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militantsparrow
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« on: July 23, 2009, 09:20:16 PM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 09:39:32 PM »

I will not argue the history and theology with you, but I will gladly welcome you to the forum, and pray for your swift entry into the Church!
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 09:58:15 PM »

Thank you, Alveus. I'm not looking to argue. I'm just interested in hearing the arguments. If that makes sense?
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2009, 10:03:48 PM »

Have you attended the Divine Liturgy yet at an Orthodox temple?
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 10:28:16 PM »

I became Orthodox from Baptist, and was very drawn to Franciscan spirituality, so I almost signed up for RCIA while attending Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa, OK for a brief time.  Many of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church are shared by the Orthodox (not all obviously), namely that:

  • the Church is One,
  • that She is the full Body of Christ on Earth,
  • that the Holy Spirit will keep Her from error,
  • that She proclaims the Kingdom in Word AND Sacrament,
  • that Her leaders can and must be able to trace their ordinations back to an original apostle,
  • that She worships in Spirit and in Truth, in the sobriety of the Holy Eucharist)
  • that She remembers Her departed members and those departed remember us, most especially the Holy Mother of God

Of all of this I was convinced.  What got me was not so much something that the Catholic Church believed, but rather why it believed it.  Both Orthodox and Catholics believe that the afterlife will be purgatorial, but the reasons for this purging are very different in the two communions.  Whereas the Roman view of Purgatory was an extracting of penal satisfaction (using the storehouse of the saints' merits to lessen said time of punishment) for our sins, the Orthodox view was one of a God whose fiery love will, as a consequence, burn and ontologically change the person who approaches Him, change him into one who loves as He loves. 

Or...not. 

Wax melts before fire; clay hardens and shatters.  How we approach the Judgment Seat depends on how we've lived our lives and conditioned our hearts...how we've made use of divine grace in this life.  It is most definitely something that pertains to a real change in us, not in some requirement God might make of us that needs to be legally satisfied.

Once I realized I could no longer abide anything with an imprimatur claiming "thus-and-such amount of time out of Purgatory for having done this-and-that," the Orthodox Church seemed the only way to go.

Peace to you in your journey.
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 10:56:34 PM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.

Because the Orthodox Church is so factious and divided, let alone persecuted, that if it were not the True Church, it would have disappeared into thousands of dying sects long ago.

The Papacy has been captive to forces that wanted to use it, but none that wanted to destroy it.  The same cannot be said of the Orthodoxy under Caliphs, Sultans and Commissars.

The Papacy has been centralizing since its establishment, yet it led to such grand factionalism as the Great Western Schism and then the Protestant Reformation.  The Orthodox have never had a central authority of that magnitude, yet the Churches have remained united in the Faith.

(Apologists for the Vatican like to bring up the Chalcedonian/Non-Chalcedonian split, but don't manage to explain how the EO and OO are much closer to each other than the EO is to the Vatican, although the divide over Chalcedon is over one and a half times older.

Compare what seperates the four ancient patriarchates from the Vatican: Rome at one point insisted on using the Creed we use, and then changed.  Rome used leaven bread and had married clergy, and then changed.  Rome's patriarch was once first among equals, and only later insisted that he was supreme (the earliest reference to any Petrine claims at Rome do not predate the 3rd century): when such claims were made, they were rejected by the Church as a whole, as the incident of Pope St. Victor shows.

We teach what Rome taught.  If Rome was right then, we are right now.

Wax melts before fire; clay hardens and shatters.  How we approach the Judgment Seat depends on how we've lived our lives and conditioned our hearts...how we've made use of divine grace in this life.  It is most definitely something that pertains to a real change in us, not in some requirement God might make of us that needs to be legally satisfied.

Oooh!  I like it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 11:04:26 PM »

Welcome to the forum, militantsparrow.   Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 11:17:30 PM »

Alveus,
No. I have not attended an Orthodox liturgy. I do have a number of Orthodox churches near by though which I plan on checking out.

DavidBryan,
Yes! I never understood the Catholic understanding of purgatory. Like you stated, I realize and agree that we will have to be purified, but the details never made sense. What you explained of the Orthodox belief is exactly what I have been drawn toward in Orthodox theology. It seems to have a greater focus on God's love then on some complicated set of details that don't seem to advance the believer toward God. This same approach, I believe, is seen in Jesus' own sermons.

ialmisry,
It's funny you say this because I've often sited Rome's longevity as proof of its truth, but as you pointed out it seems as though Rome was the one to abandon the Orthodox and not the other way around. Last night, after reading about the early Church via some Orthodox blogs and websites, I looked at Acts. The Church in Acts seems much more similiar to the Orthodox Church than to the Catholic Church. Peter was one of the "big guys", but so was James. Also they made their statement/decision together in unison with each other (all of the Apostles).
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 11:18:01 PM »

Thank you, SolEX01.
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2009, 01:28:33 AM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.

Can you endure suffering, insults, the world caving in on you..........ect?

If so, then Orthodoxy is for you. You can always find the intellectual help you need, but emotional help and dealing with oneself is also needed.










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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2009, 09:38:00 AM »

Welcome Militant Sparrow to the  Convert Issues Forum!  I hope that you will find this a place to get simple but direct answers to your questions. I would suggest you follow the advice of Priest Peter Gilquist who recommends that a person  visit a month of Orthodox Divine Liturgies and other services to fully understand Orthodoxy.  When I followed this advice some twenty years ago, I set my foot upon the strait way and came to the Church.

Once again, Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum.

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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 10:51:48 AM »

Welcome to this beautiful forum and, of course, to the world of Orthodoxy, my brother!
Personally, three things stroke me of Orthodoxy:
1) The relative unity of its episcopacy on matters of faith despite having no hierarchical guide inside of it (aka the Pope)
2) The form of the sacraments which is identical to the witness of the first fathers and is exclusive to the Orthodox Church (except for the Pre-Chalcedonians, whom I highly esteem despite the unfortunate division of our churches)
3) The idea of 'mystery' saying that we can only partially understand dogmas, but the rest is a mysterious truth we can't properly understand.

On point one, this met my need to take a distance from an individual who claims an absolute power of dogmatizing...
on the second point, this met my need for a church whose sacraments were *surely* effective...
in the third point, it allowed me to find a home with a less legalistic and dogmatizing attitude

In Christ,   Alex

PS: good luck for your journey to Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2009, 11:34:54 AM »

I think one can sense the potential of salvation for oneself and many (through the incarnation, life, death, & resurrection of Jesus Christ) but realize that in fear of the Lord and assuming nothing is to be faithful to God.
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2009, 12:12:10 PM »

If you ever convert to Orthodoxy, it will be because of this.
I will not argue the history and theology with you, but I will gladly welcome you to the forum, and pray for your swift entry into the Church!
Smiley


I believe that the true Church should be infallible to its official statements (i.e.: Ecumenical Councils). So, I automatically ruled out Protestants for changing the Biblical Canon (which seem to serve the Church quite well for about 1.200 years) and I never believed in the Papal Infallibility or filioque (older OCs here would probably have to say much more on that).

I'm not a tactical churchgoer yet, but even if I was, I wouldn't be able to witness Orthodoxy's great ways. Maybe you should attend a ritual, I don't know...
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2009, 09:06:35 PM »

jnorm888,
I am one of two practicing Catholics in my entire circle of family and friends, so I think I can handle the "suffering, insults, the world caving in" if that's what you are suggesting. But of course, I'm not looking forward to it. I'm also a little nervous about bringing my wife into my journey before I am confident I'm on the right one.

Thomas,
Thank you. I will be attending a Divine Liturgy soon, but it is difficult--it almost feels like cheating on someone. I've been Catholic all my life and I'm pretty active at our parish. I am praying for the grace I need to do it.

Alex,
Thank you. All three of your points are very good. All three points appeal to me as well. But what argument would you make from a more technical/historical standpoint for the Orthodox Church being the true church which Rome broke from?

recent convert,
Yes. I agree. I don't want to be Catholic for the sake of being Catholic. If I am to remain Catholic I want to only because it is the true church. If it is something less, then I want to be where ever the true church is. The more I read, the more I am convinced that both the Orthodox and Catholic churches are scarred from their separation, but I'm also more convinced that the Orthodox church was in the right and therefore the true church which remained steady.

GammaRay,
Thank you for you encouragement. I spent my twenties without a chuch, but when I decided I needed one again, I went through a similiar examination of other Christian churches.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2009, 10:47:41 PM »

I will be attending a Divine Liturgy soon, but it is difficult--it almost feels like cheating on someone. I've been Catholic all my life and I'm pretty active at our parish. I am praying for the grace I need to do it.

I was very active in my Baptist congregation when I started attending DL.  First once a month, then "splitting Sundays"...then resignation from my post(s)...you'll know if/when the time comes, and you'll be able to go through with it.
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2009, 11:10:05 PM »

Grace and Peace,

I see so often on forums disenchanted Catholics, typically converts to the Roman Church, come on to the forum all too ready to deny their faith and speak very ill of it. All too often I see individuals grasping for another 'Team-Shirt' to wear. I would encourage you to steer clear of the polemics and playing an 'us vs. them' game all over again. If you are not honestly Catholic I would encourage you to cease your activity at your parish and find an Orthodox Parish Priest to instruct you. I think that is an honest path to take. What I would encourage you to avoid is the blustering about how anti-Catholic you are after reading a few websites. I've spent years as a devout Roman Catholic and I've spent years engaged in dialogue with Eastern Orthodoxy as a sincere inquirer at a local Orthodox Parish with a very fine Orthodox Priest. Far too often my dialogues with over zealous individuals on forums have done nothing but buff up my pride and lead me to all manner of sin and vice.

What I will say is that you are here for a reason. Figure out what that reason is without making a caricature of other's Faith.
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2009, 11:56:31 PM »

One thing that led me to Orthodoxy is its emphasis on Divine Mystery. Orthodoxy is not irrational, but it is not confined by the rigid logic of Western epistemology. Perhaps you feel led to Orthodoxy by something that you cannot rationally explain or logically defend. But this is often how God calls His servants and His saints. Western culture conditions us to feel the need to rationalize our Faith and intellectually defend our religion. So I find the Orthodox acknowledgment and acceptance of Holy Mystery very refreshing and spiritually liberating.

Peace to you in your Orthodox quest.

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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2009, 01:49:05 AM »

Hey militantsparrow, welcome. I was drawn to the Catholic Church after 'taking a winding side street' through protestantism (nondenominational, altho i was influenced by a certain fundamental baptist KJV only website. these guys are the grain of truth in the stereotype of the 'Fundamentalist'. They actually call themselves ChristiansTM). I read Scott Hahn's works, and thought I would join the Catholic Church, but realized I hadn't yet explored Orthodoxy. I began studying (assuming it would be a 'why not to become Orthodox' sort of journey), and was stunned by the force of the arguements. Dr. Hahn wrote that the Orthodox theology was "stagnent" (Rome Sweet Home), but I have never seen a richer tradition. I have concluded that the Orthodox claim to being the One Holy Catholic and apostolic Church is entirely justified, and true. They are not descended from the ancient Church, they ARE the Ancient Church.

My best resources have been this site, Ancient faith Radio (I check each week for the new Illumined Heart podcast) and also MyOCN. I pray your journey leads you to Truth.
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« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2009, 02:59:14 AM »

Quote
jnorm888,
I am one of two practicing Catholics in my entire circle of family and friends, so I think I can handle the "suffering, insults, the world caving in" if that's what you are suggesting. But of course, I'm not looking forward to it. I'm also a little nervous about bringing my wife into my journey before I am confident I'm on the right one.


Peter Gillquist and the other former EOC's were denied a few times before they were finally embraced by EO, and even after becoming EO they had to overcome some other obsticals. But with all that said.........they never gave up......I'm sure their feelings were hurt when they were denied, but they overcame their feelings.....they didn't allow their feelings to get the best of them..........they pressed on.

In like mannor, don't allow obsticals........both external and internal stop you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't allow a few bad experiences stop you. If you are able to overcome a few bad experiences then you will be fine.









Jnorm888
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« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2009, 04:14:14 AM »

Welcome, friend!   

I am an inquirer into the Orthodox faith myself (originally a Baptist), and I find that the more I investigate it, the more convinced I become that it is indeed the one, true catholic and apostolic Church set down by Jesus Christ. You want proof? I'll use the famous "Peter the rock" verse that Catholics believe form the basis for Petrine primacy. I'm sure you are familiar with it, but I'll quote for emphasis.

Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Again, this verse is the one that the Roman Catholics use to justify Peter as establishing their Church.  Unfortunately, before he established the Church of Rome, (although this claim has been contested) he had already established the Church of Antioch and had served as bishop there! Antioch, as you may well know, was and is still today one of the chief cornerstones of Orthodox Christianity. Christ saw Antioch as the origin of true Christianity, not Rome. (Acts 11:26: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." )

The Catholic interpretation of this verse is inconsistent with history. If you look at the organization of the early church, you will see several autonomous and locally governed churches, as they exist today in the Orthodox Church. Although Rome and the See of Rome always held a special honor in the Church up until the great schism, this was due primarily to the power and influence associated with the region, not the supremacy or doctrinal authority of their bishop. It is also interesting to note that the Bishop of Rome wasn’t even allowed to attend the 5nd Ecumenical Council (553 AD) due to his support of the heretical Nestorianism movement. Surely if he were indeed the “Vicar of Christ” then he would have been present at one of the most important councils in the history of Church doctrinal development?
 
I believe that if you create a theological timeline comparing Orthodox Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism you will come to the conclusion that where Roman Catholicism differs from Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy had in fact preserved the authentic tradition. This is particulary evident in authentic Christian liturgical ethos and the development of the historic faith.

Some examples:

Baptism

EO- Full immersion (original)
RC- Sprinkling (later modification)

Sign of the Cross

EO- Right to left (original)
RC- left to right (later modification)

Nicene-Constantinople Creed

EO - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (original)
RC - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son (later addition, “the Filioque“)

This should be enough to get you started.  I could go on for hours! Smiley

« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 04:16:57 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2009, 06:54:00 AM »

Welcome, friend!   

I am an inquirer into the Orthodox faith myself (originally a Baptist), and I find that the more I investigate it, the more convinced I become that it is indeed the one, true catholic and apostolic Church set down by Jesus Christ. You want proof? I'll use the famous "Peter the rock" verse that Catholics believe form the basis for Petrine primacy. I'm sure you are familiar with it, but I'll quote for emphasis.

Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Again, this verse is the one that the Roman Catholics use to justify Peter as establishing their Church.  Unfortunately, before he established the Church of Rome, (although this claim has been contested) he had already established the Church of Antioch and had served as bishop there! Antioch, as you may well know, was and is still today one of the chief cornerstones of Orthodox Christianity. Christ saw Antioch as the origin of true Christianity, not Rome. (Acts 11:26: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." )

The Catholic interpretation of this verse is inconsistent with history. If you look at the organization of the early church, you will see several autonomous and locally governed churches, as they exist today in the Orthodox Church. Although Rome and the See of Rome always held a special honor in the Church up until the great schism, this was due primarily to the power and influence associated with the region, not the supremacy or doctrinal authority of their bishop. It is also interesting to note that the Bishop of Rome wasn’t even allowed to attend the 5nd Ecumenical Council (553 AD) due to his support of the heretical Nestorianism movement. Surely if he were indeed the “Vicar of Christ” then he would have been present at one of the most important councils in the history of Church doctrinal development?
 
I believe that if you create a theological timeline comparing Orthodox Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism you will come to the conclusion that where Roman Catholicism differs from Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy had in fact preserved the authentic tradition. This is particulary evident in authentic Christian liturgical ethos and the development of the historic faith.

Some examples:

Baptism

EO- Full immersion (original)
RC- Sprinkling (later modification)

Sign of the Cross

EO- Right to left (original)
RC- left to right (later modification)

Nicene-Constantinople Creed

EO - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (original)
RC - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son (later addition, “the Filioque“)

This should be enough to get you started.  I could go on for hours! Smiley



I can add these other elements to this post that I found partially answered your question you offered to me, dear militantsparrow:

EO - Communion under both species (cfr. Christ's words: "Take and drink all of it" in the Gospels)
RC - Communion under bread only

EO - Both secular and regular clergy  (cfr. Paul's words on married presbyters and deacons, together with his appreciation for celibacy)
RC - Regular (i.e. celibate) clergy only

EO - Three Sees established by st Peter the Prince of the Apostles: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (cfr. pope Gregory the Great's letter to his fellow patriarchs)
RC - Only one See established as successor to Peter, the Church of Rome

EO - Baptism, chrismation and communion always given at once even to infant (see hippolitus of Rome, Ambrose of Milan and tens of other W and E fathers)
RC - Baptism, communion and confirmation given separately at different ages and in a different order then the traditional one

EO - The true 8th Ecumenical Council is that of 879-880 AD (cfr its Horos and the Epistle of Pope John VIII that put Photios back on the chair of Constantinople)
RC - The true 8th Ecumenical Council is the Robber Council of 869-870 AD

EO - All bishops are icons of Christ (cfr st Ignatius of Antioch, of thrice blessed memory)
RC - The Pope is the only vicar of Christ and all bishops are his suffraganeans

EO - Apostolic tradition of praying at DL ad Orientem (st John Chrysostom wrote that it's an apostolic tradition)
RC - Protestant-style prayers at Mass ad populum (where the priest replaces Christ at the altar)

EO - Chants without instruments at DL (agreed by all Church Fathers that dealt with this matter)
RC - Chants with instruments (organ, and recently guitars, bongos etc) and adoption of Protestant gospel music

I think these points would be of much interest in persuading you how Orthodoxy is the only true Catholic and Apostolic Church!!!
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2009, 10:46:30 AM »

One thing that led me to Orthodoxy is its emphasis on Divine Mystery. Orthodoxy is not irrational, but it is not confined by the rigid logic of Western epistemology. Perhaps you feel led to Orthodoxy by something that you cannot rationally explain or logically defend. But this is often how God calls His servants and His saints. Western culture conditions us to feel the need to rationalize our Faith and intellectually defend our religion. So I find the Orthodox acknowledgment and acceptance of Holy Mystery very refreshing and spiritually liberating.
Exactly! It's what we call transcendental. Something beyond our logic that cannot be explained, a very unique feeling. You can't compare that to any dogma or creed, communion with God is above everything.

[offtopic]P.S.: I will hopefully begin my life as a churchgoer tomorrow, wish me luck.[/offtopic]
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2009, 10:49:24 AM »

DavidBryan,
Thank you for your encouragement.

ignatius,
Grace and peace to you as well. I am not what you would call a "disenchanted Catholic." I spent my teens and early twenties as a fallen away Catholic. When I was 25 I fell in love with Christ again and sought out His church. What I found was the Catholic church, but I failed to look further. I accepted the standard arguments for Papal authority and never looked deeper. I've recently been feeling very lost, but I wasn't sure why. I still love my church and God, but I was feeling lost. So, following the advice of my spiritual director, I've been trying lexio divina and contemplative prayer. I wasn't feeling better at first, but then one day I got the urge to look at the Orthodox church (you might say I was moved by the Holy Spirit). Since then I have been overwhellmed with excitement and fear. I'm finding...well its as Gebre explains, I "cannot rationally explain or logically defend" what I am feeling and finding.

Gebre,
Yes. I am drawn to Orthodoxy, at least in part, for the same reason.

Pilgrim,
Its good to see you here. It was a post of yours I found on CA's boards that lead me here to these boards. I am a big Scott Hahn fan, but he, like most Catholic apologists, never really addresses the historicty of the Orthodox church. Plus I don't see stagnation, I see tradition.

jnorm888,
Oh. I see now. Why would they be denied entry into the Orthodox church?

Ortho_cat,
Awesome. Thank you.

Alex,
Thank you very much. I have a lot to digest now.
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2009, 10:50:14 AM »

[offtopic]P.S.: I will hopefully begin my life as a churchgoer tomorrow, wish me luck.[/offtopic]

Good luck!
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« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2009, 02:09:21 PM »

"Pilgrim,
Its good to see you here. It was a post of yours I found on CA's boards that lead me here to these boards. I am a big Scott Hahn fan, but he, like most Catholic apologists, never really addresses the historicty of the Orthodox church. Plus I don't see stagnation, I see tradition."

NOW I know why your name is so familiar! Good to see you here. I'm glad you saw my post in CAF! Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2009, 04:31:14 PM »

militantsparrow,

Have you thought about meeting with a priest? He could probably answer your questions far better than we could.


In Christ

 
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« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2009, 04:45:42 PM »

Altar Server,
Yes I have considered it, but it's all still new for me and it is at this point still overwhelming. I have so much to learn yet. I want to take it slowly.

Soon though--I hope.
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« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2009, 04:57:25 PM »

Altar Server,
Yes I have considered it, but it's all still new for me and it is at this point still overwhelming. I have so much to learn yet. I want to take it slowly.

Soon though--I hope.

As others have said, the best way to start is to go to services and start immersing yourself in the life of the Church. Pray, fast, sing the hymns, look at the icons, etc. and see what happens.
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« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2009, 06:37:31 PM »

Thank you everyone for you guidance and encouragement.

I've run into a few issues I hope you'll be able to help me with.

I definately see that the Papacy (as a sort of universal authority) is clearly not biblical nor is it the norm of the early church. The letters of Pope Gregory as well as Acts clearly show this.

What I do see is that the one See existed in three places by three bishops: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. So, what my concern is, that if the See of Peter exists as a triumvirate of those three churches/bishops, how can either the Catholic or Orthodox claim to be the true church if both are merely pieces of the church? And please understand, I am not trying to be combative. I'm on a difficult journey and I just want to make sure I'm headed in the right direction. Ok, that is concern number one.

Concern number two is that as I've been trying to find an Orthodox church to attend the DL at, I've been confused by all of the options. For the most part, as a Catholic, I can go to any Catholic churhc and not see much diference (I wish that were entirely true). But in the Orthodox churches, it appears that each has very ethnic ties back to a certain country. As an Irish/French/German/Polish/Italian American, what jurisdiction makes sense? It just feels like the Orthodox churches put an unfortable amount of focus on nationality.

Again, I have no intention of offending anyone. I'm merely looking for answers for my journey.

Thank you all again and God bless.
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« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2009, 06:54:01 PM »

Thank you everyone for you guidance and encouragement.

I've run into a few issues I hope you'll be able to help me with.

I definately see that the Papacy (as a sort of universal authority) is clearly not biblical nor is it the norm of the early church. The letters of Pope Gregory as well as Acts clearly show this.

What I do see is that the one See existed in three places by three bishops: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. So, what my concern is, that if the See of Peter exists as a triumvirate of those three churches/bishops, how can either the Catholic or Orthodox claim to be the true church if both are merely pieces of the church? And please understand, I am not trying to be combative. I'm on a difficult journey and I just want to make sure I'm headed in the right direction. Ok, that is concern number one.

St. Peter, however, wasn't the Church. Although he preached in Jerusalem, for instance, as St. Clement puts it, he didn't dare take the episcopate of Jerusalem, but yielded to St. James.

The Patriarchates were based on their secular importance, e.g. population.  That is why, for instance, Antioch, although St. Peter's original See founded directly by him, ranked after Alexandria, founded indirectly by him through St. Mark.  The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is called the successor of St. Mark and his preaching: St. Peter is not mentioned in the Pope's titles.


Quote
Concern number two is that as I've been trying to find an Orthodox church to attend the DL at, I've been confused by all of the options. For the most part, as a Catholic, I can go to any Catholic churhc and not see much diference (I wish that were entirely true). But in the Orthodox churches, it appears that each has very ethnic ties back to a certain country. As an Irish/French/German/Polish/Italian American, what jurisdiction makes sense? It just feels like the Orthodox churches put an unfortable amount of focus on nationality.

Again, I have no intention of offending anyone. I'm merely looking for answers for my journey.

Thank you all again and God bless.

Being in America, my response would be OCA.  Others, I know, will disagree.

However, if you of the Western persuasion, I would recommend WRO.  Others, I know, including much of the OCA, will disagree.

Where are you located, if I may ask.
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« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2009, 07:32:16 PM »

Quote
The Patriarchates were based on their secular importance, e.g. population.  That is why, for instance, Antioch, although St. Peter's original See founded directly by him, ranked after Alexandria, founded indirectly by him through St. Mark.  The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is called the successor of St. Mark and his preaching: St. Peter is not mentioned in the Pope's titles.

ialmisry, I can certainly accept this because Acts doesn't seem to support Peter as being more "special" than James, but what about all of the other references to Peter's "special" place within the church? Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth. So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?

Quote
Where are you located, if I may ask.

OCA would make the most sense to me, but I am not aware of any such churches in my area. I live in the Dearborn, MI area.

Thanks for your help.
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« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2009, 07:54:41 PM »

We have Romanian, Bulgarian, and a western Antiochian church nearby.
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« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2009, 07:55:31 PM »

Quote
The Patriarchates were based on their secular importance, e.g. population.  That is why, for instance, Antioch, although St. Peter's original See founded directly by him, ranked after Alexandria, founded indirectly by him through St. Mark.  The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is called the successor of St. Mark and his preaching: St. Peter is not mentioned in the Pope's titles.

ialmisry, I can certainly accept this because Acts doesn't seem to support Peter as being more "special" than James, but what about all of the other references to Peter's "special" place within the church? Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth. So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?

Not majority rules. The issue is that St. Peter did not possess the Apostolate and Episcopate anymore or anyless than the rest: the Apostolate and Episcopate is one ontological whole.  As St. Cyprian said in "The Unity of the Church":The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source.  Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iv.v.i.html

Quote
Where are you located, if I may ask.

OCA would make the most sense to me, but I am not aware of any such churches in my area. I live in the Dearborn, MI area.

Thanks for your help.
[/quote]
In that case, you might want to try out the Antiochian Western Rite Orthodox:
http://holyincarnation.org/

I haven't been to their new Church, but I was quite impressed with them when they were borrowing facilities from the Episcopalians.  The TLM have nothing over them.
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« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2009, 08:01:37 PM »

Quote
As St. Cyprian said in "The Unity of the Church":The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source.  Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.

ialmisry,
That is beautiful. Thank you. I will take your advice and check out the Antioch Church near by.

Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"
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« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2009, 08:02:41 PM »

St. Paul Cathedral
Orthodox Church in America
700 Beech Daly Rd
Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48127

not directly in dearborn, don't know how close it is to you.

from the SCOBA site  http://www.scoba.us/directory.html
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« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2009, 08:04:01 PM »

findingfaith,
Thank you.
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« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2009, 08:06:34 PM »

Quote
Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"

The reason I ask this is for the obvious reason, but also because one of the things I feel attached to (as far as the Catholic church) is the great saints. St. Francis and St. Dominic--even Mother Teresa are heroes of mine. They clearly seem to be "good fruit." Is it possible that Rome is not broken, but merely needs a little mending?
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« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2009, 08:33:23 PM »

I am sure that any of the churches in your area are fine, but I do recommend that you attend a parish that serves the eastern liturgy to begin with, as the Western rite I'm sure is great but it will not give you the best picture of how the vast majority of Orthodox Christians worship.

OCA will all be in English, but the 'ethic' parishes have their pluses as well.  They are often a great chance to glimpse at Orthodoxy in the Old World right in your back yard.  I'm sure the Romanian and Bulgarian parishes are beautiful as well.
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« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2009, 08:37:59 PM »

Alveus,
Thank you. The church findingfaith pointed me to, St. Paul's, is listed on SCOBA as OCA, but the churches website says Romanian. Can it be both? Can a Romanian church be under the jurisdiction of the OCA?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is all very new and confusing to me.
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« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2009, 09:18:45 PM »

the website you looked at is for St. Peter and Paul church which is at 750 beech daly road. maybe they gave it over to the Romanian orthodox? I guess St. Paul Cathedral doesn't have a website, but they are listed on the oca site. Best bet would be to call them tomorrow.

http://www.oca.org/DIRlisting.asp?SID=9&KEY=OCA-BU-DEASPK
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« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2009, 09:38:56 PM »

Grace and peace to you as well. I am not what you would call a "disenchanted Catholic." I spent my teens and early twenties as a fallen away Catholic. When I was 25 I fell in love with Christ again and sought out His church. What I found was the Catholic church, but I failed to look further. I accepted the standard arguments for Papal authority and never looked deeper. I've recently been feeling very lost, but I wasn't sure why. I still love my church and God, but I was feeling lost. So, following the advice of my spiritual director, I've been trying lexio divina and contemplative prayer. I wasn't feeling better at first, but then one day I got the urge to look at the Orthodox church (you might say I was moved by the Holy Spirit). Since then I have been overwhellmed with excitement and fear. I'm finding...well its as Gebre explains, I "cannot rationally explain or logically defend" what I am feeling and finding.

We have much in common, dear brother! Your story and mine are almost exactly alike! I was raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism because I did not really know of any other Church that made similar claims. Almost 3 years later, after having read both sides, I believe that it is the Orthodox that have maintained the Apostolic Faith in its fullness. Now I am a catechumen.

