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Author Topic: The Other Inconvenience of Tradition  (Read 2823 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: October 17, 2003, 02:07:46 PM »

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Do not be deceived - the above are the nitty gritty reality of ecumenism.

and

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It is saddening, that those who speak the loudest of their "canonicity", typically have the most contempt for the Canons!  Even the daily ins and outs of their "temple's" praxis will manifest this - whether it be pew filled churches, clean shaven priests, musical instruments accompanying their choirs, non-existant confession on the part of the laity, etc.  While one can excuse any one of these abberations, do they not collectively point to a deeper problem?

To me, what is most saddening is that at this late date, someone can still be going off about pews.

Indeed, it almost seems as though these things serve a signs of other things-- not the presence of pews, but their determined absence. Not the absence of beards, but their determined presence.

Canons cannot assign meanings to these things, but actual usage can. Insistence on beards now means specifically "I am a traditionalist who wants to be differentiated from the rest of you." Insistence on certain street garb means "God forbid that I should be confused with a Western cleric." Insistence on pews means "We aren't like all those slacker Westerners and, well, cradle Orthodox." This is all about exhibiting signs of being more observant.

Being a traditionalist means observing all the tradition-- especially the tradition we get directly from Jesus. It seems to me that if you have to keep appealing to later tradition to blunt the Words of Jesus or of the apostles, that you're doing something wrong. A path through tradition that doesn't trace back to Jesus is good for nothing. To make the canons the utter arbiters of what Jesus means is to make the canons the end point of this path. If one must interpret the scriptures in light of the canons, it is far more important to interpret the canons in light of the scriptures. Instead, we have obsessing over bearded clergy in a way that is blatanty foreign to the NT and which runs against the spirit of the Acts and nearly every epistle. It has made ostentatiously bearded clergy a mark of schism: not a mark of charity, but a mark of superiority.

In the same manner, the nitty-gritty of ecumenism in this wise is really about the superiority of ROAC. There is no humility in it whatsoever.
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2003, 02:27:01 PM »

Well-spoken, Keble.


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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2003, 08:44:11 PM »

It takes a certain amount of pride to label a group as not having "any humility whatsoever," so I'd take those comments with a grain of salt.
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2003, 09:46:02 PM »

Good points Keble

On your comment,

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Insistence on pews means "We aren't like all those slacker Westerners and, well, cradle Orthodox." This is all about exhibiting signs of being more observant.

Thinking you meant no pews Smiley in the above quote ...  I look forward to a pewless church, not that it makes me better, or more pious, but because I (and most of our mission) find it less cumbersome, easier to worship our Lord and in a way, more comfortable.  I didn't much care for worshipping in the local Greek church (converted from an Episcopal church), and find that the pews in our rent-a-church are mostly useful for holding books etc.

« Last Edit: October 17, 2003, 09:48:18 PM by Oblio » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2003, 11:16:52 PM »

Keble,

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Canons cannot assign meanings to these things, but actual usage can. Insistence on beards now means specifically "I am a traditionalist who wants to be differentiated from the rest of you." Insistence on certain street garb means "God forbid that I should be confused with a Western cleric." Insistence on pews means "We aren't like all those slacker Westerners and, well, cradle Orthodox." This is all about exhibiting signs of being more observant.

The real question is not "perish the thought Orthodox Priests are confused with heretical ministers" but "why on earth have 'Orthodox' priests for so long been ashamed of looking like what they say they are?!"  It was a false interest in accomodation and a false desire to assimilate, which motivated innovations in clerical garb in recent times.

And why should anyone be complacent about the recent innovation of pews (they've been around for century in various break away western "communions", but are very recent in an Orthodox context of any sort), when they impact Orthopraxis, by transforming laymen into spectators, and interupt the very gestures of piety which are a part of their active participation in the Divine Liturgy (which is not simply the work of the celebrating clergy, but of the Church as a whole, laymen included)?

