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Author Topic: Is leaving the Orthodox Church punishable by Death???  (Read 7789 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: September 08, 2008, 04:28:48 PM »

I remember reading that in the Jewish tradition that leaving the religion is punishable by death.  I even remember reading that the Catholic church have or use to have this position as well. 

So I was wondering what is the official position in the Orthodox Church?  Was apotasy ever punishable by death in the Orthodox Church?

In Christ,

Irenaeus
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 04:57:57 PM »

I remember reading that in the Jewish tradition that leaving the religion is punishable by death.  I even remember reading that the Catholic church have or use to have this position as well. 

So I was wondering what is the official position in the Orthodox Church?  Was apotasy ever punishable by death in the Orthodox Church?

In Christ,

Irenaeus

Never in history was apostasy punishable by physical death in Orthodox Church. Church actually don't and can't impose any kind of punishment and never did.

Our position was expressed by St. John Chrysostomos (the GoldenMouth): Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Orthodox Church never accepted that teory of Plato, further developed by Blessed Augustine of Hyppo, and incorporated as a position of Church of Rome somewhere 'bout 13th century about phisical punishments a.k.a. Inquisition.

Though, I must remind you that the Church teaches about most severe spiritual punishment and Judgment for the apostates.
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 07:27:02 PM »

I remember reading that in the Jewish tradition that leaving the religion is punishable by death.  I even remember reading that the Catholic church have or use to have this position as well. 

So I was wondering what is the official position in the Orthodox Church?  Was apotasy ever punishable by death in the Orthodox Church?

In Christ,

Irenaeus






Never in history was apostasy punishable by physical death in Orthodox Church. Church actually don't and can't impose any kind of punishment and never did.

Our position was expressed by St. John Chrysostomos (the GoldenMouth): Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Orthodox Church never accepted that teory of Plato, further developed by Blessed Augustine of Hyppo, and incorporated as a position of Church of Rome somewhere 'bout 13th century about phisical punishments a.k.a. Inquisition.

Though, I must remind you that the Church teaches about most severe spiritual punishment and Judgment for the apostates.





 Hello Brother.. That's why i love Orthodoxy .....we never killed to keep people in the faith....Amen Amen..SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2008, 07:57:35 PM »

Never in history was apostasy punishable by physical death in Orthodox Church. Church actually don't and can't impose any kind of punishment and never did.

If only this were true.

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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2008, 08:21:16 PM »

Please do not confuse Orthodoxy with the Inquisition, where thousands of people were put to death for not becoming Catholic.
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2008, 08:35:26 PM »

I suppose we could overlook the Monophysite persecution which continued in the East until 520.
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2008, 08:54:17 PM »

I suppose we could overlook the Monophysite persecution which continued in the East until 520.


Did the orthodox patriarchs actually give direct orders and say go and kill the monophysites or any  others ..i never heard of it ever they allways used words to battle heresies as far i know and anathemas....SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 09:20:38 PM »

I suppose we could overlook the Monophysite persecution which continued in the East until 520.


Did the orthodox patriarchs actually give direct orders and say go and kill the monophysites or any  others ..i never heard of it ever they allways used words to battle heresies as far i know and anathemas....SmileyCentral.com" border="0

John of Ephesus blames two Patriarchs of Constantinople, John Scholasticus and Eutychus, for a revival of anti-Monophysite persecutions (post-Justinian, if I recall correctly). At one point, soldiers were denied rations if they refused to convert from non-Chalcedon Christianity.
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 10:02:50 PM »

I suppose we could overlook the Monophysite persecution which continued in the East until 520.


Did the orthodox patriarchs actually give direct orders and say go and kill the monophysites or any  others ..i never heard of it ever they allways used words to battle heresies as far i know and anathemas....SmileyCentral.com" border="0

John of Ephesus blames two Patriarchs of Constantinople, John Scholasticus and Eutychus, for a revival of anti-Monophysite persecutions (post-Justinian, if I recall correctly). At one point, soldiers were denied rations if they refused to convert from non-Chalcedon Christianity.


