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Author Topic: Orthodox Denominationalism?  (Read 12515 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. David
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« on: June 22, 2008, 06:12:55 PM »

In the US you have Orthodox denominationalism, not unlike protestant denominations.

 Huh  I was curious about this side comment in another thread, so I decided to bite:

BrotherAiden...

I don't think you're referring to soteriological differences...(pre-destination, free-will, a mix, etc; nature of eucharist, nature of baptism, nature of faith/works, etc)

...nor do I think you're referring to liturgical differences... (charismatic, traditional, contemporary, emergent, etc; or infant baptism, belivers baptism, once-immersed, thrice-immersed, etc)

...nor do I think you're referring to issues of women's ordination or homosexual tolerance and/or ordination... (ECUSA and the Lutheran synods)

...so although I realize that there are canonical differences from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (which is the norm from church to church -- Church of Greece, Church of Russia, Church of Serbia, etc -- but is different when we're all lumped together as we are here in the West), I have a problem with this comparison you've made here and in the past, saying that our jurisdictional differences and lack of administrative unity (which is tragic and should be resolved...somehow) is somehow at ALL the same as the doctrinal differences that SERIOUSLY divide Protestant sects.  At the end of the day, we ARE still all in FULL communion with each other at the chalice...it ain't perfect, and it could be better, but it's MILES ahead of where separated Protestant groups are from one another, imo.

What say you, sir...and what say all of y'all...?
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 07:31:38 PM »

I think that as Orthodox old-worlders die out and the younger generations take over (assuming the converts continue to rise as well), I think we'll see less factionalism.

As for myself, when I see a Greek, Russian, OCA, and Antiochian bishop all together, I don't see any distinction between their faith.
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2008, 08:00:42 PM »

As for myself, when I see a Greek, Russian, OCA, and Antiochian bishop all together, I don't see any distinction between their faith.

This was my point.

And may God swiftly bring the day when we can be administratively united (while still ethnically diverse) as well as eucharistically and dogmatically united.
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2008, 08:12:16 PM »

I do think there are problems beyond simple canonical issues. For example, I consider the GOC (of Fr. Anastasios) to be Orthodox, yet they are not in communion with so-called world Orthodoxy. We can say that the Church is not truly divided, yet some Orthodox are seperated from others and are not in communion with each other.
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2008, 08:37:50 PM »

I have never seen the Church as that way. Sure every Church has it's own I guess "local flare" you could say, but we are completely united in doctrine and one Church. Sure there are differences but Roman Catholicism in Ireland is going to be different from Roman Catholicism in the Philippines. That's just the way I see it. However I have to disagree with the denominationalism thing.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 10:32:54 PM »

There can be the same doctrine, same soteriology, same basic "liturgy" and same stance on modernistic innovations and you have the Presbterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America (RPCNA) and possibly the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). Each has it's own "hierarchy," its own institutions, it's own departments of missions and evangelism, its own publications, etc.

How is that so different from Orthodox jurisdictionalism (aka denominationalism)?

I was a conservative Presbyterian for 20 years. The differences between the above-named denominations are as minor as within Orthodox jurisdictionalism, perhaps even less (except for the exclusively psalm-singing RPCNA's). Yet they remain separate denominations. They are seen as separate denominations from within and without.

The ARPC had remained separate from the others for a century over sectional (very similar to ethnic) reasons as a Civil War era Southern Church. The RPCNA's stress their Scotish roots (ethnicity) and exclusive psamlnody. The PCA is the modern, forward looking branch that thinks all the others should unite under them (remind anyone of the OCA?). The OPC would be like traditionalist Orthodox - only instead of rubrics and rituals they are theological sticklers for doctinal purity down to the tiny minutia among the Calvinist, conservative Presbyterians. The CRC are Dutch and want to maintain their ethnic distinctives.

All embrace the Westminster Confession of Faith (CRC follows the Synod of Dort's Confession which is a virtual ditto of Westminster); all have the same organizational structure; all will accept clergy transfers without re-ordination or additonal schooling; all will commune together. They just won't be a single jurisdiction, um er, I mean denomination.

Now, I can only speak from within the millieu I was once a part of, but there are similar situations within other donominational species as well - I just don't know the specifics as well as I do with Presbyterians (of course none of the groups mentioned above want any union with the liberal PCUSA; that was what some of them had fled (issues such as women's ordination, doctrinal laxity, gay issues, moral laxity etc). The Evangelical Presbyterians (EPC) because of allowing women elders and pastors, as well as having a charasmatic element are sort of out there by themselves (although over time they have fewer and fewer ordained women and the charasmatics are being subsumed). Anyway, I digress. There are other protestant denominations, say Lutheran, or Congregational that have splinter denominations which broke from the larger church over theological issues - usually liberalism's theological drift) at different times and for different reasons who now could be one denomination but choose not to be for a variety of reasons.

And NOT all protestants create new denominations because some pastor came up with a new idea and started a new church, which is how many Orthodox caricature protestant denominationalism. Orthodox ignorance of mainline protestantism is both alaming and shameful (but that is another subject).

In the case of all these different Presbyterian denominations, the common denominator was breaking with the mother church over theological innovation. With the RPCNA and ARP's it was over the Church of Scotland breaking with the percived national covenant the nation had taken at the time of the reformation in its compromises with the English and the Church of England. They brought their denominational distinctives with them to America. The OPC's broke from the old United Presbyterian Church over theological compromises (liberal theology). The PCA broke with the PCUSA over women's ordination and theological liberalism but felt the OPC was not evangelistic enough so they began a new denomination. The CRC was a break from the Reformed Church in America (a larger, more liberal body from Holland).

So these denominations were formed over issues of theological integrity and conscience. Whether we agree with their reasons as Orthodox it must be acknowledged that these weren't frivolous moves because some individual pastor got a "word form the Lord."

TIME OUT. If anyone is getting apoplectic because I am suggesting we Orthodox in the US are functioning denominationally (while we euphemistically call it jurisdictionalism) please take a deep breath and at least absorb the microcosmic American Christianity mini-history lesson I just offered. It will benefit you from repeating ignorant sterotypes!
Thank you!

Okay, we can continue....

From without (outside of Orthodoxy), Greek Orthodox are seen as a different denomination than Russian Orthodox or Serbian Orthodox, or Syrian Orthodox, etc. etc. From within, we are the only ones who don't see it that way and call is jurisdictionalism  A rose by any other name.....?
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 10:53:47 PM »

Nonetheless the Presbyterian church is not one Church. Do they have Sacramental Communion? No, because they have no Sacraments. They are not one Church otherwise they would only have one Jurisdiction. 
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2008, 11:07:03 PM »

Nonetheless the Presbyterian church is not one Church. Do they have Sacramental Communion? No, because they have no Sacraments. They are not one Church otherwise they would only have one Jurisdiction. 

oh come on...
they think they have sacraments and call them such; they do have communion with one another at what they call the Lord's Table.

you are missiing my point. From within their millieu, from which they view themselves as equally correct and us as wrong as we view them as incorrect and ourselves right, they could be one denomination and aren't.

Plus we, along with everyone ellse view them as separate, albeit very similar denominations.

What you don't get (or won't get) is that everyone else views Orthodox jurusdictions as denominations.

your line of reasoning is: We are one Church because we say we are one Church even though we have a dozen different jurisdictions. So we aren't denominations. Plus we have the true sacraments.

Their line of reasoning is: We are one Church in different (though very similar) branches. We are so because we are Reformed and we know we're right. We really shoudn't have these denomiations but some day we'll all get together. Also, we have the true two sacraments (unlike those Orthodox and Cathoics with all those extra sacraments).

Eveyone in a church thinks their church is correct. That's not news and your argument doesn't solve anything. In fact, it damns us all the more. If we are the true Church with the true sacraments, why the heck do we present ourseves to the world outside of ourselves as separate denominations (we call it jurisdictions; they view it as denomiations).

People can argue differently all they want but FUNCTIONALLY, by all the standards by which denominations are percieved and measured (separate hierarchies, separate institutions, separate boards, separate publishing, etc.) Orthodoxy in the USA is percieved by others as denominational and functions denominationally while claiming a spititual unity (which is exactly what those Presbyterian groups do - function as separate denominations who have spiritual unity).
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2008, 11:07:36 PM »

BrotherAiden,

I'm not really up with the play on this topic, but I do wonder if you might be meaning "congregations" instead of "denominations". Would it be, in speaking of denominations, that the Orthodox Church itself would be seen (from the outside) as a denomination made up on many congregations, but congregations that are all united under common dogma/faith?
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2008, 11:10:45 PM »

they think they have sacraments and call them such; they do have communion with one another at what they call the Lord's Table.

Yes, this is true.

Quote
you are missiing my point. From within their millieu, from which they view themselves as equally correct and us as wrong as we view them as incorrect and ourselves right, they could be one denomination and aren't.

Plus we, along with everyone ellse view them as separate, albeit very similar denominations.

I have never thought of it that way. I see them as different congregations within one denomination. Am I wrong to do so?

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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2008, 11:23:38 PM »

BrotherAiden,

I'm not really up with the play on this topic, but I do wonder if you might be meaning "congregations" instead of "denominations". Would it be, in speaking of denominations, that the Orthodox Church itself would be seen (from the outside) as a denomination made up on many congregations, but congregations that are all united under common dogma/faith?
No, I am refrerring specifically to church bodies with many congregations forming a denomination.
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2008, 11:33:05 PM »

From without (outside of Orthodoxy), Greek Orthodox are seen as a different denomination than Russian Orthodox or Serbian Orthodox, or Syrian Orthodox, etc. etc. From within, we are the only ones who don't see it that way and call is jurisdictionalism  A rose by any other name.....?
But those outside who see "Greek Orthodox" and "Russian Orthodox" as different denominations will continue to see them as different denominations even if they were part of the same jurisdiction. The monasteries of the Holy Mountain are the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, yet there is a Russian Orthodox Monastery (Panteleimon), Greek Orthodox Monasteries (Dyionysiou, Iveron, Megisti Lavra etc), a Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery (Zographou),  a Serbian Orthodox Monastery (Chilandar) etc.... and each Monastery follows different rubrics, uses different languages, and even measures time differently (Iveron uses "Jerusalem Time" while the others use "Byzantine time"). So what's going to make these people who think they are "different denominations" realize that they aren't? It seems to me that bo matter what we do, there will always be those who misunderstand us , and even the first Christians experienced this- "Aren't Christians those guys who hold secret meetings where they eat flesh and drink blood?"
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2008, 11:40:06 PM »

Referring to Rid's second comment/question

no they aren't different congregations of one denomination. Each denomination has it's own discipline for instance. If the pastor at one congregation has an affair with his secretary, the other congregation doesn't discipline him, his denominational hierarchy does.

