, actually...  (Read 7498 times) Average Rating: 0
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The Iambic Pen
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« on: March 07, 2008, 08:12:20 AM »

As time passes, and as I read more from an Orthodox perspective (I'm currently in the midst of Bishop Ware's book, The Orthodox Church), I have become more and more convinced that I really ought to be Orthodox.  I have thought that several times in the past, and some of those who used to post at the CAF Eastern Christianity forum might remember my posts to that effect.  I have continued to go back and forth, however, and even here in Iraq there was a time when I was quite sure I should become Catholic.  More prayer, thinking, and reading on the subject has, however, brought me the closest to a solid decision in favor of Orthodoxy that I have ever been.

The problem is that there is a great deal about the West that I quite admire, and much of it is post-Schism.  I love the religious music.  I love the statues and the realistic art.  I love the architecture of the church buildings.  I had also come to believe that my Protestant forbears had rebelled against the Church, and that if I became Catholic, it would be like a glorious homecoming.  When one strips away the apparently (I haven't made up my mind yet... Smiley ) incorrect doctrines and practices, the Catholic Church is actually a very beautiful thing.  In its official teachings, it stands strong against modernism, and it does not compromise.  Coming from the often-changing world of Protestantism, this idea of the Church as a solid and sure rock was and is very appealing.

I also love the Orthodox Church, and I see all the same beauty in it, as well.  I particularly love the Eastern liturgy, which, though I know some western-rite churches do exist, I would consider myself blessed to attend.  However, I am concerned that if I become Orthodox, I will be, to an extent, leaving all that is good about the West behind.

Any thoughts on this concern?  I appreciate any input, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers.  I might not be able to check this for a few days, but I shall return.

God bless!
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 08:39:55 AM »

I understand your concern, and when I was converting, there were times in which I felt like I was a foreigner. I had never heard so many Russians speaking in the same place. But what I realized is that Orthodoxy is not "Eastern" or "Western" but is the worldwide Church. Also, the majority of people in my parish are Westerners; most are American converts from Anglican, Catholic, or Evangelical Protestant backgrounds. So the Church feels less Eastern to me now than it did before. Sure, it's nothing like what I was used to in Protestantism, but not because of an Eastern/Western divide. Orthodoxy just feels like what I wanted Protestantism to be all those years.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008, 09:01:46 AM »

However, I am concerned that if I become Orthodox, I will be, to an extent, leaving all that is good about the West behind.

I think that it is only likely to be a problem if you allow it to be so. I know that some converts make a concerted effort to throw off their own heritage; and if that's what they wish to do, that's great. However, I have no interest in becoming a pseudo Greek or Russian or anything else, simply because I have converted to Orthodoxy. I love the ethnic diversity of the people I worship with, but don't wish to be assimilated in such a way that I forget where I have come from. To me, it would be both impossible and undesirable to expunge the cultural legacy of my forebears; neither would I wish to deprive my children and grandchildren of the benefits of their own rich inheritance. I don't wish to be anything but a westerner who is Orthodox. And it seems to me that the Church can cope with my Western eccentricities. Afterall She has for a couple of millennia absorbed the cultural differences and idiosyncrasies of her members. Wink

And I still love to listen to Gregorian Chant!  Shocked

God guide you in your decision.






 

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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008, 09:30:38 AM »

Dear Iambic Pen,

There is a western rite movement in the Orthodox Church under both the Russian Orthodox Church and Antiochian Orthodox Chruch.  Both use approved Western Rites Rituals which make use of many of the things that you miss, perhaps you would be more comfortable in these settings but still in communion with the Orthodox Church. In this way you could enjoy the best of both rites of the Church.

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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2008, 03:42:23 PM »

Culturally, leaving behind much of the west has been akin to leaving behind the world (personally). Seeing an obscure 1970s movie "The Conflict" with Martin Sheen about monks in an Irish monastery refusing to give up the Latin mass in opposition to world syncretism coveyed to me where Rome may end up (since the monks are "rebels"). This movie can be bought in almost any USA Dollar Tree store (hightly recommend it). My "return" to Christianity about 5 yrs ago involved a resojourn into fundamentalism (6 months), liberal Protestantism (2 weeks), & pentecostalism (8 months) helped me to realize Orthodoxy was it & I attended my 1st DL with little previous knowledge. My theology is not very deep but realizing that prayer, fasting, alms giving, sacraments, liturgical worship, living by such basic ideas as the 10 commandments, striving for the Beatitudes (lot of ground to cover here!!), the communion of saints, proper veneration of the Theotokos, the basic faith expressed in the Creed, and, most important, the holy Eucharist are the Orthodox Christian faith theologumena is not required (never should it be discarded either if applicable). OTH, I do not necessarily discard the wisdom of other Christians; with consideration, I find listening  to  Ravi Zacharias, reading CS Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, seeing RC examples like Mother Theresa, MOther Angelica, Fr John Corapi etc. as having inspirational value. Preferably, though, St Maximos the confessor, St Maria Skobtsova, Kallistos WAre, St. Irenaeus of Lyons etc. are who I find most inspirational.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2008, 03:51:29 PM »