 Cry This is such a tragedy and a shame on the part of the Church. I see this mentality to a certain degree amongst some modern-day Orthodox nationalities. It truly grieves my heart. And then there was the persecution of the Old Believers in Russia.
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2008, 10:07:41 PM »

Cry This is such a tragedy and a shame on the part of the Church. I see this mentality to a certain degree amongst some modern-day Orthodox nationalities. It truly grieves my heart. And then there was the persecution of the Old Believers in Russia.

Rosehip,

The point is, I believe, that if we look at the Orthodox church through rose-coloured spectacles, believing her to be without blemish, we love an illusion. I love the Orthodox Church, despite her faults - just as the Catholic loves his or her church despite her faults. I feel we really need to take a good look at our own history before we throw stones at others.
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2008, 10:12:22 PM »

^^Very true!
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 01:39:50 AM »

I don't want to turn this into some sort of Oriental Orthodox debate or anything, but I just wanted to mention that when you endorse an emperor as a saint in your Church who took part in ordering those persecutions, you tend to overlook that many Orthodox seem to justify that as part of a political order that one must follow.  If Chalcedonian Christianity was the law of the land, then it would seem acceptable that those condemned as "Monophysite" (we would rather be called Miaphysite) to be persecuted.

Even Constantine, whom we both, Eastern and Oriental, commemorate in our liturgies as a saint has done things at his time in favor of the Arians to shut up some of the Orthodox, which is hypocritical on his behalf, since he endorsed the freedom of practicing religion in his edict of Milan.  I think this is a lesson to be learned that the whole fantasy of having an "Orthodox emperor" is simply a fantasy based on false hopes.  You can NEVER mix politics and religion.  History teaches that, and if one is to be believe God's hand is part of the history, God's judgment is clear on using an "Orthodox emperor," it ends in failure both for the government and the Church.  The Church has far better purposes than to mix herself with the emperor as the two-headed eagle might suggest, better purposes that is in to separate herself from the world, which includes the government.

God bless.

PS  I love you guys; I hate to be a stickler for just words. I just hope the epithet "Monophysite" would be limited to those we also condemn as "Monophysite."  We consider John of Ephesus a "Miaphysite."  If anything, I don't think you'll go wrong with the term "non-Chalcedonian" or "anti-Chalcedonian" since that is true after all.  To us, it's like calling the black slaves in history the "n" word, but using the term "negro slave" is fine.
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2008, 02:46:25 AM »

PS  I love you guys; I hate to be a stickler for just words. I just hope the epithet "Monophysite" would be limited to those we also condemn as "Monophysite."  We consider John of Ephesus a "Miaphysite."  If anything, I don't think you'll go wrong with the term "non-Chalcedonian" or "anti-Chalcedonian" since that is true after all.  To us, it's like calling the black slaves in history the "n" word, but using the term "negro slave" is fine.

minasosliman,

I do apologise for using the wrong "M" word, but I wanted to bring this topic up, one that anyone could relate to, to make the point that any Orthodox Christian who might be labouring under the impression that our Church has a history that is pure as the driven snow should rethink their position. I hope, that if bringing up this terrible period of persecution manages to have them stop and think before throwing stones at our Catholic brothers, it has served a good purpose.

If, in the process, I have offended you, please forgive me.

 
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2008, 02:54:04 AM »

You have not offended me at all.  I understand the word is sometimes used by accident.

I'm personally glad you didn't take what I said the wrong way.

God bless.
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2008, 02:55:06 AM »

You have not offended me at all.  I understand the word is sometimes used by accident.

I'm personally glad you didn't take what I said the wrong way.

God bless.

Not at all.

God be with you, too.
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2008, 03:02:14 AM »

Never in history was apostasy punishable by physical death in Orthodox Church. Church actually don't and can't impose any kind of punishment and never did.

If only this were true.



You can prove me wrong. I challenge you to present one example proving contrary to what I said.

Don't get confused with the fact that St. Nicolas had hit Arius at Nicea during the first day of dispute, so he was prohibited to attend for several days.