I bear no ill-will towards the Catholic Church at all. I believe that God brought me to the Catholic Church so I could be brought to Orthodoxy. I'll certainly pray for you during this time. Please pray for me.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #42 on: July 26, 2009, 10:42:54 PM »


ialmisry, I can certainly accept this because Acts doesn't seem to support Peter as being more "special" than James, but what about all of the other references to Peter's "special" place within the church? Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth. So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?




The verse which references Peter being “the rock of the church” very much indicates that he had a special place within the church, as I referred to earlier, and to which none of us will deny. Remember, not only was Antioch the first church established by Peter, it was also the main hub from where all other missionary efforts of the early apostles branched out from. (ref. Acts) That is, it was the "home base" so to speak. I believe this is what Jesus referred to when he spoke of the "rock" which Peter was to establish. Furthermore, this interpretation can be supplemented while viewing the rock as the truth of Orthodoxy which was first set down at Antioch, and which exists today in the entire body of the Church. I believe that both of these interpretations can be easily rationalized logically and historically. Therefore, I would think that if any Church has the right to claim “Petrine Primacy”,  it would be the Church of Antioch. However, Rome was much more convenient of a location for the west to cultivate and ultimately distort this claim of primacy due to the social, economic, and political atmosphere, which was “ripe” for an episcopal monarchy situation to creep in.

Disclaimer: Scriptural interpretations are my own, which may be several of many possible interpretations! I’d consult with an Orthodox priest for a more authoritative interpretation of the importance and role of Peter in the early church contained within the scripture.
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« Reply #43 on: July 26, 2009, 10:45:33 PM »

Alveus,
Thank you. The church findingfaith pointed me to, St. Paul's, is listed on SCOBA as OCA, but the churches website says Romanian. Can it be both? Can a Romanian church be under the jurisdiction of the OCA?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is all very new and confusing to me.

Yes, it can be both OCA and Romanian, and in fact this parish is.  Don't expect much English (most of the parishioners will probably, based on other parishes I've visited).

It would be listed as as OCA on SCOBA, because its bishop, +Nathaniel, is in the Holy Synod of the OCA.  As he is the Romanian bishop for the Romanian parishes in the OCA (and the congregations makeup, which is how it has him as bishop) is Romanian.  Its was St. Tikhon's solution to the ethnicity question, and the OCA's.

There was (still is, but it seems to be going nowhere) talk of the Romanians leaving the OCA and joining up with the exarchate of the Romanian Patriarch.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16108.0.html
The recent new OCA Metropolitan, the EP's new "diaspora" scheme and other things may have taken the steam out of this (at the time it started, the OCA was rocked by scandal, and the Metropolitan was refusing to address them).
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« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2009, 10:58:36 PM »

Quote
As St. Cyprian said in "The Unity of the Church":The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source.  Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.

ialmisry,
That is beautiful. Thank you. I will take your advice and check out the Antioch Church near by.

Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"


It needs some pruning and other tending, but as St. John Maximovich said "Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."
http://www.allmercifulsavior.com/Liturgy/Orthodoxwiki.html

My own opinion on Rome is summed up by St. Symeon of Thessalonika, and the Easter Patriarchs in response to Pope Leo , e.g.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg318850.html#msg318850

Btw, Holy Incarnation is Antiochian only in its bishops: if you go to an Antiochian parish near you otherwise, especially in Michigan, you are going to get an Arab Orthodox Church (not, of course, that I am against that Grin).

I just realized that in cutting and pasting I left out the most important part of St. Cyprian's quote:
5. And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided.  Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole. [Episcopatus unus est, cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur: the quote has become a maxim].  The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide....

btw, on this Fr. Schemann of blessed memory:
http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/ecclesiological-notes.html
He entitles his notes on the founding of SCOBA with it:
http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/episcopatus.html
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« Reply #45 on: July 27, 2009, 12:37:06 AM »

Thank you. The church findingfaith pointed me to, St. Paul's, is listed on SCOBA as OCA, but the churches website says Romanian. Can it be both? Can a Romanian church be under the jurisdiction of the OCA?

Yes, they have a special bishop in the Orthodox Church in America.  But even if it is all in Romanian, don't despair.  It is more than worth your time.  Listen to this Romanian Byzantine chant of the Beatitudes of our Lord:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0robK8bUVVY

You just might get to hear something so beautiful at that parish.
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« Reply #46 on: July 27, 2009, 12:47:23 AM »

Thank you. The church findingfaith pointed me to, St. Paul's, is listed on SCOBA as OCA, but the churches website says Romanian. Can it be both? Can a Romanian church be under the jurisdiction of the OCA?

Yes, they have a special bishop in the Orthodox Church in America.  But even if it is all in Romanian, don't despair.  It is more than worth your time.  Listen to this Romanian Byzantine chant of the Beatitudes of our Lord:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0robK8bUVVY

You just might get to hear something so beautiful at that parish.

I don't know who Sunyaa is, but they have taste.  Another selection of theirs, the Pascal stichera:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLquakalcvU
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« Reply #47 on: July 27, 2009, 05:58:01 PM »

findingfaith,
Thanks for all of your help.

Shlomlokh,
I will pray for you and thank you for your prayers as well.

Ortho_cat,
Thank you. You bring up a good point about the "ripeness" of the situation in Rome for an episcopal monarchy. I'd like to read further the progression of thought (by the early church) on the primacy of Peter.

ialmisry,
Quote
Yes, it can be both OCA and Romanian, and in fact this parish is.  Don't expect much English (most of the parishioners will probably, based on other parishes I've visited).

Oh. Ok. That makes sense. Thank you for the clarification.

Quote
Btw, Holy Incarnation is Antiochian only in its bishops: if you go to an Antiochian parish near you otherwise, especially in Michigan, you are going to get an Arab Orthodox Church (not, of course, that I am against that ).

I might have to check both of them out then. Arab is no more a problem for me than Romanian. That is to say, no problem at all. Though I must admit, I wish there were an OCA that did the DL in english.

Alveus and ialmisry,
Those chants are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
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« Reply #48 on: July 27, 2009, 11:55:39 PM »

I might have to check both of them out then. Arab is no more a problem for me than Romanian. That is to say, no problem at all. Though I must admit, I wish there were an OCA that did the DL in english.

Is St. Raphael of Brooklyn by you?
http://www.straphaeldetroit.org/

have you seen this site?
http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php
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« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2009, 10:31:27 PM »

ialmisry,
Yes. Smiley I am about 20 minutes from St. Raphael's. Not super close, but close enough to visit.

Yes, I have looked at that site. Part of the issue is just understanding the various jurisidictions and what to expect. But I have learned allot already from you and the others here. Thank you.
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« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2009, 11:47:19 AM »

May I also add that Orthodox theology and view of God is speaking right into my heart?
I mean, come on. Western theology?!
A man once committed a sin which has been passed down to all generations (i.e.: all people get the blame), so the One who doomed that man had to kill His Son, in order to forgive our sins (which He could also forgive before that) and prevent us from Him sending us to a burning place.
Now, that explains why there are so many atheists out there!

 angel
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« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2009, 08:27:02 PM »

GammaRay,
lol  Roll Eyes

Thank you for your help and everyone else's help as well. You've all helped me tremendously over the past few days. I want to now stew on what I've learned and then take it back to the Catholic forum. My goal is to find the true churhc and then be in it. I want to sharpen steal on steal so to speak and continue to pray for the wisdom and grace to discern the truth and the ability to live it out.

God bless.
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« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2009, 09:34:12 PM »

GammaRay,
lol  Roll Eyes

Thank you for your help and everyone else's help as well. You've all helped me tremendously over the past few days. I want to now stew on what I've learned and then take it back to the Catholic forum. My goal is to find the true churhc and then be in it. I want to sharpen steal on steal so to speak and continue to pray for the wisdom and grace to discern the truth and the ability to live it out.

God bless.

May Our Lord and Our Lady be with you! Peace to you in your spiritual journey. With Christ before you, with you, and for you, I am confident that you will find your true home.

Selam
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« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2009, 11:12:44 PM »

Have you attended the Divine Liturgy yet at an Orthodox temple?

You can also attend the Divine Liturgy in a Catholic setting (Ukrainian), but avoid the Ruthenian variant. There's an entire forum at Byzcath.org dedicated to the defects of the revised Ruthenian liturgy. IMHO the Divine Liturgy is superior to the Novus Ordo mass and on par with the old Latin. And the music will not pollute our ears. There's a pre-communion prayer where you are comparing yourself to the thief on the cross that is just beautiful, especially the Slavonic variant. And yes, on the subject of Latin, it's worth the time to hunt down an indult parish and experience that side. In any case, do take the time to acquaint yourself with the traditions of the East, and best of luck on your spiritual journey.
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« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2009, 02:29:59 AM »

Have you attended the Divine Liturgy yet at an Orthodox temple?

You can also attend the Divine Liturgy in a Catholic setting (Ukrainian), but avoid the Ruthenian variant. There's an entire forum at Byzcath.org dedicated to the defects of the revised Ruthenian liturgy. IMHO the Divine Liturgy is superior to the Novus Ordo mass and on par with the old Latin. And the music will not pollute our ears. There's a pre-communion prayer where you are comparing yourself to the thief on the cross that is just beautiful, especially the Slavonic variant. And yes, on the subject of Latin, it's worth the time to hunt down an indult parish and experience that side. In any case, do take the time to acquaint yourself with the traditions of the East, and best of luck on your spiritual journey.

John,

You do realize that the Convert Issues board at OrthodoxChristianity.net is a discussion board devoted to issues faced by those converting or considering conversion to the Orthodox Christian faith?  In that light, do you not see how tacky it is for you to sing the praises of a [Ukrainian] Catholic liturgy and to encourage posters on this board to attend one?
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« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2009, 07:36:51 AM »

True enough, but my message was aimed solely and only at the non-Orthodox member. It's not meant to be what you think it is and it certainly wasn't meant to be tacky or taken the wrong way. I was thinking of some of my own discomforts and how to deal with them. I  should probably recuse from myself this discussion.
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« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2009, 09:37:44 AM »

Thank you John for recusing yourself on this topic, it speaks well of you understanding boundaries. To discuss Orthodoxy  and Byzantine Catholic Rites the correct forum is  Orthodox - Catholic Discussion Forum.

To all just a reminder of the purpose of the Copnvert Issues Forum:

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

If the moderators find that the discusions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster,You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or arguement. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

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« Reply #57 on: August 07, 2009, 12:38:57 PM »

ialmisry,
Yes. Smiley I am about 20 minutes from St. Raphael's. Not super close, but close enough to visit.

Yes, I have looked at that site. Part of the issue is just understanding the various jurisidictions and what to expect. But I have learned allot already from you and the others here. Thank you.

Are you close enough/able to go to Rives Junction/Jackson next weekend?  It is the Feast Day and Pilgrimage to the Dormition Monastery.
http://www.dormitionmonastery.org/index.php?page_id=20
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« Reply #58 on: August 10, 2009, 03:45:11 AM »

Thank you, Alveus. I'm not looking to argue. I'm just interested in hearing the arguments. If that makes sense?

Arguments are more in the spirit of the western churches. 
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« Reply #59 on: August 10, 2009, 04:08:18 AM »

I am currently a Roman Catholic. I am Roman Catholic because I thought it was the church Jesus established 2000 years ago. But for some reason, the other night, I was moved to investigate the claim of the Orthodox Church as the true church. And I must admit, I am beginning to feel called to the Orthodox Church. I see in the Orthodox Church a better--I want to say ordering--of spirituality and reason. But I also like what I don't see--the power structure.

So, I am seeking your help and prayers. Prayers, because such a decision is obviously very huge, but I also seek intellectual help. Please, if you would be so kind, make your best case for why the Orthodox Church is the true church as opposed to the Catholic Church.

Thank you.

By "the Orthodox Church", I am assuming you are using the most common usage of that, to mean particularly the EOC, the Byzantine Church?
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« Reply #60 on: August 10, 2009, 04:16:09 AM »


I'm also a little nervous about bringing my wife into my journey before I am confident I'm on the right one.

This is a more personal issue, and its more your business than ours, but I think it would be important that you not go through with initiation into the EOC until you discuss it with your wife.
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« Reply #61 on: August 10, 2009, 04:32:32 AM »


It is also interesting to note that the Bishop of Rome wasn’t even allowed to attend the 5nd Ecumenical Council (553 AD) due to his support of the heretical Nestorianism movement.

I don't know whether it was accurate to say that he was not allowed, or perhaps if it was actually that he refused to attend.


Baptism

EO- Full immersion (original)
RC- Sprinkling (later modification)

While full immersion is certainly the standard of the EOC, it is also certainly not the exclusive practice. I know by personal experience. Also, while sprinkling is sometimes practiced in the Western rite of the RCC (there are of course Eastern rites where your generalizations do not apply), immersion is also, and pouring is probably the actual standard.


Sign of the Cross

EO- Right to left (original)
RC- left to right (later modification)

Your comments are debatable. The Oriental Orthodox cross themselves left to right, and it is not clear that both them and the Latins independently deviated, or if the Byzanto-Latin church deviated from the Orientals and later the Latins from the Byzantines, or if perhaps the Orientals and Byzanto-Latins had this difference from a significant antiquity.


Nicene-Constantinople Creed

EO - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (original)
RC - The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son (later addition, “the Filioque“)

This is the most significant of your list. But even more significant than the clause itself is the theology that developed around it. As it is the clause is a mere canonical violation, but when the Latins got to the point of saying things like "the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son as from one principle" (as at the Council of Florence), this is where the heresy is actually clarified.
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« Reply #62 on: August 10, 2009, 04:41:15 AM »


EO - Communion under both species (cfr. Christ's words: "Take and drink all of it" in the Gospels)
RC - Communion under bread only

The issue is not so much whether both species are offered to the laity and what they partake of, as it is the fact that the participation of the Precious Blood is not regarded as fundamental or necessary, that it is allowed to pass it by, and that many go through with this practice. You cannot say that Roman Catholics in general "take Communion under bread only", because many happen to partake of both species by choice.


EO - Both secular and regular clergy  (cfr. Paul's words on married presbyters and deacons, together with his appreciation for celibacy)
RC - Regular (i.e. celibate) clergy only

That isn't true of all RC jurisdictions.


EO - Baptism, chrismation and communion always given at once even to infant (see hippolitus of Rome, Ambrose of Milan and tens of other W and E fathers)
RC - Baptism, communion and confirmation given separately at different ages and in a different order then the traditional one

Except for Eastern Catholics.


