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JamesR
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« Reply #180 on: May 07, 2013, 05:04:26 PM »

I'm sure this will be misinterpreted, but I'm going to say it anyways.  The Church as ALWAYS shown great concern for the treatment of slaves.  It has ALWAYS shown compassion to the enslaved and instructed masters to demonstrate kindness and Christian virtues to those who serve them.

When? After auctioning them off in their own monasteries.

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Have there been individuals in the Church who have not followed this instruction?  Certainly, but they were going against the Church not doing it with the Church's consent.

It seems to me like it wasn't just a few individuals but the majority of the Church that approved of and even practiced slavery. Abolitionists or at least people in the Church who opposed slavery are the individuals that make up a minority.

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From our lofty ivory tower in the 21st century, it is simple for us to look back on centuries past and condemn those who owned slaves,

No, I think it's easy for Europeans and White Americans to look back and not condemn those who owned slaves, hence the subtle White supremacist along with anti-Semitic attitudes of this forum. For anyone whose ancestors were enslaved or who bore the discrimination--which is often the product of slavery--it's very easy to condemn it.

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but other than the nomenclature, is our society today any different?

Nope; I'm not saying it is. But another wrong doesn't make one wrong right.

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Corporate greed has enslaved millions.

Yet whenever anyone tries to do anything about, every middle aged White male accuses you of being a radical Marxist that wants to strip everyone of their freedom for simply wanting workers to be able to make a livable wage, have safe working conditions and other options available to them  Wink

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...but it is the Church that has consistently advocated for compassionate care for the less fortunate.

This I am not convinced of, when the Church has only supported and added fuel to the evil flame throughout history in so many cases by supporting slavery.
 
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How we treat others is more important than the label we place upon them.

Then the Church should have treated humans better and not have practiced slavery or serfdom.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
JamesR
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« Reply #181 on: May 07, 2013, 05:05:40 PM »

The Church did not engage in wholesale slavery.  Slavery was covered under civil law.  Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Well then abortion is legal under civil law, yet everyone here has such a problem with it. Render unto Caeser that which is Caesar's.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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« Reply #182 on: May 07, 2013, 06:21:36 PM »

For some reason unfathomable to me, you think I am trying to justify slavery. I AM NOT.

Telling someone that if it weren't for slavery, they may not have existed isn't an examply of even mildly trying to justify slavery?

No. If I told somebody that he was born because his mother was raped, I wouldn't be even mildly trying to justify rape.   

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What or who is the Church to you?

Those baptized into Orthodoxy

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Were slaves in the Church or outside of it?

Inside of it, however, that still doesn't change the fact that the Church didn't stand up against a secular evil but often indulged in it.

The separation of Church and secular society is a new concept. It appeared after the French Revolution in Western Europe. It took a while before it reached the Orthodox world.

Both the slaves and their owners were baptized members of the same Church, who canonized both kings and slaves. So sainthood is not bound to social class, as you seemed to suggest.

Also, there's considerable difference between owning slaves and exploiting/abusing them: if you read the Torah, you should be able to get it. Abraham had slaves. So did prophets like Elijah or Elisha. Slavery took different forms in different societies: some more humane, others more cruel. You ignore all this.

In the medieval Romanian principalities, villages were either free (this was the exception) or they belonged to a nobleman/boyar or monastery. In the latter case, their inhabitants were bond to the land and practically owned by the senior. This was the case with those Gipsy slaves as well. This was pretty much the same all over Europe throughout the Middle Ages, as well as in the Ottoman Empire.     
 
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How does the Orthodox Church condone or indulge in the slavery of Blacks, Latin Americans or Pagans?!

Maybe by always trying to reunite itself with the Roman whore that did

This is ludicrous indeed.
 
It's not that I am ignoring these individual examples, it's that these individual examples are rare and far in between. And they don't seem to have had any affect on the Church at all during most of its history. I don't know about you, but I find the "majority-attitude/position" of the Church to be a more precise determinator of the Church's official position on something. And the majority opinion throughout the Church's history seemed to be that there is nothing wrong with it because the State supports it and the Church always wanted to submit to the State--and not only did it support slavery, but actually practiced it in many instances, had slave auctions at monasteries and had more serfs in Russia than any other institution. I don't think that some single obscure monk or Father who spoke out against slavery is that settling or convincing compared to this.

In the Church, it is these exceptional people (the Saints) who set an example, not the majority, nor the rich and powerful. The Church's "official position" is firstly and foremostly to be found in the Gospel.

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Well, you said you haven't even decided if you're part of the Church yet - why should anybody care what priorities you think the Church should have?

The Church should care if it wants new adherents instead of its slowly diminishing ethnic born-into-Orthodoxy-barely-practicing flock.

The Church doesn't need to mold itself to become more appealing to certain proselytes. That would be whoredom indeed (Matthew 23:15). Being faithful to the Gospel is all she needs to worry about - there is enough criticism of social injustice in there to compensate for all Marxist critique.

No I don't. If Constantine or the other evil "Saints" sincerely repented of their sins and made a change, I wouldn't mind their Canonization, but Constantine was rotten to the core and never repented of or changed his actions at all--in fact, many sources say he was even baptized by an Arian Bishop. What I don't get is how such an unrepentant sinner can become Canonized a Saint in the Church, whereas an average-joe sinner like myself who at least repents is constantly told to be humble and see myself as lower than everyone else as the worst of sinners when tyrants like Constantine are Saints. It feels like I am lying to myself; I'm not denying I'm a big sinner, but most of us can't compare to Constantine in the sin department, yet, he's a Saint.

St. Constantine is no "evil "Saint"". You need to investigate more before you uncritically adopt such opinions from the bitter enemies of the Church. 

Bottom line; it's an example of the Church being too closely aligned to the State whether we want to admit it or not. If you stripped constantine of his wealth and power, reducing him to an average-joe, you know that he wouldn't be a Saint at all. The only reason the Church Canonized him is because of the power and wealth he brought the Church, and to appease the State. That's contrary to Jesus' teaching that all are equal in Christ and that earthly treasures don't make it to Heaven.

