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Author Topic: The British Orthodox Church and "the Celtic Orthodox Church"  (Read 13916 times) Average Rating: 0
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EkhristosAnesti
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« on: April 15, 2009, 01:39:04 AM »

I was going to ask Fr Peter the following questions via PM but thought it more appropriate to post them publicly for the edification of other interested readers:

1. Could you please clarify the basic history of the BOC and their relationship with the so-called 'Celtic Orthodox Church'? I here proffer for your review and comment a summary of my personal understanding of the relevant issues:

In 1866 the Syrian Orthodox Church ordained a certain Jules Ferrette (ex-Catholic priest) as Bishop of Iona with the view that he would establish an Orthodox mission in the British Isles. It seems that what resulted, however, was the emergence of a community which, for a range of complex reasons (none of which seem to clearly place culpability on any party except for maybe the Anglicans who were intent on seeing this ‘Western Orthodox’ mission fail and who seem to have acted maliciously towards this end), drifted away from its Syrian Orthodox roots, effectively becoming independent of the OO communion.

In the 1990’s a substantial segment of this independent community realised the need to re-establish communion with the Orthodox Church and so approached the Coptic Patriarchate, which, after examination of the history of the group, received it into communion.  This community, canonically under the Coptic Patriarchate, is the British Orthodox Church.

The Bishops of this previously independent communion were received by chrismation in consideration of their historical Syrian Orthodox roots. The fact the original bishop of Iona (from whom all subsequent episcopal ordinations stemmed) was legitimately ordained by a recognised heirarch of the OO Church in addition to the fact that the eventual separation of this bishop's group from the OO Church was not so clear-cut (as it would be, for example, in the case of formal ex-communication or apostasy) contributed to the ultimate decision of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church to exercise economy in its reception of this group. What is clear, however, is that at the time of (re-)union there was a mutual recognition that this group had at some point (a slippery creature that can be somewhat cornered but not captured) subsequent to the legitimate ordination of the man at the root of their existence (i.e. Jules Ferrette) ceased to be in communion with the OO Church.

Some years after this union, a group of disgruntled BOC priests and laity left the BOC to resume pursuit of their previously independent movement. This movement presently operates under the name ‘the Celtic Orthodox Church.’ The BOC represents the ultimate fruition and victory of the original mission which the Anglicans had tried to thwart from the outset. The ‘Celtic Orthodox Church’ is, unfortunately, the casualty, and this group remains separate and independent from the British Orthodox Church and the Coptic Patriarchate (and any canonical OO church for that matter).

2. Given that overlapping jurisdictions in the diaspora have become the norm as a matter of necessity for practical efficiency and effectiveness in a) serving Orthodox communities abroad and b) evangelising abroad, has the BOC considered raising the issue of possibly extending its jurisdiction to Australia? It seems to me that such an extension of the BOC's jurisdiction would be rather obviously apt.
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 07:22:52 AM »

2. Given that overlapping jurisdictions in the diaspora have become the norm as a matter of necessity for practical efficiency and effectiveness in a) serving Orthodox communities abroad and b) evangelising abroad, has the BOC considered raising the issue of possibly extending its jurisdiction to Australia? It seems to me that such an extension of the BOC's jurisdiction would be rather obviously apt.

A Coptic friend of mine from Australia told me that the BOC were looking to set up, or had already begun to set up, some kind of mission down there.
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 12:04:46 PM »

Dear all

Father Gregory and Deacon Brendan live in Australia, but function as Coptic Orthodox when there, and BOC when the visit us back home in the UK.

We don't have any permission to create BOC missions in other countries because we are a local Orthodox Church in the UK and for people living in Britain, though we have many friends and contacts around the world. I guess what is needed is commitment by all local hierachs to reaching non-Orthodox in their areas of responsibility in a variety of imaginative ways.

As for the Celtic Orthodox Church. It is pretty much moribund in the UK. Two priests are dead, their 'bishop' has joined the breakaway Russian Church group as a layman and been recently ordained, there is one infirm priest left more or less on his own. While the groups in France have chosen to unite with a variety of other, less orthodox groups, and form a federation of independent churches.

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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 01:34:39 PM »

I know there is a Celtic Orthodox Church near/in Toledo, Ohio, if anyone is interested.
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 01:40:04 PM »

There are a lot of groups which use words like Celtic, Orthodox and Catholic.

Most are deficient in one way or another, a few are dangerous, some are essentially sound.

