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Author Topic: Old Calendar Worshippers and New Calendar Worshippers  (Read 6154 times) Average Rating: 0
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Byzantine2008
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« on: July 22, 2008, 03:58:22 AM »

Firstly I would like to ask whether there is any difference in Faith matters between Old Calendar Worshippers and New Calendar Worshippers.

Secondly if there what are they?

Thirdly if there are not, then why not unite instead of being divided?

Are the differences so big that unity cannot be reached?

Christ wants unity the devil wants chaos.

Being divided does not help any ones cause. .

Thoughts please

Lord Have Mercy
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 04:00:15 AM by Byzantine2008 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 05:41:10 AM »

How are we divided?

Coming from Finland (New calendar) I could receive communion in Russia (Old calendar) (I would of course have to prepare for communion in the Russian way). The communion is the surest sign that we are not divided.
There are different opinions about the calendar but we are still united as one Church.

EDIT: Unless of course you are talking about the groups that have severed communion because of the calendar. I don't know enough about these groups to comment.
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 05:54:47 AM »

There are different Old Calendar groups and not all of them in communion with the New Calendar churches. The situation in Greece for example seems rather complicated:

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

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

I hope it helps.
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 06:07:54 AM »

There are different Old Calendar groups and not all of them in communion with the New Calendar churches.

 Grin Grin Are you calling the Church in Russia "new calendar"? The Russians are quite staunch about following the old calendar.  Grin

I'm sorry. I misunderstand you on purpose. I just wanted to point out that that the calendar controversy is not causing communion to be broken between countries following different calendars.
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 07:31:09 AM »

Firstly I would like to ask whether there is any difference in Faith matters between Old Calendar Worshippers and New Calendar Worshippers.

Secondly if there what are they?

Thirdly if there are not, then why not unite instead of being divided?

Are the differences so big that unity cannot be reached?

Christ wants unity the devil wants chaos.

Being divided does not help any ones cause. .

Thoughts please

Lord Have Mercy


Sophie makes a good point.  There are many Orthodox Churches that celebrate according to the Old Calendar but which are in communion with Orthodox Churches that use the Revised Julian Calendar.  Orthodox who celebrate according to the Old Calendar but who are not in communion with the Churches that have adopted the Revised Julian Calendar are often referred to as Old Calendarist (note the ending). 

From what I understand, the diocese to which I belong (ACROD) includes several churches that still celebrate according to the Old Calendar. 

In answer to your second question, there also is Ecumenism and issues surrounding it.   

In answer to your third question, there are issues besides the calendar alone.   

Unity is great, but it must be a true unity, one which does not compromise what the Church teaches. 

 
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 08:49:27 AM »


Unity is great, but it must be a true unity, one which does not compromise what the Church teaches. 


So then why is there no unity amongst the Old Calendarist jurisdictions if the departure away from the heretical Orthodox is based on purity of the Faith?   Add to that almost every group that has left their bishops over these matters have spit into many other jurisdictions, each saying the other is now "outside of the Church". I have watched this argument for a few years now and there never seems to be a strait answer for this problem.  On the other hand, those who still remain in the greater communion of the ancient Patriarchates often point to the phrase, "schism breeds schism".

It seems we all want to maintain purity of Faith, so this issue of the Old Calendarists is of great importance.
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 09:49:00 AM »

The idea that we Old Calendarists are constantly dividing is not true--we have had our divisions, and those are sinful. I will make no defense. But they are not constantly occurring and they are not all equal, as if each division produced two competing sects each with equal claims to the truth.

It is a bit unfair to say that we have ordinations but not the power to depose (whether we have grace and valid ordinations is debated by members of "world Orthodoxy" or "mainstream Orthodoxy", but that is not my point)--my point is that practically speaking, there is acceptance that we have made these bishops and they form a Synod, and then when someone splits from us, even if we depose them, suddenly, outsiders recognize two groups. Well, if we deposed them, how are they another group?

A similar situation would be the Ukrainian situation. We could say hey look there are now 5-6 groups of Orthodox in Ukraine. The response would be, well yes, but only one is "canonical" and the rest are deposed. Ok, well then apply that respect in analogy to us. There are several groups calling themselves GOC. Only one of them is the real one.

You could say well, you GOCers have no center of unity (like the EP) so how are we supposed to know which one of you is legit?  It's a fair question--one I asked myself many times before becoming an Old Calendarist. But you can trace the history, the documents (I have 376 pages of them photocopied from ROCOR and other archives), meet the people, see the Church life, and make an informed decision.

If you want to dismiss us based on our beliefs or positions, then fine, I can accept that, but I would caution against raising the "they are endlessly divided" card because 1) we are not as divided as is commonly suggested (I have heard that we have 25 Synods from one clergyman! what a fantasy!) if you look at the situation comprehensively, and 2) divisions exist everywhere.

We will answer to God for any shortcoming on our part that keeps people from returning to Church Tradition. But I believe that the Old Calendar "Resistance" Church is necessary in this time.
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 10:28:20 AM »

The idea that we Old Calendarists are constantly dividing is not true--we have had our divisions, and those are sinful. I will make no defense. But they are not constantly occurring and they are not all equal, as if each division produced two competing sects each with equal claims to the truth.

It is a bit unfair to say that we have ordinations but not the power to depose (whether we have grace and valid ordinations is debated by members of "world Orthodoxy" or "mainstream Orthodoxy", but that is not my point)--my point is that practically speaking, there is acceptance that we have made these bishops and they form a Synod, and then when someone splits from us, even if we depose them, suddenly, outsiders recognize two groups. Well, if we deposed them, how are they another group?