What is "too closely"? According to whose standards? You are free to emulate St. Constantine and become a bigger Saint than he was. Good luck with that! Leaving the Church seems to be a step in the wrong direction, though.

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Whoever taught you to compare yourself to others and decide that your sins are insignificant when compared to theirs? "I didn't do x or y, I only do z."

Maybe the same people who've decided that women who get abortion are the worst of sinners to ever live and should be charged for murder? The Church is full of hypocrites.

You casting stones at those hypocrites makes you no better than them. You could only do that if you were sinless yourself, according to Our Lord. If you were, you wouldn't do it anyways.

The correct term is libel, since this is written, not "slander."

Hilarious!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 06:42:08 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #183 on: May 07, 2013, 06:55:22 PM »

I don't give a rat's ass if racism was involved or not, the issue is whether or not owning a human being is correct, and why the Church didn't do squat about it but indulged in it.

Your parents "own" you until you are 18 - is that correct or should the Church intervene?
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« Reply #184 on: May 07, 2013, 10:21:47 PM »

@JamesR: The OO Church believes in the separation of Church and State, and so I don't think slavery was widespread/existent there at at all.

better Christian than not Christian at all
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« Reply #185 on: May 07, 2013, 10:33:58 PM »

The Church did not engage in wholesale slavery.  Slavery was covered under civil law.  Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Well then abortion is legal under civil law, yet everyone here has such a problem with it. Render unto Caeser that which is Caesar's.

What does abortion have to do with slavery?

Let's just stick to the pre women's rights era and discuss more modern topics in their appropriate threads.   Grin
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 10:54:51 PM by SolEX01 » Logged
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« Reply #186 on: May 08, 2013, 04:20:08 AM »

The Church did not engage in wholesale slavery.  Slavery was covered under civil law.  Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Well then abortion is legal under civil law, yet everyone here has such a problem with it. Render unto Caeser that which is Caesar's.

What does abortion have to do with slavery?

Let's just stick to the pre women's rights era and discuss more modern topics in their appropriate threads.   Grin

Someone questioned the authority of the Church on moral issues and asserted that the Church just goes with the flow of the secular world, as they believed the Church dropped the ball on the slavery issue.  Abortion was brought up as a challenge to this assertion.

What's even stranger is all this  St Constantine bashing now.  I'm tempted to make another thread just for this issue.
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« Reply #187 on: May 08, 2013, 07:28:29 PM »

James,

Are you okay bro?  Are you stressed lately?  Calm down first off.

Let's assume parts of the Church at times did whore it up with the state.  She's still my mother.  I am the worst of all whores, and she is still righteous in my eyes.  St. Constantine, he is still righteous in my eyes, and I wish I could be a tenth of the man he is.

Christ protected the whore from the Pharisees.  He did not tell the Pharisees "He who has lesser sins may cast the first stone."  He said, "He who is WITHOUT sin may cast the first stone."  If I did even one tiny sin in my life, let's say a white lie like telling someone "your cake tastes delicious" when in fact it was terrible, then I do not deserve to throw stones at my mother Church or at St. Constantine for that matter.  I condemn his actions, and I would show disapproval of all the wrongs he did, but I will not condemn his whole person.

Origen, the man I love so much, may in fact have helped Arianism grow at the time unfortunately.  But I do not want to condemn his person either.  He is too precious in my eyes, and too righteous beyond any compare for me, giving birth to great holy men.

Many priests in the past may have owned slaves.  We should condemn that with no exception, but their persons remain untouchable.  Condemn perhaps even some of the canons that may have condoned slavery in some way.  But at the same time, we can recognize that the Scriptures make it clear, perhaps not necessarily directly condemning slavery, but as if slavery didn't exist.  In fact, if anything, the Church rather than teaching we are all men born free, the Church teaches we are all born slaves.  The ecclesiological structure of the Church, I just learned from Fr. Thomas Hopko, terms like "episkopos", "hegumenous", "diaconos" all were positions in slave orders in households, with the head slave as "episkopos" entrusted with overseeing all the other slaves in a household.  The Church reminds us in her ecclesiology that we are slaves to Christ, and only through slavery to Christ are we truly made free in spirit.  It is why this American individualism never existed in the thought of the Church.  It is also why the Church prohibited from outrightly using religion as a means to enforce masters to free slaves.  The spiritual structure of Christianity was using a much more humble approach to destroy the status quo.

Let's face it!  I agree with you that ever since Christianity was legalized, slowly the Church lost track of its spirituality in being slaves to Christ, and instead were turned to masters over dioceses.  Perhaps, we went a few steps backwards due to our legal standards.  But we also see monasticism grew during this time, as a recognition of and rebellion against "sham Christians".  And we see many holy men who stood against St. Constantine and his subsequent successors in imperial authority, like St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazienzen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, all of whom were spiritual and theological giants and define a huge chunk if not most of our spiritual Orthodoxy until today.  

Popes Callistus I and Pius I as well as St. Patrick, St. Onesimus to name a few, all were bishops and all were slaves.  And Christianity taught the Roman world that slaves were to be treated as humans, not as property as were once practiced by pagans.  The Church did undermine the order of slavery even if it didn't abolish it.  It even gets pretty clear when St. Paul names slave-traders along with fornicators, homosexuals, and liars (1 Timothy 1:10).  Thus, the teaching is there, and the Church faith is implied, even if it wasn't made manifest until recently.  You have to forgive the ignorance of the Church fathers in the past.  Things happen to occur by continued revelation, not in one fell-swoop.  Revelations of truth had to happen in their own times, and we have to at least acknowledge that while some in the Church may have done things that were displeasing, overall, the Church has been ahead of the curve at all times.  The services and sacrifices that the Church partook in were incomparable to what the rest of the world was doing, whether or not there were mistakes made.  The Church always transcended the world, not equal to the world, but not far beyond anything the world could fathom, that the world may progress with the Church little by little.  Services to the poor, to orphans (making orphanages and adoptions were unheard of!!!), to widows, to the lepers and other sick people (even a sacrament was made for them and hospitals were made by Christians), raising the status of women more than other cultures did, raising the status of slaves as equal to masters even if they still continued to be slaves, they turned many aboriginal communities to thriving, educated, and tolerant communities.

