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Author Topic: invisible church? umm....I can see it.  (Read 3329 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 05, 2009, 02:03:29 AM »

So when did this concept come about? Who buys into it?
 
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2009, 02:15:54 AM »

I'd guess 30CE at the earliest, and 80CE at the latest. But perhaps I am thinking of a different "invisible church" concept?
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2009, 02:17:02 AM »

In what way are you using the term, simplygermain?
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2009, 02:33:36 AM »

^yes, I guess that would help some.

I here a defense used by modern Christianity (no semantics please) I mean I've heard it from evangelicals, baptists, protestant churches of different origins, etc... that their faith is bound together by the "invisible church".

As if their is no established "One Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Faith" anymore. So now every church which believes in the Big Three is considered by , from what I've seen, many to be the Church Universal. 
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2009, 02:43:55 AM »

Ahhh, ok. I guess I'm never sure how to take that. I mean, the Bible seems to hint that the Kingdom of God/heaven, or the Church, will be invisible. For example:

"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." - Luke 17:21

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." - Eph. 2:19-22

But certainly some Christians believe that Christ founded a visible Church, with a hierarchy, apostolic succession, etc. I guess you're talking about those who make more out of the invisible part, causing an imbalance. I'm not really sure when it came about. I suppose some early break-away groups from Christianity had that element to them. It probably didn't come into it's current popularity until the last few hundred years, though.
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2009, 02:59:47 AM »

^yes, I guess that would help some.

I here a defense used by modern Christianity (no semantics please) I mean I've heard it from evangelicals, baptists, protestant churches of different origins, etc... that their faith is bound together by the "invisible church".

As if their is no established "One Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Faith" anymore. So now every church which believes in the Big Three is considered by , from what I've seen, many to be the Church Universal. 

This article, Is There an Invisible Church might help...

Western Protestantism, broken into a hundred sects and denominations, naturally had to come to the question: Where is the true church in the midst of all these divisions? And it has found no other way than to come to a teaching of an "invisible church" that mysteriously exists in the midst of all the differences and mistakes and sins of men—a church that is holy, whose membership is known only to God, and that consists only of those who are worthy of being in it...

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/pomaz_invisible.aspx

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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2009, 09:20:34 AM »

I've never understood this concept of an "invisible Church". The Church is defined by those who share the Lord's Supper.
Christians are defined by their companionship --> "Com"="to share" & "panis"="bread".
How can people companion one another invisibly?

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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 05:35:58 PM »

I've never understood this concept of an "invisible Church". The Church is defined by those who share the Lord's Supper.
Christians are defined by their companionship --> "Com"="to share" & "panis"="bread".
How can people companion one another invisibly?


very insightful!  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2009, 06:01:25 PM »

It is invisible because it don't exist. Shocked Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2009, 06:03:50 PM »

Quote
I've never understood this concept of an "invisible Church".

This is a good first step. You can't learn until you admit to yourself that you don't know or don't understand something.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2009, 06:04:04 PM »

Jonnyeatsmeat:

I think Asteriktos's 2nd post was a good explanation.  I consider myself a member of the invisible church.  

It didn't start after Luther, but was there from the beginning and many Catholics and Orthodox were and still are in the invisible church.

K

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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2009, 07:16:22 PM »

^yes, I guess that would help some.

I here a defense used by modern Christianity (no semantics please) I mean I've heard it from evangelicals, baptists, protestant churches of different origins, etc... that their faith is bound together by the "invisible church".

As if their is no established "One Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Faith" anymore. So now every church which believes in the Big Three is considered by , from what I've seen, many to be the Church Universal. 

The seeds of it go back to Saint Augustine. Martin Luther and John Calvin developed the idea even farther. The Movie Martin Luther touches on it in passing when it shows Luther asking his professor questions in class. But the doctrine has gotten to the point of pure individualism as seen in modern America and probably in alot of protestant charismatic and protestant evangelical circles all over the world.






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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2009, 07:19:14 PM »

Jonnyeatsmeat:

I think Asteriktos's 2nd post was a good explanation.  I consider myself a member of the invisible church.  

It didn't start after Luther, but was there from the beginning and many Catholics and Orthodox were and still are in the invisible church.

K

Saint Augustine started that fairytale, and Martin Luther and friends developed it. And protestants after them developed it even more to the point of what we have today.