Quote
Being a traditionalist means observing all the tradition-- especially the tradition we get directly from Jesus. It seems to me that if you have to keep appealing to later tradition to blunt the Words of Jesus or of the apostles, that you're doing something wrong.

It is your personal "wisdom" which continually attempts to create a contradiction between these supposedly superficial "later traditions" and the "tradition we get directly from Jesus."  In fact, even this latter statement is false - we do not receive any sort of tradition from Christ Himself (understood in this sense as something native to His 3 year ministry amongst the Jews prior to His Death and Ressurection) that has not been handed downwards, by the grace of God, in the Holy Orthodox Church.  Our knowledge of Christ, the very indwelling grace of Christ, is mediated by the will of God through His Church.  Hence, the seperation you're making is artificial, and it is a pretense on your part to pretend you've received any sort of "tradition" from Christ that has totally bipassed the Church.  This is sheer Protestantism (read - heresy.)

What you continually ignore, is that the sharp differentiation you make between Christ and His Church, is one of your own design.  If true knowledge of the God-Man survives unto the present day, as well as the Church He spoke of (and which His Apostles laboured to diffuse amongst the Nations - all things we know about precisely because said sacred history is preserved by and in the Church), His very Body and communicator of His Grace and Mysteries, then the divide you're making is false.  This is why violence is done to the Church, by belittling and attacking the grace communicating/medicinal traditions of the Body of Christ - for they are of Christ.

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A path through tradition that doesn't trace back to Jesus is good for nothing.

And it is you who are trying to assert that the Traditions of the Church are something for us to bipass by our own accord, or through some private wisdom - as if you have some superior insight into these things, that the Communion of the Saints?

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To make the canons the utter arbiters of what Jesus means is to make the canons the end point of this path.

Translation - they get in the way of me doing my own thing.

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If one must interpret the scriptures in light of the canons, it is far more important to interpret the canons in light of the scriptures.

It's not either or - they're all part of the same Holy Tradition.

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In the same manner, the nitty-gritty of ecumenism in this wise is really about the superiority of ROAC. There is no humility in it whatsoever.

Yes, yes - and none of this changes the fact that in the Canons and doctrine of the Fathers (which inform our own reading of the Holy Scriptures, so that we do not assert a feigned, "new wisdom", which is really just the sin of being self-willed), and the Divine Scriptures themselves, teach us that there is only one Lord, faith, and baptism - hence the lack of humility lies with those who think they know better (while posing as being Orthodox) and pretend these ecclessial truths are falsehood.

Throwing mud, doesn't change that the acts of the ecumenists are anti-canonical, and contrary to the dogma of the Church of Christ.

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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2003, 12:03:21 AM »

Keble,

If you were to contact Vladyka Gregory or Fr. Hieromonk George at Dormition Skete (Buena Vista CO) or Fr. Dionysi at St. Basil of Kinishthema parish (Stauntan VA) you would see that these holy clerics are full of true humility and true shephards of Christ's straying sheep.  I cannot help but weep at my own sins whenever I read something that they have written.  I urge you to go to http://www.roacamerica.org and contact Vladyka with the information given there.  If you would like to read a catechism that was written by Vladyka, it is quite short and good, email me at roacnicholasii@yahoo.com.  I can't seem to attach it for one reason or another pertaining undouptedly to my lack of computer skills.

In Christ,
Joe zollars
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Keble
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2003, 01:03:20 AM »

The real question is not "perish the thought Orthodox Priests are confused with heretical ministers" but "why on earth have 'Orthodox' priests for so long been ashamed of looking like what they say they are?!"  It was a false interest in accomodation and a false desire to assimilate, which motivated innovations in clerical garb in recent times.

The question is, Accomodate whom? They don't need to acommodate you; you're already so teeth-grittedly Orthodox that you need no accommodation. The accomodation is for the non-Orthodox (if indeed it is an accomodation to them-- it could just as well be an accomodation to the clerics).

The flip side of the desire to assimilate is you desire that they not assimilate. And in this case it means making sure that nobody ever mistakes an Eastern cleric for a Western one, because you already want to deny that there are any Western clerics.