A similar situation would be the Ukrainian situation. We could say hey look there are now 5-6 groups of Orthodox in Ukraine. The response would be, well yes, but only one is "canonical" and the rest are deposed. Ok, well then apply that respect in analogy to us. There are several groups calling themselves GOC. Only one of them is the real one.

You could say well, you GOCers have no center of unity (like the EP) so how are we supposed to know which one of you is legit?  It's a fair question--one I asked myself many times before becoming an Old Calendarist. But you can trace the history, the documents (I have 376 pages of them photocopied from ROCOR and other archives), meet the people, see the Church life, and make an informed decision.

If you want to dismiss us based on our beliefs or positions, then fine, I can accept that, but I would caution against raising the "they are endlessly divided" card because 1) we are not as divided as is commonly suggested (I have heard that we have 25 Synods from one clergyman! what a fantasy!) if you look at the situation comprehensively, and 2) divisions exist everywhere.

We will answer to God for any shortcoming on our part that keeps people from returning to Church Tradition. But I believe that the Old Calendar "Resistance" Church is necessary in this time.
Seeing that you are of the GOC persuasion, what other things separate Calendarists from the rest of Orthodoxy, if separate is the word to use, and I am sure that it is not. I must admit that I only have a cursory knowledge of the Calendar controversy. And when I say cursory I mean that I really am only aware that the division is over the different calendars. Please inform me of the other issues Father. Thanks and God Bless!
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 10:58:09 AM »

So then why is there no unity amongst the Old Calendarist jurisdictions if the departure away from the heretical Orthodox is based on purity of the Faith?

Just to add, some Synods do not bear the same ecclesiology as the next one.  There are some Synods whose bishops have been deposed that bear the same ecclesiology as the ones who deposed them, and there are other Synods who have been deposed but hold to a different ecclesiology.  One Synod in particular teaches that the new calendarist mysteries still bear grace, while other Synods teach that the new calendarist mysteries are without grace.

So in all cases, as Fr. Anastasios explained, it is a matter of deposition that seperates the various "GOC's" from the GOC that Fr. Anastasios and I both belong to.  But there are some cases that these deposed Synods have taken on an entirely different ecclesiology from the GOC, thus making us not all the same.

This is not to say, however, that talks are not continually in progress.  The GOC is continually working to try to see if unity to be achieved between the various "GOCs".       
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2008, 11:04:48 AM »

The idea that we Old Calendarists are constantly dividing is not true--we have had our divisions, and those are sinful. I will make no defense. But they are not constantly occurring and they are not all equal, as if each division produced two competing sects each with equal claims to the truth.

Ah - but isn't that what one partisan of any division asserts?
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2008, 11:14:19 AM »

Ah - but isn't that what one partisan of any division asserts?

Yes, but I am not a postmodernist. I believe that evidence can be used to ascertain the truth. Not all things are relative Smiley

I spent almost 2 years reading pretty much everything that exists on the topic and meeting people and talking to them. Each side has its story, but the question is, which story checks up? Eventually you look at the evidence and make a decision. It's the same thing I did with Orthodoxy vs Catholicism: two groups making verifiable truth claims. Which one was right?
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2008, 01:03:39 PM »

Yes, but I am not a postmodernist. I believe that evidence can be used to ascertain the truth. Not all things are relative Smiley

I spent almost 2 years reading pretty much everything that exists on the topic and meeting people and talking to them. Each side has its story, but the question is, which story checks up? Eventually you look at the evidence and make a decision. It's the same thing I did with Orthodoxy vs Catholicism: two groups making verifiable truth claims. Which one was right?

I am currently doing the same. 

Fr. Anastasios, what is your Synod's position exactly on the New Calendar churches?  Are they outside of the Church?
Do their mysteries have grace?

Quote
There are several groups calling themselves GOC. Only one of them is the real one.

Each group says this!  For example, I have read debates between Florinites and Matthewites.  The Matthewites point out that the Florinites have wavered on their dogmatic position on the New Calendar many times, but claim that ultimately Met. Chrysostom told his priests to go under the Matthewites.  I never say any of the Florinite members refute this but that may only mean those points never got a chance to get addressed before the topic crashed and burned.

It seems these debates get so heated so quick that an observer can't properly separate the various positions.


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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2008, 02:39:44 PM »

I am currently doing the same. 

Fr. Anastasios, what is your Synod's position exactly on the New Calendar churches?  Are they outside of the Church?
Do their mysteries have grace?

I am going to deliberately refrain from answering that question at this time for the same reason that you might avoid answering the question if I asked it in reverse: How does "World Orthodoxy" view the GOC mysteries? I think the question itself is loaded and comes from a particular mindset that seeks to have the t's crossed and the i's dotted.  The question has dogmatic, canonical, and pastoral implications and the degree to which these are applicable to "The New Calendar Churches" is debatable and indeed debated. I don't have the willpower to write an essay on the topic so I am not going to do it injustice by giving you my conclusion without addressing that which would lead up to that conclusion. I also find these discussions to be extremely physically draining on myself.

Quote
Each group says this!  For example, I have read debates between Florinites and Matthewites.  The Matthewites point out that the Florinites have wavered on their dogmatic position on the New Calendar many times, but claim that ultimately Met. Chrysostom told his priests to go under the Matthewites.  I never say any of the Florinite members refute this but that may only mean those points never got a chance to get addressed before the topic crashed and burned.