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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 06:03:46 PM »

As for the Celtic Orthodox Church. It is pretty much moribund in the UK. Two priests are dead, their 'bishop' has joined the breakaway Russian Church group as a layman and been recently ordained,

The news item at this link reports that the English bishop was received into the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a monk.


Celtic Orthodox bishop received into the Ecumenical Patriarchate

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14540.0.html


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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 06:21:32 PM »

No, he called himself a monk, but he was received as a layman and baptised and chrismated into the Russian Vicariate.

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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2009, 06:46:39 PM »

No, he called himself a monk, but he was received as a layman and baptised and chrismated into the Russian Vicariate.

Not sure how it works for the Orientals but for the Byzantines monks are laymen (unless in Orders of course.)

However if he was baptized by Constantinople (interesting that they denied his former baptism- Anglican?) then you have proved the point that he was received as a total layman.  One happy result of that is that he had the right to marry prior to his ordination by Constantinople.  Do you know if he found a good wife to support his ministry?

However, cutting across all of that is the official Press Report from the Russian Exarchate under Constantinople.  It speaks not of reception by baptism but by chrismation.

See
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14540.msg209610.html#msg209610
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2010, 01:04:43 PM »


1. Could you please clarify the basic history of the BOC and their relationship with the so-called 'Celtic Orthodox Church'? I here proffer for your review and comment a summary of my personal understanding of the relevant issues:

Dear EkhristosAnesti,

Better late than never...  laugh  I was browsing the Celtic Lists which I run and came upon some information.   There is probably quite a lot more there because at one time Fr Peter Farrington was a very active contributor to the Celt List.  The articles are lengthy and so I have just taken out extracts.  To see the entire articles and the effect of the union with Alexandria please click on the links. 

The Celtic Orthodox Church (Eglise orthodoxe celtique)

The Celtic Orthodox Church, largest of St Tugdual's successors, maintains a website here (French Eparchy) with separate websites for the Swiss and British Eparchies. There are also communities in Australia and the USA.

Just as St Tugdual held lines of Apostolic Succession from Jules Ferrette through Mar Georgius, so does the Celtic Orthodox Church, descending via Mar Georgius' second cousin Mar Seraphim (whom he consecrated in 1977) to Paul-Eduard de Fournier de Brescia (Mgr. Mael), its current Primate. I

t was Mgr Mael who was to lead the revival of St Tugdual's monastery. He had founded a monastic community in Montpellier in 1973, the year in which he was ordained priest, and by 1974 it comprised three brothers. The brothers lived lives of poverty, visiting the old people of the district barefoot, and praying in mountain caves. By 1977 the call had come to revive St Tugdual's monastery. Living in the buildings, which had fallen into disrepair, they endured hard winters and built up their community, also encouraging families to settle in the surrounding area and become part of their Orthodox life. They built a new church, dedicated to Notre-Dame du Signe, which was consecrated in 1984.

Mgr. Mael was consecrated bishop by Mar Seraphim in 1980, and in 1995, following Mar Seraphim's decision to unite the Orthodox Church of the British Isles with the Coptic Orthodox Church (whereby it became the present British Orthodox Church), Mgr. Mael was elected head of the Celtic Orthodox Church. Mgr. Mael has since consecrated two bishops for the Celtic Orthodox Church; in 1998, Jean-Claude Scheerens (Mgr. Marc) and in 1999, Stephen Robson (Mgr. Stephen), Eparch of Great Britain. Bishop Stephen has since become a stavrophore monk within the Russian Orthodox Church.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-archive/message/2808

In 1866, a Bishop [Jules Ferrette] was consecrated by the Old Syrian (non-Chalcedonian)
Orthodox Church and he arrived in Britain assuming the title "Bishop Julius
of Iona" thus affirming, at the start of his Orthodox mission, his spiritual
affinity with the historic centre of Celtic Christianity, Iona, where St
Columba had his monastery. And so, a tiny British Orthodox Church came into
being which sought to recover the ancient Celtic/British heritage of the old
Church.

This action of the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch did not establish Britain
as a diocese of the Syrian Church, but Bishop Julius, following his
consecration, was left with independent status thus making the British
Church canonical and autocephalous.

Unfortunately, the times were far from propitious for such an enterprise and
Bishop Julius' mission did not flourish. However, it did continue, though in
relative obscurity, into the twentieth century when, despite calumny and
ridicule from without, and ill-judged moves from within, it began to grow
and take on a regular parish life in various centres throughout the British
Isles.