I am sure you have seen ethnic communities in older cities with several churches with onion domes: Ukranian, Russian, Serbian, Byzantine Catholic, all within a few blocks of each other. Well, go to a section of the city where the upper middle class once lived and see two Presbeterian churches across the street from one another, with a smaller one two blocks away. There you had your PCUSA congregation, your old United Presbyterian congregation and the smaller Refromed Presbyterian congregation. If you had asked any parishoner exiting on Sunday if they are part of the denominaton across (or down) the street and they would have told you in explicit (not vulgar, although perhaps emotional - I mean, explicit theologically) terms why they are not part of that denomination.

To THEM they are not congregations of the same denomination.

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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2008, 11:50:01 PM »

But those outside who see "Greek Orthodox" and "Russian Orthodox" as different denominations will continue to see them as different denominations even if they were part of the same jurisdiction. The monasteries of the Holy Mountain are the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, yet there is a Russian Orthodox Monastery (Panteleimon), Greek Orthodox Monasteries (Dyionysiou, Iveron, Megisti Lavra etc), a Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery (Zographou),  a Serbian Orthodox Monastery (Chilandar) etc.... and each Monastery follows different rubrics, uses different languages, and even measures time differently (Iveron uses "Jerusalem Time" while the others use "Byzantine time"). So what's going to make these people who think they are "different denominations" realize that they aren't? It seems to me that bo matter what we do, there will always be those who misunderstand us , and even the first Christians experienced this- "Aren't Christians those guys who hold secret meetings where they eat flesh and drink blood?"
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I think in the example you bring, if people are informed that Orthodoxy, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, organizes itself around Patriarchs of, if not strictly national Churches, then certain agreed upon territorial regions over which a particular metropolitan presides (rather than one universal pontiff), then they can see and appreciate Holy Mountain.

But when the Serbian gal and the Ukranian guy and myself (OCA) try to explain at work why we are not in the same denomination to either the Catholics or the protestants, they just don't get it. And you know how most people are these days, they don't have the patience for an expanation of the subtleties, differences and distinctions. I think maybe the non-religious get it better than the other Christians do.
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« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2008, 11:55:40 PM »

But when the Serbian gal and the Ukranian guy and myself (OCA) try to explain at work why we are not in the same denomination to either the Catholics or the protestants, they just don't get it.

Not even if one says that the Church of Serbia, OCA and Ukrainian Orthodox (under EP's Omophorion) are 3 of 15 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches which abide by Orthodox Christian dogma, canons and belief.  Catholics and Protestants don't need to know about the history because they both broke away from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

And you know how most people are these days, they don't have the patience for an expanation of the subtleties, differences and distinctions. I think maybe the non-religious get it better than the other Christians do.

Edited for clarity.
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« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2008, 12:36:14 AM »

The unity of the Church is based on the same common faith and worship, with the Eucharist unting us into the One body of Christ, regardless of space and time and jurisdiction. Each individual Church is the fullness of the Body of Christ when united with a right-believing bishop with apostolic succession to celebrate the Eucharist (1 Cor 10.16-17)  . Administrative unity while essential is not a mark of the one holy catholic and apostolic church and thats why many canons have been passed down, clarifying what kinds of disunity should be avoided and rules on deposing bishops when they overstep their boundaries, likewise the canons teach when the breaking of unity is justified.  . The Unity of the faith, not the unity of administration is prayed for in the DL.
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2008, 12:40:04 AM »


But when the Serbian gal and the Ukranian guy and myself (OCA) try to explain at work why we are not in the same denomination to either the Catholics or the protestants, they just don't get it. And you know how most people are these days, they don't have the patience for an expanation of the subtleties, differences and distinctions. I think maybe the non-religious get it better than the other Christians do.

There is no such thing as denominations in Orthodoxy. You should have told them the truth, that you are all members of the same religion: The Eastern Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2008, 01:14:54 AM »

Referring to Rid's second comment/question

no they aren't different congregations of one denomination. Each denomination has it's own discipline for instance. If the pastor at one congregation has an affair with his secretary, the other congregation doesn't discipline him, his denominational hierarchy does.

I am sure you have seen ethnic communities in older cities with several churches with onion domes: Ukranian, Russian, Serbian, Byzantine Catholic, all within a few blocks of each other. Well, go to a section of the city where the upper middle class once lived and see two Presbeterian churches across the street from one another, with a smaller one two blocks away. There you had your PCUSA congregation, your old United Presbyterian congregation and the smaller Refromed Presbyterian congregation. If you had asked any parishoner exiting on Sunday if they are part of the denominaton across (or down) the street and they would have told you in explicit (not vulgar, although perhaps emotional - I mean, explicit theologically) terms why they are not part of that denomination.

To THEM they are not congregations of the same denomination.

Oh, I see! Thanks for explaining that.
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« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2008, 01:28:16 AM »

There is no such thing as denominations in Orthodoxy. You should have told them the truth, that you are all members of the same religion: The Eastern Orthodox Church.
I don't think you're getting what BrotherAidan is trying to say, though.  We can talk about how we understand ourselves all we want, and, from our perspective, it is true and those outside just don't understand.  But to those outside who don't see us as we see ourselves, doesn't our jurisdictionalism look just like their denominationalism?  People will never be convinced that how we see ourselves is the truth if our outward physical appearance says otherwise.
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« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2008, 01:35:33 AM »

doesn't our jurisdictionalism look just like their denominationalism?  People will never be convinced that how we see ourselves is the truth if our outward physical appearance says otherwise.

Definitely.
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« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2008, 01:50:43 AM »

I cant say what others think of us.  I see no problem in juridictionalism, never have. I believe its making mountains out of mole hills, and most people really dont find anything unusual about it.  The Church has never encountered the american problem, canons against overlapping bishoprics was meant to stop renegade bishops who wanted to extend their influence and control beyond their diocese.

The Orthodox Church in America was brought here by immigrants, for themselves and their families, not to evangelize or proselytise. Converting America to Orthodoxy was never a goal. The immigrants wanted to preserve their culture for the generations after them. Common sense dictates that these immigrant communitites congregated together in the same communities, with them came priests who spoke the same language and came from the same country. As need arose more priests came to serve the growing immigrant churches who spoke no english. Its called being the UNIVERSAL church, universal does not mean a melting pot, it means diverse cultures with differing languages sharing the same faith. Why is there jurisdictions you ask? Because the churches here were established by greeks and slavs and arabs, and these jurisdictions still use these languages in their worship, its not because we broke away from each other. quite simple.
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« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2008, 02:06:21 AM »

The Orthodox Church in America was brought here by immigrants, for themselves and their families, not to evangelize or proselytise. Converting America to Orthodoxy was never a goal.
Uhm, no.  That's not exactly true.  The Orthodox Church had a presence in North America long before the waves of 20th Century immigrants of whom you speak.  The Faith was brought to America by Russian missionaries (e.g., Ss. Innocent and Herman of Alaska, St. Juvenaly the hieromartyr) who had as their very goal the evangelism of the American people and the formation of an American church.  When the Syrian Orthodox started to develop a presence in America in 1895, they recognized the need to unite with the established local church, which was still under the missionary oversight of Moscow, hence a Syrian bishop, St. Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn submitting to the rule of the Moscow Synod as a missionary bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church.

http://oca.org/MVhistoryintroOCA.asp?SID=1

http://www.antiochian.org/668
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« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2008, 02:46:58 AM »

Quite true. Good information.
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« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2008, 03:23:26 AM »

This is an interesting way of putting it, "denominationalism".  While it is true we all share the same sacraments, I think it is quite accurate to say that in many ways we are like denominations.  People always say we aren't broken up into different denominations because we share the sacraments, because a Greek can go to a Russian Church and have communion, but think about what that entails, and you wind up with something that looks quite a lot like a denomination! In order to share this common Eucharist, different jurisdictions require such a wide variety of things: in some you can just show up and partake no questions asked, in others you must have gone to confession at least since the last fasting period, in others you must have confessed that day or the night before, in others even if you have gone to confession with a priest the night before the priest distributing communion will not believe you when you tell him this and will refuse you communion (I have seen this happen).  Some unity we have there...
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« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2008, 04:12:32 AM »

This is an interesting way of putting it, "denominationalism".  While it is true we all share the same sacraments, I think it is quite accurate to say that in many ways we are like denominations.  People always say we aren't broken up into different denominations because we share the sacraments, because a Greek can go to a Russian Church and have communion, but think about what that entails, and you wind up with something that looks quite a lot like a denomination! In order to share this common Eucharist, different jurisdictions require such a wide variety of things: in some you can just show up and partake no questions asked, in others you must have gone to confession at least since the last fasting period, in others you must have confessed that day or the night before, in others even if you have gone to confession with a priest the night before the priest distributing communion will not believe you when you tell him this and will refuse you communion (I have seen this happen).  Some unity we have there...

I hardly see the way parishes are run as making denominations exist. I have to sadly disagree. We are one Church, and to compare the Church to the Protestant "denominations" that have no Sacramental Unity or Common Faith is downright wrong.
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« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2008, 04:17:52 AM »

I hardly see the way parishes are run as making denominations exist. I have to sadly disagree. We are one Church, and to compare the Church to the Protestant "denominations" that have no Sacramental Unity or Common Faith is downright wrong.
I didn't say that we ARE denominations like Protestants. I recognize we are one church with one faith and common sacraments.  All I did was observe that in many ways, we operate LIKE we are denominations, and that we aren't really as united in practice as we often claim.
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2008, 04:20:34 AM »

I hardly see the way parishes are run as making denominations exist. I have to sadly disagree. We are one Church, and to compare the Church to the Protestant "denominations" that have no Sacramental Unity or Common Faith is downright wrong.
But how do we appear to those outside the Church?
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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2008, 04:34:35 AM »

But how do we appear to those outside the Church?

We appear fragmented to those outside the Church.
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2008, 02:03:53 PM »

OK...now to launch out...

There can be the same doctrine, same soteriology, same basic "liturgy" and same stance on modernistic innovations and you have the Presbterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America (RPCNA) and possibly the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). Each has it's own "hierarchy," its own institutions, it's own departments of missions and evangelism, its own publications, etc.

How is that so different from Orthodox jurisdictionalism (aka denominationalism)?

Well, for starters, I think it'd be useful to back up a bit.  You're fond of saying (rightly) that the tendency to talk about "Protestants" or even the more specific group "Evangelicals" as if they were one, monolithic group is sad.  What's worse is misapplying the label to groups that don't technically belong to the group in question.  Be that as it may, what you've done here in the part I've quoted is comparing apples to apples -- Presbyterian groups to Orthodox groups -- whereas what usually gets done is the comparison -- and it is one that needs to be pointed out as often as it is, which is a good thing -- between Protestant groups as a whole and the Orthodox Church.  I would actually be comfortable with calling the abovementioned Presbyterian groups as "jurisdictions" of the same group -- differing primarily in ethnicity or region while maintaining sacramental and doctrinal (though not administrative) unity.  Not a small thing, and it's good that they're standing together against the more modernist, liberal innovators in the mainstream (if I remember correctly) sects of Presbyterianism.

But...while buzuxi did make some points which I think were rightly taken to task by PeterTheAleut, one major point that he made which I want to highlight was the following:

Why [are] there jurisdictions you ask? Because the churches here were established by greeks and slavs and arabs, and these jurisdictions still use these languages in their worship, its not because we broke away from each other.

