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Author Topic: Peace on the forum  (Read 4681 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anastasios
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« on: February 15, 2009, 12:31:22 AM »

Dear Board Members,

There has been a lot of tension over the past few weeks in several threads, with some major personality clashes.  Many have gotten angry and some things have been said which should not have been said.

We are working to diffuse these issues behind the scenes and I ask you all to be patient with one another and us as we work towards this goal. It's the time of the Triodion; I believe that the Devil is very interested in our dissension and in assisting us to fail to be charitable towards one another.

If anyone feels that I have not done enough to keep the forum peaceful or have even disturbed the forum by getting involved in some of the controversies in a partisan way, I apologize and ask forgiveness.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 12:31:43 AM by Fr. Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 02:46:58 AM »

As someone involved with these matters, I would like to say that I am pleased that the Admins are indeed acting to put things to rights (for one thing you can see the important change in wording in my Warning where the "knowingly" has been removed.  When I saw that I breathed a sigh of relief that the charge of lying has been removed.  Many thanks.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19559.msg289444.html )

Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?

A positive note  -  coming here as I did as a refugee after several years on CAF, it was immediately noticeable that here on this Forum there is a quite different atmosphere and a quite different relationship between the Moderators and the members.  Apart from the praiseworthy Joe Monahan on CAF all the CAF Moderators prefer to live on the distant mountaintops of Olympus and make their presence known only to lock threads and suspend and ban members.  To borrow an American colloquialism:  They are there to "kick a...."

Here on OC.net Mods and Admins mix it up with members and take part in discussions.  I can appreciate that this sometimes causes tension when the role of Moderator conflicts with the role of participant.   But depite that small drawback I really do appreciate the relationship here where Mods will participate in threads and in general act very humanely.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 02:57:16 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 03:00:21 AM »

Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?
NO! Angry Grin  I may be a moderator, but I am still a poster just like everyone else here.  As such, I share the same concern for my internet security that most other posters here share.  Nice try, though. Wink


Here on OC.net Mods and Admins mix it up with members and take part in discussions.  I can appreciate that this sometimes causes tension when the role of Moderator conflicts with the role of participant.   But depite that small drawback I really do appreciate the relationship here where Mods will participate in threads and in general act very humanely.
Thanks for the encouragement. Smiley  We certainly do try... Wink
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 03:08:56 AM »

Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?
Why?
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 03:13:08 AM »

There has been a lot of tension over the past few weeks in several threads, with some major personality clashes. 
I wouldn't say that.
I would say that two posters disagreed, one poster refuses to accept what the other poster claims and refuted their evidence. Isn't that what a discussion forum is about? "Personalities" should not enter into it, and at any rate, how can anyone know someone's personality from a typed post?
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 03:15:48 AM »

Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?
NO! Angry Grin  I may be a moderator, but I am still a poster just like everyone else here.  As such, I share the same concern for my internet security that most other posters here share.  Nice try, though. Wink

The Admins are identifiable.  But the Mods prefer anonymity?
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 03:18:37 AM »

The Admins are identifiable.  But the Mods prefer anonymity?

Yep. We're no fools. We've seen how many crackpots frequent the forum.
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 03:27:00 AM »

Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?
Why?

I suppose because it is an offence against justice that a man should be censored and judged by those who are anonymous and use screennames.  If such serious actions have to take place on the Forum and especially when they involve a man's good name, maybe such actions ought to be left to the Admins who have identified themselves?


However, I wrote to express my appreciation over

1) the correction of the erroneous charge in my Warning and

2) my appreciation of the "hands-on" involvement of Admins and Mods and

3) the desire of the Admins to bring peace back to the Forum.   

I don't really want to get involved in another argy-bargy with you and Peter.  I respect the Admins' wish to stop the provocation and allow the Forum to return to a level of tranquillity.
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 03:32:28 AM »

On CAF the mods had an admin handle and a regular posting handle. They didn't post in discussion as mods, they used their regular posting handles to post in discussions. They actually had MORE anonimity that way.
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2009, 03:33:41 AM »

I don't really want to get involved in another argy-bargy with you and Peter. 
Then why did you request things extraneous to the stated purpose of your post like requesting that Mods reveal their identity? Your post was not simply to express ypour appreciation of :
1) the correction of the erroneous charge in my Warning and

2) my appreciation of the "hands-on" involvement of Admins and Mods and

3) the desire of the Admins to bring peace back to the Forum.
because it included this little gem:
Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?
 
So which part of the stated purpose of you "appreciative" post does this fit into?
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2009, 03:35:34 AM »

On CAF the mods had an admin handle and a regular posting handle. They didn't post in discussion as mods, they used their regular posting handles to post in discussions. They actually had MORE anonimity that way.
Yep. They all thought they knew the Mods names on CAF, but in fact, they were nom de plumes.
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2009, 03:36:29 AM »

Apart from the Admins I think that all the Moderators prefer to remain anonymous and use screennames.  Maybe that could change?
NO! Angry Grin  I may be a moderator, but I am still a poster just like everyone else here.  As such, I share the same concern for my internet security that most other posters here share.  Nice try, though. Wink


Just a small addition if I may..... on all Orthdodox boards -Orthodox-Forum, Orthodox-Tradition, Orthodox-Rocor, Indiana, etc. - the Mods insist that participants identify themselves with their full and authentic name.  If you don't provide it, you'll be banned.

Why would such identification be seen as especially dangerous on OC.net?
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2009, 03:36:49 AM »

The Admins are identifiable.  But the Mods prefer anonymity?

Yep. We're no fools. We've seen how many crackpots frequent the forum.

Perhaps the moderators on this forum need to do their work a little better. There is another Orthodox forum in cyberland which has for years specified that members use their own name (even if it is their first name only), to divulge their status as layman, cleric or monastic, their religious affiliation (jurisdiction optional, plain "Orthodox" is accepted, other faiths and denominations are listed, including "other" and "undecided"), and country of origin. The first few posts of new members are moderated, then are allowed to post freely, but anyone, newbie or senior member, who engages in conduct unbecoming, is very quickly dealt with. There is none of the rancour, bickering and personal attacking which all too often blights OCNet.

Is it too much to ask the good folks of OCNet to raise their standards? The recent stoush involving Irish Hermit was utterly disgusting and shameful.
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2009, 03:39:39 AM »

I actually see an advantage to that method though. It is a little weird to have someone that is a mod get snippy with you on here. You don't know if they are snippy as a mod or as a "poster." I know that you all use a different color to post as a mod versus a regular poster. But often times you get your "parental tone" in your regular posting then switch to mod mode and warn. I have to say I for one find it confusing.

I can't use my real first name as long as my husband has his security clearance and is deployed and non-members can look at the site. All my internet traffic is constantly monitored for OPSEC violations. One of the disadvantages to having such an unusual first name Roll Eyes
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2009, 03:40:29 AM »

On CAF the mods had an admin handle and a regular posting handle. They didn't post in discussion as mods, they used their regular posting handles to post in discussions. They actually had MORE anonimity that way.

Quite true.  The culture on CAF is one of secrecy.   Much is said about this in the lengthy thread in this Forum by the refugees from CAF.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13287.0.html
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2009, 03:40:48 AM »

The Admins are identifiable.  But the Mods prefer anonymity?