The British Church maintained its Apostolic Succession of Bishops, and even
added to its succession from other Apostolic lines, thus securing an
authentic and valid episcopal and priestly mission, which continues to this
day.

Quite independently of the quiet revival in Britain, in the 1950's, an
Orthodox priest in Brittany, Father Tugdual, established a little monastery
on the Celtic model near Saint-Dolay. Gradually this monastic settlement
grew and the surrounding area was evangelised by the monks of the monastery.
All this was in the Celtic spirit. Some years later, the British Orthodox
Church, now centred on the ancient Celtic See of Glastonbury, under its
Primate Mar Georgius, made contact with the Breton community and under Mar
Georgius' successor, Mar Seraphim, links with the Breton Church were forged
more strongly. As other similar communities came into union with the British
Church, then known as the Orthodox Church of the British Isles (OCBI), there
came into being what some would term "the Glastonbury Union of Churches".

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-archive/message/1479

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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2010, 05:22:16 PM »

It seems to me that such an extension of the BOC's jurisdiction would be rather obviously apt.

It would be nice to have a linguistically and culturally local OO jurisdiction in places like Australia, Canada, and the US like there is in Britain. However, it would seem that Fr. Peter is very much correct about the BOC being provincially British in nature.
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2010, 06:09:49 PM »

Being British is not the same as Australian, New Zealandish, American or Canadian. We can only ever be provincial, which is why a British Orthodox Church has a place in our Orthodox mission and life in the British Isles.

A local Church will need to develop in time in all those places and in the UK. The British Orthodox Church is not THE Orthodox Church for Britain, even if it has a role in helping a truly British Orthodox Church develop. That is in the (far?) future when there is a proper canonical order and all of our Orthodox bishops form a local Synod though of diverse cultural backgrounds.

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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2010, 06:35:36 PM »

Being British is not the same as Australian, New Zealandish, American or Canadian.

Yes. But linguistically and culturally it's far closer than being Egyptian, Assyrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, or Indian. You're right that the BOC cannot be the church of any of these areas. However, I think it would provide a much more compatible template than any of the others for a church in these areas.

We can only ever be provincial

Why does it seem the BOC is the only OO church that actually follows that principle?  Undecided

A local Church will need to develop in time in all those places and in the UK.

Yes. But perhaps the BOC could have some influence in that development in Anglophonic areas while not actually extending a full presence beyond Britain?
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2010, 07:06:04 PM »

Somebody has asked... and it's probably worth a public reply because the topic is quite interesting.


Have you heard of anything about these churches? Are they in communion with the EOC as a whole? thanks!

1.) http://www.CelticChristianity.org
2.) http://www.orthodoxie-celtique.net/index_english.html

-oOo-

Neither of these Churches is in communion with any Eastern Orthodox Church.

1.  An American Celtic Church founded by Archbishop Maelruain (Kristopher Dowling) and located in Ohio.  Once had a synod of three bishops but it has shrunk in membership with the waning of interest in Celtic things.  Uses the Lorrha-Stowe missal in English.  Very conservative.

2. The Celtic Orthodox Church is centred at the Monastery of La Saint Presence in Britanny and has a small number of parishes in France, Switzerland, Great Britain.  Headed by Metropolitan Mael (Paul-Eduard de Fournier de Brescia) who was consecrated a bishop by Mar Seraphim (William Henry Hugo Newman-Norton) now primate of the British Orthodox Church who at the time was the 7th Patriarch of Glastonbury in succession to his cousin Mar Georgius (Hugh George de Willmott Newman.) There was, for a time, a very close connection between what is now the British Orthodox Church and the Celtic Orthodox Church.

A web search on the names should bring up information.  Also a search in   
"Celt-Archive" which has a deal of information stored, much of it the research of Fr Peter.

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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2010, 07:22:39 PM »

Thanks! I actually never saw this topic! I am aware the one is the US is essentially a guy who is trying to build his own church organization based on the celt orthodoxy. What does the BOC differ from eastern? I also saw "OO" earlier is that oriental orthodox? again im new to most all of orthodoxy so this is all new to me! Thanks!
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2010, 07:56:51 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

Yes, "OO" is short for Oriental Orthodox, and the BOC is OO.   Smiley

To oversimplify,   Smiley  the main difference between the OO and EO is the number of Ecumenical Councils we recognize and the language we use to describe Christ's nature. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2010, 08:15:47 PM »

so is it like (coming from a protestant POV) baptist an methodist or baptist and mormon?
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2010, 08:23:13 PM »

I don't know much about the Baptists and Methodists, but the relationship between the EO's and OO's is probably more like the relationship between them.  We're not in communion and may disagree on some things, but we still have a lot in common. 
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2010, 08:26:35 PM »

okay cool. Lol i started my studies with the impression that there is only ONE orthodox church hahaha oh how naive i was :-P are the liturgies and traditions the same pretty much?
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2010, 08:46:35 PM »

With regard to liturgies and some areas of tradition, there are some differences, but it is a matter of debate as to whether they are substantive in nature. 

