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Author Topic: Just a matter of 13 days?  (Read 9870 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« Reply #45 on: August 22, 2003, 02:05:00 PM »

And if it were imposed on you by the Orthodox churches gathered in council and with all but the hard-heads like ROCOR, ROAC, HOCNA, and the Greek Old Calendarists choosing to use it, or to use some other calendar (e.g. the Aleppo solution), would you reject it?

But I know what you are going to say: "But realistically, by changing to follow the new calendar, they already HAVE accepted it. Just not in the form of a Canon in council"  Shocked

But that DOES make a difference to me. The way it was done, and the number of saints KILLED in order to impose it, makes me of the opinion that it was done by an act of Man and not through the Holy Spirit.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2003, 02:06:03 PM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2003, 03:17:26 PM »

And if it were imposed on you by the Orthodox churches gathered in council and with all but the hard-heads like ROCOR, ROAC, HOCNA, and the Greek Old Calendarists choosing to use it, or to use some other calendar (e.g. the Aleppo solution), would you reject it?

But I know what you are going to say: "But realistically, by changing to follow the new calendar, they already HAVE accepted it. Just not in the form of a Canon in council"  Shocked

But that DOES make a difference to me. The way it was done, and the number of saints KILLED in order to impose it, makes me of the opinion that it was done by an act of Man and not through the Holy Spirit.

Um, I'm not following this.

I'm talking about a future council. As far as I know all Orthodox churches continue to observe the same Paschalion, and as far as I can determine there's no conciliar canon at all on the fixed feasts. So even now, within Orthodoxy, the ecumenical canons are fulfilled, as far as I can tell.

I have no idea what you mean by this violence to which you allude.
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« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2003, 03:45:10 PM »

No, (some) Orthodox in Korea and Finland celebrate Easter with the heterodox, not according to the Orthodox calendar. And Tom speaks of the fact that there have been martyrs over the calendar issue; ie. a number of old calendarists have been murdered for no reason other than the fact that they refused to accept the new calendar. I guess maybe that's hard for us to understand when almost everyone here in the west makes it into a non-issue.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2003, 03:46:00 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2003, 04:24:13 PM »

This issue seems particularly directed at the OCA, the GOA, and the Antiochians (and the EP for not excommunicating any of them); I don't see the ROAC page jumping up and down over Finland to any meaningful degree.

And if we are going to start racking up uncharities and violence performed over the years by one side or the other, we might as well call off Christianity now. What ever happened to forgiveness?
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« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2003, 04:43:29 PM »

You said "As far as I know all Orthodox churches continue to observe the same Paschalion" and I corrected your misunderstanding.

You also said "I have no idea what you mean by this violence to which you allude." and I informed you what violence Ihe was talking about.

And so for answering your questions/misconceptions, you act as though we're in a debate and can't answer my points and need to duck them! lol  You're too much, keble.  Grin

How is it my concern that the ROAC site doesn't mention such things? First, it's obviously a work in progress, and second, I don't see what it has to do with me. I wasn't trying to defend the content of the site, I was answering your questions/understanding. I mean, what is this, kill the messenger after he helps you?

Next thing you know I'll be shot for pointing out that at one of the Orthodox-Catholic joint discussions that the Orthodox theologians accepted Catholic baptisms as essentially the same. Or maybe I'll be hung for knowing someone who's GOA priest told him to attend an Anglican service and take communion since he didn't like the local Antiochian Parish (he thought it was too fundamentalist for him, it was a formerly Evangelical Orthodox parish). Or maybe I'll get thrown in the river with cement shoes for admitted that I've attended Churches with non-Chalcedonians in it where they were given communion. The one priest (a priest I respect on most counts) told me that this was allowed in his particular parish because the family didn't want to deal with the hassel of getting up on Sunday morning and driving an hour to one of their own parishes.

If you don't like the info, ignore it. Everyone else does Wink I've tried hard not to continually link to the Orthodoxinfo and ROAC type sites, where this type of stuff is documented. I wonder, if I had been so bold as to point out the facts, would I have been run off by this point? Probably not. I admit that the treatment here at oc.net of traditionalists is better than we get from many hierarchs priests in world Orthodoxy. Still, it's certainly not easy.

When you wake up one day and wonder "where have all the traditionalists gone from this board? even the level-headed ones (ie. the ones other than me)", you'll know the answer. The talked and talked, but no one was listening, so they moved on.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2003, 04:47:40 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: August 22, 2003, 05:44:09 PM »

This issue seems particularly directed at the OCA, the GOA, and the Antiochians (and the EP for not excommunicating any of them); I don't see the ROAC page jumping up and down over Finland to any meaningful degree.

Can you clear up the involvment of the OCA, the GOA and the Antiochians and explain why/how the EP would "excommunicate any of them?"  The EP is on the new calendar for fixed feasts just the same.  

There are Orthodox parishes in places other than Finland and Korea (Korea is news to me) that celebrate according to the Wester Paschalion.
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« Reply #51 on: August 22, 2003, 10:47:38 PM »

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I'm not going to get into who is graceless and who isn't. The point I'm trying to make is that they are doing the vagante thing of borrowing authority from a parent to whom they refuse to submit. From an Anglican perspective, they are legitimate-- but it's precisely the fact that this is so which is a problem!

Of course this assessment relies on the notion that they're refusing to submit to the Church.  This is the crime of the innovators.

If the "Anglican perspective" permits the idea of schismatic legitimacy, then the "Anglican perspective" is incoherant, and has no resmeblence to the ecclessiology of the Fathers.

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I would substitute "understandable" for "forgivable". I have to question whether a public display like a website should aimed merely at convincing other Orthodox, and I question whether it would do even that.

Given that it's a relatively new website, I'd say "wait and see."

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As a website to convince someone like me to convert to this church, it is a complete failure.

As it stands, far more substantial websites have obviously failed to win you over.  Frankly, apart from a change of heart, I doubt any amount of talk would help.

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It is a website that says, "We are sectarian cranks." Why should I disbelieve this message?

We're looking at different websites, or with different eyes.

btw. there's one obvious thing about the listing of succession that is being overlooked here - it is posted with the reason of establishing legitimacy, but not in the way you're understanding it.  Reading it with latin eyes (and a mechanistic understanding of apostolic succession, and "valid" sacraments divorced from the ecclessial status of those celebrating them), and perhaps a lack of knowledge of the key figures of Orthodoxy in our latter days, you are not reading the names listed there.

If you look at the end of the list, it shows a spiritual transmission via the faithful remnant of the Russian Orthodox Church - namely, via ROCOR, and no connection to the fallen Moscow Patriarchal "Church".  In Orthodox Christianity, "apostolic succession" is not simply the formal laying on of hands from a "valid bishop" (an understanding that both Latins and Vagantes, their wayward children, have in common), but being "plugged in" to a transmission of doctrine and being in the Church - since the priesthood itself exists only within the Church.