Yep. We're no fools. We've seen how many crackpots frequent the forum.

Perhaps the moderators on this forum need to do their work a little better. There is another Orthodox forum in cyberland which has for years specified that members use their own name (even if it is their first name only), to divulge their status as layman, cleric or monastic, their religious affiliation (jurisdiction optional, plain "Orthodox" is accepted, other faiths and denominations are listed, including "other" and "undecided"), and country of origin.
Well, you know my name is George. You know my jurisdiction. What more do you want.


Is it too much to ask the good folks of OCNet to raise their standards? The recent stoush involving Irish Hermit was utterly disgusting and shameful.
You mean the bit where he publicly made false claims about the Ecumenical Patriarch (whether knowingly or not). Yeah, that was pretty disgusting.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2009, 03:44:15 AM »

On CAF the mods had an admin handle and a regular posting handle. They didn't post in discussion as mods, they used their regular posting handles to post in discussions. They actually had MORE anonimity that way.
Yep. They all thought they knew the Mods names on CAF, but in fact, they were nom de plumes.
George, you revealed in the thread on CAF that you did not even know of the existence of CAF until the refugees began coming into OC.net.

I can assure you that everybody was aware that the Mods on CAF were not using their true names.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 03:58:33 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2009, 03:47:24 AM »

Goodness gracious, everyone.  This is supposed to be a "Let's make peace" thread, and there's already an argument.  It's almost midnight and tomorrow is Sunday.  Let's go to bed and pray for peace and a new beginning tomorrow.
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2009, 03:48:23 AM »

Goodness gracious, everyone.  This is supposed to be a "Let's make peace" thread, and there's already an argument.  It's almost midnight and tomorrow is Sunday.  Let's go to bed and pray for peace and a new beginning tomorrow.
Well it's already Sunday here and in New Zealand.
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2009, 03:50:32 AM »

Oh.  I can never keep track of these time differences.  Well whatever.   
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2009, 03:50:57 AM »

I think having a way to identify clerics/monastics/Khouria versus laity is an excellent idea. There is a level of respect that must be given to clergy period. It doesn't matter if you disagree or even personally think they are an idiot. People tend to treat people on-line differently than they would in person. And I find the tone some have used with Fr. Ambrose recently rude and uncalled for. Whether you disagree with him or not, the rudeness that I have seen him treated with is not acceptable at all in my opinion. Go back thru your posts and see if you would talk to a priest in person like you have to Fr. Ambrose. I doubt you would no matter how much you disagreed with them. Disagreement is fine, rudeness is not.
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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2009, 03:52:54 AM »

Quote
You mean the bit where he publicly made false claims about the Ecumenical Patriarch (whether knowingly or not). Yeah, that was pretty disgusting.

Very good, George, you'll get a gold star. So a forum moderator's questioning a priest's credentials is OK, is it? So sad. So very sad.  Cry
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2009, 03:58:16 AM »

And I find the tone some have used with Fr. Ambrose recently rude and uncalled for. Whether you disagree with him or not, the rudeness that I have seen him treated with is not acceptable at all in my opinion. Go back thru your posts and see if you would talk to a priest in person like you have to Fr. Ambrose. I doubt you would no matter how much you disagreed with them. Disagreement is fine, rudeness is not.


George got into trouble for this, and justifiably so.  He got a colored dot by his name.  It would be nice to give him a fresh start now.   Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2009, 04:01:46 AM »

I think having a way to identify clerics/monastics/Khouria versus laity is an excellent idea. There is a level of respect that must be given to clergy period. It doesn't matter if you disagree or even personally think they are an idiot. People tend to treat people on-line differently than they would in person. And I find the tone some have used with Fr. Ambrose recently rude and uncalled for. Whether you disagree with him or not, the rudeness that I have seen him treated with is not acceptable at all in my opinion. Go back thru your posts and see if you would talk to a priest in person like you have to Fr. Ambrose. I doubt you would no matter how much you disagreed with them. Disagreement is fine, rudeness is not.
Being Clergy or a Presbytera makes no difference to the veracity of one's claims. To appeal to one's status as "proof" that what one says is true and that claims they are false are "unfair" is the fallacy of argumentum ad misericordiam

Very good, George, you'll get a gold star. So a forum moderator's questioning a priest's credentials is OK, is it? So sad. So very sad.  Cry
How dare you? How do you know I'm not a Priest? Actually, how do you know I'm not a Metropolitan? And, if that's the case, does that make any difference to the truth of what I claim?

Well it's already Sunday here and in New Zealand.
I attended Liturgy this morning. I've baked double chocolate chip cookies. I've visited Gwen in the nursing home and now I'm making Pork in Apple Cider and Wholegrain Mustard Cream Sauce with gnocchi for dinner.
That's how I spent my Sunday. Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2009, 04:02:16 AM »

Look, fellas.  Fr. Anastasios intended this thread as an attempt to make peace after the recent hostilities, and already we see the hostilities carrying over into here.  Give it a rest and work to make peace so we don't have to lock this thread.  Okay?
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« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2009, 04:03:13 AM »

His dot isn't there now. But Fr. Ambrose still has one.

I don't think we should automatically believe someone because they are Clergy. But I do think we should "salute the office" and treat them with a certain level of respect even when we disagree.
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« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2009, 04:04:15 AM »

Phew, this thread has gone awry. Cry

Fr Anastasios started it as a way of promoting peace.

I replied to him and supported him in his hope for peace.

But then the contrary postings started.

Fr Anastasios is away for Sunday attending to his priestly duties in one of his parishes.

What say we allow this thread to rest peacefully, and when he returns on Monday he will tell us his throughts and what he wants from the Forum.
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« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2009, 04:04:47 AM »

His dot isn't there now. But Fr. Ambrose still has one.

Fine.
I'll give myself one now.

 
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« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2009, 04:05:55 AM »

And if someone uses their status as clergy to back up a claim that is false that doesn't mean we should automatically drop all pretense of respect. You wouldn't do that in school I imagine Smiley I know I tried to do that to teachers when I was in school and learned my lesson quickly about how acceptable that behavior is Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2009, 04:07:08 AM »

And if someone uses their status as clergy to back up a claim that is false that doesn't mean we should automatically drop all pretense of respect.
I'm not very good at pretence.
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« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2009, 04:08:11 AM »

Look, fellas.  Fr. Anastasios intended this thread as an attempt to make peace after the recent hostilities, and already we see the hostilities carrying over into here.  Give it a rest and work to make peace so we don't have to lock this thread.  Okay?
That goes for you ladies, too.
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« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2009, 04:09:53 AM »

Phew, this thread has gone awry. Cry

Fr Anastasios started it as a way of promoting peace.

I replied to him and supported him in his hope for peace.

But then the contrary postings started.

Fr Anastasios is away for Sunday attending to his priestly duties in one of his parishes.

What say we allow this thread to rest peacefully, and when he returns on Monday he will tell us his throughts and what he wants from the Forum.

Look, fellas.  Fr. Anastasios intended this thread as an attempt to make peace after the recent hostilities, and already we see the hostilities carrying over into here.  Give it a rest and work to make peace so we don't have to lock this thread.  Okay?
That goes for you ladies, too.