Yes, each group says this. How could it be any other way? I don't argue with Matthewites because I think they oversimplify a complex situation and interpret historical events according to their principles, even when that requires some creative interpretation. They would probably say I am wishy washy. You, as an outsider, could fairly assess the two sides though based on the data available--even though we are both making claims, they are verifiable.

Quote
It seems these debates get so heated so quick that an observer can't properly separate the various positions.

Very true, which is why I rarely engage in such debates online. Most people have not done their research and taken the time to actually look at primary sources and meet with people who witnessed the events first hand. I have--I wrote my thesis on this topic. I don't think one can really understand it just by reading things online because a lot of things have not been published online or people who discuss them often have a terrible slant.

If you need any assistance in your research obtaining copies of primary source documents please feel free to private message me.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2008, 03:07:13 PM »

A dumb or not so dumb Question?....plus im really confused....
How Come All The old calender Churches that seperated don't all unite and go with one old calendar patriarch,,say for instant's,,,jeruslam,russia,serbia,or who ever else is a old calender patriarch.....why all these separate inependent body's....in unity they'd would be more stonger i would think....and eventually could bring all the new calender churches back to the old calender.....i pray for old calender unity.....SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2008, 03:17:27 PM »

I would just like to say something concerning this entire issue that can be regarded as "WHO IS ORTHODOX"

Some groups feel it their right to view an entire people as "heretical" because of the actions of a Priest or a group of Priests who happen to disagree with another group of Priests. The capacity of such thinking may have been practical with small groups of followers (such as was the case with the Priest Aryan and his small following that was aware of the controversy). However, the mass of Orthodox that lived during the early 1900's were not even aware of the controversy and issues instigated by Met. Metaxakis who caused a schism between "Old" an "New" Calanderists.

With such thinking that those who follow so-called heretical Priests are also heretics, this only demonstrates the abscence of logic and love within Christianity.

This is not even about interpretation, but mortal men believing that they can dictate where the HOLY SPIRIT dwells and with whom!!!

All people who call each other heretics because of a calander have only validated their faith in a calander and not its purpose to measure time as we draw closer to the end.

Do I consider an Orthodox Christian a heretic because of the actions of Met. Metaxakis? No, because his sins belong to him. However, knowing that even he confessed and repented his sin, can I call him a heretic? Only God can Judge this. We can look at what the Church says in a LEGALISTIC WAY and then thats all we have. Laws without Christian love. Yes, some may argue that to cause schism is unforgivable, but how rigid is mankind and how infinite and merciful is God?

Don't push each other away because they don't follow the correct calander or language, or because they have pews in their churches or because women and men are not divided in service! These expressions of faith do not measure a man or a womans love of Jesus Christ.

I see more LEGALISTS Orthodox Christians today than I see TRUE ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS!

I am not validated by jurisdiction or a calander. I am validated by my actions and thoughts in Jesus Christ's name!
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2008, 03:27:25 PM »

 once excuses are found to change little thing's,,adding pew's, new calender, or  ugh organ's,,,,what else will become fair game for  change...no it has to be stopped and not allowed.. be it little or greater change ..im very pro old calender no change period .......let's keep our ancient way........SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2008, 03:27:49 PM »

A dumb or not so dumb Question?....plus im really confused....
How Come All The old calender Churches that seperated don't all unite and go with one old calendar patriarch,,say for instant's,,,jeruslam,russia,serbia,or who ever else is a old calender patriarch.....why all these separate inependent body's....in unity they'd would be more stonger i would think....and eventually could bring all the new calender churches back to the old calender.....i pray for old calender unity.....SmileyCentral.com" border="0
Not all who follow the Old Calendar are in fact Old Calendarists.
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2008, 03:36:07 PM »

If not what are they then,,,,,SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2008, 03:47:55 PM »

If not what are they then,,,,,SmileyCentral.com" border="0
Orthodox churches who continue to follow the Old Calendar yet see no point in condemning the New Calendar or resisting its use in other Orthodox churches.  I know of such parishes in my own [mostly New Calendar] OCA Diocese of the West.
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2008, 03:48:21 PM »

Greetings in Christ stashko,

There is some validity to your point about "adding little things" and in all seriousness such issues can be addressed in the way that Jesus Christ commands of us in terms of looking at ourselves before looking at others.

Some people are born into the New or Old Calander Church and are raised to be part of that tradition in a cultural and spiritual way. What is unfortunate in examining the "little things" about others is that we make BIG ISSUES about these little things.

For example, I've visited Old Calander Churches and New Calander Churches of various litrugical languages. I've noticed some "little" differences that do not interrupt the sanctity of the Orthodox Liturgy and Sacraments. Beards, pews, women wearing head coverings, men and women requiring seperation during liturgical services, etc etc.

These "little things" have some consequence since how we express ourselves physically reflrects our spiritual state internally (to a certain degre). However, then again, those who express themselves externally and for everyone to see do not necessarily have a healthy spiritual state. Even Jesus Christ warned us to pray and fast out of sight of others so that only God knows are labours for Him. Do what the Pharisees say, but not what they do, so to speak.

Membership to the Church is not defined by a calander or how others act and behave, but how we live our lives in accordance to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Or could I be in the "correct" membership and nothing else matters. These absolutes are antithetical to living as Orthodox Christians and only serve to promote a LEGALIST ORTHODOX mentality.

For example, Coptic Orthodox Christians are called Monophysites although their professions of faith contradict this label and no one seems to care why this is so? Instead, everyone wants to label others "heretics" to validate themselves. Sightings of the Virgin Mary have appeared over a Coptic Church in Egypt twice (1968 and 2000), so if they are "heretics" why would the Blessed Mother appear to them and not the New or Old Calanderists, or anyone else for that matter?