Jesus didn't start a thousand and so different groups.





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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2009, 07:21:11 PM »

Would some say this is a mis-interpretation of the "Communion of the Saints", or the "Great Cloud of Witnesses"?

In Orthodoxy we believe the Divine Liturgy is when the Church Militant joins the Church Triumphant in worship. Perhaps they mis-interpret this?

Or perhaps they believe in an invisible church similar to that of Wonder Woman's invisible jet? Wink


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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2009, 09:41:32 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2009, 09:53:59 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K
But does this teaching have any support in [Orthodox] Holy Tradition?
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2009, 09:54:16 PM »

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.
I go to Church to pray and share the Lord's Supper with the Church- not to judge my neighbours in a holier-than-thou contest. But you knock yourself out.

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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2009, 10:03:07 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K

Interesting that Scripture teaches us that Jesus will leave the flock (those who are "in friendship with God") to go and bring the one lost sheep (those who are "not" in the same) back to the fold.

Then there's the whole point ozgeorge points out: I don't go to church to look around and judge the heart of my neighbor lest I bring more judgment on myself.
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« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2009, 10:10:04 PM »

So when did this concept come about? Who buys into it?
 

Thread title says it all! I have always struggled with this term - the Church is not invisible, She is visible in every Christ-like act of a person.
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« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2009, 10:24:47 PM »

Peter, in addition to Asteriktos's reply #4 quotes I'd also add Mark 9:38-41.  Also I like how Liz framed her understanding of visible church.  That, in my opinion, agrees with the "invisible church" concept as well. 
As far as Tradition, I think it's pretty much a living tradition...a way of life...just the way things are.

Ozgeorge and Schultz, no one is suggesting to judge your neighbor.  Don't take the imperfect illustration that way. 

K
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« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2009, 10:29:17 PM »

Ozgeorge and Schultz, no one is suggesting to judge your neighbor. 
Oh, I'm pretty sure that you asked us to judge our neighbour when you said:
Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.

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« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2009, 10:31:16 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K

Yeah, this is completely un-Orthodox and not in line with our theology.

I'm really dissapointed about the Wonderwoman Jet though... what about a lasso of truth?
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« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2009, 10:31:25 PM »

But the mere fact that you are taking it upon yourself to actually even describe this "invisible church" of yours in such a manner means that you are judging your neighbor.  By your own definition, how do you know that you are a member of this "invisible church?"  How do you know that you are beloved of God with such certainty?

The only certainty I have is that I am a wretched sinner who does not deserve the love of my God and Creator.  I can only hope and pray that He has mercy on me.
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« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2009, 10:38:43 PM »

But the mere fact that you are taking it upon yourself to actually even describe this "invisible church" of yours in such a manner means that you are judging your neighbor. 

Well said.
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« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2009, 10:50:56 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K
So according to you, you are a member of this Invisible Church...How would one know if He/She was in "friendship with God". Because I can bet you that a JW and a Mormon would also say they are members. Would you be o.k. with being a member of the Invisible Church Club if they were members as well?
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« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2009, 10:57:45 PM »

Would some say this is a mis-interpretation of the "Communion of the Saints", or the "Great Cloud of Witnesses"?

In Orthodoxy we believe the Divine Liturgy is when the Church Militant joins the Church Triumphant in worship. Perhaps they mis-interpret this?

Or perhaps they believe in an invisible church similar to that of Wonder Woman's invisible jet? Wink




LOL.  Or behaps it is invisible like the Emperor's new clothes.

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« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2009, 10:59:12 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K
You mean like the Pharisee?

I'll grovel with the publican, thank you.
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« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2009, 11:01:35 PM »

I've never understood this concept of an "invisible Church". The Church is defined by those who share the Lord's Supper.
Christians are defined by their companionship --> "Com"="to share" & "panis"="bread".
How can people companion one another invisibly?


Nice touch with the image George.
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« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2009, 11:11:25 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_church (the invisible church)

Quote:
Quote
"This concept has been attributed to St Augustine of Hippo as part of his refutation of the Donatist sect.[2] He was strongly influenced by the Platonist belief that true reality is invisible and that, if the visible reflects the invisible, it does so only partially and imperfectly (see Theory of Forms).[3] Others question whether Augustine really held to some form of an "invisible true Church" concept.[4]

The concept was insisted upon at the Protestant reformation as a way of distinguishing between the "visible" Catholic church, which according to the Reformers was largely corrupt, and those within it who are truly believers. John Calvin described the church invisible as "that which is actually in God's presence, into which no persons are received but those who are children of God by grace of adoption and true members of Christ by sanctification of the Holy Spirit... [it] includes not only the saints presently living on earth, but all the elect from the beginning of the world." (Institutes 4.1.7)

Later Pietism took this one step further with its ecclesiolae in ecclesia.

