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Author Topic: “Observing/trampling down” Halloween… Orthodox style  (Read 9613 times) Average Rating: 0
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_Seraphim_
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« on: October 15, 2008, 09:55:16 PM »

This is how we observed/trampled down Halloween last year (2007):


see all the photos at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31433216@N02/

As people approached our front door they saw Orthodox icons, smelled Orthodox incense, and heard Orthodox chant (playing in a stereo hidden under the table with the large Archangel Michael icon).  Then, after they knocked, the door opened and they received pieces of organic chocolate as we openly blessed them with the sign of the cross and said: “God bless you!”  The reaction of young children was absolutely precious (reverential awe and wonder)…….. while the reaction of adolescents/adults was pretty much hilarious! (complete shock and reluctant admittance of obvious ignorance)  Grin Cheesy Wink Cool


Here is the caption from the first picture:
Quote
An Orthodox Christian household "observes Halloween"... which is another way of saying "tramples down Halloween"

Orthodox Paschal (Resurrection) hymn:

"When Thou did submit Thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and immortal One...
when Thou did destroy hell by Thy conquering power...
and when thou did raise the dead from beneath the earth...
all the powers of heaven did cry aloud unto Thee:
O Christ, Giver of life, glory to Thee!"
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 01:22:58 AM »

lol...okay...

In all seriousness, wouldn't that be counterproductive to the evangelical work of the Church?
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2008, 01:35:14 AM »

lol...okay...

In all seriousness, wouldn't that be counterproductive to the evangelical work of the Church?

Not to mention inappropriate and presumptuous for a layman to offer blessings...but hey, to each their own.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2008, 01:36:15 AM »

With all due respect ... I don't like the idea.   Sad

The Orthodox faith is being exploited.  Christ said "Come and See" not "Let me shove it down your throat."

How is the Paschal Hymn relevant to Halloween?   Huh  Not that I care about Halloween except that I have twisted the Orthodox faith to satisfy my own agendas in the past which NEVER worked.
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2008, 01:52:44 AM »

It'll definitely keep the witches away!   Smiley

Can't a layman bless food?
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2008, 01:59:03 AM »

I like the idea. Halloween was an Irish Pagan festival of the dead and Seraphim has shown an Orthodox response to how we Orthodox view death. Death has been destroyed, Christ is the Victor!

Lighted pumpkins were used by the ancients to scare evil spirits away as a part of the pagan festival. Well, I am sure icons of our friends, the saints, candles, incense, chanting and blessings are much more effective in that regard. You never know, if Orthodoxy takes a hold in America, Seraphim and others like him could be leading the way to a cultural transformation of the holiday.

And Seraphim you have done so beautifully! I love the candles and icons...I checked out your other photos...they are really lovely!

As far as the comment about, "shoving the faith down someone's throat," I would respond with, no one forces a child to come up to a door to receive candy and there is no law saying how one must celebrate this annual event. I, for one, would love to receive a blessing and some organic chocolate candy...wish you lived on our street!

GIC, I bless my children each night by signing the cross over their heads.
Have I broken some sort of canon law when I do that?  laugh
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2008, 04:19:40 AM »

If this had been the first time I had encountered Orthodoxy, there never would have been a second time.
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2008, 09:08:35 AM »

Seraphim, This is really an expansion and more open approach at proselyting by presence, beyond those I quoted  from a article I wrote for a parish newsletter in it I noted some practices by some Orthodox Christians in Central Texas:
1)  One Greek family has an icon of "All the Saints," showing the "great cloud of witnesses." They put it outside their door on Halloween with a white Vigil candle burning before it. When the kids come trick-or-treating they explain what the icon is all about and give a small homemade treat.
2)   Another Convert family decorates their home with autumn leaves, pumpkins and cornstalks, lights their porch and give out a lollipop with a small  strip of paper attached that simply says  “ Jesus won’t trick you He will treat you!” and then the scripture of John 3:16.
3)   Another family  does not decorate but gives a bag of sweets with an invitation to visit their local parish.

It is interesting to note that all three of these families have had neighbors visit the local Orthodox Church as a result of this personal  evangelical outreach for Orthodoxy. Kudos to your family's efforts  Seraphim!

Tamara, the practice of parents and family members blessing each other with a blessing cross is found in both  the Greek and Russian traditions.  I was taught in my Catechism class  years ago, that we do not bless with our hands, except to cross ourselves or assist our children in learning how to cross themselves, as the blessing with the hands doing the cross on others is a charism of the ordained presbyters and bishops.

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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2008, 09:59:50 AM »

I dunno, Tamara...it just seems tacky. For me, while I have come to love Orthodoxy, this display is on the same plane as an evangelical trying to keep evil Halloween at bay by putting light-up Christian symbols on the front lawn, so the trick-or-treaters KNOW that Satan aint welcome there and that THIS house is very religious, and "have you been going to church and saying your prayers at every mealtime?" I'm not saying that Seraphim and his wife deserve the title of the crazy religious couple of the neighborhood....please, far from it... I personally think it would have been better if there was just one or two Orthodox icons on the door. It's reality that people who put a lot of stock in visual religious images are sometimes seen as religious fanatics, whether they are or not.
I would have been fine with Seraphim putting, say, candy and a little orthodox icon in the kids' bags, but all the religious paraphenalia on the door might be unnerving and ungentle for parents and kids. It's ungentle in that people can see they've become a target for converting. Plus, people might not feel very welcome if they don't happen to share Seraphim's religious beliefs and they have to face all these religious symbols on a day that many religious people find to be evil. It might make potential converts unfairly feel like they've been caught with their hand in the cookie jar or something. Wink
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2008, 10:40:23 AM »

I dunno, Tamara...it just seems tacky. For me, while I have come to love Orthodoxy, this display is on the same plane as an evangelical trying to keep evil Halloween at bay by putting light-up Christian symbols on the front lawn, so the trick-or-treaters KNOW that Satan aint welcome there and that THIS house is very religious, and "have you been going to church and saying your prayers at every mealtime?" I'm not saying that Seraphim and his wife deserve the title of the crazy religious couple of the neighborhood....please, far from it... I personally think it would have been better if there was just one or two Orthodox icons on the door. It's reality that people who put a lot of stock in visual religious images are sometimes seen as religious fanatics, whether they are or not.
I would have been fine with Seraphim putting, say, candy and a little orthodox icon in the kids' bags, but all the religious paraphenalia on the door might be unnerving and ungentle for parents and kids. It's ungentle in that people can see they've become a target for converting. Plus, people might not feel very welcome if they don't happen to share Seraphim's religious beliefs and they have to face all these religious symbols on a day that many religious people find to be evil. It might make potential converts unfairly feel like they've been caught with their hand in the cookie jar or something. Wink

But then if someone is offended by all of icons no one is forcing them to go up to the door and ring the bell. It is the choice of the parents to decide. Seraphim isn't standing on the side walk and shoving icons or pamphlets into anyone's hands so I would disagree.

A few blocks a way from my home, a lesbian couple have always had multiple bumper stickers on their cars promoting gay marriage. With this election, all kinds of bumper stickers, window and lawn signs have popped up on their lawn and house windows pointing out their belief in gay marriage, rainbow families, etc etc. It is private property and no one disturbs their messages, in fact, many of the straight couples who live around them have put up signs for this election in support of gay marriage due to the proselytizing efforts of this couple. No one has criticized their public display of the gay lifestyle even though not all neighbors in our area agree with their beliefs.



