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Author Topic: A Challenge to you Orthodox (from an English Baptist)  (Read 21552 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« on: October 31, 2008, 08:03:45 AM »

I have given talks at the Baptist church where I am in membership on the title or theme of “Learning from other Christians”. I have spoken a number of times about the Anglo-Saxon church (personalities and themes); also about mediæval Catholics and English mystics;  German Pietism; early Methodism. I have given only one talk on Learning from the Orthodox Church.

Now here is my challenge to you: give me themes for further talks. But be irenic (as Christians should) and realistic. There would be no point suggesting I tell them that the Orthodox Church is the only true one and they should join up; or that they need episcopally ordained priests, should pray to the saints, or pray for the dead. But there are themes to do with prayer, union with God, Christ’s victory, apophatic theology, the Incarnation, and doubtless others, where I believe we can indeed learn from you.

Give me your ideas in the spirit of the words, “Freely you have received, freely give” or “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” My mind is open to you; my congregation will listen if I speak: now bless us in Christ.
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2008, 08:34:02 AM »

...
Give me your ideas in the spirit of the words, “Freely you have received, freely give” or “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” ...


I'd suggest exploring the stance of Orthodoxy towards man's ability of knowledge.

Good starting point is St. Maximos' "On Knowledge".

The key issues are about what man is able to learn and know by his own reason, and about what man can learn and know only by God's grace through experience.

Once the subject has been absolved, you could examine the effect of the conclusions to the Orthodox approach to salvation through combating sin.
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David Young
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2008, 12:45:50 PM »


I'd suggest exploring the stance of Orthodoxy towards man's ability of knowledge.

Good starting point is St. Maximos' approach to salvation through combating sin.

Thank you. I look forward to doing so as soon as I find a translation.
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2008, 02:25:41 PM »

Following from your remark here:

What features of Orthodoxy should Protestants benefit from
what features of Protestantism might Orthodox benefit from

You might develop a talk based on this article:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/october/36.66.html

Although I would take issue with the author when he says:

While evangelicals can learn from the Orthodox, it is fair to note that Orthodox believers can learn from us, too. The Eastern presentation of salvation can smudge the distinct steps of salvation. Justification and sanctification often get folded into the broader concept of theosis, and they become so blurred that Orthodox believers often don't know what to make of the terms. They would be well served by an explanation of how the steps of salvation as presented in apostolic teaching fit into the larger package of divinization.

I think the Eastern presentation "smudges" the "steps of salvation" only from the perspective of systematic theology.  One has only to read the Orthodox rites of baptism and chrismation to see that the "phases in the reception of salvation: conversion, justification, sanctification, and glorification" are fully addressed.  Moreover, they are addressed within the context of the mysteries/sacraments, any discussion of which is entirely absent from the article.  However, I do agree with the author that Orthodox would benefit from learning the steps of salvation as evangelicals understand them, in a systematic form, but primarily for the purpose of engaging in discussion with evangelicals.
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2008, 04:15:41 PM »

...
Thank you. I look forward to doing so as soon as I find a translation.

You are welcome. There is the link to English translation in my first post above.
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 04:42:48 PM »

I must admit that I am confused.  You admit that you are a Baptist but you are giving talks on different confessions of Christianity but for what purpose.  Your theme of "learning from other Christians" is much different than "learning about other Christians" which I surmise is not what you want to do with such talks.  Let me ask this, then?  Do you find Baptist theology insufficient or lacking and thus you want these other confessional viewpoints so individual members can pick and choose what they want with regards to their praxis and belief?

Forgive me, I'm not trying to be difficult, but I am just curious as to what point this serves if not to give your fellow church members choices to supplement or even supplant Baptist teaching.
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2008, 05:26:05 PM »

you are giving talks on different confessions of Christianity but for what purpose.  … Do you find Baptist theology insufficient or lacking and thus you want these other confessional viewpoints so individual members can pick and choose what they want with regards to their praxis and belief?

Thank you. These are very good, and indeed searching, questions. I shall give thought to them and get back to you. It is good to be pressed to examine one's own motives!

You might develop a talk based on this article:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/october/36.66.html


I shall read it with real interest.  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2008, 06:01:46 PM »

There would be no point suggesting I tell them that the Orthodox Church is the only true one and they should join up; or that they need episcopally ordained priests, should pray to the saints, or pray for the dead.
Emphasis mine

This may be a topic for another thread (mod's feel free to move this post if it is, please- I'm not trying to derail the discussion):

Forgive my ignorance, but do Baptists (in your experience) not pray for the dead?  If not, may I ask why?  I may have misunderstood here, but that's what it sounds like.

I will think about your OP.  I think it's a great question/challenge.  I'll have to think, though, about how to respond to it.  In the meantime, my first response would be to examine the Jesus Prayer and it's usage("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner").  The contemporary Athonite Fathers talk a lot about it.  I'm sure others here could recommend specific books better than I...
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2008, 06:04:32 AM »

do Baptists (in your experience) not pray for the dead?  If not, may I ask why? 

No. For two reasons:

1. The usual 'sola scriptura' principle: it isn't found in the scriptures (except, of course, the deuterocanonical books, which we do not treat as authoritative).

2. On the basis that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement: the dead are either with Christ (in which case they do not need our prayers), or are in hell awaiting the final judgement (in which case our prayers cannot avail them).

I post this only (and willingly) to reply to your question, not to make it in any way a 'bone of contention' between us.
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2008, 09:12:34 AM »

I would suggest recommending the hagiography. After all the baptist themselves have a kind of hagiography i.e. biographies of missionaries, preachers etc. While they might include themes that the baptist dislike I think one could also find that kind of books which are acceptable also for the baptist. At least my pentecostal father got quite enthusiastic when he read one book of mine which was about the martyrs of the first centuries of Christianity. Perhaps the martyrology would be beneficial also for the baptist.
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2008, 03:07:03 PM »

you are a Baptist but you are giving talks on different confessions of Christianity but for what purpose. 

Do you find Baptist theology insufficient or lacking

The "for what purpose" question is easy to answer: I want the people who hear to be enriched in their experience of God, their daily walk with him.

The second question – whether I think Baptist theology is insufficient or lacking – is a good deal harder. A tentative answer must be Yes; but it needs qualifying. For one thing there isn’t really a ‘Baptist theology’, for as your own writers have said on other threads, there are a variety of Baptists, though of course with agreement on the four principal characteristic Evangelical emphases, plus the belief that baptism should follow coming to faith and the concept of self-governing local churches.

I myself feel that no church or denomination knows all there is to know, emphasises it with proper balance, and experiences it comprehensively in personal and shared spirituality and devotion. So I expect the theology and experience of any church, whether Orthodox or Protestant, to lack some aspects or insights which others have grasped. I don’t think that Baptists (or anyone else) know all there is to learn about God and his ways, or walk in the good of all truth, even if it can by searching be found written in some little-known corner of their literature.

I forget when I started reading seriously about Orthodoxy, but it may have been two or three years ago. In that time, I have found at least three aspects of your life and faith which we lack (not matters taken from your Holy Tradition, but ones which can easily be seen in the Old and New Testaments). These I have incorporated into my teaching and preaching, only once specifically saying that it was an Orthodox emphasis, and people respond warmly and appreciatively. I am not at present saying what those features of Orthodoxy are, otherwise you won’t tell me about them yourselves, and I may have more to learn in those areas as well as others I have not yet even suspected. Beyond those three areas, I suspect there are more.

If we could trust each other as fellow true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, I believe we could all learn from each other: not join each other (I am not expecting you to become Baptists, or my hearers to join the Orthodox communion), but gladly give and receive benefit among each other. In that spirit I want to learn from you. (You may therefore wonder about my rather sinister “warned” status on this forum. It arose when I put a posting in the “other languages” section without an English translation, genuinely not knowing that this was required.)
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2008, 05:10:31 PM »

do Baptists (in your experience) not pray for the dead?  If not, may I ask why? 

No. For two reasons:

1. The usual 'sola scriptura' principle: it isn't found in the scriptures (except, of course, the deuterocanonical books, which we do not treat as authoritative).

2. On the basis that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement: the dead are either with Christ (in which case they do not need our prayers), or are in hell awaiting the final judgement (in which case our prayers cannot avail them).

I post this only (and willingly) to reply to your question, not to make it in any way a 'bone of contention' between us.

No bone of contention at all, friend.  I just didn't know... Thank you for your kind answer.  I would love to discuss this at some point in another thread, as your reason #2 intrigues me.

God bless!
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2008, 05:51:45 PM »

DEFECTIVE THEOLOGY – and LEARNING FROM OTHERS

Put it like this: you don't have to agree with everything in a person’s MIND before (if he is a Christian) you can learn from his HEART, from his love for the Lord and his walk with Him. For example:

-   I don’t agree with many things in Roman Catholicism, but when I read Bernard of Clairvaux, Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, Thérèse of Lisieux, I know I should learn to love God as they did.
-   I don’t agree with the chiliasm, (or premillennialism, as we call it) of the Brethren, but I should live like they do in the light of the Lord’s Second Coming.
-   I don’t agree with the unregulated public speaking in tongues and unweighed “prophecies” of the Pentecostals, but I need their zeal for bringing lost souls to Christ.
-   I do not hold the full systematic Augustinian teachings of the Calvinists, but I permanently and cordially need their quiet trust in a sovereign God who rules over all our affairs and who ensures all things work together for our good.
-   I do not agree with the second-blessing teaching on sanctification of the Methodists, but I need their passion for holiness.

Similarly, I know from reading Orthodox writings that you have insights and emphases which are good and which we lack. They do not feature in our week-by-week religious life. Share them with us! I have begun to benefit; I want more, and I want to impart it also to others.

I have not replied to every reply on the thread, but I have noted them all, thank each posting person, and anticipate more.
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« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2008, 05:51:59 PM »

or are in hell awaiting the final judgement (in which case our prayers cannot avail them).
Why not? Is there something which is impossible for the Almighty? Is there a place where He is not?
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2008, 06:45:43 PM »

... Is there a place where He is not?

Hell?

I myself feel that no church or denomination knows all there is to know, ...

I feel I suggested above the right topic to you. I just wonder if you will pay the attention to it, understand it and present it properly to your audience, because Orthodox theology presents knowledge about everything that can be known.

...emphasises it with proper balance, and experiences it comprehensively in personal and shared spirituality and devotion.

Yes, there are nobody else but sinners among us, Orthodox. We fail, we fail, but we keep trying.
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2008, 07:02:22 PM »

It was my understanding that hell had not been created yet (Rev. 20:11-15), but that only hades existed as a sort of holding place until the last judgment?
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2008, 07:49:40 PM »

It was my understanding that hell had not been created yet (Rev. 20:11-15), but that only hades existed as a sort of holding place until the last judgment?

You are right and I never meant anything else, but I'm limited by language, too. There are no two words in Serbian, unlike Hebrew and Greek (and apparently English), just one, where at present there are no bodies - while there will be bodies upon the Judgment, too.

Anyway, this might be a nice example of what can be known by man and what can't.
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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2008, 10:29:44 PM »

There are no two words in Serbian, unlike Hebrew and Greek (and apparently English),

Sorry, there are.

I'm degrading.
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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2008, 05:55:09 AM »

I feel I suggested above the right topic to you. I just wonder if you will pay the attention to it, understand it and present it properly to your audience, because Orthodox theology presents knowledge about everything that can be known.


Yes. I have found Maximos the author on the Internet, including "On Knowledge". The only reason I didn't go to him direct from your posting was that I am not very familiar with computer methods, and assumed wrongly that it was blue for emphasis, not realising it was a link. I can read it on screen, or print it off and read in comfort. I have access to a library with shelves and shelves of patristic writing in the original and in various translations, and the other reason for my slowness is that I can simply borrow the material in book form next time I'm there. (I'm old-fashioned enough to like sitting in an armchair with the feel of a real book in my hands.)

I cannot of course promise that I shall understand what I read; but I shall read, and that with prayer.

When you say Orthodox theology presents knowledge about everything that can be known, you are approaching a difference between us and you, one where I find your approach more attractive than ours. Evangelicals, particularly of the "Reformed" (Calvinist) variety, love to have every question answered, no biblical passages not fitting in neatly with every other, a hermetically sealed comprehensive, tidy system to which nothing need be added, and nothing taken away. It is, I suspect, the legacy of mediæval scholasticism. Your Church (if I understand aright) allows space for mystery, and that is attractive and (I believe) more proper. You say you present knowledge about "everything that can be known", but you seem to have a healthier attitude to that which cannot. I believe it is an aspect of apophatic theology.
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2008, 06:01:27 AM »

I'll throw my 2 cents in here regarding the OP...

Quote
Now here is my challenge to you: give me themes for further talks.

I don't know what your full views are regarding salvation, but you could possibly preach on the Orthodox concept of salvation as a synergetic relationship between God and man. Such a sermon could be based on passages such as the following:

"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." - 1 Cor. 3:9

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." - 2 Pet. 1:4
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2008, 06:03:44 AM »

hell had not been created yet (Rev. 20:11-15), but that only hades existed as a sort of holding place until the last judgment?

It is a matter of translation of Greek words. We believe the same as you. The "lake of fire" is not yet in operation, but the souls of the lost are in hell / Hades awaiting the Judgement.

From Resident Peacenik: Is there something which is impossible for the Almighty? Or, Is anything too hard for the Lord? Yes: his character is such that he doesn't contradict himself. We believe that physical death ends the sinner's chance to repent and find Christ as Saviour. That is why I say it is too late for our prayers to be of help to the departed, and why we do not pray for the dead.
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2008, 08:04:34 AM »

We probably need to start a new thread about this tangent.
We believe the same as you. The "lake of fire" is not yet in operation, but the souls of the lost are in hell / Hades awaiting the Judgement.
If you believe that the Lake of Fire is the same Divine Energies which the Saints experience as Uncreated Light, then you believe the same as us. Wink

From Resident Peacenik: Is there something which is impossible for the Almighty? Or, Is anything too hard for the Lord? Yes: his character is such that he doesn't contradict himself.
Agreed.

We believe that physical death ends the sinner's chance to repent
Agreed.

and find Christ as Saviour.
That's not enough to save us. As He himself says: many who call Him "Lord Lord" will be rejected on the Day of Judgement.

That is why I say it is too late for our prayers to be of help to the departed, and why we do not pray for the dead.
You do not pray for them because they cannot repent? Is forgiveness dependant of repentance? How then does St. Paul say:
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. "
Our Forgiveness depends solely on God's mercy, and not anything we merit. Even the Jews who rejected Christ and His Resurrection pray the Yizkor for the dead and trust in God's mercy to forgive the dead.
If your dog fell into a mud pit and couldn't get itself out, would you abandon it?
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2008, 12:21:03 PM »

Quote
You do not pray for them because they cannot repent? Is forgiveness dependant of repentance? How then does St. Paul say:
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. "
Our Forgiveness depends solely on God's mercy, and not anything we merit. Even the Jews who rejected Christ and His Resurrection pray the Yizkor for the dead and trust in God's mercy to forgive the dead.
If your dog fell into a mud pit and couldn't get itself out, would you abandon it?

Very well said, brother.....and I don't know about our Baptist friend here but I, as someone who loves dogs with all my heart, couldn't stand to even see an estranged dog fall and die in a mudpit, much less my own...this is also coming from someone who was almost mangled by a dog to death when he was a little child...if we humans who place so much love and affection for these little creatures, think how much more love and affection our great God has to those who are called to be His very image?...in the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or nakedness or danger or sword?...I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35 - 39)....God's love extends beyond the grave and since both us and the Baptists can agree that God's grace is a powerful reality of his Love towards us, and if the Holy Apostle said that this form of Godly love in Christ extends beyond the grave, what is wrong in praying for those who have fallen asleep in Christ (so that they can find solace and comfort in the bosom of God) and those who have fallen asleep away from Christ (so that through God's love that extends beyond the grave, our prayers for those people can indeed play a part in God's judgment on their souls)?

In Christ

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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2008, 05:58:43 PM »

concept of salvation as a synergetic relationship between God and man.

You are taking me into deep waters, to the edge of holy mysteries. This is what I want. Men have debated the balance, or relationship, between God's sovereign work in salvation and man's responsibility in salvation, from long before the church split, either in 1054 or at the Reformation - going back at least to Augustine , then on via Gottschalk to Calvin, through Arminius and the Remonstrants and of course Wesley, and to the resurgence of Calvinism in England from the mid-20th century.

I found most helpful a comment attributed to Charles Simeon (1759-1836), an Anglican minister, fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and minister at Holy Trinity Church in the same city. He said that the truth does not lie part-way between the two extremes, but in both extremes. That our salvation is all of God seems plainly taught in scripture; and that man is responsible for his own response and hence for his final destiny, seems also plainly taught. I shall read on the theme you suggest with interest and with hope for intellectual and spiritual food.

