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Author Topic: Ex-Mormon Looking for a new Home  (Read 5320 times) Average Rating: 0
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Divinus
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« on: October 24, 2009, 12:47:11 PM »

Hi everyone.

I was a Mormon for 20 years and did served a gull term 2 year mission as a Mormon missionary a few years ago. I was also involved in the LDS church quite actively. I decided to resigned Mormonism early this year not because of the things I knew about the Mormon faith, but because of the things I didn't know which eventually I found 20 years later. It's a little bit like when you're signing a contract with a vendor and do not pay attention to those small words called Terms and conditions  Smiley

Anyway all that is past my back now. My family is from a Catholic background, but I was never baptized in the Catholic church only in the Mormon. As I resigned I'm a man without a church but with "big" faith I would say. I live in the UK although I'm originally from Portugal, and there's a Coptic Orthodox Church close by which I'm keen to visit and perhaps join. To me authority and apostolic succession is a very important thing because I still believe a church needs to be instituted with authority and not by someone who decides to open one. Mormons claim their faith in a restoration not Protestantism thus perhaps the authority thing being still important to me.

The only factor I'm a little concerned with is that it seems to me the original churches such as Orthodoxy and Catholicism and its derivatives, do not seem to have an impact in its members as other Protestant churches have. Is that because there's too much liturgy going on and not proper classes of bible study in Orthodoxy? I have a son 3 years old and I want him to learn and live his religion and not look at it as a simply tradition which has no meaning outside the church as I see in many Orthodox members more exactly Russian Orthodoxes as my wife is Russian and I've been in Russia several times and I see religion is not a big topic (although I know Russian Orthodoxy is not in the Occidental Orthodox Group).

So what can you people who know this faith tell me about and what to expect?

Thanks in advance.
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2009, 01:12:12 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

The Coptic Orthodox Church is a deeply spiritual Church with very ancient roots.  I think if you explore that Church you will see that for yourself.  I know that here in the US, the Copts have a very strong Sunday School program.  I don't know how it is in the UK, though.

A Church related to, and in communion with, the Coptic Church is the British Orthodox Church.  A priest from that Church, Fr. Peter, sometimes posts here.  I'm pretty sure their liturgies are in English, and they have a website:

http://www.britishorthodox.org/
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2009, 01:22:58 PM »

I know the Coptic church you're referring to very well. The people are welcoming and the priests (esp. Abouna Thomas) are wonderful. Although I'm very much pro-Chalcedon, and am a bit weary of the Evangelical nature of many of its youth activities, it has in many ways been a second home for me and I would very much recommend it.
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2009, 01:30:35 PM »

The only factor I'm a little concerned with is that it seems to me the original churches such as Orthodoxy and Catholicism and its derivatives, do not seem to have an impact in its members as other Protestant churches have. Is that because there's too much liturgy going on and not proper classes of bible study in Orthodoxy? I have a son 3 years old and I want him to learn and live his religion and not look at it as a simply tradition which has no meaning outside the church as I see in many Orthodox members, more exactly Russian Orthodox, as my wife is Russian and I've been in Russia several times and I see religion is not a big topic (although I know Russian Orthodoxy is not in the Occidental Orthodox Group).

I know what you mean.  While I love it so much, I honestly just don't see a huge interest displayed in religion outside of the church building, and often not while in it.  I know, I know, don't judge others' hearts.  Hopefully I'm wrong, but this does seem to be the case.  I wonder how my own kids or wife will ever really care about it.
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2009, 01:45:46 PM »

The only factor I'm a little concerned with is that it seems to me the original churches such as Orthodoxy and Catholicism and its derivatives, do not seem to have an impact in its members as other Protestant churches have. Is that because there's too much liturgy going on and not proper classes of bible study in Orthodoxy? I have a son 3 years old and I want him to learn and live his religion and not look at it as a simply tradition which has no meaning outside the church as I see in many Orthodox members, more exactly Russian Orthodox, as my wife is Russian and I've been in Russia several times and I see religion is not a big topic (although I know Russian Orthodoxy is not in the Occidental Orthodox Group).

I know what you mean.  While I love it so much, I honestly just don't see a huge interest displayed in religion outside of the church building, and often not while in it.  I know, I know, don't judge others' hearts.  Hopefully I'm wrong, but this does seem to be the case.  I wonder how my own kids or wife will ever really care about it.

Every Church has individual parishes where that sort of thing is going on.  I wouldn't judge an entire Church based on an individual experience.  In my own experience, both the Coptic Orthodox and Russian Orthodox Churches are very spiritual and the people in them are deeply devoted to Christ.

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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2009, 01:47:25 PM »

I was doing an internet search about the Coptic Church in the UK, and I came across what looks like a Coptic monastery there:

http://www.bishopantony.org/monastery/mindex.htm

That is so cool!  I had no idea they had a monastery there. 
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Divinus
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2009, 02:54:35 PM »

Thanks for the answers so far.

Yes the church close by is actually denominated as British Orthodox Church as a branch of the Coptic Church. They also claim that it was founded by Mark the Evangelist in 58AD or something close to that date. Is this just a traditional believe or can be confirmed as factual?