EO - Apostolic tradition of praying at DL ad Orientem (st John Chrysostom wrote that it's an apostolic tradition)
RC - Protestant-style prayers at Mass ad populum (where the priest replaces Christ at the altar)

This is only true in Vatican II generated rites.


EO - Chants without instruments at DL (agreed by all Church Fathers that dealt with this matter)
RC - Chants with instruments (organ, and recently guitars, bongos etc) and adoption of Protestant gospel music

Not all EO churches refrain from using musical instruments. Not all RC churches use instruments.
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« Reply #63 on: August 10, 2009, 02:50:10 PM »


I definately see that the Papacy (as a sort of universal authority) is clearly not biblical nor is it the norm of the early church. The letters of Pope Gregory as well as Acts clearly show this.

What I do see is that the one See existed in three places by three bishops: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. So, what my concern is, that if the See of Peter exists as a triumvirate of those three churches/bishops, how can either the Catholic or Orthodox claim to be the true church if both are merely pieces of the church?

The problem is that you have been somewhat misled on this topic as to what is the view of the EOC. The idea expressed by Pope Gregory the Great appears to be nothing more than a private theological opinion of his, certainly not something that has achieved dogmatic status in the EOC. Certainly many in the EOC disagree with this opinion, and not without legitimacy. To suggest that any of those three sees are fundamental to the existence of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is directly contrary to the opinions of most within the EOC. The Church could continue to properly exist if it had none of those three sees. We do not adhere to a diminished papism where we view a Triumvurate as fundamental to our ecclesiology rather than a Monarchy. Thus, in our view, the fact that the RCC does not contain the historical churches of Alexandria and Antioch and that the EOC does not contain the historical church of Rome does not in any way affect their claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #64 on: August 10, 2009, 02:59:56 PM »


Many of the Church fathers clearly refer to his being the rock and so forth.

They also refer to the confession of Peter as being the rock. And they also refer to Jesus Himself being the rock.


So is the argument then that majority ruled? That because the majority of the church disagreed with Rome, that Rome was in error and the majority was correct in its assessment?

No, not exactly. It has more to do with who ultimately triumphed within the Church. And it has to do with who most closely is viewed as having been faithful to the Gospel message. At the Council of Jerusalem, Paul and his supporters were understood as having been inspired by the Holy Spirit to witness to the inclusion of the Gentiles. The fact that Peter eventually relinquished and admitted to the authority of Paul's teaching indicates that Peter was likewise becoming inspired by the Holy Spirit. The fact that he did so lends more creedance to the inclusion of Gentiles. The concern is more to do with the consensus of the Church at broad. For instance, Rome's submission to the filioque clause is viewed as the error because clearly Pope's preceeding the 11th century had already condemned the clause in unison with the Eastern Patriarchs.
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« Reply #65 on: August 10, 2009, 03:04:13 PM »


We have Romanian, Bulgarian, and a western Antiochian church nearby.

I would personally recommend the Western Rite Antiochian church. The Romanian and Bulgarian churches will both be fairly ethnic, whereas the Antiochian church will be much more close to someone with not ethnic ties to an Eastern Orthodox church.

If you would be most comfortable with retaining your own rite, Holy Incarnation is definitely a good bet.

However, I just took another look, and there appears to be far more EOC's in that area than the three you previously mentioned. If you still want to got non-ethnic Byzantine rite with the OCA, that definitely appears to be an option. Type in Dearborn, MI to this search engine and you will see all the results:

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php
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« Reply #66 on: August 10, 2009, 03:13:16 PM »


Quote
Is it your opinion then that the Church of Rome is a broken branch which "will not be able to bud?"

The reason I ask this is for the obvious reason, but also because one of the things I feel attached to (as far as the Catholic church) is the great saints. St. Francis and St. Dominic--even Mother Teresa are heroes of mine. They clearly seem to be "good fruit." Is it possible that Rome is not broken, but merely needs a little mending?

Keep in mind that it may possibly be simultaneously the case that Rome is a broken branch but that Francis and Dominic also happen to legitimately be Saints.

As far as I know, my godparents do venerate Francis on an individual level.
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« Reply #67 on: August 10, 2009, 03:35:26 PM »


Though I must admit, I wish there were an OCA that did the DL in english.

There appear to be a number of churches in your area with the Byzantine liturgy in English:

http://www.firebirdvideos.com/stinnocentchurch.htm This one is part of the Moscow Patriarchate rather than the OCA, but it claims its liturgy is in English and that its members are multi-ethnic.

http://sspeterpaulorthodoxcathedraldetroit.org/ Part of the OCA with English services and multi-ethnic.

http://www.straphaeldetroit.org/ This one is part of the Romanian diocese of the OCA, but they claim their services are in English.

http://orthodoxlivonia.org/ Another OCA, English, multi-ethnic.

http://www.sgroc.org/mainENG.htm This is just a little bonus, as it does not belong with the rest, but it is the archdiocesan cathedral for the Romanian church in America. You might be interested in checking it out at some point.

All of these are within 10 miles of Dearborn.



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« Reply #68 on: August 10, 2009, 05:46:05 PM »

I wouldn't mind attending an English language Divine Liturgy (Orthodox) somewhere in Toronto. I live in North York. Within days, I intend to attend Friday Vespers and Dormition Feast at the local (new Calendar) St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox parish - however it will be totally in Greek and I will be literally surrounded by all native-speaking Greeks. (Yes, I know the rules on interconfessional communion and will respect them). But this should be a real treat and I hope a great introduction. Hopefully they will have a bilingual booklet somewhere, otherwise I'll be somewhat lost (especially at Vespers).

I have studied this text for a while now - albeit it's Slavonic in origin:
http://aggreen.net/liturgics/C-R_Div_Lit.html
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« Reply #69 on: August 11, 2009, 08:33:59 PM »

deusveritasest,
I appreciate your insight.

I would certainly never make such a move without discussing the issue with my wife.

I've been spending quite a bit of time looking into this document by Pope Gregory as it was one of those "clincher" documents for me. It looks like this wasn't what I thought it to be at first. It looks more like he is being very/overly diplomatic towards his fellow bishop. He is saying (in my own words), "Yes, it is true I hold a special position, but please understand that you too hold a special position connected to St. Paul." In other words, it seems like he's trying to make the other guy feel better by intentionally downplaying his being the pope.

So at this point, I'm puting the breaks on. Some of the elements that seemed so striking to me at first, seem less striking now that I've spent a little more time and prayer on them. Even the OC's approach to spirituality which I find so intriging appears alive and well in the Eastern Catholic Churches as well.

My goal is to find and be in the truth. If the truth lies within the OC, then that is no doubt where I will one day be, but for now, I am not convinced that the truth lies outside the CC.

But please continue to pray for me and please continue to try to set me straight. I am not looking to follow the easy path. I want to follow the true path.

Thanks.
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« Reply #70 on: August 12, 2009, 02:06:17 AM »

"My goal is to find and be in the truth. If the truth lies within the OC, then that is no doubt where I will one day be, but for now, I am not convinced that the truth lies outside the CC."

As much as others focus on the understanding of the papacy a lot, I think this is probably not that great of an idea when discerning the truth claims of the two churches. And it seems that this is what you have been focusing on. The problem is that the EO historically did use this as their primary basis for denouncing the Roman Catholic Tradition as heretical. The primary issue as of the 9th century was the filioque, and it remained as such for quite a long time. Excommunications of the Pope happened because he adopted the filioque, which was understood as a heresy, with issues of his jurisdiction not really mentioned all that much. The Pope pushed the issue by claiming that he had universal jurisdiction over the Church, that he had the authority to add the clause, and that the Eastern Patriarchs must submit to this authority. Only in the RC's defending themselves against accusations of heresy did the issue of papal supremacy really enter into the fray.

Furthermore, the issue over the Essence and Energies of God became quite important starting the 14th century. Two pillars of the two respective traditions came to conclusions on this topic that are in stark contrast. Thomas Aquinas taught that the Essence of God is perceptible in Heaven after the senses of the faithful have been transformed by "the light of glory". Gregory Palamas taught that the Essence of God can in no way at all be grasped, participated in, comprehended, or perceived by humanity, and that "the light of glory" was not some created substance used to transform humanity to disposition for the beatific vision, but that it was the Uncreated Energies of God, and constituted the beatific vision itself.

These two issues play directly into the nature of God, and can possibly lead one to the conclusion that the EO and RC don't even believe in the same God. They are clearly more fundamentally important than the nature of the papacy. To discern the truthfulness of these two movements, thus, I believe you should be focusing on more fundamental topics such as these. What is God? Who is the Father? Who is the Son? Who is the Holy Spirit? What is the nature of Christ? What is salvation?

Once you discern your answers to these questions, the issue of the papacy pretty much falls into place. If the reason for the schism was the Bishop of Rome not properly upholding orthodoxy, then obviously papal infallibility is wrong. If the reason for the schism was the Eastern Patriarchs not properly upholding orthodoxy, then papal infallibility is probably right.
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« Reply #71 on: August 12, 2009, 03:59:50 PM »

deusveritasest,
Thank you again. I understand where you are coming from, but I disagree. Your following statement sums up my point of contention:

Quote
If the reason for the schism was the Bishop of Rome not properly upholding orthodoxy, then obviously papal infallibility is wrong. If the reason for the schism was the Eastern Patriarchs not properly upholding orthodoxy, then papal infallibility is probably right.

I believe Jesus established a church on earth before He ascended into heaven. The leaders of that church were given the power to bind and loose. They were given the charge to spread and protect the word they received from Jesus Himself. I look to that church to tell me what orthodoxy is, not for orthodoxy to tell me what the church is.

So I am left with determining which church is that church. Is it the Catholic Church? If so, than papal infallibility is right. If It is the Orthodox Church, then papal infallibility is probably wrong, but I wouldn't care because I would switch to the Orthodox Church.

Does that make sense?
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« Reply #72 on: August 12, 2009, 04:32:04 PM »

"I believe Jesus established a church on earth before He ascended into heaven. The leaders of that church were given the power to bind and loose. They were given the charge to spread and protect the word they received from Jesus Himself. I look to that church to tell me what orthodoxy is, not for orthodoxy to tell me what the church is.

So I am left with determining which church is that church. Is it the Catholic Church? If so, than papal infallibility is right. If It is the Orthodox Church, then papal infallibility is probably wrong, but I wouldn't care because I would switch to the Orthodox Church.

Does that make sense?
"

No, because I see determining what is orthodoxy as the very mean by which we determine which Church is the Church established by Christ which we can trust in for authoritative teaching. At least there appears to be no other way when there are a number of churches which lay possibly true claims to be the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #73 on: August 12, 2009, 05:48:26 PM »

Dear Militantsparrow,

I am really filled with joy seeing you are earnestly looking for the truth. I am praying that God reveals it to you and if you are ready to accept the Truth, the teaching of the Light, with your heart, you will definitely find it.

Let your heart be your guide in this search.

So, it’s true the Pope has historical authority that as proclaimed by him comes from St. Peter.

But did the scribes and pharisees have not also similar authority? They occupied Moses’ seat as mentioned by the Savior and nevertheless were overturned by the Nazerene. Christ – born without any worldly authority was preaching the Light and demanded from the Jews to abandon their formal spiritual rulers.

Why was Christ not born as the High Priest of the Jews? Why did He not show miracles of destructive and fearful nature so that all surely submit to Himself?

Because that’s not the purpose. If God wishes, He could of course make all the humanity serve Him even against their will.
The purpose that God defined for us is to search for the Truth and to love this Truth, to love the Light. This Light is revealed in our heart because our heart tells us what is right and what wrong.

Let us therefore examine the teachings carefully and pray for help from God to discern the most true teaching with our heart.

Militantsparrow, do you really believe in the teaching of Purgatory? Does really Christ not fully forgive men’s transgressions when He gives forgiveness so that they have to be cleansed by torture after their death to compensate for the excess of bad deeds before entering the Heaven?

And what about the free will? As far as I know the Roman Catholics don’t hold any particular position on this crucial subject.
Well, the orthodox position is that humans undoubtedly have a free will and a free choice. God gave them to us and decreed that our salvation depends wholly on our free will and free choice. And now a quote from St. Cyril of Alexandria, pillar of the Church:
“For where there is hearing and learning and the benefit of instruction, there is faith, to wit by persuasion and not of necessity: and the knowledge of Christ is given by the Father to them that are worthy, helpful as of love, rather than constraining. For the word of doctrine requires that free-will and free choice be preserved to the soul of man, in order that it may ask the just rewards of its good deeds, and if it have fallen from right, and from heedlessness have transgressed the Will of the Lawgiver, it may receive the doom of its transgression and that most reasonable.” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book 4)
God wants the salvation of everybody and as many protestants hold.

Wish you all the best in your searches
Cyril
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« Reply #74 on: August 12, 2009, 06:05:12 PM »

For further discussion on papal infallibility place this phrase in the search box  to the upper right  and it will provide you all the previous discussions pertaining to this on the oc.net

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« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2009, 06:36:01 PM »

Quote
And what about the free will? As far as I know the Roman Catholics don’t hold any particular position on this crucial subject.

They definitely do. The Protestant Reformers such as Calvin adopted a mutant brand of Augustinism and embraced such concepts as "irresistable grace." This concept was anathemized at the Council of Trent. Yes, Virginia, you can resist grace. As those old Baltimore catechisms might put it, God wants you to know him and love him and serve him but you can resist him and his grace if you so choose.

I'm not defending the superiority of the Catholic position, merely stating that they have one, and it was staked out long ago in the Reformation era. Calvin, Luther and others, when they rejected the Catholic Church, sought to restore what they believed to be authentic early Christianity, and turned to Augustine and to misreadings of Paul. Thomistic theology had softened or modified much of that system and they were going right back to the source.
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« Reply #76 on: August 12, 2009, 07:09:42 PM »

May I also add that Orthodox theology and view of God is speaking right into my heart?
I mean, come on. Western theology?!
A man once committed a sin which has been passed down to all generations (i.e.: all people get the blame), so the One who doomed that man had to kill His Son, in order to forgive our sins (which He could also forgive before that) and prevent us from Him sending us to a burning place.
Now, that explains why there are so many atheists out there!