Consider this quote:

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To this I may compare the case of Theology except that it proceeds the reverse way. For in the case by which I have illustrated it the change is made by successive subtractions; whereas here perfection is reached by additions. For the matter stands thus. The Old Testament proclaimed the Father openly, and the Son more obscurely. The New manifested the Son, and suggested the Deity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit Himself dwells among us, and supplies us with a clearer demonstration of Himself. For it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son; nor when that of the Son was not yet received to burden us further (if I may use so bold an expression) with the Holy Ghost; lest perhaps people might, like men loaded with food beyond their strength, and presenting eyes as yet too weak to bear it to the sun's light, risk the loss even of that which was within the reach of their powers; but that by gradual additions, and, as David says, Goings up, and advances and progress from glory to glory, the Light of the Trinity might shine upon the more illuminated. For this reason it was, I think, that He gradually came to dwell in the Disciples, measuring Himself out to them according to their capacity to receive Him, at the beginning of the Gospel, after the Passion, after the Ascension, making perfect their powers, being breathed upon them, and appearing in fiery tongues. And indeed it is little by little that He is declared by Jesus, as you will learn for yourself if you will read more carefully. I will ask the Father, He says, and He will send you another Comforter, even the spirit of Truth. This He said that He might not seem to be a rival God, or to make His discourses to them by another authority. Again, He shall send Him, but it is in My Name. He leaves out the I will ask, but He keeps the Shall send, then again, I will send,—His own dignity. Then shall come, the authority of the Spirit.

You see lights breaking upon us, gradually; and the order of Theology, which it is better for us to keep, neither proclaiming things too suddenly, nor yet keeping them hidden to the end. For the former course would be unscientific, the latter atheistical; and the former would be calculated to startle outsiders, the latter to alienate our own people. I will add another point to what I have said; one which may readily have come into the mind of some others, but which I think a fruit of my own thought. Our Saviour had some things which, He said, could not be borne at that time by His disciples (though they were filled with many teachings), perhaps for the reasons I have mentioned; and therefore they were hidden. And again He said that all things should be taught us by the Spirit when He should come to dwell amongst us. Of these things one, I take it, was the Deity of the Spirit Himself, made clear later on when such knowledge should be seasonable and capable of being received after our Saviour's restoration, when it would no longer be received with incredulity because of its marvellous character. For what greater thing than this did either He promise, or the Spirit teach. If indeed anything is to be considered great and worthy of the Majesty of God, which was either promised or taught.

--St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 31.26-27 (aka the Fifth Theological Oration)

Therefore, there are many things hidden within the spirituality and theology of the Church that has to be revealed in its own time.  We can't suddenly receive all teachings.  The Church is not a static Church that has a catechism from the day of the Pentecost.  She grows "from glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:8), and reveals things in all humility and in due time.  

Therefore, we also must be humble in judging the past, and not use our anachronistic judgments to emotionally find ourselves disagreeable with the Church at all times.  Cultivate within yourself the fruits of the Spirit, and the first four is quite telling:  love, joy, peace, and patience.  Love the Church even in her dark times.  Be joyous in your communion within the Church, for through Her, Christ is perfected in YOU.  Keep your peace at all times, and never lose your peace even in times when you are troubled.  Love, joy, and peace in tribulations will give you clarity of mind, and with it culminates all in patience, or a better word:  long-suffering.  Because when we jump to judgments, we become disgruntled and easily discouraged.  First preserve your love, peace, joy, and patience...then ask, "why did the Church do this? No, this is not right.  We know NOW as the Church may have not been able to understand before that slavery is wrong completely, and should be done away with.  But I still love her saints, and I am still ever more at joy and peace in being with Christ, who gives me more than I deserve."  

We know now, hidden within the Pauline verses in the Scriptures, within the ecclesiological structure of the Church, within the examples of the saints and Church fathers that inducing slavery from our own is wrong, and that we are taught no matter what position we hold, even if emperor of the world, we are all still slaves to Christ and equally human.  This central Christian theological dogma has always been taught, but only recently realized.  Forgive the past, and look forward to upcoming glory in Christ through His most glorious and worthy Church.  In fact, while there were white Christian bigots, there were also white Christian abolitionists that through sound theology lead the liberation movement for black people in the US.  This all the more should prove within the Scriptures and Church spirituality lie a revelation of truth that always was there, but may have been unrealized until now, even among those Christians outside the Church in the US.  So don't just look at how the Church may have got things wrong, but also look at the vast history of how the Church got things more right than ever!

God bless.
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« Reply #188 on: May 08, 2013, 07:31:11 PM »

@JamesR: The OO Church believes in the separation of Church and State, and so I don't think slavery was widespread/existent there at at all.

better Christian than not Christian at all

Let's not use the "OO Church believes..."

We have our faults too.  We share a common history with EOs, and we are have a diversity of practices in the history of our sister churches that we only scratched the surface to fully understand and acknowledge.  So, we should not jump to conclusions like this, especially if later on we find something about our history that we didn't know before that may bite us in the back later on.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #189 on: May 09, 2013, 04:42:37 AM »

did the Church as a whole endorse slavery?

By having them, what do you think? The Russian Church supported serfdom more than anywhere else, monasteries had slave auctions. Actions speak louder than words. The Church never took any action to condemn slavery but supported it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-possessors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nil_Sorsky

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Volotsky
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« Reply #190 on: May 09, 2013, 08:32:16 AM »

@JamesR: The OO Church believes in the separation of Church and State, and so I don't think slavery was widespread/existent there at at all.

better Christian than not Christian at all

Let's not use the "OO Church believes..."

