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Author Topic: Questions about nature and duration of the Catechumenate  (Read 7986 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2008, 02:49:02 PM »

Taken from OrthodoxWiki:


The Orthodox Church has no formal catechism, a single body of work that details the specifics of its faith. This is one difference between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, who does have a specific catechism."



Once again a demonstration as to why any site with "wiki" in its name is about as credible as Enron's accounting practices were.  There is nothing that mandates a specific catechism for the reception of folks into the Roman Catholic Church.  Sure there are guidelines and programs that have been written out and put into effect in the USA for receiving people into the church.  However the instruction you get to be received into the Roman Catholic Church could be the same way you'd receive instruction in most Orthodox parishes, meetings with the priest, books to read, etc..  It's amazing how even in this article from OrthodoxWiki has to put a negative spin on the Roman Catholic Church.  Do converts from Protestant land who had a hatred for Catholicism before they joined the Orthodox Church realize they are to hang up those prejudices at the door and not judge people?  I mean that is a requirement of our faith, not judging people and loving all and forgiveness. 
Not talking about you Gabriel, just quoted your post because of the article you posted!
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« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2008, 02:51:30 PM »

The  questions that you pose about  excommunication  are of course best asked of your priest, However, the  points made and the penalties imposed were common in the early  and mid-life of the Church as can be found in "the Rudder".  Most  Orthodox Jursidictions world wide have adjusted or tempered these disciplines based upon cultural and societal , some might read "modern" life in the world. Monasteries often still use the Rudder in determining  penances.

The Catechumenate does not and never has had a strictly set time, based upon the canons, it seemed to vary based upon the setting and what level of persecution was going on at the time. The decline in the use of the active catechumenate actually came about in Orthodox societies where everyone was baptized as children and there was no missionizing being done. Adult catechumenates were found only in mission settings, two centuries ago that was Alaska, the the last to present century in North and South America, Western Europe, Africa, and the islands of the sea as a result of the diaspora and the  devolvement of many heterodox churches that have caused more adults to seek out the Apostolic Church found  wholey in the Orthodox Church. As there actually is not doctrinal or dogma as to the legnth or content of  the catechumenate, each Bishop determines what standards he seeks for the catechumen he will eventually be responsible to the Lord on the day of final judgement.

In my parish, one is not considered a Catechumen until the Service of Catechumen I noted above is done. Once a catechumen , our  parish standards are very clear:
1) Attend at least 20 sessions of Orthodox Instruction on Saturday afternoons.
2) Attend the services for 8 out of the 12 great feasts during the liturgical year. The services of the Great Feasts include the Vespers of the Feast, Orthros, and the Divine Liturgy. Attendance at any of these entail attending the services of the feast. If the Feast happens on a Saturday or Sunday, you would be expected to attend as many of the services as possible. [Note Pascha is the Feast of Feasts and is not included as one of the Great Feasts as it outranks all of them---it will however count as one for the task purpose]
3. Read four books about the Orthodox Church or the Orthodox Christian life.  (We assign the books based upon individual needs of the individual for development of  their understanding of the faith)
4) Participate in the services of the Church on a regular basis. This of course is without need to explain, attend Church services when you are able to, and participate to your best ability singing, praying, and supporting others in prayer.
5) Contribute to the life of the parish through gifts of time, talents, and money. Establish a regular giving of alms to the poor, fasting, donating of your surplus to the church general fund, look at your talents and offer the organizations of the church your services and blessings of your talents.

THis works well and we average 10-20 converst a year using this program.

Thomas

edited to correct language and spelling
 

Oh a standardized guideline in your Orthodox parish?  Read the article from Orthodoxwiki posted here, it says that this is how the Roman Catholics and Orthodox differ that we don't have this...... shocking!  Can anyone tell I am sick of all sites with "wiki" in their address?  Thank you Thomas for a good post explaining the process in your parish.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 09:09:42 AM by Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2008, 04:36:16 PM »

How dare you question the validity of the all-mighty Wiki?! *Smite*  Grin
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« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2008, 07:40:42 PM »

Maybe it's just me, but it seems there's so much more to learn and absorb in Orthodoxy than in other churches. There's the history, the ECF, the councils, the heresies, the liturgics, the music, the symbolism of every action, the etiquette, the theology, all those saints' lives, and that's just the  beginning!