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So correct, brother G.R....   Smiley And I think that the views of Anselm of Carbury are even worse
1) about the "offense of the Nature of God"
2) about the feudalist society which was supposedly set by God Himself(!!!) and not by unjust and inhumane humen... 
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« Reply #77 on: August 13, 2009, 09:17:02 AM »

deusveritasest,
Quote
No, because I see determining what is orthodoxy as the very mean by which we determine which Church is the Church established by Christ which we can trust in for authoritative teaching. At least there appears to be no other way when there are a number of churches which lay possibly true claims to be the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Ok. Let me try to clarify. Baptists believe they are in the correct church. They believe so because of what they determine to be orthodoxy. They have illuminated what orthodoxy is (for them) by their own interpretation of the bible. There are many other denominations and faiths which lay the same claim.

I don't think such a method works. It might if everyone agreed on what orthodoxy is, but obviously we dont. So instead, I want to look toward history. I am certain that the Orthodox and Catholic churches were once one church. That one church is the church created by Jesus and built by the Apostles. That church defined orthodoxy--they had the charge by Jesus to do so. At some point, that church split. So which one still holds the charge to protect and declare orthodoxy?

To answer that question I believe I need answers to a few more questions.

  • In the areas that the two churches differ, what did the unbroken church look like? For example, if the two churches disagree on original sin, what did they unbroaken church believe about original sin?
  • If the original church agreed with the Orthodox Church, then for the Catholic Church to be orthodox, it would have to at the very least be able to prove its claim for its reason for the change. What I mean by that is that Papal authority in determining such matters would have to be evident in the early unbroaken church.
  • If the original church agrees with the Catholic Church, then I think I'm already in the right church.
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« Reply #78 on: August 13, 2009, 09:30:07 AM »

Cyril,
Thank you for your encouraging and challenging response.

Quote
But did the scribes and pharisees have not also similar authority? They occupied Moses’ seat as mentioned by the Savior and nevertheless were overturned by the Nazerene. Christ – born without any worldly authority was preaching the Light and demanded from the Jews to abandon their formal spiritual rulers.

Yes they did, but Jesus recognized the fact that they sat in the chair of Moses and therefor must be respected at least for their authority. I realize of course that all of that changed with the Resurrection, but that doesn't necessarily null any new testament claims to authority.

Quote
The purpose that God defined for us is to search for the Truth and to love this Truth, to love the Light. This Light is revealed in our heart because our heart tells us what is right and what wrong.

I agree with most of this statement, but why then do so many of us disagree on what the truth is?

Quote
do you really believe in the teaching of Purgatory? Does really Christ not fully forgive men's transgressions when He gives forgiveness so that they have to be cleansed by torture after their death to compensate for the excess of bad deeds before entering the Heaven?

Do I really believe? Well, the Catholic Church doesn't believe that Jesus does not forgive us for such transgressions. Nor does it believe we will be cleansed by torture. The concept is much simpler than that. If we die without sin, but maybe its only because we haven't had the chance to sin. In other words, we're completely forgiven, but given the opportunity we'd sin again. We are impure. And nothing impure can enter heaven. Purgatory then is simply a purification for the impure to go through before entering heaven.

Quote
And what about the free will? As far as I know the Roman Catholics don't hold any particular position on this crucial subject.

Yes, the Catholic Church is a big fan of free will.

Quote
Wish you all the best in your searches

Thank you and please feel free to challenge me more. Its the way I learn the quickest.
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« Reply #79 on: August 13, 2009, 02:21:26 PM »

Just a quick fyi: Catholics do not believe that Christ cannot forgive all sins.  That is not what Purgatory means.
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« Reply #80 on: August 13, 2009, 02:35:40 PM »

This might not pass muster, but I wouldn't mind hearing if other Catholics have come across this before. Full disclosure: I have issues with devotions (approved or not) which emanate from private revelations, and have avoided them.

Here is what I heard about what the "punishment" in purgatory consists of. Souls of people imperfectly united with God. Their desire to be united with God is tempered by the fact they are not totally in union with him. The separation therefore is what causes them pain. I strongly suspect this came from a private revelation (the kind I reject) but on an intuitive level, this made sense, because it lies outside the paradigm of a legalistic punishment-friendly sadistic God (the "Augustinian caricature" I sometimes see).

As for Purgatory in the Catholic Church in 2009, it has been completely ignored and is never taught from the pulpit. There are prayer masses for the dead but you never see indulgences being promoted any more. If you adhere to the notion of "lex orendi, lex credendi", they are in practice de-emphasizing this. There are particular promises associated with the Divine Mercy devotion (again... a private revelation) but that's likely the only time you'll see anything related to indulgences.

I certainly have my fair share of issues with the RCC (mostly liturgical, plus private revelations), but I've rarely given much thought to purgatory. "Live a good Christian life, die in grace, eventually you will be united with God." I really don't think about purgatory, so it's never been a deal-breaker with me. Liturgy, BTW is the trump card in the Orthodox deck...
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« Reply #81 on: August 13, 2009, 05:09:09 PM »

John Larocque,
Could you elaborate on your statement that, "Liturgy, BTW is the trump card in the Orthodox deck..."
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« Reply #82 on: August 13, 2009, 05:30:19 PM »

So, it’s true the Pope has historical authority that as proclaimed by him comes from St. Peter.

Forgive me if I am chiming in here without having read much of the thread, but.....

I don't know what you mean.  Certainly from the Orthodox perspective, the primacy of honour that the Pope would enjoy if he were Orthodox would have very little to do with any connection to St. Peter, since the Orthodox believe that all bishops are the successors of Peter.  His primacy would rather come from being the bishop of the first city of the empire, no matter what any other flowery rhetoric of ancient times or this day and age would proclaim to the contrary.
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« Reply #83 on: August 13, 2009, 06:08:20 PM »

Could you elaborate on your statement that, "Liturgy, BTW is the trump card in the Orthodox deck..."

How should I put it... the Eastern liturgy has been less compromised over the centuries. It is one of its greatest strengths and has protected it from heresy. I think there's a John Hardon essay to that effect elsewhere in some thread.

The Liturgy is the vehicle by which you encounter Christ in the sacraments (or sacred mysteries). For me, as an inquirer, this is the first place you should look when compare confessions. Because at  the end of the day, no matter which confession you belong to, this is how you practice your faith. I've admired the Eastern liturgical traditions from afar for a long time, and am now taking a closer view of them.

There's much to admire in the Western liturgical traditions, but they have been almost irretrievably demolished in the wake of Vatican II and I don't think that will be fixed in my lifetime. I have great respect for Benedict XVI and hope he succeeds in "reforming the reform" but I have lost patience that the day will come. Will we get the altar rails back? Will the practice of the priest facing the altar be restored? Will the indult permitting communion in the hand be lifted? Will we see suitable music (including chant) become part of the Latin rite? What about suitable vernacular texts? There has been so much damage and this could take generations for the Catholic Church to get its liturgical house in order.

I never used to be this pessimistic...
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« Reply #84 on: August 13, 2009, 06:18:13 PM »

"Ok. Let me try to clarify. Baptists believe they are in the correct church. They believe so because of what they determine to be orthodoxy. They have illuminated what orthodoxy is (for them) by their own interpretation of the bible. There are many other denominations and faiths which lay the same claim.

I don't think such a method works. It might if everyone agreed on what orthodoxy is, but obviously we dont. So instead, I want to look toward history. I am certain that the Orthodox and Catholic churches were once one church. That one church is the church created by Jesus and built by the Apostles. That church defined orthodoxy--they had the charge by Jesus to do so. At some point, that church split. So which one still holds the charge to protect and declare orthodoxy?

To answer that question I believe I need answers to a few more questions.

    * In the areas that the two churches differ, what did the unbroken church look like? For example, if the two churches disagree on original sin, what did they unbroaken church believe about original sin?
    * If the original church agreed with the Orthodox Church, then for the Catholic Church to be orthodox, it would have to at the very least be able to prove its claim for its reason for the change. What I mean by that is that Papal authority in determining such matters would have to be evident in the early unbroaken church.
    * If the original church agrees with the Catholic Church, then I think I'm already in the right church.
"

You are right that there is only a certain number of churches that have any basis for claiming to be the historical Church. If we understand Apostolic Succession as the basis of historic continuity, then a church obviously has to be episcopal in church governance to have any ability to claim to have this Apostolic Succession. On this basis, most Protestant churches would immediately be ruled out.

However, I do not think that leaves only the RCC or the EOC. The Oriental Orthodox churches maintain the form of Apostolic Succession and also have a possibly legitimate claim to constitute the Apostolic Church. And the same goes for the Assyrian Church of the East. The Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht also potentially fits this form, but they do not even claim to exclusively be the Apostolic Church, and they do not have a terribly cohesive system of belief, so I think they can be ruled out off the bat. So, they way I see it, there really are 4 (not 2) different Communion that have to be considered at this point: the RCC, EOC, OOC, and ACE.

Given this, the period of time which can be clearly identified as the undivided church is significantly smaller. If we were to look only at the RCC and EOC, this period of time would be ~1,000 years. Now that we add in the OOC and ACE, it's really only ~400 years.

I agree with you that looking at the undivided church is the basis upon which we can judge which of these 4 current groups is the actual continuation of the undivided church.

However, the difference I am trying to point out that leads to the mentality I have, is that at this point in discerning, we have not identified a body of doctrinal authority upon which to be judging these churches teaching against those of the undivided Church. Thus, the only basis we can have at this point to judge what the teaching of the undivided Church is is our own reasoning, communication with God, and dialogue with others. There is no one yet that we know for sure who can tell us with authority what the orthodoxy of the undivided Church was. We can only determine that once we have already decided what the teachings of the undivided Church were. So yes, I do think on a certain level we do have to judge what orthodoxy is, that is judge what we find to have been the teachings of the undivided Church.

Does that make sense now?

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« Reply #85 on: August 13, 2009, 06:20:07 PM »

"There's much to admire in the Western liturgical traditions, but they have been almost irretrievably demolished in the wake of Vatican II"

How can that be the case when we have Western Christian liturgical texts predating Vatican II?
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« Reply #86 on: August 13, 2009, 06:36:13 PM »

How can that be the case when we have Western Christian liturgical texts predating Vatican II?

I'm speaking from the standpoint of someone going into Latin-rite Catholic parishes today. Traditional latin masses are very much a minority thing. I think it is good now that there are few impediments to it being celebrated, but this is 40 years too late. The "new" vernacular ordinary form of the Latin rite is the prevalent form under which most Catholics are familiar, and as I said, it will take much much longer to undo the damage, correct the rituals, and restore a sense of mystery. I mentioned the Altar Rails. This was in the Western tradition, a parallel to the royal doors or the curtains in the Armenian rite. But the reformers wanted to blur the distinction between the ordained and the non-ordained, so they were torn down, so now almost all Latin-rite churches lack altar rails. Also, if you took down the stations of the cross from most of these churches, there would be little difference with their Protestant counterparts. It's sad.
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« Reply #87 on: August 13, 2009, 10:50:21 PM »

deusveritasest,
Yes. That makes much more sense to me now. And you bring up a good point. I don't want to make the same mistake again (that I did when coming back to the Catholic Church). I don't want to ignore the OOC or ACE.

Why though, do you think it not possible to examine the orthodoxy of the undivided church--even if its only 400 years worth of information. That's almost as much history as the protestant church and more than the history of the United States.

Is that something we could hash out in this thread? Or has it been done already. What is the orthodoxy of the undivided church?
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« Reply #88 on: August 13, 2009, 11:14:11 PM »

deusveritasest,
Yes. That makes much more sense to me now. And you bring up a good point. I don't want to make the same mistake again (that I did when coming back to the Catholic Church). I don't want to ignore the OOC or ACE.

Why though, do you think it not possible to examine the orthodoxy of the undivided church--even if its only 400 years worth of information. That's almost as much history as the protestant church and more than the history of the United States.

Is that something we could hash out in this thread? Or has it been done already. What is the orthodoxy of the undivided church?

We say the EO, but the OO's milage varies a little, and the ACE and RCC quite a lot on this question.
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« Reply #89 on: August 13, 2009, 11:54:30 PM »

"Why though, do you think it not possible to examine the orthodoxy of the undivided church--even if its only 400 years worth of information. That's almost as much history as the protestant church and more than the history of the United States.

Is that something we could hash out in this thread? Or has it been done already. What is the orthodoxy of the undivided church?
"

OK, another clarification needs to be made. I wasn't trying to say that it's not possible to examine the faith of the undivided Church to determine what was orthodoxy. The point I was trying to make is that before determining which of these 4 churches is the orthodox church of the first four centuries, you cannot look to any one of them to authoritatively define and tell you what was the orthodoxy of the first four centuries. Rather, you have to discern that on a rational, spiritual, and dialectical level because you have not yet established the ecclesia which you're supposed to be looking to for the answer. Once you establish the core defining issue that shows you the identity of the Church, then you can look to one of these churches for further definitions of what is orthodoxy. But not before that time.

So yes, I do think it is (to some limitation) possible to determine what was the orthodoxy of the undivided Church. And yes, it would be possible to discuss that here. I have a couple of ways in my mind that one could do that. First, you could start with the base and foundation of the Church and work your way up determining what the Church taught until you get to the point where you have enough to compare to these 4 groups. You could also, however, try to figure out what are the core distinguishing issues between these churches, and then try to figure out which way the undivided Church "sided" so to speak. I tend towards the latter approach.

Just to inform you ahead of time, I am biased towards Oriental Orthodoxy being the faith of the undivided Church.
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« Reply #90 on: August 14, 2009, 12:56:50 AM »

Quote
And what about the free will? As far as I know the Roman Catholics don’t hold any particular position on this crucial subject.

They definitely do. The Protestant Reformers such as Calvin adopted a mutant brand of Augustinism and embraced such concepts as "irresistable grace." This concept was anathemized at the Council of Trent. Yes, Virginia, you can resist grace. As those old Baltimore catechisms might put it, God wants you to know him and love him and serve him but you can resist him and his grace if you so choose.

I'm not defending the superiority of the Catholic position, merely stating that they have one, and it was staked out long ago in the Reformation era. Calvin, Luther and others, when they rejected the Catholic Church, sought to restore what they believed to be authentic early Christianity, and turned to Augustine and to misreadings of Paul. Thomistic theology had softened or modified much of that system and they were going right back to the source.

This brings up an interesting question that I have been thinking about lately. I used to be a Calvinist, and I was a huge Martin Luther fan. I have read many of Luther's works, and most of Calvin's Institutes. But my question is this: Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers? I know he relied primarily on Augustine, but Augustine was not that far from the early Fathers in his theology. Luther was not an iconoclast, and he revered Our Lady. I mean, if he was trying to return to authentic early Christianity, why didn't he? I have bee trying to figure this out. Can you guys explain?

Thanks.