We have our faults too.  We share a common history with EOs, and we are have a diversity of practices in the history of our sister churches that we only scratched the surface to fully understand and acknowledge.  So, we should not jump to conclusions like this, especially if later on we find something about our history that we didn't know before that may bite us in the back later on.

I don't think it is unreasonable to suggest that the OO Church believes this, especially given the circumstances surrounding the Chalcedonian schism.  But if it is too absolute, perhaps I should have said, "the OO Church has a much stronger inclination toward separation of Church and State".

I know we should not jump to conclusions, that's why I used the words "I don't think".  In any case, I still think this (ie slavery) would be an area where there would be a large historical difference between EOy and OOy.
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« Reply #191 on: May 09, 2013, 11:26:17 AM »

did the Church as a whole endorse slavery?

By having them, what do you think? The Russian Church supported serfdom more than anywhere else, monasteries had slave auctions. Actions speak louder than words. The Church never took any action to condemn slavery but supported it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-possessors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nil_Sorsky

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Volotsky

Romaios, this is great, though the last one seems to have been pro-serfdom.

I've started compiling all the sources and instances of anti-slavery in the OC and these will fit in nicely.  I've already posted a link to http://www.omhksea.org/2012/01/the-church-fathers-and-slavery/   which gives further examples with sources.  Really it is ridiculous to say that the OC endorsed slavery.  
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« Reply #192 on: May 09, 2013, 12:02:57 PM »

I forgot to mention St. Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus), one of the 318 assembled at Nicea was also known for buying slaves to set them free.
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« Reply #193 on: July 18, 2013, 04:10:31 PM »

oops... while trying to write it out I accidently deleted it all trying to center it to make it look nicer but it didnt like nice at all so I tried clicking the horizontal rule thing but that deleted it all.. anyway, lets try again.

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM HAS SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT SLAVERY! HEAR YE HEAR YE!

Taken from a sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man. HE TALKS ALSO ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF SLAVERY! and many other things.

Here:

       For my part, I may call even a slave noble, and a master shackled with chains, if I learn his character. For me the person of high rank belongs to the lowest class if he has a slavish soul. For who is truly a slave, if not the person who commits sin? Other slavery is a matter of our external circumstances,but this slavery is a difference of interior disposition. In fact slavery originally came from this source. Formerly there were no slaves. When God formed man, He did not make him a slave, but free. He made Adam and Eve, and both were free. So how did slavery begin? The race of men drifted off course, plressed beyond the proper limits of desire, and were carried away with licentiousness. Hear how this came about.

       There was a flood, a common shipwreck of the whole inhabited world. The flood-gates were opened, the abysses gushed forth, and everything was water. Visible things were dissolved and reduced to their elements; earth no longer appeared, but everything was sea, because of the anger of God. Everything was waves and sea. Mountains reach high, but the sea covered them. There was nothing but sea and heaven, and the race of men had perished. Noah was the spark of our race, his wife and children, a dove and a raven, and all the rest. All of them were inside, and the ark was carried on top of the water in the midst of the flood. It did not suffer shipwreck, for it had at its pilot the Master of all. It was not the planking of the ark which saved them, but His mighty hand. And see a miracle: when earth had been washed clean by the flood, when those who did evil had been destroyed, when the storm had abated, the peaks of the mountains appeared, the ark landed, and Noah sent the dove.

       These stories are mysteries, and the events are a type of what was to come: that is, the ark represents the Church, Noah represents Christ, the dove represents the Holy Spirit, the olive branch represents God's love for mankind. He sent forth the gentle animal, and it went out from the ark-- but those things are types, and these are the truth. See the bounty of the truth. Just as the ark in the midst of the flood saved those who were inside, so the Church saves all those who go astray. But the ark merely saved them, while the Church does something more. I mean something like this: the ark received the irrational animals saved them as irrational animals. The Church received irrational human beings, and does not merely save them, but also changes them. The ark received a raven and sent forth a raven. The Church receives a raven and sends forth a dove; it receives a wolf and sends forth a sheep. When a person enters rapacious and avaricious and hears the teaching of the divine Scriptures, he changes his disposition and becomes a sheep instead of a wolf. The wolf steals what belongs to others, but the sheep gives up even its own wool.

       The ark landed and the doors were opened. Noah went forth, saved from shipwreck. He saw the earth made desolate. He saw a tomb improvised from mud, a common grave of animals and men, all the bodies of horses, human beings, and all kinds of irrational beasts buried together in heaps. He saw this tragedy; he saw the earth groaning bitterly. He was very discouraged. Everyone had perished. No human being, no animal, nothing else outside of the ark had been saved. He saw only the heavens. He was overcome by discouragement; he was held fast by anguish. He drank wine and yielded himself to sleep to relieve the wound of his discouragement. He lay in his bed, yielding himself to sleep as if to a doctor, obtaining forgetfulness in his mind of what had taken place, as usually happens when an old man drinks wine and falls asleep. We must defend the righteous man, because he did not desire drunkenness and passion but used them to heal his wound. Solomon also says this: "Give wine to those in grief, and strong drink to those who anguish." For this reason many people, especially at funerals, when someone has last a child or a wife, when emotion overcomes him, when discouragement surrounds him, when consciousness rules over him, take their friends into their own house and make a generous drinking party. They give undiluted wine to the one who is mourning to relieve his pain.
      The same thing happened then to Noah. Overcome by discouragement, he used wine like a medicine, and by means of the wine yielded himself to sleep. But in order that you many learn how slavery began, [thank you my hands are getting tired typing] a little later that accursed son of his went in--his son by nature but not by character (again I say that nobility is not the eminence of ancestors but the vitue of one's character); his son went in and saw the nakedness of his father. He should have clothed him, he should have covered him up because of his old age, because of his grief, because of his misfortune, because he was his father; but he went out and announced and proclaimed it. His other brothers took a garment, carrying it backwards to keep from seeing what he had announced, and went in and covered their father. When their father arose, he knew everything that had happened; and he began to say, "Cured be the child Canaan: he shall be a servant to his brothers." He meant something like this: "You shall be a slave, because you proclaimed the disgrace of your father." Do you see that slavery came from sin, and wickedness introduced slavery?
      Shall I show you freedom arising from slavery? There was a certain Onesimus, a slave, a good-for-nothing runaway. He escaped and went to Paul. He obtained baptism, washed away his sins, and remained at Paul's feet. Paul writes to the slave's master, "Onesimus . . . who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful indeed to you and to me . . . received him as you would receive me." What had happened? "I have become his father in my imprisonment."
      Do you see his nobility? Do you see a character that brings freedom? Slave and free are simply names. What is a slave? It is a mere name. How many masters lie drunken on their beds, while slaves stand by sober? Whom shall I call a slave? The one who is sober, or the one who is drunk? The one who is a slave of a man, or the one who is the captive of passion? The former has his slavery on the outside; the latter wears his captivity on the inside. I say this, and I will not stop saying it, in order that you may have the disposition which serves the true nature of things, and may not be led astray by the same deception as most people, but may know what a slave is, what a poor person is, what an ignoble person is, what a fortunate person is, and what passion is. If you learn to distinquish these, you will not be subject to any confusion.
      But lest the digression, which had become rather long, lead my sermon astray, let us return to the subject." [goes on about lazarus and the rich man]