Dear Iambic Pen,

There is a western rite movement in the Orthodox Church under both the Russian Orthodox Church and Antiochian Orthodox Chruch.  Both use approved Western Rites Rituals which make use of many of the things that you miss, perhaps you would be more comfortable in these settings but still in communion with the Orthodox Church. In this way you could enjoy the best of both rites of the Church.

I've always wanted to see one of these Western rite parishes. Is Eucharistic adoration practiced there?
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2008, 05:09:32 PM »

I've always wanted to see one of these Western rite parishes. Is Eucharistic adoration practiced there?
I've been told there is, but I have only been to one Church, Holy Incarnation in Detroit, and only for a Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2008, 05:15:05 PM »

I hope even if you end up in a Byzantine Rite church full-time you keep thinking as you do and don't fall into anti-Westernism (not the same as having intellectual differences with Rome on how the church works - for example does being under Rome or orthodoxy and communion 'make' the church?).

I think it's possible.

Fr Patrick Reardon of the Antiochian Orthodox and Touchstone magazine is like that for example.

Belonging to a rite means in church you obey that rite's practices and disciplines so no Western hymns or liturgically commemorating the other side's post-schism saints for example.

At home is another matter: you're free to use just about anything (that's not heretical) or venerate anybody (not just your church's canonised saints: favourite saints from other churches and one's late Protestant grandparents too) but IMO your rite should make up more than half of your practice.

Listening to Gregorian chant at home fits the Orthodox ethos perfectly IMO.

Reminds me of what the Orthodox St John of Shanghai and San Francisco said, that to be Orthodox doesn't necessarily mean being Eastern and that the West's 'venerable liturgies' are older than 'its heresies' from the Orthodox POV. Certainly its chant falls in the orthodox and venerable category.

I think the Antiochian WRO, who are more Tridentine (1500s-mid-1960s, you know, pre-Vatican II) Roman whilst the ROCOR WRO are more mediaevalist/reconstructionist in their approach, have Eucharistic adoration including Benediction.

Holy Incarnation is Detroit is a good example: an Antiochian Orthodox parish that essentially does the Tridentine Roman Rite in English (instead of Latin though I understand you can have WRO in Latin - it's a liturgical language like Slavonic!).

As Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) wrote in The Orthodox Church if you believe in a lasting presence in the Communion elements after the service is over - the Orthodox like many Anglicans reserve the sacrament to bring to the sick for that reason - there's no theological objection to it. There are historical and liturgical reasons why Eastern rites (the Byzantine Rite, the Assyrian Rite and the rites of the Oriental Orthodox) don't have it: the heresy the Western practice was trying to correct in the Middle Ages never happened in the East so they didn't need it, and there's the desire to keep the original emphasis on the sacrament as food and drink consumed as part of the action of the service itself.

I've heard of the novel Catholics on which The Conflict is based and have wanted to read/see it. Thanks for the reminder: I'll try to put it in my Netflix queue.
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2008, 05:28:46 PM »


I've heard of the novel Catholics on which The Conflict is based and have wanted to read/see it. Thanks for the reminder: I'll try to put it in my Netflix queue.

Ditto here.  I've finished the the first two Robotech Wars and only have the third left.   Grin
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2008, 06:56:02 PM »

Don't feel discouraged...I believe that St. John Maximovitch said (and I'm paraphrasing) that there is much more that is venerable about the West than her heresies.
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2008, 10:03:02 AM »

Don't feel discouraged...I believe that St. John Maximovitch said (and I'm paraphrasing) that there is much more that is venerable about the West than her heresies.

Very well said, indeed. In his journals, Prot. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, himself a Russian and a scholar in the Eastern liturgical tradition, admitted that his most favorite, most personally beloved piece of church music was not a Byzantine or Russian chant but the old Anglican hymn, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence."
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2008, 10:15:23 AM »

the old Anglican hymn, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence."