Thus, the list establishes that they really are part of the faithful remnant.  It has a meaningfulness in this way which is perhaps not appreciable to someone who is not looking with Orthodox eyes.  Btw., the list itself is just as much a history of the Russian Orthodox Church as it is a "listing" of heirarchs (which of course any decent history has to provide.)

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Well, the problem rather obviously isn't this at all. It's that I'm being forced to doubt that you are expressing a position that is Orthodox, which is to say, that it represents the Mind of the Orthodox Church.

If one is going to be a legal positivist about this, then of course you're going to have to find fault with what I'm saying, since you're looking to the mind of the "Orthodox" (in name) Church at this given moment.  Of course, this is not a legitimate basis to judge such things - if it were, then the Arians would have been correct in their day.

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I've been around the calendar issue many times. This is obviously an issue of controversy within Orthodoxy, and the fallback on the canons is a form of argument which the Orthodox mainstream doesn't accept.

Well, this is stating the obvious.  A better thing to examine is if their lack of acceptance is at all defensible.  It seems increasingly, nothing particularly matters to "world Orthodoxy" (since the Antiochians have now wedded themselves to the Monophysite heresy, and as far as I know, no one in "world Orthodoxy" has in fact cut ties with them.)

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« Reply #52 on: August 23, 2003, 02:00:52 AM »




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From Linus7: Are you saying the differences between Orthodox jurisdictions are analogous to the differences between the 1st-century sectarians and heretics you name above?

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From Paradosis: 1) Acceptance of heterodox sacraments (baptism, eucharist, etc.); 2) Telling parishioners to attend heterodox churches and receive sacraments from them; 3) Continued participation in the pan-heretical ecumenical movement.

If these things have occurred or are occurring, how about some documentation beyond the claims of a web site that labels its opponents as "freemasons"?

As far as I know, my bishop endorses none of these things. Why should I run off to ROCOR based upon what I read on what appears to be a cranky sort of conspiracy-theory web site?

While I don't approve of the Ecumenical Movement, I am not yet convinced that those Orthodox hierarchs whom ROCOR and ROAC accuse of heresy are actually guilty of it.

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From Paradosis: Yes, I'd say they are roughly equivalent lapses. Saint Vincent of Lerins, in his discussion of the Galatians where Paul discusses "those who preach a different Gospel," says that this passage is valid for all time. It is just as true in today's lapses as it was for the judaizers and so forth.

That passage from Galatians is very user friendly.

I know. I've seen it used against Orthodox Christians by Protestants.

I see what amount to undocumented charges against otherwise Orthodox hierarchs. Even if true, what you listed above is not even remotely equivalent to the heresies of the Judaizers and Gnostics.

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From Linus7: Who decides when the differences are important enough to interrupt communion and create a schism?

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From Paradosis: The bishops.

Bishops whose wandering predecessors maintained a separate existence on the home soil of several different autocephalous churches without doing the generally-canonical thing and becoming part of those jurisdictions?

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From Linus7: Are you saying there are Orthodox jurisdictions preaching errors that are the equivalent of those of the Judaizers and Gnostics?

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From Paradosis: Some jurisdictions today are worse.

And those are?

And they are guilty of?

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From Linus7: I wonder about a group that was created in a crisis, whose autonomy was apparently meant to be temporary and to last only as long as the crisis lasted, maintaining its separate existence long after the crisis has passed.

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From Paradosis: I wonder about people who can't see that things change and sometimes, even when the crisis is over, new problems remain. No one could have forseen the rise of so prominent a heresy--a pan-heresy--as ecumenism. No one knew Sergianism would be held to even when the crisis was supposedly over. No one knew that most of world Orthodoxy would be running towards a cliff, and that the Church hierarchy in the Mother land attached at the hip with these people running towards a cliff. Ahh, but let's pretend that there are no problems, and that it's just all political stuff for the bishops to solve, and we need not worry ourselves. Sad

I disagree with the Ecumenical Movement because I think it is a waste of time and because it lends credibility to sects that have none.

But I disagree with the notion that it necessarily involves heresy, especially from the Orthodox perspective.

For Protestants and Roman Catholics (although the latter do not belong to the WCC) the heresy that motivates their efforts at ecumenism is the heresy of a false ecclesiology: the idea that we are all just one happy body of Christians, all part of the badly-divided Church, regardless of our differences in doctrine. Their ecumenism is the product of heretical ecclesiology. Thus, for them, ecumenism is a symptom of heresy, not the heresy itself.

The Orthodox motivation for being involved in the Ecumenical Movement, as I understand it, is dialogue, a witness in love to those in need of the truth. It involves no false ecclesiology and is thus neither the product of heresy nor a heresy in itself.

I am not expert enough in the things Sergius suffered and his supposed crimes to pass judgment on him.

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From Linus7: This in a nation that has an autocephalous church granted its autocephaly by the same Mother Church that gave the group in question its temporary, crisis autonomy.

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From Paradosis: Actually Saint Tikhon made it possible for ROCOR to exist.

There is some question as to exactly how far St. Tikhon meant for the autonomy of what would become ROCOR to go and how long it would last.

Did he mean to set up an autonomous Russian church in lands with fully canonical autocephalous Orthodox churches already in place, or did he mean something like this: "Things are getting desperate. It looks like I will be cut off by Trotsky and the Reds. You have my blessing to act on your own while this crisis lasts"?

I am no expert, but I tend to think the latter. It is hard to imagine an Orthodox hierarch setting up a parallel church in the lands of another patriarch.

When a group of Orthodox Christians moves to a nation with an autocephalous Orthodox church, should it not seek to join with that church?

Yet ROCOR has respected no such territorial restrictions on its autonomy, whether it resided in Constantinople or Serbia or wherever.

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From Paradosis: And few recognized the autocephaly of the OCA at the time; Constantinople and ROCOR still don't (and there are probably others). The autocephaly of the OCA is not canonical, though. Can a church under such a yoke make such decisions in an Orthodox manner? The MP is not the Mother Church, it is a communist creation. The MP may have a part to play in the eventual pan-Russian synod, but not because it is the mother church! If anything, it will be like Meletios of Antioch in the fourth century... UNcanonical before, but now accepted because of an Orthodox faith.

Actually, the canons are unclear on just how an autocephalous church is created. There is precedent for the granting of autocephaly by the Mother Church.

To say simply that "the autocephaly of the OCA is not canonical" is a bald assertion. The response, "Oh, yes it is", is equally valid. Neither have been proven.