Anyway the church I refer to is close to King's Lynn a small town in the UK. Check the church here http://www.britishorthodox.org/kingslynn.php

Since it's not town centered I would say not many children going in there thus I'm in doubt about any Sunday School classes, but it's the only one close by I got. I also think the Russian Orthodox have permission to do some services in a local Anglican church but would need to confirm that.

So just out of the blue is the Coptic or any of the Occidental Orthodox churches the most "genuine" ones or the closest to the primitive church of Christ? I heard so but I'm sure not all would agree with it.

Sorry about the questions but I'm a total ignorant about Orthodoxy and my wife who is an Orthodox by birth is no any better than me  laugh
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2009, 03:18:49 PM »

I mistakenly assumed you were referring to the Coptic Church in Kensington near the Russian Orthodox church and the Mormon Temple, sorry.
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2009, 04:20:01 PM »

Yes the church close by is actually denominated as British Orthodox Church as a branch of the Coptic Church. They also claim that it was founded by Mark the Evangelist in 58AD or something close to that date. Is this just a traditional believe or can be confirmed as factual?

I'll let our Coptic members here answer that more exactly.  However, it is my understanding that there are early Christian sources which support the belief that St. Mark travelled to Egypt and established the Christian Church there.  The Coptic Church has an unbroken succession which they can trace back to the first century.

Quote
So just out of the blue is the Coptic or any of the Occidental Orthodox churches the most "genuine" ones or the closest to the primitive church of Christ? I heard so but I'm sure not all would agree with it.

Of course we will tell you that we are.   Smiley

Seriously, unlike the Mormons or Protestants, we have ancient roots and have preserved ancient liturgies.  We believe we have preserved the primitive Christian Church, as we have resisted changes to our beliefs over time.  You don't see changes to our expression over the centuries, as you do other Christian Churches. 

Quote
Sorry about the questions

Feel free to ask all you want.   Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2009, 05:35:12 AM »

Yes I have a load of questions  Roll Eyes Will start with a few...

1st. How is Occidental Orthodoxy seen by Eastern Orthodoxy. Are for example Coptics seen as apostates since they have rejected one of the church councils thus the separation, or do Eastern Orthodoxy see them as part of the brethren? Seems to me that the opinions are divided, but would like to hear it from others. Also does that separation affects truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ and authority within the church?

2nd As you've commented:
Quote
The Coptic Church has an unbroken succession which they can trace back to the first century.

Can I have somehow access to that succession either online or by consulting any kept records? Also is there any source or kept record which can prove that the church established in Egypt by Mark the apostle is indeed the coptic church as a continuation. This is obviously an important question when it comes to genuine issues. Was there perhaps a span of time between Mark's death and the foundation of the coptic church. I say this because I would assume with Mark's persecution the church he established would also be persecuted. So either that church fell, or overcame that persecution. Any historical records at all about that?

3rd.  In the bible (at least the version I have) it mention the church of Christ to be called as churches of Christ or Churches of God. Although the word orthodox means authentic or conventional there's obviously a change in description, or is the official name of the orthodox churches different?

4th and last for now  Smiley

Apparently the Orthodox bible both Occidental and Eastern are different having the Occidental if I'm not mistaken more aprophical books. Anyway any of those 2 bibles are different probably from the ones I got home which are King James Version and New Internation Version both widely used in Evangelism. Just wanted to know more about those extra books included.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 05:36:34 AM by Divinus » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2009, 12:00:51 PM »

Did you go to the British Orthodox Parish near you this morning?  If so, how was it?  I hope you had a pleasant experience.   Smiley

I have to go to church myself soon (I think there is an eight hour difference between us.)  I'll try to answer a couple of your questions quickly before I go.




1st. How is Occidental Orthodoxy seen by Eastern Orthodoxy. Are for example Coptics seen as apostates since they have rejected one of the church councils thus the separation, or do Eastern Orthodoxy see them as part of the brethren? Seems to me that the opinions are divided, but would like to hear it from others. Also does that separation affects truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ and authority within the church?


First, I just want to point out that we usually refer to ourselves as Oriental Orthodox, rather than Occidental Orthodox.  It's no big deal, though.  On this forum we usually abbreviate it as "OO."  Eastern Orthodox gets abbreviated as "EO."

As you indicated, the main difference between us centers around our rejection of the Council of Chalcedon in 451.  In short, the OO's say that Christ has one nature, which is fully human and fully divine, and the EO's say he has two natures, one human and one divine.  It's a complicated matter, which has been discussed to death in this forum, so I won't go into detail.  However, a lot of our theologians began to dialogue with each other during the twentieth century and many of them came to the conclusion that we really believe the same thing.  Of course there are still some who think there are real differences.  That is why you will find a variety of opinions on the matter.

A couple of good thread to read are:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12549.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11782.0.html


Quote
2nd As you've commented:
Quote
The Coptic Church has an unbroken succession which they can trace back to the first century.