Indeed!  No matter how far we've come, we've only begun to understand the mysteries of God.  But this should cause us to rejoice, for we know that the Way to our Supreme Lord will ever-increase in depth... continuing unto the ages of ages (i.e. it will never become static!).


At times I despair that, despite my best efforts, I'll never know more that the tiniest percentage of all there is to learn...

The grace of God is so potent that Christ purposefully refers to the Kingdom of God as an allegorical "mustard seed"... the smallest of known seeds to the Jews at that time.  It was the easiest/simplest way to say: "One micro-atomic-particle of God's grace is more powerful than the entire created universe."

Yes, there is indeed so much to learn, but consider how powerful every particle of Christ's Truth is.  Be ever thankful for each mouthful of the blessed Eucharist!  One step at a time to the blessed Kingdom!


Orthodoxy can't just be contained within the covers of the Holy Bible-in a sense it's not as compact as a simple form of Protestantism. I'm not sure if the thought I'm trying to convey makes any sense.

As a former Protestant, believe me, you definitely make sense.  In my experience, going from Protestantism to Orthodoxy is like going from the Sahara Desert to Niagara Falls... there is so much water/grace you don't know what to do with your self!  You are so used to experiencing moisture/grace so scarcely that to suddenly have it in such abundance is almost terrifying: so much content that you feel you could actually drown!  (not a lot of chance drowning in the desert/Protestantism)  But once again: rejoice that there is now so much hope and confidence so readily available... even if you know every day how much farther there is to go.
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« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2008, 09:34:34 PM »

Weird! I'd always been told that even a catechumen IS given an Orthodox funeral and burial.  We do, after all, have specific prayers for the catechumens in our Divine Liturgy.

When I was a catechumen I asked my Priest ( OCA) the same question. He said he would need the permission of the Bishop to give me an Orthodox burial but as long as he vouched for me it shouldn't be a problem.
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« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2008, 12:15:04 AM »

  There is nothing that mandates a specific catechism for the reception of folks into the Roman Catholic Church.  Sure there are guidelines and programs that have been written out and put into effect in the USA for receiving people into the church.  However the instruction you get to be received into the Roman Catholic Church could be the same way you'd receive instruction in most Orthodox parishes, meetings with the priest, books to read, etc..
When I read the article, esp the snippet you highlighted, I understood it was referring to a catechism that encompasses the entire tome of church dogma/spirituality and not simply the catechumenate period before one is baptized/chrismated.  If my understanding of the article is correct, I believe the Roman Catholic Church does possess a Catechism in book form.  I've seen a book that had that very title.  AFAIK, the Orthodox Church doesn't have a printed Catechism that's adhered to in all jurisdictions.  There are many catechisms (small 'c'), but nothing Official.  I think that's what the article meant, though I could be way off.

  It's amazing how even in this article from OrthodoxWiki has to put a negative spin on the Roman Catholic Church.  Do converts from Protestant land who had a hatred for Catholicism before they joined the Orthodox Church realize they are to hang up those prejudices at the door and not judge people?  I mean that is a requirement of our faith, not judging people and loving all and forgiveness.
I agree with you that "wiki" is not the be all/end all, but I don't see the negative spin that you do; at least not in the section you highlighted.  Again, I could be way off.  Undecided

 

Not talking about you Gabriel, just quoted your post because of the article you posted!
No worries, bro. Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2008, 08:45:14 AM »

When I read the article, esp the snippet you highlighted, I understood it was referring to a catechism that encompasses the entire tome of church dogma/spirituality and not simply the catechumenate period before one is baptized/chrismated.  If my understanding of the article is correct, I believe the Roman Catholic Church does possess a Catechism in book form.  I've seen a book that had that very title.  AFAIK, the Orthodox Church doesn't have a printed Catechism that's adhered to in all jurisdictions.  There are many catechisms (small 'c'), but nothing Official.  I think that's what the article meant, though I could be way off.
I agree with you that "wiki" is not the be all/end all, but I don't see the negative spin that you do; at least not in the section you highlighted.  Again, I could be way off.  Undecided