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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2008, 11:13:15 AM »

Good work, Seraphim!  The pagans have been shoving the devil's festival down our throats for years.  I love your response!
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2008, 11:38:37 AM »

Good work, Seraphim!  The pagans have been shoving the devil's festival down our throats for years.  I love your response!

I dunno... I am kinda undecided here. I see both sides. On the one hand, I, too, felt for a number of years that Halloween is exaggerated and shoved down our throats by the anti-Christian crowd. On the other hand, I am not sure that in that neighborhood, there will be any reaction to what Seraphim did with his home, except maybe "wow, we used to have our evangelical wacos and now we also have some Eastern religious wacos." Or maybe Seraphim will make a few converts who would join the Orthodox Church and continue to turn it into another evangelical group, just with icons and prayers to the saints...
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2008, 12:45:30 PM »

Good job, Seraphim.  Very nice baptism of the day.  Even gave a nod to the western liturgical calendar.  Cool beans.

If this had been the first time I had encountered Orthodoxy, there never would have been a second time.

Wow.  Why the harsh words, pray tell?  What is so infuriating about it that it deserves immediate condemnation?  What horrible crime has he committed? 

Not to mention inappropriate and presumptuous for a layman to offer blessings...but hey, to each their own.

My priest said that making the cross over my girls with my fingers done like I do when I make the cross over myself is perfectly fine.  Like you say, though, to each (bishop) his own; we'll defer to our respective authorities on that one.

On the other hand, I am not sure that in that neighborhood, there will be any reaction to what Seraphim did with his home, except maybe "wow, we used to have our evangelical wacos and now we also have some Eastern religious wacos."

Or, Seraphim might do what he does quietly and unassumingly, offering but not pushing.  And someone might actually come away having learned something.  And might think about God and His holy ones.  And a seed might get planted which might grow to bear good, lasting fruit.  Openmindedness is called for here; perhaps folks just need to get a thicker skin and take something in the (gentle!) spirit in which it was intended (not criticizing you specifically here, Heorhij).

Or maybe Seraphim will make a few converts who would join the Orthodox Church and continue to turn it into another evangelical group, just with icons and prayers to the saints...

Or maybe he will start a custom that takes a pre-existing cultural celebration, find the Orthodox proclamation of truth within it, and celebrate it.  Ss. Cyril and Methodius and Ss. Herman and Innocent of Alaska did similar things with pagan folk traditions.

Honestly -- just because a lot of folks who first came to this country didn't know much about holidays, culture, etc when they first got here (and who could blame them?) doesn't mean that we can or should continue in a habit of cultural disengagement because someone, somewhere, might be too easily offended at an innocent gesture.  We can't hide behind the attitude of "Well, it's not something we've been doing, so it's not something we ever SHOULD be doing, ESPECIALLY if those inherently wacky and ne'er-E'ER-do-well evangelicals have been known to do something similar."
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2008, 01:21:31 PM »

If this had been the first time I had encountered Orthodoxy, there never would have been a second time.

Wow.  Why the harsh words, pray tell?  What is so infuriating about it that it deserves immediate condemnation?  What horrible crime has he committed? 
I would have seen it as an over-the-top display of religiosity designed to prove that Seraphim does not approve of Halloween. I'd have lumped him in with those people who gave out Testamints and tracts every year.
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2008, 01:46:46 PM »

Great job, Seraphim! Smiley  You've been able to take a pagan celebration and baptize it (as brother DavidBryan phrased it).  What other pagan symbols can we point to that Christ has overtaken?  Oh yeah; THE CROSS! Wink 
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2008, 01:50:32 PM »

Delta Voodoo gives me the chills. How about a simple Christs Descent into Hades into a carved pumpkin with a lighted candle inside it. How about only a cross on the door with a pretentious owner reciting "Indeed he is risen, Indeed he is Risen! after they ask "Trick or Treat". Just a thought to lower the proselytizers Volume down a bit.
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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2008, 02:05:44 PM »

I would have seen it as an over-the-top display of religiosity designed to prove that Seraphim does not approve of Halloween. I'd have lumped him in with those people who gave out Testamints and tracts every year.

Why would you have done this automatically instead of asking him directly what his motives were?  Why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2008, 03:41:56 PM »

Is there a general consensus among Eastern Orthodox Christians that we chould not participate in Halloween celebrations?
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2008, 03:45:49 PM »

Delta Voodoo gives me the chills. How about a simple Christs Descent into Hades into a carved pumpkin with a lighted candle inside it. How about only a cross on the door with a pretentious owner reciting "Indeed he is risen, Indeed he is Risen! after they ask "Trick or Treat". Just a thought to lower the proselytizers Volume down a bit.
Who's proselytizing whom here?  Anyway, all Seraphim did was share with us how he and his family addressed Holloween and the next thing we know he's being castigated as some sort of maniacal, crazed zealot 'shoving' his views 'down others' throats'....by his own brother's no less.  He didn't ask what you think, nor did he say that you should agree with him.  Talk about a beat down!  Have we forgotten that we're all REAL people here?  What ever happened to patience and common courtesy?  Or, dare I say it, Christian love?  
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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2008, 03:52:02 PM »

Quote
Is there a general consensus among Eastern Orthodox Christians that we chould not participate in Halloween celebrations?

Nah, no consensus. Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2008, 04:01:49 PM »

The general consensus of this forum seems to be that it's OK to celebrate Halloween.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12953.0.html

The worldwide consensus seems to be against Halloween.
Sources
www.orthodoxinfo.com
www.antiochian.org
www.goarch.org
www.oca.org

as well as various Orthodox priests' blogs.

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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2008, 04:10:31 PM »

God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

As a refresher, The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:11-14) contrasts the humility of the Publican in asking God to be merciful on Him, a sinner vs. the pompous Pharisee who brags about fasting and tithing.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2008, 04:41:08 PM »

^EXACTLY. Thank you, SolEX01.
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2008, 04:42:26 PM »

Delta Voodoo gives me the chills. How about a simple Christs Descent into Hades into a carved pumpkin with a lighted candle inside it. How about only a cross on the door with a pretentious owner reciting "Indeed he is risen, Indeed he is Risen! after they ask "Trick or Treat". Just a thought to lower the proselytizers Volume down a bit.
Who's proselytizing whom here?  Anyway, all Seraphim did was share with us how he and his family addressed Holloween and the next thing we know he's being castigated as some sort of maniacal, crazed zealot 'shoving' his views 'down others' throats'....by his own brother's no less.  He didn't ask what you think, nor did he say that you should agree with him.  Talk about a beat down!  Have we forgotten that we're all REAL people here?  What ever happened to patience and common courtesy?  Or, dare I say it, Christian love?  

But Gabriel, we can love our brother Seraphim and still disapprove of what he is doing.
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2008, 05:29:50 PM »


But Gabriel, we can love our brother Seraphim and still disapprove of what he is doing.
Yes, you're right.  We can and sometimes should disapprove from time to time.  Heck, sometimes we should even voice our disapproval.  In fact, you and some others voiced their concerns with kind opposition.  Others, however, preferred to forego charity and instead took the low, crass route.

We can do better than this.
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2008, 05:36:44 PM »

Yes, you're right.  We can and sometimes should disapprove from time to time.  Heck, sometimes we should even voice our disapproval.  In fact, you and some others voiced their concerns with kind opposition.  Others, however, preferred to forego charity and instead took the low, crass route.

We can do better than this.

What is your point?  I didn't see anyone taking the "low, crass route." 