Isn't this from the Liturgy of St. James? (Not the most common setting of course, but the actual text)
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2008, 11:45:41 AM »

The words are from the Greek and were translated into English in the 19th Century.  The tune used by Anglicans (and I wonder if that is the one Fr. Schmemann had in mind) is "Picardy", a French melody.  a midi file of it can be found here: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/e/letallmf.htm
though it sounds much beter when a full parish (like mine  Wink ) is singing it.  It's a favourite of mine, too.

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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2008, 03:13:21 PM »

Thanks, Ebor, that's it! I love it. It was sung in the Milan Synod parish where I was chrismated.
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2008, 05:49:08 PM »

It is also used during Lent in the current Liturgy of the Hours...

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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2008, 12:41:36 AM »

I've always wanted to see one of these Western rite parishes. Is Eucharistic adoration practiced there?

Our parish has the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays during Lent.
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2008, 03:14:11 AM »

I finally have Internet access again.  Thank you all very much for the encouraging comments.  As I move toward possibly entering the Church, this would be a great issue for me to bring up to the local priest.
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2008, 03:45:41 PM »

Interesting thread.  For me, the problem is not so much me liking the West as me wishing the West were Eastern, a problem of its own.   Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2008, 06:29:08 PM »

Interesting thread.  For me, the problem is not so much me liking the West as me wishing the West were Eastern, a problem of its own.   Smiley

Well, it certainly was and is the dream of many for the Western Church to return to its Orthodox roots.  I assume that you are describing a return of the West to the Orthodox Faith and not so much to Eatern Liturgical practice  Wink
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« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2008, 06:57:27 PM »

Quote
Originally Posted by ebpussey:

Well, it certainly was and is the dream of many for the Western Church to return to its Orthodox roots.  I assume that you are describing a return of the West to the Orthodox Faith and not so much to Eatern Liturgical practice  Wink

What I meant is that I wish the West would return to the Orthodox Faith, yes, as well as more a more (how shall I say) sensible approach to reality.  And when I say West, I do not simply mean Western Christian churches, but Westerners in general.  So yes, I wish the whole West would convert to Orthodoxy.  Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2008, 09:45:06 PM »

I should clarify again that when I say I like the West, I am speaking primarily of externals.  I like the art, the music, and the architecture.  I also greatly admire many of the Western saints.  Theologically, however, I much prefer the East.  Of course, what matters is what is true, not what I personally prefer.
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2008, 02:47:06 PM »

What I meant is that I wish the West would return to the Orthodox Faith, yes, as well as more a more (how shall I say) sensible approach to reality.  And when I say West, I do not simply mean Western Christian churches, but Westerners in general.  So yes, I wish the whole West would convert to Orthodoxy.  Smiley

Could you please explain a bit about this and what you mean by a "sensible approach to reality"?  I would like to understand what you mean.

Ebor
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2008, 09:01:10 PM »

Quote
I've always wanted to see one of these Western rite parishes. Is Eucharistic adoration practiced there?

Our parish has the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays during Lent.

We also do the same in our Western Rite parish.  In addition, we also do the stations of the cross on Fridays as part of the same service during Lent.

There is a tabernacle on the altar containing the reserved sacraments, that are kept for the purpose of taking to the sick.

We show reverence (genuflect) whenever passing by the Altar, not only during liturgy, but also and outside of liturgy.
Father is very adamant that the proper reverence is shown at all times in the sanctuary, even if you are the only person in the building; if you are there for private prayer or just passing through the sanctuary for whatever reason.  It amazes me how quickly even the smallest of children develop this habit of reverence when it is practiced by everyone at all times.
The heresy of "receptionism.", that the gifts are only the Body and Blood of Christ during the Divine Liturgy, of course, is condemned by all Orthodox no matter what Rite is celebrated. 
There is always opportunity for private prayer and devotion; but the type of Eucharistic Devotion that I am familiar with that is practiced in the Roman Catholic Church (my husband is Roman Catholic and he goes for a specific time each week for this purpose) is not done in the Western Rite, as far as I know (big qualifier).