I agree. If I have caused trouble I apologize. Forgiveness Vespers is on the horizon. I often wish we could get everyone together online to have a forgiveness Vespers. It is so freeing to forgive and be forgiven.
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« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2009, 04:18:59 AM »

Well, you know my name is George. You know my jurisdiction. What more do you want.


Do you like chocolate chip cookies?  Do Greeks eat gnocchi?  Grin
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« Reply #33 on: February 15, 2009, 04:19:39 AM »

I agree. If I have caused trouble I apologize. Forgiveness Vespers is on the horizon. I often wish we could get everyone together online to have a forgiveness Vespers. It is so freeing to forgive and be forgiven.

We have a thread every year for the mutual asking of forgiveness.
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« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2009, 04:21:25 AM »

And if someone uses their status as clergy to back up a claim that is false that doesn't mean we should automatically drop all pretense of respect.
I'm not very good at pretence.

Well, now I accept your claim to Ozzie-ness.  Pretence is one of the things that Ozzies are not good at.   Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2009, 04:25:43 AM »

I agree. If I have caused trouble I apologize. Forgiveness Vespers is on the horizon. I often wish we could get everyone together online to have a forgiveness Vespers. It is so freeing to forgive and be forgiven.

We have a thread every year for the mutual asking of forgiveness.


But we can't see each other and touch each other. Forgiveness is different in person.
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« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2009, 04:26:06 AM »

I don't think we should automatically believe someone because they are Clergy. But I do think we should "salute the office" and treat them with a certain level of respect even when we disagree.

I agree.  The question is, how does this work out in a discussion forum?  George may have crossed the line, but where is the line in a place where lively debate is supposed to happen?  I guess I don't know the answer myself.  There are rules about how to treat clergy in our Churches, but how do they work out in real life?

It's like my friend who hates her job.  She works for her relatives and hates it.  So one day she quit.  Her relatives wanted her to come back, because she has some very specialized skills that are not easy to replace.  So her relatives called my priest to ask him to order her to go back to work.

Now in OO Churches, you're supposed to obey your spiritual father.  That's a really serious thing.  I don't know how it is in the EO Church, but in the OO Church you got to obey your spiritual father.  Unless he asks you to do something really obviously bad, like rob a bank or kill someone.  But that wasn't the case here.  The relatives just wanted my priest to tell my friend to go back to work.  

Fortunately, my priest refused to use his authority in that way.  Instead he called my friend to get her version of the story, then called back and forth between her and her relatives until a deal was reached.  I think the deal was that she went back to work, but got something like a fifteen percent raise and she only works four days a week now.  Or something like that.  So now she still hates her job, but she can't leave it because she can't find a place that will pay her that much money for working four days a week.  

Anyway, what if my priest had actually used his authority to order my friend to just go back to work?  Would it have been a sin for her to refuse?  Where do you draw the line?

Sorry for rambling on.  It's late and I probably don't know what I am typing.  I guess I just think we need to figure out how laypersons and priests should dialogue with each other on a discussion forum where lively debate is the norm.  I'm not saying we should insult priests.  That's just wrong.  However, I don't feel comfortable with a situation where we can't strongly disagree with them either.  We just need to find that balance.
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« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2009, 04:27:11 AM »

Do you like chocolate chip cookies?  Do Greeks eat gnocchi?  Grin
Yes and yes.
I am skiing in New Zealand this winter, so I'll come over and make you some. Actually, on second thought, may be I'd better not. Given your heart condition, I'm sure people will think I'm trying to bump you off with the fat content!

Here's the recipes:


Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

125gm dark chocolate (melted)
125gm butter
75gm brown sugar
160 gm flour (increased from her original 150gm)
30 gm cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract
200 gm chocolate chip
handful of crushed walnuts

1. Cream the butter and sugar. ( I used the Magimix for this, take note, GFAB)
2. Pour in the melted chocolate, (cooled), and pulse until mixed
3. Add the egg and essence. Pulse again
4. Pulse in the sifted dry ingredients. At this point you should get a cohesive cookie dough that looks like very hard frozen dark chocolate ice cream.
5. Pulse in the nuts and choc chips.
6. Scoop out (using an ice cream scoop) levelled spoons of dough, onto a baking tray.
7. Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes.


Mustard pork chops
Serves 2

I love the old French favorites, the sorts that evoke not the supercilious waiter and theatrically removed silvered dome of the big-name restaurants, but rather the small-town bistro, all warm wood and rough red wine.

This is possibly the easiest route to a proper, filling, and yet strangely delicate dinner. The pork is cooked for just enough time to take away pinkness but ensure tenderness within, and gloriously scorched without. The mustard, cider, and cream add comfort and piquancy. To soak up the gorgeous juices, and to serve as a fantastically quick potato substitute, I serve up gnocchi alongside. You could always add a little lemony fennel sliced thinly, or a green salad if you’re in the mood.

INGREDIENTS

• 2 pork chops, about 1 lb. total weight
• 2 teaspoons garlic oil
• 1/2 cup hard cider
• 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
• ⅓ cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Cut the fat off the chops, and then bash them briefly but brutally with a rolling pin between two pieces of plastic wrap to make them thinner.

Heat the oil in a pan, and then cook the chops over a moderately high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Remove them to a warmed plate.

Pour the cider into the pan, still over the heat, to deglaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so, then add the mustard and stir the cream.

Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over each plated pork chop.  If you’re having gnocchi with, make sure you turn them in the pan to absorb any spare juices before adding them to your plates.
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What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2009, 04:28:50 AM »

I don't think we should automatically believe someone because they are Clergy. But I do think we should "salute the office" and treat them with a certain level of respect even when we disagree.

I agree.  The question is, how does this work out in a discussion forum?  George may have crossed the line, but where is the line in a place where lively debate is supposed to happen?  I guess I don't know the answer myself.  There are rules about how to treat clergy in our Churches, but how do they work out in real life?

It's like my friend who hates her job.  She works for her relatives and hates it.  So one day she quit.  Her relatives wanted her to come back, because she has some very specialized skills that are not easy to replace.  So her relatives called my priest to ask him to order her to go back to work.

Now in OO Churches, you're supposed to obey your spiritual father.  That's a really serious thing.  I don't know how it is in the EO Church, but in the OO Church you got to obey your spiritual father.  Unless he asks you to do something really obviously bad, like rob a bank or kill someone.  But that wasn't the case here.  The relatives just wanted my priest to tell my friend to go back to work. 

Fortunately, my priest refused to use his authority in that way.  Instead he called my friend to get her version of the story, then called back and forth between her and her relatives until a deal was reached.  I think the deal was that she went back to work, but got something like a fifteen percent raise and she only works four days a week now.  Or something like that.  So now she still hates her job, but she can't leave it because she can't find a place that will pay her that much money for working four days a week. 

Anyway, what if my priest had actually used his authority to order my friend to just go back to work?  Would it have been a sin for her to refuse?  Where do you draw the line?

Sorry for rambling on.  It's late and I probably don't know what I am typing.  I guess I just think we need to figure out how laypersons and priests should dialogue with each other on a discussion forum where lively debate is the norm.  I'm not saying we should insult priests.  That's just wrong.  However, I don't feel comfortable with a situation where we can't strongly disagree with them either.  We just need to find that balance.