So, _Seraphim_ is now offering organic chocolates vs. the Water of Eternal Life Christ offered to the Samaritan Woman?  Orthodox Evangelizing has spiraled out of control and unfortunately, there is no way to "put the genie back in the bottle." because everyone does His/Her own thing.   Huh  Huh
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« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2008, 05:38:07 PM »

I would have seen it as an over-the-top display of religiosity designed to prove that Seraphim does not approve of Halloween. I'd have lumped him in with those people who gave out Testamints and tracts every year.

Why would you have done this automatically instead of asking him directly what his motives were?  Why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
Because those to whom I had given the benefit of the doubt previously have given me every reason not to have doubted. I had left the Protestant church over showy antics like this without real substance. I would have seen the showy antics and connected them with the lack of substance in the Protestant church, and assumed that he also was proselytizing under false pretenses. One form of Christianity was as bad as another; they were all liars and con artists.
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« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2008, 05:47:54 PM »


What is your point?  I didn't see anyone taking the "low, crass route." 
Look closer.
 
So, _Seraphim_ is now offering organic chocolates vs. the Water of Eternal Life Christ offered to the Samaritan Woman?
Why are you making it an X vs Y thing when one has nothing to do with the other?  The kids come knocking expecting candy so he gives them candy plus a little something extra.

Orthodox Evangelizing has spiraled out of control and unfortunately, there is no way to "put the genie back in the bottle." because everyone does His/Her own thing.   Huh  Huh
Evangelization is a pretty broad subject.  Is there only one way to evangelize?  How can we be sure he didn't have his priest's blessing to do this?  Simply because he neglected to include this in the OP?   And how is handing out candy in front of home icons "spiraling out of control" please?
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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2008, 06:23:57 PM »

It'll definitely keep the witches away!   Smiley

Can't a layman bless food?

According to custom, no. If you consider the prayers over food said by a priest vs. a layman you will note they are quite different, with the latter not including a formal blessing.
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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2008, 06:31:58 PM »

Seraphim

If I may be honest; I do not agree with your approach.

I am completely against any recognition of any kind for this day of evil.

My extreme objection to this day offends most people so I was not going to post on this thread or similar thread anymore.

It is not good but; I have no patience for the myriad excuses that people use to justify participating in this day of folly, cherade and Booh!

But I am quite intrigued with what you showed us.

The TV is full of horror movies and ghost stories, the stores are packed with skeletons and ghost costumes and all kinds of images of goblins, demons and freakish gools.

The images are lately extreme and abound. It is everywhere.

The lawns in my nieghborhood of late are littered, cluttered with tomb stones and the porches and windows are choked with orange lites, cob webs, broom sticks and all other manner of witches and goblins common to pagan worship, satan and darkness....the icons of the devil. The pumpkins are carved in the most bizzare and ghastly images with the candles burning inside them make for a really scarey seen....Boooh!

I have to pass all this non-sense and deal with it daily.

But if I passed your house I would feel that I had seen something wonderful "a sight for sore eyes".

It would be a breath of fresh air to see the Icons and hear the chanting amid the baphoonary. A real contrast. I would stop and get out of my car to admire the seen to soak it all in.

I commend you Seraphim for being contious of and brave enough to state (albeit quite creatively)what is wrong with embracing wickedness even if it is only 'symbolic' in nature. Your example proved that 'images' do carry real meaning. This goes a long way. Note how many negative reactions to your house photos on this thread and we are 'orthodox'. These same negative reactions are not expressed on those who embellish the day with all the witches, ghosts and goblins. We let our kids embrace all that.

The point here is reaction!

We see that people (we) think it is OK since "we don't really believe in witches nor worship the evil".

"Its just for fun....you know!....the kids and all!"

"Its cute!"...

"Anyway I dress my kids up as angels"..."and we do stuff at the church"...

These are what we all say to pass out of awareness what is reaslly the deeper issue of this day.

Why dress our kids up as angels and do 'stuff' at the church on a day of pagan festivity and darkness?

Beats me!

Is it because we know deep down that it is a bad day for us Christians?

I say avoid the day altogether....PERIOD!

The Seraphim approach to participating is challenging indeed; but is postive in more ways than what we are doing already. I would rather my kids see and embrace that than all the other images that they are confronted with.

It is a interesting reaction to a very unfortunate tradition.
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2008, 06:33:41 PM »

Gabriel, did I come off as crass? Undecided If so, I hadn't meant to come off that way. If Seraphim and his wife made others see Orthodoxy in a positive light, then kudos to him. It's just it would have put me off personally to see so many religious items on someone's door. Smiley I meant no offense, if offense was taken.
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2008, 06:58:36 PM »

GabrieltheCelt

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The worldwide consensus seems to be against Halloween.
Sources
www.orthodoxinfo.com
www.antiochian.org
www.goarch.org
www.oca.org

Could you give more specific links? I didn't find anything on the Greek and OCA sites against Halloween, and on the Antiochian site I actually found a page of pictures from a Halloween Parade in 2005.
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2008, 07:01:04 PM »

 
Quote
.... and on the Antiochian site I actually found a page of pictures from a Halloween Parade in 2005 (a suprising number of the kids were dressed as witches).


Ewwww.
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« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2008, 07:06:28 PM »

I don't think Seraphim's display would be off-putting to me. I'm always intrigued by religious symbolism of any stripe; I happily accept tracts from the busy missionary Lubavitchers and am intrigued to  watch their Hannukah parades as they drive slowly down the street with Jewish religious music blaring from their mini-vans. I befriend my Muslim friends and am interested in their religious faith, beautiful hijabs, etc. I think we should be careful of judging Seraphim here, because God alone sees the hearts and intents of man. There have been many times I've judged someone harshly-because God was convicting me of my own lukewarmness of heart.

But I have a question about one of the icons-the square reddish one on the bottom right hand panel. It appears to have several eyes on it, and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it before. Can anyone enlighten me as to what this represents?

P.S. I've just checked out the Antiochian Halloween Party pictures, and can only say I'd far rather be confronted with Seraphim's display than the terrifying images at the Halloween party. I know I would feel very uncomfortable in such an environment. I'm thankful, very thankful, to attend a Russian parish where such Halloween parties would never be held.
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« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2008, 07:09:57 PM »

GabrieltheCelt

Quote
The worldwide consensus seems to be against Halloween.
Sources
www.orthodoxinfo.com
www.antiochian.org
www.goarch.org
www.oca.org

Could you give more specific links? I didn't find anything on the Greek and OCA sites against Halloween, and on the Antiochian site I actually found a page of pictures from a Halloween Parade in 2005.

Don't the Synods of the OCA GOA and the Antiochians read OCnet? How would they know what real Orthodoxy is then? Cheesy
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« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2008, 07:26:44 PM »

Quote
But I have a question about one of the icons-the square reddish one on the bottom right hand panel. It appears to have several eyes on it, and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it before. Can anyone enlighten me as to what this represents?

Rosehip, this image is called "The All-seeing Eye of God", and it arose in Russia in about the 16th century. It is an attempt to be a didactic icon, made with pious intent, but, unfortunately, is not an iconographically canonical image. I am happy to post more on this, but, briefly put, iconography should depict what is revealed about God, and not an imagined, metaphysical version, which is what this image is.
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« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2008, 07:35:41 PM »

Quote
But I have a question about one of the icons-the square reddish one on the bottom right hand panel. It appears to have several eyes on it, and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it before. Can anyone enlighten me as to what this represents?

Rosehip, this image is called "The All-seeing Eye of God", and it arose in Russia in about the 16th century. It is an attempt to be a didactic icon, made with pious intent, but, unfortunately, is not an iconographically canonical image. I am happy to post more on this, but, briefly put, iconography should depict what is revealed about God, and not an imagined, metaphysical version, which is what this image is.

