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Author Topic: Old vs. New Calendar?  (Read 191193 times) Average Rating: 0
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Donna Rose
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« Reply #225 on: December 26, 2004, 08:57:46 PM »

returning briefly to the baptism vs. chrismation discussion that was occurring 2 pages ago, I found an article (letter) on the OCA website that it is worth adding to the Bibliography that Anastasios typed out for us...it is on the pro-chrismation side, and while the whole letter is not only about this issue, Abp. +DMITRI addresses it in some very helpful ways, so anyone keeping track of the bibliography for future reference, add this letter to it:

http://www.oca.org/pages/ocaadmin/documents/Official/1997-AbpDimitri-on-suspensions-1111.html
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« Reply #226 on: December 27, 2004, 12:20:09 AM »

Yes, that's a highly informative letter, which I almost linked earlier. The section of the letter where His Grace wrote, "Finally, according to one of the sections of the Oath of Ordination, which you signed, you promised not to do anything without the knowledge of your bishop.", sums up my view that this is a severe matter of obedience between oneself and one's bishop. Unfortunately, it's become too common to place oneself as judge and juror over the bishop. The well-worn escape hatch is to appoint yourself synodal judge of one and say your "bishop has left Orthodoxy", and I'm guessing that's probably what these priests said after breaking their vows and leaving the Church.
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« Reply #227 on: December 31, 2004, 12:59:28 PM »

TonyS asked what problems were created by being in communion with two calendars.

It is strange and disruptive to go to a parish to hear a gospel on what is, in your spiritual cycle, the wrong day. How can I go to a New Calendar church before our Christmas when they are serving non-fasting foods? It's strange and uncomfortable.


Actually I did not ask what problems were created. I quoted your post and asked you what you mean by it.

You said
Quote
This creates barriers to intercommunion.
Since there is at lease one whole jurisdiction here in the USA that is on two different calendars and the same thing is happening abroad I think "barriers" is an exaggeration.

No doubt it creates difficulty for the uninformed layfolk. The solution is to inform the people. Catechesis! should be our battle cry. Intercommunion exists because that is something that in in Orthodoxy exists at the head. The bishops are in communion with each other no matter if you do or do not commune outside of your jurisdiction.

TonyS
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« Reply #228 on: January 02, 2005, 04:41:25 PM »

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Sabbas, IMHO, to speak of "Ecumenist" bishops in the 1920's is simply not accurate in the modern sense of this movement. This is because this idea of "hey, all Christians are the same" did not rear its ugly head until the 1950's at the earliest, and possibly not unitl the 1960's. The root of the problem goes deeper than this. If we are honest, we should speak of a Church that was corrupt and degenerate. "Ecumensim" seems to be blamed for a lot of things on this thread. I guess whether or not accustations against it are true depends on what you mean by "Ecumenism".
Pravoslavbob

I think the problem is that we have different ideas about what Ecumenism is and where it starts. For me what became known as ecumenism and acted in on in 1960's has existed for centuries. And it is not limited to just idea of all Christians being in communion but all faiths being made one. From what I have read former Heresiarch Meletios Metaxakis was a Freemason and did act on the beliefs of Freemasonry. Freemasonry has always held firm to the belief that Truth can be found through all of the faiths. The goal is to destroy doctrinal barriers to communion. These beliefs were acted on by bishops in the 1920's, Metaxakis being the most obvious and terrible one. If anyone has doubts they can read the PatriarchalL and Synodical Encyclical of1920. The goal I believe was already being looked to in the 1920's and was acted on with the establishment of the WCC, Vatican II, and the actions of Heresiarch Athenagoras in the 1960's. The goal as I see was there in the 1920's and it is a grandiose idea of bringing all Christians into one fold, with the ultimate goal of all faiths being brought into one fold. What is being looked to is Chiliastic (millenialist) Age! I even read an excellent book recently called Light in the Darkness a Russian Spirituality book by Sergei Fudel, written 1977 during the time of Brezhnev's renewed persecution of the Church, and this wonderful book full of beauty even naively voices chiliastic dreams of a new age when Christians can be united in one Body. Though I think he was dreaming of something different then most ecumenists dream of he still shows how easy it is to fall into this vision of a new age inaugurated by men instead of God! Though I am rambling a bit I think this gives you an idea of why people such as myself are so concerned about ecumenism. At its heart we see this pernicious idea thriving, this same idea which eventually led the Munsterite Anabaptists to their downfall, and this idea which motivated the Nazi's to create a new messiah out of Hitler and declare the 1000 year Reich. Do you see how dangerous chiliasm is? Though I admit that I do not see ecumenism as being nearly what it was in the 1960's and I even think that world Orthodoxy is going to being moving far away from it in the future it still is something we need to be vigilant about, as you pointed out Bob.

What I think is really objectionable about the Ecumenical movement is that it does not at all understand Orthodoxy. I think Innocent (Clark) Carlton wrote it well when describing how absolutely different Orthodoxy is from any denomination in the epilogue of his book The Truth: What every Roman Catholic should know about the Orthodox Church
Quote
This explains why many Protestants are attracted to Rome. [speaking on the large numbers of Protestants becoming Catholic] Allegiance to Rome allows them to overcome the inherent inconsistencies in Protestantism without having to abandon the basic presupposition of Protestantism, namely that Christianity is an ideology derived from a text . . . At this point allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in NO WAY BASED (emphasis is his) on the Bible. Nor is it based on or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God.
What I find is that so many Orthodox who promote Ecumenical dialogue seem to view Orthodoxy as an ideology derived from text as well rather than the One True Faith which encompasses all aspects of Life. Also the allegiance that Carlton speaks of is similar to what I notice about many Orthodox who tended to have a heavy even hateful bias against Old Calendarist’s for not being ‘official.’ They often get the idea that because they are part of ‘official world’ Orthodoxy they are immune to ever being wrong and that the many heretical ideas and doctrines being thrown around in ‘official’ Orthodoxy are beyond reproach, such as saying that salvation is not limited to the Church, while the Traditionalist arguments of Old Calendarists are just thrown out as the ranting of lunatics. What’s interesting is that most of the ‘official’ Orthodox who hold this opinion are American and usually converts of the AA. If anyone thinks I am making all this up look in at any AA parish made up of converts who have never had contact with ethnic parishes that have much more depth and experience in living Orthodoxy. You would be amazed at how close some come to being, as Fr.Seraphim once put it, “Eastern Rite Protestant.”

Also I found a Protestant website against the current Ecumenical trends that seek to blur Protestant doctrines such as justification by faith alone, etc. http://www.jeremiahproject.com/prophecy/ecumen01.html I found it interesting that Protestants are also scared about reduction of doctrine and the 'do what feels good' aspects of ecumenism.

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I would never support a movement to make our Pascha fall at the same time as Western Easter.

I agree! and frankly I would leave the official jurisdiction I'm in, AA, if they wanted such a thing to happen.

Quote
I will say again, that I do not like the way the new calendar was forced on some people. But now that it exists, I do not have issue with it, and I don't even think about it. If the Church decided that we should all move again to the other calendar, that would be fine with me. Until that time, I use this new calendar, I like it, and I will not apologize for it. I was in an old calendar parish for two years, and I did not find that liturgical time flowed any differently or better there than in a new calendar parish. I do not wish to impose the new calendar on anyone who doesn't want to use it. Eventually, the Church will have to come to a consensus, because we should not be celebrating things at different times. And yes, the Orthodox Church will decide, and not those outside of Her.

I respect these sentiments very much and to be honest I don't think about the calendar issue as much as it seems I do. In fact I could probably argue in favor of it. However I very much sympathize with the Old Calendar movement, see modernism as much more common amongst new calendar jurisdictions, and this worries me. I have seen several pictures of AA and OCA churches that have been around for years and don't even have iconostasises! If this is not evidence that something is happening to Orthodoxy I don’t what else it can be called.
But I think you are right about this being an issue the Church has to and will decide in the near future.
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« Reply #229 on: January 02, 2005, 05:10:13 PM »

Sabbas, I find your opinions much more troubling than the things that seemto be troubling you in the Church.

1. If the churches you picture above have Icons and areas that serve as the Deacons and Royal Doors, where is the need for  iconostasis? It is an icon stand. There are obviously icons that are held up by something. Hence, there is an iconostas, even if it is not in a form you prefer. Originally there was just a small low wall separating the altar area from the sanctuary. There appears to be the same here in the form of the raised platform.