I absolutely know where you are coming from Salpy.
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« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2009, 08:29:31 AM »

What could be the problem of using a REAL name. For one thing, it will make people more accountable for the things that are written. If you know you might possibly meet your Orthodox Brother in person, it might make one think about being charitable. I for one have NO problem with using my real name. 

It seems to me that if you are not posting addresses, etc. Internet security isn't a problem.
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« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2009, 10:09:40 AM »

What could be the problem of using a REAL name.  It seems to me that if you are not posting addresses, etc. Internet security isn't a problem.
I strongly prefer not using my real name, and I have absolutely no problem with admins, mods, or anyone else using a "forum name", if they desire.

On another forum once, a fellow poster was using her real name, as was I.  In one of her posts, she made a comment to which I thought "TMI".  Out of curiosity, I pieced together scattered info from other posts in the forum, and within a few minutes on the web was able to find her home address, age, telephone number, etc.  It scared me.  I quit using my real name.
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« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2009, 10:10:56 AM »

I was always curious how much people really use the PM method to resolve their debates.  I would think that if we pushed this more, at least people's arguments would not be public, and they can handle things between themselves like adults.  If you want a mediator, maybe we could set up something like that. 

Just some thoughts. 
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What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2009, 12:27:54 PM »

I can't use my real name because it is so very easy to find people based on posting history. My first name is so unusual in the US that if I used it on a forum I would be found rather quickly. I live in a large city, but I doubt there are more than a handful (if that) of other people with my first name here. As long as my husband's security clearance is active and he is in the military I simply can't use my real name online. I could go by my middle name, but even that would be pushing it. Try googling your first and last name and city, you would be surprised to know that your info already could be online. Thus far even with my unusual name I am not on the first few pages of a google search of my name. (My amazon profile for reviews  pops up but that doesn't list my address).
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« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2009, 04:12:39 PM »

Hint: When I wrote that post last night, I was not hoping to rehash the past Smiley

Given that I need to do some forum maintenance, I think I will just do that in the middle of the day instead of waiting until night. Give everyone some extra time to do other stuff.
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« Reply #44 on: February 16, 2009, 11:44:24 AM »

Dear Forum Members,

The purpose of this peace thread was quite simply to make peace, not to rehash the same controversy from previous threads. My post served as a model wherein I asked for forgiveness for my shortcomings in dealing with recent situations and did not attempt to redress anything in specific but rather attempted to inspire mutual forgiveness and forgetting of past wrongs without precondition (I had expected a response like the Father of the Prodigal Son who did not ask for redress but was overjoyed at the return of his son).

Given that that did not happen, and a few additional points were brought up, I will in my capacity as founder and owner of this site make a few comments.

1) I appreciate Fr Ambrose (Irish Hermit)’s positive comments regarding our forum. However, I believe that the proposal for a policy amendment and return to specifics of his case diverted the thread and that this was ill advised.  I will say no more as Fr Ambrose and I have agreed to a one-on-one discussion to help address his personal case.

2) I disagree with George (Ozgeorge)’s assessment about personalities. While I agree that personalities “should not” be involved, I believe they are, and that it has become far more than an issue of two posters disagreeing over sources.  The way that various posters have responded has had a lot to do with the results. The assertion about typed messages revealing personalities is an interesting question for discussion which I think would make an interesting thread at a later date when the dust settles, though.

3) Moderatorial Anonymity and Poster Anonymity in general. Contrary to the opinions expressed by some posters, having one’s real name floating around a message board (the posts of which are indexed by various search engines and marketing firms) is not a good idea and does post a security issue for many people. I work in the Information Technology world. It is not a good idea to post one’s full name on a board such as this.  Fraudsters can get a good feel for someone from a message board and then use that information.  This is not to say that it is dangerous to post as oneself, but rather that there are associated risks that each person much determine for him or herself.  As such, I will not and will never ask posters to identify themselves publicly.  First name and last initial is really not that much more secure than full name.  The Orthodox world is a small world and anyone spending enough time on message boards can figure things out.  I have been tracked down by people before various times and I’m not willing to expose moderators to this against their will.

Moderators are chosen from among the pool of known and relatively long-standing participants, and are usually known to the Administrators.  If they are not, the Administrators get to know them and their personal details.  They are known to us, and if there is some concern about a moderator it can be expressed to the global moderator above the moderator, or if the concern is about a global moderator, it can be expressed to Fr Chris, the forum administrator.  If he is unavailable, a final possibility is to contact me.

As far as other Orthodox lists requiring full identification, that may be their policy, but it is not one I think well-advised for the above reasons.

4) I would like to address LBK’s statement about moderators: our moderators do their work to the best of their ability. We are all human beings with faults, and the moderators may not always live up to their potential, but they do give it their all.  I know the site you mention and it has never been a site I personally find very engaging or something I want to participate in regularly. OCnet, however, has led me to a lot of great friendships (including in person) and contacts all around the world. OCnet to me is a family, and sometimes families have interfamilial rivalries.  OCnet to me is about halfway between the seriousness of a forum such as the one you mention (which is good for very intellectual discussion) and a forum such as TAW which is to me a laid-back highly informal place.  Each forum has its own personalities and not all forums may be suited for all people.

Other forums may immediately act to quell problems but I find that in such situations there are usually people with hurt feelings that go unexpressed.  We have therefore often let disputes carry on for at least some time in public, even when they get rough, rather then just start banning or muting people without a chance to express themselves. Speaking personally, I have reopened threads where I know someone is going to criticize my decision rather than let that person feel that their voice is unimportant.

Deliberate and outright rudeness should be dealt with faster, and it is something we will try to rectify. Please offer your prayers for this intent.

5) Moderators as posters.  To address Quinault’s concern: a moderator is only acting as a moderator when writing in green as you stated; however, we are aware that vigorous posting in the same thread where moderation then occurs may result in ambiguity, especially in reference to source requests. This policy is being reviewed by the administrators and will be announced in due time.

6) Rehashing the issue of ozgeorge being rude to Irish Hermit: this issue has been dealt with. ozgeorge was given a warning for being rude to Irish Hermit, but the whole reason he was rude to Irish Hermit stemmed from his zeal to defend his patriarch, Patriarch Bartholemew.  The statement of LBK suggesting that it is acceptable on OCnet for moderators to question priests’ credentials ignores the action taken in this regard and constitutes bearing false witness and remembering past wrongs.  The policy of this forum is that all posters--not just priests--will be treated with respect and fairness, including by forum staff.  It is also the policy of this forum that if someone is warned and then serves out their punishment, the warning goes away, and the incident is forgotten as should be standard operating procedure for any Orthodox Christian.

Any further reiterations of ozgeorge being rude to Irish Hermit will simply be deleted by me.  Any claims that this forum supports moderators insulting or questioning the credentials of priests will be considered bearing false witness and punitive action will be taken.  This problem has been addressed numerous times, and it will not be discussed any longer in this public forum.

If the behavior is for some reason repeated, kindly report the post wherein such new behavior occurs, but barring that, this issue is closed for discussion.

To answer Quinault’s point though, warnings expire at a predetermined time.  If ozgeorge’s dot expired, Irish Hermit’s would have soon enough.  There is no unfair standard here: the software handles warning times unless modified manually.