Thanks, LBK! I'm not wishing to hijack this thread, but I do appreciate the explanation. I'm not sure if I would have included such an image on the display as well as another one-a blue one, second from top. It's a bit hard to determine what it is exactly, but for some reason, it reminds me of some sort of Masonic symbol (I am not one of those rabid Masonic-haters, but am at a loss as to any other way of describing it).
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« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2008, 08:05:04 PM »

Rosehip, this image is called "The All-seeing Eye of God", and it arose in Russia in about the 16th century. It is an attempt to be a didactic icon, made with pious intent, but, unfortunately, is not an iconographically canonical image. I am happy to post more on this, but, briefly put, iconography should depict what is revealed about God, and not an imagined, metaphysical version, which is what this image is.

Yes, thank you for sharing that information.  Very good to know.  I will make sure to leave this icon out of any future public icon displays.
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« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2008, 08:08:03 PM »

Thanks, LBK! I'm not wishing to hijack this thread, but I do appreciate the explanation. I'm not sure if I would have included such an image on the display as well as another one-a blue one, second from top. It's a bit hard to determine what it is exactly, but for some reason, it reminds me of some sort of Masonic symbol (I am not one of those rabid Masonic-haters, but am at a loss as to any other way of describing it).

It is a close-up of a Byzantine icon (probably of Theophany) which depicts the Dove of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2008, 09:16:29 PM »

In addition to the photos from the Antiochian Archdiocese website, I know a Greek Orthodox Church in Long Island (under GOARCH) that similarly had Halloween parties for children as well, with similar costumes.  I was personally invited to attend and chaperone, but I gave the excuse that I was studying.

If I was in the neighborhood to see _Seraphim_'s door, I would smile with comfort, knock and introduce myself as a fellow Orthodox (while my niece and nephew would probably be dressed up as rock star and vampire respectively).  Nevertheless, I would also worry I would send the wrong message to those outside the Orthodox Christian understanding (I could imagine some devout Catholics would smile and knock).  Others can be repulsed by the icons.  I want people to be attracted, not repulsed.  I don't want people to bunch us up with people like the God Warrior lady.  And that's my only issue.  In a community with Orthodox Christians, it's welcome.  In a community with apathetic religious views, I think when opening the door, I'd like people to notice INSIDE MY HOUSE I have a HUGE Theotokos with Christ on her lap icon (I'll try to get a picture of that as soon as our door way is fixed  Angry).  It shows not only a devout Orthodox Christian who loves children too much to spoil them with the candy they love to eat, but also the humble Orthodox Christian who does not try to shun people away or shock them.

God bless.
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« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2008, 09:33:45 PM »

Could you give more specific links? I didn't find anything on the Greek and OCA sites against Halloween, and on the Antiochian site I actually found a page of pictures from a Halloween Parade in 2005.

This kid gets my vote for best costume:

[/img]
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« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2008, 09:35:30 PM »

ok...I guess the site linked has embedded resizing...scroll to the right...the Antiochians really need to find someone else to design their website. Wink
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« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2008, 09:39:45 PM »

I dunno....he looks like he might be dressed as an American beer.  If so, he is a no-go at this station.
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« Reply #43 on: October 17, 2008, 12:44:20 AM »

Look closer.

Hmmm - calling me out.  I stand by what I said....

Why are you making it an X vs Y thing when one has nothing to do with the other?  The kids come knocking expecting candy so he gives them candy plus a little something extra.

Oh, it is an X vs. Y thing because the kids are being exposed to something beyond their comprehension.  What you bring up is beyond the topic on this forum because Orthodox Christians are humble and the OP is not an example of humility and the Orthodox Faith cannot be distilled down to an organic chocolate, icons on the door and Byzantine Music coming from under the table....

Evangelization is a pretty broad subject.  Is there only one way to evangelize?  How can we be sure he didn't have his priest's blessing to do this?  Simply because he neglected to include this in the OP?   And how is handing out candy in front of home icons "spiraling out of control" please?

The Saints didn't need to offer candy to those who martyred them.  The Samaritan Woman could have told Jesus to take a hike.  I can choose not to trick or treat at _Seraphim_'s house regardless of my faith.  All of these choices involve free-will and each choice involves consequences, which is my point.
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« Reply #44 on: October 17, 2008, 09:44:03 AM »

Don't the Synods of the OCA GOA and the Antiochians read OCnet? How would they know what real Orthodoxy is then? Cheesy

 Grin   laugh
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« Reply #45 on: October 17, 2008, 11:41:25 AM »

Gabriel, did I come off as crass? Undecided If so, I hadn't meant to come off that way. If Seraphim and his wife made others see Orthodoxy in a positive light, then kudos to him. It's just it would have put me off personally to see so many religious items on someone's door. Smiley I meant no offense, if offense was taken.
You didn't come off as crass at all.  You actually took time to explain your views in a considerate manner. Wink
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« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2008, 11:51:22 AM »

GabrieltheCelt

Quote
The worldwide consensus seems to be against Halloween.
Sources
www.orthodoxinfo.com
www.antiochian.org
www.goarch.org
www.oca.org

Could you give more specific links? I didn't find anything on the Greek and OCA sites against Halloween, and on the Antiochian site I actually found a page of pictures from a Halloween Parade in 2005.
I apologize Asteriktos; I should've done a better job and checked  Tongue .  Last year when this subject came up, I could've sworn I read some pastoral advice exercising extreme caution when/if their parishoners are celebrating Halloween.  I also seem to recall each jurisdiction giving a brief history on Halloween to explain why their parishoners should exercise caution.  But, since I can't seem to find that information this time, I guess I was wrong.
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« Reply #47 on: October 17, 2008, 12:11:09 PM »

Hmmm - calling me out.  I stand by what I said....
In order to avoid embarrasing people, I don't call out individuals by name as a general rule.  You weren't the person(s) in question, but if you feel convicted I'd look into that. Smiley

Oh, it is an X vs. Y thing because the kids are being exposed to something beyond their comprehension.
The Orthodox Church, if I'm not mistaken, exposes children to many things beyond their comprehension.  I'm thinking specifically of infant baptism now as just one example out of many. 
 
What you bring up is beyond the topic on this forum because Orthodox Christians are humble and the OP is not an example of humility...

Is it humble to point out others' perceived faults? 

and the Orthodox Faith cannot be distilled down to an organic chocolate, icons on the door and Byzantine Music coming from under the table....
I don't believe Seraphim was distilling down the Orthodox Faith.  At least I didn't get that from his post or picture.  What I got was a man who's trying, albeit in his own way, to bring something good from something bad.  Making lemonade from lemons, if you will. Smiley

The Saints didn't need to offer candy to those who martyred them.  The Samaritan Woman could have told Jesus to take a hike.  I can choose not to trick or treat at _Seraphim_'s house regardless of my faith.  All of these choices involve free-will and each choice involves consequences, which is my point.
Point taken; and it's a good point.  But the children expect to get candy; it's the whole raison d'etre of Halloween from a child's perspective.  The children may not comprehend the message (or maybe they will), but perhaps the adults will.  Maybe a seed will be planted.  Almost any exposure to Orthodoxy is bound to be better than no exposure ever, yes? 

If I've offended you, please forgive me.
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« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2008, 01:06:54 PM »

In order to avoid embarrasing people, I don't call out individuals by name as a general rule.  You weren't the person(s) in question, but if you feel convicted I'd look into that. Smiley

When you said to "look closer", I concluded that you had referred to me.  It's all cool.   Wink

The Orthodox Church, if I'm not mistaken, exposes children to many things beyond their comprehension.  I'm thinking specifically of infant baptism now as just one example out of many.