 No worries, bro. Smiley

I think your right. The Roman Catholic Church centered on the personage of the pope would issue a fully approved catechism as it enforces its will upon the entire church.  The Orthodox Church instead is a grouping of dioceses with more decentralized administration in common communion. The Orthodox Church allows more local direction in such areas as a catechism. IT recognizes that as the Charism given to the Bishop, to shepherd his people by the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give them what they need. Most Catechisms in a formal manner that I have seen have been written or directed in content by the local bishop or Metropolitan and are geared to the society they live within. In other words , what does the catechumen need to learn to practice Orthodoxy in his own cultural and present situation.  St Raphael of Brooklyn saw that in America that the adaptation of the Sunday School in English was a good way to offer Catechism to the children of immigrants---they learned their faith and likewise had reinforced the language of the land, he also opened the Church to the English speaking native population. After going through formal catechism classes, our Priest had my wife and myself teaching Sunday School to the younger children of the church so we could learn as a child and reinforce his teaching and grow, the longer we were teachers in Sunday School the older the child we got to teach. What wisdom!

I think that we as converts often see ourselves as wanting to be 20 years down the road in knowledge when we are newly illumined, when in reality we have just stepped out the door onto the road to begin our life long journey of faith.

Thomas
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« Reply #52 on: July 18, 2008, 08:24:27 PM »

I think that we as converts often see ourselves as wanting to be 20 years down the road in knowledge when we are newly illumined, when in reality we have just stepped out the door onto the road to begin our life long journey of faith.

Well said!
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« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2008, 06:31:59 PM »

The Catholic Church does have a universal Catechism, but it was just published in 1992, so it's hard to credit this fact as some sort of distinctive mark of Catholicism as opposed to Orthodoxy. Prior to 1992 the Catholic Church worked much like the Orthodox in this respect, with each local (national) church producing its own catechetical materials.

I've read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I think it's excellent (as, I think, most Catholics do). I don't see any reason the Orthodox Church couldn't have a similar catechism if all the local jurisdictions accepted one. And personally I think it would be a good thing.
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« Reply #54 on: August 17, 2008, 05:55:51 PM »

No offence, brother, but this very sentence demonstrates the need for a more thorough catechumenate.  The Catechumenate being separate from baptism/chrismation is not a matter of ethnic jurisdictions but of Orthodox teaching.

No offence taken. As a matter of fact, I agree with you about needing more catechesis. However the statement I made that you referred to ("I don't know about other Greek Orthodox Parishes, but in ours the making of a catechumen is definitely separate from baptism/chrismation.") was not actually indicative of that fact. My understanding prior to this thread was the same as yours; that the making of a catechumen is, and needs to be, separate from baptism/chrismation. I was responding to the following statement from Thomas: I do have to note that while the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church in America  practice this, to my experience the Greek Orthodox Church does not separate the two services and performs them all at once.

To me it would not make any sense at all to combine the making of a catechumen into one service with baptism/chrismation. But if Thomas is correct, then your statement that "The Catechumenate being separate from baptism/chrismation is not a matter of ethnic jurisdictions but of Orthodox teaching." is not actually correct, although I wish it were.

As I said, I'm not offended, because I agree with you; but someone else in the same sort of conversation might well find your post offensive. I think that it might be a good idea to look back at what someone is replying to before making a judgement of their understanding. I hope you will accept this as it's intended; which is as constructive criticism so that you can hopefully avoid offending someone in the future, who might be wavering about Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #55 on: August 17, 2008, 06:03:32 PM »

I am not convinced that having a separate catechumenate service followed by baptism some six months or even a year later is prudent in these times. You do an exorcism which ticks off the demons, but then don't give people the grace of baptism and chrismation immediately to fend them off.

It seems to me that the people who were catechumens in the early Church already knew that joining the Church was a matter of life or death.  To take the step forward they were putting their life on the line, and they were often required to have attended a state of purification before being baptised. But nowadays many people don't take the Church seriously. If someone leaves the catechumenate after having an exorcism and such I think they might be worse off then before. To me it seems prudent to just do the exorcisms right before baptism after someone has gone through a minimum of one year of instruction.

This is just my opinion though.
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« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2008, 06:09:13 PM »


The typical length of being an inquirer at my parish is 1-2 years. The typical length of being a catechumate is about 4-6 weeks.

Wow, 1-2 years before someone can even become a catechumen? I've heard of people being ordained faster than that! Not that I think that's a good idea.

In our parish, the length of time that someone is an inquirer and the length of time they are a catechumen varies quite a bit, depending on the person and their background.
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« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2008, 07:07:22 PM »

If this needs to be split off into another thread, that's fine with me.