2.  To say specifically who can be saved and who can not is to limit God. God has given us instructions as how to attempt to dwell closer to Him.  We know who is in the Church. But we cannot limit God. His salvation is His gift to us; no one is worthy of it. I am no more worthy of it than a Buddhist in China is worthy. We are all sinners.  It is not relativism; it is the reality of our limited understanding of the workings of God.  God will bestow as He will. Let us all work in His command to love Him and our neighbors so that we may feel the Love He has for each of us more fully.

3. Protesting the useage of the new calendar is genuine, if theology is changed by the adaptation of the modified-Gregorian calendar (as opposed to the secular Gregorian, which is different from the New Calendar) instead of the continued use of the Julian Calendar. Leaving the communion of the Orthodox Church is not. I feel only concern for those who have removed themselves from the unity of sacremental communion; there the Church is not.   There is an underlying suspicion here that the Bishops of the Church are not to be trusted. Whereas heresies in the past had the people cry "anathema!" against the heretical teachings of some Bishops,  the calendar issue is something quite different. Those who have removed themselves from Communion with all are the danger here, not the practical matter of the calendar.  I feel that many attitudes here seem to convey that there is no fault within any group that separates itself from Orthodoxy in the name of the calendar or ecumenism, or holding to the "true" practice that Orthodoxy has failed to keep. I must speak to the opposite. The Church is where unity in doctrine and unity in sacremental communion is. Let us not become too relativistic in promoting those who are not in unity any longer.
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« Reply #230 on: January 02, 2005, 05:50:01 PM »

Amen, choirfriend. Smiley I agree completely with all that you have said.
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« Reply #231 on: January 02, 2005, 07:05:28 PM »

Great post, choirfiend. I think we can see the dangers that can befall a new inquirer when relying on the internet for catechesis.
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« Reply #232 on: January 02, 2005, 07:19:17 PM »

Quote
1. If the churches you picture above have Icons and areas that serve as the Deacons and Royal Doors, where is the need for iconostasis? It is an icon stand. There are obviously icons that are held up by something. Hence, there is an iconostas, even if it is not in a form you prefer. Originally there was just a small low wall separating the altar area from the sanctuary. There appears to be the same here in the form of the raised platform.

Neither of these churches have Royal doors. If you want to know where these churches are I will give the information. To remove the icon screen is not typical of Eastern Orthodoxy. While I concede that a church can be Orthodox and not have an iconostasis, such as the Western Rite, the Eastern Rite has with the guidance of the Holy Spirit developed the iconostasis as separation of the Sanctuary from the nave in the most common form we have today. To simply remove the curtain and Royal doors for convenience is not a good thing.

Quote
2. To say specifically who can be saved and who can not is to limit God. God has given us instructions as how to attempt to dwell closer to Him. We know who is in the Church. But we cannot limit God. His salvation is His gift to us; no one is worthy of it. I am no more worthy of it than a Buddhist in China is worthy. We are all sinners. It is not relativism; it is the reality of our limited understanding of the workings of God. God will bestow as He will. Let us all work in His command to love Him and our neighbors so that we may feel the Love He has for each of us more fully.

Quote
Christ came to renew human nature which had been corrupted by sin, and entrusted this greatest work of His goodness, mercy, truth, and wisdom to His Holy Church. The Holy Spirit, Who came into the world and Who operates in the Church through the clergy, the Divine Service, the sermon, and the Mysteries, works this renewal without ceasing. Only within the Church is this renovating force contained, outside the Church it does not exist and cannot.

Thus it is indispensable to belong to Christ's Church, the Head of which is the Almighty Tsar, the Conqueror of hades, Jesus Christ Himself. His kingdom is the Church which wars with principalities, powers, the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, with spirits of wickedness in high places, which compose a skillfully organized kingdom, and do combat in an extremely experienced, intelligent, well-directed and powerful manner with all men, having well studied all their passions and inclinations. Here no man by himself on the battlefield can be a combatant; and even a great community which is not Orthodox, and is without the Head—Christ—can do nothing against such cunning, subtle, constantly vigilant enemies, who are so skilled in the science of their warfare. For Orthodox Christians a mighty support is necessary from on high, from God and from Christ’s holy warriors who have defeated the enemies of salvation by the power of the grace of Christ, from pastors and teachers, and then—from common prayer and from the Mysteries. Behold, precisely such a helper in the struggle with our invisible and visible enemies is the Church of Christ, to Which, through God's mercies, we belong. The Catholics have invented a new head, having demoted the one true Head of the Church—Christ. The Lutherans fell away and remained without a head. The Anglicans likewise. There is no Church among them; the union with the Head is broken; there is no Almighty help and Belial wages war with all his power and cunning, and holds them all in his delusion and perdition. A multitude perish in atheism and depravity.

"He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathered not with Me scattereth" (Luke xi. 23). He who is not with the Church is against the Church; he who is not within the Church is against the Church; he who has not the faith is against the faith; he who does not do the works of repentance, the works of virtue, is against virtue. It is but a small thing to be named a Christian: one must do the works and fulfill the commandments which Christ decreed; unceasing repentance is necessary, unceasing attention to oneself in the spirit of faith, unceasing prayer, unceasing correction, unceasing forcing of oneself ahead, unceasing self-perfection, and with this goal—unceasing self-examination: are we in the faith? do we live according to the faith? are we with the Church? do we go to church? do we love the Church? do we fulfill the dictates of the Church? or the commandments of Christ preached by Her? Behold then how Christ God teaches. Therefore he who does not repent, who does not attend church, and instead of church goes to the theater and various spectacles and worldly gatherings, disdaining the Church—such a one is not a Christian.-St. John of Kronstadt


As a catechumen in the AA one of the first teachings I learned is that there is no salvation outside of the Church. All we can say beyond this is that maybe there are some people in Paradise who were not visible members of the Church while on earth and that God's mercy outweighs his judgment. Beyond that we can say nothing. But the Church has always said that only withn the Body of Christ, the Church, is there salvation. Furthermore I said nothing about worthiness. Indeed everyone within the Church is obligated to struggle for salvation.

Quote
3. Protesting the useage of the new calendar is genuine, if theology is changed by the adaptation of the modified-Gregorian calendar (as opposed to the secular Gregorian, which is different from the New Calendar) instead of the continued use of the Julian Calendar. Leaving the communion of the Orthodox Church is not. I feel only concern for those who have removed themselves from the unity of sacremental communion; there the Church is not.  There is an underlying suspicion here that the Bishops of the Church are not to be trusted. Whereas heresies in the past had the people cry "anathema!" against the heretical teachings of some Bishops, the calendar issue is something quite different. Those who have removed themselves from Communion with all are the danger here, not the practical matter of the calendar. I feel that many attitudes here seem to convey that there is no fault within any group that separates itself from Orthodoxy in the name of the calendar or ecumenism, or holding to the "true" practice that Orthodoxy has failed to keep. I must speak to the opposite. The Church is where unity in doctrine and unity in sacremental communion is. Let us not become too relativistic in promoting those who are not in unity any longer.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted uncanonically and for heretical reasons that are intimately related with theology. This is obvious to anyone who investigates how the calendar was changed and why it was changed. It is a theological matter because it relates to ecumenism in Orthodoxy. Any discussion of Old vs. New has to take ecumenism into account.

Quote
I feel only concern for those who have removed themselves from the unity of sacremental communion; there the Church is not.
I am shocked that you go so far as group all Old Calendarists and say they are not part of the Church. That is an outrage. In fact bishops in new calendar jurisdictions have defended the 'canonicity' of the Old Calendarists.

Quote
I must speak to the opposite. The Church is where unity in doctrine and unity in sacremental communion is. Let us not become too relativistic in promoting those who are not in unity any longer
Have you read Church history? Walling off and the breaking of communion has happened several times and then resulted in the reestablishment of communion.
Those who create disunity are in the 'official' jurisdictions. They argue for ecumenical dialogue, resist the wishes of many in their jurisdictions to return to the Julian calendar, and do more to show phony love for non-Orthodox than they do to promote unity.
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« Reply #233 on: January 02, 2005, 07:22:36 PM »

The Church Fathers and the AA priest who made me a catechumen are not 'the internet.'