One problem is that Orthodoxy is so sparsely represented here in Britain that nearly all books are imported from America. Unlike in America, books here are already expensive items; imported ones even more so. Any suggestions?
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2008, 06:09:29 PM »

I'm afraid that I can't think of a book that examines this subject exhaustively, though fwiw I've found the following two books helpful when it comes to understanding salvation in the Orthodox context: How Are We Saved?: The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition, by Met. Kallistos (Ware); and Life in Christ, by Nicholas Cabasilas.
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« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2008, 11:35:58 AM »

2. On the basis that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement: the dead are either with Christ (in which case they do not need our prayers), ...

Uhh, are you intending to say that the English Baptist believe the living are not "with Christ" and therefore they alone are in need of our prayers?  Also, are you saying that English Baptist do not believe in a Last Judgment or that they believe that Last Judgment takes place immediately (within the relativity of time and space) upon ones death?

How then would you understand these words: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

If our judgment is final upon the moment of the death of the body, how then can we be judged for the fruit of our Life's works, of which for some are not yet manifested or come to full fruition sometimes for many generations, i.e., the works of Origen.  Or consider that many contemporary Orthodox Christians often quote St. Seraphim of Sarov's words about 'Save yourself and you will save a thousand around you.'  St. Seraphim's life and works are still producing fruit by the bushel full to this day by having himself becoming a grain of wheat for the salvation of souls.  And did not our Lord compare the Kingdom of Heaven to a field in which is sown wheat and tares each producing its own fruit which will not be judged or separated until the time of harvest is fully come.

I cannot concede to the oft argued position that prayers for those who have died in Christ is not Scriptural or 'not found in the Scriptures'.  As often is the case, some matters are only known when one begins asking the correct questions or begininning with the right beginning.  St. Peter the Apostle said some men's works go before them and some after them.

By praying for those who have reposed we are asking that the Lord of the Harvest would grant that their lives bear fruit, each according to its kind and that that fruit would be for some ten fold, fifty fold or hundred fold.  By praying for those who have reposed we are beseeching the Lord of the Harvest as co-labours in His field and for His Storehouses to be full of every kind of good grain both (both winter and spring in which there are also many kinds of wheat and there are some kinds which are no longer available to our generation since they have gone into extinction). 

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« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2008, 12:24:56 PM »

2. On the basis that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement: the dead are either with Christ (in which case they do not need our prayers), ...

Uhh, are you intending to say that the English Baptist believe the living are not "with Christ" and therefore they alone are in need of our prayers?  Also, are you saying that English Baptist do not believe in a Last Judgment or that they believe that Last Judgment takes place immediately (within the relativity of time and space) upon ones death?

How then would you understand these words: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

If our judgment is final upon the moment of the death of the body, how then can we be judged for the fruit of our Life's works, of which for some are not yet manifested or come to full fruition sometimes for many generations, i.e., the works of Origen.  Or consider that many contemporary Orthodox Christians often quote St. Seraphim of Sarov's words about 'Save yourself and you will save a thousand around you.'  St. Seraphim's life and works are still producing fruit by the bushel full to this day by having himself becoming a grain of wheat for the salvation of souls.  And did not our Lord compare the Kingdom of Heaven to a field in which is sown wheat and tares each producing its own fruit which will not be judged or separated until the time of harvest is fully come.

I cannot concede to the oft argued position that prayers for those who have died in Christ is not Scriptural or 'not found in the Scriptures'.  As often is the case, some matters are only known when one begins asking the correct questions or begininning with the right beginning.  St. Peter the Apostle said some men's works go before them and some after them.

By praying for those who have reposed we are asking that the Lord of the Harvest would grant that their lives bear fruit, each according to its kind and that that fruit would be for some ten fold, fifty fold or hundred fold.  By praying for those who have reposed we are beseeching the Lord of the Harvest as co-labours in His field and for His Storehouses to be full of every kind of good grain both (both winter and spring in which there are also many kinds of wheat and there are some kinds which are no longer available to our generation since they have gone into extinction). 



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« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2008, 12:43:50 PM »

Seconded.
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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2008, 03:31:34 PM »

David,

May I suggest some kind of analysis of Galatians 2:16-20? I think that's where not only Protestantism, but the Western Christianity in general departs from the traditional Orthodox theology. The West looks at this fragment of Scripture as the "Pauline theology of justification by faith." The East (Orthodoxy), on the other hand, posits that it is just a sad result of an inadequate translation of the Greek word δικαιουται into the Latin "iustificavit" ("justified," while the actual Greek word δικαιουται means "made better, made more righteous" etc. - i.e. improved). In other words, the Eastern Fathers did not even presume that man needs any "justification" - instead, they thought about δικαιουται as a lifelong process of change, "theosis." The West, based on the entirely different meaning conveyed by the term "iustificavit" and "iustificatio," developed the theology of man being killed by the original sin and in need of some sort of instant "forensic" justification the moment he declares that he "accepted Christ as Lord and Savior."

I don't know how interesting this would be to a Baptist; maybe a Calvinist (Presbyterian) would find this more at odds with his deep theological concept. Still, I thought I'd just mention and let you be the judge of how interesting that would be to you.

Best wishes,

George 
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« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2008, 05:50:26 PM »

are you intending to say that the English Baptist believe the living are not "with Christ" and therefore they alone are in need of our prayers?  Also, are you saying that English Baptist do not believe in a Last Judgment or that they believe that Last Judgment takes place immediately (within the relativity of time and space) upon ones death?


No - none of this. I meant "with Christ" in the sense that the Apostle yearned to depart and be "with Christ, which is far better", i.e. following his physical death.

In this world certainly we stand in much need of the prayers of others. Not once we are "with Christ" in that sense - in heaven, awaiting the glorious resurrection.

Yes, we believe in the Last Judgement as part of the eschaton, the last events connected with the return of Christ in glory at the end of the age as Judge of the living and the dead. Upon physical death the soul departs to be with Christ, the body lies in the ground (or wherever) awaiting the resurrection. The souls of the lost likewise depart to Hades (or Hell - however one translates it) there to await their resurrection and their judgement in the body for the deeds done in the body in this life.

As to prayers for the dead, there is a thread on this, and maybe correspondence about it ought to be transferred to that thread? This is not to cut it off if people want it, only to put it in its allotted thread. I shall keep an eye on that thread for new postings.
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2008, 06:16:11 AM »

"Pauline theology of justification by faith." The East (Orthodoxy)...thought about δικαιουται as a lifelong process of change, "theosis." The West...of instant "forensic" justification the moment he declares that he "accepted Christ as Lord and Savior."

I have to make a confession here. I have never quite accepted the traditional Protestant teaching on justification. That justification is instantaneous and is by faith alone (by God’s grace) I do of course believe, otherwise I would be a fraud to pose as a Protestant on this forum. But traditionally Protestantism sees justification as the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner; which the Orthodox see as God creating a fiction, God ‘pretending’ a sinner is a saint, so to speak. It seems to me that the Bible’s teaching centres on the fact that Abraham “believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”. I see this as God accepting his (and our) faith, not as God imputing Christ’s works to us.

Put it like this: it is horrible to be doubted when you know you are honest; but if someone believes you when appearances are against it, then it moves and wins your heart. It MEANS something to God that we believe his gospel: he counts that trust as righteousness.  This happens the moment a sinner truly repents and believes.

I have comfort from some words of Leon Morris in his "The apostolic Preaching of the Cross" – a respected Evangelical theologian. On page 282 he writes: "Paul... never says in so many words that the righteousness of Christ was imputed to believers, and it may be fairly doubted whether he had this in mind in his treatment of justification." So at least I am not alone in my deviation from the traditional view.

But what is justification? We see it not as a change of character or nature, but as a change of status or standing: the believer is no longer counted guilty, he is no longer condemned, his sins are forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west (as the psalmist puts it). That change of status takes place instantaneously, upon true belief. He is granted a right standing before God.

Now, none of this strange doctrine you Americans have regrettably come across so often, that it does not matter thereafter how a person lives: that his prayer or one-off profession of faith saves him. You never hear that in England. If that faith is true Christian faith, energised within him by the Holy Spirit (as all true faith is), then his life will change, and he will be sanctified, God changing him day by day, and decade by decade, to become more Christlike.

I believe it was not till the Reformation that justification was understood as being COUNTED righteousness; before that I believe it was, as you indeed say, interpreted as being MADE righteous. But we are not so far from you: we teach that if a man's faith is real he will have both justification (instantaneous) and sanctification (gradual, life-long), but we distinguish between them. If I understand you aright, you say that say if a man’s Christianity is real, he will have both a right standing with God and theosis (gradual, lifelong). We both require both: but I think Protestants are correct in differentiating between them theologically. They are different things, but one always accompanies the other.



 

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« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2008, 08:29:27 AM »


When you say Orthodox theology presents knowledge about everything that can be known, you are approaching a difference between us and you, one where I find your approach more attractive than ours. Evangelicals, particularly of the "Reformed" (Calvinist) variety, love to have every question answered, no biblical passages not fitting in neatly with every other, a hermetically sealed comprehensive, tidy system to which nothing need be added, and nothing taken away. It is, I suspect, the legacy of mediæval scholasticism. Your Church (if I understand aright) allows space for mystery, and that is attractive and (I believe) more proper. You say you present knowledge about "everything that can be known", but you seem to have a healthier attitude to that which cannot. I believe it is an aspect of apophatic theology.


Perhaps you might like to make reference to how the Orthodox Church understands the two different genealogies given for Christ in the Gospels.

From St John of Damascus' "Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith"
BOOK IV CHAPTER XIV

Quote
One ought also to observe this, that the law was that when a man died without seed, this man's brother should take to wife the wife of the dead man and raise up seed to his brother. The offspring, therefore, belonged by nature to the second, that is, to him that begat it, but by law to the dead.

Born then of the line of Nathan, the son of David, Levi begat Melchi and Panther: Panther begat Barpanther, so called. This Barpanther begat Joachim: Joachim begat the holy Mother of God. And of the line of Solomon, the son of David, Mathan had a wife of whom he begat Jacob. Now on the death of Mathan, Melchi, of the tribe of Nathan, the son of Levi and brother of Panther, married the wife of Mathan, Jacob's mother, of whom he begat Heli. Therefore Jacob and Hell became brothers on the mother's side, Jacob being of the tribe of Solomon and Heli of the tribe of Nathan. Then Heli of the tribe of Nathan died childless, and Jacob his brother, of the tribe of Solomon, took his wife and raised up seed to his brother and begat Joseph. Joseph, therefore, is by nature the son of Jacob, of the line of Solomon, but by law he is the son of Hell of the line of Nathan.

Note how this also allows Joseph, a descendant of David through Solomon and Jeconiah, to avoid the curse laid on Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22:24-30

       30 Thus says the LORD:

      ‘ Write this man down as childless,
      A man who shall not prosper in his days;
      For none of his descendants shall prosper,
      Sitting on the throne of David,
      And ruling anymore in Judah.’”

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« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2008, 08:37:43 AM »

I have comfort from some words of Leon Morris in his "The apostolic Preaching of the Cross" – a respected Evangelical theologian. On page 282 he writes: "Paul... never says in so many words that the righteousness of Christ was imputed to believers, and it may be fairly doubted whether he had this in mind in his treatment of justification." So at least I am not alone in my deviation from the traditional view.

You are certainly not alone. Actually, correct me if I am wrong, but this whole "imputation" theology was not quite developed until Calvin.

But what is justification? We see it not as a change of character or nature, but as a change of status or standing: the believer is no longer counted guilty, he is no longer condemned, his sins are forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west (as the psalmist puts it). That change of status takes place instantaneously, upon true belief. He is granted a right standing before God.

That's exactly, as far as I understand, where the West differs from the East (from us). The West follows St. (Bl.) Augustine, viewing all humans as guilty in the original sin, no matter what these humans do or not do. Something must be done to change this status of being guilty into a status of not being guilty - otherwise, because God is "just," the guilty is condemned to eternal fires of hell. There is no such concept in the Orthodox theology, AFAIK. A human being, when he/she is conceived and grows as an embrio and then as a born and maturing individual, somehow inherits the DAMAGE done to the human nature by the sin of Adam and Eve. However, he/she is not "guilty" in the sin that he/she did not commit. Hence, there is no need in any "change of status." We aren't condemned simply for being born into this world. We are still the image and liking of God, and His beloved children, whom He never "condemned."

Also, according to our theology, AFAIK, nothing is "granted instantaneously." Once we are born, we, having this damage in our nature, inevitably sin. Each and every committed sin separates us from God, making the gap between us and Him wider and wider. Unless *WE work extremely hard on changing of our way of living, work on that every single day and hour and minute, no "instantaneous change of status" happens and we do not enter the Kingdom of God - not because He doesn't want us to enter, but because we make ourselves unable to enter. Hence, theosis, the gradual, continuous work of a human being on the change of his/her entire life, is our first and most important belief and priority.





 


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« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2008, 09:28:46 AM »

FROM PRODROMOS: you might like to make reference to how the Orthodox Church understands the two different genealogies given for Christ in the Gospels.

I shall - but it looks incredibly complicated! I shall reduce it to a chart and see how the lines diverge and converge. It is something I have never read of before, but I have often puzzled over the two genealogies, though without close study. Thank you.
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« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2008, 09:48:08 AM »

as far as I understand, where the West differs from the East (from us). The West follows St. (Bl.) Augustine, viewing all humans as guilty in the original sin, no matter what these humans do or not do. Something must be done to change this status of being guilty into a status of not being guilty - otherwise, because God is "just," the guilty is condemned to eternal fires of hell.

Yes, you are right. It is because Augustine used an Old Latin version of the New Testament, not the original Greek. In the Old Latin, Romans 5.12 says "in quo omnes peccaverunt" (in whom all men sinned), and it led to this strange doctrine that we all sinned in Adam and are born with the guilt of that sin. I do not read New Testament Greek, but modern translations, including Demotic Greek, have nothing like this, but have "because all men sinned". So technically, in the theological tomes, Augustine's view holds: but one never hears it preached except on rare occasions by the strictest Augustinians, and I very much doubt then if anyone understands them or believes them if they do.

What is REALLY believed is that we inherit Adam's NATURE, and we sin ourselves, thereby becoming guilty before God. "All have sinned," it says elsewhere in Romans, and in many places. So what is preached and believed in practice is that the change of status (standing) - i.e. instantaneous justification by faith - is required for our own personally committed sin. Adam doesn't come into the picture, except as the origin of our fallen nature.

Charles Wesley (and it is often written in books that Wesleyan theology is closer to Orthodox than most Protestants'), the poet, had stern words in his long poem on "The horrible Decree" (which begins "Ah! gentle, gracious Dove"). Referring to those who teach that newborn infants are consigned to the fires of hell, he wrote:

They think with shrieks and cries
To please the Lord of Hosts,
And offer thee in sacrifice
Millions of slaughtered ghosts:
With new-born babes they fill
The dire infernal Shade,
"For such," they say, "was they Great Will
Before the world was made."

Strong stuff! I was converted through reading Charles Wesley.
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2008, 10:50:28 AM »

^It's good to know that you aren't a Calvinist/Augustinian in your position on justification. Before I re-discovered Orthodoxy and was chrismated in 2007, I was for a short time affiliated to a Presbyterian congregation, so I did some studies of the Calvinist take on soteriology and was even impressed, for a time, by Calvin's logic and power of persuasion. However, then I found out that there is really no patristic support of Calvin, except Augustine, and even Augustine's support of what later became the Calvinist theology was based on an inadequate Latin translation. Also, it struck me that the members of my own allegedly Presbyterian congregation, including even elders, did not really know what the teaching of Calvin was, and when they heard about it from me - a total novice, newcomer who just sincerely read some books! - their unanimous reaction was, "O my God, that's not even Christian." Smiley  One woman-elder (PC-USA ordains women) said, "you know, the more I learn about Calvin, the more I think that I am actually a Methodist."  Grin

I thought, however, that Baptist theology is closer to Calvin's than to Wesley's - am I wrong?
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« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2008, 11:29:34 AM »


I thought, however, that Baptist theology is closer to Calvin's than to Wesley's - am I wrong?

English Baptists began in two places and at slightly different dates. The first were English exiles in the Netherlands who believed the teaching of Arminius that Christ died for all men generally, and so were called General Baptists. About twenty years laters (1630s) a second grouping arose actually in England, who believed the teaching of Calvin, that Christ died only for the elect in particular, and were called Particular Baptists. Both streams developed separately, the Particular Baptists being much stronger numerically, till about the 1770s when most General Baptists slid away from Christianity altogether and apostatised into Unitarianism, denying the Trinity. Some remained though. By about the 1880s theological differences had softened, and most joined up to form what is today's "Baptist Union", to which (I believe) about three-quarters of English Baptist churches belong. Some outside the Union retain the title Particular Baptist, but its meaning is now understood only by people who know about history, though they still hold particular redemption.

So there's a rather long and rambling half-answer to your question. General Baptists and Methodists both hold the teaching of Arminius on the extent of the Atonement, that Christ died for all. I have heard that most American Baptist are Arminian (general redemption).