Regarding Copts, don't get confused with the fact that Emperor sent the army and took over the churches, casting hierarchy and faithful out of them.

What I claim is that no one has been punished by a physical punishment for apostasy on the grounds of a decision of a Church. I challenge you to prove us otherwise, while I'll post a Canon explicitly prohibiting that shortly.

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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2008, 03:39:13 AM »

I don't want to turn this into some sort of Oriental Orthodox debate or anything, ...

I would kindly ask you to contribute to this thread by giving us examples from history of Copts and/or Armenians, and to point to an example where Imperial Church made a judgment that someone was supposed to suffer bodily punishment from professing what's been perceived as apostasy/heresy.

MInd, I'm aware about severe persecution by Emperor, about war, about destruction of Arab kingdom somewhere about 6th century. But I can also point to the fact that one of the Emperors was titled "Bulgaroslayer" for his heavy hand against Bulgars, while, for instance, Serbian Despot Stephan Nemanja (deceased as monk at Mount Athos and is cannonised as St. Symeon the Myrr-Guscher) has been defeated in a battle, imprisoned in Constantinopolis and walked over the city with the rope over his neck. But none of it does have anything with faith.
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2008, 04:36:44 AM »

Never in history was apostasy punishable by physical death in Orthodox Church. Church actually don't and can't impose any kind of punishment and never did.

If only this were true.


You can prove me wrong. I challenge you to present one example proving contrary to what I said.

As I said before;

John of Ephesus blames two Patriarchs of Constantinople, John Scholasticus and Eutychus, for a revival of the persecutions of non-Chalcedon Christians (post-Justinian, if I recall correctly). At one point, soldiers were denied rations if they refused to convert from non-Chalcedon Christianity. <---- denial of rations should they refuse to confess the Chalcedon Creed sounds pretty much like a death sentence.
Quote

Don't get confused with the fact that St. Nicolas had hit Arius at Nicea during the first day of dispute, so he was prohibited to attend for several days.

I'm not confused, we aren't talking about a punch on the nose, but persecution to the point of death.

Quote
What I claim is that no one has been punished by a physical punishment for apostasy on the grounds of a decision of a Church. I challenge you to prove us otherwise, while I'll post a Canon explicitly prohibiting that shortly.

See above.
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« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2008, 06:59:33 AM »

ive read something about a  deacon burned for apostasizing to Judaism..  Undecided
it was mid 1210's if memeory serves me right..

I wish iweren't so forgetful maybe i could still have shown you teh link to where i read it.. i'll search for it then ill post it here..
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2008, 07:10:10 AM »


John of Ephesus blames two Patriarchs of Constantinople, John Scholasticus and Eutychus, for a revival of the persecutions of non-Chalcedon Christians (post-Justinian, if I recall correctly). 

Can we have a reference (preferably a link) to the accusations, so we can examine if they were true or not. Also, the content of "persecution" should be examined, and we are debating the physical punishment of any kind here.

At one point, soldiers were denied rations if they refused to convert from non-Chalcedon Christianity. <---- denial of rations should they refuse to confess the Chalcedon Creed sounds pretty much like a death sentence. 

This doesn't amount to religious persecution. This is scrutiny of a head commander in his own military and their adherence to specific religioius/ideological stance, being of importance in particular period. There were similar actions during U.S. conquest of Iraq towards Muslim soldiers.

BTW, would you point to the misterious "Clalcedon Creed", they were supposed to confess? AFAIK, both pre-Chalcedonians and Assyrians do confess Nicea-Constantinoplean Creed, the same one we confess.
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« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2008, 07:17:43 AM »

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pines/7224/Rick/chrono13.htm

here it is
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« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2008, 07:31:48 AM »


John of Ephesus blames two Patriarchs of Constantinople, John Scholasticus and Eutychus, for a revival of the persecutions of non-Chalcedon Christians (post-Justinian, if I recall correctly). 

Can we have a reference (preferably a link) to the accusations, so we can examine if they were true or not. Also, the content of "persecution" should be examined, and we are debating the physical punishment of any kind here.