By the way Bishop Kallistos Ware even states that there is no Salvation outside the Chuch in his book The Orthodox Church
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« Reply #234 on: January 02, 2005, 07:54:41 PM »

I'm sorry, Sabbas, but you're conflating multiple issues and some of your chosen words are inaccurate. Choirfiend's statements on the iconostasis are accurate. If you truly believe the style of icon screen is a sign of heresy and ecumenicism, then you need to speak with your priest.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted uncanonically and for heretical reasons that are intimately related with theology.

The synod has the power to decide which calendar is to be used by their jurisdiction. Exercising that power is not heretical and the Revised Julian Calendar is indeed canonical.

I am shocked that you go so far as group all Old Calendarists and say they are not part of the Church. That is an outrage. In fact bishops in new calendar jurisdictions have defended the 'canonicity' of the Old Calendarists.

She didn't say such. What she said is that those who leave the communion of the Church over the calendar have removed themselves from the Church. Many Old Calendarists - the Serbian, Moscow, and Jerusalem Patriarchates - haven't broken communion with the RJC jurisdictions. Those starting out with "True" or "Genuine" have.

Have you read Church history? Walling off and the breaking of communion has happened several times and then resulted in the reestablishment of communion.

Really? What were the names of those new, walled off jurisdictions who broke communion?

Those who create disunity are in the 'official' jurisdictions.

Sorry, but this is reverse logic. You disobey your bishop and synod on a matter that's within their authority and it's you who are guilty.

The Church Fathers and the AA priest who made me a catechumen are not 'the internet.'

By the way Bishop Kallistos Ware even states that there is no Salvation outside the Chuch in his book The Orthodox Church

I doubt this priest planted the views expressed in your posts in your mind. Have you discussed these issues with him? Does he know you believe these things? These are topics that should be worked out in your catechical sessions with your priest.

About your reference to Ware's work, please cite the page number you are pulling because Ware also wrote more than what you are alluding to, in particular he wrote, “We know who is in the Church but we cannot be sure who will not be.” So it is true that salvation is only in the Church but we can't put definitive bounds on who God will enjoin to the Church.
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« Reply #235 on: January 02, 2005, 08:00:52 PM »



Neither of these churches have Royal doors. If you want to know where these churches are I will give the information. To remove the icon screen is not typical of Eastern Orthodoxy. While I concede that a church can be Orthodox and not have an iconostasis, such as the Western Rite, the Eastern Rite has with the guidance of the Holy Spirit developed the iconostasis as separation of the Sanctuary from the nave in the most common form we have today. To simply remove the curtain and Royal doors for convenience is not a good thing.


Somethings, like the curtain and certain times of closing the Royal Doors, came into existance during the period of time when communion was extremely infrequent. The laity of the church were held to be so unworthy as to not even be granted to see the altar area. My current church does not have a curtain.  "Closing off" of the altar is not the norm in all Orthodox churches, many iconostasis have been simply icons on easels and still others are so open as to be practically transparent. Do you have larger pictures of the churches? thanks~


As a catechumen in the AA one of the first teachings I learned is that there is no salvation outside of the Church. All we can say beyond this is that maybe there are some people in Paradise who were not visible members of the Church while on earth and that God's mercy outweighs his judgment. Beyond that we can say nothing. But the Church has always said that only withn the Body of Christ, the Church, is there salvation. Furthermore I said nothing about worthiness. Indeed everyone within the Church is obligated to struggle for salvation.


Obviously, the statements "There is no salvation outside the Church" and "maybe there are some people in Paradise who were not visible members of the Church" appear to have contradictory connotations. But, in the end, they work together in unity. What I stated is basically this: We do not know who upon whom God may bestow salvation, including those who are by all apparent means outside the Church as a physical body on the earth. Thus, we may hold hope that God will save those whom He will. I am first among sinners, so yes, I do have the hope that if He could save me, the chief sinner, then he could save others, within or without the Church.  We may say that there is no salvation outside the Church, but that is because there is no salvation without God. With the addendum statement "maybe there are some people in Paradise" the concession is made that "We know where the Church is; we know not where it is not." God saves, we do not limit Him by declaring who can or cannot be saved.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted uncanonically and for heretical reasons that are intimately related with theology. This is obvious to anyone who investigates how the calendar was changed and why it was changed. It is a theological matter because it relates to ecumenism in Orthodoxy. Any discussion of Old vs. New has to take ecumenism into account.
 I am shocked that you go so far as group all Old Calendarists and say they are not part of the Church. That is an outrage. In fact bishops in new calendar jurisdictions have defended the 'canonicity' of the Old Calendarists.
Have you read Church history? Walling off and the breaking of communion has happened several times and then resulted in the reestablishment of communion.
Those who create disunity are in the 'official' jurisdictions. They argue for ecumenical dialogue, resist the wishes of many in their jurisdictions to return to the Julian calendar, and do more to show phony love for non-Orthodox than they do to promote unity.

I do not group all old calendarists and say they are not part of the Church. Do I say this of the church in Russia? Jerusalem? the Ukrainians? Those who LEAVE the church are not part of the Church. Those who have cut off sacramental unity are not the Church. If sacramental unity is restored, they will be part of the Church once more.  The adaptation of a  (more accurate in terms of synchronicity with time as it passes on Earth) calendar as agreed by a church is heretical? Here I invite you to reexamine the reasons for the calendar change and the meaning of a church calendar for theology.
I have yet to hear "many" arguing for the Julian calendar in any of the new calendar Orthodox that I have met. Similarly, I have not met any Old Calendar Orthodox condemn New calendar Orthodox unless they were part of a group that has cut itself off from Orthodoxy.  No one "forced" a bishop to leave Orthodoxy any more than someone "forced" the bishop of Rome to leave Orthodoxy. Those who are not in unity are in disunity. If they continue to teach true doctrine, but are practicing the false doctrine of sacramental disunity, they are not currently part of the Church. Pray to the Lord that they will return. 

What is your definition of ecumenism?  Ecumenical dialogue? Is it wrong to discuss differences of beliefs with others in the hope that they will one day return to the truth Faith? Is it wrong to work on humanitarian efforts with other groups in order to benefit the poor and needy? (and by AA, do you mean the Antiochian Archdiocese? How do you reconcile your vigor against the new calendar with joining a new calendar church?) 
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« Reply #236 on: January 02, 2005, 08:06:39 PM »


Neither of these churches have Royal doors. If you want to know where these churches are I will give the information. To remove the icon screen is not typical of Eastern Orthodoxy. While I concede that a church can be Orthodox and not have an iconostasis, such as the Western Rite, the Eastern Rite has with the guidance of the Holy Spirit developed the iconostasis as separation of the Sanctuary from the nave in the most common form we have today. To simply remove the curtain and Royal doors for convenience is not a good thing.


I guess it will not surprise you too much if I disagree with you about this, Sabbas.
I thnk the iconostasis is a real barrier to liturgical communication, and is designed to shut the laity out. I have been in parishes that have both ornate icon screens and simple barrrers as attested to by Choirfiend, and I much prefer the latter, although I do agree that there should be an indicator of some kind as to a deliniation between the altar area and the nave, and that no one should go back there unless they have a good reason.
It may interest you to know that in Slavic Orthodoxy, the Muscovite tradition in its rubrics has all kinds of things noting when to shut the royal doors and curtains during the liturgy. The Kievan tradition, on the other hand, is very clear in mentioning that the doors and curtains should remain open for the entire liturgy.

I think we have to be very careful in distinguishing betweeen the tradtions of men, and Holy Tradition. Because something has been done for hundreds of years does not make it right. For example, at one point the Russian Church decided that it was perfectly okay to make icons of God the Father. I think it was about 200 years later that it changed its mind. I think we both know which position is the correct one to take.
I could be wrong about the iconostasis, and you could be right, in the long run. I just don't see any evidence to support the idea that the Holy Sprirt guided the Church in creating it.

I have to concur with Strelets and Choirfiend here.
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« Reply #237 on: January 02, 2005, 08:56:04 PM »

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For example, at one point the Russian Church decided that it was perfectly okay to make icons of God the Father.  I think it was about 200 years later that it changed its mind.  I think we both know which position is the correct one to take.

