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Author Topic: A Challenge to you Orthodox (from an English Baptist)  (Read 21747 times) Average Rating: 0
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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 »

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.

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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