Can I have somehow access to that succession either online or by consulting any kept records? Also is there any source or kept record which can prove that the church established in Egypt by Mark the apostle is indeed the coptic church as a continuation. This is obviously an important question when it comes to genuine issues. Was there perhaps a span of time between Mark's death and the foundation of the coptic church. I say this because I would assume with Mark's persecution the church he established would also be persecuted. So either that church fell, or overcame that persecution. Any historical records at all about that?

I will let our Coptic brothers answer this, as they probably have more information on it than I would.


Quote
3rd.  In the bible (at least the version I have) it mention the church of Christ to be called as churches of Christ or Churches of God. Although the word orthodox means authentic or conventional there's obviously a change in description, or is the official name of the orthodox churches different?

I honestly don't know the history of how the churches in the East came to call themselves Orthodox.  I'll invite anyone who know this to respond.



Quote
4th and last for now  Smiley

Apparently the Orthodox bible both Occidental and Eastern are different having the Occidental if I'm not mistaken more aprophical books. Anyway any of those 2 bibles are different probably from the ones I got home which are King James Version and New Internation Version both widely used in Evangelism. Just wanted to know more about those extra books included.

You may want to click on the "canon of scripture" tag below, to read more about this.  In short,  it is a question of which of the many Old Testament manuscripts a Church uses.  The Protestants use the Mesoretic (I may be spelling it wrong.)  That manuscript has a shorter canon than others, which is why they often accuse other Churches of having "extra books."

That manuscript, however, is not the most ancient.  The Orthodox Churches will use other manuscripts, such as the Pshetta or the Septuagint.  The Septuagint is probably the most widely used by the Orthodox.  It was also used by St. Paul.  An example of this can be seen in his Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10.  Starting at verse 5, St. Paul quotes from Psalm 40. If you look up Psalm 40 in your own Bible, which probably is based on the Protestant Mesoretic, you will discover that it's worded very differently.  Instead of "A body You have prepared for me," your Bible says "You have opened my ears."  Psalm 40 in the Septuagint, which is used by the Orthodox, will say "A body You have prepared for me," which agrees with the psalm as quoted by St. Paul in Hebrews.

You may want to get The Orthodox Study Bible, whose Old Testament is based on the Septuagint:

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Study-Bible-Ancient-Christianity/dp/0718003594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256486046&sr=1-1
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2009, 12:53:50 PM »

Quote
Did you go to the British Orthodox Parish near you this morning?


No I haven't. Not because I didn't want (I'm dying to go there and experience orthodoxism) but because of my job. Unfortunately I work in a rotation shift pattern and this Sunday as well as the coming one I will be stucked at work but then i will be able to go for the next 3 or 4 so definitely I will be there.

Okay I will be waiting to see if someone can answer any of the questions I posted before. All of them important but the 2nd one of high importance to me.

Just regarding the question you answered on OO and EO differences... do these groups approve eachtothers ordinances such as baptisms, priesthood and others or do they see it as apostate and non authoritative. If perhaps I would baptize in the Coptic church but eventually would move away to another city where for example a Greek Orthodox was close by would I need to be re-baptized again in order to partake of the sacraments or would I be received as any other brethren of the congregation for being also an orthodox although an OO?

I have heard about the talks between OO and EO but when is the merging to happen? If the same things are believed why a merging haven't occurred yet?

Also how are catholics seen by orthodoxes? Are they apostates or legitimised authoritative as an approved apostolic faith? To me seems that RC have bounced out of line many times throughout history not to point the inquisition which was something barbarian, but what is the Orthodox position on that?

One last question, is there any skeletons in the closet regarding Orthodoxy? I mean I have found a few in Mormonism and there's some in my opinion in catholicism, but I wonder if Orthodoxy has any dark period in their history besides obviously the schism.

Thanks and have a good day at church.
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2009, 01:14:27 PM »

Quote
One last question, is there any skeletons in the closet regarding Orthodoxy?
Yeah, during the time we were under persecution, we refused to bow down to idols and appease the people of authority.
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2009, 02:13:37 PM »

First, I just want to point out that we usually refer to ourselves as Oriental Orthodox, rather than Occidental Orthodox.  It's no big deal, though.
To clarify:
Oriental Orthodoxy = Miaphisite (non-Chalcedonian) Orthodoxy
Occidental Orthodoxy = Western Rite Orthodoxy (Eastern or Oriental Orthodox parishes that use one of the Western Rites)
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2009, 03:16:57 PM »

Dear Divinus

You would be more than welcome at the Church at Kings Lynn. It was formed from a group that left Anglicanism with theur priest some years ago and became Coptic Orthodox. I was ordained a priest there in February.

I am a priest of the British Orthodox Church in the Coptic Orthodox Church. My bishop has been caring for the parish at Kings Lynn since the priest had to move to another part of the country.

Why not email him at boc@gotadsl.co.uk and let him know that you are interested in attending. His name is Metropolitan Seraphim.