Roman Catholic theology, reacting against the concept of a purely invisible Church, emphasized the visible aspect of the Church founded by Christ, but in the twentieth century placed more stress on the interior life of the Church as a supernatural organism, identifying the Church, as in the encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi[5] of Pope Pius XII, with the Mystical Body of Christ.[6]

This encyclical rejected two extreme views of the Church:[7]

(1) A rationalistic or purely sociological understanding of the Church, according to which she is merely a human organization with structures and activities, is mistaken. The visible Church and its structures do exist but the Church is more, as she is guided by the Holy Spirit:
Although the juridical principles, on which the Church rests and is established, derive from the divine constitution given to it by Christ and contribute to the attaining of its supernatural end, nevertheless that which lifts the Society of Christians far above the whole natural order is the Spirit of our Redeemer who penetrates and fills every part of the Church.[8]

(2) An exclusively mystical understanding of the Church is mistaken as well, because a mystical "Christ in us" union would deify its members and mean that the acts of Christians are simultaneously the acts of Christ. The theological concept una mystica persona (one mystical person) refers not to an individual relation but to the unity of Christ with the Church and the unity of its members with him in her.[9]
For the Eastern Orthodox Church too, making a real distinction between the heavenly and invisible Church, alone true and absolute, and the earthly Church, imperfect and relative, is a "Nestorian ecclesiology".[10]"






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« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2009, 11:22:14 PM »

So when did this concept come about? Who buys into it?
 

Thread title says it all! I have always struggled with this term - the Church is not invisible, She is visible in every Christ-like act of a person.

Welcome to America! This term among protestants may not be in vogue in England, but it is in North America.








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« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2009, 11:25:18 PM »

no no no...

No wonderwoman jet.

Basically it's the idea that when you go to Church, look around.  Some of those people are not in frienship with God.  Some are.  Those that are, are in the invisible church...the Kingdom of God.  Those Christians loved by God are in it.  We all must strive to be close to God no matter what visible Church we belong to.  That closeness is called the Invisible Church, and it's something we pray not to fall out of. 

K

Interesting that Scripture teaches us that Jesus will leave the flock (those who are "in friendship with God") to go and bring the one lost sheep (those who are "not" in the same) back to the fold.

Then there's the whole point ozgeorge points out: I don't go to church to look around and judge the heart of my neighbor lest I bring more judgment on myself.

Both the Anabaptist and Puritan traditions only wanted a church with "clean" fish in it.








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« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2009, 11:42:27 PM »

As far as Tradition, I think it's pretty much a living tradition...a way of life...just the way things are.
But I didn't ask about your tradition, whether it be that of your own church or of the Church of You.  I want evidence from the 2000-year Tradition of the Orthodox Christian Church to support your "invisible church" theory.

I also have to ask why you're still on the Faith Issues board trying to convince us to embrace doctrines that are foreign to our Orthodox Christian faith.
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« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2009, 04:52:32 PM »


As far as Tradition, I think it's pretty much a living tradition...a way of life...just the way things are.

What!? According to whom? A way of life for Evangelicals, or modern American "Christians"? That would be a very recent tradition then, don't you think?
I was posting this question for a sense of the Orthodox perspective...not just more open door proseletyzing from the pulpit of subjectivism. Now, if you want to show historical, biblical and patristic references as some of the others have, I'm willing to listen. But just throwing out, " it's just the way things are.." doesn't fly.  Wink
I've seen you argue your case better than that. Huh
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« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2009, 11:15:17 PM »

Someone can be in the "visible Church" and still not be part of the body of Christ. Others may not be in the "visible Church" but may still be part of His body. This is truly a mystery; certainly not a judgment that any human is fit to make.
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« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2009, 11:37:19 AM »

Someone can be in the "visible Church" and still not be part of the body of Christ. Others may not be in the "visible Church" but may still be part of His body. This is truly a mystery; certainly not a judgment that any human is fit to make.