only a short digression by Chysostom in his sermon, but he has said some very useful words about slavery.
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« Reply #194 on: July 18, 2013, 04:16:57 PM »

Most of what I know of the subject of slavery in Christian history comes from 1 book that I've read, A Church That Can and Cannot Change by John Noonan, so I feel hardly qualified to answer beyond my own very-speculative opinion. All I can say is that I think slavery can coexist with but not be condoned by Orthodoxy, and that you would not suffer serious eternal penalties for being a runaway slave. Even great Church Fathers owned slaves. St. Gregory the Theologian, for example, owned slaves, and when he died he willed that they should be freed. Do we applaud him for freeing them? Do we cover his actions of slave-owning? Do such actions need covered to begin with, especially consdering the context? I don't know.

I see I already mentioned the Noonan book here. Also mentioned St. Gregory, who, coincidentally, I was reading about the other day. He was ridiculing his theological opponents for having no better morals or loftiness of mind than slaves, unlike the land-owning folk like himself, who by heredity and upbringing could truly understand the profundity of Christian philosophy.

It's like we're brothers or something.  angel
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« Reply #195 on: July 18, 2013, 05:35:04 PM »

Let's get down to the root of the problem and tackle it first hand, because unless we really look at it from a real world example, we are not going to get anywhere. All I am seeing in this topic is huge speculation and conjecture from both sides, pointless debates over semantics and trying to redefine words, and tons of red herrings.

Say you or I or someone else owned a slave in this very day and age and wanted to convert to the Church, and assume that I was not violating any international or national law through doing so. What would the Church do? Would it condemn the action, require that the slave be freed? Or would it allow conversion?

If the Church DID condemn me or the hypothetical slave owner from having a slave, where would its authority come from? AFAIK, I have not seen any strong evidence to support that the Church officially condemned(or whether it even does today) slavery. I'd  be inclined to think that the Church is only changing its ethical positions in order to match secular society's standards and fit in with the modern world. In fact, I find it very sad that the secular Humanists--the godless heathens who think it's okay to murder fetuses--seem to be more concerned with social justice, human rights, and changing "established" societal evils than the Church has. If the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, then shouldn't she be redeeming society, opposed to just staying silent until society (secular btw) elevates itself without her help?

Likewise, the Church seems to be very contradictory on the whole matter. I see some Canons that seem pro-slavery, and clergy/Saints who owned slaves (even St. Paul supported it), whereas some Fathers were strict abolitionists who fiercely condemned the institution. If the issue of slavery is so evil then how come the Church hasn't systematically delivered us with a concise, official position on it? Quite frankly, the whole argument that the Church didn't speak on it because of its subjection to un-Christian governments holds little credence. The Church often spoke against secular practices endorsed by the government throughout its history, even at the expense of ticking off rulers and being persecuted for it. The Church condemned polygamy, the gladiatorial shows and theater of Roman society for example, and this put it in hot water. If slavery is evil, then why hasn't the Church spoke against it?

Once again, let's ask the question. If someone owned a slave in our modern times (and slavery wasn't legally condemned) could that person be an Orthodox Christian and keep the slave? If the answer is no, then I'm having a hard time accepting that the Church is sticking to its theology and dogma, opposed to just trying to fit in with modern society's standards and avoid taboos.

I find the whole "shades of gray" thing kind of contradictory. Adherents of the Abrahamic religions have an extremely black-or-white objectivist view of the world, where something is either right or wrong. Very little gray. Take the religious-right on this forum's anti-abortion stance no matter what circumstances position as an example. If slavery can (or was) allowed because of society's weakness and external circumstances, then why can't the same be said about abortion in our present times? Seems like people are constantly bending or twisting the Church's positions in one direction when it is convenient for them and in another when it is inconvenient. Problem is, I'm having a hard time knowing who's right and who's wrong.
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« Reply #196 on: July 18, 2013, 05:40:10 PM »

Let's get down to the root of the problem and tackle it first hand, because unless we really look at it from a real world example, we are not going to get anywhere. All I am seeing in this topic is huge speculation and conjecture from both sides, pointless debates over semantics and trying to redefine words, and tons of red herrings.

Say you or I or someone else owned a slave in this very day and age and wanted to convert to the Church, and assume that I was not violating any international or national law through doing so. What would the Church do? Would it condemn the action, require that the slave be freed? Or would it allow conversion?

If the Church DID condemn me or the hypothetical slave owner from having a slave, where would its authority come from? AFAIK, I have not seen any strong evidence to support that the Church officially condemned(or whether it even does today) slavery. I'd  be inclined to think that the Church is only changing its ethical positions in order to match secular society's standards and fit in with the modern world. In fact, I find it very sad that the secular Humanists--the godless heathens who think it's okay to murder fetuses--seem to be more concerned with social justice, human rights, and changing "established" societal evils than the Church has. If the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, then shouldn't she be redeeming society, opposed to just staying silent until society (secular btw) elevates itself without her help?