Indeed!  No matter how far we've come, we've only begun to understand the mysteries of God.  But this should cause us to rejoice, for we know that the Way to our Supreme Lord will ever-increase in depth... continuing unto the ages of ages (i.e. it will never become static!).


The grace of God is so potent that Christ purposefully refers to the Kingdom of God as an allegorical "mustard seed"... the smallest of known seeds to the Jews at that time.  It was the easiest/simplest way to say: "One micro-atomic-particle of God's grace is more powerful than the entire created universe."

Yes, there is indeed so much to learn, but consider how powerful every particle of Christ's Truth is.  Be ever thankful for each mouthful of the blessed Eucharist!  One step at a time to the blessed Kingdom!


As a former Protestant, believe me, you definitely make sense.  In my experience, going from Protestantism to Orthodoxy is like going from the Sahara Desert to Niagara Falls... there is so much water/grace you don't know what to do with your self!  You are so used to experiencing moisture/grace so scarcely that to suddenly have it in such abundance is almost terrifying: so much content that you feel you could actually drown!  (not a lot of chance drowning in the desert/Protestantism)  But once again: rejoice that there is now so much hope and confidence so readily available... even if you know every day how much farther there is to go.

Could you explain your meaning a bit more on the parts of your posting that I've bolded? Particularly about so much grace that you don't know what to do with yourself.

Don't get the wrong idea about our priest, because he's a wonderful priest, and very much loved by the parish including me (or even especially me); but, at least in talking with me, he's focused much more on how difficult it is to make it to the Kingdom of Heaven, and how uncertain the eternal destiny of even the Orthodox Faithful is. Maybe he thinks that all ex-protestants are holding on to some idea of "eternal security," and wants to make sure I'm not.

I know that the Orthodox Church certainly believes in the Grace of God, but I'm not sure how to put together some of the Orthodox beliefs that I hold. I believe that salvation is a lifelong process, not something that happens once and then you're in. I believe that we will all ultimately be judged and held accountable for our actions. On the other hand, I believe in the grace of God, and that Christ died for our sins; and also in confession and absolution.

How are we to understand these things together? Maybe the Eastern answer is simply, "It's a great mystery!" While I feel the grace of God in certain areas of my life, and I believe that I've grown a lot spiritually since beginning the journey into Orthodoxy; I can't say that I exactly feel like I'm drowning in grace. Maybe it's because I'm not quite sure how grace fits in with accountability and judgement, or maybe it's because I'm a catechumen and can't yet participate in the mysteries (sacraments), and grace is communicated through the mysteries.
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« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2008, 08:55:56 PM »

I am not convinced that having a separate catechumenate service followed by baptism some six months or even a year later is prudent in these times. You do an exorcism which ticks off the demons, but then don't give people the grace of baptism and chrismation immediately to fend them off.

It seems to me that the people who were catechumens in the early Church already knew that joining the Church was a matter of life or death.  To take the step forward they were putting their life on the line, and they were often required to have attended a state of purification before being baptised. But nowadays many people don't take the Church seriously. If someone leaves the catechumenate after having an exorcism and such I think they might be worse off then before. To me it seems prudent to just do the exorcisms right before baptism after someone has gone through a minimum of one year of instruction.

This is just my opinion though.

We were actually exorcised twice.
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« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2008, 10:09:13 AM »

I was never made a Catechumen before my Chrismation. Why? Because I was already baptized. I asked my priest about this and he spoke very passionately about the fact that you simply do not make Catechumen out of people who are already baptized. Given the circumstances I am also quite sure that our bishop knows about his practice in this regard. I've had others get up in arms about it though, so I know not everyone agrees with his position.

That said, my instruction lasted just a little over a year. When I first approached my priest about it he said that the bishop requires "at least" a year. The reality of my experience was that it was very informal, but definitely monitored and guided.  From the very first conversation I was assigned reading and even given books as well as a new Bible. After several months of checking in periodically primarily via email I was asked to come in for a more formal meeting.We had a few of these. I started attending the Bible study and discussions we had at our parish. To be honest though, the assigned reading didn't do a lot for me. I've been asked by other converts what book tipped the scales for me, and I can honestly say that reading did very little for me. It was living and participating in the church that did it for me. All the pieces just sort of started to fit together. He told me he would never push me, but that he would not allow me to simply float around, either.