Any further explanation, I am not qualified to comment on, but I am sure any Western Rite Orthodox Priest would be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2008, 08:20:56 AM »

My memory fails on this, but the jist of it:a catholic nun would visit an orthodox service on a regular basis and was loved by all.  She saw the beauty in both, so you are not alone in seeing that in both. Maybe someone here can recall her name and situation better.  I have been struggling with this for years, although Roman Catholic, I long for the Eastern Liturgy when not visiting there, and vice versa!  It's not easy! I think it's because too, I haven't been ready.
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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2008, 01:30:31 AM »

I should clarify again that when I say I like the West, I am speaking primarily of externals.  I like the art, the music, and the architecture.  I also greatly admire many of the Western saints.  Theologically, however, I much prefer the East.  Of course, what matters is what is true, not what I personally prefer.


I understand how you feel.  With us modern folk, our feelings towards externals that we like change over time.  Some things that I liked 20 years ago, I would never admit today that I ever liked!  Who's to say that what I like now, I will like 20 years from now?

Truth is most important because it doesn't change.   
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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2008, 01:45:22 AM »

My memory fails on this, but the jist of it:a catholic nun would visit an orthodox service on a regular basis and was loved by all.  She saw the beauty in both, so you are not alone in seeing that in both. Maybe someone here can recall her name and situation better.  I have been struggling with this for years, although Roman Catholic, I long for the Eastern Liturgy when not visiting there, and vice versa!  It's not easy! I think it's because too, I haven't been ready.

You could go to an Eastern Catholic church which uses our liturgy.
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2008, 11:44:16 AM »

You could go to an Eastern Catholic church which uses our liturgy.

In the USA if would depend on which Eastern Catholic Church you went to. The Ruthenian Byzantine Catholics released a new Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil that is extremely shortened and uses inclusive language.  The Ukrainian Greek Catholics are closer in rubrics and translation to the Orthodox.  Except on Saturday evenings the Ukrainian Greek Catholics have "low mass" and the Divine Liturgy is recited not sang and they may or may not use incense depending on the parish.
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« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2008, 08:24:21 PM »

What is a "low mass"? What is inclusive language?
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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2008, 09:08:33 PM »

Quote
What is a "low mass"? What is inclusive language?

Before the reforms of Vatican II which led to the creation of the "Novus Ordo" Mass, or the Mass of Paul VI, there was what nowadays is referred to as the Tridentine Latin Mass.  The Tridentine Latin Mass still exists and just recently received status as the extraordinary rite of the Latin Church. 

There are several ways of celebrating the Tridentine Latin Mass (the TLM): Low Mass, Misa Cantata and High Mass being the three main ways.  A regular low Mass is also referred to as a spoken Mass.  The priest speaks most of the Liturgy, and altar servers respond for the people.  Misa Cantata is a Low Mass that is sung or chanted.  A Misa Cantata is often done when the requirements for a High Mass cannot be met.  A High Mass is the most elaborate and generally includes numerous servers, and a choir that sings the ordinary of the Mass. 

I believe the poster who refers to "low mass" at the Ukrainian church is simply saying that the Divine Liturgy there is recited instead of sung. 

Most Masses celebrated today in the Latin Church are the Mass of Paul VI, also known as the ordinary rite.  There is no distinction between High and Low Mass in the present ordinary rite. 

"Inclusive language" refers to language that avoids gender specific words.  For example, instead of saying, "God loves mankind," a person using inclusive language would instead say, "God loves humankind."  Or, instead of "God loves all men," a person would instead say, "God loves us all." 
That's what I know at least.  Someone can correct me if I'm wrong in any point. 
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« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2008, 02:28:07 AM »

Hi, I remember your posts on the CAF.

There is no need to dislike western architecture because you are orthodox, although you probably won't end up worshipping in such a building. The same goes for art etc. Of course, there have been some strains of realistic art in Orthodoxy. Like the interior of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

Of course, as you would know, Gothic architecture is not a very ancient form, for whatever that is worth. I used to be a big fan of Gothic even when I was a protestant and didn't really believe in expensive buildings. Nowdays I prefer the relative simplicity of Eastern buildings, but one can't help but still admire the work in a Gothic building.



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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2008, 05:02:28 AM »


I understand how you feel.  With us modern folk, our feelings towards externals that we like change over time.  Some things that I liked 20 years ago, I would never admit today that I ever liked!  Who's to say that what I like now, I will like 20 years from now?

Truth is most important because it doesn't change.   

Truth is certainly most important.  I actually have a wide variety of interests when it comes to the externals.  I think the Greek Orthodox church I have attended in Savannah, Georgia is very beautiful (it does have pews, though... Smiley ), but I also think the Catholic cathedral I attend in Savannah is very beautiful.  I like the music and chant in both (the Catholic cathedral even uses the occasional Latin; they've also started having a Latin mass--courtesy of the motu proprio--while I've been here in Iraq), and both settings are conducive to a prayerful, contemplative liturgy.