You make very good points as to how ethnicity and differing emphasis in praxis led to various Presbyterian groups' existence here in the US.  As I've said, this, indeed, looks much like what we have here.  But the fact that the Presbyterian groups'  reaction to what was going on in Scotland was to break off and form their own, semi-separate groups would place them in a different category than the Orthodox that came over here -- all still in communion with their respective mother churches in the old countries, churches which in turn were in communion with one another -- and existed side-by-side as Orthodox believers, among whom the primary differences were language and country of origin.  The ethos was very familiar -- and very important! -- to these immigrant communities, so the presence of "St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church" and "St. Seraphim Russian Orthodox Church" within a block of each other has a much different meaning than the three Presbyterian denominations' churches who could, as you said, inform an inquirer as to exactly why they were the theologically correct parish and the other two weren't.  In the case of the Greeks/Russians/Arabs/Serbians/Whoevers, well, they may have had words to say about how odd the music was or how lax such-and-such a nationality was in reigning in their kids during liturgy, but certainly no issues of theology would ever come into play.

"But how does it appear to outsiders?" folks have asked.  It's been said that folks nowadays don't have the time nor the patience to ask or digest the differences (which are very real ones) between Orthodox jurisdictions that don't differ doctrinally and Protestant (not just Presbyterian, now!) denominations that do.  They can't be bothered with the task of comparing groups such as the following:

  • regional or national churches that set up shop here out of necessity due to world events, all the while maintaining doctrinal and sacramental unity with the world-wide Church (Orthodox)
  • groups that, upon immigrating here, broke union with the mother church and splintered into groups that had not existed before said immigration (Presbyterian)
  • groups that originated here or in Europe for the sake of purely doctrinal reasons yet still maintain some kind of odd unity in spite of the fact that most things about Christianity have to be called "non-essentials" for these folks to be "one" (Anabaptist, Methodist, Nazerene, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Church of Christ, etc).


Really, if they're not all that serious about seeing the motives behind the groups they're joining, then I think we can only blame ourselves to a point.

And NOT all protestants create new denominations because some pastor came up with a new idea and started a new church, which is how many Orthodox caricature protestant denominationalism. Orthodox ignorance of mainline protestantism is both alaming and shameful (but that is another subject)...these denominations were formed over issues of theological integrity and conscience. Whether we agree with their reasons as Orthodox it must be acknowledged that these weren't frivolous moves because some individual pastor got a "word form the Lord."

I know it's not always as easy as saying "God told me,"  but really...good Lord.  The Baptists have a problem with Calvinist predestination (though not the perseverance) and with Lutheran sprinkling; the Calvinists have a problem with Methodist arminianism (and vice versa); the Church of Christ has a problem with infant baptism (as do the Baptists again); the Baptists and the TULIP Calvinists disagree with Church of Christ/Lutherans regarding "once saved, always saved"...and on and on and on.  These are not flippant reasons to form new and separate groups, you are correct.  But they ARE reasons that do not in the least apply to why we have Greek, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Antiochian, ROCOR, or OCA parishes in any one, particular city.  The cause of our initial segregation is very, very different.  That it continues to this day is scandalous, but it is not to be confused with the difference of belief present within denominations.

Yes, there's a lack of cooperation and a lot of unnecessary duplication amongst (for example) SCOBA jurisdictions, but at the end of the day we don't have to deal with theological differences that are even in the NEIGHBORHOOD of what either the Presbyterian denominations or Protestants in general have to deal with in dealing with each other.

What this means is that we look and even (to our shame) at times operate like groups who have separated because of very real and very significant differences in doctrine, ecclesiology, soteriology, etc.  But looks may be deceiving; while we may have some of the outward symptoms of denominationalism, it seems to me that the underlying cause of denominationalism in the first place -- namely, deliberate schism over dogma -- is conspicuously absent from all of the Orthodox jurisdictions we have here in the West.
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2008, 03:16:47 PM »

Great post DavidBryan! One thing we must talk about is that all of our Jurisdictions are in Communion with each other and see ourselves as one Church. All the Patriarchs acknowledge that we are part of one Church and commemorate this in each and every Liturgy they celebrate.

Look at this picture:



It's ROCOR returning into Communion with the Church again. The Church is visibly one and we must never forget this. This shows how the Church is visibly one.
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« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2008, 08:50:50 PM »

David  Bryan you make excellent points. It is interesting that you are willing to consider those Presbyterian groups as jurisdictions. I have never had an Orthodox person offer that much respect to a Protestant group.

Also, I was actually addressing a different issue regarding the doctrinal reasons these Presbyterian groups separated (and not in the least comparing that to the Orthodox situation). It was like, while I'm at it I might as well also address the Orthodox tendency to caricature protestants; in that regard I was a bit off-subject. Sorry to muddy the waters! One reason for it, however, is that I found Christ as a Presbyterian and was nurtured in that community; when I became Orthodox I did not (and do not) believe that I found a different God. I found the right doctrine and right practice in relation to the God I already knew and was introduced to in the Presbyterian Church. Therefore some of the responses above about us Orhtodox being the true Church with the true sacraments and writing off the protestants as just being outsiders to the true faith, I find to be bogus triumphalism.

Not to mention the fact that such statements are preaching to the choir!

Now, as to the Reformed Presbys in Scotland. The National Covenant to them was a holy thing. For it to be violated would be like the EP asking to bring his juridiction into the Roman Catholic Church as is it is today with no changes and submitting himself to the Pope of Rome. It was that significant to these Scottish Presbyterians. BTW, I am not suggesting the EP would ever do such a thing, I am only trying to come up with something of the magnitude this was for the Reformed Presbys (also called Covenanters). But imagine if the EP ever did such a thing! Do you think there wouldn't be Orthodox in his jurisdiction who would leave the "mother" church?

I know what the answer is - he had ceased to be the true shepherd and that segment that followed him had ceased to be the true Church. Bingo!
That is exactly what the Covenanters believed the Church of Scotland had done. And the Covenanters were persecuted for it (some even to death).

I appreciate your points, but I still do not believe that eucharistic unity and common dogma and tradition in the USA can be continually over and over again be appealled to as "cover" for functional denominationalism (separate discipline, boards, publications, institutions, etc). At least you call it a scandal, which is more than many Orthodox do.

Finally, I commend you on your knowledge of the doctrinal distinctives of various protestant groups (you must be a convert!).

Finally-finally, by your writing "you are fond of saying" indicates that you have read and given thought to (or at least noticed) my posts when the subject of evangelicals/protestants has come up on OC.net. I take that as a compliment from someone such as yourself who makes posts that are thougtful and contain reasoned content rather than just emotion and opinion.
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« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2008, 02:21:12 AM »

David  Bryan you make excellent points. It is interesting that you are willing to consider those Presbyterian groups as jurisdictions. I have never had an Orthodox person offer that much respect to a Protestant group.

I cannot see the different Protestant denominations as "Jurisdictions" of one "Church". That's just not the way it is. Denominations wouldn't exist if they were part of the same Church.

I appreciate your points, but I still do not believe that eucharistic unity and common dogma and tradition in the USA can be continually over and over again be appealled to as "cover" for functional denominationalism (separate discipline, boards, publications, institutions, etc). At least you call it a scandal, which is more than many Orthodox do.

The Church is visibly one. This is one of the very important Christian doctrines. I would say that to say that the Church is merely a bunch of "denominations" is indeed heresy. I am sorry if I am being harsh, but that's just the way I see it.
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« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2008, 03:45:50 PM »

I cannot see the different Protestant denominations as "Jurisdictions" of one "Church". That's just not the way it is. Denominations wouldn't exist if they were part of the same Church.

The Church is visibly one. This is one of the very important Christian doctrines. I would say that to say that the Church is merely a bunch of "denominations" is indeed heresy. I am sorry if I am being harsh, but that's just the way I see it.
Before you call for the Spanish Inquisition here, I don't see anyone on this thread claiming that the Church is intrinsically denominational, so there's no reason to continue to raise the dreaded heresy flag.  What I DO see in the discussion is BrotherAidan arguing that the [Orthodox] Church in America often appears no different from the denominational landscape of American Protestantism and DavidBryan countering with his observation that American Protestantism could be considered little different from our [Orthodox] jurisdictionalism.  Notice my emphasis on such words as "appears" and "observation".  They're discussing their own particular views of the landscape of American Christianity; they're not arguing doctrine.
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« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2008, 10:16:52 PM »

Great post DavidBryan!

David  Bryan you make excellent points.

Thank you both.

It is interesting that you are willing to consider those Presbyterian groups as jurisdictions. I have never had an Orthodox person offer that much respect to a Protestant group.

Well, if they're united in everything but name and administration...sounds like us.  Apples to apples.

One reason for it, however, is that I found Christ as a Presbyterian and was nurtured in that community; when I became Orthodox I did not (and do not) believe that I found a different God. I found the right doctrine and right practice in relation to the God I already knew and was introduced to in the Presbyterian Church.

Substitute "Southern Baptist" for "Presbyterian" and I'm right with you.

Therefore some of the responses above about us Orhtodox being the true Church with the true sacraments and writing off the protestants as just being outsiders to the true faith, I find to be bogus triumphalism.

Gets old, huh?

I appreciate your points, but I still do not believe that eucharistic unity and common dogma and tradition in the USA can be continually over and over again be appealled to as "cover" for functional denominationalism (separate discipline, boards, publications, institutions, etc). At least you call it a scandal, which is more than many Orthodox do.

I'm not suggesting it is a "cover" for anything, merely that our "functional denominationalism" is not demoninationalism in the sense that it is usually used: to denote doctrinal differences between mutually separated groups.

Finally, I commend you on your knowledge of the doctrinal distinctives of various protestant groups (you must be a convert!).

Yessir.  You can read about my exposure to lots of these groups HERE.

Finally-finally, by your writing "you are fond of saying" indicates that you have read and given thought to (or at least noticed) my posts when the subject of evangelicals/protestants has come up on OC.net. I take that as a compliment from someone such as yourself who makes posts that are thougtful and contain reasoned content rather than just emotion and opinion.

Again, thank you for the kind words.

And...I just have to say it:

Before you call for the Spanish Inquisition here...

NOOOObody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!  Grin
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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2008, 10:57:13 PM »

Before you call for the Spanish Inquisition here, I don't see anyone on this thread claiming that the Church is intrinsically denominational, so there's no reason to continue to raise the dreaded heresy flag.  What I DO see in the discussion is BrotherAidan arguing that the [Orthodox] Church in America often appears no different from the denominational landscape of American Protestantism and DavidBryan countering with his observation that American Protestantism could be considered little different from our [Orthodox] jurisdictionalism.  Notice my emphasis on such words as "appears" and "observation".  They're discussing their own particular views of the landscape of American Christianity; they're not arguing doctrine.
Thank you Peter!
Well said.
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« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2008, 02:02:33 PM »

Ok, sorry, I guess I wasn't really paying much attention.
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« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2008, 04:00:47 PM »

the word 'denominational' can not be used in its purest intent within orthodoxy no matter how much "alike" or "similar" we are or seems to be with this phrase.