Likewise, the Church seems to be very contradictory on the whole matter. I see some Canons that seem pro-slavery, and clergy/Saints who owned slaves (even St. Paul supported it), whereas some Fathers were strict abolitionists who fiercely condemned the institution. If the issue of slavery is so evil then how come the Church hasn't systematically delivered us with a concise, official position on it? Quite frankly, the whole argument that the Church  

the whole argument that the Church... where is the end of the sentence!?

I hope james did not die!

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oh nevermind there it is...
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« Reply #197 on: July 18, 2013, 05:41:03 PM »

the whole argument that the Church... where is the end of the sentence!?

I hope james did not die!

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oh nevermind there it is...

 Cheesy
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« Reply #198 on: July 18, 2013, 05:43:31 PM »

Computer was acting screwy, had to finish the post there before I lost it and then edit and continue it.
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« Reply #199 on: July 18, 2013, 05:44:03 PM »

Let's get down to the root of the problem and tackle it first hand, because unless we really look at it from a real world example, we are not going to get anywhere. All I am seeing in this topic is huge speculation and conjecture from both sides, pointless debates over semantics and trying to redefine words, and tons of red herrings.

Say you or I or someone else owned a slave in this very day and age and wanted to convert to the Church, and assume that I was not violating any international or national law through doing so. What would the Church do? Would it condemn the action, require that the slave be freed? Or would it allow conversion?

If the Church DID condemn me or the hypothetical slave owner from having a slave, where would its authority come from? AFAIK, I have not seen any strong evidence to support that the Church officially condemned(or whether it even does today) slavery. I'd  be inclined to think that the Church is only changing its ethical positions in order to match secular society's standards and fit in with the modern world. In fact, I find it very sad that the secular Humanists--the godless heathens who think it's okay to murder fetuses--seem to be more concerned with social justice, human rights, and changing "established" societal evils than the Church has. If the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, then shouldn't she be redeeming society, opposed to just staying silent until society (secular btw) elevates itself without her help?

Likewise, the Church seems to be very contradictory on the whole matter. I see some Canons that seem pro-slavery, and clergy/Saints who owned slaves (even St. Paul supported it), whereas some Fathers were strict abolitionists who fiercely condemned the institution. If the issue of slavery is so evil then how come the Church hasn't systematically delivered us with a concise, official position on it? Quite frankly, the whole argument that the Church didn't speak on it because of its subjection to un-Christian governments holds little credence. The Church often spoke against secular practices endorsed by the government throughout its history, even at the expense of ticking off rulers and being persecuted for it. The Church condemned polygamy, the gladiatorial shows and theater of Roman society for example, and this put it in hot water. If slavery is evil, then why hasn't the Church spoke against it?

Once again, let's ask the question. If someone owned a slave in our modern times (and slavery wasn't legally condemned) could that person be an Orthodox Christian and keep the slave? If the answer is no, then I'm having a hard time accepting that the Church is sticking to its theology and dogma, opposed to just trying to fit in with modern society's standards and avoid taboos.

I find the whole "shades of gray" thing kind of contradictory. Adherents of the Abrahamic religions have an extremely black-or-white objectivist view of the world, where something is either right or wrong. Very little gray. Take the religious-right on this forum's anti-abortion stance no matter what circumstances position as an example. If slavery can (or was) allowed because of society's weakness and external circumstances, then why can't the same be said about abortion in our present times? Seems like people are constantly bending or twisting the Church's positions in one direction when it is convenient for them and in another when it is inconvenient. Problem is, I'm having a hard time knowing who's right and who's wrong.

anyway, you made very good points. at least in my head.

especially:

Quote
The Church condemned polygamy, the gladiatorial shows and theater of Roman society for example, and this put it in hot water. If slavery is evil, then why hasn't the Church spoke against it?

well, sort of a good point. I am sure there are many rebuttels to be said.

did you read the post  what do you think of what Chrysostom said
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« Reply #200 on: July 18, 2013, 05:50:21 PM »

...did you read the post  what do you think of what Chrysostom said

I think that the voice of the Saints is the most authoritive and purely Christian authority we have in the Church, and I don't find it too surprising that most of the Fathers seemed to either condemn slavery in principle (such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory of Nyssa), yet, at the same time, Orthodoxy isn't just about them. Just as Sola Scriptura is heretical because the Bible isn't all there is to Christianity, I don't think we can reduce Orthodoxy down to just the few enlightened Fathers--as tempting as it may be. We have to look at Orthodoxy and accept it in its entirety--it's taboos and blunders included, the parts that we don't like too. How do we make sense of the contradictions? I don't know.
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« Reply #201 on: July 18, 2013, 05:54:06 PM »

Quote
If the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, then shouldn't she be redeeming society, opposed to just staying silent until society (secular btw) elevates itself without her help?

Actually, to a certain extent, it did, in some places. At least in the North, the Church helped put an end to (offical) slavery. Of course, it went on in practise for several centuries. In pagan times, slaves were not considered to have souls, effectively making them of same value as animals.  
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« Reply #202 on: July 18, 2013, 07:14:55 PM »

 Really it is ridiculous to say that the OC endorsed slavery.  
How do you explain the slave auctions where monasteries bought or sold slaves?
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« Reply #203 on: July 19, 2013, 12:00:28 AM »

If the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, then shouldn't she be redeeming society, opposed to just staying silent until society (secular btw) elevates itself without her help?

St. John Chrysostom wasn't silent - neither were other Saints. The rich weren't paying attention, that's all. Neither do most of us in the Church nowadays, on a whole range of issues. 

The Church and society weren't split from St. Constantine the Great up to the French Revolution.

Also, Orthodoxy is not catharism, the "church of the pure" - there's always going to be sheep and goats, wheat as well as tares in it, right up to the Judgement.   