What Orthodox council declared the MP under the Soviets a "communist creation"?

What is the EP then, a "Turkish creation"?

It seems ironic to me that ROCOR would complain about and refuse to recognize the autocephaly of the OCA when that autocephaly meant freedom and autonomy from the MP!

The yoke is wrong, but when the yoke is removed that is wrong too?

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From Linus7: It might behoove those who would remain separate to find continuing crises wherever they may be found.

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From Paradosis: And it might be in the best interests of the comforted to find rationalizations to stay comfortable and cozy in their bed, even when someone is yelling "fire! fire!". Because there, in fact, is a fire, whether you want to wake up and figure out what to do about it or not. Ignoring it won't make the fire go out.

Justin


Is it comfort and complacency that prevent one from embracing ROCOR and ROAC arguments?

It might be comforting to some to think so.

Could it be rather that we still want convincing?

There is a difference between ignoring fires and starting them.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2003, 02:10:45 AM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2003, 10:52:07 AM »

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I'm not going to get into who is graceless and who isn't. The point I'm trying to make is that they are doing the vagante thing of borrowing authority from a parent to whom they refuse to submit. From an Anglican perspective, they are legitimate-- but it's precisely the fact that this is so which is a problem!

Of course this assessment relies on the notion that they're refusing to submit to the Church.  This is the crime of the innovators.

If the "Anglican perspective" permits the idea of schismatic legitimacy, then the "Anglican perspective" is incoherant, and has no resmeblence to the ecclessiology of the Fathers.

That is a matter of opinion, and off-topic anyway.

ROAC clearly exists in a state of schism. The schism is being justified by excluding everyone else from Orthodoxy because they disagree on points that ROAC has determined to make an issue of.  This is not necessarily a problem of itself. The problem is that they have to get these issues right, and in doing so, they cannot rely on their own authority.

So the whole thing is reduced to the making of arguments and the evaluation thereof.

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I would substitute "understandable" for "forgivable". I have to question whether a public display like a website should aimed merely at convincing other Orthodox, and I question whether it would do even that.

Given that it's a relatively new website, I'd say "wait and see."

It is an incomplete website, but the parts that do not lead anywhere yet will, by any reckoning, lead to more of the same. A website is, after all, a witness to the world wheher one chooses otherwise or not; yet instead of choosing a witness to Christ, they have chosen a witness of self-justification.

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It is a website that says, "We are sectarian cranks." Why should I disbelieve this message?

We're looking at different websites, or with different eyes.

btw. there's one obvious thing about the listing of succession that is being overlooked here - it is posted with the reason of establishing legitimacy, but not in the way you're understanding it.

Well, um, yes, actually your exegesis of their successional claims is exactly as I understand it.

It doesn't matter exactly why they follow the particular path that they do. They feel they must justify their legitimacy; therefore they understand that their legitimacy is in doubt. Therefore it is in doubt.

The difference here between a classical vagante and ROAC in this instance is that the succession is plausible, and also that the purpose of establishing this particular route is to make schism plausible instead of establishing a spurious linkage. But it still cannot escape the latter problem. The institutions of which ROAC claims the heritage have their own actual heritage, which was to adopt postures which ROAC rejects! Therefore, a reasonable person may doubt that they were actually "pure" in the first place.

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Well, the problem rather obviously isn't this at all. It's that I'm being forced to doubt that you are expressing a position that is Orthodox, which is to say, that it represents the Mind of the Orthodox Church.

If one is going to be a legal positivist about this, then of course you're going to have to find fault with what I'm saying, since you're looking to the mind of the "Orthodox" (in name) Church at this given moment.

Well, I'm not being a legal positivist about this.

After all, ROAC is claiming to be the the Church "at this given moment" and therefore presents the same issue. In a dispute such as this one simply has to consider the claimants and not simply pick one to take at its word.

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I've been around the calendar issue many times. This is obviously an issue of controversy within Orthodoxy, and the fallback on the canons is a form of argument which the Orthodox mainstream doesn't accept.

Well, this is stating the obvious.  A better thing to examine is if their lack of acceptance is at all defensible.

Well, I would say that it is not only defensible, but easily so. I've been all over the history of this, and have read the real canons, and they don't dogmatize the Dionysian calculation. Nicea certainly doesn't, never mind the anachronism that the calculation had not yet been formulated.

And that's getting ahead of the game anyway. The mere say-so of ROAC is inadequate, and your say-so as an apologist for them is surely even more inadequate.  The issues have to be addressed on their merits, and thus to understand the issue I have to be advised by both sides.
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« Reply #54 on: August 28, 2003, 07:54:21 PM »

THomas,
In response to a question you posed earlier about which Orthodox Church is the right one, just ignore all groups calling themselves "True" Orthodox or "Traditionalist" Orthodox. Just join one of the Canonical Churches. This Orthodox traditionalism is just Donatism being recycled over and over again. Even if these groups are right, schism is not the way to solve problems. Schism is sin and is not justifiable (Gal. 5:19-21). :smiley6:

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« Reply #55 on: August 28, 2003, 08:02:04 PM »

There's no such things as a "Canonical Church".  A Church that follows the canons, yes. A Church that was created according to canonical norms, yes. A "Canonical" (as opposed to those mean ole traditionlists) Church? Nope. This terminology came into Orthodoxy via the ecumenical movement, and it's about as legit as most of the other stuff that comes out of the ecumenical movement.

It's always sad though when people bemoan how bad schisms and divisions are, and then dismiss traditionalists out of hand (sometimes comparing them to heretics), instead of actually taking a look at what they are pointing to. Traditionalists point out the ugly side of things (e.g., accepting heterodox sacraments, calling heterodox "of the same faith" and "sister Churches"), and for that, we get slapped upside the head with derogatory labels.

But those who seek truth will find it, and even if Athanasius himself brings a different gospel, those who are to be in the Church will safely find their way.
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« Reply #56 on: August 28, 2003, 10:04:33 PM »

accepting heterodox sacraments, calling heterodox "of the same faith" and "sister Churches

-I've never called heterodox of the same faith or sister churches. I've never accepted heterodox sacraments. All I am saying is that the issues I see that are brought up so often by traditionalists: i.e. old calender, must rebaptize all converts even if they were baptized into the Trinity in water, avoid all ecumenism (and by ecumenism I'm not talking about receiving communion in non-Orthodox churches or watering down Orthodoxy, all I'm saying is TALKING to other groups and letting them know we are here and we are the historical Church), etc. are being blown way out of proportion. There is no need to go start "true" Orthodox churches. If there are problems in the Church STAY in the Church and fix them. Don't break away, which is what I see many who call themselves traditionalists doing. It's these sort of groups which make Protestants say: "See they are just as divided as we are, why should I become Orthodox?" And Catholics say "See those Orthodox are all divided, that's proof that they need the Pope". It's wrong.