Selam
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« Reply #91 on: August 14, 2009, 12:58:18 AM »

Given this, the period of time which can be clearly identified as the undivided church is significantly smaller. If we were to look only at the RCC and EOC, this period of time would be ~1,000 years. Now that we add in the OOC and ACE, it's really only ~400 years.

And even then, if you realize that the First Oecumenical Council was the first truly unifying factor on matters of doctrine and such, and that that occurred in Anno Domini 325,then you are maybe talking about ~100 years before the Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian) split off from the Church, and even during this supposed period of unity for 100 years there were a variety of heresies floating around with plenty of followers, and the decrees of the first two councils hadn't been fully implemented and adopted across the board.  During the first 300 years of Christian history there were many groups and schools in different cities with different opinions on different matters.  Contrary to popular myth and sacred history, Christendom has always and will always be one huge mess of sects.
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« Reply #92 on: August 14, 2009, 01:07:34 AM »

"They definitely do. The Protestant Reformers such as Calvin adopted a mutant brand of Augustinism and embraced such concepts as "irresistable grace.""

If anything, Calvinism more closely represented the actual teachings of Augustine than Roman soteriology did. There's a reason that the system of the RCC as establish at the Council of Orange is called Semi-Augustinianism. This is because the RCC accepted a significant portion of the propositions of Augustine while rejecting some others. Luther and Calvin both sought to more fully hold to the whole teaching of Augustine, and it's easy to see that they succeeded in doing so.
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« Reply #93 on: August 14, 2009, 01:12:58 AM »

"Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers?"

It wasn't all that easy to communicate with the EO at that time. I'm sure Luther had access to the early Fathers. He probably did not have enough direction from modern Orthodox people to fully conform to the Fathers' teachings. However, some of his disciples shortly afterward did contact the Patriarch of Constantinople. They had about three back and forth letters where the Lutherans stubbornly defended all the teachings of the Augsburg Confession and Patriarch Jeremiah critically rejected some of them. This ultimately resulted in the Patriarch rejecting them as heretics.

"but Augustine was not that far from the early Fathers in his theology"

Are you serious? Unbaptized infants burn in eternal hellfire? God alone contributes to our salvation and we passively accept His grace? God is in essence comprehensible? None of this is consistent with the Eastern Fathers.
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« Reply #94 on: August 14, 2009, 01:27:54 AM »

"Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers?"

It wasn't all that easy to communicate with the EO at that time. I'm sure Luther had access to the early Fathers. He probably did not have enough direction from modern Orthodox people to fully conform to the Fathers' teachings. However, some of his disciples shortly afterward did contact the Patriarch of Constantinople. They had about three back and forth letters where the Lutherans stubbornly defended all the teachings of the Augsburg Confession and Patriarch Jeremiah critically rejected some of them. This ultimately resulted in the Patriarch rejecting them as heretics.

"but Augustine was not that far from the early Fathers in his theology"

Are you serious? Unbaptized infants burn in eternal hellfire? God alone contributes to our salvation and we passively accept His grace? God is in essence comprehensible? None of this is consistent with the Eastern Fathers.

Thank you for the explanation.

Regarding Augustine, I admit that I am not an expert. I enjoyed his Confessions immensely, and I've read sections of City of God. I know that Luther relied mostly on Augustinian theology. But because of the time in which Augustine lived, I was just guessing that he wasn't too radically different from Orthodox teaching. In fact, isn't Augustine considered Orthodox today by most Orthodox Christians? We can extrapolate abberant teachings from almost anyone. But just because Luther and Calvin took some of Augustine's teachings to the extreme doesn't mean we should reject Augustine altogether. But admittedly some of Augustine's beliefs were unOrthodox. Yet who of us can say we are completely Orthodox in all of our thinking, all of our speech, and all of our actions?

I need to revisit the correspondence between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Augsburg confessors. Thanks for mentioning that.

Selam
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« Reply #95 on: August 14, 2009, 08:59:18 AM »

deusveritasest,
Quote
Yes, I do think it is (to some limitation) possible to determine what was the orthodoxy of the undivided Church. And yes, it would be possible to discuss that here. I have a couple of ways in my mind that one could do that. First, you could start with the base and foundation of the Church and work your way up determining what the Church taught until you get to the point where you have enough to compare to these 4 groups. You could also, however, try to figure out what are the core distinguishing issues between these churches, and then try to figure out which way the undivided Church "sided" so to speak. I tend towards the latter approach.

Great. I would love to try and hash it out then. I agree that your latter approach would probably be best--certainly easiest.

I am going to try and lay out a timeline and what I understand to be the big differences. Correct me if/when I am wrong. I am going to stick to what I think were the reasons that caused the splits and not focus on the subsequent differences due to a lack of council agreements and such. I think our next step should be to refine my list--I'm sure I have some details wrong. I'm sure some of what I wrote is going to be colored by my own Catholic glasses.

Assyrian Church separates (431)
  • As far as I can tell, and I know the least about the ACE, their only real issue was that they didn't want the Roman Emperor having any say in how they ran their church. So they split not because of doctrinal differences, but because of leadership and self governance.

Oriental Orthodox separates (451)
  • They seemed to disagree with the wording of Council of Chalcedon which explained that Jesus is of two natures. But it seems that in 2001 they determined they had no real disagreement in essence only in the wording.

Orthodox and Catholics split (1054)
  • I think the bottom line difference between the CC and the OC is their understanding of the papacy. The OC acknowledges a "first among equals" view of the papacy. The CC believes the pope, when speaking ex cathedra, has the same infallible binding power as the college of bishops.

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« Reply #96 on: August 14, 2009, 09:07:30 AM »

deusveritasest,
Quote
Yes, I do think it is (to some limitation) possible to determine what was the orthodoxy of the undivided Church. And yes, it would be possible to discuss that here. I have a couple of ways in my mind that one could do that. First, you could start with the base and foundation of the Church and work your way up determining what the Church taught until you get to the point where you have enough to compare to these 4 groups. You could also, however, try to figure out what are the core distinguishing issues between these churches, and then try to figure out which way the undivided Church "sided" so to speak. I tend towards the latter approach.

Great. I would love to try and hash it out then. I agree that your latter approach would probably be best--certainly easiest.

I am going to try and lay out a timeline and what I understand to be the big differences. Correct me if/when I am wrong. I am going to stick to what I think were the reasons that caused the splits and not focus on the subsequent differences due to a lack of council agreements and such. I think our next step should be to refine my list--I'm sure I have some details wrong. I'm sure some of what I wrote is going to be colored by my own Catholic glasses.

Assyrian Church separates (431)
  • As far as I can tell, and I know the least about the ACE, their only real issue was that they didn't want the Roman Emperor having any say in how they ran their church. So they split not because of doctrinal differences, but because of leadership and self governance.

No, they had and have a queasiness about the title "Theotokos," "Mother of God" etc and about Orthodox Christology in general.

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« Reply #97 on: August 14, 2009, 09:14:02 AM »

ialmisry,
I apologize. I did not know that. Can you point me to a document or article that lays out their differences.

Thank you.
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« Reply #98 on: August 14, 2009, 10:24:38 AM »

"Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers?"

In fact, isn't Augustine considered Orthodox today by most Orthodox Christians?

As far as I can tell, his position is equivocal at best - since he seems to be referred to mostly as "Blessed Augustine" by the Orthodox. One Ecumenical Council included him in a list with such Fathers as St. Athanasius, the St. Gregorys and St. John Chrysostom, but didn't mention his theology per se.

"More moderate views regard Augustine as (1) a theological writer who made too many mistakes to be included among the Church Fathers but still a saint, (2) a theological writer among many in the early Church (but not a saint), and (3) a theological writer with, perhaps, the title "Blessed" before his name. It should be noted, however, that the Orthodox Church has not traditionally ranked saints in terms of "blessed" or "saint" (i.e., suggesting that the latter has a greater degree of holiness than the former). Saint "rankings" are usually only differences in kind (e.g., monastics, married, bishops, martyrs, etc.), not in degree."

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« Reply #99 on: August 14, 2009, 12:41:04 PM »

ialmisry,
I apologize. I did not know that. Can you point me to a document or article that lays out their differences.

Thank you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestorianism
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« Reply #100 on: August 14, 2009, 01:14:51 PM »

"Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers?"

Not only was the distances impossible to overcome, but had the Eastern Church showed up it would have been considered poaching. Even though the Eastern and Western Church are split, there is still a modicum of protocol observed. It would have been like the Vatican sending missionaries to Greece. 
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« Reply #101 on: August 14, 2009, 03:04:20 PM »

ialmisry,
I apologize. I did not know that. Can you point me to a document or article that lays out their differences.

Thank you.

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

Thank you.
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« Reply #102 on: August 14, 2009, 03:10:40 PM »

Ok, I have updated my list. Hopefully I am closer to the truth now.

Assyrian Church separates (431)
  • The Assyrian Church believed Nestorius' claim that Jesus' two natures were joined in conjunction rather than hypostatic union.
  • The Assyrian Church also rejected the title of Theotokos given to the Blessed Mother.

Oriental Orthodox separates (451)
  • The Oriental Orthodox seemed to disagree with the wording of Council of Chalcedon which explained that Jesus is of two natures. But it seems that in 2001 they determined they had no real disagreement in essence only in the wording.

Orthodox and Catholics split (1054)
  • The bottom line difference between the CC and the OC is their understanding of the papacy. The OC acknowledges a "first among equals" view of the papacy. The CC believes the pope, when speaking ex cathedra, has the same infallible binding power as the college of bishops.
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« Reply #103 on: August 14, 2009, 03:42:51 PM »

"Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers?"

Not only was the distances impossible to overcome, but had the Eastern Church showed up it would have been considered poaching. Even though the Eastern and Western Church are split, there is still a modicum of protocol observed. It would have been like the Vatican sending missionaries to Greece. 
This tells a slightly different story: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_luther.aspx
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« Reply #104 on: August 14, 2009, 03:49:18 PM »

"Why didn't Luther return to Orthodoxy? Did he not have access to the early Fathers?"

Not only was the distances impossible to overcome, but had the Eastern Church showed up it would have been considered poaching. Even though the Eastern and Western Church are split, there is still a modicum of protocol observed. It would have been like the Vatican sending missionaries to Greece. 
This tells a slightly different story: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_luther.aspx

Please see my response here.
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« Reply #105 on: August 14, 2009, 07:48:45 PM »

Ok, I have updated my list. Hopefully I am closer to the truth now.

Assyrian Church separates (431)
  • The Assyrian Church believed Nestorius' claim that Jesus' two natures were joined in conjunction rather than hypostatic union.
  • The Assyrian Church also rejected the title of Theotokos given to the Blessed Mother.

Oriental Orthodox separates (451)
  • The Oriental Orthodox seemed to disagree with the wording of Council of Chalcedon which explained that Jesus is of two natures. But it seems that in 2001 they determined they had no real disagreement in essence only in the wording.

Orthodox and Catholics split (1054)
  • The bottom line difference between the CC and the OC is their understanding of the papacy. The OC acknowledges a "first among equals" view of the papacy. The CC believes the pope, when speaking ex cathedra, has the same infallible binding power as the college of bishops.

Can you please explain what you mean by "Oriental Orthodox separates?" I'm not trying to cause trouble, but from our perspective those that affirmed Chalcedonian Christology separated from us.

Selam
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« Reply #106 on: August 14, 2009, 09:27:00 PM »

Quote
Can you please explain what you mean by "Oriental Orthodox separates?" I'm not trying to cause trouble, but from our perspective those that affirmed Chalcedonian Christology separated from us.

Well, I guess I just struggled for a good way to put it. I don't have a name for the Church that existed before the Church broke into two pieces. As a Catholic, I would tend to call it the Catholic Church. As an Oriental Orthodox, you might call it the Oriental Orthodox Church. So I chose, for the sake of discussion, to assume that all of the Apostolic churches were branches off the same nameless trunk. Now, I realize this is another issue entirely, but it if I chose any other Church as the trunk, then I feared I would offend everyone else.

What would be the preferred terminology for you? How would you word it and would it help this dialog?

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« Reply #107 on: August 14, 2009, 11:53:14 PM »

Quote
Can you please explain what you mean by "Oriental Orthodox separates?" I'm not trying to cause trouble, but from our perspective those that affirmed Chalcedonian Christology separated from us.

Well, I guess I just struggled for a good way to put it. I don't have a name for the Church that existed before the Church broke into two pieces. As a Catholic, I would tend to call it the Catholic Church. As an Oriental Orthodox, you might call it the Oriental Orthodox Church. So I chose, for the sake of discussion, to assume that all of the Apostolic churches were branches off the same nameless trunk. Now, I realize this is another issue entirely, but it if I chose any other Church as the trunk, then I feared I would offend everyone else.

What would be the preferred terminology for you? How would you word it and would it help this dialog?



I think your explanation is fair enough. OO, EO, and RC are all going to claim to be the original Church, and each will have good arguments to support their claim. There are other more qualified OO representatives than myself to defend the OO claim. But I would just argue that pre-Chalcedonian Christology is earlier and more theologically accurate than post-Chalcedonian Christology. Now the fact that it is earlier is without question, but its theological accuracy will always be disputed by RC and EO. I don't want to argue about such matters, as it hinders Christian unity. But I also have to defend pre-Chalcedonian Christology, since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Peace to you.

Selam   
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« Reply #108 on: August 15, 2009, 04:18:08 AM »

There is sth very important here. Is there one catholique saint after the schism? I mean having recognisable charismas of the Holy Spirit -as those mentioned in New Testament, e.g.... There have certainly been great personalities, in abundance maybe, in rc community, -and some I greatly admire, btw- but they unfortunately certainly did not have the fruit of the Spirit, and, in addition to that, I'm afraid that this lack of Grace is even theologically justified......  Smiley
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« Reply #109 on: August 15, 2009, 11:51:59 AM »

I think your explanation is fair enough. OO, EO, and RC are all going to claim to be the original Church, and each will have good arguments to support their claim. There are other more qualified OO representatives than myself to defend the OO claim. But I would just argue that pre-Chalcedonian Christology is earlier and more theologically accurate than post-Chalcedonian Christology. Now the fact that it is earlier is without question, but its theological accuracy will always be disputed by RC and EO. I don't want to argue about such matters, as it hinders Christian unity. But I also have to defend pre-Chalcedonian Christology, since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Peace to you.