Some final reiterations:

1) This forum recognizes that Fr Ambrose is an Orthodox priest in good standing and does not question his credentials.

2) Being a priest will not be grounds to be exempt from providing sources, especially in cases where a claim is made about an Orthodox patriarch, but the manner of delivery will be examined for future cases.

3) Requests for sources are not attacks on a person’s credibility but stem from a desire to see where the information is coming from and its context.

4) The policy of source gathering and moderators moderating in threads where they are posting will be reviewed and revised.

5) Insulting another poster will not be acceptable.

6) Moderation complaints should be addressed to the superior of the person who is being complained about. We actually do take such reports seriously.

7) Moderators and Administrators are volunteers who often work jobs. Priest volunteers also have parish considerations. If something takes a “long time” to resolve please consider this.

8 ) I am removing both Fr Ambrose and ozgeorge's warnings.

A restatement of this forum’s purpose:

OCnet exists for three reasons: to bring people into the Orthodox Church; to grow Orthodox people’s understanding of their faith; to provide fellowship amongst Orthodox people and non-Orthodox of good will.

Anything that jeopardizes this forum’s ability to meet these goals will be examined very seriously.

This thread will now be closed. Please do not open new threads about this thread. I will close such threads. If you have a genuine concern please address it to me privately and I will engage you in private.

If anyone feels so inclined, I will start a forgiveness thread early this year. Such a thread will only be for apologies and not to seek redress.  We should forget past wrongs.

Finally, any further tit-for-tats will result in me giving the forum additional "breaks" as needed.

Sincerely,

Fr Anastasios
Forum Owner and Co-Administrator
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« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2009, 09:41:19 PM »

Since the Prodigal Son was mentioned above, it seemed good to add some of the texts of this feast and a commentary.


Services of the Triodion for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son       
Written by Monachos.net Webmaster     
Monday, 09 February 2009 13:21

VESPERS
‘Lord, I have cried unto Thee…’
(7 stichera of the Resurrection, then:)

Tone 1

Rich and fertile was the earth allotted to us,
But all we planted were the seeds of sin.
We reaped the sheaves of evil with the sickle of laziness;
We failed to place them on the threshing-floor of sorrow.
Now we beg Thee, Lord, eternal Master of the harvest:
May Thy love become the breeze to winnow the straw of our worthless deeds.
Make us like precious wheat to be stored in heaven, and save us all!
(twice)

Brethren, our purpose is to know the power of God's goodness,
For when the Prodigal Son abandoned his sin,
He hastened to the refuge of his Father.
That good man embraced him and welcomed him:
He killed the fatted calf and celebrated with heavenly joy!
Let us learn from this example to offer thanks to the Father who loves all people,
And to the Victim, the glorious Saviour of our souls!

Glory…  Tone 2

What great blessings have I forsaken, wretch that I am?
From what Kingdom have I miserably fallen?
I have squandered the riches that were given me;
I have transgressed the commandments!
Woe to me when I shall be condemned to eternal fire!
Cry out to Christ, O my soul, before the end draws near:
Receive me as the Prodigal, O God, and have mercy on me!

Now and ever… (of the Resurrection)

Aposticha
(Of the Resurrection; then:)

Glory… Tone 6

I hid my face in shame, a wretched man!
I have squandered the riches my Father gave to me;
I went to live with senseless beasts:
I sought their food and hungered, for I had not enough to eat.
I will arise, I will return to my compassionate Father:
He will accept my tears as I kneel before Him, crying:
In Thy tender love for all men receive me as one of Thy servants and save me!

Now and ever…

My Maker and Redeemer, Christ the Lord,
Was born of thee, most pure Virgin!
By accepting my nature He freed Adam from his ancient curse!
Unceasingly we magnify thee as the Mother of God!
Rejoice, celestial joy!
Rejoice, O Lady,
The protection, intercession, and salvation of our souls!



MATINS
After the psalms of the Polyeleon we sing Psalm 137: ‘By the waters of Babylon…’, to a slow and solemn melody.  At the end of each verse we sing Alleluia and make a deep bow.  After the reading of the Resurrection Gospel we sing ‘Having beheld the Resurrection…’, Psalm 50, and the Lenten verses: ‘Open to me the gates of repentance…’.

The Canon, in Tone 2 (by Joseph)

Canticle One:

Irmos: Take up the song of Moses and cry aloud, my soul:
The Lord is my helper and protector,
He has become my salvation:
This is my God, and I will glorify Him!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

Jesus my God, accept me also now in repentance
As Thou didst the Prodigal Son:
I have lived all my life in carelessness
And provoked Thee to anger.

I have sinfully wasted the divine wealth that once Thou gavest me;
I have departed far from Thee and lived as the Prodigal.
Compassionate Father, accept me now also as I return.

Open Thine arms to embrace me as a Father now,
Accepting me also as the Prodigal Son,
That I may glorify Thee with thanksgiving
Most merciful Lord!

Theotokion:

Bestow the fullness of Thy grace upon me, O God;
Be a benefactor to me,
And at the holy prayers of Thy Mother
Overlook the great number of my offenses.

Katavasia: Take up the song of Moses…

Canticle Three:

Irmos: O God, the Husbandman of all good trees and fruit,
In Thy compassion, make fruitful my barren mind.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

Completely beside myself in madness,
I have clung to the sins suggested to me by the passions.
But accept me, O Christ, as the Prodigal.
With the words of the Prodigal, I cry aloud:
I have sinned, O Father!
Receive me now like him in Thine embrace
And do not reject me.

Open Thine arms, O Christ, and receive me in loving kindness
As I return from a far country of sin and passions.

Theotokion:

My sins have brought me to poverty,
O fairest among women:
Enrich me, pure Virgin, with the vision of beauty,
That I may glorify thee.

Katavasia: O God the husbandman…

Sessional Hymn, Tone 1

Hasten to open Thy Fatherly embrace to me,
For I have wasted my life as the Prodigal.
In the unfailing wealth of Thy mercy O Saviour,
Do not reject my heart in its poverty.
For I cry to Thee with compunction, O Lord:
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee!

Glory…

(Repeat: Hasten to open…)

Now and ever… Theotokion in the same tone:

Thou art the only guardian and protection of the faithful,
Pure and unwedded Virgin Theotokos:
Deliver from danger, distress and affliction
All who have put their hope in thee
And by thy divine intercession
Save our souls, O Maiden.

Canticle Four:

Irmos: Foreseeing Thy birth from a Virgin,
The prophet cried aloud:
I have heard the report of Thee and was afraid;
For Thou hast come from Teman, O Christ,
The Holy One from the overshadowed mountain.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

The wealth of blessings which Thou gavest me, Heavenly Father
I have wrongfully wasted, becoming the slave of strangers.
Therefore I cry aloud to Thee:
Father, I have sinned against Thee!
Receive me like the Prodigal of old,
And open Thine arms to me.

I have become enslaved to every evil in my wretchedness,
Bowing down before the demons that provoke the passions;
Through heedlessness I have lost possession of myself, O Saviour;
Take pity on me as I flee to Thy many mercies for refuge, heavenly Father.

Filled with shame, I dare not look up to the height of heaven,
For I have foolishly bowed down to sin.
But now I return and cry out in compunction:
I have sinned against Thee; receive me, O King of all.