I am constantly inspired and impressed with the laity of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Yesterday I was invited to preach at St John's Coptic Orthodox Church in Bromley and I found the congregation warm and welcoming, concerned for their spiritual growth and committed to living the Christian life with real effort. Their priest, Father Antonius, was very impressive, and led a moving liturgy. Since I became Coptic Orthodox in 1994 I have only become more thankful that the Lord led me among them. And it is a privilege and a challenge to have been ordained a priest in such a Church.

God bless your journey of faith

Father Peter
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2009, 04:06:57 PM »

Dear Father Peter:

I will be going soon to the services at King's Lynn. Meanwhile can you tell me if there's any specific class for children or it's an all together service. Not that it matters that much I have a 3 year old kid but was just wondering how it works... perhaps there's not many children going in there.

It's a pleasure to meet you here and if you could answer some of the questions above I would appreciate otherwise we can discuss them personally when I will be going there.


Just before I leave... my wife is Russian Orthodox. Is there any complications in her partking the service including the communion since she's a member of the EO church or is it fine? As I'm lost soul without any baptism Smiley I guess I shouldn't partake it but I don't mind the wait. Waiting makes it more desirable I would say  Smiley

I'm now more into learning the roots of Orthodoxy. To me apostolic succession is an huge factor since my background as an ex-mormon lays in those beliefs and after you understand that principle it's hard to find a church which will satisfy you spiritually because that very essence is missing. Evangelism has been for now my hanging rod, but although it's full of interesting teachings it lacks in authority and sanctification which only can be experienced in a church of deep devotion and tradition (as long as that tradition is obviously truly Christian). Have not yet found a church that would give me such an experience.

Anyway good in meeting you and hopefully see you soon.

Gabriel





Quote
Yeah, during the time we were under persecution, we refused to bow down to idols and appease the people of authority.

Sounds as a great skeleton to me:)
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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2009, 05:05:43 PM »

Just before I leave... my wife is Russian Orthodox. Is there any complications in her partking the service including the communion since she's a member of the EO church or is it fine? As I'm lost soul without any baptism Smiley I guess I shouldn't partake it but I don't mind the wait. Waiting makes it more desirable I would say  Smiley

This sort of thing has been discussed a few times here, most recently in this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23904.0.html

You may want to read that thread and post any additional questions you have on this there.
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2009, 05:20:49 PM »

Divinus,

I just wanted to link a great website to explore, to get a feel for the faith of the Oriental Orthodox Church:

http://www.erkohet.com/
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2009, 12:46:00 AM »


2nd As you've commented:
Quote
The Coptic Church has an unbroken succession which they can trace back to the first century.

Can I have somehow access to that succession either online or by consulting any kept records? Also is there any source or kept record which can prove that the church established in Egypt by Mark the apostle is indeed the coptic church as a continuation. This is obviously an important question when it comes to genuine issues. Was there perhaps a span of time between Mark's death and the foundation of the coptic church. I say this because I would assume with Mark's persecution the church he established would also be persecuted. So either that church fell, or overcame that persecution. Any historical records at all about that?

I still haven't forgotten this question, upon which I know you place much importance.  As I said, I'm not too knowledgeable about this and I think someone else can answer this better.  However, I do seem to recall that there are first century sources which spoke about Christians in Egypt.  That would be evidence that St. Mark really did succeed in establishing a church in Egypt, and that it didn't just die out after his martyrdom (which I think is what the Mormons and perhaps some Protestant groups would claim.) 

Specifically, I am thinking of Eusebius in the early forth century quoting a first century writing by Philo describing groups of Christians in Egypt.

Does anyone else out there know what I am referring to?  I think I am going to have find my copy of Eusebius' Church History and look it up.  If only I organized my books better...Let's see if I can find it.   Smiley
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 01:00:22 AM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2009, 12:49:53 AM »

Salpy,

I did a quick scan of Eusebius on New Advent. Are you perhaps thinking of Ecclesiastical History, 2, 16-17?
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2009, 12:59:29 AM »

Thank you.  That's it. 

I'm so happy I don't have to find it in my book pile.  I'm one of those people who should enter a 12 step program for people who have too many books.   Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2009, 01:10:32 AM »

OK, I know the following is just Wikipedia, but it's not as if I ever claimed to be a scholar or anything.  While not a scholarly source, what this article says is pretty much what I have always heard:



Apostolic foundation

Egypt is identified in the Bible as the place of refuge that the Holy Family sought in its flight[3] from Judea: "When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod the Great, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Matthew 2:12-23).

The Egyptian Church, which is now more than nineteen centuries old, regards itself as the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament. Isaiah the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border."

The first Christians in Egypt were common people who spoke Egyptian Coptic [4], there were also Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus,[citation needed] whom Saint Luke the Evangelist addresses in the introductory chapter of his gospel. When the church was founded by Saint Mark[5] during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, a great multitude of native Egyptians (as opposed to Greeks or Jews) embraced the Christian faith.[4]

Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year AD 200, and a fragment of the Gospel of John, written in Coptic, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century. In the second century, Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, namely Coptic.