Selam   

Good. I am glad. Thank you.
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« Reply #110 on: August 15, 2009, 11:56:29 AM »

There is sth very important here. Is there one catholique saint after the schism? I mean having recognisable charismas of the Holy Spirit -as those mentioned in New Testament, e.g.... There have certainly been great personalities, in abundance maybe, in rc community, -and some I greatly admire, btw- but they unfortunately certainly did not have the fruit of the Spirit, and, in addition to that, I'm afraid that this lack of Grace is even theologically justified......  Smiley

philalethe00,
I'm not sure I follow your argument exactly. But if you are suggesting there have been no Catholic saints who possess the fruit of the Spirit, this is certainly not true. St. Padre Pio immediately comes to my mind. But there are many others. In fact, I think you would find it impossible to find a Catholic saint that did not exude the fruit of the Spirit. Could you be more specific in your claim?

Thank you.
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« Reply #111 on: August 19, 2009, 05:34:21 AM »

One thing that led me to Orthodoxy is its emphasis on Divine Mystery. Orthodoxy is not irrational, but it is not confined by the rigid logic of Western epistemology.


This.

I had admired Orthodoxy for a long time but as a table-pounding atheist I couldn't allow myself to fall into "error", no matter how much I liked it.

Believe it or not reading Derrida and the other postmodern deconstructionists finally convinced me.  Once I finally got what he was saying I realized just how goofy pure reason is (if you want to hear about those arguments let me know because I can talk about them forever.)

Suffice to say I deeply mistrust pure reason now and I'm repelled by churches that try to convince you they're right with a good knock-down argument.  Orthodoxy never ever does that.

Other reasons-

- The Orthodox church is the one established by Christ himself and has not changed substantially in 2000 years.  That's simply amazing.  It's so amazing I doubt it can be done guided by men alone.

- Orthodoxy is more Christ-centered than I ever imagined a church could be.  Other churches (especially the Protestants) spend most of their time talking about how the other churches are wrong which leaves very little time to talk about what's important.

- I used to be adamantly anti-ritual and I was confused by all the feasts and fasts (what, you mean there's another one?) but now I absolutely love them.  Love fasting, love bowing, love crossing myself.  Religion that you keep only in your mind and whisper into your pillow every night is no kind of religion at all.   It needs to be front and center so its an inseparable part of who you are.  The rituals carry so much meaning with them too.  If a picture is worth a thousand words an action you witness or perform yourself is worth millions.  Rituals are civilization, don't let anyone tell you different.
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« Reply #112 on: August 19, 2009, 07:33:16 PM »

One thing that led me to Orthodoxy is its emphasis on Divine Mystery. Orthodoxy is not irrational, but it is not confined by the rigid logic of Western epistemology.


This.

I had admired Orthodoxy for a long time but as a table-pounding atheist I couldn't allow myself to fall into "error", no matter how much I liked it.

Believe it or not reading Derrida and the other postmodern deconstructionists finally convinced me.  Once I finally got what he was saying I realized just how goofy pure reason is (if you want to hear about those arguments let me know because I can talk about them forever.)

Suffice to say I deeply mistrust pure reason now and I'm repelled by churches that try to convince you they're right with a good knock-down argument.  Orthodoxy never ever does that.

Other reasons-

- The Orthodox church is the one established by Christ himself and has not changed substantially in 2000 years.  That's simply amazing.  It's so amazing I doubt it can be done guided by men alone.

- Orthodoxy is more Christ-centered than I ever imagined a church could be.  Other churches (especially the Protestants) spend most of their time talking about how the other churches are wrong which leaves very little time to talk about what's important.

- I used to be adamantly anti-ritual and I was confused by all the feasts and fasts (what, you mean there's another one?) but now I absolutely love them.  Love fasting, love bowing, love crossing myself.  Religion that you keep only in your mind and whisper into your pillow every night is no kind of religion at all.   It needs to be front and center so its an inseparable part of who you are.  The rituals carry so much meaning with them too.  If a picture is worth a thousand words an action you witness or perform yourself is worth millions.  Rituals are civilization, don't let anyone tell you different.

Wonderfully stated!

Selam
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« Reply #113 on: January 24, 2010, 12:36:36 PM »

It is going to be difficult for me to attend a Divine Liturgy on Sunday--at least while still Catholic. I see that there are other services on Saturday and during the week. Which should I attend? Which would give me a good sense of the church?

Thanks
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« Reply #114 on: January 24, 2010, 04:12:17 PM »

Ok, I have updated my list. Hopefully I am closer to the truth now.

Assyrian Church separates (431)
  • The Assyrian Church believed Nestorius' claim that Jesus' two natures were joined in conjunction rather than hypostatic union.
  • The Assyrian Church also rejected the title of Theotokos given to the Blessed Mother.

Oriental Orthodox separates (451)
  • The Oriental Orthodox seemed to disagree with the wording of Council of Chalcedon which explained that Jesus is of two natures. But it seems that in 2001 they determined they had no real disagreement in essence only in the wording.

Orthodox and Catholics split (1054)
  • The bottom line difference between the CC and the OC is their understanding of the papacy. The OC acknowledges a "first among equals" view of the papacy. The CC believes the pope, when speaking ex cathedra, has the same infallible binding power as the college of bishops.

Can you please explain what you mean by "Oriental Orthodox separates?" I'm not trying to cause trouble, but from our perspective those that affirmed Chalcedonian Christology separated from us.

Selam
Estranged is more like it. And the EO (at least some of us) acknowledge that the OO were not and are not Monophysite nor supporters of Eutyches.  The EO were rather high handed in how they handled the situation. 
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« Reply #115 on: January 24, 2010, 08:10:04 PM »

It is going to be difficult for me to attend a Divine Liturgy on Sunday--at least while still Catholic. I see that there are other services on Saturday and during the week. Which should I attend? Which would give me a good sense of the church?

Thanks

If you don't have a lot of experience with Orthodox services(?) Vespers on Saturday is probably a nice entry, as it's only half as long as long as a Divine Liturgy, and it doesn't have things like communion, which might (or might not) raise issues in you about having to go without communion while you're a catechumen.
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« Reply #116 on: January 24, 2010, 08:14:59 PM »

It is going to be difficult for me to attend a Divine Liturgy on Sunday--at least while still Catholic. I see that there are other services on Saturday and during the week. Which should I attend? Which would give me a good sense of the church?

Thanks

If you don't have a lot of experience with Orthodox services(?) Vespers on Saturday is probably a nice entry, as it's only half as long as long as a Divine Liturgy, and it doesn't have things like communion, which might (or might not) raise issues in you about having to go without communion while you're a catechumen.

Not quite. Greek and Antiochian churches have a Saturday night vespers, but, in most cases, Slavic (Russian, etc) churches hold a Vigil (Vespers and Matins) on Saturday nights. In most cases, a parish vigil runs for about two and a half hours. So it would depend on which church militantsparrow is likely to attend.
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« Reply #117 on: January 24, 2010, 08:21:34 PM »

It is going to be difficult for me to attend a Divine Liturgy on Sunday--at least while still Catholic. I see that there are other services on Saturday and during the week. Which should I attend? Which would give me a good sense of the church?

Thanks
Asteriktos has already given some good advice, but let me add that Lent and Holy Week are fast approaching. Most parishes will have at least one more Liturgy on Wednesday evenings, a Friday evening service, and a whole range of services each evening of Holy Week with  some in the morning and afternoon.
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« Reply #118 on: January 24, 2010, 08:33:36 PM »

Given this, the period of time which can be clearly identified as the undivided church is significantly smaller. If we were to look only at the RCC and EOC, this period of time would be ~1,000 years. Now that we add in the OOC and ACE, it's really only ~400 years.

And even then, if you realize that the First Oecumenical Council was the first truly unifying factor on matters of doctrine and such, and that that occurred in Anno Domini 325,then you are maybe talking about ~100 years before the Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian) split off from the Church, and even during this supposed period of unity for 100 years there were a variety of heresies floating around with plenty of followers, and the decrees of the first two councils hadn't been fully implemented and adopted across the board.  During the first 300 years of Christian history there were many groups and schools in different cities with different opinions on different matters.  Contrary to popular myth and sacred history, Christendom has always and will always be one huge mess of sects.

However, because none of those groups from the early centuries ever lasted as a long-term schism, none of them are worth taking into consideration as to what is the Church of Christ today up until the schism with the Assyrian Church of the East.
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« Reply #119 on: January 24, 2010, 08:36:13 PM »


Thank you for the explanation.

Regarding Augustine, I admit that I am not an expert. I enjoyed his Confessions immensely, and I've read sections of City of God. I know that Luther relied mostly on Augustinian theology. But because of the time in which Augustine lived, I was just guessing that he wasn't too radically different from Orthodox teaching. In fact, isn't Augustine considered Orthodox today by most Orthodox Christians? We can extrapolate abberant teachings from almost anyone. But just because Luther and Calvin took some of Augustine's teachings to the extreme doesn't mean we should reject Augustine altogether. But admittedly some of Augustine's beliefs were unOrthodox. Yet who of us can say we are completely Orthodox in all of our thinking, all of our speech, and all of our actions?

I need to revisit the correspondence between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Augsburg confessors. Thanks for mentioning that.

Selam

I'm willing to admit that Augustine definitely lived the faith better than I have so far. And I wouldn't go so far as to cast him out from the Church or say that he is not a Saint. But he really was significantly far from doctrinal purity in comparison to most of the Fathers.
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« Reply #120 on: January 24, 2010, 08:47:32 PM »


Assyrian Church separates (431)
  • As far as I can tell, and I know the least about the ACE, their only real issue was that they didn't want the Roman Emperor having any say in how they ran their church. So they split not because of doctrinal differences, but because of leadership and self governance.

This is true. They had a major council in 424 where they rejected any dependency upon or responsibility to the ecumenical church. They even went so far as to say that the only possible judge of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Seleucia is Christ Himself, and that the members of the Church of the East should never take complaints about him to the churches of the Empire. I view the moves of this council as schismatic, and thus that the break of the ACE predates the Nestorian controversy. However, I think their explicit adoption of the faith of Theodore of Mopsuestia is worth taking into consideration as to whether they are the original church or not.


Oriental Orthodox separates (451)
  • They seemed to disagree with the wording of Council of Chalcedon which explained that Jesus is of two natures. But it seems that in 2001 they determined they had no real disagreement in essence only in the wording.

Actually, it is not "of/from (they were the same word at the time) two natures" that we objected to. That was an explicitly Cyrillian formula. It was rather the "in two natures" derived from the Tome of Leo.

A committee of EO & OO agreed that these two parties had no substantial differences in faith. So many EO & OO now will say this. However, they mostly would not say the same about themselves with respect to the ACE or RC. Also, there are significant parties who do not entirely agree with that committee or who think that its work was not enough to establish that fact. Furthermore, there is a current in OO thought that regards the EO as orthodox now, but not after the Council of Chalcedon, it having fixed itself only in 553 as a result of the Second Council of Constantinople, this meaning that the EO lack complete doctrinal continuity. I am personally of that frame of mind.


Orthodox and Catholics split (1054)
  • I think the bottom line difference between the CC and the OC is their understanding of the papacy. The OC acknowledges a "first among equals" view of the papacy. The CC believes the pope, when speaking ex cathedra, has the same infallible binding power as the college of bishops.

In case it hasn't been made clear, we vehemently disagree as to the nature of the causation of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #121 on: January 24, 2010, 08:51:01 PM »


  • The Assyrian Church believed Nestorius' claim that Jesus' two natures were joined in conjunction rather than hypostatic union.

Which of course further means that they believe that Jesus had two hypostases and that they were joined by conjunction, or as sometimes phrased a "prosopic union".
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« Reply #122 on: January 24, 2010, 08:55:20 PM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?
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« Reply #123 on: January 24, 2010, 09:41:37 PM »

Thank you. I'm going to make it to one soon. Holy week may work out well.
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« Reply #124 on: January 24, 2010, 09:49:27 PM »

Not quite. Greek and Antiochian churches have a Saturday night vespers, but, in most cases, Slavic (Russian, etc) churches hold a Vigil (Vespers and Matins) on Saturday nights. In most cases, a parish vigil runs for about two and a half hours. So it would depend on which church militantsparrow is likely to attend.

Thanks for correcting that. My experience with vespers is mainly limited to just a few parishes, two of which are Antiochian, so I should have been more careful in what I said.
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« Reply #125 on: January 25, 2010, 06:40:47 PM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam
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« Reply #126 on: January 25, 2010, 08:16:12 PM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam
What does "Tewahedo" mean?
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« Reply #127 on: January 25, 2010, 08:28:00 PM »

What does "Tewahedo" mean?

It means "to become one" or "oneness", with reference to the unity of Christ's human and divine natures.
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« Reply #128 on: January 25, 2010, 08:28:45 PM »

What does "Tewahedo" mean?

It means "to become one" or "oneness", with reference to the unity of Christ's human and divine natures.
Very cool.
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« Reply #129 on: January 25, 2010, 09:10:57 PM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam

But isn't the faith of the EOTC the same as the other OO churches?
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« Reply #130 on: January 25, 2010, 11:44:47 PM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam

But isn't the faith of the EOTC the same as the other OO churches?

Didn't I just say that? (See highligthed part above in red.)


Selam
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« Reply #131 on: January 26, 2010, 02:30:04 AM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam

But isn't the faith of the EOTC the same as the other OO churches?

Didn't I just say that? (See highligthed part above in red.)


Selam

The sentence before it has me confused. You said that you knew the EOTC faith more than other Non-Chalcedonian churches. Which made it sound as if you were making a distinction between the faith of the EOTC and that of the other Oriental Orthodox churches.
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« Reply #132 on: January 26, 2010, 05:58:44 AM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam

But isn't the faith of the EOTC the same as the other OO churches?

Didn't I just say that? (See highligthed part above in red.)


Selam

The sentence before it has me confused. You said that you knew the EOTC faith more than other Non-Chalcedonian churches. Which made it sound as if you were making a distinction between the faith of the EOTC and that of the other Oriental Orthodox churches.

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia. Although all Non-Chalcedonian Churches are One - and in my opinion so are all Orthodox Churches, EO and OO alike - I nevertheless view my EOTC Faith as the most trustworthy foundation of spiritual Truth. His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I guided me to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and thus I look primarily to its Teachings and Traditions.


Selam
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« Reply #133 on: January 26, 2010, 06:19:23 AM »


since it is central to the teachings of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Faith.

Why do you sooner identify your faith as Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo than as Oriental Orthodox?


I guess only because I am more familiar with my own EOTC Faith than with the other Non-Chalcedonaian Churches. But we Non-Chalcedonians are all still "Tewahedo" Churches.


Selam

But isn't the faith of the EOTC the same as the other OO churches?

Didn't I just say that? (See highligthed part above in red.)