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« Reply #57 on: August 29, 2003, 09:05:05 PM »

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I've never called heterodox of the same faith or sister churches.

Your Pope does (us included - since strictly speaking, from an RC vantage point, Orthodox Christians are not 100% "orthodox" in their views.)

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I've never accepted heterodox sacraments.

That's an odd position for an RC to take.  As long as form, matter, intent are there (and in the case of ordinations and "confecting the eucharist", apostolic succession - understood simply as a descent of the laying on of hands), Catholicism teaches that the given sacrament is "valid", no matter what sect it's being conferred in.

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All I am saying is that the issues I see that are brought up so often by traditionalists: i.e. old calender, must rebaptize all converts even if they were baptized into the Trinity in water, avoid all ecumenism (and by ecumenism I'm not talking about receiving communion in non-Orthodox churches or watering down Orthodoxy, all I'm saying is TALKING to other groups and letting them know we are here and we are the historical Church), etc. are being blown way out of proportion.

Calendar: the Calendar issue is significant, in so far as it's an affront to canonical order (which has been comprimised enough due to circumstances beyond anyone's control in this century; we don't need people choosing to cause problems like this), and that it was the first step towards the false ecumenism that is now rampant.  Even if one wants to argue (I'd say falsely) that it is in fact the "Old Calendarists" who are at fault here for making this an issue, the question still needs to be asked of the New Calendarists whether this calendar of theirs was really worth all of the mischief it's created?

Baptism: The controversy here is actually doctrinal in nature.  The Orthodox position (which is now being defected from) is that the Church is the Body of Christ - Orthodoxy cannot admit the "branch" ecclessiology of the Anglicans, which it seems Catholicism has now more or less adopted (with the qualification that Catholicism is "best", while something is lacking with the other churches).   Part of this understanding is that only the Church (as the Body of Christ) can do "Church things" like Baptize people.  This is not to say the correct form of these things doesn't exist outside of the Church - the Church cannot stop anyone from doing this; but the spiritual content cannot be kidnapped or carried off by those outside of the Church.  It is true, that in varying circumstances, the Orthodox Church has historically received converts in different ways, depending on what sect or schism they were coming out of; sometimes by simply imposing chrism upon them, othertimes simply a renunciation of error and confession, other times complete baptism and the works.   However in all cases, it was with the understanding that (even if they were not being formally baptized) the Church was giving content to that which was previously empty.

The reason why "Old Calendarists" now baptize everyone received as a convert, has to do with the scandal caused by the "mainstream Orthodox"; besides receiving people via "economy", they've joined to this the false idea that the baptisms they'd received in their heterodox days are in fact "valid".  This is such a problem, that the "traditionalists" do as they do, in order to underline the point that this opinion is mistaken, and to prevent a false idea from being spread any further.  It's also worth pointing out that on the whole, the "strict" form of reception has been, on the whole, quite common in Greek practice (even before the current controversy), where as leniency was more normative in Slavic practice.

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There is no need to go start "true" Orthodox churches. If there are problems in the Church STAY in the Church and fix them.

It is precisely because these traditionalists desire to stay in[/i] the Church, that they separate from heresies - it's a basic Orthodox principle that one cannot be in communion with heretics, or those who refuse to break from heresy (the idea of "I'm ok, you're ok.")  Besides, I'd say it's not the "traditionalists" who are starting new churches here.

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Don't break away, which is what I see many who call themselves traditionalists doing. It's these sort of groups which make Protestants say: "See they are just as divided as we are, why should I become Orthodox?"

In part, such a comment would be a reaction to the Roman Catholic polemic against Protestantism, not Orthodoxy's opinion of Protestantism.  In the Holy Scriptures, St.Paul outlines the Church's unity as fundamentally lying in the sharing of the same Lord, the same faith, and the same mysteries.  In short, a grounding in the same Truth.  Protestants do not share this amongst themselves, Orthodox Christians do.  

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And Catholics say "See those Orthodox are all divided, that's proof that they need the Pope".

Of course, such an opinion is rooted in a false esteem for administrative structures (whose import is practical, not dogmatic.)   The existance of the Papacy has not prevented schisms and errors from occuring in lands under Papal juristiction, nor has it prevented a diversity of contradictory positions from cropping up in the modern RCC.  All it's done, is house all of these bickering parties under the same roof - an administrative unity, but not a spiritual one.  While the Orthodoxy way is not as neat and tidy, it is in fact far more genuine - spiritual unity first, administrative unity second (and to serve the former.)  In the place of "follow the Pope", we'd say "follow the Truth."  This is why Orthodoxy vehemently rejects the parallelism RC's create between their "Vicar of Christ" and Christ Himself regarding Headship of the Church - there can be no "head" of the Church besides Christ in the way that He is uniquely the Lord of all believers.

The only thing the Papacy does do, and this is detrimental, is introduce the real possibility of immortalizing error in the RC communion (by painting latins into a corner by the whims of their Pope.)  Papism is not a solution at all, so the Latin critics of Orthodoxy have no room to scoff.

Seraphim
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« Reply #58 on: August 29, 2003, 09:23:22 PM »

Well Athanasius, here's the problems as I see them, every one of which either violates the canons and/or tradition of the Church, or is a full-blown dogmatic lapse (ie. heretical):

Dogmatic errors
1. Communion and Concelebration with Monophysites (or anti-chalcedonians)
2. Acceptance of Roman Catholic and Anglican sacraments as having some degree of grace (and also allowing Orthodox to attend Anglican services and to receive communion)
3. Continued participation in the ecumenical movement (which is not only a heretical movement but pan-heretical in nature)


Practical, traditional, and canonical lapses which are common in World Orthodoxy
1. Usage of the revised julian calendar
2. Praying with the heterodox and non-Christians.
3. Various gestures of friendship with Roman Catholics which violate Christian love (dropping of anathemas, etc.)
4. Church canons disregarded with no justifiable explanation given (e.g., clerical appearance)
5. Protestantized scholarship among theologians in patristics, liturgics, and other areas
6. Lack of, and sometimes complete absense of, a monastic presence
7. Disregard for fasting and other ascetic virtues
8. Various lapses in morality (Contraception, etc.)