I only have a book reference. I'll see if I can find you a link tomorrow. It's getting late, here and I'm off to bed.

At one point, soldiers were denied rations if they refused to convert from non-Chalcedon Christianity. <---- denial of rations should they refuse to confess the Chalcedon Creed sounds pretty much like a death sentence. 

This doesn't amount to religious persecution. This is scrutiny of a head commander in his own military and their adherence to specific religioius/ideological stance, being of importance in particular period. There were similar actions during U.S. conquest of Iraq towards Muslim soldiers.

How can this not amount to religious persecution? Are you denying that those forcing those soldiers to confess the Creed with a threat of denial of rations were Orthodox?

Quote
BTW, would you point to the misterious "Clalcedon Creed", they were supposed to confess? AFAIK, both pre-Chalcedonians and Assyrians do confess Nicea-Constantinoplean Creed, the same one we confess.

Chalcedonian Creed, Confession of Chalcedon, Creed of Chalcedon:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;
truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;
consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
in all things like unto us, without sin;
begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;
the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;
as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

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« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2008, 07:31:57 AM »


If this is meant to relate to

Quote
1222 An English deacon was burned at the stake for apostatizing to Judaism.

Kindly explain what does it have with us, Orthodox? Orthodoxy has been suppressed and extinguished from British Isles starting from the battle of Hastings (sp?) in 1066.
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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2008, 07:50:00 AM »

...
How can this not amount to religious persecution? Are you denying that those forcing those soldiers to confess the Creed with a threat of denial of rations were Orthodox?
...

I kindly ask you to focus, so we can have a meaningful debate. The point of discontent is:

Whether or not Church would enforce, incite, support or approve punishment by bodily harm against anyone, including apostates and heretics.

I'll collect the theological writings about this and historical examples. It will take time. I challenge you to do the same, so we can see what's the truth about it.

Your example doesn't prove your claim, because:

1) It was conducted by a military commander, not Church;
2) the target was not general population, than the army of that commander;
3) the goal wasn't to extinguish or suppress supposed belief, than to examine loyalty of the soldiers and their adherence to "ideology" of the military against their suspected loyalty to the "ideology" of a military opponent - that's usually called enemy;
4) the sanction wasn't actually a bodily harm, than "dishonorable discharge" - denial of rations (if I understand this term correctly - sorry, I may be wrong about the meaning), and one can't see from your example if they would have been allowed simply to leave the army (not examining if they would join the enemy, something no sane commander would allow).
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2008, 08:31:22 AM »

The only example in history I'm aware of that can be construed to support Ridikulus' claim is actually the case of St. Maximos the Confessor

Quote
n 661 Maximus again was brought to the imperial capital and questioned; while there, he had his tongue uprooted and his right hand cut off (to prevent him from preaching or writing the true faith), and then was again exiled to the Caucasus, but died shortly thereafter.

Yet:

1) St. Maximos is a Saint, whle his persecutors are condemned heretics.
2) I couldn't have found a shred of evidence that bodily harm is "enforced, supported or approved" even by heresiarches in the Church of that time - it seems to have been misdeed of civic authorities in pursuing their, governmental policy.
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2008, 11:27:53 AM »


I kindly ask you to focus, so we can have a meaningful debate. The point of discontent is:

Whether or not Church would enforce, incite, support or approve punishment by bodily harm against anyone, including apostates and heretics.


I think the biggest problem with your argument is the "support or approve" part.  Certain rulers, bishops and patriarchs have, indeed, approved of the the inflicting of bodily harm on heretics in the name of "Orthodoxy" or the Church.  You're fighting a loosing battle here to preserve your rosy view of Church history. 

In addition to the examples already cited, I would also note the spasm of violence that occurred in Russia after the Nikonian reforms and the Old Believer schism. Archpriest Avvakum, was burnt at the stake after a number of years of imprisonment...
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2008, 11:51:44 AM »

There's no need to give specific quotes on this page.  The whole page explains in details things happened to the non-Chalcedonians by the order of a certain Chalcedonian patriarch of Constantinople:

http://tertullian.org/fathers/ephesus_1_book1.htm

God bless.