Quote
Thus the Seventh Ecumenical Council declares: "Eternal be the memory of those who know and accept and believe the visions of the prophets as the Divinity Himself shaped and impressed them, whatever the chorus of the prophets saw and narrated, and who hold to the written and unwritten tradition of the Apostles which was passed on to the Fathers, and on account of this make icons of the Holy things and honour them." And again: "Anathema to those who do not accept the visions of the prophets and who reject the iconographies which have been seen by them (O wonder!) even before the Incarnation of the Word, but either speak empty words about having seen the unattainable and unseen Essence, or on the one hand pay heed to those who have seen these appearances of icons, types and forms of the truth, while on the other hand they cannot bear to have icons made of the Word become man and His sufferings on our behalf." St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, in his prolegomena to the Seventh Ecumenical Council, sums up the Council's decrees on this subject as follows: "The present Council, in the letter which it sent to the Church of Alexandria, on the one hand blesses those who know and accept, and therefore make icons of and honour, the visions and theophanies of the Prophets, as God Himself shaped and impressed them on their minds. And on the other hand it anathematizes those who do not accept the iconographies of such visions before the incarnation of God the Word. It follows that the Beginningless Father must be represented in icons as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."

Personally I tend to think it best not to make Icons of God the Father, particularly because of how I read St.John 14, but I cannot argue with the Ecumenical Council. I posted this because I think you were implying that it's best not to make any icons of God the Father? except maybe for the Rublev icon? There are longer article's on this issue I can show you if you like.

I will have more comments tomorrow but I'd like to say something else now.

I am deeply sorry if I have written anything in anger while posting. I am seriously considering whether I should keep posting because I tend to feel anger well up inside me when I try to prove or debate a point and I think we all agree that is not good. I will keep all of you in my prayers.
My main reason for defending the Old Calendarists is sympathy and love for those who have been so ruthlessly persecuted. From what I've read it was absolutely awful for the Romanian Old Calendarists hence my avatar of St.Glicherie. Also I am convinced by the arguments of many of the Greek Synod in Resistance and it's sister churches that they are canonical.

Anyway I'll post more tomorrow, and sorry if I have been angry or hurtful to any of you.
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« Reply #238 on: January 02, 2005, 11:08:00 PM »

Sabbas,

You will be in my prayers tonight as well, thank you for keeping us (even though I haven't contributed much to this thread) in yours.

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« Reply #239 on: January 02, 2005, 11:50:54 PM »

I respect these sentiments very much and to be honest I don't think about the calendar issue as much as it seems I do. In fact I could probably argue in favor of it. However I very much sympathize with the Old Calendar movement, see modernism as much more common amongst new calendar jurisdictions, and this worries me. I have seen several pictures of AA and OCA churches that have been around for years and don't even have iconostasises!

OK, Sabbas, we can skip over the part where you're presuming to pass judgement on churches within your own jurisdiction before you've even been chrismated, and skip directly to the buildings in question.

The second building I don't know, but the first one is an Antiochian parish about thirty minutes from here. What you see there has a curious history. I haven't been in their new building, but I have been in its predecessor, which from the POV of Orthodox furnishings is far more eccentric. When I was last there, the church proper was being used by a Western Rite mission, and the altar area (which could be seen into easily) was dominated by this striking but extremely unEastern baldichino-like structure.

The white structures in the pictures are in fact the iconostasis of the new church building. They date back to the days when the main congregation had taken to worshipping in the parish hall. Those pillars can be moved about to allow the area to be cleared for other use (remembering their previous usage in the hall). I have no idea whether the arrangement they have at present is intended to be either permanent or complete as it stands-- and if you aren't a member of this parish, you have no idea either.

Different jurisdictions have different custom with respect to the appearance of the iconostasis. It seems proper at your stage to subject yourself in humility to the custom of your jurisidiction rather than already engaging in the unfortunately common practice of shopping for the jurisdiction with the most spiritual machismo strictest piety. Any of us here can tell you about this because we've all seen it happen over and over, but you should at least wait for the chrism before you start your search for your next jurisdiction.
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« Reply #240 on: January 03, 2005, 03:01:19 AM »





Personally I tend to think it best not to make Icons of God the Father, particularly because of how I read St.John 14, but I cannot argue with the Ecumenical Council. I posted this because I think you were implying that it's best not to make any icons of God the Father? except maybe for the Rublev icon? There are longer article's on this issue I can show you if you like.

I will have more comments tomorrow but I'd like to say something else now.

I am deeply sorry if I have written anything in anger while posting. I am seriously considering whether I should keep posting because I tend to feel anger well up inside me when I try to prove or debate a point and I think we all agree that is not good. I will keep all of you in my prayers.
My main reason for defending the Old Calendarists is sympathy and love for those who have been so ruthlessly persecuted. From what I've read it was absolutely awful for the Romanian Old Calendarists hence my avatar of St.Glicherie. Also I am convinced by the arguments of many of the Greek Synod in Resistance and it's sister churches that they are canonical.

Anyway I'll post more tomorrow, and sorry if I have been angry or hurtful to any of you.

Re:  Icons.  You make a very good point.  I don't know the answers to all these issues.  Maybe I'm missing the boat on this one.  I do know that the Russian Church acted as I mentioned.

As to the other things, I echo what Donna Rose said. 

Bob
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« Reply #241 on: January 03, 2005, 09:21:14 AM »

Sabbas,



The lack of an iconostasis here does not concern me at all. What does concern me is the bloody great christmas tree behind the altar  Shocked
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« Reply #242 on: January 03, 2005, 02:25:58 PM »

LOL!  That's what I was thinking! 
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« Reply #243 on: January 03, 2005, 05:49:17 PM »

I would call it.... atypical.  Cheesy
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« Reply #244 on: January 03, 2005, 06:36:30 PM »

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OK, Sabbas, we can skip over the part where you're presuming to pass judgement on churches within your own jurisdiction before you've even been chrismated, and skip directly to the buildings in question.

Different jurisdictions have different custom with respect to the appearance of the iconostasis. It seems proper at your stage to subject yourself in humility to the custom of your jurisidiction rather than already engaging in the unfortunately common practice of shopping for the jurisdiction with the most spiritual machismo strictest piety. Any of us here can tell you about this because we've all seen it happen over and over, but you should at least wait for the chrism before you start your search for your next jurisdiction.

First I am also being baptized. I was never baptized as a child because my mother and father, who belonged to different denominations (Methodist and Roman Catholic) decided to let me decide. Second I think you should respect my own judgment. If I ultimately choose to be in the GSR as opposed to the AA that is my choice. And I do plan to make that decision before being baptized as I do not look favorably on 'jurisdiction hopping.' Third the AA mission I attend has a full iconostasis (royal doors, curtains, etc.) and what I listed in the picture is in no way related to the established form of an Eastern Orthodox sanctuary. Though I admit that church is quite young I was more concerned with the innovation of having a gigantic Christmas tree in the sanctuary. However the other picture I listed is from a parish that has been around for 30 years, and is a traditional slavic church in everyway, as far as I can tell, except it has no iconostasis.

Quote
I guess it will not surprise you too much if I disagree with you about this, Sabbas.
I thnk the iconostasis is a real barrier to liturgical communication, and is designed to shut the laity out. I have been in parishes that have both ornate icon screens and simple barrrers as attested to by Choirfiend, and I much prefer the latter, although I do agree that there should be an indicator of some kind as to a deliniation between the altar area and the nave, and that no one should go back there unless they have a good reason.
It may interest you to know that in Slavic Orthodoxy, the Muscovite tradition in its rubrics has all kinds of things noting when to shut the royal doors and curtains during the liturgy. The Kievan tradition, on the other hand, is very clear in mentioning that the doors and curtains should remain open for the entire liturgy.

I hope that I am not the only one who likes iconostasises. Not that I don't understand why some people don't. I tend to like the Rude screens used in the west. However I wil list a quote by someone who can express my opinion on the iconostasis and liturgical development better than me.

Quote
the Icon screen in our Churches divides the Holy of Holies from other sections of the Church. And this division is not architectural or merely "spatial." The Eucharist rests in the Altar on the Holy Table. And its Presence there sanctifies and changes that place. In the procedure of the Liturgy, the Icon screen protects that which is holy from the profane and that which is profane from the power of the holy. No historical acrobatics meant to prove that the Icon screen is an impediment to worship can change the fact that the Altar contains something which must be protected and concealed, except in those moments when the Holy Things are brought out for the sanctification of the people.