Other sproadic, though tacitly approved (or ignored) practical, traditional, or canonical lapses
1. Usage of the full Gregorian calendar so that Pascha is always at the same time as the Easter of western Christians (done by Orthodox in Finland and Korea)
2. The rise in support--albeit minor at this point--for female priests
3. General confessions given
4. Strange teachings emanating from world Orthodox seminaries
5. Giving antidoran to those not in the Church

Many of these are not large enough to break communion over. IMO only the dogmatic ones are enough to break communion over. None of these things are small, though. To take any of the pieces of this picture and call it small could be likened to walking up behind someone who has just spent a very long time working on a puzzle, taking a number of his puzzle pieces, and throwing them out the window. "Why? Why did you do that?" he might ask, confused. The man might respond, "Because I say so. Because I like it better like this. I think it looks better, don't you? Now if you don't agree don't throw a hissy fit! It's just a few pieces, they weren't even that important!"  That's how I feel when new calendarists make light of such things. Before long, half the puzzle will be gone, and the image (of Christ) will be totally lost Sad
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« Reply #59 on: August 30, 2003, 02:30:39 AM »

Seraphim,
Uh, why do you think I'm Catholic? I'm not. I'm Orthodox. After reading a few comments you made about my post and saw that you thought I was Catholic I just skipped the rest.

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« Reply #60 on: August 30, 2003, 02:41:58 AM »

Paradosis,
OK, in response to the problems you listed:
Domatic.
1. I do not support. It has happened occasionally and it is an error.
2. Don't agree with.
3. Only agree with if it is being done to make others aware of Orthodoxy, otherwise its a waste of time.
Practical, etc.
1. Julian calender was the invention of the pagan Roman state. The Church used it because it was the accepted calender. THe CHurch does the same with the Gregorian.
2. Do you mean publically? If so that is a problem.
3. Well we can be friendly with Rome so long as we are not accepting her false teachings or saying that "we're really just the same thing".
4. Canons are not always inflexible unbending rules. They were made because the Church saw a specific need.
5. In some authors I totally agree.
6. YOu mean in a parish? Well, yeah...
7. NOpe. I do not disregard fasting and other ascetic practices.
8. Where has the Church officially made a decree in regards to contraception?
Other
1. NOt a problem in my jurisdiction.
2. Totally wrong. No female priests period.
3. What do you mean?
4. True sometimes that does happen.
5. Yes this is frequent. What is wrong with this?

In short most of the things you wrote simply do not apply to my Church or most of the ORthodox Churches I know. THe few remaining things even if they are problems do not necessitate a schism of any kind. I believe that if there are problems in the Church then God will work them out. These things often take a long time. My duty is to stay in the Church and work out my own salvation and not to take "saving the Church" into my own hands.
I enjoy talking with you.
God Bless,

Athanasius
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« Reply #61 on: August 30, 2003, 10:47:09 AM »

Quote
From Seraphim Reeves:
Calendar: the Calendar issue is significant, in so far as it's an affront to canonical order (which has been comprimised enough due to circumstances beyond anyone's control in this century; we don't need people choosing to cause problems like this), and that it was the first step towards the false ecumenism that is now rampant.  Even if one wants to argue (I'd say falsely) that it is in fact the "Old Calendarists" who are at fault here for making this an issue, the question still needs to be asked of the New Calendarists whether this calendar of theirs was really worth all of the mischief it's created?

I agree that the New Calendar should never have been adopted, but only because those who adopted it should have known that it would cause offense.

In a similar way, in the 17th century the Patriarch Nikon mishandled the introduction of Greek practices into the Russian Church and alienated the "Old Believers", something that could have and should have been avoided.

However, the use of the New Calendar is now an established fact in some churches. It is okay to complain about it, in my view, but absolutely wrong to make such a thing - a mere calendar, an invention and servant of Man - a rock of offense and the pretext for schism. To make a schism over any calendar is prideful, obstinate; in a word, a SIN.

Personally, I think those of us who are on the New Calendar should immediately drop it to save our offended brothers and sisters from this sin. If we insist on maintaining it, then we become guilty of the same thing.

Quote
From Seraphim Reeves: Baptism: The controversy here is actually doctrinal in nature.  The Orthodox position (which is now being defected from) is that the Church is the Body of Christ - Orthodoxy cannot admit the "branch" ecclessiology of the Anglicans, which it seems Catholicism has now more or less adopted (with the qualification that Catholicism is "best", while something is lacking with the other churches).   Part of this understanding is that only the Church (as the Body of Christ) can do "Church things" like Baptize people.  This is not to say the correct form of these things doesn't exist outside of the Church - the Church cannot stop anyone from doing this; but the spiritual content cannot be kidnapped or carried off by those outside of the Church.  It is true, that in varying circumstances, the Orthodox Church has historically received converts in different ways, depending on what sect or schism they were coming out of; sometimes by simply imposing chrism upon them, othertimes simply a renunciation of error and confession, other times complete baptism and the works.   However in all cases, it was with the understanding that (even if they were not being formally baptized) the Church was giving content to that which was previously empty.

The reason why "Old Calendarists" now baptize everyone received as a convert, has to do with the scandal caused by the "mainstream Orthodox"; besides receiving people via "economy", they've joined to this the false idea that the baptisms they'd received in their heterodox days are in fact "valid".  This is such a problem, that the "traditionalists" do as they do, in order to underline the point that this opinion is mistaken, and to prevent a false idea from being spread any further.  It's also worth pointing out that on the whole, the "strict" form of reception has been, on the whole, quite common in Greek practice (even before the current controversy), where as leniency was more normative in Slavic practice.

I don't know of any Orthodox Church that accepts converts by chrismation because she recognizes their baptisms as "valid." The Church reaches back in time and makes an empty baptism valid through the principle of ekonomia.

It is my feeling that in this day and age of religious relativism more akribia is called for, but I will defer to Orthodox bishops, who know quite a bit more than I do. In other words, I think we probably should be baptizing everyone who comes to us, but that is my lay opinion.

Quote
From Seraphim Reeves: It is precisely because these traditionalists desire to stay in[/i] the Church, that they separate from heresies - it's a basic Orthodox principle that one cannot be in communion with heretics, or those who refuse to break from heresy (the idea of "I'm ok, you're ok.")  Besides, I'd say it's not the "traditionalists" who are starting new churches here.

Please note that "traditionalists" is the name you all have given yourselves.

Ordinarily I am favorably disposed toward ROCOR, believe it or not; but this thread and the other similar one, "ROCOR vs. EP", coupled with the way in which your case has been presented - first off, by misrepresenting what I had to say - has caused me to question that favorable attitude.

 



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« Reply #62 on: August 30, 2003, 12:11:18 PM »

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has caused me to question that favorable attitude

Sad I'm sorry to hear that, Linus. I thought we were getting through to you.
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« Reply #63 on: August 30, 2003, 02:39:45 PM »

My apologies, Athanasius - it's just that there was a gentleman on many forums like this who went by your handle (Athanasius), who was in fact a Byzantine Catholic, but with very strong Orthodox sympathies (one of these "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" types.)