Selam

The sentence before it has me confused. You said that you knew the EOTC faith more than other Non-Chalcedonian churches. Which made it sound as if you were making a distinction between the faith of the EOTC and that of the other Oriental Orthodox churches.

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia. Although all Non-Chalcedonian Churches are One - and in my opinion so are all Orthodox Churches, EO and OO alike - I nevertheless view my EOTC Faith as the most trustworthy foundation of spiritual Truth. His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I guided me to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and thus I look primarily to its Teachings and Traditions.


Selam

That is understandable. You see the EOTC as the most reliable source of the orthodox faith, though it be possessed also by other churches.
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« Reply #134 on: January 26, 2010, 07:11:22 AM »

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia.

How prevalent is this kind of identification among OO? Does people tend to identify through their local churches?
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« Reply #135 on: January 26, 2010, 05:03:45 PM »

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia.

How prevalent is this kind of identification among OO? Does people tend to identify through their local churches?

It appears to be fairly prevalent, yes.
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« Reply #136 on: January 29, 2010, 04:22:53 AM »

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia.

How prevalent is this kind of identification among OO? Does people tend to identify through their local churches?

It appears to be fairly prevalent, yes.

OK. That feels kind a weird since as for myself I am identifying first as an EO and then as a Finnish Orthoodx but then again the OO traditions are much more diverse.
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« Reply #137 on: January 29, 2010, 04:39:04 AM »

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia.

How prevalent is this kind of identification among OO? Does people tend to identify through their local churches?

It appears to be fairly prevalent, yes.

OK. That feels kind a weird since as for myself I am identifying first as an EO and then as a Finnish Orthoodx but then again the OO traditions are much more diverse.

I take the same approach. I was Baptized in a parish of the Greek Archdiocese. I would identify primarily as "Eastern Orthodox" in so far as people could understand that, providing the jurisdiction if they did not or if they questioned further. I transferred later to the OCA and took the same approach. Now I'm exploring OOy, but with no particular attachment to any one of the jurisdictions yet.
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« Reply #138 on: March 18, 2010, 10:52:10 PM »

The Orthodox church is the true church established by Christ, this is true.  Although I do not feel qualified to give reasons, as I am just learning them myself.  one thing that made me love Orthodoxy over Catholicism was the icons in the church.  Christ was a middle-eastern Jew.  he did not have blue eyes, skin the shade of milk, and blonde hair, like depicted in Catholic statuary.  the same goes for mis mother, the Theotokos.  this was a huge wake-up call for me, that Orthodoxy preserves Christ'a identity correctly.

just a thought to ponder Smiley
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« Reply #139 on: March 18, 2010, 10:53:58 PM »

Well, personally, I will always look first and foremost to the ancient Faith of Ethiopia.

How prevalent is this kind of identification among OO? Does people tend to identify through their local churches?

It appears to be fairly prevalent, yes.

OK. That feels kind a weird since as for myself I am identifying first as an EO and then as a Finnish Orthoodx but then again the OO traditions are much more diverse.

if this is so, why do you have a picture of the pope as your avatar?  this has struck me as odd for a while.
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« Reply #140 on: July 15, 2010, 08:15:16 PM »

It has been a while since my first post on this forum. I am still a flip flopper. But something has drastically changed in my life. I went to my first Divine Liturgy recently. Now, before you throw a party, I have to tell you that it was a Byzantine Catholic DL. But, I feel it merits a mentioning as it has profoundly rekindled my pull towards Eastern Orthodoxy. Plus, I'd like to give my opinion on my experience as well as get some answers.  Smiley

First impression: I loved it. I loved the incense, the constant singing, the beautiful prayers, the icons, the intimacy, the "earthiness" of the priest, the sense of worship, the kindness of everyone there, the lack of abuse, the lack of shorts or Metallica t-shirts the lack of cleavage and guitars, etc. and etc. and etc.

The Church was Slavonic. Was the DL the same as one I would find in an EO Church? What is the oldest Liturgy in use today or are they all the same across Eastern Orthodoxy?

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« Reply #141 on: July 15, 2010, 08:58:52 PM »

It has been a while since my first post on this forum. I am still a flip flopper. But something has drastically changed in my life. I went to my first Divine Liturgy recently. Now, before you throw a party, I have to tell you that it was a Byzantine Catholic DL. But, I feel it merits a mentioning as it has profoundly rekindled my pull towards Eastern Orthodoxy. Plus, I'd like to give my opinion on my experience as well as get some answers.  Smiley

The Ukrainian Catholic liturgies (I would guess they are in Slavonic) are a truncated version of the ones the Russians use, although it's nearly identical to the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox (or Carpatho-Ruthenians if you prefer). My experience is that the standard Orthodox liturgies are about 15 to 30 minutes longer than their Eastern Catholic counterparts ( the Russians are nearly two hours - from "Blessed is the kingdom" to final blessing).

The Ukrainian Catholics here were inconsistent - not all the parishes featured Vespers, although the practice here has returned to a few. In some parishes there were no subdeacons - so the priest did almost everything by himself except when distributing communion. (I can see how, in the Latin West, the subdeacon's role was subsumed by altar boys and eventually disappeared.) I'm hazarding a guess many of these parishes used "pre-cut" Lamb and most did not distribute antidoron after the liturgy. They also spent more time around the altar and less time incensing the faithful, but that depended on the parish.

Believe it or not, these were actually minor quibbles with me - I was stunned with one sermon which was nearly all based on St. Augustine and the popes (a more authentically Catholic sermon than  years of Latin ones) but which had nary a reference to Eastern fathers, although the church bulletin actually reposted material from Orthodox websites! There was some communion weirdness during the H1N1 outbreak which infected both Roman and Eastern Churches here.

I think Ukrainians have a split identity, having a position which is analagous somewhat to those of Anglo-Catholics - "Roman Catholics" or "Anglo Catholics" in communion with Canterbury but who look either beyond the Tiber or to pre-Reformation for their theology and praxis. Oddly enough, I got acquainted with one lady who was a convert from Anglo-Catholicism (C of E) to the UGCC.

Attending these was not a huge cultural shock for me, despite being entirely in a foreign tongue. I've attended quite a few Latin masses, with a profound preference for those which are sung. Once you learn the basic three or four responses (to you O Lord, Lord have Mercy etc...) and can follow along the basic parts (high points: Trisagion, Cherubic hymn) attending these becomes normal. Hands down, no comparison with Novus Ordo, and my favourite liturgies, ever, in my 25 year experience in the Roman Catholic church.

After my experience with the Ukrainians I attended a few Russian Orthodox services but have spent most of my time with the Greeks and Antiochians. The music is quite different but you don't have to worry about things cut back or missing. I think the parts that I miss the most about the Greek Catholics were the liturgical music, but they use some Russian style music at the Antiochian parish, and I've REALLY taken a liking to Byzantine music.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 09:02:28 PM by John Larocque » Logged
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« Reply #142 on: July 15, 2010, 09:07:09 PM »

The Ukrainian Catholic liturgies (I would guess they are in Slavonic) are a truncated version of the ones the Russians use, although it's nearly identical to the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox (or Carpatho-Ruthenians if you prefer). My experience is that the standard Orthodox liturgies are about 15 to 30 minutes longer than their Eastern Catholic counterparts ( the Russians are nearly two hours - from "Blessed is the kingdom" to final blessing).

This DL was about an hour and a half.

Quote
In some parishes there were no subdeacons - so the priest did almost everything by himself except when distributing communion. (I can see how, in the Latin West, the subdeacon's role was subsumed by altar boys and eventually disappeared.) I'm hazarding a guess many of these parishes used "pre-cut" Lamb and most did not distribute antidoron after the liturgy. They also spent more time around the altar and less time incensing the faithful, but that depended on the parish.

I think there was one subdeacon and one "alter boy." There was antidoron given out at the end of the Liturgy. I was incensed as more at this Liturgy than even at the Tridentine Mass.
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« Reply #143 on: July 15, 2010, 09:23:47 PM »

Wow, you've got even more than those that the Toronto region. Services here were in the 75 minute mark. I'm going to guess what you attended is even closer to the Orthodox "norm"!

There is one distinction between the Anglo-Catholics and their relationship to Rome, and those of Eastern Catholics to Orthodox. The Anglo-Catholics have a better liturgy and hymnody than their Novus Ordo Roman Catholic counterparts... I think what is going on here is that the Anglo-Catholic are focusing on their own liturgical heritage and traditions, while the Romans would rather practice whatever the pope or bishop imposes on them (even when it is contrary to tradition). "Papal authority vs tradition" - while couched in the context of post-Vatican II reforms, goes back a lot farther than 1962, yet is a very scary equation. It is a dagger aimed at the heart of the post-Vatican II conundrum.

In my time among the Orthodox, I've found several converts who briefly attended Anglo-Catholic (Church of England) parishes, before going over to Orthodoxy. They are kind of half-way hosues, just like the Eastern Catholic churches often operate as such to inquirers looking for "more".
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 09:25:14 PM by John Larocque » Logged
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« Reply #144 on: July 15, 2010, 10:20:26 PM »

It has been a while since my first post on this forum. I am still a flip flopper. But something has drastically changed in my life. I went to my first Divine Liturgy recently. Now, before you throw a party, I have to tell you that it was a Byzantine Catholic DL. But, I feel it merits a mentioning as it has profoundly rekindled my pull towards Eastern Orthodoxy. Plus, I'd like to give my opinion on my experience as well as get some answers.  Smiley

The Ukrainian Catholic liturgies (I would guess they are in Slavonic) are a truncated version of the ones the Russians use, although it's nearly identical to the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox (or Carpatho-Ruthenians if you prefer). My experience is that the standard Orthodox liturgies are about 15 to 30 minutes longer than their Eastern Catholic counterparts ( the Russians are nearly two hours - from "Blessed is the kingdom" to final blessing).

The Ukrainian Catholics here were inconsistent - not all the parishes featured Vespers, although the practice here has returned to a few. In some parishes there were no subdeacons - so the priest did almost everything by himself except when distributing communion. (I can see how, in the Latin West, the subdeacon's role was subsumed by altar boys and eventually disappeared.) I'm hazarding a guess many of these parishes used "pre-cut" Lamb and most did not distribute antidoron after the liturgy. They also spent more time around the altar and less time incensing the faithful, but that depended on the parish.

Believe it or not, these were actually minor quibbles with me - I was stunned with one sermon which was nearly all based on St. Augustine and the popes (a more authentically Catholic sermon than  years of Latin ones) but which had nary a reference to Eastern fathers, although the church bulletin actually reposted material from Orthodox websites! There was some communion weirdness during the H1N1 outbreak which infected both Roman and Eastern Churches here.

I think Ukrainians have a split identity, having a position which is analagous somewhat to those of Anglo-Catholics - "Roman Catholics" or "Anglo Catholics" in communion with Canterbury but who look either beyond the Tiber or to pre-Reformation for their theology and praxis. Oddly enough, I got acquainted with one lady who was a convert from Anglo-Catholicism (C of E) to the UGCC.

Attending these was not a huge cultural shock for me, despite being entirely in a foreign tongue. I've attended quite a few Latin masses, with a profound preference for those which are sung. Once you learn the basic three or four responses (to you O Lord, Lord have Mercy etc...) and can follow along the basic parts (high points: Trisagion, Cherubic hymn) attending these becomes normal. Hands down, no comparison with Novus Ordo, and my favourite liturgies, ever, in my 25 year experience in the Roman Catholic church.

After my experience with the Ukrainians I attended a few Russian Orthodox services but have spent most of my time with the Greeks and Antiochians. The music is quite different but you don't have to worry about things cut back or missing. I think the parts that I miss the most about the Greek Catholics were the liturgical music, but they use some Russian style music at the Antiochian parish, and I've REALLY taken a liking to Byzantine music.

I went once to a "Ukrainian Catholic" parish once that had the stations of the Cross done in "Byzantine" style. No problem. What got me though was that the DL was said, not sung. "Christ is risen" isn't the same. Btw, I've been to thei DL sung, which was fine.
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« Reply #145 on: July 17, 2010, 02:15:24 PM »

I plan on attending my first Eastern Orthodox Liturgy tomorrow. It's an OCA parish. I'm looking forward to it.
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« Reply #146 on: July 17, 2010, 02:21:43 PM »

I plan on attending my first Eastern Orthodox Liturgy tomorrow. It's an OCA parish. I'm looking forward to it.

Hope it goes well for you Smiley
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« Reply #147 on: July 17, 2010, 02:23:36 PM »

I plan on attending my first Eastern Orthodox Liturgy tomorrow. It's an OCA parish. I'm looking forward to it.

Hope it goes well for you Smiley

Thank you.
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« Reply #148 on: July 18, 2010, 04:31:29 PM »

I finally attended an Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy today.

It had everything I loved about the Eastern Catholic DL, but there were some small differences that made it unique.

One major difference was the bilingual aspect. Almost everything was done twice--once in English and once in Romanian. It took over two hours. Even the sermon was preached twice. I didn't like this at all.

Something else was the choir. I guess be use there was a choir, nobody sang.

Also, people seemed to arrive at all different times.

Overall I preferred the EC DL, but I suspect it has more to do with the individual parishes than it does with an EO vs. EC thing.
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« Reply #149 on: July 18, 2010, 04:58:29 PM »

I would suggest maybe trying a parish that does it in English only.
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« Reply #150 on: July 18, 2010, 07:07:00 PM »

I would suggest maybe trying a parish that does it in English only.

That is a good idea.
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« Reply #151 on: July 19, 2010, 10:23:17 AM »


One major difference was the bilingual aspect. Almost everything was done twice--once in English and once in Romanian. It took over two hours. Even the sermon was preached twice. I didn't like this at all.
Even if the Liturgy is all in English, it's going to last at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Quote
Something else was the choir. I guess be use there was a choir, nobody sang.
Summertime is when many church choirs take a "vacation."

Quote
Also, people seemed to arrive at all different times.
Because of the "flow" of the services, and also because of the phenomenon of "Orthodox Time," this is very common. Priests remonstrate all the time about it - to little effect, it seems to me.
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« Reply #152 on: July 20, 2010, 09:08:38 PM »

Summertime is when many church choirs take a "vacation."

My apologies, I couldn't see what I was typing on my phone. What I meant to say is that there was a choir, but none of the congregation sang. My thought was maybe because there was a choir?

Overall I really enjoyed it.
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« Reply #153 on: July 20, 2010, 09:50:47 PM »

My apologies, I couldn't see what I was typing on my phone. What I meant to say is that there was a choir, but none of the congregation sang. My thought was maybe because there was a choir?

The congregation by and large not singing is pretty common in Eastern Christian churches these days.
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