Contributions to Christianity

The Catechetical School of Alexandria

The Catechetical School of Alexandria is the oldest catechetical school in the world. St. Jerome records that the Christian School of Alexandria was founded by St. Mark himself.[6] Around AD 190 under the leadership of the scholar Pantanaeus, the school of Alexandria became an important institution of religious learning, where students were taught by scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus, and the native Egyptian Origen, who was considered the father of theology and who was also active in the field of commentary and comparative Biblical studies. Origen wrote over 6,000 commentaries of the Bible in addition to his famous Hexapla.

Many scholars such as Jerome visited the school of Alexandria to exchange ideas and to communicate directly with its scholars. The scope of this school was not limited to theological subjects; science, mathematics and humanities were also taught there. The question-and-answer method of commentary began there, and fifteen centuries before Braille, wood-carving techniques were in use there by blind scholars to read and write.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coptic_Orthodox_Church_of_Alexandria#Apostolic_foundation
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2009, 06:05:23 AM »

Thanks for the sources very informative. Will have a good read on it.
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2009, 07:10:10 AM »

Divinus,

Welcome to the forum!  I wanted to hone in on one comment you made in your OP:

The only factor I'm a little concerned with is that it seems to me the original churches such as Orthodoxy and Catholicism and its derivatives, do not seem to have an impact in its members as other Protestant churches have.

1. Orthodoxy depends largely on a transmission of information & the faith through the family.  Yes, we have classes in most of the Churches of some sort, but Orthodoxy's survival throughout the centuries has been predicated on learning the faith through sermons & through instruction in the home.  While this approach seems fairly certain to work as long as each generation maintains active connections to the Church, it is also an approach which can miss some points, and can take quite a long time to work, and the long periods of Muslim occupation in the OO and EO lands have severely hindered this process.

2. Most protestant churches work very hard on engaging their parishioners emotionally; for the Orthodox, this is actually discouraged, as we believe in a dispassionate approach to our faith, one that sees God for Who He Is, not who we want Him to be.  While this means we frequently get less "jazzed up" for Church, it also prevents us from suffering emotional burnout, and helps us to maintain the faith regardless of the personality of our priest or the other parishioners around us.
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2009, 10:22:31 AM »

Makes a great deal of sense yet a little dangerous specially from children who are rising up in a world do filthy and with so many temptations.
But I do also believe that the family should be the central part of the teaching of the gospel and I do plan such with my children.
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2009, 10:29:07 AM »

I preached at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Bromley over the weekend.

There were a large number of children. After the liturgy we shared a common agape meal. Then the children split into several sunday school groups by ages, while I led a Bible Study with about 30 adults.

In my experience the Coptic Orthodox are very committed indeed to the spiritual formation of their children and young people and put a great deal of effort into the organisation of classes and fellowship groups.

God bless

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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2009, 12:10:39 PM »

Quote
Did you go to the British Orthodox Parish near you this morning?


No I haven't. Not because I didn't want (I'm dying to go there and experience orthodoxism) but because of my job. Unfortunately I work in a rotation shift pattern and this Sunday as well as the coming one I will be stucked at work but then i will be able to go for the next 3 or 4 so definitely I will be there.

Okay I will be waiting to see if someone can answer any of the questions I posted before. All of them important but the 2nd one of high importance to me.

Just regarding the question you answered on OO and EO differences... do these groups approve eachtothers ordinances

Don't say ordinance: it is Protestant term (and perhaps a specifically Calvinist one at that) with a lot of baggage.  Say Sacraments or better yet "Holy Mysteries."

Quote
such as baptisms, priesthood and others or do they see it as apostate and non authoritative. If perhaps I would baptize in the Coptic church but eventually would move away to another city where for example a Greek Orthodox was close by would I need to be re-baptized again in order to partake of the sacraments or would I be received as any other brethren of the congregation for being also an orthodox although an OO?

At most rechrismate.  Only the most extreme EO baptize OO.  In Egypt, the two are treated equally (i.e. a marriage in a Coptic Church is recognized as an Orthodox marriage by the EO Patriarchate.  The extreme EO's it seems mostly come from places where there are only EO, no OOs in any great number).

Quote
I have heard about the talks between OO and EO but when is the merging to happen?

Not soon enough. Long overdue.


Quote
If the same things are believed why a merging haven't occurred yet?

Mechanics.  What do you do with formal recognition of Chalcedon? And what of the saints canonized since then by one side or the other (some saints are canonized by both).


Quote
Also how are catholics seen by orthodoxes? Are they apostates or legitimised authoritative as an approved apostolic faith? To me seems that RC have bounced out of line many times throughout history not to point the inquisition which was something barbarian, but what is the Orthodox position on that?

Since we were on the receiving end of the Inquistion, not favorable.

You may get the whole spectrum on the Vatican, but it doesn't matter.  We aren't to worry about them.  For instance, myself personally I believe that their Eucharist is really the Body, and venerate Him if I pass one of the there Churches.  But I would never go commune: I think Christ is there.  I KNOW that He is on the Orthodox altar.  Nor would I argue the point much with fellow Orthodox who say that they just have bread.  It doesn't affect my spiritual life any one way or another.