My experience coming into the Orthodox church was very different from my experience converting to Roman Catholicism as a teenager. RCIA also lasted about a year, but it was extremely structured with specific milestones around every corner. When I did finally ask my priest about timing he told me to come in for a meeting. We sat down and he told me, "So, you think you're ready." When he said that I actually physically recoiled and said I had no idea if I was ready or not. I told him I felt like I knew nothing about Orthodoxy in comparison to the knowledge I'd had about Roman Catholicism. He told me that he never wants anyone to feel that they know "enough" but that he suspected that I knew more than I thought I did.

I still really don't know if this is true. I do know in general since becoming part of Orthodoxy I've moved away from theology on paper and am far more focused on living in the church. Practical application, I guess. I'm more worried about my world view and how God is working in me. I want to show my faith, not talk about it (though online forums are an exception!). I don't know where that puts me in terms of people's perception, but I just really felt that I wanted to chime in here and share my experience.

Bridget
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« Reply #60 on: August 19, 2008, 04:39:43 PM »

^ Good story, and I believe your priest is spot on. We have a woman in our parish who was baptized Orthodox but left the Church for some time to join the Anglican church (it was really an unfortunate misunderstanding that occurred when she moved to this area back before we had any Orthodox parishes). When she discovered our parish, she rushed to join it. She was simply chrismated, because she had already been baptized in the Orthodox Church.

That said, our bishop +Job makes it a practice to baptize everyone coming into the Church, because he does not know for sure whether we were baptized in a Trinitarian manner. As my priest explained it: "If you weren't baptized before, you are now; if you have been, then you just had a bath."
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« Reply #61 on: August 29, 2008, 12:13:06 PM »

This is a very troubling topic (that of a short catechumenate.)  I have a feeling (very little concrete evidence) that people are being baptized/chrismated without a long enough catechumenate.  There are a lot of questions being asked on this very forum, by Orthodox Christians, about topics that should have been addressed and memorized during their catechumenate (I guilty of this very thing.)  I can't decide if our churches are doing a poor job, or if our societies are simply too powerful and persausive.  Orthodox Christians of past centuries knew their faith inside and out and they fought and died for it or were imprisoned.  These days we seem to have a 'live and let live' attitude where we have atheist slogans memorized and happily quote them but are completely ignorant of the Lives of the Saints-.  Modernism and it's cousin Ecumenism are literally eating away at the minds of the faithful like a cancer.  I don't mean to sound alarmist (though we do need a wake-up call), nor do I mean to sound as if I'm condemning any one in particular for I'm just as guilty.  Lastly, I apologize for hijacking this thread.  Maybe it's a topic for another thread?

I am sorry but I came onto this topic late.

I appreciate your comment.

Sadly what it will take to change our condition is too difficult for people in our era of the world.

What is at the the root of this problem has been allowed to 'fester' for so long that the 'stink' (so to speak) smells as 'sweet' as candy now. We have learned to adapt our Christian Orthodoxy in such a way that we can now justify our laxity and modernist mind set and life styles with our 'faith'. This includes alot of our clergy. So now anyone who attacks the current way we are happily living particular in America are to be severely shoved and rebuked for being "our judge" and "being self rightious".

You and me are really no better off. We just are willing to see things for what they are and are thus at a first stage of healing.

Orthodox Christians today are in my opinion a lot different from our forebears.

Our preoccupations and immense value and respect even love for the world is our biggest concern.

WE push more heritage, language, national and  family traditon in the Church more than anything
else. Shocking that we do this in an age where we have a global community that we can reach with the message of Gods love and salvation.

But how can we do that if we are using old Greek laguages in the services (as an example) and are not missionizing to the world this message of Gods love and salvation in a way that people will hear and see and thus understand. We even maintain behaviors and tradtions today that is common to any person who could care less about God. This is another stumbling block. Since while the tradition and behaviors themsleves may not be so bad the fact that the people who need to see the light of the Church to belive DO NOT see it because we WHO ARE that light are not shinning  brightly. We put our light "under a basket". So we are walking in darkness with those who are in darkness. Who is saved in this?  We think WE are because we know we have the light (albeit "under a basket") and "they" do not. We will remove the basket when we have a chance...Sundays and feast days etc. But when we walk the street and get back to our 'real lives' the basket goes right back on top.

I am encouraged by the post you made. I hope I have returned the same.

