Author Topic: Penance and Orthodoxy  (Read 167 times)

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Offline wainscottbl

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Penance and Orthodoxy
« on: April 14, 2015, 12:25:00 AM »
Orthodox often say that they do not hold the same opinion of penance as the Roman Catholic Church. But in the early Church, penance was done by certain sinners. Such as spoken of in the Fist Council of Nicaea in Canon 11:

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Concerning those who have fallen without compulsion, without the spoiling of their property, without danger or the like, as happened during the tyranny of Licinius, the Synod declares that, though they have deserved no clemency, they shall be dealt with mercifully. As many as were communicants, if they heartily repent, shall pass three years among the hearers; for seven years they shall be prostrators; and for two years they shall communicate with the people in prayers, but without oblation.

This seems to be penance.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2015, 12:34:32 AM »
Orthodox often say that they do not hold the same opinion of penance as the Roman Catholic Church.

In what way?
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Offline wainscottbl

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 12:41:39 AM »
Orthodox often say that they do not hold the same opinion of penance as the Roman Catholic Church.

In what way?

For example, a Catholic priest says, "For your penance, pray the rosary on your knees, asking for purity." Now, I have never been to Orthodox confession, but I am going off what I heard. Hearsay you might say, but it's a fair question nevertheless because I take it that Orthodox do not do penance like Catholics do after confession. Like say certain prayers, etc. I know they do not have the idea of purgatory and having to get certain "credit" by the penance for where their contrition was not enough. I am simplifying the whole Catholic thing, mostly because my memory cannot think of the official terms right now--I literally have been diagnosed with dementia do to my epilepsy. Anyway, if I understand this wrong correct me. But I have heard that Orthodox do not do penance, not in the same way. But here, in this canon, the sinners are doing penance for their sins. They have to remain in certain parts of the church, etc
True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them — the desire to do right — is precisely the same.

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 01:24:10 AM »
...because I take it that Orthodox do not do penance like Catholics do after confession. Like say certain prayers, etc.

They do, but it is not mandatory for the confessor to give one.  If he does, then it is usually more than a handful of Aves or a ten minute Rosary. 

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But here, in this canon, the sinners are doing penance for their sins. They have to remain in certain parts of the church, etc

That is referring to something different from the case of a typical parishioner going to confession.
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Offline wainscottbl

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 02:31:10 AM »
...because I take it that Orthodox do not do penance like Catholics do after confession. Like say certain prayers, etc.

They do, but it is not mandatory for the confessor to give one.  If he does, then it is usually more than a handful of Aves or a ten minute Rosary. 

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But here, in this canon, the sinners are doing penance for their sins. They have to remain in certain parts of the church, etc

That is referring to something different from the case of a typical parishioner going to confession.

Yes, of course. This is for the sin of apostasy, etc. I know, but it still showed there was penance of some sort. I think I either misunderstood some Orthodox, or some try too hard to not be like the Latins. Thus they will say "We do not do that, the Latins do that nonsense" even though there may be a history or practice of it in Orthodox tradition. Of course I am but a poor inquirer. That's why I try to straight this stuff out.
True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them — the desire to do right — is precisely the same.

--Robert E. Lee

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 03:19:30 AM »
I know they do not have the idea of purgatory and having to get certain "credit" by the penance for where their contrition was not enough.

I think that would be the main way in which they differ.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 03:56:42 AM »
The Eastern Orthodox have at various times used penances more overtly, but they seem to be largely out of fashion among Orthodox in English-speaking countries these days (I'm not sure about elsewhere). I'd imagine that there are decent studies of the history, theory, and real-life results of penances in Orthodoxy, but if there are I can't remember having come across or noticed them. Best I can do is give some pages from a book I've read, which focuses on a different topic but nonetheless mentions penances quite often (link given rather than posted here due to the length of the excerpt).


« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 03:57:10 AM by Justin Kissel »
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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 07:58:44 AM »
A couple of times I had to to 50 prostrations for some of my sins. It's been a year since my Baptism and I confess regularly.
Does that count?  :)
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Penance and Orthodoxy
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2015, 10:47:43 AM »
It may be more useful to consider the "sin as disease" metaphor here. Any penances (and this may be tmi, but I have received my fair share) should perhaps be considered spiritual medicine rather than punishment. And we wouldn't necessarily know about them, since any penances would be between the priest and the person who was confessing.
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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