If I may say so, your previous post (on justification) is so good that it ought to go on to the "Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?" thread as well as staying on this one, because it goes right to the innermost heart of the matter. It is said there was once a little girl who learned her twelve-times tables, and proudly recited them to her grandfather, from 1x1=1 all the way to 12x12=144. Granddad paused and then asked, "What is 13x13?" After a few moments puzzled reflection, the girl replied, "Don't be silly, Grandad. There's no such thing!" The idea of a multiplication beyond the ones she had learned was incomprehensibly outside her world. Likewise, the idea of a personal faith which does not begin with an instantaneous new birth, or conversion, is beyond anything we can conceive - though we know that a minority of real Christians cannot pinpoint the moment of their conversion: they know they believe, but they cannot remember a time when they didn't. Faith came as a gradually dawning consciousness of belief. But nonetheless, there was a moment, known only to God, when that sipiritual new birth quietly took place:

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given,
When God imparts to human hearts
The wonders of his heaven!
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek  souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

Maybe to cradle Orthodox, our belief in (and, in the main, experience of) a moment of conversion - which, I emphasise, must be followed by a life of growth in Christ - is as odd and inconceivable as theirs is to us. To us, yours SOUNDS like working for your own salvation, to earn it, but I know from many posts on this forum that you do not see it like that at all. It is probably true that we disagree; but it is probably more true that we don't even begin to understand the other's concepts enough to really even disagree with them. What do you think?
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« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2008, 12:47:07 PM »

Maybe to cradle Orthodox, our belief in (and, in the main, experience of) a moment of conversion - which, I emphasise, must be followed by a life of growth in Christ - is as odd and inconceivable as theirs is to us. To us, yours SOUNDS like working for your own salvation, to earn it, but I know from many posts on this forum that you do not see it like that at all. It is probably true that we disagree; but it is probably more true that we don't even begin to understand the other's concepts enough to really even disagree with them. What do you think?

David, yes, perhaps you are right, we might be in the position of that little girl you mentioned, the one who criticized her dad for asking "silly" question, what's 13x13. And I, for one, actually CAN identify something that Protestants would perhaps call the moment of conversion, the "aha!" experience. It was in the end of March 1996, when my father committed suicide shortly after seeing me for the last time, and listening to me passionately argue with my mother about some stupid political issues, which were not at all worth arguing about. Before that moment, I kind of "flirted" with Christianity, thinking that Christ was certainly a great moral teacher, but all this nonsense about being a "sinner" - oh no, that does not apply to me. My dad's sudden tragic death was a turning point - I very sharply realized that I was, actually, sinning greatly and not even noticing it. I understood that I was guilty in saddening my dad so that it pushed him to his fatal decision; and, more generally, I understood that I was, and am, sinning all the time, and need repentance and salvation. So, there really WAS a particular moment in my life that separates the "before" and the "after," the life of unbelief and the life of a (still rather weak) belief.

As for "works," I know that very many, perhaps most, Protestants shudder when they hear that the Orthodox view their salvation as depending on how regularly they pray and fast and bow and prostrate and kiss icons, etc. I think it's a misunderstanding. Some prominent modern Orthodox theologians were very sarcastic about this, particularly Fr. Alexander Schmemann ridiculed what he called a "numerical theology." We most definitely do not earn "points" from God for doing certain things. Our "works" are not the price that we pay to God so that He would save us in exchange for them. Rather, we "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" because these works change us and make us better in the "cooperation" with God's grace, in the "synergy" between us and Him. As for the salvation per se, I think we do not differ from you Protestants in that we, too, understand that salvation of the humankind and of the whole Universe by Christ is God's free gift, the expression of His very nature, His love.
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« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2008, 06:05:49 AM »



If our judgment is final upon the moment of the death of the body, how then can we be judged for the fruit of our Life's works, of which for some are not yet manifested or come to full fruition sometimes for many generations, i.e., the works of Origen. 
By praying for those who have reposed we are asking that the Lord of the Harvest would grant that their lives bear fruit, each according to its kind and that that fruit would be for some ten fold, fifty fold or hundred fold. 


I've put a few comments on these observations on the thread about prayers for the dead, whither (I suggest) any further discussion of the theme should be transferred.
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« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2008, 12:37:59 PM »

I SHALL BE IN ALBANIA AND NOT POSTING FOR A WHILE, but please keep your ideas flowing for after my return.

So far (if I understand aright) you have pointed me in these directions:

-   knowledge and apophasis, especially Maximos “On Knowledge”
-   justification, sanctification, theosis, glorification, with an article from “Christianity Today”
-   synergy: God and man in salvation
-   early Christian saints and martyrs
-   the two genealogies of Christ.

Many thanks, and I hope for your posts when I return.

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« Reply #40 on: November 17, 2008, 09:02:11 AM »

ICON QUESTION

I have an icon on my wall. (Tell it not in Gath!) It was bought in Chania, Crete, and is certificated as “hand-made in the old traditional manner of Byzantine art… painted with egg, tempera and gold on canvas and old wood”. It shows o deipnos o mystikos, the Last Supper, and hangs on the wall in the room where I pray and read scripture each morning.

I chose it because it reminds me of warm times of fellowship with other believers at the Lord’s Supper, and of our anticipated fellowship with Christ and each other at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. But I do not understand all of it, for one day I suddenly noticed that it does not show only our Lord and the Twelve around the table, but Jesus, 12 disciples, two little servers bringing food, and an extra bearded man standing at the door as if he is just entering.

Can anyone tell me who this 13th man is? I asked two Orthodox priests, and neither knew. One suggested Judas (which cannot be right, surely, as he was one of the twelve at table), the other suggested the landlord who owned the house where the room was. But I am not aware of any spiritual significance attaching to the landlord. A friend suggested Matthias; I wondered whether it might be the Apostle Paul. The last two guesses, of course, require that the man be symbolic – which I understand to be entirely consonant with iconography.

Can anyone solve the mystery?
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« Reply #41 on: November 17, 2008, 11:09:27 AM »

Can you post a photo, or a link to a similar icon?

I have some theories, but I'd like to see the icon.

Thanks!
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« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2008, 11:23:01 AM »

Not sure if this will work, but here goes...

There is some distortion (a keystone effect) because if I point the camera directly at the surface, the flash reflects too strongly.
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« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2008, 07:34:40 PM »

It's hard to tell from that angle. It's possible that it's either St. Paul:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirmiru/2391544837/

or St. Matthias:

http://www.stmatthias-dallas.org/objects/Home_Icon.jpg

The theology of the icon would allow for them to be depicted as such.
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« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2008, 10:06:55 PM »

I sent it to an iconographer friend of mine (former choir director).  She says:

1) It is NOT old Byzantine - there are many romantic elements in the icon.  Furthermore, the first link googling "crete iconography" brings up this, which confirms what she says:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretan_School
I have to say though, with what little I know of iconography, due to having an icon/music snob of a priest (and master composer) with a world-class iconographer Matushka, I didn't think the icon shown looked all that "old Byzantine" either....but I can't really describe why.  I don't know much about art and am not artistic (possibly somewhat in a musical sense, but that is it).

2) She says either Matthias or the master of the house, but she wasn't sure and to maybe just look up scripture.  Looking at Matthew and Mark, they both mention Christ sending out two disciples to prepare the passover, and finding a master of house with the passover prepared with a large upper room.  I think it was Mark that mentioned him holding a pitcher of water, but I can't tell if he is holding anything.  ISTM that it is the master of the house and his two kids in the foreground.
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« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2008, 12:01:32 AM »

What a beautiful, colourful icon! I've never seen anything quite like it before. The style is very different from what I'm used to, but I like it in that it is cheerful, somehow.
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« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2008, 12:48:57 AM »

The old man is Satan for he is also depicted in the Nativity icon as a hunched back man talking to Joseph.  Satan enters the room precisely when Satan enters Judas' heart and dips his bread with the Lord.

Paul would have no business being in an icon of the Last Supper.
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« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2008, 03:39:33 AM »

This image is modelled on the "original" painted by Michael Damaskinos, in the mid-to-late 16th century. He was a talented artist in the technical sense, but, as this painting shows, became very heavily influenced (as did many of his Cretan School contemporaries, such as Emmanuel Tzannes) by Italian Renaissance paintings.



This Last Supper of his is an example of this significant Venetian influence. The drapes of the garments of the figures are much more rounded and fluid than those of classical iconography, the figures themselves show a much higher degree of animation than in conventional iconography, the inverse or reverse perspective of iconography has been replaced with the linear, naturalistic perspective widespread in Renaissance art, and there is a very distinct three-dimensionality in the entire composition, both in the individual figures, and in the composition as a whole. Unlike in iconography, where every detail and figure has a purpose and meaning, we see here the figures in the foreground of the two cherub-like children, whose presence seems to be essentially decorative.

The figure in the right-hand side coming through the draped doorway cannot be Apostle Paul, as this saint is always depicted in icons as a balding, dark-haired man with a beard of short to moderate length. Apostle Matthias is indeed depicted in icons as a white or grey-haired bearded man, but it still seems somewhat incongruous for him to be shown in this surreptitious way in this painting. As for the suggestion that this figure represents Satan, again, this is unlikely. If the hunched figure approaching St Joseph the Betrothed in icons of the Nativity of the Lord are anything to go by, the figure in the Damaskinos work is quite different. It is most likely that this person indeed represents the master of the house in which the Mystical Supper was held. It is also unknown in iconography to show any of the apostles wearing a cap or other head covering, as this figure is.
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« Reply #48 on: November 18, 2008, 07:09:43 AM »

The figure in the right-hand side coming through the draped doorway cannot be Apostle Paul, as this saint is always depicted in icons as a balding, dark-haired man with a beard of short to moderate length. Apostle Matthias is indeed depicted in icons as a white or grey-haired bearded man, but it still seems somewhat incongruous for him to be shown in this surreptitious way in this painting. As for the suggestion that this figure represents Satan, again, this is unlikely. If the hunched figure approaching St Joseph the Betrothed in icons of the Nativity of the Lord are anything to go by, the figure in the Damaskinos work is quite different. It is most likely that this person indeed represents the master of the house in which the Mystical Supper was held. It is also unknown in iconography to show any of the apostles wearing a cap or other head covering, as this figure is.
Thank you for including this image of the icon. I couldn't see the figure well enough in the one David Young uploaded. Yes, this is clearly not St. Paul, and I've never seen St. Matthias depicted wearing a hat. Your thesis that it is the master of the house would fit historically and theologically.
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« Reply #49 on: November 18, 2008, 01:26:40 PM »

Excellent detective work! Thank you all.

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« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2008, 08:30:18 PM »

David,

I know I am late with this, but a topic that would be interesting is the idea of the Norman invasion being a Papal Crusade against Orthodox theology and practice that was still in evidence even after the "missionary" work of St. Augustine of Canterbury.


Shalom...
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« Reply #51 on: December 11, 2008, 11:34:40 AM »

a topic that would be interesting is the idea of the Norman invasion being a Papal Crusade against Orthodox theology and practice that was still in evidence even after the "missionary" work of St. Augustine of Canterbury.
My instinct is to respond very warmly to the work of Aidan, based on Lindisfarne, and a good deal less warmly to that of Augustine, based on Canterbury. Also, it is true the the papal banner fluttered over the field of battle in support of the invasion. But I doubt that it had a lot to do with theological differences (after all, it was only twelve years after 1054, and planning began a good while earlier). I suspect it was more to do with imperialist ambitions, and with papal disapproval of the current archbishop of Canterbury, Stigand, who for some reason I forget was out of favour in Rome.

It is not easy to discover much about the theology of the pre-Conquest church. The most prolific writer was Ælfric, first abbot at Eynsham, who died ca 1010. You can read about eighty of his sermons in the original or in translation. He was a sound Catholic of his time, and his sermons for the laity are full of life and of Christ. The late Lynne Grundy wrote a book on Ælfric's theology, but apart from that, there is very little. Books whose titles seem to offer the hope thereof turn out to be mainly about eschatology, for some reason. As well as Grundy, Paul Cavill's books are the best, written with warmth and love for his theme.

Simultaneously with this stream of sound preaching and teaching - by 11th century Catholic standards - there was a stream of weird, legendary preaching preserved in many anonymous sermons, mainly in the Vercelli Book and the Blickling Homilies, collections named after the places they were each found. Some quite lurid, impassioned preaching there - but probably not cause for a papally backed invasion of England!

Otherwise ad fontes! Read Ælfric, Wulfstan (archbishop of York, early 11th century) and Bede.
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« Reply #52 on: December 12, 2008, 11:15:56 AM »

David,

Do you have a sense of how long Greek was used in Britain and Ireland as the liturgical language?  It's a matter of discovering if Greek had strong native support, and Latin was brought over with William.

I plan on purchasing the book that your agency offers (as a self awarded Christmas gift) that offers readings by Aelfric in Albanian and English as a chance to build on my Albanian language skills.  What a cool idea for a book!  There are some very interesting ecclesiastical nuances within the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles I came across translating sections back in college.  Possibly that could be a source?  There is also a mention of a style of Latin used in the Breviloquium using words of Greek derivation (pretty sure that's tenth century).

Always thought it was ironic to find the Normans (including Bohemund) clambering up the Italian peninsula after the Normans received Papal support.  Also interesting that they invaded modern day Albania to face an allied force of Byzantines and Turks in lieu of that same combination returning decades later as the First Crusade with sides loosely switching alliances.

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« Reply #53 on: December 12, 2008, 03:49:10 PM »

Latin was not "brought over" with William. St. Bede the Venerable (672-735) wrote the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum in Latin just to give one example. He wrote other things in Latin and in Anglo-Saxon.  Gildas in the sixth century wrote The History of the Britains in Latin. The Book of Kells created around 800 AD by monks in Ireland is in Latin. The Lindesfarne Gospels (late 7th/early 8th century) from the isle of Lindesfarne in Northumbria (northern England) is in Latin. 

There are are Gospels and other books of the Bible as well as prayers in Anglo-Saxon and Christian poetry also in that language.

May I ask what source you have for the idea that Greek was much used or the liturgical language in the British Isles?

Also, the Normans were present in Italy from around 999 as mercenaries, quite some time before William of Normandy and King Edward the Confessor.  Robert Guiscard was Count of Apulia in Southern Italy in 1057.

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle is a primary source record of what was happening in parts of England for some centuries up to and beyond 1066.  The Conquest was about power and land and influence and politics, not religion.  There are some other threads on the forum that discuss some of this topic.  The bishops of the English are recorded as always going to the Bishop of Rome for their Pallium, just to give an information point.

Ebor (Anglo Saxon and Norse history geek)
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« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2008, 01:36:27 AM »

I must admit that I am confused.  You admit that you are a Baptist but you are giving talks on different confessions of Christianity but for what purpose.  Your theme of "learning from other Christians" is much different than "learning about other Christians" which I surmise is not what you want to do with such talks.  Let me ask this, then?  Do you find Baptist theology insufficient or lacking and thus you want these other confessional viewpoints so individual members can pick and choose what they want with regards to their praxis and belief?

Forgive me, I'm not trying to be difficult, but I am just curious as to what point this serves if not to give your fellow church members choices to supplement or even supplant Baptist teaching.

you do not understand the evangelical mindset - the non-fundamentalist and non-charismatic/pentecostal evangelical at least. There is a concensus of common belief in essentials: the dual nature of Christ, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture, the reality of miracles, the Virgin Birth, justification by faith, personal commitment to Christ; then there are secondary issues that separate these kind of evangelicals: views on baptism, ecclesiology, God's sovereignty/man's freedon and eschatology. Then there are a whole host of areas that they see where they can learn from other traditions and communions, the disciplines of the early and medieval church.

So there is no sense of deficiency in one's own tradition's theology - there is a lot of cross-fertilization and borrowing of theological constructs and praxis in the second and third tier areas that occur all the time within thoughtful evangelicalism
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« Reply #55 on: December 13, 2008, 01:48:15 AM »

back to the OP
I would suggest theosis as a topic
also the value of written prayers as a complement to extemporaneous prayer

another would be the Orthodox view of the relationship between the Church militant and the Church triumphant - as a matter of information you could show your congregation that this is the basis of Orthodox Christians relationship with the saints. We believe we enter into the heavenly worship of the saints already going on in heave during Divine Liturgy. God is the God of the living not the dead. The saints are alive. We honor their memory and sacrifice (veneration) and ask their prayers, perfected in heaven (prayers to saints), just as we ask people advanced in the spiritual life that we know to pray for is.

I think a better understanding here would be very helpful to protestant Christians and make their lives richer at the minimum. Some may even come to see the value of asking a saint to pray for a particular concern. At the very least, it may help them to see that we are not communicating with the dead or worshipping idols!
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« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2008, 08:33:11 AM »


Ebor (Anglo Saxon and Norse history geek)

I have a longstanding interest in the language, literature, theology and general life of the Anglo-Saxon church, and a pleasure I often enjoy is reading the West Saxons Gospels or from Ælfric's "Catholic Homilies" (the ones written for the laity) of an evening. But I have never found a satisfactory forum on the subject, similar to this one on Orthodoxy, where there can be discussion and sharing with likeminded serious 'geeks' (to use your word! Smiley). Can you point me in the right direction, please?