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And why should anyone be complacent about the recent innovation of pews (they've been around for century in various break away western "communions", but are very recent in an Orthodox context of any sort), when they impact Orthopraxis, by transforming laymen into spectators, and interupt the very gestures of piety which are a part of their active participation in the Divine Liturgy (which is not simply the work of the celebrating clergy, but of the Church as a whole, laymen included)?

Because that's a rationalization! Mr. Reeves, I've been in a lot of different Orthodox churches in the area, and frankly the degree of participation is low compared to the average Episcopal church. Also, almost all of them have pews, except for St. Nicks OCA, St. John's ROCOR, and Holy Cross Antiochian in Linthicum. The last, of course, is a convert parish. Even the Malankara parish near me has pews.


Quote
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Being a traditionalist means observing all the tradition-- especially the tradition we get directly from Jesus. It seems to me that if you have to keep appealing to later tradition to blunt the Words of Jesus or of the apostles, that you're doing something wrong.

It is your personal "wisdom" which continually attempts to create a contradiction between these supposedly superficial "later traditions" and the "tradition we get directly from Jesus."

And if it is you personal wisdom which blythely ignores the contradictions between what you teach and what Jesus taught, where does that leave us?

Well, it leaves us right back where we were before. Each of us is also a participant in tradition, by resolving the various strands and statements into something we think we can follow. You're claiming that tradition teaches what you teach; but that is itself an interpretation.

It doesn't help to claim inspiration, because it is, after all, a claim. Why shouldn't I prefer a (presumably inspired) Thomas Hopko? You are just one in a mess of competing interpreters, and it is only reasonable that I test what you claim is the spirit of Jesus (which I can't see) against the words of Jesus, which anyone can see. You invite me to put your personal claims of inspiration to the test, and thus far they seem to me to fail miserably.

You are not the Church. You are just one interpreter trying to stand, illegitimately, on the authority of others.

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What you continually ignore, is that the sharp differentiation you make between Christ and His Church, is one of your own design.

Mr. Reeves, you are now arguing with a fantasy version of me.

My point is that, if there is no such sharp distinction, then the words of Jesus should flow easily down to the doctrines you espouse. Instead, what I'm finding (my analysis of course) is that your version of tradition doesn't make it all the way back to Jesus. It has faith in the canons, but it doesn't let the words of Jesus illuminate these canons. And thus it creates a Christianity in which some of what Jesus says is suppressed in favor of a legalistic and excessively self-assured faith in institutions.

(putting on my armored Canterbury cap)

The implication of the claims that you are making is that the True Church (tm) can be tested against the Gospels, and will not fail that test. What does not pass that test is not the True Church (tm). What you are claiming is that it can't be put to that that test because tehre is nobody to so test it. That is just theological solipsism; everyone's own church thus passes. Or as Ebor likes to put it, there is no heresy in the 1st person.

Anglicanism holds tradition to a higher standard than Orthodoxy, and if Orthodoxy is really true, than it should be able to withstand Anglicanism's test. What you teach does not meet that test. Radical traditionalists such as yourself always seem to stumble over the fundamental epistemological difference between the Church's anamnesis of Jesus and the church's explanation of Jesus. It is these explanations that are causing the trouble. If the explanations are good, then they don't need the kind of arguments you keep trying to use to defend them. Likewise, you shouldn't have to keep arguing to turn off reason in this.

 
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To make the canons the utter arbiters of what Jesus means is to make the canons the end point of this path.

Translation - they get in the way of me doing my own thing.

If the best you can come up with is speculations about my motivations here-- lame speculations, at that-- then you don't have a counterargument.

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If one must interpret the scriptures in light of the canons, it is far more important to interpret the canons in light of the scriptures.

It's not either or - they're all part of the same Holy Tradition.

If they are part of the same tradation, then they should form a whole. But that's not what I see. Instead, I see your tradition trailing off into the early church and making no connection to scripture.