Theotokion:

Thou art the help of men, and the refuge of the saved,
The sure hope of all Christians, undefiled Virgin.
Save me as a mother by thine intercessions,
Counting me worthy of the life to come.

Katavasia: Foreseeing Thy birth…

Canticle Five:

Irmos: The night is far spent; the day is at hand:
The Light has shone forth on the world!
Therefore the ranks of angels sing Thy praises and glorify Thee, OChrist our God!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

I was enslaved to strangers;
Filled with shame, and an exile in the land of corruption.
But now I return, O merciful Lord,
And I cry to Thee:  I have sinned!

Accept me now in Thy compassion, Heavenly Father,
As I return from evil;
And in Thine exceeding mercy, do not reject me.

I have angered Thee beyond measure, O Christ,
And I dare not look up at the height of heaven.
But knowing Thy compassion, merciful Lord, I cry:
I have sinned!  Be merciful to me and save me!

Theotokion:

All-holy Virgin, full of grace,
Thou hast borne the redemption of all!
By thy prayers, lighten the great burden of my sins.

Katavasia: The night is far spent…

Canticle Six:

Irmos: Saviour, I am held fast in the depth of sin,
Overwhelmed by the sea of life.
But as Thou didst bring forth Jonah from the belly of the whale,
So bring me out from the passions and save me!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

The depths of sin ever hold me fast,
And the tempest of transgressions overwhelms me!
Pilot me, O Christ my God, to the haven of life
And save me, King of Glory!

I have wasted in evil living the wealth which the Father gavest me,
And now I am brought to poverty.
I am filled with shame and enslaved to fruitless thoughts.
Therefore I cry to Thee, Lover of Mankind:
Take pity on me and save me!

I am wasted with hunger, deprived of every blessing,
And an exile from Thy presence.
O Christ, supreme in loving kindness,
Take pity on me now as I return and save me
As I sing Thy praises, Lover of Mankind!

Theotokion:

Maiden who conceived Christ the Saviour and Master,
Count me worthy of salvation.
I lack all good in my poverty, pure Virgin:
Grant that I may sing the praises of thy majesty!

Katavasia: Saviour, I am held fast…

Kontakion, Tone 3

I have recklessly forgotten Thy glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which Thou gavest me.
And now I cry to Thee as the Prodigal:
I have sinned before Thee, merciful Father;
Receive me a penitent and make me as one of Thy hired servants.

Ikos

Every day our Saviour teaches us with His own voice: so let us listen to the Scriptures on the Prodigal Son who regained wisdom, and let us follow the good example of his repentance with faith, and with humility of heart cry out to Him who knows all secrets:  we have sinned against Thee, merciful Father, and are not worthy ever again to be called Thy children as before.  But since by nature Thou art the Lover of Mankind, // Receive me a penitent and make me as one of Thy hired servants.

Canticle Seven:

Irmos: The children sang together in the furnace
As cherubim in heaven:
Blessed art Thou, O God,
For in truth and judgement Thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins,
And Thou art praised and glorified above all forever!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

I have miserably bowed down to the pleasures of the body
Becoming wholly enslaved to the demons that provoke the passions.
I have become a stranger to Thee, Lover of Mankind.
But now I cry with the voice of the Prodigal:
I have sinned, O Christ, despise me not,
For Thou alone art merciful.

I do not dare look up at the height of heaven, O King of all:
I cry out:  I have sinned;
For in my foolishness, I alone have angered Thee,
Rejecting Thy commandments.
Therefore, only Good One,
Do not cast me away from Thy presence.

At the prayers of the apostles, martyrs and prophets,
The holy saints and the righteous, O Christ my Lord,
Forgive me all the offenses which have provoked Thee to anger in Thy goodness,
And I shall sing Thy praises for evermore.

Theotokion:

Theotokos, more glorious than the cherubim and seraphim,
And all the heavenly hosts!
Together with them, undefiled Virgin,
Entreat Him who took flesh from thee:
God the Word from the Father without beginning,
That we may all be counted worthy of eternal blessings!

Katavasia: The children sang together…

Canticle Eight:

Irmos: Let us praise Him, who of old in the burning bush
Prefigured the miracle of the Virgin to Moses on Sinai:
Let us bless and exalt Him above all forever!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

In great mercy Thou camest down upon earth
To save the world through Thy voluntary poverty:
Save me in Thy compassion,
For I am poor in all good works.

I have departed far from Thy commandments,
And am enslaved to the deceiver in utter wretchedness.
But now I turn back as the Prodigal of old:
Accept me as I fall before Thee, heavenly Father.

I am full of darkness and cut off from Thee,
Ruled by corrupting thoughts,
I have lost all possession of myself, merciful Lord.
Therefore save me as I fall before Thee in repentance.

Theotokion:

Pure Mother of God, the only restoration of the fallen,
Raise me up, for I am wholly crushed,
Humbled by every kind of sin.

Katavasia: Let us praise Him, who of old…

The Song of the Mother of God (Magnificat) is then sung.

Canticle Nine:

Irmos: Who of those born on earth
Has seen or heard of such a thing!
A Virgin conceives and bears a child without the pain of travail!
Beholding thy wonder, O Mary, pure Mother of God, we magnify thee!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

Behold the affliction of my heart, O Christ:
Look upon my turning back;
Behold my tears, O Saviour, and do not despise me,
But in Thy compassion, embrace me once again,
And count me with the number of the saved,
That with thanksgiving I may sing the praises of Thy mercy.

As the thief I cry to Thee:  remember me!
As the Publican, with downcast eyes, I beat my breast and say:  be merciful!
As the Prodigal, deliver me from every evil, O King who pities all,
That I may sing the praises of Thy boundless compassion.

Groan now, my all-wretched soul, and cry aloud to Christ:
Lord who for my sake voluntarily became poor,
In my poverty I lack every good work.
Make me rich with the abundance of Thy blessings,
For Thou alone art full of love and mercy.

Once Thou rejoiced at the voluntary return of the Prodigal, loving Lord:
Rejoice now because of me, wretch though I am.
Open Thy holy embrace to me,
That being saved I may sing the praises of Thy boundless compassion.

Theotokion:

I pray thee, Virgin, through thy light-giving intercessions,
Enlighten the eyes of my mind, darkened by evil.
Lead me into the paths of repentance,
So shall I rightly sing thy praises,
For thou gavest flesh to the ineffable Word!

Katavasia: Who of those born on earth…

Exapostilaria

First the exapostilarion of the Resurrection, then:

Glory… Now and ever…

Saviour, I set off on a foolish journey;
I wasted all Thy precious gifts of grace.
I lived in luxury, and the devils were my friends;
I return to Thee empty-handed, loving Father.
Receive me in repentance, as Thou didst accept the Prodigal;
Restore to me my baptismal robe of purity, and save me!

The Praises
(5 stikhera of the Resurrection, then:)

Tone 2

Lord, I offer Thee the voice of the Prodigal Son:
I have sinned before heaven and before Thee, Good Master!
I have squandered the fortune Thou gavest me!
Receive me in repentance, Saviour, and save me!

Tone 4

Compassionate One, I come before Thee like the Prodigal Son:
For many years I have abandoned Thee, and now Thou art a stranger to me.
Restore to me the first love which I wasted, Lord;
Receive me in repentance and save me!