Because entire households were Baptized by the Apostles, including infants, servants and anyone else who wished (by his/her/their free will) to receive Christ.  The Apostles didn't go around giving out organic chocolates to induce people into receiving Christ. 
  
Is it humble to point out others' perceived faults?

It is humble to point out errors in a well-meaning manner?

I don't believe Seraphim was distilling down the Orthodox Faith.  At least I didn't get that from his post or picture.  What I got was a man who's trying, albeit in his own way, to bring something good from something bad.  Making lemonade from lemons, if you will. Smiley

The intent is good; However, the praxis can be seen as over the top like the boastful Pharisee in the Parable.

Point taken; and it's a good point.  But the children expect to get candy; it's the whole raison d'etre of Halloween from a child's perspective.  The children may not comprehend the message (or maybe they will), but perhaps the adults will.  Maybe a seed will be planted.  Almost any exposure to Orthodoxy is bound to be better than no exposure ever, yes?

That exposure needs to stimulate an individual's free will.  To use an equally relevant example, going to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC and seeing the Byzantine collection of wealthy Greek-Americans isn't going to persuade many people to convert to Orthodoxy.  If someone's free will directs he/she to other Jurisdictions, that free will must be respected and only that person will experience good/bad from his/her decision.  Same goes for all of us on this forum.
 
If I've offended you, please forgive me.

I forgive you.  If I've offended you, please forgive me as well for I have no issue with you - just some concerns which have been alleviated.   Wink
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« Reply #49 on: October 18, 2008, 08:24:46 PM »

There is nothing un-Orthodox about giving sweets to children. There are stories of saints giving sweets or treats to young children who would visit them. After I read those stories about the saints and their interactions with children I decided it made sense to give my Sunday school students treats after each lesson.

I think Seraphim's icon display, along with the music and incense are a nice little taste of Orthodoxy for anyone who might want to come to his door. It is called seed planting because he doesn't force anyone to do anything except observe and listen if they so choose. I don't think what he has done is over the top. You all need to come to my town to see how quiet and peaceful Seraphim's display is in contrast to the hideous, ridiculous displays of Halloween in my neighborhood.

Seraphim, don't let the naysayers change what you are doing. We shouldn't hide our faith away. St. Paul stood in the temple of the unknown god and proclaimed the faith publically to the pagan Greeks during the Roman empire. Your quiet celebration is much more subdued than what early Christian evangelists did to proclaim Christ. Forgive those who are still controlled by the fear and submission caused by the Ottoman empire's tactics to crush Orthodoxy's evangelistic spirit. Many of us (progeny of the Orthodox immigrants) still haven't shaken off this residue.
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« Reply #50 on: October 18, 2008, 10:02:25 PM »

There is nothing un-Orthodox about giving sweets to children. There are stories of saints giving sweets or treats to young children who would visit them. After I read those stories about the saints and their interactions with children I decided it made sense to give my Sunday school students treats after each lesson.

My grandfather who was a priest had those black priest cloaks with HUGE sleeves, and I loved that when I was a little boy.  He'd always go inside his sleeve and have a treat for me.  I always thought in my childish mind there was something magical in having that cloak and I wanted one myself for all the candy I can pull out my sleeve.
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« Reply #51 on: October 18, 2008, 10:18:49 PM »

Forgive those who are still controlled by the fear and submission caused by the Ottoman empire's tactics to crush Orthodoxy's evangelistic spirit. Many of us (progeny of the Orthodox immigrants) still haven't shaken off this residue.

What happened under the Ottoman Empire has absolutely nothing to do with this topic.  Many of the young Orthodox men, kidnapped and became Janissaries, experienced the "tricks and treats" of the harem never to return home to Christ.  The temptation continues to exist today.

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« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2008, 10:39:29 PM »

Well in any event, I cannot see how what our brother Seraphim has done is a sin. It seems to me he is simply very enthusiastic about the Faith and is so overflowing with love for it that he cannot help but want to share it with everyone! That seems quite normal to me. Everyone has a different personality and a different approach, do they not? I agree with Tamara's post, and think it's a very balanced and tolerant perspective for a cradle Orthodox to have. I wish I had the energy and zeal of Seraphim right now.
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« Reply #53 on: October 18, 2008, 10:43:30 PM »

Who said _Seraphim_ sinned?
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« Reply #54 on: October 18, 2008, 11:10:09 PM »

Who said _Seraphim_ sinned?

I didn't.  I only disagreed with the way it was done.

Perhaps it's my personality.  I'm also personally not comfortable with wearing cross necklaces around my neck outside my shirt or having a cross tattoo on my wrist.  So, I take it to heart that things should be hidden, and if in the heart, it's better, because by example, people will see what is in your heart by faith, not by sight.  And besides, they've become more so like jewelry than expression of faith to people.

God bless.
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« Reply #55 on: October 18, 2008, 11:23:49 PM »

I agree with you totally about the jewelry and tattoos (although I do understand that in some cultures, Coptic, I believe, it is an old tradition to wear tattoos). However, what about the Great Commission of Christ, to go out into all nations proclaiming the Gospel? Isn't this mandate for us today, or was it only for the Apostles of the NT era? Just wondering.
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« Reply #56 on: October 18, 2008, 11:34:31 PM »

However, what about the Great Commission of Christ, to go out into all nations proclaiming the Gospel? Isn't this mandate for us today, or was it only for the Apostles of the NT era? Just wondering.

No one has stated anywhere in this thread that we should not evangelize our neighbors.  The concerns expressed have been whether _Seraphim_'s method is an effective way of doing so.  I doubt that anyone here who has objected to _Serapahim_'s display thinks we should ignore the Great Commission, but instead probably believe, as Y indicated, that the method displayed is counter-productive.
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« Reply #57 on: October 18, 2008, 11:36:55 PM »

Forgive those who are still controlled by the fear and submission caused by the Ottoman empire's tactics to crush Orthodoxy's evangelistic spirit. Many of us (progeny of the Orthodox immigrants) still haven't shaken off this residue.

What happened under the Ottoman Empire has absolutely nothing to do with this topic.  Many of the young Orthodox men, kidnapped and became Janissaries, experienced the "tricks and treats" of the harem never to return home to Christ.  The temptation continues to exist today.

Not every Orthodox Christian has the gift of Evangelization.

Dear Greek Brother-in-Christ, SolEX01

The pain our ancestors had to deal with under the Ottomans was extreme. The fact that they were able to preserve the faith under the conditions they had to live was their testimony. I have heard the stories of disfiguring and maiming the children so the Turks wouldn't take them away to be placed in harems or to be trained as Janissaries. My grandfather's cousin was taken away at the tender age of 14. He was conscripted into the Turkish army. He never returned. If it were not for the courage of our families to remain Orthodox, you and I wouldn't be here today. We should always honor their memory and commemorate them in the Divine Liturgy.

But we now are living in a different time and in different circumstances than our ancestors. In fact, these times almost mirror, in many respects, the times of the Roman Empire. We live in the land of the free. We all use a common language. Folks have become weary of the religion they grew up with and are searching for something with more substance. I can understand your hesitancy in what may look to you as a showy display of our faith. We aren't used to sharing Orthodoxy with our non-Orthodox neighbors. But many of those who are new to faith are bursting with fervor of the saints to share Orthodoxy with all. We may feel uncomfortable with the way they do it because it is something we aren't used to doing but we shouldn't discourage them. The Holy Spirit moves us all in different ways to serve.
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« Reply #58 on: October 19, 2008, 12:47:37 AM »

I agree with you totally about the jewelry and tattoos (although I do understand that in some cultures, Coptic, I believe, it is an old tradition to wear tattoos). However, what about the Great Commission of Christ, to go out into all nations proclaiming the Gospel? Isn't this mandate for us today, or was it only for the Apostles of the NT era? Just wondering.