The Liturgy is a mystical event. Its development is subject to historical investigation. But the "whys" of its development lie within the action of the Holy Spirit. The Liturgy is a formula, as it were, by which the earthly lifts itself up to the heavenly. It exists for this purpose. Any changes and developments which we see in it are not the result of human whim but of maturation and the development of Divine procedure.

Quote
It may interest you to know that in Slavic Orthodoxy, the Muscovite tradition in its rubrics has all kinds of things noting when to shut the royal doors and curtains during the liturgy.


Yes I am familiar with this and I recently read of an interesting practice of Optina in which the opening of the Royal Doors is central. It is called the 'Bridegroom Matins' I think. It's described in better detail in Fr.Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works by Hieromonk Damascene.

Quote
Those who LEAVE the church are not part of the Church
I agree that groups like the Matthewites, ROAC, etc. have cut themselves off but I would be more circumspect about the groups like the GSR and its sister churches. They recognize the validity of the sacraments in the official jurisdictions. They are in communion with ROCOR. ROCOR is in communion with the Serbian Patriarchate. Patriarch Diodoros I of the Jerusalem Patriarchate praised Metropolitan Cyprian in a versperal homily. I could go on with the names of those in official Orthodoxy who have stated that those in certain Old Calendar groups are not heretics, and not even schismatic. And I could give more reasons why you should take a look at their arguments. I think that you should admit things are not as cut and dry as you think and look more closely at the history of the Old Calendar movement.

Quote
Do you have larger pictures of the churches? thanks~

I can give you the websites if you like. http://www.oca.org/pages/events/2004/10.October/1017SeaCliffNY/index.html Leonid Kishkovsky served as president of the NCC for a while as well. http://www.peterpaul.net/index2.htm

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We know where the Church is; we know not where it is not." God saves, we do not limit Him by declaring who can or cannot be saved.

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Christ came to renew human nature which had been corrupted by sin, and entrusted this greatest work of His goodness, mercy, truth, and wisdom to His Holy Church. The Holy Spirit, Who came into the world and Who operates in the Church through the clergy, the Divine Service, the sermon, and the Mysteries, works this renewal without ceasing. Only within the Church is this renovating force contained, outside the Church it does not exist and cannot.

I think this makes it clear that the Church is visible, one, and we know where it is not.

Quote
What is your definition of ecumenism? Ecumenical dialogue? Is it wrong to discuss differences of beliefs with others in the hope that they will one day return to the truth Faith? Is it wrong to work on humanitarian efforts with other groups in order to benefit the poor and needy? (and by AA, do you mean the Antiochian Archdiocese? How do you reconcile your vigor against the new calendar with joining a new calendar church?)

My definition of Ecumenism is the same as is written about at http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ My definition of modernism is the same as voiced so well by Fr.Alexander Lebedeff http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/tradmod_intro.aspx and Dr.Constantine Cavarnos http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/modernism.pdf Humanitarian efforts with other groups for benefit of poor and needy is not what any traditionalist is against. It's the idea that by engaging in theological dialogue in a Protestant dominated group being beneficial when it's clearly not is what we're against. It's not just Old Calendarists who feel this way. There are articles I could show you from those in official new calendar jurisdictions as well. If you'd like to read them I'll get the addresses for you. My justification for going with an AA mission that I attend, and yes that's Antiochian, is that I do not entirely agree that traditionalism is dead in official Orthodoxy. I recently read a book about the traditionalist Elder Cleopa http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?products_id=2598
And I was swayed by his arguments against the Old Calendarist movement that perhaps there is hope that Orthodoxy and its Tradition will not necessarily destroyed by the sad actions of a few at the top, Heresiarch Athenagoras for instance.

Quote
I have yet to hear "many" arguing for the Julian calendar in any of the new calendar Orthodox that I have met.

Usually you have to go to ethnic parishes to find them. Though I have known two, one a priest, who think it would be better to go back to the Julian Calendar. Outside America there are many in official jurisdictions who feel this way.

Quote
I doubt this priest planted the views expressed in your posts in your mind. Have you discussed these issues with him? Does he know you believe these things? These are topics that should be worked out in your catechical sessions with your priest.

The priest who made me a catechumen is a wonderful man who I learned a lot from. He had a long correspondence with Fr.Alexey Young, now Hieromonk Ambrose, who started Orthodox America and knew Fr.Seraphim well. He told me point blank that Ecumenism is heresy. However he did not feel the same way I did about those in Old Calendarist groups. He said he had friends in these groups and respected them but that it wasn't time to leave world Orthodoxy. I do trust his judgment which is why I have had such a hard time with this.
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« Reply #245 on: January 03, 2005, 06:54:13 PM »

My justification for going with an AA mission that I attend, and yes that's Antiochian, is that I do not entirely agree that traditionalism is dead in official Orthodoxy. I recently read a book about the traditionalist Elder Cleopa http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?products_id=2598
And I was swayed by his arguments against the Old Calendarist movement that perhaps there is hope that Orthodoxy and its Tradition will not necessarily destroyed by the sad actions of a few at the top, Heresiarch Athenagoras for instance.

Until the late Patriarch Athenagoras (or any other hierarch, for that matter) is formally declared a heretic, I think it will be better if you avoid doing so.
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« Reply #246 on: January 03, 2005, 07:02:11 PM »

GSR... would that be the Greek Synod in Resistance? Just checking, because I'm losing track of these groups.

Also, can we please apply the Old Calendarist designation appropriately? Old Calendarist would include the Moscow, Serbian, and Jerusalem Patriarchates, and many OCA parishes. Saying Old Calendarist doesn't really mean anything when criticising ecumenicism since those jurisdictions I just listed participate in the WCC.
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« Reply #247 on: January 03, 2005, 07:25:34 PM »

Well, Sabbas, it's clear that you have some issues to work out concerning what constitutes the Church. I'm glad that you're taking the time to do this before being baptised. I'm sad that you've chosen to embroil yourself in the mess that is those who have removed themselves from communion. You're right that there are complex issues at work here, but for me the bottom line is this: All those who are in full communion with all others are the Church. Anyone who is not in full communion is not. It cannot be otherwise, and THIS is the true traditionalism of the Church. You can't get more traditional than that.  Doctrinal and sacramental unity. This is where Christ dwells.

Making your judgement on others when you haven't even examined a picture very carefully is a bit extreme. I think your spiritual father is very wise in his advice to you to stay with the Church. It's all too easy for those who are seeking the Truth to go too far and end up missing it altogether.  We may have been called to get up off our comfortable living room couches and to come to the edge of the cliff of life, but we haven't been called to run off the edge into the abyss in the attempt to find the absolute edge of the cliff.   

Look at the pictures again. The white church is brand new and has a movable iconostas (not my taste in decorating, but hey, somethings are cultural traditions though I don't know what they were thinking with all that gold lame...and don't even get me started on their choir loft and pews, groan....) They obviously don't even have icons for a "real" iconostas yet! Perhaps you can contribute to their funds so they can get some. What's up with the non-standard altar though? I'm used to cubes, and this is all rectangle-y. Oh well, they appear to be doing well witih their GORGEOUS new building, 3 priests, and a thriving community. I won't judge.

  In the other church, there most certainly is a traditional iconostas. What is all that wood that all those icons are attached to? As well, there are traditional doors....see the angels on that wood with the slanted top? That's a deacon's door, where angels as the servants of God are traditionally placed.  I'd bet the royal doors are opened back completely as the priest is standing on the ambo blessing the congregation....

http://www.oca.org/pages/events/2004/10.October/1017SeaCliffNY/images/3.jpg
http://www.peterpaul.net/images/dedication/cnv000084.jpg


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« Reply #248 on: January 03, 2005, 07:37:22 PM »

PS.

That white church sure is intriguing. I hope they can afford some iconography soon, though, the whole place looks so bleak.

I think they just went a little too over the top with the Christmas decorations with the tree. There are a lot of plants pictured in their Nativity photos.  Poinsettias for all!