Quote
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In the same manner, the nitty-gritty of ecumenism in this wise is really about the superiority of ROAC. There is no humility in it whatsoever.

Yes, yes - and none of this changes the fact that in the Canons and doctrine of the Fathers (which inform our own reading of the Holy Scriptures, so that we do not assert a feigned, "new wisdom", which is really just the sin of being self-willed), and the Divine Scriptures themselves, teach us that there is only one Lord, faith, and baptism - hence the lack of humility lies with those who think they know better (while posing as being Orthodox) and pretend these ecclessial truths are falsehood.

Well, you're posing as being Orthodox, so what does this say about you? You are trying to use the same tests that I'm using, but denying that they can be used on you. You are trying to review tradition as a whole, and say "this part is not consistent, so out it goes." But when I look to a different part and suggest that your own analysis suffers from the same contradictions, you balk.  Your mode of interpretation is entirely egocentric, even as it pretends otherwise. How many "infallible" churches have you been a member of? How many of them have you judged and cast aside?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2003, 01:06:35 AM by Keble » Logged
Keble
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2003, 01:13:14 AM »

Joe, I'm getting tired of having to belabor the faults of ROAC, but it speaks volumes that its American bishop is now on his third Orthodox church.
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2003, 09:46:38 AM »

Vicki, great post.  I won't be lighting into you--you said it much better than I could.
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2003, 12:52:28 PM »

Vicki--good post

Keble, Vladyka is actually on his fourth Synod (there is but one Orthodox Church):

Born Antiochan--left Antiochan for ROCOR when the EP lifted the anathamas against the Roman Church so he could no longer be in communion with the EP.

ROCOR--Left ROCOR after it fell to its own anathamas by going into communion with the Cyprianite GOC (the Etna folks in this country).

He would have immediatly gone ROAC had he known of its existance, but instead he went GOC.

GOC--Was GOC for quite some time, and asked for and obtained a canonical trasnfer to the ROAC when he became aware of its existance.  

ROAC continues to be in comunion with the GOC, and with various TOC's as well as the Latvian Autonomous Church.

Vladyka made these moves (except for the final one from the GOC to ROAC) because the canons forbid being in communion with heretics or being in communion with those who are in communion iwth heretics.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2003, 05:01:35 PM »

Keble,

There is really nothing more that can be said on this thread.   I find your method of argumentation to be opportunistic, selective, hypocritical, and personally slanderous - in short, pharisaical.  Given that "debating for points" lost it's appeal to me some time ago, continuing in such legalisms and lawyerly discussions with you is time that could be better spent elsewhere.

This is besides the fact (a fact which I, blameworthily, have ignored) that there is little point in arguing Orthodoxy with someone who does not even pretend to share the most basic assumptions of an Orthodox mind.  The ground for dialogue with you, at best, would be between Anglicanism and Orthodoxy, not issues pertaining to the life of the historically Orthodox world, or Orthodox believers themselves (IOW, not "inter-Orthodox" dialogue.)  Thus, my arguing over the new calendar, "Orthodox ecumenism", or the scandals and heartbreaks of the 20th century within historically "Orthodox Christendom" with yourself cannot but be fruitless.

That I have fallen into the temptation of arguing such matters with you is my mistake, and no one else's.

Perhaps at another time, on a thread whose orientation is more appropriate to it's participants, we can "dialogue" again.  However, frankly, sinner that I am, I doubt whether or not I'll have the patience for your style of polemic.

Seraphim
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2003, 06:52:39 PM »

Keble,

There is really nothing more that can be said on this thread.   I find your method of argumentation to be opportunistic, selective, hypocritical, and personally slanderous - in short, pharisaical.

My mode of argument is nothing more than to hold you to the tradition you claim to follow-- all of it, not just the part that some all-but-vagante sect likes.

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This is besides the fact (a fact which I, blameworthily, have ignored) that there is little point in arguing Orthodoxy with someone who does not even pretend to share the most basic assumptions of an Orthodox mind.