Well, for me personally, there's a couple of things.  First, with my beard, I look like an Arab terrorist.  In addition, my name Mina sparks some questions like "Isn't that a girl name?"  I take the opportunity to show off my Orthodoxy based on these two things.  Sooner or later, I would develop a reputation for like history and theology, and having a good sense of humor and party-lover.

Pretty much, it happens not by standing in the street and proclaiming the truth of Orthodoxy, but in my everyday experiences and talks with people in a very subtle manner.  In addition, it helps a lot when you do this not in the expectation that you will convert the person in front of you, but in the manner that you just love talking about these things, among other things that make you closer socially, like talking about the next Heroes show or your favorite NBA team, or the type of music you like (and that SNL rap for Sarah Palin was just hilarious).

And setting a good example.  It makes a big impression among my friends when I like to drink and I never get drunk and more often than not I'm their DD.  It says a lot about being your friendly Orthodox Christian in your neighborhood, knowing how to be part of the neighborhood without compromising my faith, without scaring people away, and comfortably talking about my beliefs when possible, when the time is right, and when necessary all at the same time.

I stand out not by what I wear, or what I hang up on my door, but who I am.  Because of the love I show to my neighbors, the friendly mood I am in and I put others in, and the enthusiasm when the time is right when talking about my faith, I don't become the terrorist looking dude with a seemingly female name, I become Arab Orthodox Christian with a pretty kool (if not the koolest) Egyptian dude name, who loves to sing, talk theology, be sociable on any level, and loves to have fun.

So, remember, it should naturally, as a matter of experience and daily conversation.  It's not very easy to answer the question "How should I evangelize?"  I am trying to spread the gospel, but in this society, it must come very subtly.  Before someone feasts on hearing the gospel, someone must smell something appeasing.  I try to help out with that smell.
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« Reply #59 on: October 19, 2008, 01:05:10 AM »

Dear Greek Brother-in-Christ, SolEX01

Dear Sister-in-Christ, Tamara,   Smiley

Forgive me for I don't wish to come across as pushy and argumentative for I have no quarrel with you.  Our Brother in the OP demonstrated how he decorates his house during Halloween.  I do not understand why your comments relating to the Ottoman Empire were necessary for the Church has prevailed against 14 Centuries of Islam.  Having said that....

The pain our ancestors had to deal with under the Ottomans was extreme. The fact that they were able to preserve the faith under the conditions they had to live was their testimony. I have heard the stories of disfiguring and maiming the children so the Turks wouldn't take them away to be placed in harems or to be trained as Janissaries.

Such maiming and disfiguring was not appropriate and not justified under any Scriptural/Traditional/Canonical standards.  The logical thing to do would have been to run away and die under the sword.  There aren't too many stories of escape from the harem (men and women).

My grandfather's cousin was taken away at the tender age of 14. He was conscripted into the Turkish army. He never returned. If it were not for the courage of our families to remain Orthodox, you and I wouldn't be here today. We should always honor their memory and commemorate them in the Divine Liturgy.

Some people were fortunate to come from remote parts of Greece that the Ottomans didn't bother taxing.  I don't know what my ancestors were 200, 300, 400, 500, 1,000 years ago - maybe Catholic (e.g. Albanian), maybe Serb (e.g. Orthodox) or even Muslim.  I am grateful to whichever ancestor converted to the Orthodox faith.   Smiley

I can understand your hesitancy in what may look to you as a showy display of our faith. We aren't used to sharing Orthodoxy with our non-Orthodox neighbors.

There are other ways to share Orthodoxy with non-Orthodox neighbors from their perspective not from Orthodox perspective.  There are many examples in Scripture with my favorite one being the Samaritan Woman from where Christ used her perspective to convince herself that Christ was the Son of God.  Arbitrarily and randomly sharing the Orthodox perspective, IMO, is tantamount to lecturing/proselytizing.  That has failed in my one experience with my estranged wife.  I learned that the Book of Job doesn't help someone in a crisis.   Huh  I also learned that there's a difference between answering questions and lecturing on Orthodox dogma.  Finally, maybe I wasn't even meant by the Holy Spirit to talk about the Orthodox faith to anyone at any time.  All these experiences recount how I have shared my Orthodox faith inside and outside my "comfort zone."

But many of those who are new to faith are bursting with fervor of the saints to share Orthodoxy with all. We may feel uncomfortable with the way they do it because it is something we aren't used to doing but we shouldn't discourage them. The Holy Spirit moves us all in different ways to serve.

I respect and welcome every convert to the Orthodox faith except that the Orthodox faith demands more from all of us than mere obedience. Demonstrating faith is one thing and one has to practice it by ministering to the sick, lonely, poor, hungry, those in crisis, those in prison where each group cited has someone looking for the truth.  Giving out expensive organic chocolates with the Divine Liturgy as background music is respectfully not my way of ministering to the "least of Christ's Brethren."
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« Reply #60 on: October 19, 2008, 07:23:32 AM »

However, what about the Great Commission of Christ, to go out into all nations proclaiming the Gospel? Isn't this mandate for us today, or was it only for the Apostles of the NT era? Just wondering.

No one has stated anywhere in this thread that we should not evangelize our neighbors.  The concerns expressed have been whether _Seraphim_'s method is an effective way of doing so.  I doubt that anyone here who has objected to _Serapahim_'s display thinks we should ignore the Great Commission, but instead probably believe, as Y indicated, that the method displayed is counter-productive.
Exactly. And as people's personalities are different, perhaps this display would bring some to the Church. However, it would have turned me away from it, and I think it would others as well. Not everyone will believe immediately, but we need to be careful that our evangelizing keeps the door open for them to believe later.
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« Reply #61 on: October 19, 2008, 09:03:54 AM »

I see that this thread has generated a lot of polarity of opinion! For the sake of clarity, I will confess that Seraphim's approach would not be my own. This is not at all my style. My personality is more unassuming and quiet and shuns such open displays. Howver, if Seraphim wants to do something like this, I am not opposed.

I asked about the Great Commission merely because this has been something on my mind and I have been truly curious what the Orthodox understanding of this actually is.

Minasoliman, I guess I will never be able to discuss Heroes or NBA games, because all TV shows etc were lost to me as I didn't grow up with TV and to this day live without it and rarely watch movies.  But I hope I can still show love to my neighbours even without that knowledge.

Please forgive me if I've offended anyone. Such really was not my intention at all.
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« Reply #62 on: October 19, 2008, 08:48:06 PM »

Minasoliman, I guess I will never be able to discuss Heroes or NBA games, because all TV shows etc were lost to me as I didn't grow up with TV and to this day live without it and rarely watch movies.  But I hope I can still show love to my neighbours even without that knowledge.

Dear Roseship,

I've learned that when becoming that "unassuming evangelist," everyone's personality and culture is different, and the difference in personality demands different targets of those being evangelized.  This is merely my life.  Yours can be a different story.  What you and I may have in common is how we use the culture and our likes to our advantage in pulling people closer to the gospel.  So there is nothing in my post that suggests you have to have TV knowledge to be effective.  Use whatever knowledge you have in the culture you're in to be effective.

And of course love is without question.