So you are looking at this from the wrong angle.
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« Reply #204 on: July 19, 2013, 12:33:52 AM »

 Really it is ridiculous to say that the OC endorsed slavery.  
How do you explain the slave auctions where monasteries bought or sold slaves?

By pointing out the monastics and saints who were against the practice, like St. Nilus of Sora.
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« Reply #205 on: July 19, 2013, 01:17:39 AM »

 Really it is ridiculous to say that the OC endorsed slavery.  
How do you explain the slave auctions where monasteries bought or sold slaves?

By pointing out the monastics and saints who were against the practice, like St. Nilus of Sora.
But wasn't St. Nilus of Sora in Russia? Did he have any influence on the monasteries in Wallachia or Moldavia?
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« Reply #206 on: July 19, 2013, 07:30:49 AM »

Still waiting for sources of Orthodox monasteries buying and/or selling slaves. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I would like to know the whole story rather than here a tidbit off an internet forum.
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« Reply #207 on: July 19, 2013, 01:39:15 PM »

Still waiting for sources of Orthodox monasteries buying and/or selling slaves. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I would like to know the whole story rather than here a tidbit off an internet forum.
Please see:
Viorel Achim, The Roma in Romanian History, Central European University Press, Budapest, 2004. ISBN 963-9241-84-9

Elena Marushiakova, Vesselin Popov. 2009. "Gypsy Slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia". In: Kamusella, Tomasz and Krzysztof Jaskulowski, eds. Nationalisms Today. Oxford: Peter Lang, ISBN 9783039118830 p. 89-124
Sam Beck, "The Origins of Gypsy Slavery in Romania", in Dialectical Anthropology, Volume 14, Number 1 / March, 1989, Springer, p. 53-61
V. Costăchel, P. P. Panaitescu, A. Cazacu, Viaţa feudală în Ţara Românească şi Moldova (secolele XIV–XVI), Editura Ştiinţifică, Bucharest, 1957
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« Reply #208 on: July 19, 2013, 01:44:57 PM »

Still waiting for sources of Orthodox monasteries buying and/or selling slaves. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I would like to know the whole story rather than here a tidbit off an internet forum.
Please see:
Viorel Achim, The Roma in Romanian History, Central European University Press, Budapest, 2004. ISBN 963-9241-84-9

Elena Marushiakova, Vesselin Popov. 2009. "Gypsy Slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia". In: Kamusella, Tomasz and Krzysztof Jaskulowski, eds. Nationalisms Today. Oxford: Peter Lang, ISBN 9783039118830 p. 89-124
Sam Beck, "The Origins of Gypsy Slavery in Romania", in Dialectical Anthropology, Volume 14, Number 1 / March, 1989, Springer, p. 53-61
V. Costăchel, P. P. Panaitescu, A. Cazacu, Viaţa feudală în Ţara Românească şi Moldova (secolele XIV–XVI), Editura Ştiinţifică, Bucharest, 1957

Which pages or chapters in particular? Does the wiki article you got these references from tell you?
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« Reply #209 on: July 19, 2013, 02:11:39 PM »

 Really it is ridiculous to say that the OC endorsed slavery.  
How do you explain the slave auctions where monasteries bought or sold slaves?

By pointing out the monastics and saints who were against the practice, like St. Nilus of Sora.
But wasn't St. Nilus of Sora in Russia? Did he have any influence on the monasteries in Wallachia or Moldavia?

Well, if you are only concerned with Wallachia or Moldavia, then it's not a question of slavery and the Orthodox Church, really, but a local issue.
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« Reply #210 on: July 19, 2013, 02:52:43 PM »

Still waiting for sources of Orthodox monasteries buying and/or selling slaves. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I would like to know the whole story rather than here a tidbit off an internet forum.
Please see:
Viorel Achim, The Roma in Romanian History, Central European University Press, Budapest, 2004. ISBN 963-9241-84-9

Elena Marushiakova, Vesselin Popov. 2009. "Gypsy Slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia". In: Kamusella, Tomasz and Krzysztof Jaskulowski, eds. Nationalisms Today. Oxford: Peter Lang, ISBN 9783039118830 p. 89-124
Sam Beck, "The Origins of Gypsy Slavery in Romania", in Dialectical Anthropology, Volume 14, Number 1 / March, 1989, Springer, p. 53-61
V. Costăchel, P. P. Panaitescu, A. Cazacu, Viaţa feudală în Ţara Românească şi Moldova (secolele XIV–XVI), Editura Ştiinţifică, Bucharest, 1957

Which pages or chapters in particular? Does the wiki article you got these references from tell you?
There are other references besides the ones here given in wiki. I had borrowed the book by Achim from the university library, and read through some of the chapters, but that was a while ago and I did not take any notes. The call number of the book was DX224 .A2413 2004.  I can't help you on the exact pages right now.  Another reference was in the form of an e-book, I forget which one, and the setup they had at the library did not let me print out the relevant pages because of copyright issues. You had to read it there and take your own notes.  As you point out, the article in Wikipedia is not too bad on this issue, and it does give page by page references.
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« Reply #211 on: July 19, 2013, 04:02:24 PM »

I think one way to look at this issue is that while it has always been sort of a gray-area in the Church, with different Fathers and clergy having different opinions and all, the Church has always at least leaned closer to abolition than it has support for slavery. Take for example the fact that there is not a single Father or Saint who 100% supported slavery in its entirety and endorsed it, most of the Fathers who did support it at least admitted that it was evil in origin and promoted the good treatment of slaves, whereas, on the other hand, the Church has had 100% abolitionist Saints and Fathers who wanted to rid of slavery entirely, such as St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. John Chrysostom.
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« Reply #212 on: July 19, 2013, 05:30:46 PM »

Here's another interesting thought, as brought to my attention by Mina.

St. Paul seems contradictory on slavery. On the one hand, he accepts slave masters into the Church and only orders them to treat their slaves properly, yet, at the same time, he also condemns slave traders as those in the same category as fornicators and other grave sinners.

What do we make of this?