Well, even granting that assumption, the problem I've addressed all along is that your claim to having an Orthodox mind is questionable. You have made yourself the issue by claiming to speak for Orthodoxy, when you are only a catechumen to a separatist sect with a dubious history.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2003, 02:06:52 AM »

i must admit that on the whole these discussions confuse and bewilder me.  On the one hand, why would a parish (in the beginning) start to change the way "things" are done, particularly when they would have known it would have caused controversy?  pews, shaving, western collars, organs.  It reminds me of discussions i've had with my father back in High School (I was a typical 70's high school kid) You see I was wearing denim overalls.  He couldn't understand why I would want to wear something that to him was a symbol of poverty, something his generation had fought to "geet out of."  My answer was that overalls were like sabots to the Dutch, lederhosen to the Bavarians, kilts to the Scots something to remember our past a national costume.  What I saw as a symbol of where we had been, he saw as something of embarrassment.  

Many, I'm afraid, westernized for the fear of appearing quaint out of the desire to “fit in”

I wonder if holding on to these innovations maybe (to paraphrase St. Paul) a stumbling block to others.  I’ve heard nothing wrong with a beard or plainsong, or standing through out the Liturgy.  Is it right to make such things stumbling blocks?  Are these things worth schism?
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2003, 08:35:22 AM »

i must admit that on the whole these discussions confuse and bewilder me.  On the one hand, why would a parish (in the beginning) start to change the way "things" are done, particularly when they would have known it would have caused controversy?

Well, the thing you have to remember is that, in the USA, it is now shaving, pews, Western clerical garb, and (here and there) organs which are the traditions. In the most elementary sense, "tradition" in this wise means leaving the church the way it was when you came and accepting that. Rolling back these changes means changing things, and when it comes down to it, having the members of this group discuss it is (for the most part) a bunch of outsiders having the traditions altered to their taste.

Not that this is a totally illegitimate activity. The point is that the interaction with tradition is more complicated than simply following it or deviating from it. All of these actions have multiple meanings, some of which we may only dimly be aware of. For instance, if your parents were rebellious baby boomer liberals, then leaving their liberal Episcopal parish and going to a determinedly "traditionalist" Orthodox parish carries with it some of the quality of the same rebellion that your parents carried out. That is why people talk of living tradition: it gets carried forward iin an interaction with those who execute it, and therefore its meaning may well change even when what is being done doesn't change at all!

My parish started out as a rather poor farm parish, and struggled along for a hundred years until the suburbanization (and a really inspirational rector) caused the parish to burgeon. And while this burgeoning was a good thing, at the same time the farm families were growing older, or growing wealthier, and after a time the parish was transformed into a place where lawyers and accountants were running it and the poorer folk began to feel uncomfortable. It began to be a place where clothes had a different meaning, where people still dress in a range of clothing (and the middle school kinds wear what they want), but the unwed mother can tell somehow that these are not her people. So she doesn't come, or comes once and never returns.
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2003, 01:53:41 PM »

keble,
Actually, I do understand you it was the other half of my post I didn't know how to reword.  I came to Orthodxy originally from, yes, as a former Episcopal.  But I came looking because I heard members of the clergy deny the Resurection and the Virgin Birth.  I was ready to stay in the EUSA and fight, but I came to believe that the keep was already ablaze.  I've grown alot through the process of converting, though i have quite a lot still in front of me.  My point was that it may be time for each side of these disagreement to question self.  I quite honestly have not earthly idea who is right here, and that is bewildering.  I do know that the Gospels say that Christ wants us to be one, to love and pray for one another, but I'm not intellegent enough to know a solution to the problem.  I came to Orthodoxy not to change Orthodoxy but for it to change me, but I'm tired and weiry of watching Christianity distroy itself.  So often it appears to my stupid mind that if Christians would just trust in what the Apostles have taught us instead...  How to ddo this I'm still trying to figure it out for my own life, but so often when I look to Orthodoxy for community and supprt I find discord.  I'm a weak and simple man who desparately needs the Church, but often find it to appear more like a dysfunctional family.

with Love
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2003, 01:55:02 PM »

Episcopal clergy in the previous post
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2005, 02:04:09 AM »

bttt
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2005, 04:36:10 PM »

bttt

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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2005, 04:44:27 PM »

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Back To The Top -- used for bumping threads.
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2005, 04:57:18 PM »

Just my two cents: there ARE ways to respect each other and find a common ground here. I will submit what I have observed in the OCA as a reasonable "compromise" for Orthodox praxis in America.