A catachumen must hate his life. If he loves his life than he can not know the truth. He must want and crave to die a full spiritual death in this world. Once he does he will be re-born a new person with a new mind and a new life that is NOT in the world (on earth yes....but not in the 'world') but IN CHRIST JESUS. He will look at the world with tearful eyes and a sorrowful heart. The world he once loved and enjoyed he now cries for. He cries because he knows he can not leave this corrupted world until due time and until then he must remain. His remaining is a life of abstinence and hardship as he bears his cross every day persuing the peace of Jesus for others as well as himself. He knows that he must be a light to the world. And true light always rebukes and destroys the darkness

To often the catachumen is not encouraged to understand that he is on a journey alone. The same journy that he will stay on until he is  re-born if God permits.

The catachumen must not be allowd to think of baptism and the church in his own way. He must not be allowd to think that he will go on with life as usual after baptism.

If this is allowed and he is learned for example again in Greek culture, Greek language, Greek heritage and Greek tradition but does not know Gods Love and salavation for him; how can he persue the peace in Christ Jesus that all true faithful live to achieve? And if he does not know to live a life persuing this peace, this holiness, then what will be his focus as an Orthodox Christian? Painting eggs?, Taking the kids to see Peter Cotton Tail and then a big traditonal family dinner afterward? Maybe kissing under the misel toe? Nice traditions if that is what keeps you going. But the path to etrnal life must be the basis for all of our actions in this world. These traditions therefore must not be allowed to be the basis and focus of the true and holy faith. This starts with the catachumen.
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
athanasios2
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« Reply #62 on: August 31, 2008, 05:27:02 PM »


Our preoccupations and immense value and respect even love for the world is our biggest concern.

But the world is God's creation, which he said was good. Doesn't the Orthodox Church teach that the created world is basically good?

A catachumen must hate his life. If he loves his life than he can not know the truth. He must want and crave to die a full spiritual death in this world. Once he does he will be re-born a new person with a new mind and a new life that is NOT in the world (on earth yes....but not in the 'world') but IN CHRIST JESUS. He will look at the world with tearful eyes and a sorrowful heart. The world he once loved and enjoyed he now cries for. He cries because he knows he can not leave this corrupted world until due time and until then he must remain. His remaining is a life of abstinence and hardship as he bears his cross every day persuing the peace of Jesus for others as well as himself. He knows that he must be a light to the world. And true light always rebukes and destroys the darkness

It sounds like you're saying a person has to be miserable in order to know the truth. It also sounds like you're holding catechumens (who don't yet have the grace of being able to participate in the mysteries) to a level of holiness that even monastics struggle to attain.

To often the catachumen is not encouraged to understand that he is on a journey alone. The same journy that he will stay on until he is  re-born if God permits.

The catachumen must not be allowd to think of baptism and the church in his own way. He must not be allowd to think that he will go on with life as usual after baptism.

Is the catechumen on a journey alone? Isn't the catechumen on a journey with the whole Church?
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Amdetsion
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« Reply #63 on: September 04, 2008, 06:53:50 PM »

But the world is God's creation, which he said was good. Doesn't the Orthodox Church teach that the created world is basically good?

It sounds like you're saying a person has to be miserable in order to know the truth. It also sounds like you're holding catechumens (who don't yet have the grace of being able to participate in the mysteries) to a level of holiness that even monastics struggle to attain.

Is the catechumen on a journey alone? Isn't the catechumen on a journey with the whole Church?

1. God 'created' the 'heavens' and the 'earth' as is clearly given in the first chapter of Genesis. The fathers also teach this of course. Scripture nor the Holy Church teaches that God 'created the world'. The world is mans area WITHIN creation. It is mans life on earth. Mans life on earth is corrupted and impure. Thus we need Christ and the Holy Church for our salvation.

The "world" is passing away my brother as is provided in scripture. However; Scripture provides to us that there will be a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH.

2. You sound like a lot of what has gone wrong with us faithful in our age. Read the lives of the saints and the martrys on a regular basis. Once you do that for a while you will get this point. I have read about the faith of children that caused them to face bitter death. Being "miserable" would have been easy and expected if one was a faithful person. As one story goes the boy told his mother "mommy why do you hesitate; it is better for us to go into the hot oil than to denounce Christ". On the faith of this child the mother and the son both perished in the hot oil.

Christ IS the Truth and he suffered in great misery and died. But He defeated death and rose up.

sadly; people like you and me will not even risk loosing our jobs let alone our lives for Christs sake. we are more scared of our bosses and the loss of our lifestyles, professions and reputations more than God it seems.