Quote
One last question, is there any skeletons in the closet regarding Orthodoxy? I mean I have found a few in Mormonism and there's some in my opinion in catholicism, but I wonder if Orthodoxy has any dark period in their history besides obviously the schism.

Thanks and have a good day at church.

Our ethnic problems are well known, so they are out of the closet.  Some Orthodox identiified too close to the state, but there are plenty of counterexamples.  The problems in the early E0/OO Split, and the Russian Old Believers are about it.

As for your second question, the Apostolic succession in Egypt (or rather Alexandria) is well doumented.  For example, the earliest text of one of our prayers to the Theotokos using that term:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21890.msg333645/topicseen.html#msg333645
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_your_compassion

There are, as others have posted, physical remains of early Orthodoxy in Egypt.  One of the interesting ones is the certificates given to Christians who apostacized and worshipped Caesar, a conterpoint to those who refused.  The histories also record the unbroken chain (Euseibius only collects them, he doesn't make them up).  We also have the literary works of St. Clement of Alexandria from the second half of the second century of the Catechetical School of Alexandria the earliest Christian school. For Pope Demetrius (189–232) we have the testimony of his contemporaries on his tenure in Alexandria (earlier we have to relie on ancient secondary sources).
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2009, 01:17:53 PM »

Thank for the much valuable information.

Quote
For Pope Demetrius (189–232) we have the testimony of his contemporaries on his tenure in Alexandria (earlier we have to relie on ancient secondary sources).

What are those secondary sources?
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2009, 02:54:08 PM »

Quote
Let us know how you like the church

I went today yes and although I not from a liturgical background, I like the whole thing. Was a good experience and surely I will be keep going more. I'm seriously considering the baptism, and since my wife is also an orthodox although eastern I do have an obvious support  Lips Sealed



I split this reply off from another thread and put it here to continue this conversation.  The other thread was:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24230.msg372782.html#msg372782

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« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2009, 08:12:07 PM »

I'm glad you had a good experience.  Did you meet the bishop?  I hear he is a nice person.
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« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2009, 07:22:09 AM »

Yes I met him and we had a good chat where we debated some of the church history and other religious matters. He is a good person and I liked our chat. He also borrow me a book about liturgy so I can learn more. So overall was great.
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« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2009, 07:50:35 AM »

Divinus

I don't have any advice or anything directly related to this thread's topic but wanted to let you know you are not the only ex-mormon looking for a new spiritual home within Orthodoxy. I too and formerly LDS and while not Orthodox yet (I seem to be inching my way toward it), I consider it my home and faith system. I have much to work out still.

Also on the board, Thomas is formerly LDS and now Orthodox, and ATX is on a similar journey as you. Feel free to contact any of us if we can be of help to you on your way. I think there is more on the board but I'm blanking on any more user names.

Welcome to the board and good luck on your journey!
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« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2009, 11:06:56 AM »

Thank for the much valuable information.

Quote
For Pope Demetrius (189–232) we have the testimony of his contemporaries on his tenure in Alexandria (earlier we have to relie on ancient secondary sources).

What are those secondary sources?

They are the ones mentioned earlier in the paragraph you excerpted. The point is that we have Eusebius (4th century secondary source) and others but the documents on which Eusebius based his text have not survived to the present except as documented in Eusebius.
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« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2009, 11:10:32 AM »

such as baptisms, priesthood and others or do they see it as apostate and non authoritative. If perhaps I would baptize in the Coptic church but eventually would move away to another city where for example a Greek Orthodox was close by would I need to be re-baptized again in order to partake of the sacraments or would I be received as any other brethren of the congregation for being also an orthodox although an OO?

At most rechrismate.  Only the most extreme EO baptize OO.  In Egypt, the two are treated equally (i.e. a marriage in a Coptic Church is recognized as an Orthodox marriage by the EO Patriarchate.  The extreme EO's it seems mostly come from places where there are only EO, no OOs in any great number).

The canons of Trullo and repeated in the canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council state that Oriental Orthodox are to be received by confession.
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« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2009, 04:55:24 PM »


So just out of the blue is the Coptic or any of the Occidental Orthodox churches the most "genuine" ones or the closest to the primitive church of Christ? I heard so but I'm sure not all would agree with it.

It depends on in what dimension you are referring to and who you ask. If you are speaking doctrinally, you will find great disagreement in this assertion. Oriental Orthodox will agree that they best represent the primitive church doctrinally, but EO and RC will disagree. Liturgically and culturally, however, I think you will not find much disagreement that the OO best represent the most primitive Christians.
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« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2009, 04:59:53 PM »


1st. How is Occidental Orthodoxy seen by Eastern Orthodoxy. Are for example Coptics seen as apostates since they have rejected one of the church councils thus the separation, or do Eastern Orthodoxy see them as part of the brethren? Seems to me that the opinions are divided, but would like to hear it from others. Also does that separation affects truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ and authority within the church?