Ic þancie þe eaðmodlice,
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« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2008, 09:21:13 AM »

Latin was not "brought over" with William. St. Bede the Venerable (672-735) wrote the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum in Latin just to give one example. He wrote other things in Latin and in Anglo-Saxon.  Gildas in the sixth century wrote The History of the Britains in Latin. The Book of Kells created around 800 AD by monks in Ireland is in Latin. The Lindesfarne Gospels (late 7th/early 8th century) from the isle of Lindesfarne in Northumbria (northern England) is in Latin. 

There are are Gospels and other books of the Bible as well as prayers in Anglo-Saxon and Christian poetry also in that language.

May I ask what source you have for the idea that Greek was much used or the liturgical language in the British Isles?

Also, the Normans were present in Italy from around 999 as mercenaries, quite some time before William of Normandy and King Edward the Confessor.  Robert Guiscard was Count of Apulia in Southern Italy in 1057.

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle is a primary source record of what was happening in parts of England for some centuries up to and beyond 1066.  The Conquest was about power and land and influence and politics, not religion.  There are some other threads on the forum that discuss some of this topic.  The bishops of the English are recorded as always going to the Bishop of Rome for their Pallium, just to give an information point.

Ebor (Anglo Saxon and Norse history geek)

There might be some confusion here with Rome (and the Vatican's) suppression of the Celtic Church in England (Cantebury), then Scotland (Queen Margaret), then Ireland (Adrian's Crusade.  Ironic for the Irish Republicans that a pope of Rome made the English king Lord of Ireland).
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« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2008, 09:50:49 AM »


you do not understand the evangelical mindset ... There is a concensus of common belief in essentials: the dual nature of Christ, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture, the reality of miracles, the Virgin Birth, justification by faith, personal commitment to Christ; then there are secondary issues that separate these kind of evangelicals: views on baptism, ecclesiology, God's sovereignty/man's freedon and eschatology. Then there are a whole host of areas that they see where they can learn from other traditions and communions, the disciplines of the early and medieval church.

So there is no sense of deficiency in one's own tradition's theology - there is a lot of cross-fertilization and borrowing of theological constructs and praxis in the second and third tier areas that occur all the time within thoughtful evangelicalism

Thank you! This is exactly right. It explains, of course, why it is probably a good deal easier for me as a Baptist to come on to this forum to learn and benefit from you, than it is for Orthodox to come on hoping to learn from us. What the scriptures teach we must and do willingly and gladly accept ('sola scriptura' being the basic principle); other matters - the "second and third tiers" of the above excellent quote - are open for discussion, for debate, for the modification of one's views.

I cannot see which faith is listed as Brother Aidan's, but he obviously is or was a Protestant, or as an Orthodox has achieved a clearer understanding of us than many Orthodox have. I have yet to understand the Orthodox mindset as well as he ours!
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« Reply #59 on: December 13, 2008, 10:00:58 AM »


There might be some confusion here with Rome (and the Vatican's) suppression of the Celtic Church in England ...
Orthodox over here in Britain often claim that the pre-Conquest church was Orthodox, and that we ought therefore to be Orthodox again. I think some reasons are:
- before 664 AD the northern churches celebrated Easter on the Orthodox date
- the same northern churches, based on Lindisfarne, were not linked with Rome or Canterbury
- married priests remained common till after the Conquest of 1066
- we once had a Greek brought over as archbishop of Canterbury
- Ælfric, the most prolific writer of the late Saxon period, denies the emerging Roman teaching of transubstantiation.

In fact of course, this question of Greek, not really germane to the thread, has stumbled on a major stimulant of the Reformation. It was the 'rescue' of the forgotten Greek New Testament, brought west from Byzantium at the time of the Moslem invasions, that led to its publication in the west by Erasmus, and thence to Luther's and other vernacular translations of the New Testament from the Greek into various western European languages.

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« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2008, 10:18:48 AM »

Ebor,

I'm not suggesting that the Norman landing introduced Latin to Britain, but rather did it signal an end to the use of Greek in liturgical services by reinforcing the Roman Catholic vision?  As a Western Rite parish member, I've been trying to get a better understanding of what being a Christian in Anglo-Saxon England looked like in terms of worship. 

Had Greek played a major role in Church texts, or had Latin been the standard all along?  Also, when someone made the sign of the cross was it the Roman form, or had the Irish and English monks been using the Orthodox form?

Western Rite seems to be trying to establish some of the norms that were characteristic of the Old West, and my interest lies in the ecclesiastical realm rather than the political, warfare arena so pardon me if that was not clear.

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« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2008, 04:00:38 PM »


you do not understand the evangelical mindset ... There is a concensus of common belief in essentials: the dual nature of Christ, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture, the reality of miracles, the Virgin Birth, justification by faith, personal commitment to Christ; then there are secondary issues that separate these kind of evangelicals: views on baptism, ecclesiology, God's sovereignty/man's freedon and eschatology. Then there are a whole host of areas that they see where they can learn from other traditions and communions, the disciplines of the early and medieval church.

So there is no sense of deficiency in one's own tradition's theology - there is a lot of cross-fertilization and borrowing of theological constructs and praxis in the second and third tier areas that occur all the time within thoughtful evangelicalism

Thank you! This is exactly right. It explains, of course, why it is probably a good deal easier for me as a Baptist to come on to this forum to learn and benefit from you, than it is for Orthodox to come on hoping to learn from us. What the scriptures teach we must and do willingly and gladly accept ('sola scriptura' being the basic principle); other matters - the "second and third tiers" of the above excellent quote - are open for discussion, for debate, for the modification of one's views.

I cannot see which faith is listed as Brother Aidan's, but he obviously is or was a Protestant, or as an Orthodox has achieved a clearer understanding of us than many Orthodox have. I have yet to understand the Orthodox mindset as well as he ours!
IIRC, BrotherAidan is an Orthodox Christian who came to the Church from one of the Calvinist traditions--Presbyterian, I believe.
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« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2008, 06:44:31 PM »

I must admit that I am confused.  You admit that you are a Baptist but you are giving talks on different confessions of Christianity but for what purpose. 

you do not understand the evangelical mindset ...

I should like to come back to these quotes from Scamandrius and Brother Aidan, as they seem so essential, or crucial, or central to these discussions.

The idea of "the one true church" is totally alien to our whole way of thinking, our mindset, our world view. There is no place for it. We don't really grasp it. Oh, we could translate the phrase accurately into another language's words: in that sense we understand it. But it lies entirely outside the sphere of our actual thinking.

But (I think) you Orthodox grow up with it, or (if not cradle Orthodox) you come into an feel for and acceptance of it, and it is very much a part, nay an essential part, of your faith, your mindset, world-view, way of thinking.

So when you talk about being the only true church, to us it sounds weird: I don't mean that offensively; I merely mean, we react by feeling, "What an odd way to think!"

Whereas when Scamandrius and no doubt countless others see a Christian from one Protestant denomination naturally and unaffectedly accepting members of other denominations as fully brothers and sisters in Christ in every true sense of that phrase, disregarding our differences, worshipping together, working together in church-planting and other projects, praying, breaking bread together, and so on and so on... it raises the kind of question or even bafflement that Scamandrius has perceptively highlighted.

If a major purpose of this forum is not to convince but to understand each other, the two posts quoted above surely point significantly in the right direction.
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« Reply #63 on: December 14, 2008, 09:48:22 AM »

back to the OP
I would suggest ... the value of written prayers as a complement to extemporaneous prayer


Good advice. In fact, over the past year or two I have, in services where I am leading, introduced prayers from the Anglican "Book of Common Prayer" and from the Methodist hymn and service book (published 1933), which has some deep, strong prayers going back to John Wesley, and on which I was brought up. I have ear-marked one or two others also, notably from Anselm.

I haven't been 'bold' enough to ask the congregation to pray them aloud in unison, and after all I am not the pastor, but I have at least introduced them and used them. Maybe that will be a further step.

But I have two problems:

1) Where do I find ancient, beautiful, strong, theo- or christocentric prayers which I can use, either in my private devotions or in public services?
2) A lot (such as most of Anselm's, and many from the Liturgy  of John Chrysostom) contain phrases which would be inappropriate in a Baptist context - phrases like "through the intercessions of... [name of a saint, perhaps Mary]."

Books which are anthologies of prayers seem to contain a lot of modern material, or materials from the ages, even from Moslem sources, which do not provide what I find in the time-honoured prayers of Methodism and Anglicanism.

Guide me, if you can, please.
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« Reply #64 on: December 14, 2008, 09:53:41 AM »

Ebor,

I'm not suggesting that the Norman landing introduced Latin to Britain, but rather did it signal an end to the use of Greek in liturgical services by reinforcing the Roman Catholic vision? 

Your previous post read as though that was what you meant, I think. Well, to ask again, what sources do you have that indicate that Greek was used much in Anglo Saxon England, please?  Where does your idea that it was come from?

Quote
As a Western Rite parish member, I've been trying to get a better understanding of what being a Christian in Anglo-Saxon England looked like in terms of worship. 

May I ask why you want to do this, please?  Is there an idea to do as they did?  There is Bede and the letters that St. Augustine of Canterbury wrote to Pope Gregory that might be of interest.

Quote
Had Greek played a major role in Church texts, or had Latin been the standard all along?  Also, when someone made the sign of the cross was it the Roman form, or had the Irish and English monks been using the Orthodox form?

I apologize if I am not understanding you here, but it seems that you think that there was a strong division between Greek and Latin, between "Orthodox" and "Roman" practices and usages in Anglo Saxon Times.  As has come up in other threads, there seems to be some application of the names "Orthodox" and "Roman/ Roman Catholic" in the modern senses that did not apply in times before there was a clear split.  There were Christians and Christian churches with various practices and rites.  One might have asked if the persons of the British Isles used the "eastern" form in Signing, but to call it "Orthodox" in the 5th to 11 centuries is, I suggest, to give a meaning to it that did not exist then as it does now.    For more context there was Christianity in Britain from Roman times with St. Alban as the 'proto-martyr' in the third century.  St. Patrick came from Romano-British stock and was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland in the 400s. There were Christians there prior to the sending of St. Augustine of Canterbury as King Aethelbert had married a Christian Frankish princess, Bertha. It's just that there were as many and Christianity had grown in Ireland and sent missionaries to the northern parts (Columba and the island of Iona and then beyond).  



Quote
Western Rite seems to be trying to establish some of the norms that were characteristic of the Old West, and my interest lies in the ecclesiastical realm rather than the political, warfare arena so pardon me if that was not clear.

But the assertion that William of Normandy's invasion was based on religion or ecclesial matters is not accurate.  There is a long history and convoluted threads of relations and control and struggles for power.

Ebor
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« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2008, 10:15:31 AM »


Ebor (Anglo Saxon and Norse history geek)

I have a longstanding interest in the language, literature, theology and general life of the Anglo-Saxon church, and a pleasure I often enjoy is reading the West Saxons Gospels or from Ælfric's "Catholic Homilies" (the ones written for the laity) of an evening. But I have never found a satisfactory forum on the subject, similar to this one on Orthodoxy, where there can be discussion and sharing with likeminded serious 'geeks' (to use your word! Smiley). Can you point me in the right direction, please?

Ic þancie þe eaðmodlice,
David Young

There is the "Englisc Forum" at
http://www.rochester.edu/englisc/
 Anglo Saxon is, shall we say, a smaller field for geeking then EO.  Smiley   I was fortunate to have a roommate many years ago who was working on a Ph.D in English specializing in Anglo Saxon and Old Norse.  So the apartment had sagas and poems and histories and more in both the original and modern translations and I read them and they fit in with my interest of history. 

You might find this entertaining: The New Anglo Saxon Chronicle which has been noting the news in AS for the last 11 years or so.  Here is some bits from this year:

From August:
Anno MMVIII Weodmonað
- Her in Beijing ceastre in Cinalande ongunnon þa .xxix.oþe Olympisce plegan.

Anno MMVIII Blotmonað
- iv d: Her wæs heahfolccyre for þæm foresittendscipe in þæm USAn ond Barack Obama feng to rice.

and one other, a site with Anglo Saxon words for computers:
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~ctb/wordhord.html

with such wonderful words as
asynchronous communication -unstundgymendmæðelcwide (m)
cathode-ray tube -niðerstigendescimapipe (f)

and a "bug" is a "wyrm" or "budda"  Cheesy

Ebor
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« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2008, 10:24:07 AM »

There might be some confusion here with Rome (and the Vatican's) suppression of the Celtic Church in England (Cantebury)

Are you referring to the matters that brought about the Synod of Whitby in 664 which was called by Abbess Hilda?  There are records of it and it wasn't a matter of one Church suppressing another but more like the settling of questions of practice as happened at Nicea.  For example, at both gatherings there was the problem of more then one calendar/method of setting the date of Easter.  Also, are you saying that all England was a "Celtic" Church and that it was centered on Canterbury?  I apologize if I do not understand what you mean.  There was more "Celtic" in the northern parts of Britain, while the southern areas were re-missionized by those sent from Pope Gregory the Great. ( Augustine and a group of monks from Rome in 597).

Ebor
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« Reply #67 on: December 14, 2008, 10:35:08 AM »

back to the OP
I would suggest ... the value of written prayers as a complement to extemporaneous prayer


Good advice. In fact, over the past year or two I have, in services where I am leading, introduced prayers from the Anglican "Book of Common Prayer" and from the Methodist hymn and service book (published 1933), which has some deep, strong prayers going back to John Wesley, and on which I was brought up. I have ear-marked one or two others also, notably from Anselm.

I haven't been 'bold' enough to ask the congregation to pray them aloud in unison, and after all I am not the pastor, but I have at least introduced them and used them. Maybe that will be a further step.

But I have two problems:

1) Where do I find ancient, beautiful, strong, theo- or christocentric prayers which I can use, either in my private devotions or in public services?
2) A lot (such as most of Anselm's, and many from the Liturgy  of John Chrysostom) contain phrases which would be inappropriate in a Baptist context - phrases like "through the intercessions of... [name of a saint, perhaps Mary]."

Books which are anthologies of prayers seem to contain a lot of modern material, or materials from the ages, even from Moslem sources, which do not provide what I find in the time-honoured prayers of Methodism and Anglicanism.

Guide me, if you can, please.

The Morning Prayer of St. Patrick, called the Breastplate/Lorica of Saint Patrick. It is based, supposedly, of the form of the Druidic incantation for protection.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

 
I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)
 
Also there Akathists/Parakleisis to Our Lord.  I think the Jordanville prayerbook has one.
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« Reply #68 on: December 14, 2008, 11:13:17 AM »

Ebor,

I'm not suggesting that the Norman landing introduced Latin to Britain, but rather did it signal an end to the use of Greek in liturgical services by reinforcing the Roman Catholic vision? 

Your previous post read as though that was what you meant, I think. Well, to ask again, what sources do you have that indicate that Greek was used much in Anglo Saxon England, please?  Where does your idea that it was come from?

I've seen things in Greek Churches claiming that St. Patrick was really Greek, from Asia Minor.  Such could be the source of the misinformation.

The Celtic Church did have contact with the East, but it was mostly (if not all) Coptic.

Quote
As a Western Rite parish member, I've been trying to get a better understanding of what being a Christian in Anglo-Saxon England looked like in terms of worship. 

Quote
May I ask why you want to do this, please?  Is there an idea to do as they did?  There is Bede and the letters that St. Augustine of Canterbury wrote to Pope Gregory that might be of interest.

In Anglo-Saxon England it would look what St. Augustine said it would look like, at least since the Synod of Whitby (660).  The Anglo-Saxons since there arrival to within a century of the Synod were largely pagan.  The Anglo-Saxons were not Celt, hence the name Welsh (a germanic term for foreigner from England, ie. Angles' land, to Valakh in Greece).   I know that the Anglican church looks for roots of independence from Rome in the Celtic Church, but the Anglo-Saxons cut that off at the root.

Quote
Had Greek played a major role in Church texts, or had Latin been the standard all along?  Also, when someone made the sign of the cross was it the Roman form, or had the Irish and English monks been using the Orthodox form?

Quote
I apologize if I am not understanding you here, but it seems that you think that there was a strong division between Greek and Latin, between "Orthodox" and "Roman" practices and usages in Anglo Saxon Times.  As has come up in other threads, there seems to be some application of the names "Orthodox" and "Roman/ Roman Catholic" in the modern senses that did not apply in times before there was a clear split.  There were Christians and Christian churches with various practices and rites.  One might have asked if the persons of the British Isles used the "eastern" form in Signing, but to call it "Orthodox" in the 5th to 11 centuries is, I suggest, to give a meaning to it that did not exist then as it does now.    For more context there was Christianity in Britain from Roman times with St. Alban as the 'proto-martyr' in the third century.  St. Patrick came from Romano-British stock and was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland in the 400s. There were Christians there prior to the sending of St. Augustine of Canterbury as King Aethelbert had married a Christian Frankish princess, Bertha. It's just that there were as many and Christianity had grown in Ireland and sent missionaries to the northern parts (Columba and the island of Iona and then beyond). 
 