I do not argue against the "little things" although some examples are worthy.
My belief is that we validate our faith at the expense of others. We as people cannot dictate how the Holy Spirit operates, where the Holy Spirit exists, or say that only we retain the grace of God through the Holy Spirit. These things are the ultimate conclusions of examining the "little things"
I've experienced these things first hand, and all those who profess to have the truth usually have nothing.
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2008, 04:07:09 PM »

Orthodox churches who continue to follow the Old Calendar yet see no point in condemning the New Calendar or resisting its use in other Orthodox churches.  I know of such parishes in my own [mostly New Calendar] OCA Diocese of the West.



It's so upsetting to hear this....so there is no old calender patriarch's that are really a true defender's of ancient orthodox way ...it's sad to hear....then we need a new and true old calender patriarch that established thru the seperated old calender churched that defend's the ancient orthodox way...i  would be the first one to join ...enough with these patriarch's that find excuses and recognize these changes ...out with them......SmileyCentral.com" border="0they got to go...
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2008, 04:54:30 PM »

Quote
I am going to deliberately refrain from answering that question at this time for the same reason that you might avoid answering the question if I asked it in reverse: How does "World Orthodoxy" view the GOC mysteries? I think the question itself is loaded and comes from a particular mindset that seeks to have the t's crossed and the i's dotted.  The question has dogmatic, canonical, and pastoral implications and the degree to which these are applicable to "The New Calendar Churches" is debatable and indeed debated

Dear Fr. Anastasios --

The url below is a link to your Church's official website and contains an article regarding New Calendar churches:

http://www.thegreekorthodoxchurch.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78&Itemid=107

It is pretty clear that the GOC views New Calendar churches to be heretical and thus devoid of Grace. Is there really a debate in the GOC regarding Grace in New Calendar churches? It seems to me that the "official position" of the GOC is that the New Calendar churches are in fact devoid of Grace.

Gregory
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2008, 05:16:14 PM »

Greetings in Christ Twentynine,

I could not help but notice that Fr. Anastasios wanted to refrain from answering a certain question. Have you considered that perhaps he is refraining from condemning others? Obviously he has a point of view that seems to be a loving one towards others. While I do know of a few GOC Priests that outright express absolute decrees against OCA and others, I do not detect that here.

I don't think it is fair to say that the GOC has such a singular view. I don't think any Orthodox jurisdiction actually does even though the Patriarchs of each jurisdiction is appointed to represent the members of that jurisdiction.

I don't believe everything is black and white and neither do I believe there is a grey area. I simply believe that Orthodoxy is not "mechanical" or legalistic. If we don't view each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, let us at least do so in humanity. I think this is Fr. Anastasios stance perhaps. I don't mean to speak on his behalf, but I do recognize these debates from long ago.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2008, 05:20:25 PM »

Dear Fr. Anastasios --

The url below is a link to your Church's official website and contains an article regarding New Calendar churches:

http://www.thegreekorthodoxchurch.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78&Itemid=107

It is pretty clear that the GOC views New Calendar churches to be heretical and thus devoid of Grace. Is there really a debate in the GOC regarding Grace in New Calendar churches? It seems to me that the "official position" of the GOC is that the New Calendar churches are in fact devoid of Grace.

Gregory

Dear Gregory,

Please see my post above as to why I am choosing to not directly answer the question. I do not wish to give a short, non-comprehensive answer to this complex and delicate question.

When you ask, "is there really a debate in the GOC regarding Grace in New Calendar churches," what is your intent in asking that?

Where in that article is there a detailed discussion of the question of grace in heretical Churches addressed comprehensively?

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
(who is, coincidentally, the webmaster of the site to which you refer, and thus, the one who posted the article to which you refer)
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2008, 07:02:45 PM »

My use of the term "True Orthodox" does not refer to the canonical Orthodox churches. It refers to those schismatic churches which use this very term (another is "Genuine Orthodox") to assert the notion of their sole custodianship of grace. By separating themselves from their mother church, and by refusing to submit to the obedience of canonically-consecrated bishops, they are therefore "out of the loop", as it were. A current example of such schismatic activity is the appearance of breakaway groups which refuse to recognise the validity of the recent reconciliation between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. These folks may be sincere, but misguided at best. Deliberate separation such as this is indeed little different from the common protestant approach: "I don't agree with the decision of my church, so I'll set up one of my own."

An inviolable principle of the Orthodox Church is the responsibility of the episcopate, the shepherds and overseers of the Church, to "rightly proclaim the word of Your truth". If a priest proclaims heresy, or is disobedient to his bishop, then his bishop is obliged to correct him. If a bishop does the same, his fellow bishops likewise should move to correct him. It is a conciliar approach. If the errant cleric refuses to change his ways, then there may be cause for defrocking or other serious action.

This might all sound legalistic, but it is not. This conciliar approach is what Christ appointed to His apostles. Conciliar as in "a decision made by a group of people of one mind", rather than by one man by executive fiat. There are any number of scriptural references which attest to this. Numbers have nothing to do with it either. Two historical examples come to mind: the question of the Judaisers in Acts, and the errant teachings on the Holy Trinity of Arius of Alexandria. Both the Judaisers and Arius "had the numbers", but St Paul and the Fathers of the Council of Nicea, notably St Nicholas of Myra, prevailed.

On heresy and the calendar: Heresy is the alteration of God's law. Adopting the Gregorian calendar is not an act of heresy. If it were, then no canonical communion between the NC and OC churches would be possible. An irregularity, an anomaly, yes. Heresy, no, despite what some may try to say.