        1. Toleration of pews where they already exist.
        2.  Discouraging of pews in new churches that are being built.
        3.  Wider CENTER ailses in parishes that do have pews (so that a bishop can vest in the midst of his people without overcrowding and bumping into pews)
        4. Toleration and respect for the older clergy who are clean shaven.
        5.  Encouraging the younger clergy and new priests to have at least a well trimmed goatee.
         6. Wearing the cassock (riassa) with the cross whenever the priest is in the church, on a hospital visit, or visiting someone at home on a pastoral call. No cassock and collar at other times.
          7. Devoting at least SOME space in a church with pews for people to be able to stand for the entire liturgy without being too consipcuous.
          8. And FIRMLY but politely insisting on no organs. NEVER. Its just NOT our tradition.   
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2005, 04:59:36 PM »



Back To The Top -- used for bumping threads.

Ah.  Thanks Beayf.  Learn something new every day.  Wink Smiley

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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2005, 05:04:18 PM »

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6. Wearing the cassock (riassa) with the cross whenever the priest is in the church, on a hospital visit, or visiting someone at home on a pastoral call. No cassock and collar at other times.

Bit confused about your phrasing here -- are you suggesting that priests be forbidden from wearing a cassock outside of "official" church duties, or merely that wearing or not wearing it would be optional?
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2005, 05:07:27 PM »

Just my two cents: there ARE ways to respect each other and find a common ground here. I will submit what I have observed in the OCA as a reasonable "compromise" for Orthodox praxis in America.

 1. Toleration of pews where they already exist.
 2. Discouraging of pews in new churches that are being built.
 3. Wider CENTER ailses in parishes that do have pews (so that a bishop can vest in the midst of his people without overcrowding and bumping into pews)
 4. Toleration and respect for the older clergy who are clean shaven.
 5. Encouraging the younger clergy and new priests to have at least a well trimmed goatee.
 6. Wearing the cassock (riassa) with the cross whenever the priest is in the church, on a hospital visit, or visiting someone at home on a pastoral call. No cassock and collar at other times.
 7. Devoting at least SOME space in a church with pews for people to be able to stand for the entire liturgy without being too consipcuous.
 8. And FIRMLY but politely insisting on no organs. NEVER. Its just NOT our tradition.


I assumed all this stuff was a given - that no (at least OCA and hopefully all jurisdictions) actively have laxer praxis (with maybe a few unfortunate exceptions).  Maybe I'm just too optimistic since the OCA parishes in the Pacifc Deanery seem on the conservative or should I say "Traditional" side.
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Tikhon29605
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May I become Thy Tabernacle through Communion.


« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2005, 12:41:57 AM »

are you suggesting that priests be forbidden from wearing a cassock outside of "official" church duties, or merely that wearing or not wearing it would be optional?

I worded it awkwardly. My apologies. What I meant to say is that the priest who would like to wear his collar when he is out in public instead of his cassock, should have the personal freedom to do so and not be criticized for doing so. Smiley
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Tikhon29605
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May I become Thy Tabernacle through Communion.


« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2005, 12:58:25 AM »

Speaking of pews, here are two OCA church that I think have done a remarkable job of creating a "pew compromise." They have pews. But the width of the ailses is ENORMOUS. Plenty of room to stand. And plenty of room to do prostrations, esp. at weekday services. Could this is be wave of the future? Smiley

http://www.sttheodosius.org/page/page/1410583.htm

http://ocaphoto.oca.org/PhotoViewer.asp?EID=578&IID=5429&PEID=
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