God bless.
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« Reply #63 on: October 19, 2008, 10:57:32 PM »

With all due respect ... I don't like the idea.   Sad

The Orthodox faith is being exploited.  Christ said "Come and See" not "Let me shove it down your throat."


"Come and See" can easily become a copout for not doing evangelism at all.

Anyway there is a difference between evangelism and bearing witness. Seraphim and his wife are bearing witness to their faith. For the thirty seconds someone will be in their presence and on their doorstep and with all the other stuff people will see that night, it may be completely forgetable; or maybe one more eccentric halloween display; or maybe it will have a lasting soul-healing impact on someone. I really doubt it could be offensive and turn people off.

I think it's a pretty cool idea.
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« Reply #64 on: October 19, 2008, 11:03:46 PM »

What is your point?  I didn't see anyone taking the "low, crass route." 

So, _Seraphim_ is now offering organic chocolates vs. the Water of Eternal Life Christ offered to the Samaritan Woman?  Orthodox Evangelizing has spiraled out of control and unfortunately, there is no way to "put the genie back in the bottle." because everyone does His/Her own thing.   Huh  Huh

[/quote]


Give the guy a break.
Maybe you had to be there and it was actually very tasteful when not trapped by a lense with a close-up perspective of a door photo and maybe Seraphim and his wife are gentle and gracious people and can pull it off in an inviting and loving way
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« Reply #65 on: October 19, 2008, 11:05:30 PM »


Why would you have done this automatically instead of asking him directly what his motives were?  Why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
[/quote]
Because those to whom I had given the benefit of the doubt previously have given me every reason not to have doubted. I had left the Protestant church over showy antics like this without real substance. I would have seen the showy antics and connected them with the lack of substance in the Protestant church, and assumed that he also was proselytizing under false pretenses. One form of Christianity was as bad as another; they were all liars and con artists.
[/quote]

ditto (see above)
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« Reply #66 on: October 20, 2008, 02:33:39 PM »

Forgive those who are still controlled by the fear and submission caused by the Ottoman empire's tactics to crush Orthodoxy's evangelistic spirit. Many of us (progeny of the Orthodox immigrants) still haven't shaken off this residue.

What happened under the Ottoman Empire has absolutely nothing to do with this topic.  Many of the young Orthodox men, kidnapped and became Janissaries, experienced the "tricks and treats" of the harem never to return home to Christ.  The temptation continues to exist today.

Not every Orthodox Christian has the gift of Evangelization.

Dear Greek Brother-in-Christ, SolEX01

The pain our ancestors had to deal with under the Ottomans was extreme. The fact that they were able to preserve the faith under the conditions they had to live was their testimony. I have heard the stories of disfiguring and maiming the children so the Turks wouldn't take them away to be placed in harems or to be trained as Janissaries. My grandfather's cousin was taken away at the tender age of 14. He was conscripted into the Turkish army. He never returned. If it were not for the courage of our families to remain Orthodox, you and I wouldn't be here today. We should always honor their memory and commemorate them in the Divine Liturgy.

But we now are living in a different time and in different circumstances than our ancestors. In fact, these times almost mirror, in many respects, the times of the Roman Empire. We live in the land of the free. We all use a common language. Folks have become weary of the religion they grew up with and are searching for something with more substance. I can understand your hesitancy in what may look to you as a showy display of our faith. We aren't used to sharing Orthodoxy with our non-Orthodox neighbors. But many of those who are new to faith are bursting with fervor of the saints to share Orthodoxy with all. We may feel uncomfortable with the way they do it because it is something we aren't used to doing but we shouldn't discourage them. The Holy Spirit moves us all in different ways to serve.

Tamara

Very nicely put. Your words rendered a very difficult situation in a very peaceful way. God bless you!

I just want us to remember that "the land of the free" for most of its history and is at the bedrock of its economic acheivement envied by all other nations today...was slavery, hardship and extreme human suffering.

The scars are still open wounds till this day for many of the descendants of those tortured souls.

These 'descendents' still live with the contempt and disregard heaped onto those before them. For 'them' today and 'those' before 'them' the Holy Church was never an option that was available. Even the "christian faiths" that were so well placed in this 'land of the free' by their slave masters was not made available to them. The beleive then was that these 'slaves' were NOT MEN (NON-HUMAN) and thus had no more right to salvation then the cows, pigs and chickens. The constitution of the 'land of the free' describes them as 3/5's man. Three fifths man. Go figure!

but this was the 'land of the free'.

Today the constitution still holds to its word unchanged.

I just want us to keep in perspective what we mean when we say 'land of the free'.

You said nothing wrong at all.

Your point was very beautifully put.
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« Reply #67 on: October 20, 2008, 04:13:14 PM »

Dear Greek Brother-in-Christ, SolEX01

Dear Sister-in-Christ, Tamara,   Smiley

Forgive me for I don't wish to come across as pushy and argumentative for I have no quarrel with you.  Our Brother in the OP demonstrated how he decorates his house during Halloween.  I do not understand why your comments relating to the Ottoman Empire were necessary for the Church has prevailed against 14 Centuries of Islam.  Having said that....
My point was, the mindset of keeping our faith hidden came from years of oppression under the Turks. Most of us cradle Orthodox have forgotten how to evangelize. So when we see converts doing it, we become nervous and tend to criticize.


Quote

There are other ways to share Orthodoxy with non-Orthodox neighbors from their perspective not from Orthodox perspective.  There are many examples in Scripture with my favorite one being the Samaritan Woman from where Christ used her perspective to convince herself that Christ was the Son of God.  Arbitrarily and randomly sharing the Orthodox perspective, IMO, is tantamount to lecturing/proselytizing.  That has failed in my one experience with my estranged wife.  I learned that the Book of Job doesn't help someone in a crisis.   Huh  I also learned that there's a difference between answering questions and lecturing on Orthodox dogma.  Finally, maybe I wasn't even meant by the Holy Spirit to talk about the Orthodox faith to anyone at any time.  All these experiences recount how I have shared my Orthodox faith inside and outside my "comfort zone."
Seraphim's display involved no lectures. It was a quiet display and folks were free to decide if they wanted to approach his home or not.

Quote

I respect and welcome every convert to the Orthodox faith except that the Orthodox faith demands more from all of us than mere obedience. Demonstrating faith is one thing and one has to practice it by ministering to the sick, lonely, poor, hungry, those in crisis, those in prison where each group cited has someone looking for the truth.  Giving out expensive organic chocolates with the Divine Liturgy as background music is respectfully not my way of ministering to the "least of Christ's Brethren."
There are other ways of evangelizing other than ministering to the poor. St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios, Sts. Cyril and Methodias all evangelized in their own way. Everyone is given a gift or talent to use and so the ways to evangelize are only limited by the power of the Holy Spirit. Try not to discourage others who have been given  a different gift than you. We are all unique.
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« Reply #68 on: October 20, 2008, 05:07:14 PM »

My point was, the mindset of keeping our faith hidden came from years of oppression under the Turks. Most of us cradle Orthodox have forgotten how to evangelize. So when we see converts doing it, we become nervous and tend to criticize.

What did people do before the Turks came along?  Were these societies heterogeneous?  More specifically, what kind of evangelization happened between 1054 and 1453?

Seraphim's display involved no lectures. It was a quiet display and folks were free to decide if they wanted to approach his home or not.

Because people today can't tell the difference between an Orthodox icon and whatever shows up on their Nintendo Wii system, Blackberry or Digital HDTV.  Curiousity is one thing.