Likewise, no one has answered the question directly even though it has been raised so many times; does the Church presently condemn slavery? If so, when did this begin? If slavery was not against international law and someone owned a slave and wanted to convert, how would the Church handle it? Would his ownership of a slave affect his conversion at all?

I don't see how the Church could ever see the process of buying and selling humans who had been separated from their families as acceptable. Contract slavery? Okay. Slavery as a way of paying off debt? Okay. But to buy and sell slaves? Seems horrible. And I'm not convinced that the Church ever cracked down on it and think it should definitely be given more consideration than people here are giving it. If the Church truly is the pillar and ground of the truth meant to carry Christ's message, then shouldn't it have done something about this? We should definitely be disturbed by a blunder as significant as this.

Telling a Christian slave to submit to their master and not run away is one thing. I could see it as understandable, being that it promotes the Christian spirit. But merely telling masters to treat their slaves well seems abominable. So it's okay to purchase human beings who had been kidnapped against their will is okay as long as you treat them well?

This whole thing seems fishy to me
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« Reply #213 on: July 19, 2013, 05:51:19 PM »


Telling a Christian slave to submit to their master and not run away is one thing. I could see it as understandable, being that it promotes the Christian spirit. But merely telling masters to treat their slaves well seems abominable. So it's okay to purchase human beings who had been kidnapped against their will is okay as long as you treat them well?

This whole thing seems fishy to me
When a society is based on slave/master relationships it can be problematic to dismantle that. I understand that after the US Civil War, one of the major problems was the sudden appearance of newly freed black slaves who had few if any skills to assimilate into the prevailing culture. Freeing them is one thing, but then what happens? The slaves would probably have had no family ties, little education, no resources of their own. What would become of them? Freeing them is not necessarily a kindness. It takes a great deal of planning and provision. Please note, I'm not promoting slavery, but rather trying to suggest that there be a responsible transition from a slave-based society.
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« Reply #214 on: July 19, 2013, 05:59:16 PM »

It's not the job of the Church to wash away all the ills of society.
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« Reply #215 on: July 19, 2013, 06:35:30 PM »

Freeing them is one thing, but then what happens? The slaves would probably have had no family ties, little education, no resources of their own. What would become of them? Freeing them is not necessarily a kindness. It takes a great deal of planning and provision. Please note, I'm not promoting slavery, but rather trying to suggest that there be a responsible transition from a slave-based society.

http://izismile.com/2013/07/19/romanian_gypsies_turn_uk_streets_into_a_filthy_44_pics.html
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« Reply #216 on: July 19, 2013, 08:03:42 PM »

Freeing them is one thing, but then what happens? The slaves would probably have had no family ties, little education, no resources of their own. What would become of them? Freeing them is not necessarily a kindness. It takes a great deal of planning and provision. Please note, I'm not promoting slavery, but rather trying to suggest that there be a responsible transition from a slave-based society.

http://izismile.com/2013/07/19/romanian_gypsies_turn_uk_streets_into_a_filthy_44_pics.html
A tad racist and not exactly slavery, but the point about failing to plan for a changing society is clear.
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« Reply #217 on: July 19, 2013, 08:06:59 PM »

It's not the job of the Church to wash away all the ills of society.

I thought the Church transformed or transfigured society or something...?
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« Reply #218 on: July 19, 2013, 09:24:02 PM »

Well, my thoughts are that in any case, St. Paul at least condemned chattel slavery in the New Testament.
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« Reply #219 on: July 19, 2013, 11:06:39 PM »

Freeing them is one thing, but then what happens? The slaves would probably have had no family ties, little education, no resources of their own. What would become of them? Freeing them is not necessarily a kindness. It takes a great deal of planning and provision. Please note, I'm not promoting slavery, but rather trying to suggest that there be a responsible transition from a slave-based society.

http://izismile.com/2013/07/19/romanian_gypsies_turn_uk_streets_into_a_filthy_44_pics.html
A tad racist and not exactly slavery, but the point about failing to plan for a changing society is clear.

The person who posted the photos probably had a racist agenda. I just did a random google image search for "Romanian gipsies" that came up with that link.

My point was indeed that, in the 160 years or so that have passed since Cuza freed Gipsy slaves in Romania, they haven't really been successfully integrated in our society. As long as rural life still endured, they were needed as craftsmen or horse herders. Now most of them can't earn a living practicing their traditional skills and very few pursue an education. When the borders were opened, this also became a problem for Western European countries... 
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« Reply #220 on: July 20, 2013, 04:00:15 AM »

It's not the job of the Church to wash away all the ills of society.

I thought the Church transformed or transfigured society or something...?

If you think that Byzantine state ideology is dogma...
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« Reply #221 on: July 20, 2013, 04:06:45 AM »

So is someone going to answer a question, is slavery really abominable or does the Church only condemn it because international law does and Romans 13 says to submit to governments? Say slavery was not illegal. Would the Church receive slave owners or not? If the Church condemns slavery now, then how come? The Church seems pretty gray and inconsistent on it throughout its history.
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« Reply #222 on: July 20, 2013, 04:08:38 AM »

Should the Church have a stance on everything?
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« Reply #223 on: July 20, 2013, 04:13:38 AM »

Should the Church have a stance on everything?

Why not?

If the posters on this board are so against Enlightenment ideals like separation of Church and State, and want to bring religion into every aspect of their life and society, then really, why not? Slavery is apparently a big enough dilemma that more than a few Fathers spoke about it--generally with different opinions. If the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, then it should be able to answer these questions for us, or at least have universal principles that can apply to these dilemmas.

What makes it more so a dilemma worth questioning is the fact that slavery isn't just something that the Church never encountered, in which case, you may be correct that the Church needs not a statement on it, as it was never an issue. But as it is, the Church was exposed to slavery since day one, and its contradictory and somewhat inconsistent stance and dealings with the issue is worth questioning.
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« Reply #224 on: July 20, 2013, 04:19:28 AM »

So what's the opinion of the Church on the new roundabout in my neighbourhood?
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