Hi, I remember your posts on the CAF.
I still post there, though my last couple posts have disappeared, along with the entire thread.
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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2008, 01:38:38 AM »

As time passes, and as I read more from an Orthodox perspective (I'm currently in the midst of Bishop Ware's book, The Orthodox Church), I have become more and more convinced that I really ought to be Orthodox.  I have thought that several times in the past, and some of those who used to post at the CAF Eastern Christianity forum might remember my posts to that effect.  I have continued to go back and forth, however, and even here in Iraq there was a time when I was quite sure I should become Catholic.  More prayer, thinking, and reading on the subject has, however, brought me the closest to a solid decision in favor of Orthodoxy that I have ever been.

The problem is that there is a great deal about the West that I quite admire, and much of it is post-Schism.  I love the religious music.  I love the statues and the realistic art.  I love the architecture of the church buildings.  I had also come to believe that my Protestant forbears had rebelled against the Church, and that if I became Catholic, it would be like a glorious homecoming.  When one strips away the apparently (I haven't made up my mind yet... Smiley ) incorrect doctrines and practices, the Catholic Church is actually a very beautiful thing.  In its official teachings, it stands strong against modernism, and it does not compromise.  Coming from the often-changing world of Protestantism, this idea of the Church as a solid and sure rock was and is very appealing.

I also love the Orthodox Church, and I see all the same beauty in it, as well.  I particularly love the Eastern liturgy, which, though I know some western-rite churches do exist, I would consider myself blessed to attend.  However, I am concerned that if I become Orthodox, I will be, to an extent, leaving all that is good about the West behind.

Any thoughts on this concern?  I appreciate any input, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers.  I might not be able to check this for a few days, but I shall return.

God bless!

It sounds more like you admire and appreciate different tastes, but still know who and what you are.

To use an example, I myself have an interest in Japanese culture (Kurosawa movies, the language, the Sengoku Jidai period, etc) but I know I'm a white American male. At the same time, that doesn't mean I don't study Japanese from time to time, or watch movies with subtitles. However, as I said, I still remember I'm a white American male living in America, where they don't speak Japanese, the history is different, and certain nuances are entirely different.  Wink

Now, applying this more to what you're talking about, I also have an interest in eastern religions: their philosophies, how they influences leaders throughout history, what they believe about social issues, etc. At the same time, I don't worship Buddha or try to seek Nirvana, and I don't have statues of Ganeesha decorating my desk. While I may respect another theology, I don't necessarily believe it to be the right one - otherwise, I wouldn't have chosen the path I did.

The only danger I would see is you accidentally mingle what you know from somewhere else to where you know now. It's one thing to study a different culture, but if you start praying to Saint Ganeesha to intercede for you with the Lord...well, then you have a problem.  Grin
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« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2008, 09:50:55 PM »

If the Orthodox manner of evangelism in a non-Christianized culture has been to take and affirm what is good and God-pleasing in that culture, seeing it as pre-evangelism, not pass judgment on elements that are morally neutral and reform what is deficient and rejecting what is truly evil, then our engagement with other Christian communions can be very embracing and affirming what is similar to Orthodox (Nicene Creed, taking a stand against modern skepticism and liberal theology), appreciating what is neutral (architecture, art) reforming what is deficient (some modern Catholics have forgotten the practice of venerating saints, for instance) and rejecting what is wrong ( a protestant's rejecting Holy Tradition, for example).

So I think there is pretty broad lattitude there for you if you do choose to become Orthodox.
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« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2008, 06:13:39 PM »

As time passes, and as I read more from an Orthodox perspective (I'm currently in the midst of Bishop Ware's book, The Orthodox Church), I have become more and more convinced that I really ought to be Orthodox. 

Just try not to take as long as I did to decide. My wife and I thought about becoming Orthodox for around 20 years before finally deciding, and starting to attend the Divine Liturgy at a Greek Orthodox parish every week about 10 months ago, and becoming catechumens a couple months ago.

We were Episcopalians for many years, and had to overcome inertia; and a love of the classical western liturgical music. As it turned out, it didn't take long to fall in love with the eastern liturgy and even with Byzantine Chant! By the way, the increasing level of heresy in the Episcopal Church made it easier to overcome the inertia; but we are definitely going TO Orthodoxy rather than AWAY from Anglicanism.