I agree we can't judge who is truly Christian and who isn't. But I still don't really like 'invisible church' as a term. It's convenient to use and I know what people mean by it, but when you look deeper there are really good reasons to avoid this term. I'm sure that there is a body of people who are true Christians, and that, while some of those people are to be found in the congregation of your church, others might be in another church or no church at all. But they're not invisible, they're visible to God. If you use the term 'invisible Church', I think all it does is encourages you to forget that God sees us; to put a distance between yourself and Him.
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« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2009, 11:52:33 AM »

Someone can be in the "visible Church" and still not be part of the body of Christ. Others may not be in the "visible Church" but may still be part of His body. This is truly a mystery; certainly not a judgment that any human is fit to make.

I agree we can't judge who is truly Christian and who isn't. But I still don't really like 'invisible church' as a term. It's convenient to use and I know what people mean by it, but when you look deeper there are really good reasons to avoid this term. I'm sure that there is a body of people who are true Christians, and that, while some of those people are to be found in the congregation of your church, others might be in another church or no church at all. But they're not invisible, they're visible to God. If you use the term 'invisible Church', I think all it does is encourages you to forget that God sees us; to put a distance between yourself and Him.

I think it also encourages a distance between oneslef and one's neighbor, which, of course, ultimately puts a distance between ourselves and God.  Ekklesia is all about community; there can be no community if it is "invisible."
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« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2009, 01:19:32 PM »

Someone can be in the "visible Church" and still not be part of the body of Christ. Others may not be in the "visible Church" but may still be part of His body. This is truly a mystery; certainly not a judgment that any human is fit to make.

I agree we can't judge who is truly Christian and who isn't. But I still don't really like 'invisible church' as a term. It's convenient to use and I know what people mean by it, but when you look deeper there are really good reasons to avoid this term. I'm sure that there is a body of people who are true Christians, and that, while some of those people are to be found in the congregation of your church, others might be in another church or no church at all. But they're not invisible, they're visible to God. If you use the term 'invisible Church', I think all it does is encourages you to forget that God sees us; to put a distance between yourself and Him.

I think it also encourages a distance between oneslef and one's neighbor, which, of course, ultimately puts a distance between ourselves and God.  Ekklesia is all about community; there can be no community if it is "invisible."

Very good point.
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« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2009, 02:07:40 PM »

Someone can be in the "visible Church" and still not be part of the body of Christ. Others may not be in the "visible Church" but may still be part of His body. This is truly a mystery; certainly not a judgment that any human is fit to make.

I agree we can't judge who is truly Christian and who isn't. But I still don't really like 'invisible church' as a term. It's convenient to use and I know what people mean by it, but when you look deeper there are really good reasons to avoid this term. I'm sure that there is a body of people who are true Christians, and that, while some of those people are to be found in the congregation of your church, others might be in another church or no church at all. But they're not invisible, they're visible to God. If you use the term 'invisible Church', I think all it does is encourages you to forget that God sees us; to put a distance between yourself and Him.

I think it also encourages a distance between oneslef and one's neighbor, which, of course, ultimately puts a distance between ourselves and God.  Ekklesia is all about community; there can be no community if it is "invisible."

True, that's it exactly.
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« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2013, 08:34:21 PM »

Jonnyeatsmeat:

I think Asteriktos's 2nd post was a good explanation.  I consider myself a member of the invisible church.  

It didn't start after Luther, but was there from the beginning and many Catholics and Orthodox were and still are in the invisible church.

K



can you explain to me what this invisible church is?
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« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2013, 08:49:59 PM »

Someone can be in the "visible Church" and still not be part of the body of Christ. Others may not be in the "visible Church" but may still be part of His body. This is truly a mystery; certainly not a judgment that any human is fit to make.

I agree we can't judge who is truly Christian and who isn't. But I still don't really like 'invisible church' as a term. It's convenient to use and I know what people mean by it, but when you look deeper there are really good reasons to avoid this term. I'm sure that there is a body of people who are true Christians, and that, while some of those people are to be found in the congregation of your church, others might be in another church or no church at all. But they're not invisible, they're visible to God. If you use the term 'invisible Church', I think all it does is encourages you to forget that God sees us; to put a distance between yourself and Him.

by "invisible church" he means invisible to us. Not to God. There is nothing that God cannot see.
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