You may want to browse around this section a bit to get a feel for who we are.
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2010, 09:04:34 PM »

The British bishop of the Celtic Orthodox Church Stephen Robson, and several of his priests, were received into the Greek Orthodox Church just over 2 years ago.

See

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14540.msg209610.html#msg209610
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2010, 09:06:06 PM »

so now what exactly would that mean?
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« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2010, 09:21:54 PM »

It means they converted to the Greek Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2010, 09:22:26 PM »

wrong thread
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« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2010, 09:24:26 PM »

oh so then they are no longer members of the BOC, which is OO lol wow i thought we protestants were hard to figure out :-p
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« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2010, 09:31:02 PM »

oh so then they are no longer members of the BOC, which is OO lol wow i thought we protestants were hard to figure out :-p

This is a brief overview

1.  The Eastern Orthodox Church - Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania..... etc.

2.  The Oriental Orthodox Church - Coptic (Egypt), Ethiopia, Armenia...... etc

3.  The Church of the East - Iraq (a stand alone Church)
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« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2010, 09:53:33 PM »

What does the BOC differ from eastern?

The British Orthodox Church is part of the world communion of Oriental Orthodox Churches, which differ from the Eastern Orthodox Church in having historically rejected the Council of Chalcedon and having been separated from the EOC for ~1500 years.

I also saw "OO" earlier is that oriental orthodox?

Yes. Which is not the same as EO: Eastern Orthodox.
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« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2010, 09:55:41 PM »

so is it like (coming from a protestant POV) baptist an methodist or baptist and mormon?

The sorts of things we (EO & OO) differ on are rather different than those churches.

BTW, many Protestants do not recognize Mormons as even legitimately Christian and thus obviously not Protestants.
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« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2010, 10:01:05 PM »

Lol i started my studies with the impression that there is only ONE orthodox church

There are actually four main traditions of Eastern Christianity:

1. Eastern Orthodoxy, the most commonly referred to.
2. Oriental Orthodoxy, which I explained previously.
3. The Assyrian Church of the East, which was separated from the main body of Christendom shortly before the OO were.
4. Eastern Catholicism, that being groups from one of the 3 before mentioned groups who have left communion with them and joined communion with Rome, becoming part of the "Roman Catholic Church", while retaining their patrimony and liturgical rites.

are the liturgies and traditions the same pretty much?

No. The EO are almost exclusively of one liturgical rite, that being the Byzantine rite. The OO, on the other hand, are of three main different rites, that being the Alexandrian (that of the Copts, Ethiopian, and Eritreans), the Antiochian (that of the Syriac and Indian) and the Armenian.
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« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2010, 10:03:37 PM »

oh so then they are no longer members of the BOC, which is OO lol wow i thought we protestants were hard to figure out :-p

We only have three main native traditions, with the fourth, the Eastern Catholics, being a later addition and dogmatically more akin to Western Christianity. Western Christianity, on the other hand, really has dozens of different dogmatic traditions. It's still far more complicated, there's just much less common knowledge in the West about Eastern Christianity and so it's more foreign.
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« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2010, 10:35:29 PM »

Is it time for a Timeline?

Please click

http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/1717/timelineofchurchhistory.jpg
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2010, 10:52:36 PM »

Just so people know, the timeline is from an EO point of view.   Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2010, 10:53:24 PM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.
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« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2010, 11:21:23 PM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.

The "faith of the forum"?
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« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2010, 11:59:18 PM »


I've heard the statistic before that Orthodoxy is the fastest growing church in America, but is that actually true?
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« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2010, 12:00:17 AM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.

The "faith of the forum"?

He's referring to the fact that you posted that timeline here which is the Oriental Orthodox forum, Father!  Cheesy
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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2010, 12:51:09 AM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.

The "faith of the forum"?