PS  To read more, http://tertullian.org/fathers/#John_of_Ephesus  and consider also the chapters in "Zachariah of Mitylene/Zacharias Rhetor" right below the "John of Ephesus" chapters.
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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2008, 12:40:05 PM »

There's no need to give specific quotes on this page. ...

I appreciate your cautious approach, but I couldn't find what what I was looking for in cursory reading of several those books. Kindly read my following response to Sivi Sokol for clarification. I will appreciate your further input.
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« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2008, 12:51:55 PM »

..

I think the biggest problem with your argument is the "support or approve" part.  Certain rulers, bishops and patriarchs have, indeed, approved of the the inflicting of bodily harm on heretics in the name of "Orthodoxy" or the Church. 
...

Of course we can only remain within "support or approve", provided we disregard St. Maximos' case, because there weren't cases of "enforce or incite". But there is a difference I think you miss.

Church "supported or approved" acts of civic authorities against what's been perceived as "enemies of the state" - either in wars or against public order. And we need to examine is if such acts were equally committed against other types of "enemies of teh state" not related to differences in faith.

Here is the example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_II
(Bulgaroktonos, Bulgaroslayer)
Quote
Finally, on July 29, 1014, Basil II outmaneuvered the Bulgarian army in the Battle of Kleidion, with Samuil separated from his force. Having crushed the Bulgarians, Basil was said to have captured 15,000 prisoners and blinded 99 of every 100 men, leaving 150 one-eyed men to lead them back to their ruler, who fainted at the sight and died two days later suffering a stroke. Although this may be an exaggeration, this gave Basil his nickname Boulgaroktonos, "the Bulgar-slayer" in later tradition.

Where was the difference in faith between Bulgars and Romais of that time? It was 150 years after Photius (in case some would buy accusation that there was a difference in faith in Photius' years between Bulgars and Romais).

Similarly with St. Symeon the MyrrGuscher while he was still Stefan Nemanja http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan_Nemanja

Quote
In 1172, Nemanja joined the anti-Byzantine coalition with the Kingdom of Hungary, the Venetian Republic and the Holy Roman Empire. The alliance, however, soon collapsed as Venice faced a mutiny and an outbreak of plague that devastated her navy, while the King of Hungary died and a new, pro-Byzantine, King ascended the throne, so the Rascian Grand Prince was left alone. The same year the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos launched an expedition against Rascia and defeated Nemanja's forces, so the Grand Prince met him in Niš to surrender. He came to the Emperor with his head and feet bare, bowed before him and gave him his own personal sword as a mark of surrender. Emperor Manuel had him imprisoned and brought him to the Imperial Capital of Constantinople as a personal slave.
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« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2008, 01:05:05 PM »


PS  To read more, http://tertullian.org/fathers/#John_of_Ephesus  and consider also the chapters in "Zachariah of Mitylene/Zacharias Rhetor" right below the "John of Ephesus" chapters.

I stand corrected, I've found a case at the above link proving me wrong.
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« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2008, 06:35:43 PM »

Was apotasy ever punishable by death in the Orthodox Church?

That depends on whether or not you are a Ceasaropapist. I, personally, believe in individual rights.
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« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2008, 07:07:26 PM »

Sorry everyone,

I should have read all the posts - I see that minasoliman has already referred to the link I later posted - so I have removed the quote.
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« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2008, 11:37:18 PM »

The persecutions that killed thousands of OO's in the name of Chalcedon during the time of the Empire have already been discussed and documented extensively here.  Don't even try to convice an OO that death was never a penalty for rejecting Chalcedon.  This is just insulting.

I'm afraid if this goes much further, I'm going to have to request that it go into the private forum.
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« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2008, 12:05:07 AM »

The persecutions that killed thousands of OO's in the name of Chalcedon during the time of the Empire have already been discussed and documented extensively here.  Don't even try to convice an OO that death was never a penalty for rejecting Chalcedon.  This is just insulting.

