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Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Mysticism  (Read 1653 times) Average Rating: 0
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LostInTheWorld
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καταδίκη - an unshakable belief

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« on: November 07, 2009, 01:01:30 AM »

What would be a good start for a newbie interested in mystical Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 01:50:25 AM »

Define the term, "mystical Orthodoxy?"

Orthodoxy is a mystical experience starting with the Divine Liturgy.  If you are referring to monasticism or other things you may have heard about Orthodoxy, these require significant explanation for their misinterpretation could be detrimental to one's belief; hence, the request to provide your definition of mystical Orthodoxy.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 02:03:22 AM by SolEX01 » Logged
ignatius
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 01:56:33 AM »

What would be a good start for a newbie interested in mystical Orthodoxy?

Grace and Peace,

In my humble opinion, I would first direct you to reading The Orthodox Way by Bishop Ware. Maybe then I would point you to A Beginner's Introduction to the Philokalia by Anthony M. Coniaris. After that if you appetite was not sated, I would perhaps encourage you to draw nourishment from the Philokalia, itself.

All that said, encountering Vespers and particularly Vigils would be a wonderful peek into the actual 'life' of the Orthodox Church herself. There is simply nothing more mystical than the Divine Liturgy but I wouldn't encourage you to jump into the deep without a proper introductions... ;-)
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 02:10:36 AM »

What would be a good start for a newbie interested in mystical Orthodoxy?

I would suggest that you start by attending the Divine Liturgy at your local Orthodox parish.

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 02:39:30 AM »

I'd echo what SolEX01 asked, what exactly do you mean by mystical Orthodoxy? I could think of a few books that I would call "mystical," but it'd help if I/we knew with more specificity what you were asking about.
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LostInTheWorld
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 03:36:02 AM »

I would define it as a focus on inner (mental/spiritual) calmness.

I believe I've found it: Hesychasm. What do you guys think?
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2009, 03:45:56 AM »

Well, here are a few suggestions. For an overview of Orthodox mysticism in general there is the anthology Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement and Theodore Berkeley. Regarding inner calmness, there is the anthology The Art of Prayer by Igumen Chariton of Valamo. Regarding hesychasm, there are any number of books on that topic if you search "hesychasm" or "Gregory Palamas" at a place like Amazon.com. For instance there is St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality by Fr. John Meyendorff. And then there is, of course, The Philokalia, which many have found to be very helpful.
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2009, 11:16:40 AM »

Lossky, Mystical Theology.
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 11:34:01 AM »

Remember he said he was a 'newbie'. I honestly wouldn't hand me a book as detailed as Clement's or Lossky's. Both are rather thick and they assume a lot of specific theological language. Also I found the Divine Liturgy to be overwhelming at first and my wife still finds it overwhelming. I have heard from my Priest that most 'inquirers' are better off attending a Vesper Service or a Vigil due to the fact that they are shorter and less populated giving the 'stranger' easy access to the Priest after for introductions and Q&A.

A Beginner's Introduction to the Philokalia will initiate the reader very quickly to the 'loaded' language of these other theological tomes. The Philokalia itself has a very useful glossary as well. I've found nothing 'shorter' than The Orthodox Way to introduce Orthodoxy to a 'newbie'.
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2009, 11:58:58 AM »

Remember he said he was a 'newbie'.
We're all newbies when it comes to mystical Orthodoxy.
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2009, 12:41:40 AM »

Remember he said he was a 'newbie'.
We're all newbies when it comes to mystical Orthodoxy.

You're being a 'smart-rear-end' aren't you?  Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2009, 11:03:45 AM »

In recent history of the Church Some of those whom the west would call "mystics" include the Russian Optina Fathers of the 19th Century, Saint Seraphim of sarov, Some of the recent Athonite Fathers, St John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco and St Nektarious are of the 20th century,and many of the Fools for Christ.  I term I have heard used in the Orthodox Church is "clarevoiant " saints.

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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2009, 11:50:48 AM »

What would be a good start for a newbie interested in mystical Orthodoxy?

I second the advice on The Orthodox Way, it's a wonderful book. I highly, HIGHLY recommend (as in go online and order it immediately  Grin) Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Weber. In this book Fr Meletios explains a lot of the concepts you will find in the Philokalia and other books in very practical, very easy to understand terms. It will make your later readings much easier and more fulfilling.

Just a side note. Fr Meletios was recently elected abbot of St John of Shanghai monastery in California.



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