The term is 'owned' by the protestant mind and the protestant 'christo-socio-religio-American' mainstream.

Maybe we orthodox are getting, looking and or seeming more and more like common American protestants these days in more ways than we would like to admit. I think that is very true and very sad.

I hear, read and see "orthodox" christians in ways that are for me shocking. I am more shocked when I find that "they" are shocked because I am shocked. Orthodox clergy are in a real tough spot today and are responding to each other, the "faithful" and the world in ways never seen before.

Even so I still do not beleive that it is AT ALL correct to use the term 'denominationalism' (or listic) to describe us orthodox.

Maybe we need a word of our own that means the exact same thing just like 'catholic' and 'universal'.

I think that works and may be needed within our life time if we keep up our current pace.

The term 'denominational' and its varied uses are taken already and is existing happily among the common American protestant world. It is their word!
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« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2008, 10:18:32 PM »

'christo-socio-religio-American'
huh?
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« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2008, 10:19:44 PM »

"denomination" is a word in the English language; it does not belong to any one particular religion or church body.

For example: when cashing a check for a thosuand dollars, one can ask for it in denominations of tens (or twenties, or fifties).

When talking about like-minded church bodies one can call them deominations.

It is simply a word that means sub-divisions or groupings. In the first example of bills; in the second example of groups of Christians.

Orthodox jurisdictions are a distinct group of Christians and can certainly be called denominations in that sense.

In a more technical and PARTICULAR manner, certain criteria go into making the various church denominations:
separate discipline (a Greek Orthodox bishop cannot discipline a Serbian Orthodox priest - his own bishop must do that)
separate boards - synods of bishops in one jurisdiction cannot set rules for other jurusdictions; one jurisdictions boards cannot manage the programs
                 of another jurisdiction
separate institutions: the Antiochians own adn run Antiochian Village; The OCA owns and runs St, Vlads and St. Tikhons; the Greek Orthodox own
                and run Holy Cross; the same holds true for camps, dioscese property, etc. Other jurisdictions cannot come in and lay claim to these
                because we hold the same dogma and commune together.
separate publications: the OCA has a magazine; as do the Antiochians and most other jurisdictions. Fr. Abdulah over at "The Word" cannot determine
               the content of the OCA magazine and Fr. Matusak at "The Orthodox Church" magazine cannot determine the content at "The Word."

These "jurisdictional" activites fulfill the defintion of "denomination."

Does the old Shakespear line not begin to apply here: "Thou doth protest too loudly."
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« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2008, 12:05:00 PM »

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

1398, "a naming," from L. denominationem (nom. denominatio) "a calling by anything other than the proper name, metonymy," from denominare "to name," from de- "completely" + nominare "to name." Monetary sense is 1660; meaning "religious sect" is 1716.

So "denomination" literally means "a misnaming" or "a nickname."
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« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2008, 02:52:32 PM »

So "denomination" literally means "a misnaming" or "a nickname."

Which doesn't apply to the 15 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.  The $1 and $100 are different denominations of the same thing, money. 

The Canonical Orthodox Churches believe in the same things with different names based on ethnicity, region, etc.
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« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2008, 03:22:36 PM »

Which doesn't apply to the 15 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.  The $1 and $100 are different denominations of the same thing, money. 
But it could. The OCA, the GOA, ROCOR--it could be said that all are denominations of the same thing, the One Church.

Quote
The Canonical Orthodox Churches believe in the same things with different names based on ethnicity, region, etc.
Different names, and all called something other than the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. So it could definitely be a "misnaming."

I'm not here saying that Orthodoxy and Protestantism are essentially the same; I mean only that one could argue for using the word denomination to describe the situation of Orthodoxy in America. I'm arguing semantics rather than theology.
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« Reply #42 on: June 27, 2008, 03:33:36 PM »

I'm arguing semantics rather than theology.

Semantics is the Golden Road to Schism.  Old Calendar vs. New Calendar - are they denominations of one Calendar?
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« Reply #43 on: June 27, 2008, 04:10:39 PM »

Semantics is the Golden Road to Schism.
I'm not sure that's true. Semantics is simply the study of how words are used. If our words are unclear, perhaps a new word is necessary to convey our meaning.

Quote
Old Calendar vs. New Calendar - are they denominations of one Calendar?
Yep. I've argued that before on this forum.
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« Reply #44 on: June 27, 2008, 04:33:45 PM »

I'm not sure that's true. Semantics is simply the study of how words are used. If our words are unclear, perhaps a new word is necessary to convey our meaning.

Such a word may not exist in the current thread.

Yep. I've argued that before on this forum.

I remember seeing that thread on Calendars and my above sentiments were reflected in that there may not be such a word.

Going back to my reply on Semantics, isn't semantics (e.g. what is ecumenism) the reason for these uncanonical Orthodox Jurisdictions being created?  These uncanonical Jurisdictions would be correctly labeled as denominations of Orthodox Christianity according to definition of denomination because they no longer believe in the same things as canonical Orthodox Jurisdictions.
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« Reply #45 on: June 27, 2008, 04:44:13 PM »

Such a word may not exist in the current thread.
Quite possibly.

Quote
I remember seeing that thread on Calendars and my above sentiments were reflected in that there may not be such a word.
Yes. I did not use the word "denomination," but I did argue that they are essentially the same, even though they differ as to what to call a particular day.

Quote
Going back to my reply on Semantics, isn't semantics (e.g. what is ecumenism) the reason for these uncanonical Orthodox Jurisdictions being created?  These uncanonical Jurisdictions would be correctly labeled as denominations of Orthodox Christianity according to definition of denomination because they no longer believe in the same things as canonical Orthodox Jurisdictions.
I don't believe so. In the Protestant mindset, there is an invisible church that all Protestants are part of; to them, the differences in belief make no difference as long as one believes in Christ. In other words, there is really no such thing as heresy; every belief is subject to private interpretation. So the fact that uncanonical jurisdictions are not part of our Church would make them something other than denominations, according to the established definition. A better analogy would be the status of Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter-Day Saints in Protestantism. Though technically Protestant, these are definitely "uncanonical" to mainstream Protestant Christianity, and generally have no communion with them.
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« Reply #46 on: June 27, 2008, 05:50:56 PM »

I don't believe so. In the Protestant mindset, there is an invisible church that all Protestants are part of; to them, the differences in belief make no difference as long as one believes in Christ. In other words, there is really no such thing as heresy; every belief is subject to private interpretation.

If your private interpretation is different than mine and both of us have established religions, does this difference constitute a denomination?  God  spoke to Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses & Joshua - was each man's private interpretations of God different?

So the fact that uncanonical jurisdictions are not part of our Church would make them something other than denominations, according to the established definition.

So, if not denominations, then some word that neither of us believes exist?

A better analogy would be the status of Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter-Day Saints in Protestantism. Though technically Protestant, these are definitely "uncanonical" to mainstream Protestant Christianity, and generally have no communion with them.

Both are appropriately referred to as denominations because both have different beliefs which consist of different things.
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« Reply #47 on: June 27, 2008, 06:58:28 PM »

If your private interpretation is different than mine and both of us have established religions, does this difference constitute a denomination?
Depends. Do we both believe we are part of a greater, invisible church?

Quote
God  spoke to Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses & Joshua - was each man's private interpretations of God different?
No. None of them had private interpretations of God, but all of them fit into the larger doctrine of the Church.

Quote
So, if not denominations, then some word that neither of us believes exist?
Yes. I don't believe we really have a word for what we see in Orthodoxy in America, mainly because what is happening to Orthodoxy in America should not exist.

Quote
Both are appropriately referred to as denominations because both have different beliefs which consist of different things.
I'd like you to find a mainstream Protestant who believes JW and LDS are merely other denominations.
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« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2008, 01:16:20 AM »

SolEX
the whole multiple jurisdictional situation in North America is non-caononical. Hence Orthodox jurisdictions FUNCTION as denominations.
This is my WHOLE POINT.

Please READ. Take a moment to THINK. Then REFLECT.

Don't keep just shooting back things we all know and agree on. We all know we are one true Church at our core, holy, catholic and apostolic.

But we will not deal with our uncanonical situation. We justify it. WE explain it historically and make excuses for it.
Some people actually glory in it  (then they turn around and practically issue anathemas on everything else they view as non-canonical - but boy do they love their over-lapping jurisdictionalism in North America.)

Many jusrisdicitons/One Church - so says they.

I say a rose by any other name is still a rose and in this case, it is Orthodox denominationalism.

You have not offered one argument to the contrary. You just keep offering circular reasoning: The Orthodox Church is the One true Church. We can't be acting in terms of denominationism because we SAY we are the One true Church. We have fifteen different canonical Orthodox jurisdictions (creating a totally non-canonical situation - my addition to what you said), but we cannot be accused of denominationalism because that is a protestant word (meanwhile, the term came into being before there were protestants) and because we are the One true Church.

Sorry to be uncharitable. But your posts are quite frustrating because they are totally circular.
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« Reply #49 on: June 28, 2008, 01:23:47 AM »

Which doesn't apply to the 15 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.  The $1 and $100 are different denominations of the same thing, money. 

The Canonical Orthodox Churches believe in the same things with different names based on ethnicity, region, etc.

NO! They ARE the same.
$1 - $10 - different denominations of the same thing, money.
Antiochian, Russian (OCA), Russian (ROCOR), Greek, Serbian, Albanian, - different denominations of the same thing - Orthodoxy!
You have proved my point, not your own!

Perhaps in your zeal (which is commendable), you misunderstand. I am NOT referring to their situations in the Old Country and suggesting that each autocaphalas Orhtodox Church is a denomination. Because they are not. They are national-regional Churches agreed upon by the hierarchs.

BUT IN AMERICA, with over-lapping jurisdictions, they are DENOMINATIONS!
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« Reply #50 on: June 28, 2008, 01:35:38 AM »

SolEX
the whole multiple jurisdictional situation in North America is non-caononical.

Who are you to make such a claim?

Hence Orthodox jurisdictions FUNCTION as denominations.
This is my WHOLE POINT.

If we call ourselves denominations, will that help Protestants accept the Orthodox Church?  No!  One's acceptance of Orthodox faith comes from God (e.g. the Samaritan Woman, the Centurion at the Crucifixion, et al.) and our hearts are hardened to His Message.

Please READ. Take a moment to THINK. Then REFLECT.

Don't keep just shooting back things we all know and agree on. We all know we are one true Church at our core, holy, catholic and apostolic.

If you are united in the faith, why do you care if no one else shares your joy?  I'll see you across the chasm separating Heaven from Hell - My unworthy self will be in Hell.

But we will not deal with our uncanonical situation. We justify it. WE explain it historically and make excuses for it.

That's where organizations like JW's have convinced Orthodox adherents to apostasize and join JW's because JW's can talk unity and not believe in the Holy Trinity at the same time because they have convinced people of Orthodox fragmentation and power grabs by Hierarchs. 