My understanding is that any church which calls itself Orthodox must be under the jurisdiction of a canonical patriarchate, or, in unusual cases such as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (which is now in full communion with the Moscow Patriarchate), be under the jurisdiction of a Synod of Bishops, where the canonicity of the consecration of such bishops is beyond question.

Most, if not all, of these schismatic Orthodox (in Greece and in other countries) have set up their own hierarchies of bishops and, in a few cases, patriarchs, who are not in communion with any of the canonical patriarchates or synods. I find it difficult to believe it is sufficient for a breakaway church to conduct its rites and services in a manner identical to the church from which it cut its ties. The fact remains that such a church is disobedient to any canonical hierarchy, and, to put it briefly, this has enormous practical, doctrinal and sacramental implications.

A good analogy from the West would be the various Roman Catholic groups which have never accepted the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. These churches have their own bishops and pope, and promote themselves as the "true Catholic church", they have branded all the post-Vatican II popes as antichrists, and the established church of Rome as heretical.

Food for thought, folks.
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« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2008, 07:14:26 PM »

Great replies everyone, very informative.

I just wanted to pose a few questions running along the same lines as LBK.

In the situation of Greece who are the schismatics? The old or new calendar worshippers because both affirm that they are the True Orthodox Church.

And secondly and most importantly do both have the True Grace of God within their services and mysteria? 

Lord Have Mercy
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« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2008, 08:10:57 PM »

I am going to deliberately refrain from answering that question at this time for the same reason that you might avoid answering the question if I asked it in reverse: How does "World Orthodoxy" view the GOC mysteries? I think the question itself is loaded and comes from a particular mindset that seeks to have the t's crossed and the i's dotted.  The question has dogmatic, canonical, and pastoral implications and the degree to which these are applicable to "The New Calendar Churches" is debatable and indeed debated. I don't have the willpower to write an essay on the topic so I am not going to do it injustice by giving you my conclusion without addressing that which would lead up to that conclusion. I also find these discussions to be extremely physically draining on myself.

Yes, each group says this. How could it be any other way? I don't argue with Matthewites because I think they oversimplify a complex situation and interpret historical events according to their principles, even when that requires some creative interpretation. They would probably say I am wishy washy. You, as an outsider, could fairly assess the two sides though based on the data available--even though we are both making claims, they are verifiable.

Very true, which is why I rarely engage in such debates online. Most people have not done their research and taken the time to actually look at primary sources and meet with people who witnessed the events first hand. I have--I wrote my thesis on this topic. I don't think one can really understand it just by reading things online because a lot of things have not been published online or people who discuss them often have a terrible slant.

If you need any assistance in your research obtaining copies of primary source documents please feel free to private message me.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios

That is a fair and honorable statement, Fr. Anastasios.  Thank you also for your offer in helping me obtain copies of primary source documents.
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« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2008, 08:12:51 PM »

Dear Fr. Anastasios --

The url below is a link to your Church's official website and contains an article regarding New Calendar churches:

http://www.thegreekorthodoxchurch.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78&Itemid=107

It is pretty clear that the GOC views New Calendar churches to be heretical and thus devoid of Grace. Is there really a debate in the GOC regarding Grace in New Calendar churches? It seems to me that the "official position" of the GOC is that the New Calendar churches are in fact devoid of Grace.

Gregory

Gregory, that link is not an official statement from the GOC.

Here is their position in detail:

A Proclamation on Ecclesiology

http://www.thegreekorthodoxchurch.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=90

Also:  You can gleen the Matthewite GOC position here:

http://orthodox-christianity.net/cheirothesia_of_1971.html
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« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2008, 09:39:44 PM »

Dear Gregory,

Please see my post above as to why I am choosing to not directly answer the question. I do not wish to give a short, non-comprehensive answer to this complex and delicate question.

When you ask, "is there really a debate in the GOC regarding Grace in New Calendar churches," what is your intent in asking that?

Where in that article is there a detailed discussion of the question of grace in heretical Churches addressed comprehensively?

Dear Fr. Anastasios --

Please forgive me for replying to your posting in which you did not want to participate. I hope you can expound on this topic in the future since you have been very sobor in the past when dealing with some of these issues.

I will refrain from directly addressing you on this topic.

In Christ,
Gregory
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« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2008, 09:49:27 PM »

Gregory, that link is not an official statement from the GOC.

Here is their position in detail:

A Proclamation on Ecclesiology

http://www.thegreekorthodoxchurch.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=90

Also:  You can gleen the Matthewite GOC position here:

http://orthodox-christianity.net/cheirothesia_of_1971.html

Dear ROCORthodox --

Thank you for posting a much better link.

It seems that it is quite clear that the GOC and many other Old Calendar churches believe that the local churches are in heresy. If the local churches are heretical (which I don't believe) can Grace reside in these churches? Again, it seems that Grace cannot since the Grace of the Mysteries does not reside outside of the Church.

Gregory
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« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2008, 11:11:10 PM »

Dear Fr. Anastasios --

Please forgive me for replying to your posting in which you did not want to participate. I hope you can expound on this topic in the future since you have been very sobor in the past when dealing with some of these issues.

I will refrain from directly addressing you on this topic.