Once again, my apologies.

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« Reply #64 on: August 30, 2003, 02:46:55 PM »

Serpahim,

I believe he posts by his real name on this forum, which is infrequently.

anastasios
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« Reply #65 on: August 30, 2003, 03:05:28 PM »

Athanasius

Quote
1. I do not support. It has happened occasionally and it is an error.

Monophysite communion doesn't happen "occasionally". I've attended two Antiochian Churches that do it weekly. The Antiochian Patriarch and Metropolitan told the priests to do it. The Ecumenical Patriarch formed a commission to investigate how to bring the same thing about in his own parishes. Joint statements have been released which basically say that there are no major differences. If you are in communion with Antioch or the EP, it is something you have to worry about.

Quote
2. Don't agree with.

Have you told your bishop that you disagree with accepting heterodox sacraments? Because apparently a number of Orthodox theologians disagree. GOA priests (with tacit approval of the bishops) allow parishioners to attend Anglican services, for instance, and receive. A few years ago a joint Orthodox-Catholic group of theologians found that they had the same baptism. If you don't agree, please say something to your priest or bishop.

Quote
3. Only agree with if it is being done to make others aware of Orthodoxy, otherwise its a waste of time.

I don't think it makes anyone aware of Orthodoxy that could be reached in other ways (especially in this day and age with all our fancy technology).

Quote
1. Julian calender was the invention of the pagan Roman state. The Church used it because it was the accepted calender. THe CHurch does the same with the Gregorian.

No, the Church condemned usage of the Gregorian calendar. All of the Orthodox world thought it important enough a few hundred years ago to weigh in on this issue year after year. They repeatedly and unquestionably condemned it. So there is an already existing tradition in place, and one with pan-Orthodox support. It is not permissable to say that the calendar innovation is just "the Church changing it's mind". The majority of Orthodox Christians are still old calendar, and still follow the traditions of the Church--both that of Nicea, and those that were a reaction to the original introduction of the Gregorian calendar.

Quote
2. Do you mean publically? If so that is a problem.

Even Bishop Kallistos (who can hardly be called a traditionalist) admits in his latest revision of The Orthodox Church that the Orthodox pray with the heterodox. It's more common than most people know.

Quote
3. Well we can be friendly with Rome so long as we are not accepting her false teachings or saying that "we're really just the same thing".

But we are saying that she's ok. We are dropping the anathemas. We are saying she is a "sister church". We are saying her baptism has grace in it. I don't have a problem being friendly on a grass roots, discussion level. But giving up ground theologically should not happen--but it does.

Quote
4. Canons are not always inflexible unbending rules. They were made because the Church saw a specific need.

And to suddenly do a 180 without any explanation for purely modernistic ("we want to fit in") reasons is scandalous to the faithful. They could at least give reasons for the change.

Quote
6. YOu mean in a parish? Well, yeah...

I mean how the Antiochians have no monasteries, and to be quite honest don't want one. I mean how the GOA would have but a handful of monks if it were not for Elder Ephraim (in spite of having what they falsely claim to be more than a million faithful). I mean that the OCA's largest monastery is not even orthodox, and has to be covered up so no one in the mainstream OCA is scandalised.

Quote
7. NOpe. I do not disregard fasting and other ascetic practices.

You keep saying you. I'm not talking about you. Smiley You might be a walking, talking Anthony the Great. I'm talking about the bishops of world Orthodoxy in general. And many of them do disregard ascetical practices.

Quote
8. Where has the Church officially made a decree in regards to contraception?

For one (of numerous) examples, slavic penitential literature gave very heavy penances for its use. Some equated it to literal murder. Not quite the picture you get from most priests today.

Quote
2. Totally wrong. No female priests period.

How can it be totally wrong? I never said there were female priests, I only said there was a movement--albeit small at this point--to get them. If you think there isn't you need to open your eyes a bit wider Wink There are Orthodox theologians who are known to support female priests. That's totally true (even though their wish is totally wrong).

Quote
3. What do you mean?

General confessions are when a priest says a list of sins, you (with everyone else in the Church) think about them, whether you've comitted them, etc., and then go up in line for absolution, which is quickly given as you pass.

Quote
5. Yes this is frequent. What is wrong with this?

Antidoran are for the faithful Orthodox who were not able to take communion at the service for one reason or another. Antiodoran is not for non-Orthodox, like some type of missionary tool to make them feel included.

Justin
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« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2003, 03:15:26 PM »

I do apologize for listing jurisdictions. I don't like things to devolve into jurisdictional arguments, or judging this one or that. However, if I say that something is happening, I obviously can't refrain from giving more information, such as where it is happening. On the other hand, most of this information is already out there online. Orthodoxinfo has a lot, as does the Orthodox Indiana list. Some of it's true, some of it's false. I try to only list what I've read (in world Orthodoxy's own literature), seen (with my own two eyes), or heard about from actual participants who are sure of what they are claiming (like a fellow I used to talk to on Paltalk whose priest gave him permission to attend an Anglican church and take communion since the local Orthodox Church was too "fundamentalist" (they had been with the Evangelical Orthodox) for him).

Such posts don't seem to do much good, though. I wonder if there is a point in continuing such posting? Even those I think we are perhaps getting through too come back a few days later and say things that make me think we've only done harm, not good. Like we put the salve of healing on their eyes, and they straight away began to rub it in too forcefully and make their vision worse. Sad And now we--I--am responsible for giving them the salve.


And to add yet another comment, on such threads it is rarely possible to get across the point. The contraception thing, for example, is hard to discuss because I am only talking about general practice, but people will probably assume that I am saying we must 100% legalistically not allow it at all. That's definately not what I'm saying. I guess the internet in general is not particular good for such discussions, though, as you can't see the person's face or body language. It's too easy to dismiss the other side as being insincere or something like that, and telling them that you think so.

So, if you think I'm wrong I ask that you forgive me, and pray for me. And I don't seek to be undespised, but I don't want people to think I'm insincere or out to say harsh things just for the fun of it.
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« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2003, 03:54:03 PM »

Paradosis,
Thanks for the comments. I don't really have time now but I'll a couple of points. Many of the things you are saying I have simply not experienced in my Church (which is Antiochian). In fact one of members who is a convert from the Copts and is very concerned with getting the monophysites back into the Church spoke to my priest and said why don't we just go to their Church and receive communion? My priest said no that that could not be done, period.
Anyway, I know enough about Church history to know that there have always been problems in the Church there have always been abuses, etc. The wrong way to handle it is schism (and I'm not accusing you since I really know nothing about you). All I know is that even when genuine problems occured, the groups who broke off died away in schism and the problems were eventually fixed.

