Good morning, Cizinec.
While some here may raise that issue, I certainly did not. I do not dare to declare those who use the NC as heretical. My question was simply asking whether or not the switch to the NC was worth the trouble it has caused.
Presuming your position is that following the NC isn't heretical and unlawful, then IMO the trouble is rooted in one's willingness to disobey his bishop and synod. Considering the trouble
is found by less than 1% who choose to do their own thing, regardless of how big the presence may seem on the internet, I'm not losing sleep.
If in my question I insinuated that NC jurisdictions were using the NC as "false ecumenism", I apologize. Today, the adoption of December 25th as the Nativity Feast has not caused so much scandal in the Church. My question/concern does not involve "false ecumenism" but the opposite, the unneeded offense of our own Orthodox family.
Are you sure it didn't create some scuffles in moving the Nativity Feast from the Theophany to Dec. 25th? I'm inclined to think memories fade over time, as is the case with the Old Believer scandal in which many "traditionalist" Orthodox in the Russian side of the house aren't too familiar with that history.
There is, however, a substantial difference in these two controversies. The Nikonian changes were made for theological concerns, right or wrong. In the argument of the NC apologists, I do not hear this type of argument. I simply hear that it is more convenient. If there are theological problems with using the OC, then I think we should look at those.
The Nikonian changes were not rooted in theology. They involved the form and structure of worship, the architectural layout of the sanctuary, the positioning of the priest and choir during services, switching from two finger to three finger blessings (thereby breaking the previous traditional symbols involved in the two finger formation), changes in style and content of iconography, and major changes to the language and content of the liturgical books. This question is highly relevant because if one feels it's OK to continue abiding by these changes (i.e. "offending" the Old Believers), then I don't see why one now makes an issue over "offense", whatever that means, to other Orthodox over the calendar - especially when 99% are not offended.
The purpose given for the Nikonian reforms was the errors
that had crept into the outward forms of worship and service books, even though one would have to presume many of these errors were there in the beginning and the fact that inaccuracies are always present to some degree is accepted by any sober mind. Likewise, there are astronomical errors in the JC which many NC view as needing corrected with a more accurate calendar. The Old C's will say these errors are OK and don't warrant altering what's become enshrined by God in tradition, but this is the same line of argumentation as used by the Old Believers.
That is not to say that I am questioning the authority of a bishop. I am simply stating that we are all sinners and make errors. The Nikonian controversy created an unfortunate schism with which we must cope. I wonder why you would point out an unfortunate and, in some people's views, avoidable schism to justify another.
That's just the point. We're not justifying schism, we're criticising those behaving schismatically
by jumping ship, breaking communion with their Orthodox family, and starting new jurisdictions. I'm sorry, but this looks like one is blaming the legislator for the criminal breaking the law. The bishop and the synod have the right to decide on this matter, among others. One can get offended and do his own thing, but Orthodoxy demands a high degree of humility, and what I'm seeing is a high degree of Protestant sectarianism introduced into the Orthodox Faith. I don't see a precedent for this during the truly heretical controversies in the early Church. I don't know why 99% of the Orthodox faithful (in both JC - Serbian and Moscow Patriarchates - and RJC jurisdictions) have no problem with following their bishops on these matters and find no reason for offense (which is the traditional, humble practice of Orthodoxy), but then we're to believe a few are truer Orthodox for getting angry, offended, and becoming disobedient.
My concern is the protection of our brothers and sisters in Christ and the unity of the Faith. Your concern seems to be whether the weak are weak (??) and whether that should bother us. When St. Paul dealt with the eating of meats offered to idols, he emphasized that it was wrong to cause your brother to fall. By what you have told me you get very little to nothing by using the NC. I have not heard that it is theologically improper to follow the OC. I haven't heard anything in support of the NC besides failed gestures to those outside the faith and convenience factors for the NC adherents. However, the spiritually weak (in some people's views) are falling aside (again, in some people's views) because of a practice from which the adherents receive no spiritual benefit (at least none that I have seen and I haven't seen one put forward in this forum).
I don't quite see a parallel in this teaching of Paul's in regards to the calendar issue. In fact, Paul's words would on the surface seem much more broad. I think to construe these passages to mean we shouldn't do anything
for fear it will offend someone from converting to Christ (since, after all, he was talking about pagan gentiles being disturbed) is taking it too far. This is the mess that's occurring in mainstream Protestantism today.
I'm not really certain what you're trying to argue. Are you saying that creating a separate jurisdiction out of communion with "world" Orthodoxy is an example of falling aside, a sign of spiritual weakness? Is it the Church's fault to teach adultery is a sin when it offends a few members, and these few in turn join a sect where they can indulge in their own idea of morality? I simply don't see that the Church "makes" others become disobedient. I don't believe this reasoning is in accord with Orthodox thought. The Church says the bishops have certain prerogatives in the liturgical and spiritual order in their districts, and willfully disobeying your bishop is a sin. If you feel your bishop is doing something "illegal", then come out and say as much and present your case. But if the synod says you're wrong... you're wrong. By bolting the jurisdiction and creating your own, you're teaching the souls who follow you that it's OK to leave home when you don't like the policies of your bishop. And that's exactly what happens, where today these groups keep breaking off into ever more splinter organizations when someone gets "offended."
I am admittedly suspect of the NC and the reasons for its use. Is it simply for convenience? Isn't the spiritual welfare of our Orthodox family more important than this convenience?
I'm no more suspect of the NC than I am of breaking the liturgical order of celebrating the Nativity on December 25th rather than on the Theophany. I'm no more suspicious of the RJC than I am of the three finger blessing, which evidently ticks off a bunch of Old Believers. But I am certainly suspect of those who believe it's legitimate to break communion with their Orthodox brothers and sisters on an item that they admit isn't heretical.