Tone 8

I have wasted my Father's fortune for a life of luxury!
Now I wander aimlessly in the barren lands of the wicked.
No longer can I bear their loathsome company!
I will arise and return to my Father, crying:
I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, my Lord.
I am no longer worthy to be called Thy son://
Accept me as one of Thy hired servants and have mercy on me!

Glory…  Tone 6

Even though I have abandoned Thee, good Father,
Do not forsake me!  Do not cast me out of the Kingdom!
The most evil enemy has stolen my fortune and left me naked;
I have loved riotous living more than spiritual gifts,
But now I return to Thee with tears and sighs:
Take me back as one of Thy hired servants, Lord.
For my sake Thou hast stretched Thy pure hands upon the Cross;
Thou hast delivered me from the wicked enemy’s grasp,
Restoring to me the wedding garment of purity,
Since Thou alone art the merciful Lover of Mankind!

Now and ever…  Tone 2

(The usual Theotokion: ‘Thou art most blessed…’)



DIVINE LITURGY
(The Troparion of the Resurrection in the tone of the week, then:)

Kontakion of the Prodigal Son, Tone 3

I have recklessly forgotten Thy glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which Thou gavest me.
And now I cry to Thee as the Prodigal:
I have sinned before Thee, merciful Father;
Receive me a penitent, and make me as one of Thy hired servants.



All to no purpose have I left my true home...'       
Written by M.C. Steenberg     
Thursday, 08 February 2001 18:02
Reflections on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son


The second Sunday of the Triodion, the second Sunday before the Vespers of Forgiveness and the beginning of Great and Holy Lent, is dedicated to the recollection of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15.11-32). 'A certain man had two sons', both highly favoured, one of a more rebellious spirit than the other. The story, perhaps among the most well-loved of the Gospel parables, though it appears only in the Gospel of Luke, is familiar to most. The wealth of the young son is squandered by his raucous living, and from the mire of his agony (literally, from the mud of a pig-stall) he has a change of heart and returns home, humbled. His father, certainly justified in any anger he might choose to show, instead embraces his 'prodigal' with tears and sets a mighty feast. 'For my son was lost, and now is found'.

Each year, as the cycle of the Great Fast begins, the preparatory season of weeks leading up to Lent as marked out in its centre by the reading of this great story. It is, as Bishop +KALLISTOS of Diokleia has stated, 'an exact ikon of repentance in its different stages',1 and so the authors and compilers of the Triodion have placed it at the start of the great season of repentance: an icon and image of the reality of the coming weeks.

Brethren, let us learn the meaning of this mystery. For when the Prodigal Son ran back from sin to his Father's house, his loving Father came out to meet him and kissed him. He restored to the Prodigal tokens of his proper glory, and mystically He made glad on high, sacrificing the fatted calf. Let our lives, then, be worthy of the loving Father who has offered sacrifice, and of the glorious Victim who is the Saviour of our souls. (Sticheron at Vespers)
Firstly, the story of the Prodigal teaches us of the character of the Father, the God whom we worship at all times. The holy Apostle John proclaims 'God is love' (1 Jn 4.Cool, and in this parable we have the ultimate image of that love. The Father gifts His son with uncalled-for blessings; He stands watch for the return of His lost child; His forgiveness is so swift and so great that the wayward son cannot even finish his pleas for mercy before the Father has embraced his return; He rejoices above due measure when the lost is once again found. The Father's love is active, attentive.

Yet the parable teaches us also of ourselves. We know from the moment that the story begins, that the Prodigal Son is none other than our own selves, that the divine Jesus tells the story of our own sinfulness and error. So does the Triodion here, as elsewhere, move the narrative into the first-person.

I have wasted the wealth which the Father gave to me, and in my wretchedness I have fed with the dumb beasts. Yearning after their food, I remained hungry and could not eat my fill. But now I return to the compassionate Father and cry with tears: I fall down before Thy loving-kindness, receive me as a hired servant and save me! (Sticheron at the Lity)
We acknowledge the goodness of the Father and admit of the bare, evident reality of the 'wealth' He has given us: our lives, the beauty of the world, His truth, His salvation. None of these blessings can be denied, if only one opens his eyes to the reality of the world in which he lives. But even as we acknowledge our divine gifts, so too do we acknowledge the waste we have made of these treasures.

The divine wealth that once Thou gavest me I have sinfully wasted. I have departed far from Thee and lived as the Prodigal, O compassionate Father. Accept me now also as I return. (Troparion from Canticle One, Canon)
None has taken the good things of God from us: their absence is the result only of our turning away from the supply of divine blessings. We waste what we have received and we turn and 'depart far from Thee', running from the source of good as if we had somewhere more important to be. We can put the blame upon no one's shoulders but our own. I have sinfully wasted the divine wealth that I was given. I have departed far from God. I have fed with dumb beasts and never eaten my fill. I, even as the prodigal, must come to realise my own hand at work in my spiritual ill-fortune and take responsibility for the state into which my own evil deeds have thrust me.

And what of this state? What is the reality of life when humanity turns from its Father? Exile. Exile, enslavement, and suffering.

I have become enslaved to every evil and in my wretchedness I have bowed down before the demons that provoke the passions; through heedlessness I have lost possession of myself. O Saviour, heavenly Father, take pity on me as I flee for refuge to Thy many mercies. (Troparion from Canticle Four, Canon)
The son becomes a slave, not because of any anger or vengefulness on the part of the Father, but because he has 'lost possession of himself' -- he has turned from the support of divine love and 'bowed down before the demons'. The passions of evil are taken on, voluntarily, as new masters, and with frightening agility they take control of our wills and minds and lead us far, far indeed, from our true home. This theme of 'exile', so often repeated during Great Lent, begins here.

I was enslaved to strangers, an exile in the land of corruption, and I was filled with shame. But now I return, merciful Lord, and cry to Thee: I have sinned! (Troparion from Canticle Five, Canon)

I am wasted with hunger, deprived of every blessing and an exile from Thy presence, O Christ supreme in loving-kindness. Take pity on me as I now return, and save me as I sing the praises of Thy love for mankind. (Troparion from Canticle Six, Canon)

Ruled by corrupting thoughts, I am full of darkness and separated far from Thee, and I have lost all possession of myself, O merciful Lord. Therefore save me as I fall before Thee in repentance. (Troparion from Canticle Eight, Canon)
It is not merely a coincidence that the haunting words of Psalm 136 ('By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept...'2) are sung for the first time during the Matins of the Sunday of the Prodigal Son: they are the words of a nation in exile, a nation dominated in a foreign land, weeping bitterly for the life which now stands afar off--a memory. So did the Prodigal weep from the stall of the swine, pondering the goodness of his Father's love from the mud and filth into which had had cast himself. At that moment, as he lay among the pigs, he longed for nothing more than a return home.

This is the spirit of Lent. The whole journey into Pascha can become our own if we are able to stand in examination of our lives, see how far we have brought ourselves from the life God intends for us, and then long, truly long to return to our true home. Whatever our Babylon, wherever our pen filled with swine, we must turn with tears toward the home from which we have sinfully departed and resolutely start our journey back, begging God's forgiveness in our return.