Yes, opinions are really divided, to the point where it would be hard to argue that there is any one EO opinion on this matter. Some think that the OO are Monophysite heretics who do not effectively preserve the idea of a full human nature in Christ. Some think that we have inappropriately rejected the Tradition of the Church, though are not necessarily heretics. Some think we are simply schismatics who are mistaken on the nature of the Tradition of the EOC. So on and so forth. But at the very least it is generally recognized that we are two distinct churches, one of which represents full continuity with the Apostolic church and the other slightly lacking in this.
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« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2009, 05:05:28 PM »

such as baptisms, priesthood and others or do they see it as apostate and non authoritative. If perhaps I would baptize in the Coptic church but eventually would move away to another city where for example a Greek Orthodox was close by would I need to be re-baptized again in order to partake of the sacraments or would I be received as any other brethren of the congregation for being also an orthodox although an OO?

At most rechrismate.  Only the most extreme EO baptize OO.  In Egypt, the two are treated equally (i.e. a marriage in a Coptic Church is recognized as an Orthodox marriage by the EO Patriarchate.  The extreme EO's it seems mostly come from places where there are only EO, no OOs in any great number).

The canons of Trullo and repeated in the canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council state that Oriental Orthodox are to be received by confession.

Isn't reception by confession rather than chrismation an implicit recognition that the group you are initiating is schismatic but not heretical?
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« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2009, 05:24:22 PM »

Isn't reception by confession rather than chrismation an implicit recognition that the group you are initiating is schismatic but not heretical?

It's ... suggestive. But I'm not sure I'd go beyond that.

I believe there was an extended period when Russia was receiving RC's via confession while the Levantine Patriarchs used baptism, but there was no substantive difference in their opinion of Rome. The issue of reception of converts is one where pastoral considerations of specific situations play such an important role that it is hard to make general statements.
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« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2009, 07:10:18 PM »

Thank for the much valuable information.

Quote
For Pope Demetrius (189–232) we have the testimony of his contemporaries on his tenure in Alexandria (earlier we have to relie on ancient secondary sources).

What are those secondary sources?

They are the ones mentioned earlier in the paragraph you excerpted. The point is that we have Eusebius (4th century secondary source) and others but the documents on which Eusebius based his text have not survived to the present except as documented in Eusebius.


According to Eusebius:




Quote:
"Mark first proclaimed Christianity to the inhabitants of Egypt.

(1) The same Mark, they also say, being the first sent
to Egypt, proclaimed the gospel there which he written and first established
churches at the city of Alexandria. (2) So great a multitude of believers, both
of men and women, were collected there at the very outset, that in consequence
of their extreme philosophical discipline and austerity, Philo considered their
pursuits, their assemblies, and entertainment, and in short their whole manner
of life, as deserving a place in his descriptions." [1]





In quoting Dr. Aziz S. Atiya's book "A History of Eastern Christianity", Dr. McBirnie said:

"In Chapter "Origins of Coptic Christianity", Aziz S.
Atiya (A History of Eastern Christianity, pp. 25-28) tells of the very detailed
and firm tradition in Egypt among the Coptic churches regarding St. Mark: "St.
Mark brought his Gospel with him to Alexandria; and though the Greek version
could have fulfilled his purpose in that city, the suggestion is made that
another version in the Egyptian language was prepared for the benefit of native
converts who were "Mark's real labor lay in Africa.

 First, he crossed the Mediterranean to Cyrenaica-the Pentapolis which had been his parents' residence
in bygone days. This country was colonized by Greeks and many Jews who offered
his zeal a ripe and hopeful harvest. After performing many miracles and sowing
the seeds of his faith, he went to Alexandria by a circuitous route through the
oases and Babylon, or Old Cairo. Alexandria was the Eastern counterpart of Rome,
both in importance and in being a stronghold of paganism, and it was imperative
that Christianity should win the two.

The task was as worthy as it was
hazardous. "Here we face the important problem of dates. The History of the
Patriarchs mentions explicitly that the revelation to Peter and Mark, that they
should advance on Rome and Alexandria, came in the fifteenth year after the
Ascension of Christ, that is, 48 A.D. Other sources put his entry into
Alexandria in 55, 58 and 61 A.D. Whatever the right date of Mark's appearence in
the city, the consensus is that he was martyred in 68 A.D. Between those two
dates he was able to fulfill his mission and to win many converts.
"The story runs that on entering the city by the eastern
gate, he broke the strap of his shoe.

 So he went to a cobbler to mend it. When
the cobbler took an awl to work on it, he accidentally pierced his hand and
cried aloud: 'Heis ho Theos' (God is one). Mark rejoiced at this utterance and,
after miraculously healing the man's wound, took courage and gave the lesson to
the hubgry ears of his first convert. This happened to be Anianus, Mark's
successor as the second patriarch of Alexandria. The spark was fired, and the
cobbler took the Apostle home with him. He and his family were baptized, and
many others followed. So successful was the movement that the word spread that a
Galilean was in the city preparing to overthrow the idols. Popular feeling began
to rise, and men sought him everywhere.