Actually, we know on no less an authority than Pope (not so) Innocent III (the one who profited from the sack of Constantinople) that in Rome it was done "Orthodox" at late as the 13th cent.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13785a.htm
which also shows that it was so done in York.

The problem for the Anglicans is that their rite, Sarum or Roman, was established on crushing the bones of the Celtic rites, as the Anglo-Saxons crushed the Celts (hence the reference to the Anglo-Saxon foe in the Irish anthem).



Quote
Western Rite seems to be trying to establish some of the norms that were characteristic of the Old West, and my interest lies in the ecclesiastical realm rather than the political, warfare arena so pardon me if that was not clear.

Quote
But the assertion that William of Normandy's invasion was based on religion or ecclesial matters is not accurate.  There is a long history and convoluted threads of relations and control and struggles for power.

Ebor


William's invasion was not based on religion, but his church policy was based on submission to Rome and her "eldest daugher" France.  History being what is, as you stated, many of the Anglo-Saxons fled to Constantinople and joined the emperor in the fight against the Normans in Sicily (remember, 1054 happened because of Norman oppression of the Orthodox in Southern Italy).  The English (and Danes) were the only ones who successful withstood the Crusaders at Constantinople in 1204.
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« Reply #69 on: December 14, 2008, 02:41:13 PM »

Nice to see you here David,

Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church (117th successor to the Throne of St. Mark) has some excellent books available online on quite a number of topics such as:

The Spirituality of Fasting (http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/fasting/index.html) - something sorely missing in the West.

The Divinity of Christ (http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/Divofchr/index.html) - perfect for refuting JWs and other heretics.

Tears in the Spiritual Life (http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/tears/index.html) - having read this one however it comes with the recommendations of many others.

The Holy Virgin Saint Mary (http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/the_holy_virgin_st_mary/index.html) - provides an historical view of the lady who travelled around Egypt with Christ her Son.

Many more are available here: http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/pope/index.html however sadly The Love of God is not amongst them. It's a wonderful book if you are able to obtain it. If you contact the British Orthodox Church they should be able to provide you with a copy.

do Baptists (in your experience) not pray for the dead?  If not, may I ask why? 

No. For two reasons:

1. The usual 'sola scriptura' principle: it isn't found in the scriptures (except, of course, the deuterocanonical books, which we do not treat as authoritative).

2. On the basis that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement: the dead are either with Christ (in which case they do not need our prayers), or are in hell awaiting the final judgement (in which case our prayers cannot avail them).

I post this only (and willingly) to reply to your question, not to make it in any way a 'bone of contention' between us.

St. Paul prayed for the soul of a departed Christian in 2nd Timothy 1:16-8:

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain... The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day....

St. Paul speaks of the house of Onesiphorus but of him personally in the past tense even though in verses 15, 11 and 8 he speaks of people on earth in the present tense. In verse 5 he speaks of Timothy's grandmother in the past tense. Now why might that be?
Again, St. Paul asks for the Lord's mercy towards Onesiphorus "in that day" (ie. Judgment Day).
Obviously Onesiphorus is dead and St. Paul is praying for his soul just as Christians have always done as evidenced from the Church Fathers as well as the Books of the Maccabees which clearly show the Jews of old prayed for the dead.

ICON QUESTION
I have an icon on my wall....

But I do not understand all of it, for one day I suddenly noticed that it does not show only our Lord and the Twelve around the table, but Jesus, 12 disciples, two little servers bringing food, and an extra bearded man standing at the door as if he is just entering.

Can anyone tell me who this 13th man is? I asked two Orthodox priests, and neither knew. One suggested Judas (which cannot be right, surely, as he was one of the twelve at table), the other suggested the landlord who owned the house where the room was. But I am not aware of any spiritual significance attaching to the landlord. A friend suggested Matthias; I wondered whether it might be the Apostle Paul. The last two guesses, of course, require that the man be symbolic – which I understand to be entirely consonant with iconography.

Can anyone solve the mystery?

Thank you for showing us the icon. May I hypothesise that, as the Last Supper was held in the upper room of St. Mark's house, it could well be St. Mark's father? He was the man who carried the pitcher and St. Mark also makes mention of himself in 14:51 as a young man. The man in the icon you showed us is clearly not young so it makes sense that it would be his father.
(By the way, the Coptic Church knows these things because St. Mark founded our Church upon the Rock of Christ in 42 AD. Our sisters in the Syrian Orthodox Church still pray in the same room where the Last Supper was held.)