Deciding between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism was part of the issue too. Eventually, we realized that there is only one Church that has existed from the resurrection onward, and is virtually unchanged. That is the Orthodox Church. We were able to see very clearly that the catholic church is even further from the faith of the apostles in practice in America than it is in it's official teaching.

Of course, the fact that I'm becoming Orthodox doesn't mean that I can't listen to  Bach's B minor Mass, or Handel's Messiah. It does mean that I'm buying recordings of Byzantine chant though!

So, come on in; the waters fine!
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« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2008, 06:22:12 PM »

^ Welcome to the forum, athanasios2.   Grin
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« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2008, 07:06:12 PM »

^ Welcome to the forum, athanasios2.   Grin
Thanks, SolEX01. I am so thankful for the Orthodox Church!!
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« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2008, 12:19:02 AM »

The great classical composers and some of the architecture are among the greatest gifts of Western Christianity to the all Christians everywhere.
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« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2008, 10:54:40 AM »

Here's an another one who's been stuck somewhere between the east and the west. Unfortunately there isn't any western rite parishes in Finland. While the eastern liturgical tradition isn't an insuperable obstacle for conversion it certainly makes things more complicated. I've been participating divine liturgies occasionally maybe two years and I still sometimes feel a little bit as an outsider while catholic tridentine mass felt more like home since the first time although I didn't understand practically a word of it! Tongue
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« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2008, 07:24:19 PM »

Here's an another one who's been stuck somewhere between the east and the west. Unfortunately there isn't any western rite parishes in Finland. While the eastern liturgical tradition isn't an insuperable obstacle for conversion it certainly makes things more complicated. I've been participating divine liturgies occasionally maybe two years and I still sometimes feel a little bit as an outsider while catholic tridentine mass felt more like home since the first time although I didn't understand practically a word of it! Tongue

^^ laugh This sounds so familiar! On the whole, I still prefer listening to Gregorian Chant for pleasure to anything in the Orthodox Church. Must be something to do with ancentral memory, or something.  Tongue

Welcome to the forum, Alpo!
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« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2008, 10:23:04 AM »

I was recently reading Everyman's Theology written in 1941 by Father Leo Rudloff, O.S.B. he was a Catholic Abbot of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem by 1952. I fine it very interesting to see the differences between older works and the newer ones written after Vatican II. Clearly the Roman Catholic Church has suffered greatly since the council in clarity and identity. Perhaps some of that is coming back but don't doubt a lot of the reasons thoughtful Catholics are converting to Orthodoxy is the rift of intellectual continuity manifest within the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II. As good a face as Pope John Paul II could put on it there was a rupture in Catholic continuity after the council. It reveals the great weakness present with the papacy and for that matter 'any rule from the top down'. Perhaps the tide is turning back but such an error could happen again and it is in this 'doubt' in the minds of many Catholics which are moving them toward what appears to have not moved with the tide of time. My only fear is that as Orthodoxy grows it too will feel the full weight of this tide and it to will 'break'. I see fissures already as liberal and conservative members begin to struggle over the interpretation of the faith. It's challenging to know what to do.
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« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2008, 02:26:21 PM »

^^ laugh This sounds so familiar! On the whole, I still prefer listening to Gregorian Chant for pleasure to anything in the Orthodox Church. Must be something to do with ancentral memory, or something.  Tongue

Welcome to the forum, Alpo!

So where do you hear Gregorian chant in the RCC now?

(I like it as well).
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« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2008, 04:19:59 PM »

This isn't directed at the OP, but I thought it would fit in this thread. (If not, I'm sure it will get moved.)

I've heard people say they didn't convert to Orthodoxy from Western Christianity (be it Catholicism, Anglicanism, or some other kind of Protestant) because it was "too Eastern" for them, or they were "Western at heart" and thus remained in their church. Can someone explain to me what this means? I came from a Catholic background and enjoyed reading the works of Thomas Aquinas, but the "Easternness" of Orthodoxy didn't even register as an issue to me at all until I head other people say that they struggle with it.
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« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2008, 04:45:20 PM »

This isn't directed at the OP, but I thought it would fit in this thread. (If not, I'm sure it will get moved.)

I've heard people say they didn't convert to Orthodoxy from Western Christianity (be it Catholicism, Anglicanism, or some other kind of Protestant) because it was "too Eastern" for them, or they were "Western at heart" and thus remained in their church. Can someone explain to me what this means? I came from a Catholic background and enjoyed reading the works of Thomas Aquinas, but the "Easternness" of Orthodoxy didn't even register as an issue to me at all until I head other people say that they struggle with it.