Some people actually glory in it  (then they turn around and practically issue anathemas on everything else they view as non-canonical - but boy do they love their over-lapping jurisdictionalism in North America.)

Many jusrisdicitons/One Church - so says they.

That's their problem.  What about the lay?  One can say that because Arius was a heretic doesn't mean that his baptism and ordination became invalid at the moment Arius became a heretic.  GOA likes to talk about slogans like Every Church a Home.  My Home is not in Unity; I have no right to expect my Hierarch to think any different than I do.  If your Home is in Unity, Brother, remember my unworthy self in your prayers.


I say a rose by any other name is still a rose and in this case, it is Orthodox denominationalism.

You have not offered one argument to the contrary. You just keep offering circular reasoning: The Orthodox Church is the One true Church. We can't be acting in terms of denominationism because we SAY we are the One true Church. We have fifteen different canonical Orthodox jurisdictions (creating a totally non-canonical situation - my addition to what you said), but we cannot be accused of denominationalism because that is a protestant word (meanwhile, the term came into being before there were protestants) and because we are the One true Church.

Sorry to be uncharitable. But your posts are quite frustrating because they are totally circular.

Circular logic is my forte.   Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: June 28, 2008, 01:39:25 AM »

I'd like you to find a mainstream Protestant who believes JW and LDS are merely other denominations.
[/quote]

There are virtually none. They are heretical sects. They began as cults but have found somewhat mainstream acceptability in society.

Also, protestants believe in the right of private interpretation in reading scripture, but they are not devoid of doctrinal standards and creeds. They believe in membership in the invisible chruch through a saving relationship with Jesus, but they advocate membership in a local church parish.

They are Trinitarian, affirm the dual nature of Christ (the Calcedonain formulation), the centrality of the cross for salvation of mankind, Christ as the only Saviour of the world, the bodily resurrection, the final judgement and kingdom, the virgin birth (but not generally the perpetual virginity of Mary), the reality of miracles, the divine inspiration of scripture.

They have differences amongst themselves over the number of sacraments; how to adminster them and when and to whom; the meaning of the sacraments; church government; gifts of the Holy Spirit; eschatology; free will vs. predestination, etc. These differences are the source of the numerous protestant denominations. All these denominations didn't just happen because single individuals ate spicy food and read the Bible and got a "word from the Lord" to interpret scripture in a new way and start a new denomiation (although probably some do have such spurious roots). But most were over matters of conscience or theology regarding these various issues; or in more recent times, fleeing radical theological liberalism in the mainline denominations.

But they DO have standard doctrines - many of them in common with us.
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« Reply #52 on: June 28, 2008, 01:43:02 AM »

NO! They ARE the same.
$1 - $10 - different denominations of the same thing, money.
Antiochian, Russian (OCA), Russian (ROCOR), Greek, Serbian, Albanian, - different denominations of the same thing - Orthodoxy!
You have proved my point, not your own!

No, you have established ethnicities as denominations.  In Christ, there's no Arab, no Russian, no Greek, no Serb, no Albanian.

Perhaps in your zeal (which is commendable), you misunderstand. I am NOT referring to their situations in the Old Country and suggesting that each autocaphalas Orhtodox Church is a denomination. Because they are not. They are national-regional Churches agreed upon by the hierarchs.

Well, on that we agree.   Smiley

BUT IN AMERICA, with over-lapping jurisdictions, they are DENOMINATIONS!

Orthodoxy has faced Her Biggest Obstacle in the heterogeneous post-Enlightenment World.  In Christ, there's no American (ethnic American or otherwise).  Unfortunately, that message is failing and given that the message is failing, Orthodox Churches must work harder to fulfill Christ's Ministries anywhere in the world, especially the USA.  Even though there are multiple Orthodox jurisdictions in one state or city, Economia allows such a situation to exist for the greater good and to adapt to America's heterogeneous society.  Yes, the Orthodox Church does not need to adapt to the heterogeneity of America (or Canada, or Australia) except that doing otherwise would result in a lot of empty churches (due to people focusing too much on ethnicities and not enough on Christ) .   Sad
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« Reply #53 on: June 28, 2008, 01:52:25 AM »

No, you have established ethnicities as denominations.  In Christ, there's no Arab, no Russian, no Greek, no Serb, no Albanian.

Even though there are multiple Orthodox jurisdictions in one state or city, Economia allows that state to exist for the greater good and to adapt to the heterogeneous society of America.  Yes, the Orthodox Church does not need to adapt to the heterogeneity of America (or Canada, or Australia) except that doing otherwise would result in a lot of empty churches. 

Let us show that in Christ there is no Arab or Greek or Russian or Serb or Albanian by having One Orthodox Chruch in North America. There will still be ethnic parishes (like there are Irish or Italian Catholic parishes). There can still be mission parishes for ethnic Orthodox coming to North America. But there should be One Othdox Church in America.

If it leads to a lot of empty churches, then there wasn't a whole lot of Orthodoxy there to begin with. Just a whole lot of ethnicity.

Ethnicity is what the Ukranian Club or Serbian Club is for. Or the Knights of Columbus (for Catholics).

The Church is not an ethnic preservation society. It is the Kingdom of God on earth.

If after eliminating jurisdictions and having One Orthodox Church in N. America, some parishes still have mostly Greek people or mostly Russian people, so be it. They will be in the one Orthodox Chruch nonetheless. If over time those parishes become more mixed in ethnicity so be it. It happens any way through marriages and conversions within some parishes now. So why not have that happen in a unified Orthodox Church in the USA?
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« Reply #54 on: June 28, 2008, 02:00:48 AM »

Let us show that in Christ there is no Arab or Greek or Russian or Serb or Albanian by having One Orthodox Chruch in North America. There will still be ethnic parishes (like there are Irish or Italian Catholic parishes). There can still be mission parishes for ethnic Orthodox coming to North America. But there should be One Othdox Church in America.

Your wish may come true if the anticipated Catholic/Orthodox reunification comes to fruition.  Forget about the ethnicities when that happens.   Smiley

If it leads to a lot of empty churches, then there wasn't a whole lot of Orthodoxy there to begin with. Just a whole lot of ethnicity.

Hey, I agree with you on that one.   Grin  Check out one of my posts on Easter
Post on People Leaving Church early on Easter

Ethnicity is what the Ukranian Club or Serbian Club is for. Or the Knights of Columbus (for Catholics).

Hey, make that two for two on agreement.   Grin

The Church is not an ethnic preservation society. It is the Kingdom of God on earth.

Bingo, three for three.  However, I will respectfully disagree with you on using the term denomination to describe the Orthodox Christian presence in USA and other heterogeneous societies.   Smiley

Edited for clarity
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« Reply #55 on: June 28, 2008, 02:14:51 AM »

Your wish may come true if the anticipated Catholic/Orthodox reunification comes to fruition.  Forget about the ethnicities when that happens.   Smiley
What's that got to do with the color of a horse's tail? Huh
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« Reply #56 on: June 28, 2008, 02:19:33 AM »

What's that got to do with the color of a horse's tail? Huh

Peter, In other threads, I've used anticipated with the blue text to refer to my concept of North American Unity (which is the anticipated reunification between Orthodoxy and Catholicism) which is consistent with the discussion between myself and BrotherAidan.

My comment, "forget about the ethnicities" is intended to describe a Church where one's ethnicity is not as important as what one believes - nothing more.   angel
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« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2008, 02:29:07 AM »

Who are you to make such a claim?
For 17 centuries, the Church has consistently followed and incorporated into her canons the rule of one bishop per city.  Thus, regardless of your personal feeling that this is not important, BrotherAidan is correct that the rule of one bishop per city is the canonical norm, which makes the situation of parallel jurisdictions in North America a violation of Holy Tradition.


From Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev):

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/HilarionOneBishop.php
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« Reply #58 on: June 28, 2008, 02:33:53 AM »

For 17 centuries, the Church has consistently followed and incorporated into her canons the rule of one bishop per city.  Thus, regardless of your personal feeling that this is not important, BrotherAidan is correct that the rule of one bishop per city is the canonical norm, which makes the situation of parallel jurisdictions in North America a violation of Holy Tradition

Thank You, Peter.   Smiley
OK, BrotherAidan, my apologies for questioning your comments.   Smiley

Economia clearly applies to the uncanonical situation in USA and other heterogeneous societies where multiple Orthodox Jurisdictions co-exist.

Edited Peter's quote per his request in Reply #59
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« Reply #59 on: June 28, 2008, 02:37:16 AM »

^ You might want to edit your quote of my post, since I changed the text a bit while you were drafting your reply.  Wink
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« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2008, 02:43:16 AM »

^ Done.  Thank You.   Wink
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« Reply #61 on: June 30, 2008, 02:29:14 PM »

'christo-socio-religio-American'
huh?

It is my own word (neologism)

Say it slowly.
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« Reply #62 on: June 30, 2008, 02:50:23 PM »

"denomination" is a word in the English language; it does not belong to any one particular religion or church body.

For example: when cashing a check for a thosuand dollars, one can ask for it in denominations of tens (or twenties, or fifties).

When talking about like-minded church bodies one can call them deominations.

It is simply a word that means sub-divisions or groupings. In the first example of bills; in the second example of groups of Christians.

Orthodox jurisdictions are a distinct group of Christians and can certainly be called denominations in that sense.

In a more technical and PARTICULAR manner, certain criteria go into making the various church denominations:
separate discipline (a Greek Orthodox bishop cannot discipline a Serbian Orthodox priest - his own bishop must do that)
separate boards - synods of bishops in one jurisdiction cannot set rules for other jurusdictions; one jurisdictions boards cannot manage the programs
                 of another jurisdiction
separate institutions: the Antiochians own adn run Antiochian Village; The OCA owns and runs St, Vlads and St. Tikhons; the Greek Orthodox own
                and run Holy Cross; the same holds true for camps, dioscese property, etc. Other jurisdictions cannot come in and lay claim to these
                because we hold the same dogma and commune together.
separate publications: the OCA has a magazine; as do the Antiochians and most other jurisdictions. Fr. Abdulah over at "The Word" cannot determine
               the content of the OCA magazine and Fr. Matusak at "The Orthodox Church" magazine cannot determine the content at "The Word."

These "jurisdictional" activites fulfill the defintion of "denomination."

Does the old Shakespear line not begin to apply here: "Thou doth protest too loudly."

We all know what the word actually means...Thanks.

But that was not my point.


I did not intend to redefine the word 'denomination' in my post. That is why I used 'my' word which intends to define the impact of culture and society on religion and words; particularly in America.

Such does not redefine but establishes a more "common" understanding of a given word which prevails in the public majority. That of course does not mean a 'new' meaning; but the word is; I guess we can say "highjacked".

Denomination is one of these "words" that is taughted among protestants and is thus a word by nature (not meaning) protestant.

Using this phrase within othodoxy is confusing and misleading and by such can be 'viewed' as untrue.

No offense; but you speculate wildly in your views.