Hope that helped mate.

~~~

Just so you're aware, I'm a former Seventh Day Baptist who has also attended and is familiar with many first day Baptists.
Whilst I realise being in Wales you may not be able to answer this I thought I might ask nonetheless. I very much like the Baptist hymn I Cannot Tell (http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/c/icnotwhy.htm). Whilst it is difficult to interpret the last verse in an Orthodox manner (although it can be done despite how it was intended), I still very much love this hymn. But for some reason the latest edition of the hymnals Baptist use has changed the fifth line "But this I know, that He was born of Mary" to exclude any reference to St. Mary.
Why has this been done? Isn't not like the line in any way goes against Baptist teachings. Indeed, it was penned by a Baptist in the first place! The only reason that has been provided me is that Baptists hate and reject St. Mary entirely. If this is not the case, then please tell me why this line would be replaced?

+Pray for the unity of all in the unchanged Truth which was once delivered to the saints.
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« Reply #70 on: December 14, 2008, 05:16:15 PM »

I cannot see which faith is listed as Brother Aidan's, but he obviously is or was a Protestant, or as an Orthodox has achieved a clearer understanding of us than many Orthodox have. I have yet to understand the Orthodox mindset as well as he ours!
[/quote]

I am Orthodox, OCA.

I went to look at my profile and to ammend it. In both cases I did not see the place to state my Orthodox religion and my jurisdiction.

I was challenged not too long back in a different regarding not having these things posted in my profile. But one can only reply to what is asked for and I don't see the place to state these.

Perhaps the moderator could either PM me and tell me how to list these two pieces of information or insert them into my profile for me.

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« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2008, 05:19:33 PM »

DY correctly guesses that I was a protestant. I was a brodad church evangelical in a mainline presbyterian denomination with strong Reformed leanings.
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« Reply #72 on: December 14, 2008, 05:29:36 PM »

back to the OP
I would suggest ... the value of written prayers as a complement to extemporaneous prayer


But I have two problems:

1) Where do I find ancient, beautiful, strong, theo- or christocentric prayers which I can use, either in my private devotions or in public services?
2) A lot (such as most of Anselm's, and many from the Liturgy  of John Chrysostom) contain phrases which would be inappropriate in a Baptist context - phrases like "through the intercessions of... [name of a saint, perhaps Mary]."

Guide me, if you can, please.


Get a copy of an Orthodox Prayer Book. There are numerous prayers that can be said by a protestant as written because they do not call upon the saints or Mary for intercession. Many other prayers you can pray and as a matter of conscience (if you haven't arrived at the appropriate place in your journey) you can not-repeat the phrases that invoke the saint or the Theotokos.

I gave copies of Orthodox Daily Prayer, edited by Anthony Coniaris (Light and Life Publishers) to two protestant pastors and to my sister and all have enjoyed some of the prayers in that volume.

You could also edit out any potentially offending portions of the prayers for public use among those in your congregation so no one has a conniption!
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« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2008, 05:33:20 PM »

the latest edition of the hymnals Baptist use has changed the fifth line "But this I know, that He was born of Mary" to exclude any reference to St. Mary.
Why has this been done? Isn't not like the line in any way goes against Baptist teachings. Indeed, it was penned by a Baptist in the first place! The only reason that has been provided me is that Baptists hate and reject St. Mary entirely. If this is not the case, then please tell me why this line would be replaced?

+Pray for the unity of all in the unchanged Truth which was once delivered to the saints.

I'll be brief, as I typed a long, detailed reply and before I could press 'post' I got a daft message saying the webpage had expired.  Sad

Every hymnbook I have (Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist, Calvinist) has the words you quote "But this I know, that He was born of Mary." So I guess that the version you knew in the past was in fact the one which had altered the words by inserting the word "saint".

Baptists all believe unanimously in the virgin birth of Christ and respect his mother as one of God's choicest, saintliest and most obedient servants. There is no animosity towards her. All generations call her blessed - even Baptists today! Anyone who does not respect her needs to seek forgiveness and a change of heart.

But there is a cult of Mary which we see in some places which creates a strong impression that it is she and not her Son who is being worshipped, and you have probably sensed a reaction - maybe even an over-reaction - to that.

Also, we never use the word 'saint' in any religious context to mean any other than a Christian, which we believe is the scriptural use. This also makes it seem likely to me that the word was inserted by a later hand, not by W Y Fullerton the Baptist evangelist and pastor.

A hearty Amen! to your words +Pray for the unity of all in the unchanged Truth which was once delivered to the saints.
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« Reply #74 on: December 16, 2008, 11:58:02 AM »


Tears in the Spiritual Life (http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/tears/index.html) - ...with the recommendations of many others.
Thank you. I have transferred it to a Word document to make for more comfortable reading.
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« Reply #75 on: December 16, 2008, 12:14:41 PM »

But there is a cult of Mary which we see in some places which creates a strong impression that it is she and not her Son who is being worshipped, and you have probably sensed a reaction - maybe even an over-reaction - to that.

If it is an over-reaction on our part it is because time and again, we have reminded you (and your fellow Baptists) that our honour of Mary (which is never worship; just because you can't tell the difference doesn't mean we cannot) is inextricably linked to Christ.  The same is with all of the saints.  In front of our iconstases, which depict the saints, it is traditional to light candles which symbolize that the light of Christ "which is never overtaken by night" is burning in them.  St. John Chrysostom says that the greatest gift God gave to mankind was the incarnation of His only-begotten Son.  And how did such an event occur without Mary in the picture?  We cannot separate the two. Mary is most often depicted holding her son and pointing towards Him that he is the way.  Mary worships Christ as do we.  She is not pointing at herself saying, "I am the Way."

Also, we never use the word 'saint' in any religious context to mean any other than a Christian, which we believe is the scriptural use. This also makes it seem likely to me that the word was inserted by a later hand, not by W Y Fullerton the Baptist evangelist and pastor.

There is no Scriptural prohibition against referring to those men and women who have fought the good fight and have been taken up into the glory of the counteance of God.  It's a both...and thing, not either...or.  We are holistic.
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« Reply #76 on: December 16, 2008, 06:38:23 PM »

David,

I would suggest the hymns from the services of the Office like: "O Joyful Light" and "Glory to God in the Highest", the Scriptural Canticles, and the Resurrectional Stichera, Aposticha, and Troparia from Sunday Vespers and Orthros, these are all Christological and cetainly the most ancient hymns the Byzantine Churches possess.

Here are someof the the sixth set (there are eight) of Resurrectional Hymns:

Stichera for the Lamp-lighting Psalms:

Bring my soul out of prison that I may give thanks to your name.

Triumphant over Hades, O Christ, you ascended upon the cross to raise up with yourself those dwelling in the darkness of death. Free from among the dead, you pour forth life from your own light. Almighty Savior, have mercy on us.

The righteous will surround me; for you will deal bountifully with me.

Today, Christ, having trampled upon death, according to his word, rose up bestowing joy upon the world, so that all of us shouting this hymn might say: O Fount of life, light that no person may approach, O almighty Savior, have mercy on us.

Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord. Lord, hear my voice.

Where shall we sinners fly from you, O Lord, who are everywhere in creation? Into heaven? Your abode is there. Into hell? You have trampled upon death. Into the uttermost parts of the sea? Your hand reaches there, O Master. We run to you and falling before you we pray: You, who rose from the dead, have mercy on us.

Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

We exult in your cross, O Christ, and we praise and glorify your resurrection. You are indeed our God; we know no other Lord but you.

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you.

Ever blessing the Lord, we praise his resurrection. For by enduring the cross, he destroyed death by death.

For your name’s sake I have waited for you, O Lord; my soul waits for your word. My soul has trusted in the Lord.

Glory be to your might, O Lord, for you have destroyed the power of death, and you have renewed us through your cross, bestowing on us life and incorruption.

From the morning watch 'til night from the morning watch let Israel trust in the Lord.

Your burial, O Christ, burst asunder the bonds of Hades; your resurrection from the dead gave light to the world. To you, O Lord, be glory.

Resurrectional Aposticha

Angels in heaven sing the praises of your resurrection, Christ our Savior. Grant that we too on earth may with pure hearts glorify you.

The Lord reigns; he has clothed himself with honor; the Lord has clothed and girded himself with strength.

After smashing the gates of brass and breaking the bolts and bars of Hades, you, almighty God, raised up fallen mankind. Therefore, with one accord, we cry: O Lord, risen from the dead, Glory to you.

For he has established the world, and it shall not be moved.

Wishing to lift us out of the ancient corruption, Christ was nailed upon the cross and laid in the tomb. In tears the women bearing myrrh searched for him and said lamenting: Woe to us! O Savior of all, how did you consent to stay in a tomb? And as you stayed there willingly, how were you stolen? How were you moved? What place now hides your life‑giving body? O Master, appear to us as you have promised, and dry up the fountain of our tears. Thereupon as they wept, an angel came to them and cried: Cease your weeping and tell the apostles that the Lord is risen, granting the world forgiveness and great mercy.

Holiness becomes your house, O Lord, for length of days.

Crucified according to your will and despoiling death by your entombment, O Christ, you rose in glory on the third day as God, granting the world life everlasting and great mercy.

Resurrectional Troparion

The angelic powers appeared at your tomb, and those guarding it became as dead. Mary stood at your grave seeking your pure body. You stripped the power of Hades, yet remained untouched by its corruption. You met the Virgin and bestowed life. O Lord, who rose from the dead, glory to you.

Stichera at the Praise Psalms

To execute upon them a written judgment: this honor have all his saints.

Your cross, O Lord, is the life and resur­rection for your people; and assured of this, we sing to you our risen God: Have mercy upon us.

Praise him in his saints. Praise him in the firmament of his power.
Your burial, O Master, opened paradise to the human race, and we, delivered from cor­ruption, sing to you our risen God: Have mercy upon us.

Praise him for his might acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Let us praise Christ with the Father and the Spirit. Let us cry aloud to him from the dead: You are our life and resurrection. Have mercy upon us.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet; praise him with psaltery and harp.

On the third day, O Christ, you rose from the tomb as it was written, having raised our forefather with you. Therefore all people glorify you and praise your resurrection.

Praise him with the timbrel and dance; praise him with the stringed instruments and organ.

O Lord, great and awesome is the mystery of your resurrection. For you have come forth from the tomb as a bridegroom from his cham­ber, destroying death by death that Adam might be set free. Therefore, the angels in heaven rejoice and people on earth glorify the compassion that you have shown towards us, O loving God.

Praise him upon well‑tuned cymbals; praise him upon loud cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

O wicked Jews, where are the seals and the pieces of silver that you gave to the guards? The treasure was not stolen, but rose up according to his power. You were put to shame by deny­ing Christ, the Lord of glory, who suffered and was buried and rose from the dead. Him let us worship.

Arise, O Lord my God, lift up your hand; forget not your poor forever.

How were you robbed, O Jews, when the tomb was sealed and you had placed the guards and seals on it? Though the doors were closed, the king came out. Now either show him as dead or worship him with us as God and say: Glory to your cross and resurrection.

I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will speak of all your marvelous works.

The myrrh‑bearing women came in tears to your life‑bearing tomb, O Lord, and carried with them spices with which to anoint your all pure body. But they found an angel seated on the stone who called out to them and said; Why do you weep for him from whose side flows life to the world? Why do you seek him who is immortal as dead in the tomb? Go rather and announce to his disciples the good tidings of his resurrection, the joy of all the world. Hav­ing also enlightened us by it, O Savior, grant us forgiveness and great mercy.

The other set can be found at:
http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/vespers
http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/sundayorthros

Fr. Deacon Lance (Byzantine Catholic deacon with Presbyterian wife)
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« Reply #77 on: December 16, 2008, 06:49:47 PM »

we have reminded you (and your fellow Baptists) that our honour of Mary ... is never worship; just because you can't tell the difference doesn't mean we cannot
There is no Scriptural prohibition against referring to those men and women who have fought the good fight and have been taken up into the glory of the countenance of God.  It's a both...and thing, not either...or.  We are holistic.
The problem is probably partly because we never come across Orthodox people, either individuals or churches, so we (I don't mean "I", but British Christians generally) assume that you are really basically Roman Catholic without the Pope. Then we see RC churches adorned with statues and huge pictures of Mary, hear Catholics saying their "Hail, Mary!", read (whether it's true or not I don't know) that even such a conspicuous Catholic as Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (a.k.a. Mother Teresa) want Mary to be upgraded to co-redemptrix with Christ, see huge processions in honour not of Christ but of Mary in Spain and other Mediterranean lands... and so on. The impression is that it is she who is really worshipped, and that she eclipses her Son. This is then assumed to be true also of Orthodox ("Catholic without the Pope").

I'm not saying any of this is right, or just, or accurate - only explaining why it happens. Whether the impression is true (of RCs) is a different debate, not relevant here. Because of my frequent visits to Albania and Greece, and of the reading I have done, I am aware that you are not Catholics without the Pope. Most western Christians are not.

Similarly, I was only trying to answer the poster's question about why the word "saint" (as a title) seemed to have been dropped from a hymn. Several biblical words have been turned into titles by one church or another - Father, Reverend, Pastor to give just three examples - and you have pointed out that "saint" falls into the same category. But if someone asks why the word "saint" seems to have been dropped from a hymn, my attempt at explaining it (assuming it had been there originally) was that it is not our custom to use that particular word as a title. I didn't say you are wrong to do so: I merely offered a tentative explanation for the two versions of the same well-loved hymn.
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« Reply #78 on: December 16, 2008, 07:24:48 PM »

The problem is probably partly because we never come across Orthodox people, either individuals or churches, so we (I don't mean "I", but British Christians generally) assume that you are really basically Roman Catholic without the Pope. Then we see RC churches adorned with statues and huge pictures of Mary, hear Catholics saying their "Hail, Mary!", read (whether it's true or not I don't know) that even such a conspicuous Catholic as Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (a.k.a. Mother Teresa) want Mary to be upgraded to co-redemptrix with Christ, see huge processions in honour not of Christ but of Mary in Spain and other Mediterranean lands... and so on. The impression is that it is she who is really worshipped, and that she eclipses her Son. This is then assumed to be true also of Orthodox ("Catholic without the Pope").

1.  Those who want to elevate her to "co-redemptrix" are in error.  Not something I can control.

2.  You are taking these services, processions, etc. out of context....and Protestants need to realize this.
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« Reply #79 on: December 16, 2008, 10:06:47 PM »

[Then we see RC churches adorned with statues and huge pictures of Mary, hear Catholics saying their "Hail, Mary!", read (whether it's true or not I don't know) that even such a conspicuous Catholic as Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (a.k.a. Mother Teresa) want Mary to be upgraded to co-redemptrix with Christ, see huge processions in honour not of Christ but of Mary in Spain and other Mediterranean lands... and so on. The impression is that it is she who is really worshipped, and that she eclipses her Son. This is then assumed to be true also of Orthodox ("Catholic without the Pope").

The honour paid towards Mary is ultimately paid to her Son, the Christ.  She is not being elevated to co-redemptrix.  This is the Orthodox way.  Those Catholics who wish to see such a title bestowed upon Mary are in error, but I guarantee that if you ask an everday Roman Catholic person if the worship money, I'd bet good money he'd say "No" emphatically.
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« Reply #80 on: December 17, 2008, 07:15:02 AM »


2.  You are taking these services, processions, etc. out of context....

I dare say. But what is the context? People on holiday (or business) in Spain or wherever don't see the context, they see the processions, statues etc. When I get off the bus at 'Mary Roundabout' in Fier, I don't see the context, I see the new RC church with a huge statue of Mary on the roof over the main entrance.

Of course I am aware that sincere Catholics worship Christ - else I wouldn't read Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx, Walter Hinton or any others. I am explaining why the ordinary bloke on holiday in the Mediterranean gains a strong impression that RCs worship Mary first, and perhaps Jesus behind her - that she eclipses him in their real, daily spirituality and religious devotion. The impression may be right, it may be wrong, but it is certainly given.

But we have wandered off the thread. I dare say that neither you nor I are drawn to Catholicism. Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy are far more appealing.
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« Reply #81 on: December 17, 2008, 08:46:51 AM »


2.  You are taking these services, processions, etc. out of context....

I dare say. But what is the context? People on holiday (or business) in Spain or wherever don't see the context, they see the processions, statues etc. When I get off the bus at 'Mary Roundabout' in Fier, I don't see the context, I see the new RC church with a huge statue of Mary on the roof over the main entrance.

Of course I am aware that sincere Catholics worship Christ - else I wouldn't read Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx, Walter Hinton or any others. I am explaining why the ordinary bloke on holiday in the Mediterranean gains a strong impression that RCs worship Mary first, and perhaps Jesus behind her - that she eclipses him in their real, daily spirituality and religious devotion. The impression may be right, it may be wrong, but it is certainly given.

But we have wandered off the thread. I dare say that neither you nor I are drawn to Catholicism. Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy are far more appealing.

You do realise that you have these first impressions because your tradition is minimalistic.
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« Reply #82 on: December 17, 2008, 12:01:12 PM »


You do realise that you have these first impressions because your tradition is minimalistic.

I think you are partly right. The externals of our religious life are a good deal more simple - bare, if you like - than in most Catholicism (or Orthodoxy), from buildings through vestments, ceremony etc. But I suspect there really is what we might call 'folk Catholicism' where there  is superstition or ritualism, where the call to a changed and holy life-style is not deeply recognised, and where Christ really is eclipsed.

As an earlier posting replied to me, it's not a matter of either/or, but of both/and. The deeply devotional Catholicism of writers I have read and referred to in this forum and of many secular and religious Catholics, where Christ is adored and loved as the Son of God and only Redeemer, is contrasted with the external folk Catholicism observed by visitors to various Latin countries.

I was alone one Christmas and spent it at a Catholic monastery, where I enjoyed the conversation and felt the services were deeply reverential. It was a blessing. That doesn't cancel out my sense that there is another Catholicism abroad in the world too.

Would you not think it true that any form of Christianity, and perhaps of other religions, attracts both sincere, thoughtful followers of the true ideals, and others who are hooked on, and get no further than, the showy externals of striking ceremonies?
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« Reply #83 on: December 17, 2008, 12:25:12 PM »

your tradition is minimalistic.
“At Easter, we would go into the hills and celebrate, but we had to be careful. There were police in civilian clothes watching for people like us. With our family and close friends, perhaps a group of 20 people, we would go to the ruins of a church and then light candles. My mother always made a prosphora (a small, circular loaf of bread marked with the cross). We also brought a little wine. We said simple prayers. It was a form of holy communion at that time when a real liturgy was a rare and very dangerous event.” (Fr Jani Trebicka in “The Resurrection of the Church in Albania”)

Apart from minor details (the candles, the cross on the bread) it sounds almost exactly like many Baptist and other Evangelical Communion services here in Britain or indeed in Albania today. Precious times - as those were for the Orthodox of Albania described by Fr Trebicka. Minimalism can be as much a context of the divine presence and blessing as splendour.
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« Reply #84 on: December 17, 2008, 02:17:57 PM »

Ebor,

I am actually looking/asking for sources in my posts.  My understanding is that the Celtic church was much closer to the Coptic church in its persona, and that local sources were used both both in Greek and Roman.  There seemed to be more a greater sense of  contextualization, much like one finds in the English church until Augustine was sent as a "missionary" to a Christian land.  It appears to me that his mission was to Romanize the faith.  The Normans brought motte and bailey, and another level of formalizing the legalistic flavor of Roman Christianity to Britain.  This is apparent since the church and state relationship became closer to what was already existing on the continent and held a WalMart style monopoly on society (the only game in town).  This already existed on a cultural level as well, as is evident in the mock title of "Gothic" to northern church architecture.

Why I am looking at pre-Schism Britain as a member of a Western Rite parish is because it interests me.  There are two liturgies available, with one being very much in-line with Book Of Common Prayer Rite One.  As someone that is interested in history, it's a matter of trying to peal away the effects of Rome and the Conquest and seeing what the faith community was like prior to the arrival of corporate style rule.  I believe that the Roman system of catholicity was finally and fully instilled in the British church based on the Norman invasion. Before then, the ecclesiastical landscape represented a more  open expression of faith, much like the Orthodox church works to keep alive.

Also, I'm not sure if you are familiar with Western Rite, but when the Orthodox Church developed this liturgical form, it was exactly the same sort of research involved to bring to light the worship style of pre-schismatic England.
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« Reply #85 on: December 17, 2008, 03:00:23 PM »

your tradition is minimalistic.
“At Easter, we would go into the hills and celebrate, but we had to be careful. There were police in civilian clothes watching for people like us. With our family and close friends, perhaps a group of 20 people, we would go to the ruins of a church and then light candles. My mother always made a prosphora (a small, circular loaf of bread marked with the cross). We also brought a little wine. We said simple prayers. It was a form of holy communion at that time when a real liturgy was a rare and very dangerous event.” (Fr Jani Trebicka in “The Resurrection of the Church in Albania”)

Apart from minor details (the candles, the cross on the bread) it sounds almost exactly like many Baptist and other Evangelical Communion services here in Britain or indeed in Albania today. Precious times - as those were for the Orthodox of Albania described by Fr Trebicka. Minimalism can be as much a context of the divine presence and blessing as splendour.