I'm in a strange mood...Smiley
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« Reply #249 on: January 03, 2005, 08:13:32 PM »

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Until the late Patriarch Athenagoras (or any other hierarch, for that matter) is formally declared a heretic, I think it will be better if you avoid doing so.

I will take your advice Mor. I know that I am going too far but I just cannot understand why he did what he did. I was suprised when my older sister, a member of SSPX, asked me about Orthodoxy, and then asked me how come we reunited with Rome and then called the whole thing off. I then told her that a Patriarch in Orthodoxy is not a pope and then I mentioned how the Orthodox faithful have resisted the actions of bishops when it obviously went against Orthodoxy, such as the Council of Florence. Though I don't think there are too many Catholics who think we are reunited anymore it stands as a sad event for the Orthodox.

Quote
In the other church, there most certainly is a traditional iconostas. What is all that wood that all those icons are attached to? As well, there are traditional doors....see the angels on that wood with the slanted top? That's a deacon's door, where angels as the servants of God are traditionally placed. I'd bet the royal doors are opened back completely as the priest is standing on the ambo blessing the congregation....

Yes but the doors are rather small. I admit I did not give more than a glance to the picture though. Mea Culpa

Quote
Well, Sabbas, it's clear that you have some issues to work out concerning what constitutes the Church. I'm glad that you're taking the time to do this before being baptised. I'm sad that you've chosen to embroil yourself in the mess that is those who have removed themselves from communion. You're right that there are complex issues at work here, but for me the bottom line is this: All those who are in full communion with all others are the Church. Anyone who is not in full communion is not. It cannot be otherwise, and THIS is the true traditionalism of the Church. You can't get more traditional than that. Doctrinal and sacramental unity. This is where Christ dwells.

choirfiend I think I understand why you see things this way but what about ROCOR? Are they out? Was the MP truly part of the Church when it cooperated with a regime out to utterly destroy it? Furthermore ROCOR ordained many bishops in the Old Calendar movement and the MP has not, as far as know, made it requisite that ROCOR deny these ordinations for them to be reunited to the MP. And beyond this do you think it's impossible for a patriarchate, or several, to fall away from true Orthodoxy? Is it not possible that small changes such as laxness on fasting rules, fewer and fewer monasteries, less emphasis on ascetic struggle, could cause very serious problems in the future?

Quote
That white church sure is intriguing. I hope they can afford some iconography soon, though, the whole place looks so bleak.

This is my sentiment as well which is another reason why I posted the picture. Though I am also happy that they have a new building.
Not that an inquirer would not receive great benefit from attending a service there, it's just that if I had attended my first Orthodox service there I don't know if it would've had the same affect on me. I know this may seem shallow and paying too much attention to externals but my early attraction to Orthodoxy was the pictures I'd see on the internet. The OCA website really helped with their photo gallery. Such as pictures of St.Nicholas in Washington D.C.
http://www.oca.org/pages/events/2004/10.October/1017WashingtonDC-AbpNikoloziVisit/index.html

Quote
and don't even get me started on their choir loft and pews, groan

choirfiend I think we've found something about externals that we can agree on. Seeing people standing attentively at prayer was what really impressed me when I attended my first Liturgy.

Quote
GSR... would that be the Greek Synod in Resistance? Just checking, because I'm losing track of these groups.

Also, can we please apply the Old Calendarist designation appropriately? Old Calendarist would include the Moscow, Serbian, and Jerusalem Patriarchates, and many OCA parishes. Saying Old Calendarist doesn't really mean anything when criticising ecumenicism since those jurisdictions I just listed participate in the WCC.

Yes that's what GSR means. I don't use Old Calendar in reference to the MP,SP, or JP because for them the Julian calendar is not old. I see your point but whenever I usually hear the word Old Calendarist it's in reference to groups cut off from a new calendar jurisdiction. I will try to write the nationality first, Greek Old Calendarist, Romanian Old Calendarist, etc. but if I ever forget to I'm referring to those I just mentioned.
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« Reply #250 on: January 04, 2005, 01:26:24 AM »

Well, Sabbas, when it comes to which groups are out and which groups are in, all I can say is this: If the group is not in unity with the rest of everyone that is unity, I have no business taking Communion there. And I would have no business looking to be baptised/christmated into a such a group either. This is what disunity means to me; that I would encourage no one to seek after such a group that is not in complete unity as Christ intended and I could not pretend that unity existed where none does by taking Communion there.  I cannot condemn anyone, but I can recognize that they have become separate even with the right doctrine and are therefor in error.  As to all the rest of it, I commit to the wisdom of the Bishops who seek after unity. If separated groups enter into full communion once again, I will most certainly welcome them back without penalty.
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« Reply #251 on: January 04, 2005, 01:31:41 AM »

Standing and prostrations at prayer are things I have come to welcome since attending a church with no pews. I grew up nearly entirely in churches with pews, no matter what the jurisdiction, and we made due (ie filing out of them for St Ephraim's prayer prostrations in the aisles during Lent). You can have them and still do what you need to in some cases.

Being someone who is focused on music (we SING our theology, y'all!) I really despise separated choir lofts like that. Ug, that can be a total barrier to singing in the manner of the Church. Anyway, you can make due even so.

You never know what you may have found; I would hope the beauty of the Liturgy would have it's effect on you even if the church lacked iconography. You can never look back and truly determine what your reaction would have been.
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« Reply #252 on: January 04, 2005, 01:54:44 AM »

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I agree that groups like the Matthewites, ROAC, etc. have cut themselves off

I wrote this earlier but I think I should qualify this. While I do not believe the the ROAC and Matthewites are part of the Church I do have the utmost respect for them. I have had correspondence with a member of ROAC and I found him very amicable. In fact I was amazed at how nice he was.

Quote
Well, Sabbas, when it comes to which groups are out and which groups are in, all I can say is this: If the group is not in unity with the rest of everyone that is unity, I have no business taking Communion there. And I would have no business looking to be baptised/christmated into a such a group either. This is what disunity means to me; that I would encourage no one to seek after such a group that is not in complete unity as Christ intended and I could not pretend that unity existed where none does by taking Communion there. I cannot condemn anyone, but I can recognize that they have become separate even with the right doctrine and are therefor in error. As to all the rest of it, I commit to the wisdom of the Bishops who seek after unity. If separated groups enter into full communion once again, I will most certainly welcome them back without penalty.

Let me reiterate that I accept and have nothing against this position. But let me also say that I still think you are simplifying the issue. The example of ROCOR is one to be seriously looked at. They only separated themselves from the MP after the Bolshevik Revolution. In fact as late as 1968 the GOA acknowledged being in full communion with them. I am still curious what you consider their status to be. I am not asking you to judge them, I am just asking what you think based on your ecclesiology. If you are not sure or choose not to answer I understand as I agree it can be a sticky issue. Still I think you can agree it raises an issue.

Also I wanted to reply to an earlier comment you made,
Quote
I'm sad that you've chosen to embroil yourself in the mess that is those who have removed themselves from communion.
I chose to embroil myself in this because I determined long ago that I want to join the Orthodox Church and have no regrets knowing that I had given fair considerations to all viewpoints. I at one time even seriously considered the viewpoint of the Old Ritualists.

Quote
As to all the rest of it, I commit to the wisdom of the Bishops who seek after unity.

Still I think it is pertinent to ask why certain bishops are allowed to get away with having very unOrthodox, if not heretical, viewpoints and not condemned for acting on them. For instance why is it that Metropolitan Philaret of blessed memory was the only one to very directly condemn the Thyateira Confession?

Quote
Standing and prostrations at prayer are things I have come to welcome since attending a church with no pews. I grew up nearly entirely in churches with pews, no matter what the jurisdiction, and we made due (ie filing out of them for St Ephraim's prayer prostrations in the aisles during Lent). You can have them and still do what you need to in some cases.

Being someone who is focused on music (we SING our theology, y'all!) I really despise separated choir lofts like that. Ug, that can be a total barrier to singing in the manner of the Church. Anyway, you can make due even so.

You never know what you may have found; I would hope the beauty of the Liturgy would have it's effect on you even if the church lacked iconography. You can never look back and truly determine what your reaction would have been.

I have met people who told me about this filing out but I always wondered how a full church with pews could accomodate all the people for prostations. I mean there would not be enough room in aisles. At least I would think having been to a pewed church one Sunday and seen how little room there was. Also I thought, though I admit it's not that funny, "wouldn't that violate the fire code?"