In Christ,
Gregory

Dear Gregory,

I am sorry if I was grumpy towards you. I suppose what got me was when you asked me "is there really any debate in the GOC..."  I can assure you that the topic of our relations towards those on the New Calendar and their ultimate status is a frequent topic of discussion by people ranging from laymen to bishops.  I have participated in numerous such discussions myself. It was just kind of like, I said it happens, you asked does it really happen, and I was kind of taken aback by that. But maybe you didn't mean it that way, or maybe my reticence to answer bothered you. At any rate, you were expecting an answer from me, and not grumpiness, so I will take a few minutes to write a very brief and open-ended post that might shed some light on the topic.

You are right that strictly speaking, it is logical that a) if the GOC believes that the local New Calendar Churches are in heresy and b) heretics do not have grace then c) we believe the NC Churches are all devoid of grace. But many of us feel that the whole framework of the question is flawed and oversimplified, and that we have been forced into a rigorist position that does not take into account the complexity of the issue and how a doctrinal statement is applied to actual people who may be quite diverse. Here are some of the types of questions that may be debated in such settings:

1) Is there a difference between the Church we actually charged with heresy in Encyclicals dated 1935, 1950, and 1974 (the State Church of Greece) and other local New Calendar Churches?

2) Is there a difference between heresiarchs and innocent members?

3) Does "loss of grace" spread slowly like a cancer or is it more instantaneous (I think you can guess I would say the former)

4) When did grace actually leave the NC Church if it left?

5) What do we mean by "Grace" exactly anyway?

6) Are those Churches that are on the Old Calendar and not in the WCC (I would suppose that would be the patriarchate of Georgia) or who are nominally in the WCC but not really active (Jerusalem Patriarchate) devoid of grace just because they are in communion with the New Calendarists?

7) Who applies the canons to the local Churches? An ecumenical council? or are heretics cut off automatically?

The above are just some of the kinds of questions that some of us discuss and consider when thinking about the relationship of the GOC to the New Calendar Churches.

I hope this is helpful to you and I ask you to forgive me for being short with you.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2008, 11:15:56 PM »

My use of the term "True Orthodox" does not refer to the canonical Orthodox churches. It refers to those schismatic churches which use this very term (another is "Genuine Orthodox") to assert the notion of their sole custodianship of grace. By separating themselves from their mother church, and by refusing to submit to the obedience of canonically-consecrated bishops, they are therefore "out of the loop", as it were. A current example of such schismatic activity is the appearance of breakaway groups which refuse to recognise the validity of the recent reconciliation between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. These folks may be sincere, but misguided at best. Deliberate separation such as this is indeed little different from the common protestant approach: "I don't agree with the decision of my church, so I'll set up one of my own."

An inviolable principle of the Orthodox Church is the responsibility of the episcopate, the shepherds and overseers of the Church, to "rightly proclaim the word of Your truth". If a priest proclaims heresy, or is disobedient to his bishop, then his bishop is obliged to correct him. If a bishop does the same, his fellow bishops likewise should move to correct him. It is a conciliar approach. If the errant cleric refuses to change his ways, then there may be cause for defrocking or other serious action.

This might all sound legalistic, but it is not. This conciliar approach is what Christ appointed to His apostles. Conciliar as in "a decision made by a group of people of one mind", rather than by one man by executive fiat. There are any number of scriptural references which attest to this. Numbers have nothing to do with it either. Two historical examples come to mind: the question of the Judaisers in Acts, and the errant teachings on the Holy Trinity of Arius of Alexandria. Both the Judaisers and Arius "had the numbers", but St Paul and the Fathers of the Council of Nicea, notably St Nicholas of Myra, prevailed.
And yet, Canon XV of the 1st & 2nd Council does offer an out for this.

"The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter's name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgement against him, creates a schism, the holy Synod has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."

Quote
On heresy and the calendar: Heresy is the alteration of God's law. Adopting the Gregorian calendar is not an act of heresy. If it were, then no canonical communion between the NC and OC churches would be possible. An irregularity, an anomaly, yes. Heresy, no, despite what some may try to say.
How, then, do you counter the Old Calendarist argument that the New "Papal" Calendar was condemned by the Church three times (1583, 1587, and 1593)?  I'm not saying I agree with this argument, but I think you would be wise to take this argument seriously and be prepared to address it.  How, in the face of these anathemas, is the New Calendar not heretical, as you claim?

Quote
My understanding is that any church which calls itself Orthodox must be under the jurisdiction of a canonical patriarchate, or, in unusual cases such as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (which is now in full communion with the Moscow Patriarchate), be under the jurisdiction of a Synod of Bishops, where the canonicity of the consecration of such bishops is beyond question.

Most, if not all, of these schismatic Orthodox (in Greece and in other countries) have set up their own hierarchies of bishops and, in a few cases, patriarchs, who are not in communion with any of the canonical patriarchates or synods. I find it difficult to believe it is sufficient for a breakaway church to conduct its rites and services in a manner identical to the church from which it cut its ties. The fact remains that such a church is disobedient to any canonical hierarchy, and, to put it briefly, this has enormous practical, doctrinal and sacramental implications.
But, as argued above from the Life of St. Maximos, if the established hierarchy has fallen into heresy, is it not better to remain faithful to Truth and set up your own hierarchy to protect faithfulness to the Truth until such time as the mainstream hierarchs repent and return to the True Faith?  Membership in the Church is not as simple as submission to a "canonical" bishop, if canonicity is measured solely in terms of the established ecclesiastical institutions with whom you're in communion.  Would you not agree that to be truly canonical, a bishop must preach and teach true faith in Jesus Christ without any hint of heresy?

Quote
A good analogy from the West would be the various Roman Catholic groups which have never accepted the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. These churches have their own bishops and pope, and promote themselves as the "true Catholic church", they have branded all the post-Vatican II popes as antichrists, and the established church of Rome as heretical.