I have no doubt that the divine presence can be perceived even by such minimals of "ceremony", but Fr. Jani's description is about the faithful who were in danger for their lives and thus had to be secretive.  Here in the states we have no such fear (nor warrants for such a fear).  You may say, "If others can do so with such minimum acoutrements, so you can, too."  Yes, but why?  Being minimal for the sake of being minimal is not a reason. 

What is the purpose of ritual?  You equate it with superstition.  I would highly recommend that you read anything by Mercea Eliade, Professor of Religion from the University of Chicago.  Even though he is writing about mythology, he talks about "sacred time" which resonates much with how we Orthodox conduct our liturgies.  everything is conducted in the present tense as if the events of Christ's life (incarnation, baptism, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, etc.) are happening right now.  Our hymnography bears this out.  The ceremonies are recreations, reenactments, re-presentations, if you will, of all the things that have come to pass for us and for our salvation.  The two kingdoms become as one, that of the heavenly glory.  Angels and we sinful mortal men commingle together singing the holy hymn.  Thus, Shouldn't the liturgy and church look like heaven?  Shouldn't they sound like heaven?  The liturgies and offices, everything is conducted in a way for the congregation to come into the presence of God and that takes a lot.  One person does NOT simply enter into the presence of God--it takes time (that's why I don't understand those who advocate shorter liturgies; they don't seem to understand that simply walking into a church is not walking into God's presence since God is truly everywhere). 

The liturgy, the ceremony, the words, the incense, the sounds, the tastes, all of those are designed to propel us into the kingdom which we don't stumble upon simply.  For some, it takes less, for others more.  I'm probably one of the "more" crowd.

Liturgy is not superstition. It is divine. 

Can ceremonies be abused?  Of course, but that is the fault of men, not the liturgies or offices themselves.  You're like Luther, wanting to throw out the baby with the bath-water.

On a personal note, you don't know what you're missing.
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« Reply #86 on: December 17, 2008, 06:42:08 PM »

You may say, "If others can do so with such minimum acoutrements, so you can, too."  Yes, but why?  Being minimal for the sake of being minimal is not a reason. 

Shouldn't the liturgy and church look like heaven?  Shouldn't they sound like heaven?  You're like Luther, wanting to throw out the baby with the bath-water.

On a personal note, you don't know what you're missing.
These are good, searching questions, designed to make me think.

First, I don't think we are minimal for the sake of it. Then why are we? Mmm... I suppose for two reasons. One, that we are doing the same as you, namely, trying to pattern our Communion services on scripture, but we are using different passages. I guess you go to Isaiah, Malachi, Revelation, and we go to Acts, Corinthians, and we have evolved different forms of worship from the same motive. Two, because (which is sentiment, emotion, or culture), having grown up in that form and having met the Lord there, we naturally continue to seek and find him there. In the words of the great 20th century Methodist W E Sangster, "Who would not love the church that nurtured him in holy things?"

So, I'm definitely not saying anything like "Because you can do it, you ought to do it" [i.e. be minimalist]. I think I was saying that, when things must be reduced to a minimum (e.g. in Communist Albania) you and we both find that we meet the same Lord, with the same blessing, in very similar ways. I am not suggesting that things should continue in that pattern in freer times.

It may be true that I have thrown out the baby with the bath water; it is certainly true that I don't know what I'm missing, because I have never been in a liturgical context with all the ceremony that involves. I suppose I'm saying that I feel no objection to a liturgy with splendour, based on those passages of scripture which grant us a glimpse into the heavenly worship; I certainly don't think for a moment that God blesses the sincere worshipper any less in that kind of setting than in ours. I guess I'm saying that both can be justified from different passages of scripture; that God meets us in either if our heart is repentant and believing; and that some people, for reasons of culture, background, upbringing or character, will be attracted to one style rather than to the other. What matters, of course, is that we feed on him.

You say, ritual...  You equate it with superstition. No I don't; not at all. I merely say that it is possible to go to a ritual and to penetrate no further than the externals. This of course is just as true in the most minimalist setting. Do you not call these things "mysteries"? It is possible to look only on the outward ceremony, and to fail to penetrate, or even meditate about, the inner mystery. Then it becomes superstition - and I believe there are those in your churches and in ours who have fallen into that trap and who need, in our Lord's blessed words, to be born again.

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« Reply #87 on: December 18, 2008, 12:39:23 AM »

You say, ritual...  You equate it with superstition. No I don't; not at all. I merely say that it is possible to go to a ritual and to penetrate no further than the externals. This of course is just as true in the most minimalist setting. Do you not call these things "mysteries"? It is possible to look only on the outward ceremony, and to fail to penetrate, or even meditate about, the inner mystery. Then it becomes superstition - and I believe there are those in your churches and in ours who have fallen into that trap and who need, in our Lord's blessed words, to be born again.

Just because the externals could be abused is the most ridiculous reason for why it should be jettisoned. 
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« Reply #88 on: December 18, 2008, 05:46:25 AM »


Just because the externals could be abused is the most ridiculous reason for why it should be jettisoned. 

Indeed it is! That is why I have never suggested it (i.e. ceremonious worship) should be jettisoned. I have said no more than:

1) There is a risk of people getting stuck at the external and visual
2) There is a strong impression given in some places that many people do in fact fall into this trap.

Anyone jettisoning things which carried a risk would end up a Quaker or a Quietist (in the 18th century 'stillness' form), which both you and I are far from.
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« Reply #89 on: December 18, 2008, 06:55:00 AM »


Just because the externals could be abused is the most ridiculous reason for why it should be jettisoned. 

Indeed it is! That is why I have never suggested it (i.e. ceremonious worship) should be jettisoned. I have said no more than:

1) There is a risk of people getting stuck at the external and visual
2) There is a strong impression given in some places that many people do in fact fall into this trap.

Anyone jettisoning things which carried a risk would end up a Quaker or a Quietist (in the 18th century 'stillness' form), which both you and I are far from.

Thats right brother I was just about to say. Ceremonialism for the sake of itself and minimalism for its own sake are both detrimental as the former takes the focus away from the center (Christ) and the latter loses our ability to focus on the center. As always Orthodoxy is a medium between these dangerous extremes.
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« Reply #90 on: December 18, 2008, 10:07:57 AM »



1) There is a risk of people getting stuck at the external and visual
2) There is a strong impression given in some places that many people do in fact fall into this trap.


It is interesting isn't it? It seems (and perhaps this has been your experience too David) that many of our fellow protestants seem to believe themselves free from "risk" by avoiding those very things which suggest any tangibility above what can be concieved of in the intellect. Thus were I to jettison the icons which I have in my home I, by this thinking, have removed or greatly reduced a risk. But really, have I? Or have I just broadened the intellectual area where I can fall into risk because I now have no more grounding physical elements? I think its that classic westnern mentality that assums the intellect has such untouchable importance, and conversely that my emotions, my sight, my taste, my touch are allegedly untrustworthy and prone to error.

It begs the question of me, am I not, as the Apostle says, being saved bodily as well as mind and spirit? So what then makes my intellect so paramount? Why must I be bound only to what I can theorize or conceptualize? Why can I not taste and see that the Lord is good?
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« Reply #91 on: December 18, 2008, 11:54:56 AM »

It is interesting isn't it? It seems (and perhaps this has been your experience too David) that many of our fellow protestants seem to believe themselves free from "risk" by avoiding those very things which suggest any tangibility above what can be concieved of in the intellect. Thus were I to jettison the icons which I have in my home I, by this thinking, have removed or greatly reduced a risk. But really, have I? Or have I just broadened the intellectual area where I can fall into risk because I now have no more grounding physical elements? I think its that classic westnern mentality that assums the intellect has such untouchable importance, and conversely that my emotions, my sight, my taste, my touch are allegedly untrustworthy and prone to error.

It begs the question of me, am I not, as the Apostle says, being saved bodily as well as mind and spirit? So what then makes my intellect so paramount? Why must I be bound only to what I can theorize or conceptualize? Why can I not taste and see that the Lord is good?

Great post!
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« Reply #92 on: December 18, 2008, 01:12:34 PM »



1) There is a risk of people getting stuck at the external and visual
2) There is a strong impression given in some places that many people do in fact fall into this trap.


It is interesting isn't it? It seems (and perhaps this has been your experience too David) that many of our fellow protestants seem to believe themselves free from "risk" by avoiding those very things which suggest any tangibility above what can be concieved of in the intellect.

I appreciate that concept, but think it is more to do with ecclesiastical culture identity.  A good friend, who is a retired Baptist minister, started attending Anglican services while I was serving in that denomination.  He spoke to me about how he was having difficulty with leaving the Baptist parish he saw grow from tiny to large, and that he had questions about his faith and was having difficulty finding answers.  For reasons that at first confused him, the incense, stained glass, acolytes and Eucharist were exactly what was needed for healing .  His lovely wife was a fish out of water.  She could not get herself to make the sign of the cross, bow to the cross, and even found the presence of the cross in worship uncomfortable.  She had been taught that all of these things were wrong simply put, while her husband was opening up for a full dose of a holy multimedia experience washing over him.  My comment about the two traditions has to do with a need to combine the congregational singing and expository sermons along with the physical signs of worship.  Western Rite is attempting to do just that.
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« Reply #93 on: December 18, 2008, 04:25:58 PM »


I appreciate that concept, but think it is more to do with ecclesiastical culture identity.  A good friend, who is a retired Baptist minister, started attending Anglican services while I was serving in that denomination.  He spoke to me about how he was having difficulty with leaving the Baptist parish he saw grow from tiny to large, and that he had questions about his faith and was having difficulty finding answers.  For reasons that at first confused him, the incense, stained glass, acolytes and Eucharist were exactly what was needed for healing .  His lovely wife was a fish out of water.  She could not get herself to make the sign of the cross, bow to the cross, and even found the presence of the cross in worship uncomfortable.  She had been taught that all of these things were wrong simply put, while her husband was opening up for a full dose of a holy multimedia experience washing over him.  My comment about the two traditions has to do with a need to combine the congregational singing and expository sermons along with the physical signs of worship.  Western Rite is attempting to do just that.

I agree that culture has a part to play, but that pastor's wife, while definitely experience a culture-shock certainly, seems to me to have also been experienceing and underlying teaching that to me seems more than just cultural. Now I am not saying she was wrong and shouldn't have been feeling that way; I'm trying to examine what I think is behind that thinking, whether she actively understood it in anything deeper than a cultural context or not. My own basic understanding was growing up that basically, when you boiled it down really: don't look like or do anything that a Catholic would (we of course didn't know about Orthodoxy)- in our minds they were nothing short of idolators, they had surrounded themselves in "risk" and had fallen for it. Thus, since Catholics used incense we shouldn't; our prayers were "spiritual" incense. Since Catholics used visual images in their worship we shouldn't; we had the Holy Spirit to "guide" us. Since Catholics believed in the Eucharist being the actual Flesh and Blood; we should make it purely symbolic. Since Catholics repeated stuff; we should keep communion to about once a month, rarely say the Lord's prayer.

Wherever it seemed a physical element could exist, it was boiled down to simple subjective concept. The intellectual mind, the conception of spritual truths was what was real; anything physical was suspect at best. Plato would've been proud. I realize this doesn't represent the whole of protestantism, but it sure seems like alot of us are there.
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« Reply #94 on: January 27, 2009, 06:28:52 PM »

I don't understand what you mean. What treasures do you want us to share? What do you mean by sharing? As I've stated before, the Orthodox Church has no problem educating honest inquirerers to the Orthodox faith. My own parish has a class every Tuesday night for those who want to learn more about the faith, whether they be new to the faith, or cradle but want to learn more about it. In addition to this, we also have a Monday night Bible Study, a Wednesday night lecture series (that includes dinner) and we are also starting an adult education program on Sunday mornings. ... I'm not sure what you mean by "share your treasures."

Your question is intrinsically unanswerable, for it can be translated thus: Of the things you do not know about, which ones would you like us to share? Of course, I can't tell you if I don't know about them in the first place!

I think I have become aware (as many Evangelicals are not) that you dwell much more than we do on the Incarnation; on the victory of the Resurrection of Christ over death; on our final glorification, prefigured in the Transfiguration; on our present union with Christ; on the struggle to grow in holiness. You are more aware of the Fathers and the ancient liturgies, which both contain much richness. You have devotional writings which have a different 'feel' from ours, even when they say the same things as our writers do (like Bulgakov, to whom I have referred previously). You have practices which are helpful to the Christian life: fasting; and your constant reminders of the events of our Lord's life by your observance of a 'church year'.

There are a few things to get you started. You say I am not allowed to have a cafeteria theology: and I will say this - you have a charmingly picturesque way of saying things! But coming back to the invitation to "taste and see that the Lord is good," why not let us have some samples from among your set menu? The statistics offered on the True Church thread for conversions to Orthodoxy should give you hope that such a strategy might reap benefits for your communion. I believe it would reap benefits also for us who remain Evangelicals: you do not believe it is so, but at the very least you have nothing to lose, and will have pleased the Lord by freely giving what you have freely received from his hand.
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« Reply #95 on: January 27, 2009, 07:15:34 PM »

There are a few things to get you started. You say I am not allowed to have a cafeteria theology: and I will say this - you have a charmingly picturesque way of saying things! But coming back to the invitation to "taste and see that the Lord is good," why not let us have some samples from among your set menu? The statistics offered on the True Church thread for conversions to Orthodoxy should give you hope that such a strategy might reap benefits for your communion. I believe it would reap benefits also for us who remain Evangelicals: you do not believe it is so, but at the very least you have nothing to lose, and will have pleased the Lord by freely giving what you have freely received from his hand.

I think the problem is that people feel threatened and troubled when outsiders wish to come in and borrow things in a haphazard fashion, as it fits their fancy, in sort of a piecemeal style.  The reason that your praxis seems insufficient is because your predecessors abandoned the treasures of the faith in their fantasy reconstruction of the "New Testament Church."

So you are right to suggest that it would be beneficial for Evangelicals to be more Orthodox in their praxis than they currently are.  But the trouble with not becoming fully Orthodox is that in only taking elements from what has been preserved, you in essence violate the preservation.  The blood of martyrs was spilled in defense of this faith.  The great treasury of the Church has been copied by scribes and handed down to us even today.  Records of prayers and practices; lives of the most blessed saints.  And here you recognize that you have much to learn from the Church, but only taking what 'gels' with your tastes would seem most insulting to any Orthodox person.

At that point what might be incorporated is reduced to trinkets; fashionable add-ons for a time.  The Church's holy teachings and traditions become accessories to ornament your bland Baptist facade.  All of the teachings and parts of the Church work together as a whole, and they are not preserved so that they can be selectively borrowed from.  Orthodoxy is not a buffet, and Her treasures are not meant to be plundered.  So you see the Church does have something to lose if Protestants start trying to fashionably co-opt Orthodox practices in a selective manner.  The misuse of Church practices and teachings robs them of their dignity and purity.  Much like the selective Anabaptist teachings have robbed the Holy Scriptures of a certain level of dignity by divorcing them from their transmitted context.
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« Reply #96 on: January 27, 2009, 07:49:25 PM »

Your question is intrinsically unanswerable, for it can be translated thus: Of the things you do not know about, which ones would you like us to share? Of course, I can't tell you if I don't know about them in the first place!

I think I have become aware (as many Evangelicals are not) that you dwell much more than we do on the Incarnation; on the victory of the Resurrection of Christ over death; on our final glorification, prefigured in the Transfiguration; on our present union with Christ; on the struggle to grow in holiness. You are more aware of the Fathers and the ancient liturgies, which both contain much richness. You have devotional writings which have a different 'feel' from ours, even when they say the same things as our writers do (like Bulgakov, to whom I have referred previously). You have practices which are helpful to the Christian life: fasting; and your constant reminders of the events of our Lord's life by your observance of a 'church year'.

There are a few things to get you started. You say I am not allowed to have a cafeteria theology: and I will say this - you have a charmingly picturesque way of saying things! But coming back to the invitation to "taste and see that the Lord is good," why not let us have some samples from among your set menu? The statistics offered on the True Church thread for conversions to Orthodoxy should give you hope that such a strategy might reap benefits for your communion. I believe it would reap benefits also for us who remain Evangelicals: you do not believe it is so, but at the very least you have nothing to lose, and will have pleased the Lord by freely giving what you have freely received from his hand.

And how do you suggest we go about sharing this? I have already mentioned ways in which you can find out about Orthodoxy. You have discovered them yourself in the aforementioned books you said to have read and by participating in this forum.

As many on this board can testify, the way they found out about Orthodoxy is by going to an Orthodox Church, observing and participating in the service, and inquiring with the priest on how to become a catechumen. This was supplimented by reading books on Orthodoxy, reading Holy Scripture, reading the Early Church Fathers, and by going on boards such as this.

There is nothing secrative about the Church, especially in this day and age. Everything about the Orthodox Church can be found via the internet, magazines, books, and of course, going to the Church herself.

You don't get it; we are not interested in telling [insert group of choice] how fasting can enhance their spiritual life.

If [group of choice] want to learn about the Orthodox way of doing things, they can come to us.

I really don't understand what you want us to do.

I mean, you would never see a Methodist Preacher go to a Baptist church and preach to them on how to incorporate Methodist forms of worship in a Baptist service. Why are you asking the Orthodox to come and "share our secrets" as you call them, with the Protestants? It seems to me, the Protestants need to get over what ever forms of pride, prejudice, and bigotry they may hold against the Orthodox Church, and learn about us.

While you and Cleopas are the exception in having dialogue and being open to learn about the Ancient Faith, I know for a fact most Protestants are not. In fact, most Protestants are ignorant of Church history prior to the Reformation, and are unaware that God even exists in Eastern Europe. After all, how many Protestant groups tried to launch missionary campaigns after the fall of Communism to go preach to the "godless" Russians? Thank God the Russian government quickly squelched all of this, and made it illegal. As a result, Orthodoxy has flourished in Russia, and the Church has more than doubled in size since the fall of Communism. So much for the "godless Russians."  Cheesy

Furthermore, why would we want to preach to those who are not interested in converting to Orthodoxy? Christ warned us of putting pearls before swine. (Matthew 7:6)

The Orthodox Church does evangelize and do missionary work; just not in the way that the Protestants do.

I invite you to spend some time on http://ocmc.org/ and http://iocc.org/ to see what kind of work we do.

You asked for samples from our set menu. You have already been offered a "tasting menu" and have not accepted the invitation yet.

Did you not say that a friend had invited you to "come and see" the Divine Liturgy at the Orthodox Church near your home? You said that you were waiting for a time when you did not have a speaking engagement to go.

So you see, we have made the offer. It's up to you now to go.

Oh, and by the way, when you do go, make sure to refrain from going up to the chalice to receive communion. That is reserved for those who have decided to upgrade from the "tasting menu" to the "full banquet."  Wink

(Shouldn't GreekChef be the one making this analogy???  Wink )

This dialogue reminds me of a conversation I had with a Muslim co-worker a few years back.

Him and I used to have wonderful discussions on religion. He lived in Queens, NY and passed an Orthodox Church, a Jewish Synagogue, and Muslim mosque on his way to work every day. He often would stop and talk with the clergy at the respective places of worship in an effort to better understand those in his neighborhood.

One day I lent him "The Orthodox Church" by Timothy Ware. (If you haven't read it, it gives a basic history of the Church and her beliefs.) After having the book for a couple weeks, he came up to me with questions.

"How do I get this Holy Spirit?" He asked.

I laughed, "Are you serious?" (I was thrown off by his question.)

"Yes," he said, "How do I get it? It seems interesting."

I said, "You have to convert to Christainity. That's the only way. It's a package deal."

"No, no" he said, "I do not believe that Christ is the Son of God. I just want the Holy Spirit."

I said, "You can't seperate the two. That's the Trinity. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. You can't have one without the other."

His interest in the Holy Spirit quickly waned, as he was not interested in abandoning his Muslim faith.

While I understand that your faith is not as stark in contrast as Orthodoxy and Islam, the principle remains the same; it's a package deal. You can't take elements of Orthodoxy and try to hitch it to your Baptist faith. It's like trying to attach airplane wings to a Volkswagon. It doesn't work. You're either Orthodox or you're Baptist. You're one or the other.

I think you see things about Orthodoxy that you like, and you respect, but you're not willing to give up your Reformation ways.

That's something you need to work out between you and God.

I'm sorry my friend, but that's just the way it is.

God bless,

Maureen
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« Reply #97 on: January 27, 2009, 07:52:08 PM »