Scenting danger, the Apostle ordained
Anianus bishop, with three priests and seven deacons to watch over the
congregation in case anything befell him. Afterwards, he seems to have
undertaken two voyages. First he sallied into Rome where he met Peter and Paul,
and he left the capital only after their martyrdom in 64 A.D. He then stayed at
Aquilea, near Venice, before his return to Alexandria. On finding his flock firm
in the faith, he decided to visit the Pentapolis, where he spent two years
performing miracles, ordaining bishops and priests, and winning more converts.

When at last he reached Alexandria, he was overjoyed to find that the brethren
had so multiplied that they were able to build a considerable church in the
suburban district of Baucalis, where cattle grazed by the seashore.
"Spreading rumers that the Christians threatened to
overthrow the pagan deities infuriated the idolatrous populace. The end was
approaching, and the saint was unremittingly hunted by the enemy. In the year 68
A.D., Easter fell on the same day as the Serapis festival. The furious mob had
gathered in the Serapion and then descended on the Christians while they were
celebrating Easter at Baucalis. St. Mark was seized, dragged with a rope around
his neck in the streets, and then incarcerated for the night. In the following
morning the same ordeal was repeated until he gave up the ghost. His flesh was
torn and bloddy, and it was their intent to cremate his remains.

But the wind blew and the rain fell in torrents, and the populace dispersed. Thus the
Christians stealthily carried off his body and secretly buried it in a grave
which they had carved in the rock under the alter of the church."(A History of
Eastern Christianity, Aziz S. Atiya, pp. 22-28) [2]



It was the Apostle Mark that was the first sent to Egypt to proclaim the Gospel there. Also, according to Eusebius, "Annianus was appointed the first bishop of Alexandria after Mark.


Quote:
"(1) Nero was now in the eighth year of his reign when
Annianus suceeded the apostle and evangelist Mark in the administration of the
church of Alexandria. He was a man distinguished for his piety and admirable in
every respect." [3]




After Annianus was Avilius




Quote:
"(1) In the fourth year of Domitian Annianus, who was
the first bishop of Alexandria, died after having filled the office twenty
years. He was succeeded by Avilius, who was the second bishop of that
city." [4]




Credon was the third bishop of Alexandria



Quote:
"(1) After Nerva had reigned a little more than a year,
he was succeeded by Trajan. It was in the first year of his reign that Cerdon
succeeded Avilius in the church of Alexandria, after the latter had governed it
thirteen years. He was the third who held the episcopate there since Annianus.
During this time, Clement was yet bishop of the Romans, who was also the third
who held the Episcopate there after Paul and Peter, Linus being the first and
Anencletus next in order." [5]




Next in line was Primus




Quote:
"(1) About the Twelfth year of the reign of Trajon, the
bishop of the church of Alexandria, who was mentioned by us a little before,
departed this life. Primus was the fourth from the apostles to whom the
functions of the office were there allotted. At the same time, after Euarestus
had completed the eighth year as bishop of Rome, he was succeeded in the
episcopal office by Alexander, the fifth in succession from Peter and
Paul." [6]




After Primus was Justus




Quote:
"(1) In the third year of the same reign, Alexandria,
bishop of Rome, died , having completed the tenth year of his ministrations.
Xystus was his successor; and about the same time Primus, dying in the twelfth
year of the episcopate, was succeeded by Justus." [7]










ICXC NIKA

[1] page 50, [3] page 62, [4] page 82, [5] page 85, [6] 109, [7] page 110 by Eusebius in the book "Ecclesiastical History" translated by C.F. Cruse, Hendrickson Publishers 1998


[2] pages 254-256, by Dr. William Stevart Mcbirnie, in the book "The search for the twelve Apostles". Living Books, Tyndale House Publishers 1973
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« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2010, 12:43:56 AM »

Here is a video of a baptism at a British Orthodox Church:

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

The little boy being baptized is so well behaved!
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« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2010, 12:54:23 AM »

Here is a video of a baptism at a British Orthodox Church:

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

The little boy being baptized is so well behaved!

That is one cold church!  You can see the priest's breath, and everyone is wearing coats.
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« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2010, 01:06:29 AM »

Yes, I noticed that!  I've only been to Great Britain a few times, but it's always been cold when I've gone.  But then I'm a Los Angelena, so it could just be that I'm spoiled by the warm weather we have over here.  It was in the 70's today.   Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2010, 01:21:45 AM »

Yes, I noticed that!  I've only been to Great Britain a few times, but it's always been cold when I've gone.  But then I'm a Los Angelena, so it could just be that I'm spoiled by the warm weather we have over here.  It was in the 70's today.

I am just used to churches having a heating system installed.  Today in northwestern Missouri the windchill got down to -15 Fahrenheit.  The "actual" low was -3 Fahrenheit.  It snowed all day.  Whenever we have a procession to the local lake to bless the waters for Theophany, we usually have to take a pick-axe to the ice just to break a hole into the water for the blessing cross!
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« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2010, 01:46:36 AM »

I can't even imagine living like that.
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« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2010, 01:52:26 AM »

I love it!  I love all of the seasons.  As long as you are properly dressed, the air is invigorating!
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