Our Saviour teaches us every day with His own voice: let us therefore hearken to the Scriptures concerning the Prodigal who became wise once more, and with faith let us follow the good example of his repentance. With humbleness of heart let us cry out to Him who knows all secrets: We have sinned against Thee, merciful Father, and are not worthy ever again to be called Thy children as before. But since Thou art by nature full of love for man, accept me and make me as one of Thy hired servants. (Ikos of the Canon)
True repentance begins with the acknowledgement of self-imposed exile. Such knowledge pains us, but it is a pain that leads to action, and action that leads to reform. And as Christ re-forms us into His heavenly life, we begin truly to live.

Behold, O Christ, the affliction of my heart; behold my turning back; behold my tears, O Saviour, and despise me not. But embrace me once again in Thy compassion and count me with the multitude of the saved, that with thanksgiving I may sing the praises of Thy mercy. (Troparion from Canticle Nine, Canon)
The story of the Prodigal Son is, indeed, an 'exact icon of repentance', inasmuch as through it we see the reality of repentance as it must be lived in our own lives. Bestowed with immeasurable blessings from the God of Love, we have in our wretchedness wasted what we have been given and wandered spitefully from the love of the Father. Eventually we must come to that place, that harsh moment, when in the stark reality of our sinful lives we realise, with the Prodigal, that 'all to no purpose have I left my true home'. Apart from God, there is nothing. We have each experienced this 'nothing', for we have each turned from God. But now, as we prepare to enter into Great Lent, we long for the great 'something' that is God's love and sanctification. Begging His mercy we strive for true repentance, that we may receive His salvation in all joy.

The wealth of grace that Thou hast given me, in my wretchedness I have wasted sinfully; all to no purpose have I left my true home, and as the Prodigal I have scattered my riches deceitfully among the demons. But now on my return accept me as the Prodigal, merciful Father, and save me. (First Exapostilarion of the Triodion)
Text by M.C. Steenberg, 2001
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« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2009, 06:40:16 PM »

A Statement from the Administrators of OrthodoxChristianity.net

The recent situation with the poster Irish Hermit, also known as Fr Ambrose, has again flared up, and a few words need to be said about this.

Beyond what the public sees in posts, there is a private moderators’ forum where all reported posts are sent for consideration by the moderatorial staff.  There have been a considerable number of posts reported by various people pertaining to this issue.

In addition, various posters have made use of the private messaging system to go outside of the normal chain of events, appealing directly to Fr Anastasios in many cases; but Fr Chris has also received various messages as have other moderators.  Some of the messages that we have received have actually been threatening in nature.

In the past week, both Fr Chris and Fr Anastasios have been contacted via telephone by various people who are demanding that we do various things as well. Therefore, please be aware that the following points are being stated with all of the above in mind, and not just the public posts.

1) Chain of responsibility
There is an established chain of responsibility on this forum. It is:
-Moderators over their forum
-2 Global Moderators, each over half of the moderators.
-The Administrative team: Fr Chris, over the forum, and Fr Anastasios, in charge of technical issues and content development.
Note: Fr Anastasios is also the owner of OrthodoxChristianity.net, but all decisions made pertaining to the site are done in concert with Fr Chris as a team.

All moderation must follow this chain. A post must be reported. If someone wishes to appeal a moderator’s action, or the dispute is with a moderator, then a global moderator should be contacted. Likewise, appeals against a global moderator should go to Fr Chris.  Appeals of Fr Chris will be made to Fr Anastasios who would theoretically consult with Fr Chris as a team, but it should be stated that in the normal case of events, Fr Anastasios does not engage in moderation.  Due to Fr Chris having recent commitments, Fr Anastasios has been intervening, but this will stop now.  Any future times when Fr Anastasios needs to step in for Fr Chris will be advertised in the Board News section.

Barring the absence of Fr Chris, no further appeals should be sent to Fr Anastasios outside the normal order of things.  Any future out-of-chain messages will be referred down to the appropriate person.

Today’s reemergence of the situation could have been avoided had the original offending post been reported in the appropriate manner.

2) Moderators as posters
Moderators on this site are volunteers selected from among active posters of demonstrated goodwill and balance.  They are selected from a diverse range of viewpoints as well for balance.

Moderators participate as posters the vast majority of the time, and normally only moderate in their own forum. This is done by posting in green.  When no global moderator is available and there is a pressing need, a moderator from another forum may step in, but such action is always referred to the moderator of the forum inside our private moderators’ forum. A global moderator has can moderate over the entire forum but is only acting in his official capacity when he or she likewise writes in the other color.

Recently, a curious phenomenon has arisen whereby a poster interacts with another poster who happens to be a moderator, and when the debate gets impassioned, we receive appeals that “moderators should not be allowed to pick on posters.”  Again, if they are not writing in color, they are not moderating. Please do not confuse this.

3) Calling out moderators in public
The most pressing reason for this post, however, is the rise in accusations that the moderator staff is biased, is picking on posters, especially Irish Hermit, and that it is acting unfairly.  Three cases have been highlighted:

a) ozgeorge was rude to Fr Ambrose. A warning resulted to ozgeorge.
b) Pravoslavbob made a post with an alleged seven ad hominems.  This was discussed in private and determined that Pravoslavbob was very clearly responding to the thrust of the argument of Fr Ambrose, and was not attacking his person.  The accusation of being disingenuous referred to using appeals to pastoral practice as evidence that the Church teaches that communion can be infrequent.
c) PeterTheAleut paraphrased the post of Fr Ambrose and Fr Ambrose accused PeterTheAleut of misrepresenting his argument.  PeterTheAleut responded that yes he was paraphrasing but he believed he accurately represented Fr Ambrose's argument and was not trying to deliberately ascribe false beliefs to Fr Ambrose.

In none of these instances was the above individual acting as a moderator.  Fr Ambrose’s complaints were aired in public, various people moved to defend him in public and private, and our moderators were disparaged in the process.

Our moderators are all volunteers, and they deserve respect.  They are not always perfect, which is why there is an appeals system. Use it.

Posters will also not say things like, “Maybe Fr Anastasios or Fr Chris can adjudicate this.” This type of posting drives a perceived wedge between moderators and administrators, and is unacceptable.

Fr Chris and Fr Anastasios would like to reiterate the following points:

1) Our moderators are doing a good job, and will be shown respect. They will not be called out in public

2) We discuss all moderation requests as a team in private.

3) No one is ganging up or picking on Fr Ambrose.  Fr Ambrose has expressed himself in direct ways and has participated in controversial threads (which is fine; that is what this forum is for).  Some posters have taken issue with what he states (which is fine; that is what a discussion forum is for).  However, at no time has anyone ganged up on Fr Ambrose or used his or her moderatorial powers to silence Fr Ambrose.  Any warnings or moderations of Fr Ambrose are solely due to breach of procedure (source issues and bringing moderation into the public) and not in any way an attempt to keep him from expressing his views.

4) Any appeal or complaint about a moderator must follow the proper chain of responsibility and no further out-of-chain requests for intervention will be entertained, nor will public references to moderation be tolerated. Proper procedure will be followed.

The forum is being distracted by this issue and it is time to put it to rest again with the above points in mind.

Fr Anastasios & Fr Chris
Co-Administrators 
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