What would you have a catachumen be taught? "Its OK to work on Sundays" or some other weak and disgraceful non-sense common to too may of us "orthodox today? Or teach them about christmas trees, santa clause, bunny rabbits and "easter egg hunts"?

Many of us would say "yes"! "what is wrong with these things?"

That is not what I beleive. I am sorry if that seems abit dismissing of traditions many of us love so much.

I agree many of our monks and nuns struggle with the true way of orthodoxy in our age. This was not always the case. We must pray for them for they are for us examples of the struggle we all must endure to follow Christ and be a people "unto Him" and not people "of the world". We are the "light of the world". How easy is that in a corrupted world such as ours?

Like many of us today we have become so complacent and lazy. We have learned to form our "orthdodoxy" around this 'laziness'. Now we want to teach all new comers to the faith to be just as lazy. not good at all.

3. No. The catachumen is a lone survivor in a world that has abandoned God. The catachumen is like a person who has been tried and convicted. He is yet to be sentenced. So he is preparing to receive his sentence and that that 'sentence' will be a merciful one. He will find mercy and eternal life only after he beleives truly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and recieves the Holy Communion. The he is on a journey with the One Church. Not before.
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
athanasios2
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« Reply #64 on: September 05, 2008, 02:14:19 AM »

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate it.

1. God 'created' the 'heavens' and the 'earth' as is clearly given in the first chapter of Genesis. The fathers also teach this of course. Scripture nor the Holy Church teaches that God 'created the world'. The world is mans area WITHIN creation. It is mans life on earth. Mans life on earth is corrupted and impure. Thus we need Christ and the Holy Church for our salvation.

The "world" is passing away my brother as is provided in scripture. However; Scripture provides to us that there will be a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH.

Good point. You wrote "world", and I managed to think "earth".

2. You sound like a lot of what has gone wrong with us faithful in our age. Read the lives of the saints and the martrys on a regular basis. Once you do that for a while you will get this point. I have read about the faith of children that caused them to face bitter death. Being "miserable" would have been easy and expected if one was a faithful person. As one story goes the boy told his mother "mommy why do you hesitate; it is better for us to go into the hot oil than to denounce Christ". On the faith of this child the mother and the son both perished in the hot oil.

Christ IS the Truth and he suffered in great misery and died. But He defeated death and rose up.

sadly; people like you and me will not even risk loosing our jobs let alone our lives for Christs sake. we are more scared of our bosses and the loss of our lifestyles, professions and reputations more than God it seems.

I don't actually disagree with what you're saying here; and I am reading the lives of the Saints; but the martyrs often were full of joy from God in spite of their situation. Maybe I should have said unhappy rather than miserable. People can be in miserable situations, yet be happy because they're focused on God; and on serving his Church. In our parish I know people who are out of work and on the edge financially, and people who have more money than I can personally comprehend; but they all seem to be basically happy people.

My wife and I are considerably less affluent than we were a few years ago; and in some ways I'm thankful for being poorer, mainly because (at least for us) there have been spiritual benefits to having less.

What would you have a catachumen be taught? "Its OK to work on Sundays" or some other weak and disgraceful non-sense common to too may of us "orthodox today? Or teach them about christmas trees, santa clause, bunny rabbits and "easter egg hunts"?

Many of us would say "yes"! "what is wrong with these things?"

That is not what I beleive. I am sorry if that seems abit dismissing of traditions many of us love so much.

That's not what I believe either, and I always did see santa claus, bunny rabbits and "easter egg hunts" as among the more silly of secular traditions.

I agree many of our monks and nuns struggle with the true way of orthodoxy in our age. This was not always the case. We must pray for them for they are for us examples of the struggle we all must endure to follow Christ and be a people "unto Him" and not people "of the world". We are the "light of the world". How easy is that in a corrupted world such as ours?

Like many of us today we have become so complacent and lazy. We have learned to form our "orthdodoxy" around this 'laziness'. Now we want to teach all new comers to the faith to be just as lazy. not good at all.

3. No. The catachumen is a lone survivor in a world that has abandoned God. The catachumen is like a person who has been tried and convicted. He is yet to be sentenced. So he is preparing to receive his sentence and that that 'sentence' will be a merciful one. He will find mercy and eternal life only after he beleives truly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and recieves the Holy Communion. The he is on a journey with the One Church. Not before.