Hi Wynd,

Could they be attached to Western pieties like the Rosary, particular litanies, etc? Also, could they be more 'intellectual' than they are 'spiritual'? I know one Catholic friend who converted after about 4 or 5 years in Roman Catholics but he was very much a 'contemplative at heart' and really had a very hard time with Western Dogmas. He seems much happier in the Romanian Orthodox Church where he is just loving all the mysticism and not having to defend the Catholic Church against co-workers and whatnot. When I think of "Easternness" of Orthodoxy I get the picture of very pronounced mystical traditions and much less a rigorist intellectualism you can find in the Western Tradition.

Does this seem to be what they are hinting at?
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« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2008, 05:49:37 PM »

Hi Wynd,

Could they be attached to Western pieties like the Rosary, particular litanies, etc? Also, could they be more 'intellectual' than they are 'spiritual'? I know one Catholic friend who converted after about 4 or 5 years in Roman Catholics but he was very much a 'contemplative at heart' and really had a very hard time with Western Dogmas. He seems much happier in the Romanian Orthodox Church where he is just loving all the mysticism and not having to defend the Catholic Church against co-workers and whatnot. When I think of "Easternness" of Orthodoxy I get the picture of very pronounced mystical traditions and much less a rigorist intellectualism you can find in the Western Tradition.

Does this seem to be what they are hinting at?
For some of us Latins, the Easterness would be a real problem. To us it appears like certain dichotomies exist that need not exist in the west. For example, the faith vs. reason debate. To eastern ears it appears that westerners are relying on human wisdom rather than faith. To western ears it sounds as if the east is ignoring the fact that God has given us reason and that everything that God has given us, including reason, was given to us in order to direct us towards God. To us there need not be this separation between spirituality and intellectualism. For me, my study of the faith, including my study of Augustine and Aquinas, draws me closer to God and I fall more in love with him becaue of this study. So my spirituality does not suffer because of intellectualism, but is rather enhanced. To me, it appears that I would have to give this up going east and, thus, my spirituality would suffer.
Please do not take this as an offense. Its  just my personal experience and might demonstrate how some Latins might feel that Easten Orthodoxy is just too eastern.
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« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2008, 10:23:53 PM »

Please do not take this as an offense. Its  just my personal experience and might demonstrate how some Latins might feel that Easten Orthodoxy is just too eastern.

But then how do you explain Anglicans and other Protestants, who (in my experience) do not have such a rigorous intellectual tradition to draw on? I've actually heard this more from Anglicans or Episcopalians than Catholics, maybe because the Catholics at least have the "two lungs" theory going with the Eastern Catholic churches.
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« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2008, 09:23:50 AM »

But then how do you explain Anglicans and other Protestants, who (in my experience) do not have such a rigorous intellectual tradition to draw on? I've actually heard this more from Anglicans or Episcopalians than Catholics, maybe because the Catholics at least have the "two lungs" theory going with the Eastern Catholic churches.

Anglicans not having a rigorous intellectual tradition?!?  Maybe you need to meet some more Anglicans. Wink Smiley 

I do not think that any Anglicans who might say that EO is "too eastern" would not think that they were not part of Christendom, so I'm not sure how your thought about the "two lungs" would apply there. 

As to "easterness" for myself, as I have written here before and mean no offense by it I assure you, I cannot worship in a Byzantine Rite Liturgy as I can in an Anglcan one, and I have been to a number of them in different jurisdictions. 

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« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2008, 11:21:00 AM »

But then how do you explain Anglicans and other Protestants, who (in my experience) do not have such a rigorous intellectual tradition to draw on? I've actually heard this more from Anglicans or Episcopalians than Catholics, maybe because the Catholics at least have the "two lungs" theory going with the Eastern Catholic churches.