I'm afraid if this goes much further, I'm going to have to request that it go into the private forum.

I believe that it has been well-established that in response to the OP; "Was apotasy ever punishable by death in the Orthodox Church?"  the answer is "Sadly, yes".

Lord, have mercy on us all.
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« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2008, 12:10:07 AM »


I kindly ask you to focus, so we can have a meaningful debate. The point of discontent is:

Whether or not Church would enforce, incite, support or approve punishment by bodily harm against anyone, including apostates and heretics.


I think the biggest problem with your argument is the "support or approve" part.  Certain rulers, bishops and patriarchs have, indeed, approved of the the inflicting of bodily harm on heretics in the name of "Orthodoxy" or the Church.  You're fighting a loosing battle here to preserve your rosy view of Church history. 

In addition to the examples already cited, I would also note the spasm of violence that occurred in Russia after the Nikonian reforms and the Old Believer schism. Archpriest Avvakum, was burnt at the stake after a number of years of imprisonment...



Who Burned him was it a religious ,priest, deacon ,bishop.metropolitan ,patriarch,a mob or secular athority,,also what about my slava St.Alexzander Nevsky...was he a warrior that became a saint later ,or a saint warrior at the same time..??SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2008, 03:57:58 AM »

The persecutions that killed thousands of OO's in the name of Chalcedon during the time of the Empire have already been discussed and documented extensively here.  Don't even try to convice an OO that death was never a penalty for rejecting Chalcedon.  This is just insulting.

I'm afraid if this goes much further, I'm going to have to request that it go into the private forum.

I'd appreciate the link.

I also haven't noticed anyone denying it. It was just silly me who wasn't aware of the events in detail. I had no intention of insulting anyone, taking the burden of otherone's sin simultaneously.
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« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2008, 04:01:08 AM »

The persecutions that killed thousands of OO's in the name of Chalcedon during the time of the Empire have already been discussed and documented extensively here.  Don't even try to convice an OO that death was never a penalty for rejecting Chalcedon.  This is just insulting.

I'm afraid if this goes much further, I'm going to have to request that it go into the private forum.

I believe that it has been well-established that in response to the OP; "Was apotasy ever punishable by death in the Orthodox Church?"  the answer is "Sadly, yes".

Lord, have mercy on us all.

I must disagree. The events were clear violation of the Canons by the Imperial Church towards pre-Chalcedonians. The same applies to the case of St. Maximos the Confessor and Avvakum.

Lord, have mercy on us.
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« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2008, 08:50:04 AM »

http://voskrese.info/spl/aposcanon.html

Quote
Canon XXVII. (XXVIII.)

If a bishop, presbyter, or deacon shall strike any of the faithful who have sinned, or of the unbelievers who have done wrong, with the intention of frightening them, we command that he be deposed. For our Lord has by no means taught us to do so, but, on the contrary, when he was smitten he smote not again, when he was reviled he reviled not again, when he suffered he threatened not.
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« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2008, 10:54:53 AM »

http://voskrese.info/spl/aposcanon.html

Quote
Canon XXVII. (XXVIII.)

If a bishop, presbyter, or deacon shall strike any of the faithful who have sinned, or of the unbelievers who have done wrong, with the intention of frightening them, we command that he be deposed. For our Lord has by no means taught us to do so, but, on the contrary, when he was smitten he smote not again, when he was reviled he reviled not again, when he suffered he threatened not.

And were any of the bishops involved in persecuting Old Believers or OOs deposed?
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« Reply #39 on: September 10, 2008, 05:47:50 PM »

Perhaps the question can be answered in two ways:

Ideally, was it canonically supported?  No

Did it happen?  Yes
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« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2008, 06:03:19 PM »

Why are we reliving the past?  Ireneaus07 is a cathecumen - did that individual need to see all of this gory history?
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« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2008, 07:07:32 PM »

Why are we reliving the past?  Ireneaus07 is a cathecumen - did that individual need to see all of this gory history?