He's referring to the fact that you posted that timeline here which is the Oriental Orthodox forum, Father!  Cheesy

Oops, I do not normally post in the Oriental thread but I was drawn into this one by the mention of the Celtic Orthodox Church.  My apologies to all members of the Church of the Orient.
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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2010, 12:56:52 AM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.

The "faith of the forum"?

You're in the Oriental Orthodox discussion forum. The faith of this forum is Oriental Orthodoxy. And your chart is contrary to that faith.
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« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2010, 01:05:29 AM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.

The "faith of the forum"?

You're in the Oriental Orthodox discussion forum. The faith of this forum is Oriental Orthodoxy. And your chart is contrary to that faith.

I did not realise that at the time but shall remember in the future. I would remove it if I could but it is past the time limit.

Nevertheless, I must apologise deeply for posting a timeline which is unacceptable in this section of the forum.  It was quite inadvertant.
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2010, 01:38:05 AM »


Obviously this does not represent the faith of the forum.

The "faith of the forum"?

You're in the Oriental Orthodox discussion forum. The faith of this forum is Oriental Orthodoxy. And your chart is contrary to that faith.

I did not realise that at the time but shall remember in the future. I would remove it if I could but it is past the time limit.

Nevertheless, I must apologise deeply for posting a timeline which is unacceptable in this section of the forum.  It was quite inadvertant.

I doubt it's a big deal.

I think we're fine with it being there as long as it is clarified that it's not a purely OO perspective.
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2010, 01:42:02 AM »

That's correct: It's allowed as long as the person posting it makes it clear it's from the EO point of view.   Smiley


OK everyone, we're going to chill out now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzo0iHrivVQ
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2010, 02:22:50 AM »

That's correct: It's allowed as long as the person posting it makes it clear it's from the EO point of view.   Smiley


OK everyone, we're going to chill out now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzo0iHrivVQ

Just as creepy as I remember!
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« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2010, 06:37:15 AM »

so is it like (coming from a protestant POV) baptist an methodist or baptist and mormon?

The sorts of things we (EO & OO) differ on are rather different than those churches.

BTW, many Protestants do not recognize Mormons as even legitimately Christian and thus obviously not Protestants.
that was my point... i didnt know if EOC considered  OOC as legitimate Christian or if it was similar to Baptists and methodists where there are minor disputes but they dont doubt each others walk in the faith.
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« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2010, 11:37:46 AM »

No. The EO are almost exclusively of one liturgical rite, that being the Byzantine rite. The OO, on the other hand, are of three main different rites, that being the Alexandrian (that of the Copts, Ethiopian, and Eritreans), the Antiochian (that of the Syriac and Indian) and the Armenian.

Is not Ethiopic usage sufficiently distinct for it to be called another rite?
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« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2010, 03:51:54 PM »

so is it like (coming from a protestant POV) baptist an methodist or baptist and mormon?

The sorts of things we (EO & OO) differ on are rather different than those churches.

BTW, many Protestants do not recognize Mormons as even legitimately Christian and thus obviously not Protestants.
that was my point... i didnt know if EOC considered  OOC as legitimate Christian or if it was similar to Baptists and methodists where there are minor disputes but they dont doubt each others walk in the faith.

Hmmmm.

That's a bit complicated of an answer really.

Unlike Protestants, but like Roman Catholics we view the Christian "walk of faith" as inextricably tied into membership in the one Church of Christ. So they would view each other as Christian in a manner that they wouldn't Mormons. However, they would also view each others faith communities as deficient because of not being part of the original communion of believers established by Christ, which they identify as themselves.
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« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2010, 03:54:57 PM »

No. The EO are almost exclusively of one liturgical rite, that being the Byzantine rite. The OO, on the other hand, are of three main different rites, that being the Alexandrian (that of the Copts, Ethiopian, and Eritreans), the Antiochian (that of the Syriac and Indian) and the Armenian.

Is not Ethiopic usage sufficiently distinct for it to be called another rite?

Hmmmm.

It is sometimes considered distinct.

And sometimes it's not.

I have before heard the term "Alexandrian rite" rather than "Coptic rite" and "Ge'ez rite". On top of this, I have been told by some Copts that most, if not all, of the liturgies that are in the current Ethiopian repertoire were until recently also in the Coptic repertoire, however the Copts stopped using most of them as they did not keep sufficient records to know how to chant them anymore. If this is true then I think the logical conclusion would be that they are basically the same rite.

Lastly, the fact that the Ethiopian church was headed by a Coptic bishop for 1500+ years until the middle of the 20th century makes it hard for me to imagine how they could be historically all that different.
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