Food for thought, folks.

In general, you speak as if your authority on such matters is incontrovertible.  What is the basis for your authoritative "this is the way it is" posting style?  Are you a bishop?  You might do better to voice your soap box posts in more of an "IMHO" mode, IMHO.
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« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2008, 11:17:00 PM »

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« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2008, 11:59:47 PM »

Great replies everyone, very informative.

I just wanted to pose a few questions running along the same lines as LBK.

In the situation of Greece who are the schismatics? The old or new calendar worshippers because both affirm that they are the True Orthodox Church.

And secondly and most importantly do both have the True Grace of God within their services and mysteria? 

Lord Have Mercy

I believe they do. The fullness of the Church can be found on the local level. As St Ignatius taught about the catholic church, it is when the laity are gathered with their bishop to celebrate the Eucharist. I do not accept canonicity of the Church to be a group of bishops headquartered in Instanbul, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem being buddy buddy with each other.  Each local church is the fullness of the Body of Christ as long as they have a right believing bishop with apostolic succession and follow the proper praxis and ethos of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2008, 03:11:43 AM »

And yet, Canon XV of the 1st & 2nd Council does offer an out for this.

"The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter's name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgement against him, creates a schism, the holy Synod has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."
How, then, do you counter the Old Calendarist argument that the New "Papal" Calendar was condemned by the Church three times (1583, 1587, and 1593)?  I'm not saying I agree with this argument, but I think you would be wise to take this argument seriously and be prepared to address it.  How, in the face of these anathemas, is the New Calendar not heretical, as you claim?
But, as argued above from the Life of St. Maximos, if the established hierarchy has fallen into heresy, is it not better to remain faithful to Truth and set up your own hierarchy to protect faithfulness to the Truth until such time as the mainstream hierarchs repent and return to the True Faith?  Membership in the Church is not as simple as submission to a "canonical" bishop, if canonicity is measured solely in terms of the established ecclesiastical institutions with whom you're in communion.  Would you not agree that to be truly canonical, a bishop must preach and teach true faith in Jesus Christ without any hint of heresy?

In general, you speak as if your authority on such matters is incontrovertible.  What is the basis for your authoritative "this is the way it is" posting style?  Are you a bishop?  You might do better to voice your soap box posts in more of an "IMHO" mode, IMHO.


Very interesting read.

It still doesn’t change the fact that both sides are being egotistical and not allowing union to take place. If both sides sat down prayed and conversed with humility a compromise would be reached and unity would eventuate.

Having such separation within the Orthodox world serves only the purpose of the devil. Reading through the posts I couldn’t believe the number of splinter groups that exist within Orthodoxy and it saddened me to see it.

Call me naive but this situation is a product of pride and egoism. (I'm right and you are wrong attitude).

I pray for the union of Orthodoxy.

Lord Have Mercy
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« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2008, 04:55:23 AM »

A helpful article in regards to canonicty may be the one recently published by an Old Calendarist jurisdiction, entitled The True Meaning of Canonicty: http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2008/06/25/20080625nTheTrueMeaningofCanonicity%20Folder/20080625nTheTrueMeaningofCanonicity.pdf

While I don't agree with some parts of the article being a member of the GOC, and some of the language might be considered strongly worded by some, it is overall a fairly comprehensive article. 
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« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2008, 05:10:37 AM »

Quote
In general, you speak as if your authority on such matters is incontrovertible.  What is the basis for your authoritative "this is the way it is" posting style?  Are you a bishop?  You might do better to voice your soap box posts in more of an "IMHO" mode, IMHO.

Oh, dear. I did try hard to make my post as objective and dispassionate as I could.

Quote
How, then, do you counter the Old Calendarist argument that the New "Papal" Calendar was condemned by the Church three times (1583, 1587, and 1593)?  I'm not saying I agree with this argument, but I think you would be wise to take this argument seriously and be prepared to address it.  How, in the face of these anathemas, is the New Calendar not heretical, as you claim?

Could you provide further details on these rulings, or links to the proceedings of these councils? They post-date the councils featured in The Rudder, so I have no information at hand on them to be able to comment further.

Quote
But, as argued above from the Life of St. Maximos, if the established hierarchy has fallen into heresy, is it not better to remain faithful to Truth and set up your own hierarchy to protect faithfulness to the Truth until such time as the mainstream hierarchs repent and return to the True Faith?  Membership in the Church is not as simple as submission to a "canonical" bishop, if canonicity is measured solely in terms of the established ecclesiastical institutions with whom you're in communion.  Would you not agree that to be truly canonical, a bishop must preach and teach true faith in Jesus Christ without any hint of heresy?

This approach was indeed the one taken in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, with Patriarch Tikhon blessing the formation of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR. Quite understandable and necessary, as the "Living Church" set up by the Soviet regime was indeed a sham church and a peddler of heresies. However, this renovationist organisation, though opposition to it resulted in much bloodshed and misery, failed miserably in its aim of destroying the Church, and its influence in changing people's beliefs fizzled out. By the outbreak of the Second World War, the puppet "Living Church" was all but dead. While ROCOR remained out of communion with the MP until recently, it continued to recognise any baptisms, marriages, and other sacraments conducted under the MP in the post-renovationist period. I have yet to come across any evidence of Russian emigres who lived during that period who had to have their marriage or baptism "corrected" once they joined a ROCOR parish in their new country.