Athanasius
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« Reply #68 on: August 31, 2003, 09:29:42 AM »


I agree that the New Calendar should never have been adopted, but only because those who adopted it should have known that it would cause offense.

In a similar way, in the 17th century the Patriarch Nikon mishandled the introduction of Greek practices into the Russian Church and alienated the "Old Believers", something that could have and should have been avoided.

I don't intend to address every point here, but there's one hidden issue which I think needs to be addressed.

I don't think alienating the Old Believers could have been avoided, except by going along with them. There's always someone who's going to grit their teeth and doggedly oppose any change.  Nikon comes across as a bit of a hardhead too, frankly. So everyone gets to pat themselves on the back about Defending Truth and the followers of Nikon's opponents get some martyrdoms thrown in for good measure.

The problem I see in this, as far as ecclesiology is concerned, is that this is hardly Orthodox. What is the True Church? Well, it's whatever sect I'm in, plus whichever sects my sect chooses to anoint as acceptable companions.
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« Reply #69 on: August 31, 2003, 11:17:39 AM »

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The wrong way to handle it is schism

I agree Athanasius, that's why I'm in such a sad state: why have the Antiochians, EP, etc. gone into schism? Sad
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« Reply #70 on: August 31, 2003, 02:02:01 PM »



The problem I see in this, as far as ecclesiology is concerned, is that this is hardly Orthodox. What is the True Church? Well, it's whatever sect I'm in, plus whichever sects my sect chooses to anoint as acceptable companions.


Good point Keble.  That is the same question I ask myself.  Who is the true church when everyone claims that they are?
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« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2003, 06:05:21 PM »


I agree that the New Calendar should never have been adopted, but only because those who adopted it should have known that it would cause offense.

In a similar way, in the 17th century the Patriarch Nikon mishandled the introduction of Greek practices into the Russian Church and alienated the "Old Believers", something that could have and should have been avoided.

I don't intend to address every point here, but there's one hidden issue which I think needs to be addressed.

I don't think alienating the Old Believers could have been avoided, except by going along with them. There's always someone who's going to grit their teeth and doggedly oppose any change.  Nikon comes across as a bit of a hardhead too, frankly. So everyone gets to pat themselves on the back about Defending Truth and the followers of Nikon's opponents get some martyrdoms thrown in for good measure.

The problem I see in this, as far as ecclesiology is concerned, is that this is hardly Orthodox. What is the True Church? Well, it's whatever sect I'm in, plus whichever sects my sect chooses to anoint as acceptable companions.


I am not sure what your last comment means, Keble. Was there something in my post that was not Orthodox? Or are you making a general comment about the subject of this thread?

I think Nikon could have handled things a lot better and avoided alienating the Old Believers, but only God knows for sure.

Asking what or who the True Church is is a little like asking what the True Religion is. One either believes or one does not. There are many alternatives, many religions, many "churches." But there is only one Holy Spirit, and only one Church. She is perceived by grace through faith and in no other way.
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« Reply #72 on: September 01, 2003, 09:04:48 AM »

This came from a different thread, but I think it is more appropriate to answer it in the context of this thread.

But then, what good is listing a lot anyway? People will just say "that doesn't describe us" or "we must fight from the inside". This doesn't reflect reality, or a following of the relevant canons or traditions... but enough people can apparently fool themselves into thinking that it imitates some artificially constructed "spirit of Orthodoxy" (sort of reminds me of the "spirit of Vatican 2" stuff that comes from some Catholics, which isn't based on any canons or tradition whatsoever, but on their own personally held beliefs and half-thought-out theories about how one shows love and has unity). So what is a traditionalist to do? Come and get told what a sectarian he is from those who've probably never read the relevant canons (let alone thought hard about them). I guess.

But this is just a common phenomenon everywhere; it happens often enough in Orthodoxy too.  After all, we have threads going on about the Spirit of Orthodoxy in which (for instance) the issue of the calendar is being discussed, with two or three different positions claiming to represent True Orthodoxy.

As far as the "spirit of Vat II" is concerned, the council itself gives lots of answers. RC documents come out, as a rule, with a lot of excursis. It isn't hard to see that the "spirit" people haven't gotten it right, and that the SSPX people haven't gotten it right either, and within the dimensions of Catholic ecclesiology are certainly simply expressing their own opinions too.

Referring to me as a "sectarian" is laughable, but at any rate the problem I'm having should be staring everyone in the face by now. You are claiming to know the "spirit of Orthodox"; and if the OCA is by implication doing the same thing, then what? In the past I've had people instructing me as to what the canons said, but who turned out to be mistaken.  Who then is fooling themselves?

This whole line of argument is dying on the same point. Certain people are saying that (a) they represent the true church, and that (b) salvation is only to be found in submitting to this church. Even beyond that, there is this whole discussion of where grace is to be found. It is not a discussion I feel I can engage much, because immediately I run into an insurmountable problem. If there is no grace in Anglicanism, then I must conclude that Christianity is a fraud and that there is no grace.
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« Reply #73 on: September 01, 2003, 09:21:01 AM »


I agree that the New Calendar should never have been adopted, but only because those who adopted it should have known that it would cause offense.

In a similar way, in the 17th century the Patriarch Nikon mishandled the introduction of Greek practices into the Russian Church and alienated the "Old Believers", something that could have and should have been avoided.

I don't intend to address every point here, but there's one hidden issue which I think needs to be addressed.

I don't think alienating the Old Believers could have been avoided, except by going along with them. There's always someone who's going to grit their teeth and doggedly oppose any change.  Nikon comes across as a bit of a hardhead too, frankly. So everyone gets to pat themselves on the back about Defending Truth and the followers of Nikon's opponents get some martyrdoms thrown in for good measure.

The problem I see in this, as far as ecclesiology is concerned, is that this is hardly Orthodox. What is the True Church? Well, it's whatever sect I'm in, plus whichever sects my sect chooses to anoint as acceptable companions.


I am not sure what your last comment means, Keble. Was there something in my post that was not Orthodox? Or are you making a general comment about the subject of this thread?

I think Nikon could have handled things a lot better and avoided alienating the Old Believers, but only God knows for sure.

Asking what or who the True Church is is a little like asking what the True Religion is. One either believes or one does not. There are many alternatives, many religions, many "churches." But there is only one Holy Spirit, and only one Church. She is perceived by grace through faith and in no other way.

It's not that I'm saying that you aren't expressing an Orthodox opinion. Let me lay it out a little more plainly.