I see your point. I'm still a catechumen myself, and I'm very much aware of still being outside the Church. Nonetheless, I would still say that rather than hating my life; my life is the happiest it's been because I'm following God's call and am finally on the way into the Orthodox Church. Another point of happiness for me is the fact that my wife is in complete agreement with me about becoming Orthodox.
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Amdetsion
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« Reply #65 on: September 08, 2008, 09:59:52 PM »

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate it.

1. God 'created' the 'heavens' and the 'earth' as is clearly given in the first chapter of Genesis. The fathers also teach this of course. Scripture nor the Holy Church teaches that God 'created the world'. The world is mans area WITHIN creation. It is mans life on earth. Mans life on earth is corrupted and impure. Thus we need Christ and the Holy Church for our salvation.

The "world" is passing away my brother as is provided in scripture. However; Scripture provides to us that there will be a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH.

Good point. You wrote "world", and I managed to think "earth".

2. You sound like a lot of what has gone wrong with us faithful in our age. Read the lives of the saints and the martrys on a regular basis. Once you do that for a while you will get this point. I have read about the faith of children that caused them to face bitter death. Being "miserable" would have been easy and expected if one was a faithful person. As one story goes the boy told his mother "mommy why do you hesitate; it is better for us to go into the hot oil than to denounce Christ". On the faith of this child the mother and the son both perished in the hot oil.

Christ IS the Truth and he suffered in great misery and died. But He defeated death and rose up.

sadly; people like you and me will not even risk loosing our jobs let alone our lives for Christs sake. we are more scared of our bosses and the loss of our lifestyles, professions and reputations more than God it seems.

I don't actually disagree with what you're saying here; and I am reading the lives of the Saints; but the martyrs often were full of joy from God in spite of their situation. Maybe I should have said unhappy rather than miserable. People can be in miserable situations, yet be happy because they're focused on God; and on serving his Church. In our parish I know people who are out of work and on the edge financially, and people who have more money than I can personally comprehend; but they all seem to be basically happy people.

My wife and I are considerably less affluent than we were a few years ago; and in some ways I'm thankful for being poorer, mainly because (at least for us) there have been spiritual benefits to having less.

What would you have a catachumen be taught? "Its OK to work on Sundays" or some other weak and disgraceful non-sense common to too may of us "orthodox today? Or teach them about christmas trees, santa clause, bunny rabbits and "easter egg hunts"?

Many of us would say "yes"! "what is wrong with these things?"

That is not what I beleive. I am sorry if that seems abit dismissing of traditions many of us love so much.

That's not what I believe either, and I always did see santa claus, bunny rabbits and "easter egg hunts" as among the more silly of secular traditions.

I agree many of our monks and nuns struggle with the true way of orthodoxy in our age. This was not always the case. We must pray for them for they are for us examples of the struggle we all must endure to follow Christ and be a people "unto Him" and not people "of the world". We are the "light of the world". How easy is that in a corrupted world such as ours?

Like many of us today we have become so complacent and lazy. We have learned to form our "orthdodoxy" around this 'laziness'. Now we want to teach all new comers to the faith to be just as lazy. not good at all.

3. No. The catachumen is a lone survivor in a world that has abandoned God. The catachumen is like a person who has been tried and convicted. He is yet to be sentenced. So he is preparing to receive his sentence and that that 'sentence' will be a merciful one. He will find mercy and eternal life only after he beleives truly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and recieves the Holy Communion. The he is on a journey with the One Church. Not before.

I see your point. I'm still a catechumen myself, and I'm very much aware of still being outside the Church. Nonetheless, I would still say that rather than hating my life; my life is the happiest it's been because I'm following God's call and am finally on the way into the Orthodox Church. Another point of happiness for me is the fact that my wife is in complete agreement with me about becoming Orthodox.

I am very happy for you  athanasios2. God bless you on your journey.

I am sorry I did not know you were a catachumen.

Yes you should be happy!

God is guiding your feet as we speak.

Your journey may be lonely at times, confusing even. Please call on me at anytime. Please consider me as your special friend along the way.

God bless you, your wife and your entire household with health and peace.

Your Servant

Dcn. Amdetsion
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
athanasios2
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« Reply #66 on: September 09, 2008, 12:46:39 AM »

Thanks, I appreciate that. I am very, very thankful for the Orthodox Church; and very much look forward to the day that I'm fully Orthodox.
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