There are other ways of evangelizing other than ministering to the poor. St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios, Sts. Cyril and Methodias all evangelized in their own way. Everyone is given a gift or talent to use and so the ways to evangelize are only limited by the power of the Holy Spirit. Try not to discourage others who have been given  a different gift than you. We are all unique.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone who has been blessed differently than I have.  I hope and pray that their techniques and approaches work.  My concern is where does one draw the line, if such a line needs to be drawn.   Huh
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« Reply #69 on: October 20, 2008, 05:26:39 PM »

There are other ways of evangelizing other than ministering to the poor. St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios, Sts. Cyril and Methodias all evangelized in their own way. Everyone is given a gift or talent to use and so the ways to evangelize are only limited by the power of the Holy Spirit. Try not to discourage others who have been given  a different gift than you. We are all unique.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone who has been blessed differently than I have.  I hope and pray that their techniques and approaches work.  My concern is where does one draw the line, if such a line needs to be drawn.   Huh
Line between what and what? Huh
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« Reply #70 on: October 20, 2008, 05:33:40 PM »

There are other ways of evangelizing other than ministering to the poor. St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios, Sts. Cyril and Methodias all evangelized in their own way. Everyone is given a gift or talent to use and so the ways to evangelize are only limited by the power of the Holy Spirit. Try not to discourage others who have been given  a different gift than you. We are all unique.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone who has been blessed differently than I have.  I hope and pray that their techniques and approaches work.  My concern is where does one draw the line, if such a line needs to be drawn.   Huh
Line between what and what? Huh
I think she means between evangelizing and being obnoxious/forcing the issue. Undecided  Just a guess.
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« Reply #71 on: October 20, 2008, 05:34:37 PM »

Line between what and what? Huh

My apologies...

Line between Evangelization and Proselytizing.

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« Reply #72 on: October 20, 2008, 05:48:42 PM »

Brother! i love what your doing..have to mention don't forget the holy water and the basil ....you can also put the holy water in a squirt gun preferably a mega squirt gun and shower them with God's blessings that way as well...just a suggestion.....SmileyCentral.com" border="0SmileyCentral.com" border="0SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #73 on: October 20, 2008, 06:06:16 PM »

Quote

What did people do before the Turks came along?  Were these societies heterogeneous?  More specifically, what kind of evangelization happened between 1054 and 1453?
St. John Chrysostom is remembered as "golden mouthed" because by his words he was able to convert others.
St. Cyril and St. Methodias created an alphabet for the slavs and then used that alphabet to translate the Holy Scriptures and the services in order to evangelize them.
I think the ways of bringing the faith to others is limited only by our gifts. God can use each of us in our own unique way to spread the faith.


[quote author]
Seraphim's display involved no lectures. It was a quiet display and folks were free to decide if they wanted to approach his home or not.

Quote
Because people today can't tell the difference between an Orthodox icon and whatever shows up on their Nintendo Wii system, Blackberry or Digital HDTV.  Curiousity is one thing.
I would say that what Seraphim did was seed planting for those who chose to come to his door. If they had never been exposed to Orthodox chanting or iconography, those images and sounds were planted like little seeds into each person's
mind. Then in time, maybe another will come along and water those seeds. And still later, those seeds may grow into a desire to learn more. Who can say? But the important thing to do is to plant the seeds.

A Greek Orthodox priest did the same kind of seed planting with my priest. Many years ago, my priest was a young evangelical seminary student taking a Biblical Greek class at a Protestant seminary taught by a Greek Orthodox priest. The Greek priest decided to start each lesson by having his students sing, "Agios, O Theos." The sound of that chanted prayer reached deep into my priest's heart whenever he sang that ancient hymn. He would come home and tell his young wife about the effect that hymn had on him. She worriedly asked him,"What are you thinking? Do you want to convert to Orthodoxy?" He replied,"No, nothing crazy like that dear." But then, as the Holy Spirit would have it, ten years later that is exactly what happened. And my priest attributed his first taste of Orthodox spirituality to that amazing Greek Orthodox priest! So, who is to say how Seraphim's little Halloween display will be the beginning of a change of heart. Even if only one person eventually converts because of it, the angels in heaven will rejoice!

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« Reply #74 on: October 20, 2008, 08:49:40 PM »

A Greek Orthodox priest did the same kind of seed planting with my priest. Many years ago, my priest was a young evangelical seminary student taking a Biblical Greek class at a Protestant seminary taught by a Greek Orthodox priest. The Greek priest decided to start each lesson by having his students sing, "Agios, O Theos." The sound of that chanted prayer reached deep into my priest's heart whenever he sang that ancient hymn. He would come home and tell his young wife about the effect that hymn had on him. She worriedly asked him,"What are you thinking? Do you want to convert to Orthodoxy?" He replied,"No, nothing crazy like that dear." But then, as the Holy Spirit would have it, ten years later that is exactly what happened. And my priest attributed his first taste of Orthodox spirituality to that amazing Greek Orthodox priest! So, who is to say how Seraphim's little Halloween display will be the beginning of a change of heart. Even if only one person eventually converts because of it, the angels in heaven will rejoice!

I would argue the time and place and set mood for the Trisagion hymn were perfect.  And not to mention the presence of the Greek priest is a seed in and of itself.  I went to a Protestant Bible Study one time, and we talked psalms, and I took the chance to show how we Copts sing Psalms 148-150.  One seemed to enjoy it, and reminded him of how Jews pray the Psalms.

But I wouldn't sing the psalms in the middle of a giving away candy to children with costumes.  Wink

God bless.
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« Reply #75 on: October 20, 2008, 10:07:26 PM »

Reply #73 is exactly an example of what I was referring to by "sharing Orthodoxy with non-Orthodox neighbors from their perspective" especially at a Protestant Seminary.

The Greek Orthodox Priest was probably forbidden from proselytizing but not chanting an ancient hymn found in Scripture and used today in the Divine Liturguy.  Will one find Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy on Us in a Protestant Hymnal.   Wink
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« Reply #76 on: October 20, 2008, 11:02:40 PM »

"Come and See" can easily become a copout for not doing evangelism at all.

You got it.

ditto (see above)

Um...unsure here...were you ditto-ing what YOU said in the post before about giving Seraphim a break, what I said about giving him the benefit of the doubt, or what Y said about not giving folks that benefit?

Sorry...
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« Reply #77 on: October 21, 2008, 07:36:14 PM »

This is the typical Halloween experience for children (as young as infants):



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...And in the midst of all that, 0.00001% of those children will see ANYthing like this (the main icon in the middle of our door):




"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matt 5:14-16

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
Matt 10:42
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« Reply #78 on: October 21, 2008, 10:30:53 PM »

Point taken (which is why children and infants should only trick or treat in the daytime; they would look less scary then).  But if I were to hang a icon, one (like the Theotokos) would suffice imo.  To fill the whole door just screams "Extremist, backwards, avoid!"  And why not keep this icon hanging for the whole year?  Why just Halloween?  I think that's a beautiful icon worthy of sticking around.

And promising you a picture, the Theotokos when you open my front door:
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« Reply #79 on: October 22, 2008, 01:22:17 AM »

QUOTE BY DAVIDBRYAN
Um...unsure here...were you ditto-ing what YOU said in the post before about giving Seraphim a break, what I said about giving him the benefit of the doubt, or what Y said about not giving folks that benefit?

Sorry...
[/quote]

Sorry for the confusion
the ditto was giving Seraphim a break
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 01:25:55 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
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« Reply #80 on: October 30, 2008, 11:18:09 AM »

I figured it was worth mentioning:

Shortly after last Halloween, our priest and his wife came to visit.  When we opened the front door (which still had all the icons on it) both of them were smiling from ear to ear.  Grin Wink
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