I'm glad you agree that liturgically it just makes more sense to have few pews or just benches along the wall as opposed to the present situation in America. Though I admit you are right that I can never guess what my reaction might have been if it had been otherwise.
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« Reply #253 on: January 04, 2005, 02:23:12 AM »

If I'm simplifying the situation, it's because I can only act on it as it affects me. As for ROCOR? They aren't in full communion, so I wont take communion there. That's all I can say about it! No "they are wrong and evil!" and no "they are AOK and grand." My position is simply thus: If a group is not in full sacramental unity, I cannot be united to them through the sacraments. They are wrong in their doctrine of separation, if nothing else.  I can and do hold private opinions as to the beliefs of some groups and whether or not they really do express the same things that Orthodoxy has always expressed, both in right belief and right worship, but the mitigating factor, in the end and in all practical manners, can only be the break with communion. Dwelling more on it leads to more disunity, and I feel, inevitably leads to judgment or condemnation.

This is where the trust in the leaders of the church (the Bishops) comes in.  Here, sometimes, we must say aside our earthly cares and accept a determination made by the men whom we trust to lead us as they are led by the Holy Spirit. This is not blind trust; this is not denying the purpose and power of the laity as keepers and protectors of the Faith. This is not advocating the acceptance of anything any bishop may through our way, because certainly some have taught heresy. This is knowing what and when to set down one's own analytical and judgemental mental facilities and to accept that this is a hierarchical Faith. The Bishops are there for a reason; we trust in them til there is some real reason to think they might be doing wrong. And trust in the Lord that when that happens an uproar will be heard. "Single" people do not determine what is truth or not. The community does. This is the reason for council as opposed to voting. Agreement must be reached.

When there was debate about issues in the Church over the course of history, those who were in the right didnt say to those who were believing wrwong things, "We're leaving you because you are wrong!" The people clamored the truth, and the right way was practiced/restored from within the Church. Leaving the sacramental communion does not and cannot bring one closer to the Truth.  The Holy Spirit is present within the Church.
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« Reply #254 on: January 04, 2005, 02:26:11 AM »

Third the AA mission I attend has a full iconostasis (royal doors, curtains, etc.) and what I listed in the picture is in no way related to the established form of an Eastern Orthodox sanctuary. Though I admit that church is quite young I was more concerned with the innovation of having a gigantic Christmas tree in the sanctuary.

The part of this I keep having a problem with is you appointing yourself as an expert of the forms of eastern buildings. I'm now beginning to wonder if I've been in more Orthodox liturgies, never mind buildings, than you have. And when you say--

Quote
However the other picture I listed is from a parish that has been around for 30 years, and is a traditional slavic church in everyway, as far as I can tell, except it has no iconostasis.

... it looks to me that it does have an iconostasis. What it may lack is Royal Doors-- though the photos are so dark and there are so many people standing in the way that it's a bit hard to tell. THe building is obviously so tiny that whatever it does have must be nearly vestigial. Have you actually been in this building? I've been in situations which were even more primitive; I've been to Holy Cross Linthicum, for instance, in the days when the "iconostasis" was a pair of easels with the Deisis split between them.

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I tend to like the Rude screens used in the west.

That's rood screen. The thing is that in the West the furnishings and the liturgy do not interlock with each other, so that the rood screen is, at this point, a mere trace of a different situation. It isn't the Western analogue of the iconostasis.

I am not for one moment going to waste my time on another argument about ecumenism.
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« Reply #255 on: January 04, 2005, 02:40:58 AM »

If I'm simplifying the situation, it's because I can only act on it as it affects me. As for ROCOR? They aren't in full communion, so I wont take communion there. That's all I can say about it! No "they are wrong and evil!" and no "they are AOK and grand." My position is simply thus: If a group is not in full sacramental unity, I cannot be united to them through the sacraments. They are wrong in their doctrine of separation, if nothing else.  I can and do hold private opinions as to the beliefs of some groups and whether or not they really do express the same things that Orthodoxy has always expressed, both in right belief and right worship, but the mitigating factor, in the end and in all practical manners, can only be the break with communion. Dwelling more on it leads to more disunity, and I feel, inevitably leads to judgment or condemnation.

This is where the trust in the leaders of the church (the Bishops) comes in.  Here, sometimes, we must say aside our earthly cares and accept a determination made by the men whom we trust to lead us as they are led by the Holy Spirit. This is not blind trust; this is not denying the purpose and power of the laity as keepers and protectors of the Faith. This is not advocating the acceptance of anything any bishop may through our way, because certainly some have taught heresy. This is knowing what and when to set down one's own analytical and judgemental mental facilities and to accept that this is a hierarchical Faith. The Bishops are there for a reason; we trust in them til there is some real reason to think they might be doing wrong. And trust in the Lord that when that happens an uproar will be heard. "Single" people do not determine what is truth or not. The community does. This is the reason for council as opposed to voting. Agreement must be reached.

When there was debate about issues in the Church over the course of history, those who were in the right didnt say to those who were believing wrwong things, "We're leaving you because you are wrong!" The people clamored the truth, and the right way was practiced/restored from within the Church. Leaving the sacramental communion does not and cannot bring one closer to the Truth.  The Holy Spirit is present within the Church.

Please elaborate upon this notion of  'sacramental unity' that you describe.  I did not know that sharing of the Eucharist was a prerequisite to unity in the faith.  I always thought it was the Church that sprung forth the Eucharist, and not the other way around.  There is only one basis for unity, and that is full agreement in the faith.  If that isn't present, then obviously intercommunion won't take place.

R
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« Reply #256 on: January 04, 2005, 02:48:47 AM »

The over-zealous confusion I see would horrify me to no end, were it not for the fact that I once exceeded what I see today. We must turn back while we can.

"I am the image of God, and am drawn to wickedness." - St. Gregory the Theologian

Truer words have never been spoken about me.

Overzealousness. Supercorrectness. These are euphemisms. The correct word is indeed wickedness.

"There are few words of men which are not vain and idle" - St. Justin Popovich

And if we are to be judged for even every idle word, how much more shall we be judged, and condemned, for attacking others when it is not our place to do so? Am I a bishop? Am I even a priest? No, I am a meddler. I am a gossip. I am a usurper. I am the image of God, tarnished almost beyond all hope, and I surpass most in my wickedness.

We must turn back while we can. For the love of Christ our God, we must start anew.
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« Reply #257 on: January 04, 2005, 03:06:59 AM »

Well, if you care to use that definition, then I suppose the end result is this: There must be some disconnect between the faiths of two groups not in communion. If there was absolutely no disconnect or disunity, then the lack of sacramental communion would not be.  In many cases, the disconnect is where one group calls the other groups' beliefs heretical and uses that as a basis to cut off communion. I made the claim that another form of less than full agreement with the faith enters in when a body separates itself from the Church. Disunity (no sacramental communion) when/if the faith is the same is not possible. Disunity, in way I am speaking of it, IS a breach in the faith itself. 

I would agree that the Church comes from the Eucharist. But the Eucharist is the Church's to give to all those in it. God does the provision, the Church does the asking and the delivering. If one group says "We don't want your Eucharist anymore; it is invalid because you teach heretical doctrines!" then I'd say this lack of sacramental unity has pretty severe effects, regardless of whether or not a group really teaches heretical things. It is one group saying the other's Eucharist is not from God; the church is then delivering empty packages that God did not pack, one could say.
I'm trying to choose my words as closely as possible as to make my meaning as closely as possible. Please read them as carefully and do tell where you dont know what I mean.

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"Each Patriarchate or autocephalous Church, while indepedent, is in full agreement with the rest on all matters of doctrine, and between them all there is in principle full sacramental communion" (7).
"...its members remain free but no isolated, for they are united in love, in faith, and in sacramental communion" (15).
"All bishops share equally in the apostolic succession, all have the same sacramental powers, all are divinely appointed teachers of the faith" (27).
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« Reply #258 on: January 04, 2005, 04:52:04 AM »

ROCOR is in full communion with the Serbian Orthodox church and the Serbs are in full communion with the rest. ROCOR's seperation from the Moscow Patriarchate was done with the blessing, even the express command of Patriarch Tikhon. It is not an ideal situation but it is being worked out. The church has been through far worse and has survived.