Anglicans not having a rigorous intellectual tradition? Don't tell them that... some of the sharpest Theological minds in the last 100 years have been English if not Anglican! Papist has a point the West has nothing if not 'practical' in it's application of the Gospel message (seek justice, feed the hungry, cure the sick, etc). Western Christendom sought for good or ill to apply the Gospel in a very practical way as opposed to the more interior and mystical methods of the East. Now I'm not trying to say that the West had not Mystics or the East had no Hospitals but that there was and is a very distinct difference in the application of the Gospel message in these two traditions. No to mention the fact that Orthodoxy and Catholicism have been at odds for a thousand years. Up until Vatican II the Western Church held a very chilly relationship with the Eastern Churches. This move to recognition of it's Sacraments as licid as opposed to illicid and seeing them as 'a branch' or 'lung' of the Holy Catholic Church is frankly 'novel' to my understanding of Rome and their views of the East throughout history. You don't have to look to deep for the war of words between these two venerable traditions to encounter the polemical rhetoric that has existed on both sides for a very long time. If Catholics are immigrating to the East and thinking this is not a 'violent break' with the continuity of Western Tradition it is because of ignorance on the part of the West and a radical change in position of the Western Church toward the Eastern Churches. When we talk about the Latinization of the Byzantine Churches we forget that it was done because the Western felt the need to 'correct' the errors of the Eastern Churches or at the least to strengthen their traditions with the greater clarity found within the Western Church. Remember, historically Latinization was not simply a matter of continuity but of correction. This is way so many Traditional Catholic groups broke from Rome after Vatican II. I am not old enough to remember the destruction of Altars throughout all of Roman Catholicism in the late 1960's and 70's but to those who 'lived' through that period, it was a 'Reformation'. Out with the old and in with the new as the saying goes. We are going through a time when 'old is new again' which is part of the charm of Orthodoxy. That and it is very rich philosophically and far less dogmatic and rigorist which has heightened it's appeal in the modern pluralist Western Worldview. The kind of certainty one finds in Western Christianity is simply unpalatable. It's far too legalistic and sure of itself for a post-modern society. Be that for good or ill it is where we find ourselves in our day. The practical certainties of Western Society, borne out of the application of the Gospel, has failed to bring about it's objective of equality for all. This has failed across the board in the application of charity, law, healthcare, economic opportunities, etc. The "top down model" has lost it's luster and the population has turned to 'self-help' in mysticism. New-age, Yoga, Buddhism, Meditation, etc have all blossomed in the West because of it's failure to achieve the 'practice' good. Eastern Christianity has historically maintained similar 'therapeutic' practice (Ascesis) which, in effect, fill the void and given many who have half-heartedly embraced a foreign therapeutic method a way of returning to their Saviour without the loss of a 'therapeutic' practice (Ascesis). To a large extent the Catholicism of the 60's and 70's engaged in a kind of syncretism with these Eastern Mystic Practices and ultimately created a wealth of contradictions within their own tradition which has served to weaken their convictions. This 'watered-down' Catholicism has simply reaped what it has sown for the last 40-60 years and has bleed out any resemblance to the faith and practice of itself a hundred years ago. All this for the sake of relevancy in the face of modernity. That was ultimately the failure of Vatican II... the Western Church feared for it's own relevancy and in that fear deconstructed itself into irrelevancy. The very thing it sought to avoid. This is always the case when one is motivated by fear. One does exactly what one wants to avoid. The modern Catholic desire for union with Orthodoxy is, in my opinion, it's only means of restoring any spiritual relevancy to itself. Either that or a return to the Roman Catholicism of the past. The later choice would be far more honest, if Roman Catholicism actually believed in themselves and their tradition, but such would be damaging as droves of lukewarm Catholics would immigrate to Protestantism and even to Orthodoxy. In the temper of current Catholicism a union with Orthodoxy would be far more palatable for progressive elements as it gives them 'more room' to achieve their agendas without the rigorist ethical and moral legalisms of Classic Roman Catholicism. Regardless, which path is ultimately taken Christianity will be forever struggling with liberal and conservative 'wings' as modernity continues to make inroads into the Church. As a Catholic, myself, I don't know of a secure refuge from these forces. Although Orthodoxy has maintained it's traditions under endless persecutions it has not faced the test of time against modernity which I see as a far more corrosive adversary. In the end, I believe there will be a remnant of the true Church of Christ but I am not sure where that will be.
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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2008, 07:55:11 PM »

But then how do you explain Anglicans and other Protestants, who (in my experience) do not have such a rigorous intellectual tradition to draw on? I've actually heard this more from Anglicans or Episcopalians than Catholics, maybe because the Catholics at least have the "two lungs" theory going with the Eastern Catholic churches.
I would have to say that Angilcans do have a great intellectual tradition, especially the Angilicans that call themselves "Ango-Catholics".
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« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2008, 10:25:00 PM »

Anglicans not having a rigorous intellectual tradition?!?  Maybe you need to meet some more Anglicans. Wink Smiley 

I am sure I do. The few I've met tend towards Evangelicalism and wishy-washy low-churchiness.
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