On the other hand, what do we see in some of the "True Orthodox" groups? Is it proper canonical praxis to specify that someone who joins a "True Orthodox" church must be received into that church by chrismation or, in some cases, "full" baptism, even if that person has already received an Orthodox baptism in a mainstream Orthodox church?
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« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2008, 08:19:58 AM »

Dear Gregory,

I am sorry if I was grumpy towards you. I suppose what got me was when you asked me "is there really any debate in the GOC..."  I can assure you that the topic of our relations towards those on the New Calendar and their ultimate status is a frequent topic of discussion by people ranging from laymen to bishops.

Dear Fr. Anastasios --

No need to apologize...especially to me. When I asked if there really was a debate, I concluded wrongly that there was no internal debate. The list of question that you presented are very good.

Gregory
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« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2008, 09:21:32 AM »




On the other hand, what do we see in some of the "True Orthodox" groups? Is it proper canonical praxis to specify that someone who joins a "True Orthodox" church must be received into that church by chrismation or, in some cases, "full" baptism, even if that person has already received an Orthodox baptism in a mainstream Orthodox church?


You bring up an excellent point. Even though we had groups in the past that weren't in communion on a pastoral level. The faithful never did doubt the Orthodoxy of each other. It is when Economia is administered that one can certainly see who is actually Orthodox and in communion and who is not.
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« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2008, 09:49:53 AM »

Very interesting read.

It still doesn’t change the fact that both sides are being egotistical and not allowing union to take place. If both sides sat down prayed and conversed with humility a compromise would be reached and unity would eventuate.

Having such separation within the Orthodox world serves only the purpose of the devil. Reading through the posts I couldn’t believe the number of splinter groups that exist within Orthodoxy and it saddened me to see it.

Call me naive but this situation is a product of pride and egoism. (I'm right and you are wrong attitude).

I pray for the union of Orthodoxy.

Lord Have Mercy


I actually agree with a lot of what you say. Schism ultimately arises from pride.  Something you may not know is that we have in the past sat down with New Calendar bishops (and other Old Calendar bishops) in private to discuss these issues. And we will continue to do it whenever and wherever there is sincere interest. I pray that there is a resolution of the problem in our lifetime.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2008, 10:25:50 AM »

While I believe that some Orthodox schisms have occurred for justifiable issues in terms of diviations of faith, many have occurred for political ambition. We can debate all day and get no where regarding the details of history, but where does this leave us today?

Schism often leads to bold and dangerous proclomations by those who deem themselves justified, such as proclaiming where the Holy Spirit is present and where it is not! The Grace of the Holy Spirit is often used in polemical arguments against supposed "heretics" and many have made the dangerous claim that only they receive the Grace of the Holy Spirit while others do not. Using the legalism of Canon to justify themselves, many people have forgotten that Canon does not confine the Holy Spirit, but is an expression pleasing by and to the Holy Spirit (e.g. the Seven Ecumenical Councils).

Does any Orthodox Church have the right to dictate who has and who does not have the Grace of the Holy Spirit? (I'm not referring to heterodox Churches, but Orthodox Churches)?
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2008, 10:46:40 AM »

Does any Orthodox Church have the right to dictate who has and who does not have the Grace of the Holy Spirit? (I'm not referring to heterodox Churches, but Orthodox Churches)?

But is not that distinction - heterodox vs orthodox = absence of grace vs abundance of grace  - the very essence of what constitutes the True Church and by extension, the True Faith?
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« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2008, 10:53:48 AM »

But is not that distinction - heterodox vs orthodox = absence of grace vs abundance of grace  - the very essence of what constitutes the True Church and by extension, the True Faith?

Greetings in Christ Heracleides,

I understand, but excluding heterodox examples, when schism occurs, the Grace of the Holy Spirit is used to validate those who feel justified. I say this because people are dictating (abscence or abundance etc.) where the Holy Spirit resides while forgetting that the Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and resides onto Himself and goes where He desires (Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father).

When labelling someone a "heretic" or "apostate" many arguments have specifically expressed the abscence of the Holy Spirit in other groups of Orthodox, while through SCHISM ALONE this is implied.
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« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2008, 11:19:42 AM »

If a group isn't in union with the true Orthodox Church, then shouldn't THEY be the ones to be changing? It isn't the Church's job to change... The people outside of the Church who want to be a part of it need to be humble, reject those things that keep them divided from the Church, accept everything in the Church, and be received properly by the Church.

I say even though division is bad, there is still NO division in the True Church. It is still and will always remain united. Because some people stop believing in it and split off doesn't mean it is divided.

In this famous illustration of Church history, I think it illustrates what I'm talking about... Just because one group (no matter how important) splits off doesn't mean the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is divided. It just means they've ceased to be a part of it.

There is no division, the Church remains undivided IMHO.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 11:23:36 AM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2008, 11:25:57 AM »

But is not that distinction - heterodox vs orthodox = absence of grace vs abundance of grace  - the very essence of what constitutes the True Church and by extension, the True Faith?
    It isn't our job to decide who is saved and who is not. That falls under Christs judgment. We can only claim where the H.S. is. We can never claim where it is not. Separation doesn't always occur from both sides. If there are two friend that dispute for a reason. One may always be loving and merciful and act as if the friendship never ended and continually is reaching out for reconciliation. The other may be unjust in that he never acknowledges or excepts the others friendship, love or reconciliation that is offered. We can never fully know what is in the hearts of people.  The one that can see, will do what is righteous. It is also important to know that mere membership in a church isn't what saves us. It is the transformation that takes place. Unless we are willing to transform, no membership in a church alone can save.
 I believe it was ST. John Chrysostom that said schism is worse than heresy, since it separates the blood and body of Christ.
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Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
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