I have never heard such comparisons or analysis to try and describe the orthodox chruch in a denominational mindset.

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« Reply #63 on: June 30, 2008, 07:49:06 PM »

I like Love all our cultural differences in orthodoxy ......if  i want to hear a greek liturgy ill go to a Greek Church .or a russian,ukrainian.romainian,,serbian...i don't want one american orthodox english speaking Church under one patriarch.....i want our differences ,,in food, dance..music and language of the Holy Liturgy,,,i would love to see the unity of the oriental orthodox churches with the eastern orthodox churches and they and we still maintain our venerable tradition in language,food,music...Holy liturgy and so forth...plus  when we have our own patriarch's and not under one patriarch it's better...in case the one should deviate from the true path of orthodoxy thru to much ecumenism we don't  have to follow that one....and the other patriarchs can correct the one that's deviated....SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #64 on: June 30, 2008, 09:23:36 PM »



No offense; but you speculate wildly in your views.

I have never heard such comparisons or analysis to try and describe the orthodox chruch in a denominational mindset.



Really I am not being wild or speculative at all. I am taking the plain meaning of the word denomination, which is: subdivisions of the same thing.

I am taking common characteristics of denominations: discipline, boards, institutions, publications, for example (there could be more).

Then I am asking what about Orthodox jurisdictionalism is any different from other Christian denominationalism.

It is very logical and fairly precise. Keep in mind I am talking only about Orthodoxy in North America.

I think many Orthodox cannot emotionally admit it. The argument is: No! We are not denominational because we are one Church. We are one Church because we say we are one Church and therefore cannot be denominational (even though there are seven Orthodox bishops in my city).

The different Orthodox Churches under different bishops in the same city is itself a problem, for other reasons.  But even though all these Orthodox Churches are subdivisions of the same thing (Eastern Orthodoxy) and even though they each have the distinctive functions and marks of a denomination (separate discipline, boards, institutions, publications) we will say they are jurisdictions, not denominations.

In reality, the word "jurisdiction" is a euphemism for the word "denomination."
 
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« Reply #65 on: June 30, 2008, 09:55:28 PM »

Really I am not being wild or speculative at all. I am taking the plain meaning of the word denomination, which is: subdivisions of the same thing.

I am taking common characteristics of denominations: discipline, boards, institutions, publications, for example (there could be more).

Then I am asking what about Orthodox jurisdictionalism is any different from other Christian denominationalism.

It is very logical and fairly precise. Keep in mind I am talking only about Orthodoxy in North America.

I think many Orthodox cannot emotionally admit it. The argument is: No! We are not denominational because we are one Church. We are one Church because we say we are one Church and therefore cannot be denominational (even though there are seven Orthodox bishops in my city).

Washington, DC has 32 different police agencies operating in the same Jurisdiction.  Some keep the Capitol safe.  Some keep the President safe, etc.  If there are 7 Orthodox Bishops in one city, like I said, Economia allows such a thing for the greater good of the Orthodox Christian faith just as these 32 police agencies operating in DC help keep the US Government safe.

The different Orthodox Churches under different bishops in the same city is itself a problem, for other reasons.  But even though all these Orthodox Churches are subdivisions of the same thing (Eastern Orthodoxy) and even though they each have the distinctive functions and marks of a denomination (separate discipline, boards, institutions, publications) we will say they are jurisdictions, not denominations.

In reality, the word "jurisdiction" is a euphemism for the word "denomination."

No, Jurisdiction is the proper term which prevents all the examples cited in the OP's initial post (e.g. GOA not having influence over Antiochian newsletter content, etc.).  Canonical Jurisdiction helps clarify the difference between those Orthodox Churches which are Canonical and which ones aren't.  As I said, an uncanonical Orthodox Jurisdiction can be called a denomination of Orthodoxy because their set of beliefs is different from those beliefs of canonical Orthodox Jurisdictions.
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« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2008, 08:42:09 AM »

There are virtually none. They are heretical sects. They began as cults but have found somewhat mainstream acceptability in society.

Also, protestants believe in the right of private interpretation in reading scripture, but they are not devoid of doctrinal standards and creeds. They believe in membership in the invisible chruch through a saving relationship with Jesus, but they advocate membership in a local church parish.

They are Trinitarian, affirm the dual nature of Christ (the Calcedonain formulation), the centrality of the cross for salvation of mankind, Christ as the only Saviour of the world, the bodily resurrection, the final judgement and kingdom, the virgin birth (but not generally the perpetual virginity of Mary), the reality of miracles, the divine inspiration of scripture.

They have differences amongst themselves over the number of sacraments; how to adminster them and when and to whom; the meaning of the sacraments; church government; gifts of the Holy Spirit; eschatology; free will vs. predestination, etc. These differences are the source of the numerous protestant denominations. All these denominations didn't just happen because single individuals ate spicy food and read the Bible and got a "word from the Lord" to interpret scripture in a new way and start a new denomiation (although probably some do have such spurious roots). But most were over matters of conscience or theology regarding these various issues; or in more recent times, fleeing radical theological liberalism in the mainline denominations.

But they DO have standard doctrines - many of them in common with us.
My point exactly. Very well said.
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« Reply #67 on: July 01, 2008, 08:43:13 AM »

Washington, DC has 32 different police agencies operating in the same Jurisdiction.  Some keep the Capitol safe.  Some keep the President safe, etc.  If there are 7 Orthodox Bishops in one city, like I said, Economia allows such a thing for the greater good of the Orthodox Christian faith just as these 32 police agencies operating in DC help keep the US Government safe.
So you're holding up the American government as an example of Holy Tradition?
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« Reply #68 on: July 01, 2008, 12:25:08 PM »

So you're holding up the American government as an example of Holy Tradition?

Absolutely not, although in hindsight, safe might not have been the operative word now that you've mentioned it.

How about - These 32 police agencies operating in DC allows the US Government to operate securely just as 7 Orthodox Bishops existing in one city allows the Orthodox Faith to be practiced freely.
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« Reply #69 on: July 01, 2008, 02:02:15 PM »


(even though there are seven Orthodox bishops in my city).


I see your point here!

Lord have mercy!

Thanks for your input.

Selaam
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« Reply #70 on: July 01, 2008, 02:04:56 PM »

I think many Orthodox cannot emotionally admit it. The argument is: No! We are not denominational because we are one Church. We are one Church because we say we are one Church and therefore cannot be denominational (even though there are seven Orthodox bishops in my city).

Oh, we're definitely denominationAL; we're just not different denominations in the religious sense, which almost always (in the case of American denominationalism) has to do with doctrinal difference.  That is the only reason we (yes, I include myself in this) seem allergic to the application of the "d- word": There are no differences of discipline, hierarchical structure, sacraments, major (and even minor, in almost all cases) theological stances, or liturgy amongst the Orthodox jurisdictions here in the States.  To us, it appears like this:

  • denomination: sect of a wider religious group that has separated (or has held itself up as separate from its self-starting inception) from the original (or other)  group for doctrinal reasons.
  • jurisdiction: sect of a wider religious group that is separate -- but not separated in the sense of estrangement -- in matters of church government and programs, but not in any doctrinal sense.

I think we make such liberal use of the word "jurisdiction" because we want something to draw attention to our insistence that there is no doctrinal difference to speak of between all the different Orthodox churches that have set up shop here, as opposed to the VAST majority of Protestant denominations which differ wildly from each other (differences which, then, form the basis for their denomination, as opposed to us). 

Are we unique in our self-imposed connotations of this word?  Yes, but this is hardly the first time a group has taken it upon itself to do such a thing.  In my mind, a jurisdiction is something that is wasteful and unnecessary, but if anything good could be said about us here in the West, at least we're not divided for doctrinal reasons.  Yes, we should, imo, unite administratively, for it would in no way impede cultural distinctiveness to have one hierarchy over an ethnically diverse American Church (unity in diversity and all that) -- but even in our current, overlapping state, we are not the same as theologically-conflicting denominations...and that distinction must always be held up and emphasized.
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« Reply #71 on: July 01, 2008, 05:04:41 PM »

Absolutely not, although in hindsight, safe might not have been the operative word now that you've mentioned it.
My objection had nothing to do with "safe" v. "secure," although "safe" would have been the better word. Safe comes from the Latin salvus, "healthy"; secure comes from the Latin securus, "carefree." (Source: www.etymonline.com)

Quote
How about - These 32 police agencies operating in DC allows the US Government to operate securely just as 7 Orthodox Bishops existing in one city allows the Orthodox Faith to be practiced freely.
Nope. A civil government still is no model for the Episcopacy of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #72 on: July 01, 2008, 05:09:28 PM »

Nope. A civil government still is no model for the Episcopacy of the Orthodox Church.

I used the analogy to reject the denominationalism argument and to explain why 7 Orthodox Bishops exist in One City.  I would never advocate that the Episcopacy of the Orthodox Church emulate any Enlightened form of Civil Government.   Smiley
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« Reply #73 on: July 01, 2008, 11:33:34 PM »

Oh, we're definitely denominationAL; we're just not different denominations in the religious sense, which almost always (in the case of American denominationalism) has to do with doctrinal difference.  That is the only reason we (yes, I include myself in this) seem allergic to the application of the "d- word": There are no differences of discipline, hierarchical structure, sacraments, major (and even minor, in almost all cases) theological stances, or liturgy amongst the Orthodox jurisdictions here in the States.  To us, it appears like this:

  • denomination: sect of a wider religious group that has separated (or has held itself up as separate from its self-starting inception) from the original (or other)  group for doctrinal reasons.
  • jurisdiction: sect of a wider religious group that is separate -- but not separated in the sense of estrangement -- in matters of church government and programs, but not in any doctrinal sense.

I think we make such liberal use of the word "jurisdiction" because we want something to draw attention to our insistence that there is no doctrinal difference to speak of between all the different Orthodox churches that have set up shop here, as opposed to the VAST majority of Protestant denominations which differ wildly from each other (differences which, then, form the basis for their denomination, as opposed to us). 

Are we unique in our self-imposed connotations of this word?  Yes, but this is hardly the first time a group has taken it upon itself to do such a thing.  In my mind, a jurisdiction is something that is wasteful and unnecessary, but if anything good could be said about us here in the West, at least we're not divided for doctrinal reasons.  Yes, we should, imo, unite administratively, for it would in no way impede cultural distinctiveness to have one hierarchy over an ethnically diverse American Church (unity in diversity and all that) -- but even in our current, overlapping state, we are not the same as theologically-conflicting denominations...and that distinction must always be held up and emphasized.

Thank you DB! Finally we are getting somewhere in this discussion. Please note that I have been arguing that, FUNCTIONALLY, the various jurisdictions operate like donominations and NOT that there is any difference in doctrine (I am pretty sure you have gotten that point from my posts, but I am not sure some others have, in fact I am pretty sure they have not).

I see denomination used in various ways: the very similar conservative Presbyterians I mentioned, but as you point out the word can refer to such diverse bodies as pentecostals, baptists, methodists, episcopalians, independent congregations, emergent groups etc, etc.

