Author Topic: Martyrdom and dogmatics  (Read 894 times)

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Offline homedad76

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Martyrdom and dogmatics
« on: February 25, 2015, 05:55:52 PM »
Aside from so-called PR issues is it really a problem formally declaring a member of a different Christian tradition (trying to choose words carefully so hope that is clear) to be a saint when they are unarguably martyred for their belief in Christ? I think of the 21 Copts who were directly asked to renounce Christ and refused to do so... does the fact that they may have held slightly different Christologies really matter in the grand scheme of things? Or what of even a Baptist who is murdered not for being specifically Baptist but for believing in Christ and refusing to renounce him in order to be spared?

I would hope that any formal pronouncements have more to do with not watering down the reality of our divisions.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 06:30:41 PM »
Martyrs do not necessarily have to even be baptized, which is why catechumens can be listed as martyr-saints.

If I'm not mistaken, ROCOR listed as martyr-saints a group of people who were killed alongside the Romanovs. Two of them, if I'm not mistaken, were Roman Catholic and Lutheran respectively.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 06:36:42 PM »
I think, like most ecclesiological issues, varying positions between the exclusivist and inclusivist ends of the spectrum can find support in the standard authorities. For the more exclusivist side, there are at least a couple examples of Church Fathers specifically saying that "not even the blood of martyrdom can wash away the sin of schism." So if you think the OO are in schism or hold to heretical beliefs, you could see such statements as supporting staying firm even in cases of martyrdom.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 06:37:54 PM »
Martyrs do not necessarily have to even be baptized, which is why catechumens can be listed as martyr-saints.

If I'm not mistaken, ROCOR listed as martyr-saints a group of people who were killed alongside the Romanovs. Two of them, if I'm not mistaken, were Roman Catholic and Lutheran respectively.

Wasn't the ROCOR thing an accident/unintended action?

Offline vamrat

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 06:39:27 PM »
I reckon God will know His own.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 06:50:20 PM »
Martyrs do not necessarily have to even be baptized, which is why catechumens can be listed as martyr-saints.

If I'm not mistaken, ROCOR listed as martyr-saints a group of people who were killed alongside the Romanovs. Two of them, if I'm not mistaken, were Roman Catholic and Lutheran respectively.

Wasn't the ROCOR thing an accident/unintended action?

Well, ROCOR in 1981 was by then famously anti-ecumenist, but I'm not sure how they account for this. I vaguely recall an explanation that the Catholic and Lutheran accepted Orthodoxy in some way before they were killed, and their offering of their lives on behalf of the God-appointed Tsar counted as their baptism or reception into the Church. At the same time, I think when the MP got round to canonizing St Nicholas they left these two out, maybe to burnish their new anti-ecumenist credentials (during the late Soviet period the MP was very gung-ho for ecumenism and even allowed communion with Rome for a time).

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 07:17:16 PM »
Christianity's division will be its doom, I'm afraid. If all who professed the Christian faith, both past and present, were part of the same communion, that would be the most powerful witnessing tool imaginable, and converts would come in from all over the globe. The fact that this is not true and that these divisions remain, and that self-professed traditionalists revel in this fact, is probably the biggest contributor to the global decline of Christianity and the rise of agnosticism and the so-called "nones". (Islam is also declining since the ISIS-supporting Sunnis, non-ISIS-supporting Sunnis, and Shiites all keep killing each other. Christians don't kill each other over that kind of stuff anymore, thankfully). Anti-ecumenism might sound like being faithful to Tradition, but a century from now when there are only 10 or 20 people who share the same "tradition" as you, will that make anything better?

At least the agnostics are all more or less united in the fact that they don't profess to know anything important, and so they don't bother with preserving old divisions and hatreds in the name of being "faithful" and "traditional". They've got a leg up on religious people in that respect. And so the third millennium will probably end up belonging to agnosticism, I'm afraid. That's not what I want to see, but it seems inevitable.
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Offline homedad76

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2015, 07:18:25 PM »
IIRC the Latin view of martyrdom is that it is impossible without a special grace from God.  Therefore, at least in their view, martyrdom is not possible unless one is in God's grace at the moment the decision is made.  Of course this deals with a very direct form of martyrdom and not just those who are killed for their faith without actually knowing it (I have heard some argue that the victims of 9/11 should be counted as martyrs because our nations christianity was one of the motives. I personally disagree on several points but I have heard it argued).  So the very fact of martyrdom makes one a saint.  Any argument against would, it would follow, have to be of the validity of the martyrdom.  Does the Orthdox church take a similar view?
"However hard I try, I find it impossible to construct anything greater than these three words, 'Love one another' —only to the end, and without exceptions: then all is justified and life is illumined, whereas otherwise it is an abomination and a burden."

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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2015, 07:22:33 PM »
Christianity's division will be its doom, I'm afraid. If all who professed the Christian faith, both past and present, were part of the same communion, that would be the most powerful witnessing tool imaginable, and converts would come in from all over the globe. The fact that this is not true and that these divisions remain, and that self-professed traditionalists revel in this fact, is probably the biggest contributor to the global decline of Christianity and the rise of agnosticism and the so-called "nones". (Islam is also declining since the ISIS-supporting Sunnis, non-ISIS-supporting Sunnis, and Shiites all keep killing each other. Christians don't kill each other over that kind of stuff anymore, thankfully). Anti-ecumenism might sound like being faithful to Tradition, but a century from now when there are only 10 or 20 people who share the same "tradition" as you, will that make anything better?

At least the agnostics are all more or less united in the fact that they don't profess to know anything important, and so they don't bother with preserving old divisions and hatreds in the name of being "faithful" and "traditional". They've got a leg up on religious people in that respect. And so the third millennium will probably end up belonging to agnosticism, I'm afraid. That's not what I want to see, but it seems inevitable.