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« Reply #259 on: January 04, 2005, 08:45:47 AM »

ROCOR is in full communion with the Serbian Orthodox church and the Serbs are in full communion with the rest. ROCOR's seperation from the Moscow Patriarchate was done with the blessing, even the express command of Patriarch Tikhon. It is not an ideal situation but it is being worked out. The church has been through far worse and has survived.

John.

Right, I am not sure what choirfiend meant to imply by saying ROCOR wasn't in "full communion." I'm assuming she meant a church to which she belongs that is in the SCOBA assembly.  Either way, the OCA used to be under ROCOR so to that I say: Don't forget your roots.

I think this thread may need to be closed soon, these "who has grace and who doesn't" pissing matches inevitably end in a condemnation of both parties and a lot of upset characters.

Robert
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« Reply #260 on: January 04, 2005, 10:37:21 AM »

Right, I think I said that ("inevitably end in a condemnation...")  too, Bobby. I will not make the call of who has grace and who doesn't in cases like this. I submit to what my bishop (and the other bishops too) who lead the community that I'm currently part of, and I follow their determinations concerning which groups we are in full communion with. Any other opinion I have is a private one and does not affect my behavior toward any group. (please do notice I have tried to avoid calling anyone schismatic or even uncanonical. These are not my determinations to make.
This is the best way that I know to deal with the issue. It's the way I would recommend to seekers. And that's all I can say on the matter!
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« Reply #261 on: January 04, 2005, 11:40:03 AM »

When one Orthodox bishop (or group) begins to aver the state of Grace of other Orthodox bishops, I usually just turn off. It seems a big warning flag of something UN-Orthodox being expounded.
As to ROCOR, it would seem they are unique. My GOA priest corrected me and stated that while they do not con-celebrate with each other (here) at this time. I AM allowed to receive Communion in my local ROCOR parish. My ROCOR priest has not denied me the Sacrament either. So, what does "in communion" mean, anyway?

Demetri
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« Reply #262 on: January 04, 2005, 12:54:46 PM »

Demetri,

I'd defer to Chrysostomos of Etna in regards to the whole "in communion" thing.  He seems to have a very good and well grounded patristic take on the issue.

The Center For Traditionalist Orthodox Studies has some phenomenal books/articles on it. (http://users.sisqtel.net/sgpm/ctos/)

R
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« Reply #263 on: January 05, 2005, 04:02:56 AM »

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I wrote this earlier but I think I should qualify this. While I do not believe the the ROAC and Matthewites are part of the Church I do have the utmost respect for them.

I think you should do some more research on both of these groups before saying you have the "utmost" respect for them.

Quote
I have had correspondence with a member of ROAC and I found him very amicable. In fact I was amazed at how nice he was.

And I have been amazed at how nice Jehovah's Witnesses were, and Mormans as well, but that doesn't make me want to join up to their little cult where they dress up and play church.

In Christ,
Aaron

Message slightly edited by Anastasios because of conflict with rules of board.
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« Reply #264 on: January 05, 2005, 08:55:01 PM »

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I think you should do some more research on both of these groups before saying you have the "utmost" respect for them.
I wrote this because I don't want to dismiss any possible discussion with any posters here who may be Matthewite or ROAC. Yes I have looked at the groups and I did find much of ad hominem attacks offensive but not every member of these groups is like that.

Quote
And I have been amazed at how nice Jehovah's Witnesses were, and Mormans as well, but that doesn't make me want to join up to their little cult where they dress up and play church - like the ROAC does.

I don't ever plan on joining either but I am still interested in getting to know them as individuals and at least try to understand their point of view. Which I have also done with new calendar convert Orthodox who refer to Greek Old Calendarists as extremists.

Quote
Demetri,

I'd defer to Chrysostomos of Etna in regards to the whole "in communion" thing. He seems to have a very good and well grounded patristic take on the issue.

The Center For Traditionalist Orthodox Studies has some phenomenal books/articles on it. (http://users.sisqtel.net/sgpm/ctos/)

R

Thank you for being more open about this and giving the CTOS their due respect.
I really want to get this book The Egyptian Desert in the Irish Bogs: The Byzantine Character of Early Celtic Monasticism
by Father Gregory Telepneff  http://users.sisqtel.net/sgpm/ctos/Catalogue/historical.html

Whether you like them or not they do have excellent books on Orthodoxy that you can't find elsewhere.

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« Reply #265 on: January 05, 2005, 10:07:16 PM »

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I don't ever plan on joining either

 Afro

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but I am still interested in getting to know them as individuals and at least try to understand their point of view.

Gotcha, makes sense to try to figure out why they hold the opinions they do, but do so with caution.

Quote
Which I have also done with new calendar convert Orthodox who refer to Greek Old Calendarists as extremists.

Perhaps these folks say such things and feel that way because of the way some Greek OC's refer to them and their respective (NC) churches.

In Christ,
Aaron


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« Reply #266 on: January 06, 2005, 12:08:29 PM »

Which I have also done with new calendar convert Orthodox who refer to Greek Old Calendarists as extremists.

Breaking communion with the Orthodox Church while proclaiming fidelity to Orthodoxy can legitimately be viewed as an extremist act, as is rebaptising Orthodox Christians. The Old Calendar part isn't the issue... at all. What seems to not be taken into account is that being a schismatic is worse than being a heretic. One can be a heretic out of total ignorance or by deep intellectual convictions. However, a schismatic has professed an acceptance and loyalty to the Orthodox Church and her dogma, particular that of being obedient to the hierarchy, but then rebels against Her authority (vested in the synod and bishops) for his/her own authority in choosing a calendar.
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« Reply #267 on: January 07, 2005, 09:34:10 AM »

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However, a schismatic has professed an acceptance and loyalty to the Orthodox Church and her dogma, particular that of being obedient to the hierarchy, but then rebels against Her authority (vested in the synod and bishops) for his/her own authority in choosing a calendar.

If only it were that simple!  Many things done by Meletios Metaxas were heretical, there are no two ways around it.  The State Church of Greece also did some very questionable (bordering heretical) things in the 1920s - 40s such as banning monastic tonsuring and the serving of all night vigils.  Then there is the late Athenagoras that said many things that were outright heresy and deeply scandalized and divided the church (keep in mind that the ROCOR had been in communion with the EP up until this point in time and left communion as a direct results of the actions of Athenagoras).  Uncanonical actions continue to take place to this day by the hierarchs that scream and shout that they are the "canonical" churches. 

Another dimension to the problem is the oversimplification of ecclesiology.  There have been times in Church history when Saints (yes Saints) have broken communion with each other.  The Church on Earth bears the iniquities of the humans that run it - thus the overlapping jurisdictions in diaspora.  Thus the existence of traditionalist synods and state churches.  While not perfect, perhaps someday through repentance there can be reunion.   
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« Reply #268 on: January 07, 2005, 12:32:09 PM »

I see our +¥+¦+¦-ä+¦-ü+¦++-é is now a "Traditionalist"! So be it. Do I assume that once ROC(OR) rejoins ROC that you will then migrate to another church, perhaps one that is outright irregular at best? I hope not, but if so, that's Free Will in action.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios (properly refered to herein) WAS controversial to be sure and the Church of Greece wrong in many, many things in the past, but your judgmental statements, as radical as many I've read eslewhere by superOthodox, sicken me in their lack of Love.
In point of fact these schismatic churches are pretty much evaporating in the old country, finding their only growth in the convert-heavy diaspora of Australia and America. I wonder why?
Schism is the greater error.
And I apologize in advance if I've misread the tone of your post on this, the Feastday of the Nativity of our Lord.

Demetri
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« Reply #269 on: January 07, 2005, 05:24:45 PM »

Dear Demetri,

I understand that you do not share Nektarios' views (at least in exactly the same way), but I'm not sure where you see the "lack of Love" in his post, particularly as he ends his post with the positive hope for reunion.  I can think of a few topics where accusations of "lack of Love" against offenders are rejected by those same hardliners because they're not attacking persons, but ideas (whether that actually comes out in the dialogue is another story).  Why should it be different in this case, especially since Nektarios doesn't seem to be attacking anyone, but rather certain words and deeds? 
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