I think we need to see ourselves as jurisdictions for unity/doctrinal purposes, but as denominations in terms of the non-canonical situation, the superfluous wastefulness and redundancy of all these different, everlapping administrations, boards, publications etc. Maybe it will shock/shame us into taking some action.

I agree with you that there will still be ethnic parishes under one Hierarch/Orhtodox Church in North America but it will be because of need (immigrants for instance), neighborhood (the historic ethnicity of a part of town) or region (there are alot of a particular ethniciy in an area). But not choosing a parish because my last name ends in the letters: "ous" or "onov" or "vitch" or "lah".

On the other hand, with just one Orthodox body in the US, when someone moves to a new suburb, they will go to the Orthodox Church there, whether they are Arab, Greek, Russian, Serbian, convert. The Greeks (insert: Serbs, Russians, Arabs)won't skip the local parish to drive to the Greek (insert ethnicity) parish.

It is ridiculous for fully assimilated third and fourth generation ethnic people who no longer speak the language or practice the customs to attend ethnic parishes just because they say: hey, I'm of Russian ancestry, there's a Russian Othodox Church (again, insert whatever ethnicity), so I should go there. If there was just one Orthodox Church they would choose the nearest parish or one, if there are several parishes in the area, choose one that they felt they could be of most use: (the priest is active and caring and my kids relate well to him; the parish is older and could use a younger family like my own; I could help teach Sunday school at the smaller parish whereas the larger one has a lot of volunteers; I travel alot and can't get all that involved, so maybe the large parish fits us best with all its programs-- whatever). These kinds of reasons beat: I am Serbian so I will go here; I am of Arab descent so will go there.
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« Reply #74 on: July 02, 2008, 12:17:13 AM »

I think we need to see ourselves as jurisdictions for unity/doctrinal purposes, but as denominations in terms of the non-canonical situation, the superfluous wastefulness and redundancy of all these different, everlapping administrations, boards, publications etc. Maybe it will shock/shame us into taking some action.

Write a letter to Patriarch Bartholomew explaining all of these above concepts and ask His All Holiness to explain His side of Ligonier 14 years after the fact.  I think "retiring" Archbishop Iakovos sent a clear sign that North American Unity was a no-go in 1994 and still applies in 2008.  Do not forget that there are other Ancient Patriarchates, all of them dominated by Greeks, which don't want to see North American Unity.

I agree with you that there will still be ethnic parishes under one Hierarch/Orhtodox Church in North America but it will be because of need (immigrants for instance), neighborhood (the historic ethnicity of a part of town) or region (there are alot of a particular ethniciy in an area). But not choosing a parish because my last name ends in the letters: "ous" or "onov" or "vitch" or "lah".

Let's see what will happen as the 90% Interfaith Marriage rate continues to exist in the GOA; pews become emptier and a handful of wealthy people support each local Church.

On the other hand, with just one Orthodox body in the US, when someone moves to a new suburb, they will go to the Orthodox Church there, whether they are Arab, Greek, Russian, Serbian, convert. The Greeks (insert: Serbs, Russians, Arabs)won't skip the local parish to drive to the Greek (insert ethnicity) parish.

Or watch Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer preach about Materialistic Christianity before running off to swimming practice.

It is ridiculous for fully assimilated third and fourth generation ethnic people who no longer speak the language or practice the customs to attend ethnic parishes just because they say: hey, I'm of Russian ancestry, there's a Russian Othodox Church (again, insert whatever ethnicity), so I should go there. If there was just one Orthodox Church they would choose the nearest parish or one, if there are several parishes in the area, choose one that they felt they could be of most use: (the priest is active and caring and my kids relate well to him; the parish is older and could use a younger family like my own; I could help teach Sunday school at the smaller parish whereas the larger one has a lot of volunteers; I travel alot and can't get all that involved, so maybe the large parish fits us best with all its programs-- whatever). These kinds of reasons beat: I am Serbian so I will go here; I am of Arab descent so will go there.

My Priest once suggested to the parishioners to call someone who was unchurched or dechurched and simply invite them to Church.  So far, that hasn't worked....
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« Reply #75 on: July 02, 2008, 11:37:02 AM »

I used the analogy to reject the denominationalism argument and to explain why 7 Orthodox Bishops exist in One City.  I would never advocate that the Episcopacy of the Orthodox Church emulate any Enlightened form of Civil Government.   Smiley
The seven bishops are there as a carryover from the days of widespread Eastern European immigration in the first part of the twentieth century. As those communities are being absorbed into mainstream society, these bishops are increasingly irrelevant. In my parish alone, Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Romanians, and Lebanese all talk to each other in a common language, English. There is no need for a Greek bishop, a Russian bishop, a Romanian bishop, and an Antiochian bishop. We have one bishop, Bp. Job of the OCA. Both parishes in my city are under this one bishop--as it should be.
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« Reply #76 on: July 02, 2008, 09:10:57 PM »

Write a letter to Patriarch Bartholomew explaining all of these above concepts and ask His All Holiness to explain His side of Ligonier 14 years after the fact.  I think "retiring" Archbishop Iakovos sent a clear sign that North American Unity was a no-go in 1994 and still applies in 2008.  Do not forget that there are other Ancient Patriarchates, all of them dominated by Greeks, which don't want to see North American Unity.


We don't believe in partriarchal infallibility.

Not to be disrespectful or uncharitable, but these patriarchates are also dependent upon American money, so of course they don't want them to escape their sway (as I said, we don't ascribe to the infallibility of these patriarchs)
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« Reply #77 on: July 02, 2008, 09:13:36 PM »



Let's see what will happen as the 90% Interfaith Marriage rate continues to exist in the GOA; pews become emptier and a handful of wealthy people support each local Church.


North American unity has nothing to do with interfaith marriages.
I thought we had already agreed that if people needed an ethnic club they could go join one. If unity empties the ethnic churches then there was not a whole lot of Orthodoxy there to begin with.
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« Reply #78 on: July 02, 2008, 09:15:35 PM »



Or watch Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer preach about Materialistic Christianity before running off to swimming practice.


Again, unity has nothing to do with TV church or blatant secularism.
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« Reply #79 on: July 02, 2008, 09:19:19 PM »



My Priest once suggested to the parishioners to call someone who was unchurched or dechurched and simply invite them to Church.  So far, that hasn't worked....
Success is not the measure of pastoral faithfulness. Your priest is being faithful as a shepherd to encourage his congregation to reach out to their lost sheep or stray sheep friends. Their disregarding his message puts them at odds with their spiritual father.

Again this has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Friend, these are your weakest arguments yet!
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« Reply #80 on: July 02, 2008, 09:27:50 PM »

The seven bishops are there as a carryover from the days of widespread Eastern European immigration in the first part of the twentieth century. As those communities are being absorbed into mainstream society, these bishops are increasingly irrelevant. In my parish alone, Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Romanians, and Lebanese all talk to each other in a common language, English. There is no need for a Greek bishop, a Russian bishop, a Romanian bishop, and an Antiochian bishop. We have one bishop, Bp. Job of the OCA. Both parishes in my city are under this one bishop--as it should be.

Would that this were the case in every city.

BTW, my non-canonical idea for getting out of this non-canonical situation would be to have all the bishops in a city sit as a synod. Each bishop would have an annual turn as "head" bishop. They would rotate until they all died or retired. At that point, the churches in the city would elect one bishop. A bishop from the nearest neighboring diocese would come to consecrate the new bishop. Eventually, the newly elected bishops would meet as a synod and elect a patriarch.

This may take place with or without the approval of the Ancient sees. Eventually they would recognize the American Church (it happened in the past when other mother jurisdictions didn't want there babies to grow up and withheld autocephaly. The children took it upon themselves and eventually mom came around - I remember reading about this when I first became Orthodox - it was one of the Slavic/Russian Churches, I think)

As I said, the plan is probably completely un-canonical, but no more so than our current situation.
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« Reply #81 on: July 02, 2008, 09:30:51 PM »



This may take place with or without the approval of the Ancient sees. Eventually they would recognize the American Church (it happened in the past when other mother jurisdictions didn't want there babies to grow up and withheld autocephaly. The children took it upon themselves and eventually mom came around



Actually, this reminds me of a Willie Nelson song: Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be autocephalies!   Shocked
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« Reply #82 on: July 03, 2008, 12:57:56 AM »

We don't believe in partriarchal infallibility.

I never claimed that Patriarch Bartholomew or any other Patriarch was infallible.  His All Holiness' Synod rejected Ligonier and His All Holiness, as head of the Patriarchal Synod, is responsible for that decision.

Not to be disrespectful or uncharitable, but these patriarchates are also dependent upon American money, so of course they don't want them to escape their sway (as I said, we don't ascribe to the infallibility of these patriarchs)

Goes back to my earlier point about Orthodoxy in Heterogeneous Societies and how to compromise "My Kingdom is not of this World" to the Secular society.  Isolation into ethnic enclaves doesn't address the evangelical directives of Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #83 on: July 03, 2008, 02:00:27 AM »

Not to be disrespectful or uncharitable, but these patriarchates are also dependent upon American money, so of course they don't want them to escape their sway

Again, the money myth surfaces. Maybe this is true for other jurisdictions (and I doubt that as well), but not for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
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« Reply #84 on: July 03, 2008, 10:07:55 AM »

I'm standing by my old solution.  We should all get together with our bishops and just work it out.

Be at my house today at 2 PM.  Please bring beer and, if you have to, a bishop.  Once this weekend is over we'll have seen some great fireworks, sent a couple people to the hospital with minor burns, bailed a couple of guys out of jail, caused minor fire damage and major liver damage. 

Of course we'll all still disagree about this whole unity thing, but what a party . . .

P.S. Please don't bring dairy products or meat.  We *are* fasting after all.
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« Reply #85 on: July 03, 2008, 09:59:48 PM »

I'm standing by my old solution.  We should all get together with our bishops and just work it out.

Be at my house today at 2 PM.  Please bring beer and, if you have to, a bishop.  Once this weekend is over we'll have seen some great fireworks, sent a couple people to the hospital with minor burns, bailed a couple of guys out of jail, caused minor fire damage and major liver damage. 

Of course we'll all still disagree about this whole unity thing, but what a party . . .

P.S. Please don't bring dairy products or meat.  We *are* fasting after all.
Sounds about what would happen. LOL!
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« Reply #86 on: July 04, 2008, 01:11:46 AM »

Friend, these are your weakest arguments yet!

To what?
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« Reply #87 on: July 06, 2008, 12:23:06 AM »

To what?
the the OP and the whole thread for that matter!
Come up with something with some logic and substance. I know you got it in you!   Wink
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« Reply #88 on: July 06, 2008, 08:05:58 PM »

the the OP and the whole thread for that matter!
Come up with something with some logic and substance. I know you got it in you!   Wink

Let's start with the quote, in its full context, cited by the OP:

Canons are not unchangeable dogma. They are temporal meant to meet the needs of he Church in a particular era.