There are a few things to get you started. You say I am not allowed to have a cafeteria theology: and I will say this - you have a charmingly picturesque way of saying things! But coming back to the invitation to "taste and see that the Lord is good," why not let us have some samples from among your set menu? The statistics offered on the True Church thread for conversions to Orthodoxy should give you hope that such a strategy might reap benefits for your communion. I believe it would reap benefits also for us who remain Evangelicals: you do not believe it is so, but at the very least you have nothing to lose, and will have pleased the Lord by freely giving what you have freely received from his hand.

I think the problem is that people feel threatened and troubled when outsiders wish to come in and borrow things in a haphazard fashion, as it fits their fancy, in sort of a piecemeal style.  The reason that your praxis seems insufficient is because your predecessors abandoned the treasures of the faith in their fantasy reconstruction of the "New Testament Church."

So you are right to suggest that it would be beneficial for Evangelicals to be more Orthodox in their praxis than they currently are.  But the trouble with not becoming fully Orthodox is that in only taking elements from what has been preserved, you in essence violate the preservation.  The blood of martyrs was spilled in defense of this faith.  The great treasury of the Church has been copied by scribes and handed down to us even today.  Records of prayers and practices; lives of the most blessed saints.  And here you recognize that you have much to learn from the Church, but only taking what 'gels' with your tastes would seem most insulting to any Orthodox person.

At that point what might be incorporated is reduced to trinkets; fashionable add-ons for a time.  The Church's holy teachings and traditions become accessories to ornament your bland Baptist facade.  All of the teachings and parts of the Church work together as a whole, and they are not preserved so that they can be selectively borrowed from.  Orthodoxy is not a buffet, and Her treasures are not meant to be plundered.  So you see the Church does have something to lose if Protestants start trying to fashionably co-opt Orthodox practices in a selective manner.  The misuse of Church practices and teachings robs them of their dignity and purity.  Much like the selective Anabaptist teachings have robbed the Holy Scriptures of a certain level of dignity by divorcing them from their transmitted context.

PoM nomination!
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« Reply #98 on: January 28, 2009, 02:07:42 AM »

PoM nomination!

Seconded!
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« Reply #99 on: January 28, 2009, 05:25:25 AM »

In the event that there is an issue with someone seconding their own nomination, I second it.
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« Reply #100 on: January 28, 2009, 11:29:26 AM »

why not let us have some samples from among your set menu?

Menu?  The Orthodox Church is not the $5 Subway footlong sandwich.  You can eat the sandwich and you will be hungry again.  You can even give a piece of that sandwich to those who attend your missionary sessions and they will be hungry again.  However, when Orthodox Christians partake of the Divine Body and Blood, we are satisfied even if we are physically hungry ... or worse.  The prisoners at Dachau in 1945 experienced the satisfaction of receiving Holy Communion in hunger, in cold, in imprisonment, in oppression.  Where does that exist in Baptist theology?   Huh
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« Reply #101 on: January 28, 2009, 12:03:26 PM »

The prisoners at Dachau in 1945 experienced the satisfaction of receiving Holy Communion in hunger, in cold, in imprisonment, in oppression.  Where does that exist in Baptist theology?

Dachau? Would not those have been largely Jews, and most of the others Lutheran or Catholic? I merely ask: I am no historian of National Socialism.

Regarding people of our belief and how they coped with imprisonment, I could not do better than turn you to the writings of Richard Wurmbrand, who had 14 years in prison in Romania, or Haralan Popov, who has 13 years in prison in Bulgaria.

I have read little of the sufferings of the Confessing Church (die Bekennende Kirche) under National Socialism, and I know less about its life and theology, but you might try Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a starting point. There is also Pastor Johannes Hamel, "A Christian in East Germany" (SCM, London, 1960, but translated from earlier German articles, 1951-1958).

It is some years since I read them, but I particularly recall some passages painful to read in Richard Wurmbrand, including specific references to the Holy Communion.
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« Reply #102 on: January 28, 2009, 12:20:06 PM »

The prisoners at Dachau in 1945 experienced the satisfaction of receiving Holy Communion in hunger, in cold, in imprisonment, in oppression.  Where does that exist in Baptist theology?
Dachau? Would not those have been largely Jews, and most of the others Lutheran or Catholic? I merely ask: I am no historian of National Socialism.
Actually, a large number of prisoners of the Nazis were from Poland and Czechoslovakia, and while it is true that the Catholic Church had a large presence there, there were still millions of Orthodox Christians in those countries at the time, a population that has been rebuilding itself since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
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« Reply #103 on: January 28, 2009, 12:56:00 PM »

Tell them Orthodoxy exists within a different paradigm then Western Christianity. It is not particularly centered on scholastic learning with lists of topics and a menu to go through. Instead, it is an asectical practice that is experienced best  via participation.

For example if you wished to practice Zen mediation you cant really delve into it by only reading about meditation. You will need to actually meditate.

Organizing a field trip to a local Orthodox Church to attend Liturgy is best. Recognizing the difficulty in that, you could learn about fasting then try it.

If study is all you can muster, try to determine if the Orthodox Church is the Original Ancient Church. That does not necessarily mean the "True Church" or "Best Church" in and of itself. But it is useful to discover if the Ancient Church still exists and if it really does, if it did not disappear as so many Protestants assume, you can talk about what your responsibility as Christians are to relate to her.

Since Orthodoxy at it's root exists within a different paradigm, you cant graft factoids or isolated idea's onto something else with a radically different World View.
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« Reply #104 on: January 28, 2009, 04:15:23 PM »

The prisoners at Dachau in 1945 experienced the satisfaction of receiving Holy Communion in hunger, in cold, in imprisonment, in oppression.  Where does that exist in Baptist theology?

Dachau? Would not those have been largely Jews, and most of the others Lutheran or Catholic? I merely ask: I am no historian of National Socialism.

Check out this account, here:

Quote
There were Orthodox priests, deacons and a group of monks from Mount Athos among the prisoners. But there were no vestments, no books whatsoever, no icons, no candles, no prosphoras, no wine...

Quote from: DavidYoung
Regarding people of our belief and how they coped with imprisonment, I could not do better than turn you to the writings of Richard Wurmbrand, who had 14 years in prison in Romania, or Haralan Popov, who has 13 years in prison in Bulgaria.

Let's be fair - compare and contrast the experience in Dachau with the experiences endured by Pastor Popov (founder of an Aid Organization) and Pastor Wurmbrand.

Quote from: DavidYoung
I have read little of the sufferings of the Confessing Church (die Bekennende Kirche) under National Socialism, and I know less about its life and theology, but you might try Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a starting point. There is also Pastor Johannes Hamel, "A Christian in East Germany" (SCM, London, 1960, but translated from earlier German articles, 1951-1958).

It is some years since I read them, but I particularly recall some passages painful to read in Richard Wurmbrand, including specific references to the Holy Communion

I have a reference to a Romanian Orthodox Priest who spent 2 decades in Prison and he would consecrate water and uneatable bread as Holy Communion, demonstrating how the Grace of the Holy Spirit can transform bread and water into the Body and Blood of Christ (note, I'm not talking about saltine crackers and grape juice here).  Quite fascinating, if you ask me....
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« Reply #105 on: January 28, 2009, 04:24:30 PM »

Quote
Dachau? Would not those have been largely Jews, and most of the others Lutheran or Catholic? I merely ask: I am no historian of National Socialism

Clerics and monastics of any stripe were fair game for the Nazis. Numerous Orthodox clergy and monastics are documented as being sent to various Nazi camps, one which immediately comes to mind is Mother Maria who was sent to Ravensbruck, where she, and her companions (clerics and laymen) were eventually murdered. Mother Maria is now known as St Maria the New Martyr of Paris and Ravensbruck. Her companions are now also glorified as saints. There are undoubtedly others as well of whom I am unaware.

Let's also not forget that huge numbers of Orthodox believers (cleric, monastic and layman) also suffered for their faith in what became known as the Eastern Bloc, notably Russia. The gulags were filled with martyrs for the Faith, and many have now been glorified as saints, of the assembly of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. The process of examining the fate of the others is very much continuing.
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« Reply #106 on: January 28, 2009, 04:27:19 PM »

There is also St. Gregory Peradze who had been killed in Auschwitz by the Nazis
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« Reply #107 on: January 28, 2009, 04:56:27 PM »

There is also the example of St Luke of Simferopol and the Crimea (1877-1961). Unlike many others of his day, who, quite understandably, kept their faith under wraps, as it were, he never shied away from the Soviet authorities the fact of his being a monk and a priest, and, of course, an Orthodox Christian. He also had a "worldly" occupation, that of a professor of surgery (under his birth name of Valentin Voyno-Yassenetsky), specialising in trauma surgery. He wrote many scientific papers, and developed a number of surgical techniques in his field.

He insisted, often against stiff opposition from hospital authorities, that he be given time to pray before commencing any surgical sessions, and insisted an icon be present in any operating theatre he worked in. He was arrested, tortured and imprisoned many times, yet he won various Soviet accolades for his surgical research. But perhaps what is most telling is that, on more than one occasion, because of his undoubted skills, he was chosen to perform surgery on certain "priviledged" individuals on the personal order of Josef Stalin. THAT would have stuck in Joe's craw, I can tell you!

St Luke is truly an inspiration, a model of guts and triumph of faith in the face of adversity.
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« Reply #108 on: January 28, 2009, 07:22:54 PM »

a field trip to a local Orthodox Church to attend Liturgy is best.

Already planned - next time I'm in Gjirokastër on a Sunday, and some other as yet unfixed date in Chester.
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« Reply #109 on: January 28, 2009, 07:27:01 PM »

Check out this account, here:

Thank you. I shall.

It seems to me from the many books I have read about sufferings in eastern Europe and China under Communism (and I have read Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox on this) that when the accoutrements of our different churches, approaches, institutions and so on are stripped away by severe persecution, we find that at the core we are very similar in our clinging to Christ. Men from different churches, who would never be able to work together in times of prosperity, peace and freedom, find a brotherhood in their shared loyalty to the Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. As I am sure we shall in the glory.
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« Reply #110 on: January 28, 2009, 09:55:34 PM »

David,

You asked me to specifically post on this board and I have, yet you ignore my post.

Have I offended you dear friend?

Maureen
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« Reply #111 on: January 29, 2009, 04:23:34 AM »

Have I offended you dear friend?

Not at all. Am I getting muddled, for I assume you mean the post about sects. (Or was that somewhere else? That's the trouble with posting simultaneously on different threads. I get them muddled in my mind. Sorry.) Only I think the non-Christian sects probably belong under a different discussion, and I know no more I can add on the authority of scripture till I have read more Orthodox and more Protestant writing on the matter.

If you mean the question of how we can learn from Orthodoxy, a small example follows... but I must hasten away and take my wife to work, and then work myself.

One value of these threads is that they make us re-examine why we believe what we do. It is too easy to believe something for years and decades, till it becomes so much a part of your life and thought that you forget why you believed it in the first place. Many posts press me to go back and do this very re-examining - but on those two themes I know no more at present to say. Perhaps in some months I shall become wiser about them.

Meanwhile, we have other matters to look at, don't we?
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« Reply #112 on: January 29, 2009, 04:32:03 AM »

AN EXAMPLE

My personal Bible reading today took me to 2 Thessalonians 1, where we read:

...that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God... that our God may make you worthy of his call. (verses 5, 11).

My eyes have always glided over those words whilst my mind omitted them. Why? As Evangelicals, we have no concept of being made worthy; the idea of wothiness, present or eventual, has no place in our religion. It is a gap. When we read such verses, we have nowhere to fit them into our thought, understanding and life.

But GreekChef bewailed the fact that Baptists who tried to evangelise her in the Bible Belt deemed her unworthy of salvation. I had no idea what she was talking about. There is no hook in our mental furniture on which to hang either Paul's words or GreekChef's.

But reading your literature and posts has opened up a new sector of meditation and thought, for you mention this motif fairly often - and I shall strive for understanding of it. After all, it must mean something if it's in the Bible!

Now you may think those two verses are an insignificant thing for me to learn about from you, or you may feel they are of deep and immense significance. I offer them, only because they are an example that cropped up today.

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« Reply #113 on: January 29, 2009, 04:36:56 AM »

Not at all. Only I think the non-Christian sects probably belong under a different discussion, and I know no more I can add on the authority of scripture till I have read more Orthodox and more Protestant writing on the matter.

One value of these threads is that they make us re-examine why we believe what we do. It is too easy to believe something for years and decades, till it becomes so much a part of your life and thought that you forget why you believed it in the first place. Many posts press me to go back and do this very re-examining - but on those two themes I know no more at present to say. Perhaps in some months I shall become wiser about them.

Meanwhile, we have other matters to look at, don't we?

Very good.

I would never want to insult you, as I enjoy our discussions far too much!  Grin

I am glad that instead you have been inspired to read more.

It is true; discussion threads do cause one to increase their strength in apologetics, whether that was the original desire of the reader or not.

God bless,

Maureen
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« Reply #114 on: January 29, 2009, 05:45:21 AM »

Regarding people of our belief and how they coped with imprisonment, I could not do better than turn you to the writings of Richard Wurmbrand, who had 14 years in prison in Romania, or Haralan Popov, who has 13 years in prison in Bulgaria.

In "Return to Christ", the author, Ioan Ianolide, an Orthodox imprisoned at Targu Ocna along with Richard Wurmbrand said that the pastor converted to Orthodoxy while in prison. Ioan Ianolide died in 1984, 5 years before the communist regime fell. The manuscript was hidden in a lamp until 1990. I don't think he lied.
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« Reply #115 on: January 29, 2009, 06:59:11 AM »

In "Return to Christ", the author, Ioan Ianolide, an Orthodox imprisoned at Targu Ocna along with Richard Wurmbrand said that the pastor converted to Orthodoxy

Can you supply publisher, date, ISB number? I'd like to read this book if it is available, maybe from a library.

I have to say that it would not trouble me if Richard Wurmbrand converted to Orthodoxy. That he knew the Lord is, I think, not a matter of dispute. Whether he passed from this life from a Baptist or an Orthodox setting would not belittle his sanctity and commitment to Christ in my eyes. He is a man to honour. But it would be very interesting to read about the conversion of such a prominent person.
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« Reply #116 on: January 29, 2009, 11:50:50 AM »

Unfortunately, the book hasn't been translated into other languages, so it can be found only in Romanian.
Edit: Ioan Ianolide died in 1986, not 1984.


Title : Întoarcerea la Hristos
Publishing House: Christiana
Year: 2006
Location: Bucharest, Romania

It's quite an interesting book about the author's 23 years inprisonment. Fr Gheorghe Calciu, who wrote the preface of the book and was a friend of Richard Wurmbrand said he didn't know about the conversion and wondered why he remaind silent about it after he was released.
According to the book, Wurmbrand was very impressed by the spiritual life of Valeriu Gafencu, another inmate, who saved his life by giving him the antibiotics that were ment for him.
God bless!
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« Reply #117 on: January 29, 2009, 12:29:32 PM »

Unfortunately, the book hasn't been translated

A labour of love for you to undertake? Protestants and Catholics have produced quite a lot about their sufferings under Communism, but I have seen very little by Orthodox, though I have sought for it. It would be a valuable contribution to the literature of the Christian church. The same applies to your sufferings under Islam during the Ottoman years: vague hints and unspecified allusions are all I have been able to find, though I have sought for it.
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« Reply #118 on: January 29, 2009, 02:00:39 PM »

Unfortunately, the book hasn't been translated

A labour of love for you to undertake? Protestants and Catholics have produced quite a lot about their sufferings under Communism, but I have seen very little by Orthodox, though I have sought for it. It would be a valuable contribution to the literature of the Christian church. The same applies to your sufferings under Islam during the Ottoman years: vague hints and unspecified allusions are all I have been able to find, though I have sought for it.

Unfortunately that is because the Communist's did such a fantastic (read=sarcasim) job of supressing what happened.

So few people are even aware of the Ukrainian Genocide (Holodomor) of 1932-1933. Stalin tried to kill the Ukrainian people by starving them out. Estimates range that from 2.2-10 million people were killed in one year.

To put this in perspective, 6-12 million people were killed in the Holocaust caused by the Germans that went from 1939-1945. I suppose this is a sick testament to Stalin's efficacy.  Cry

(I mean in no way to diminish the suffering of those who went through the Holocaust, merely to create a comparison of how quickly and deadly Stalin's genocide was.)

More can be read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

Mods,

Can another thread be created on the topics of Christian martyrdom suffered by the Communists? This and a few of the above posts really belong in a seperate thread.

Thank you!
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« Reply #119 on: January 29, 2009, 03:49:30 PM »

Can another thread be created on the topics of Christian martyrdom suffered by the Communists? This and a few of the above posts really belong in a seperate thread.

Excellent idea, and bringing the possibility of being edifying too. I think the world at large, and the Protestant and perhaps Catholic churches, are genuinely unaware of the sacrificial love for Christ shown by Orthodox people. I remember visiting Molivdoskepastos near Konitsa in Greece in 1981, with an Orthodox church hard by the Albanian border on a prominent hillside position. Each Easter the Greeks triumphantly broadcast the proclamation "Christos anesti!", and a little old lady was seen creeping secretly up to the border as far as she dared and making the sign of the Cross. I have found only one book in English which recounts some of the sufferings of Orthodox in Albania; only one in English (which I wrote myself, after interviewing some of the elderly saints following the fall of Communism); and two by Catholics, though the Catholics produced far more in their US-based "Albanian Catholic Bulletin". Remember that the pre-Communist Evangelical church in Albania numbered maybe thirty believers with only a handful of them already baptised, and you see how much, comparatively, the Catholics and Protestants have produced, while the Orthodox numbered twice as many as the Catholics (and still do). People simply do not know what you went through, and it would be an inspiration for others to know. Certainly I want to. And that's just one country. So let's have the new thread!
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« Reply #120 on: January 29, 2009, 10:45:46 PM »

a field trip to a local Orthodox Church to attend Liturgy is best.

Already planned - next time I'm in Gjirokastër on a Sunday, and some other as yet unfixed date in Chester.

Excellent !!

Sometimes we go to a service to "learn" something or another. While that is fine in and of itself don't forget that Orthodoxy is still quite mystical. The idea is that you are transformed ( even by a little). So the effect of attendign a Liturgy is that we are "Perfumed" for lack of a better term, when we attend.

So put away rational calculation and measurements and comparisons. Just wait patiently for a bit of grace to come to you God willing.

Good luck. 

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« Reply #121 on: January 29, 2009, 11:14:48 PM »

Can another thread be created on the topics of Christian martyrdom suffered by the Communists? This and a few of the above posts really belong in a seperate thread.

Excellent idea, and bringing the possibility of being edifying too. I think the world at large, and the Protestant and perhaps Catholic churches, are genuinely unaware of the sacrificial love for Christ shown by Orthodox people. I remember visiting Molivdoskepastos near Konitsa in Greece in 1981, with an Orthodox church hard by the Albanian border on a prominent hillside position. Each Easter the Greeks triumphantly broadcast the proclamation "Christos anesti!", and a little old lady was seen creeping secretly up to the border as far as she dared and making the sign of the Cross. I have found only one book in English which recounts some of the sufferings of Orthodox in Albania; only one in English (which I wrote myself, after interviewing some of the elderly saints following the fall of Communism); and two by Catholics, though the Catholics produced far more in their US-based "Albanian Catholic Bulletin". Remember that the pre-Communist Evangelical church in Albania numbered maybe thirty believers with only a handful of them already baptised, and you see how much, comparatively, the Catholics and Protestants have produced, while the Orthodox numbered twice as many as the Catholics (and still do). People simply do not know what you went through, and it would be an inspiration for others to know. Certainly I want to. And that's just one country. So let's have the new thread!


Our parish has a number of missionaries in Albania. One we are sure will be canonized in no time. Her husband told us a story: the communists declared Albania the first atheist state in history, and enforced it. One could get 20 years hard labor if they found red egg shell fragments at your house around Pascha (proof you celebrated it). One old lady, the authorities were told, claimed "I have a Cross, and they will never be able to take it from me." The authorities searched her house, strip searched her, and when they couldn't find "the Cross," they dismantled her house-floorboards, etc, to find it. When they didn't, they told the old woman she was crazy. At that point she bowed her head, making the Sign of the Cross, saying, "I have a Cross and you will never be able to take it from me."


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« Reply #122 on: January 29, 2009, 11:28:07 PM »

Quote
At that point she bowed her head, making the Sign of the Cross, saying, "I have a Cross and you will never be able to take it from me."

Gorgeous. Truly gorgeous, inspiring and humbling. This simple, pious woman deserves her place among the saints.
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« Reply #123 on: January 29, 2009, 11:37:27 PM »

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At that point she bowed her head, making the Sign of the Cross, saying, "I have a Cross and you will never be able to take it from me."
Gorgeous. Truly gorgeous, inspiring and humbling. This simple, pious woman deserves her place among the saints.

Game, Set, Match, Challenge Over.   Grin
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« Reply #124 on: February 05, 2009, 08:45:31 AM »

I phoned a friend in Albania, a convert from Islam now Evangelical. "Hello," said he, "I was just mentioning you to a friend. We were talking about the early church Fathers." It seeps through.  Smiley
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« Reply #125 on: March 06, 2009, 12:54:05 AM »

Quote
At that point she bowed her head, making the Sign of the Cross, saying, "I have a Cross and you will never be able to take it from me."

Gorgeous. Truly gorgeous, inspiring and humbling. This simple, pious woman deserves her place among the saints.

it is always the peasants, the poor, the least of these that truly lead us to Christ, isn't it?

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