When people are saying, "you have to believe the one true faith or you aren't in the church", consider any one person saying this. If they are just a layman or a lower order clergy and they disagree with their hierarch, then the disruption is minimal. Get three bishops to disagree, and since they are the True Church (in their own eyes) they break off and become a separate sect.  Or if extraordinary circumstances force a jurisdictional division, then the two sides of the division are free to excommunicate each other and evolve into two separate "True Churches".

If one pays no attention to these issues and simply attends whatever church one is brought up in, then one avoids this. If one does pay attention to theology and is not going to be latitudinarian at all, then I don't see how church shopping can be avoided. If the OCA is unacceptable to you, you can go to ROCOR; if ROCOR isn't good enough, maybe ROCE or ROAC or ROCA will do.
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« Reply #74 on: September 01, 2003, 03:50:18 PM »

Just a few excerpts from my OCA parish bulletin of yesterday:

"ABOUT CHRISTIANS WHO ARE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. ECUMENISM"  

The Orthodox Church holds herself to be the continuation of the apostolic Church of the first century.  The other Christians do not form part of the true Church, for they have not been baptized into the Church by true apostolic bishops.  Christ and the apostles taught that these Sacraments are the way by which we enter the gate which is Christ and become part of the flock of God (Matt. 17:19, Mark 16:16, I Cor. 12:13).  If anyone tries to justify another way, he is entering the fold by climbing the wall and is not truly of the flock.  For only Orthodoxy is the true Church of Christ.  Now if God somehow accounts others to be part of the Church who are not manifestly Orthodox, it would be something He has not told the Church in the Bible, the Ecumenical Councils, or through the Fathers.  We would rejoice exceedingly in their salvation if this were to happen, but there is no indication that it will.  I do not mean to sound hateful or superior; I am just trying to dispassionately describe the facts.  I am sorry to have to say such offensive things, for I too was horribly shocked and offended when I first heard this.  Against all my desire, however, I have come to believe that although unpleasant, it is true.  The Eastern Orthodox Church is the only Church of Christ.  The rest of this letter contains proofs of this statement which are intended to show that ecumenism, the doctrine that all or most who call themselves Christians are truly members of the Church, is a false doctrine.

"Matthew 7:22 says, In that day many will say, "Did we not prophesy in Thy name and in Thy name cast out demons and in Thy name perform many miracles?" but I will say unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."  The outstanding fact to note in this quote is that there are seemingly sincere people who thought they were serving God and praying to Him, and having experiences with God, but God says He has nothing to do with them.  There is also the fact that the Protestant ministers seem to have very little knowledge of what sin is, besides the obvious gross sins.  There is little if any teaching about how pride, the father of all sins, is manifest in practically every thought, and how much we need to repent of, and what a godly life is really like.  I am not trying to accuse them, but I am trying to explain how the last phrase of the quote, ye who work iniquity, can apply to the Protestants who outwardly in the eyes of the world have a form of godliness, but by God's standards are quite unaware of their sin.

"In the Epistles, the Church appears as one Body.  Outside of her, there were no Christians.  To come to believe in Christ means uniting with the Church.  There is no scriptural basis or teachings of the Fathers which would indicate that this has ever changed.  Notice also that in the New Testament, with a few exceptions, the new believers did not start their own church, nor did they rebel against the Church after becoming part of it, but submitted to those in authority over them.  If that was the way for the Church of the first century, and the Church continued in that doctrine, how can it suddenly be true that as long as a person says, "Lord, Lord," he will enter the kingdom of heaven? (Matt. 7:21).

Christ said, "Morever, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault...if he will not hear this, then take one or two more...and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen and a publican...Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 18:15-18).  The councils have been held.  What shall we say of those who refuse to hear the words of the united Church?  Christ said that they should be counted by the Church as heathens and publicans.  Thus the Church has said, "Anathema!" in her Ecumenical Councils to those who follow heresies.  However, the Church also prays (in our daily prayers) for all heretics (the non-Orthodox who call themselves Christians) to come to a full knowledge of the truth.  In the meantime, what can we do except preach to those who will listen and otherwise obey this command which Christ gave the Church.

"The canons written by the Twelve Apostles also have some hard things to say about the non-Orthodox.   'Those who have been baptized or ordained by...heretics cannot be either of the faithful or the clergy" (Apostolic canon 68).  "We ordain that a bishop or presbyter who has accepted the baptism or sacrifice (Eucharist) of heretics be deposed.  For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath a believer with an infidel?" (Apostolic canon 46).  "Let a bishop or presbyter ...who shall not baptize one who has been polluted by the ungodly be deposed as despising the cross and death of the Lord, and not making a distinction between the true priests and the false" (Apostolic canon 47).  If this is the confession and belief of the holy apostles who were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), I cannot justify holding a different opinion.

"If the allegory St. Paul used comparing the Church to a human body can be stretched a little, then let me apply it to this problem.  It is easily seen that a hand cannot live apart from the body.  If it separates, it dies.  Neither can it give life outside of the body, for it is dead and is not capable of giving life.  Neither can a hand be united to the head directly.  It is true that because of our sinfulness parts of the Body sometimes bicker with each other---as though they had become ill.  This can involve individuals who are immature, willfully sinful, or who have "personality conflicts"; or whole portions of the Body may quarrel with one another.  If individuals are fighting, they risk their souls, for they may be pruned off by the Husbandman who finds thorns instead of fruit.  If it is sections of the body fighting, then either they will become reconciled, or the offending part(s) will be cut off.  But the Body remains one.

"Drawing again on the allegory of the Church as a body: if any part of a body refuses to receive blood from the rest of the body, it dies.  Those who refuse the cup of the Church, therefore, soon die also, as Christ said, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in yourselves" (John 6:53).  Those who have never received the Blood of Christ cannot be alive in Christ, can they?  If a person has not partaken of the Body of Christ, how can he be part of Christ's Body?  Remember, according to the apostolic canons quoted earlier, the Eucharist of heretics has no validity..."

All of the above is excerpted from the August 31, 2003 Sunday bulletin of my parish church, St. Peter and St. Paul Russian Orthodox Church, a member parish of the Orthodox Church in America, in Springfield, MA, and is the ninth in a series on the subject, "Letters from a Convert."  To read the other eight in the series in succession from Sunday bulletins in pdf format, go to www.stspp.org and begin with bulletin #25.  ENJOY!  Smiley

Hypo-Ortho
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katherine 2001
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Eastern Orthodox Church--Established in 33 A.D.


« Reply #75 on: September 01, 2003, 10:07:04 PM »

Thanks, Hypo-Ortho.  I went to your church's site and have been reading the last few bulletins.  I'll probably end up reading all of them on the website before it's over.

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Linus7
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« Reply #76 on: September 01, 2003, 10:36:12 PM »

Wonderful article, Brother Hypo.
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The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
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