The problem with the canons is that there is no Orthodox unity by which to revise and update the cannons. In the US you have Orthodox denominationalism, not unlike protestant denominations. And world-wide you have the Metropolitans of Moscow and Contantinope competing like Kobe Bryant and Shak for supremacy.

At least Kobe and Shaq had Phil Jackson as a very successful head coach who could keep the team together and helped each man have 3 rings on his hand.  By not having a healthy Shaq around, the Lakers couldn't muster much against the more dominant Celtics.  Pau Gasol & Luke Walton are not Shaq in that department.  Also remember that Phil Jackson is a master manipulator according to the 2001 Salon Article:

Born to Pentecostal missionaries in North Dakota, Phil Jackson learned the art of manipulation early in life. As a player, his mental grasp of the game far outstretched his physical capabilities. Jackson was oafish and often injured, and opponents feared his sharp elbows more than his sharp shot....

Such is Jackson's way. He demonizes those on the outside to tighten the inner circle. Coldly and without affect, he alienates the extraneous, and for much of this year the strategy seemed as if it might backfire. From the moment he arrived in L.A., Jackson had fostered a special bond with O'Neal....

It is the uncarved stone, the river ever constant and yet always changing. It is the Way of Phil. You cannot understand it -- you can only hope to contain it.



The Way of Christ isn't the Way of Phil.  Christ, who selected the 12 Apostles from the World, wants all Creation to unite to Him in contrast to Phil Jackson, who favored Shaq and demonized everyone else while the Lakers won 3 Championships.  If God is Love, then there's no demonization of outsiders required to maintain an inner circle of believers.  Note that the Apostle Paul Himself used sports analogies like running and boxing to draw parallels back to Christ.

The EP and MP have different relationships with Pope Benedict XVI because His Holiness knows that the Orthodox will Schism if one or even both Patriarchs establishes more intimate ties (or dare I say, Unity) with Rome.  The MP would succeed in bridging a gap between Russia and the West where Peter the Great failed.  As Christ said, one cannot serve two masters, God and Mammon except Mammon is now political influence rather than spirituality.  The common coach for the EP and MP is the Holy Trinity, not Pope Benedict XVI.

The Orthodox faith is not an NBA team; However, diverse ethnicities and personalities are integrated together into one goal, everlasting life in the eternal presence of the Lamb.  While on Earth, there is discipline when one member of the team errs and there is no distinction/favoritism between team members (non-denominational).  When forces and persecutions attempt to drive the teammates apart, the teammates remain more steadfast (Unity) and do not escape to Free Agency.  If teammates escape to Free Agency (e.g. Arius and other heretics and Heresiarchs), they will be welcomed back only if they display sincere repentance like the Prodigal Son.  The Holy Trinity is the GM who cries at every negative outcome and rejoices at every positive outcome.

Therefore BrotherAidan, the Orthodox faith is unified and non-denominational per the analogy with the LA Lakers (or insert other sports team here).   Cool
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« Reply #89 on: July 06, 2008, 09:41:57 PM »

^ Okay, I got lost in your logic.  What's the OP again? Huh
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« Reply #90 on: July 06, 2008, 10:08:30 PM »

^ Okay, I got lost in your logic.  What's the OP again? Huh
A brand of shirts.
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« Reply #91 on: July 06, 2008, 10:26:10 PM »

^ Okay, I got lost in your logic.  What's the OP again? Huh

Peter, DavidBryan started the thread with a quote from BrotherAidan comparing the dispute between the MP and EP to Shaq and Kobe of the LA Lakers (red text of BrotherAidan's quote).  The OP also commented on a lack of North American Orthodox Unity.

Having cited the quote in its entire context, I provided a basis for Orthodoxy being United and Non-Denominational using the LA Lakers, Phil Jackson, Kobe & Shaq as examples.

Link to Initial Post of This Thread
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« Reply #92 on: July 06, 2008, 11:58:57 PM »

Okay, I think I've got it now! Orthodox jurisdictions are not like denominations after all, they are like sports franchises!

We'll call it the North American Orthodox League. We can circumvent the political issue of a single hierarch by establishing a comissioner to run the league for that Great GM in the sky!
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« Reply #93 on: July 07, 2008, 12:00:54 AM »

Just kidding with you solEX.   Grin
Hope you are not offended.
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« Reply #94 on: July 07, 2008, 12:18:41 AM »

Just kidding with you solEX.   Grin
Hope you are not offended.

None taken.   Grin
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« Reply #95 on: July 07, 2008, 12:29:03 AM »

Peter, DavidBryan started the thread with a quote from BrotherAidan comparing the dispute between the MP and EP to Shaq and Kobe of the LA Lakers (red text of BrotherAidan's quote).  The OP also commented on a lack of North American Orthodox Unity.

Having cited the quote in its entire context, I provided a basis for Orthodoxy being United and Non-Denominational using the LA Lakers, Phil Jackson, Kobe & Shaq as examples.

Link to Initial Post of This Thread
Yes, I know what the OP is.  I just didn't think your convoluted sports franchise logic came even close to resembling or explaining the OP and, if anything, actually detracted from the discussion.
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« Reply #96 on: July 07, 2008, 12:41:18 AM »

Yes, I know what the OP is.  I just didn't think your convoluted sports franchise logic came even close to resembling or explaining the OP and, if anything, actually detracted from the discussion.

Convoluted?  Detracted from the discussion?  How so?   Huh
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« Reply #97 on: July 07, 2008, 12:52:29 AM »

Convoluted?  Detracted from the discussion?  How so?   Huh
Simple.  Your logic appeals to a very restricted sphere of interest, those who follow sport closely and understand the dynamics of professional sports teams.  I doubt that those outside of this tiny group, namely most of the posters on this forum, would have even the remotest idea of what you're talking about; hence, they would most likely see your long-winded analogy as nothing more than a cloud of smoke that has nothing to do with the discussion and only muddles things up even more.
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« Reply #98 on: July 07, 2008, 01:16:23 AM »

Simple.  Your logic appeals to a very restricted sphere of interest, those who follow sport closely and understand the dynamics of professional sports teams.  I doubt that those outside of this tiny group, namely most of the posters on this forum, would have even the remotest idea of what you're talking about; hence, they would most likely see your long-winded analogy as nothing more than a cloud of smoke that has nothing to do with the discussion and only muddles things up even more.

Thank You, I felt that I violated something which deserved the words "convoluted" and "detracted."   Smiley

OK, does every post in the forum have to be written for a broad audience?  I still view the post as a well written post and I'll gladly answer questions people may bring up.  I took Technical Writing in College; I think I know how to address an audience, even in cyberspace.   Cheesy
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« Reply #99 on: July 07, 2008, 12:10:05 PM »

Quote
In the US you have Orthodox denominationalism, not unlike protestant denominations.

Certainly the church has given in to denominationalism, the problem is just more acute in North America.  Take divorce for example

Quote
The church will permit up to, but not more than, three marriages for any Orthodox Christian. If both partners are entering a second or third marriage, another form of the marriage ceremony is conducted, much more subdued and penitential in character. Marriages end either through the death of one of the partners or through ecclesiastical recognition of divorce. The Church grants "ecclesiastical divorces" on the basis of the exception given by Christ to his general prohibition of the practice. The Church has frequently deplored the rise of divorce and generally sees divorce as a tragic failure. Yet, the Orthodox Church also recognizes that sometimes the spiritual well-being of Christians caught in a broken and essentially nonexistent marriage justifies a divorce, with the right of one or both of the partners to remarry. Each parish priest is required to do all he can to help couples resolve their differences. If they cannot, and they obtain a civil divorce, they may apply for an ecclesiastical divorce in some jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church. In others, the judgment is left to the parish priest when and if a civilly divorced person seeks to remarry.

Those Orthodox jurisdictions which issue ecclesiastical divorces require a thorough evaluation of the situation, and the appearance of the civilly divorced couple before a local ecclesiastical court, where another investigation is made. Only after an ecclesiastical divorce is issued by the presiding bishop can they apply for an ecclesiastical license to remarry.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7101.asp

This reflects a different sacramental understanding (since it's centered around the dissolution of a sacrament), and one can get that different understanding by just driving down the street.  The same is true with the reception of converts.  One may need to be received by triple immersion, by chrismation, or simply by confession depending on who you talk to.  You could also point to individuals and entire parishes being excommunicated by one church and then simply moving to the care of another bishop as if nothing happened.  The nationally and ethnically based divisions of the church in the U.S. just give the added appearance of denominationalism (Constantinople said phyletism is a sin, but it has become our international model of ecclesial governance).  On top of that is the congregational polity adopted by most of North American Orthodoxy; which can certainly lend a Protestant feel since the priest can be seen as just the "spiritual leader" of the parish and a hired hand that can be hired or fired at the will of the parish.

Most of these issues are also present in the wider world of Orthodoxy, which may be just the churches in communion with Constantinople, all of the churches of Orthodox lineage (the Old Rite, the various Old Calendarist groups), or other churches of non standard status (like "non canonical" groups comprised of millions of members of various bodies in Ukraine) - the presence of all these groups themselves and the lack of definition of really what it is that comprises the Orthodox Church all just pointing to the basic issue itself.  Ask any of the groups listed above who is Orthodox and you will probably get some different combination of answers.
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« Reply #100 on: July 07, 2008, 02:24:42 PM »

Whether we are separate denominations now or if we are heading that way for the future, one thing is certain, most non-Orthodox people view us as separate denominations. And this perception, whether it is correct or not, will inhibit our ability to
convince them we are the one, true faith.

Since I grew up in the church I was blind to how we are viewed from the outside but I have now been enlightened by the many visitors and inquirers I have met over the last few years.


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« Reply #101 on: July 07, 2008, 09:49:05 PM »

I took Technical Writing in College...
As did I, and got an A in it.
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« Reply #102 on: July 07, 2008, 10:00:20 PM »

As did I, and got an A in it.

What exactly is "technical writing"?
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« Reply #103 on: July 07, 2008, 10:05:24 PM »

The tangent on why some people jump jurisdictions moved here:  Prelest - Why Some People Jump Jurisdictions
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 10:14:24 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #104 on: July 07, 2008, 10:20:52 PM »

What exactly is "technical writing"?
Watch for my answer in a PM. Wink
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« Reply #105 on: July 07, 2008, 11:08:09 PM »

As did I, and got an A in it.

Your mastery of Technical Writing shows in your posts - very concise (not convoluted) and to the point (never detracting from any discussion).   Wink

From the wise sayings of Sisoes the Great, which appeared on the July 6, 2008 Orthodox Weekly Bulletin:
Quote
When a man learns to regard every man as better than himself, he can then say he has become humble

So, you are better than I in Technical Writing....
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« Reply #106 on: July 07, 2008, 11:29:15 PM »

Your mastery of Technical Writing shows in your posts - very concise (not convoluted) and to the point (never detracting from any discussion).   Wink

I totally agree! Oh, that we all could be so immune to tangents! Grin

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« Reply #107 on: July 09, 2008, 11:15:42 PM »

Thank you Tamara and AMM for your posts.
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