But is that really being honest?
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« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2008, 07:22:51 PM »

Why are we reliving the past?  Ireneaus07 is a cathecumen - did that individual need to see all of this gory history?
It's probably better he know the truth about our history now before he makes a decision to join the Church rather than afterwards.  It's generally less traumatic to never become Orthodox than to join the Church and leave in a state of disillusionment, feeling that he'd been lied to, a few years later.  Let's not dump our history on him, but let's do be honest. Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2008, 09:02:04 PM »

Why are we reliving the past?  Ireneaus07 is a cathecumen - did that individual need to see all of this gory history?

Perhaps that is why any detailed discussion of this belongs better in the private forums.  Ireneaus, like others, needs to know that the people who run the Church are not perfect, but dwelling too much on past atrocities can be very disturbing.

I do know of one instance where an EO patriarch refused to cooperate in persecution of the OO's.  Fr. V.C. Samuel, in his book about Chalcedon, tells the story of the emperor maurice and the Patriarch of Constantinople, John IV.  The emperor wanted the patriarch to help him seize OO leaders and the patriarch refused, saying "...how can you ask me to persecute Christians, who are blameless in their Chiristian adherence, and who have more ardent faith than we have?" (The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined, p. 199)

So there is an example of a Church leader who stood up to imperial authority, when the emperor wanted to engage in religious persecution.  This can't have been easy.  John IV must have been a remarkable man.
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« Reply #44 on: September 11, 2008, 01:47:25 PM »

Perhaps the question can be answered in two ways:

Ideally, was it canonically supported?  No

Did it happen?  Yes

I would refer to the initial question, is apostasy punishable by death?

The answer is no, it has never been punishable by any kind of bodily harm, and we have no reference that it ever occured as a violation of those canons and the faith itself.

The same we could say for heresy - being the gravest sin along with apostasy - it has never been punishable by any kind of bodily harm, yet:

1) It did happen in 6th century towards the clergy and faithful of Church of Alexandria, known these days as Copts. Though it was primarily conducted by the state/government, as enforcement of the laws of the Empire, there is no doubt that Constantinoplean Patriarchate did participate in it in violation of the faith and canon.

I'd note that differences that were behind it occured at Chalcedon (4th Ecumenical council) in 451, but the persecution happened after 5th council (Constantinopolis, 553) after an unsuccesfull attempt of a union. That should be born in mind by present-day-ecumenicals.

The fact that at present days, though pre-Chalcedonians do reject the 4th Council, the disputed issue about the mode/fashion of union of God and man in the person of Christ is regarded a bit different that it was now. It is now clear that there would have been better understanding if there were no new terms/words involved - phisis, hypostasis and ousia, and if all of them had the same understanding of words - not to mention Copts (and Armenians) do have their own language and don't communicate in Greek.

Therefore, I believe I've heard the statements both from Copts and Armenians that they never professed what's been condemned in Chalcedon as heresy, and I never read an Orthodox who was willing and able to prove such a statement false.

2) It did also happen in case of St. Maximos the Confessor whom was persecuted by iconoclasts for his Orthodox stance towards icons. He is Saint now.

3) It did happen in case of Avvakum, whom, I believe, is a Saint of Russian Old Believers. A branch of Old Believers entered into communion with ROCOR and, when ROCOR restored communion with MP last year, that also marked restoration of communion with one branch of Old Believers.

It should be noted that dispute with Old Believers was about how many times Alleluia should be sung - two or three times - at certain parts of liturgy. Russian Tzar Peter the Great wanted to correct some errors occured during translation of liturgical practices from Greek into Russian. I've read a statement of MP (or was that an interveiw of a bishop?), saying the "correction" also contained errors - so in that case replacing one error with another at the request of a reforming Tzar inflicted another wound.

So, Ireneos, there you have three cases in history where, in violation of Faith and Canons, punishments did occur. If that make it easier, victims are Saints now, at least to some Christians, and it happens to be that common opinion is that none of them did profess anything contrary to Orthodox Faith.

So, go figure.
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