You have a point, but I'm not sure why you pin all the blame on traditionalists. Isn't it sort of the fault of innovators first of all, since they're the ones who had to go and change things?

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2015, 07:29:16 PM »
Christianity's division will be its doom, I'm afraid. If all who professed the Christian faith, both past and present, were part of the same communion, that would be the most powerful witnessing tool imaginable, and converts would come in from all over the globe. The fact that this is not true and that these divisions remain, and that self-professed traditionalists revel in this fact, is probably the biggest contributor to the global decline of Christianity and the rise of agnosticism and the so-called "nones". (Islam is also declining since the ISIS-supporting Sunnis, non-ISIS-supporting Sunnis, and Shiites all keep killing each other. Christians don't kill each other over that kind of stuff anymore, thankfully). Anti-ecumenism might sound like being faithful to Tradition, but a century from now when there are only 10 or 20 people who share the same "tradition" as you, will that make anything better?

At least the agnostics are all more or less united in the fact that they don't profess to know anything important, and so they don't bother with preserving old divisions and hatreds in the name of being "faithful" and "traditional". They've got a leg up on religious people in that respect. And so the third millennium will probably end up belonging to agnosticism, I'm afraid. That's not what I want to see, but it seems inevitable.

You have a point, but I'm not sure why you pin all the blame on traditionalists. Isn't it sort of the fault of innovators first of all, since they're the ones who had to go and change things?

One man's traditionalist is another man's innovator. Nestorius saw St. Cyril as the innovator, but St. Cyril saw things the opposite way. Many people see themselves as traditional in that they claim to be preserving what they see as the best or truest aspects of the past. Yet they still end up divided from one another. Latitudinarians on the other hand take a more live and let live attitude. And while there are a lot of good reasons to be critical of such a mindset, at least it doesn't end up causing the kind of acrimony and bitterness that the more uncompromising approaches to doctrine and practice do.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 07:35:11 PM by Minnesotan »
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2015, 07:29:43 PM »
Holiness is not simply God's opinion about a person's formal belief.

It is participation in God's *specifically* eclesiastical Grace, participation in His Body.

A person may participate in His Body with all the wrong beliefs about it. That's the dreadful state of baptized Orthodox who hold mistaken beliefs about Christ and His Body.

A person may not participate in His Body and have all the right beliefs. That's the state of some catechumens.

Finally a person may not participate in His Body and have partial truths, which is the case of all anti-Conciliar heresies, from the Non-Chalcedoneans to Rome.

The point that a lot of people struggle with is that from gentiles to heretics, God *will* *in the future Last Judgement* bring some or many of them into the Church, just like some or many Orthodox will just be kicked out.

Many heterodox live lives worth of sainthood. But due to historical circunstance they do not participate in the Church - for the moment. God will not forget or condemn them. But they will become members of the Church *later*. That is one of the meanings of "the last will be the first, and some of the first will be the last".

I have no doubt that the most sinful Orthodox is, now, in the Church and Francis of Assis, now, is not, and therefore he does not participate in the Body of Christ and is not in the strict theological sense, an actual saint.

But I also strongly believe that in the Last Judgment Francis will be brought into the Church and received with a beautiful crown and I'm not so sure about myself.
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Offline homedad76

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2015, 07:44:30 PM »
Holiness is not simply God's opinion about a person's formal belief.

It is participation in God's *specifically* eclesiastical Grace, participation in His Body.

A person may participate in His Body with all the wrong beliefs about it. That's the dreadful state of baptized Orthodox who hold mistaken beliefs about Christ and His Body.

A person may not participate in His Body and have all the right beliefs. That's the state of some catechumens.

Finally a person may not participate in His Body and have partial truths, which is the case of all anti-Conciliar heresies, from the Non-Chalcedoneans to Rome.

The point that a lot of people struggle with is that from gentiles to heretics, God *will* *in the future Last Judgement* bring some or many of them into the Church, just like some or many Orthodox will just be kicked out.

Many heterodox live lives worth of sainthood. But due to historical circunstance they do not participate in the Church - for the moment. God will not forget or condemn them. But they will become members of the Church *later*. That is one of the meanings of "the last will be the first, and some of the first will be the last".

I have no doubt that the most sinful Orthodox is, now, in the Church and Francis of Assis, now, is not, and therefore he does not participate in the Body of Christ and is not in the strict theological sense, an actual saint.

But I also strongly believe that in the Last Judgment Francis will be brought into the Church and received with a beautiful crown and I'm not so sure about myself.

I forgot about the difference between the Orthodox and Latin views of the Last Judgment.  Which is odd because the fact that the we at least allow for the scenario you presented (which the Latins would not) is one of the many reasons I converted.
"However hard I try, I find it impossible to construct anything greater than these three words, 'Love one another' —only to the end, and without exceptions: then all is justified and life is illumined, whereas otherwise it is an abomination and a burden."

—Mother Maria of Paris

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2015, 08:50:58 PM »
I reckon it's not that So-and-so for sure isn't a saint, but that he's not our saint. A church would have enough to do maintaining its own people.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2015, 10:09:30 PM »
Christianity's division will be its doom, I'm afraid. If all who professed the Christian faith, both past and present, were part of the same communion, that would be the most powerful witnessing tool imaginable, and converts would come in from all over the globe. The fact that this is not true and that these divisions remain, and that self-professed traditionalists revel in this fact, is probably the biggest contributor to the global decline of Christianity and the rise of agnosticism and the so-called "nones". (Islam is also declining since the ISIS-supporting Sunnis, non-ISIS-supporting Sunnis, and Shiites all keep killing each other. Christians don't kill each other over that kind of stuff anymore, thankfully). Anti-ecumenism might sound like being faithful to Tradition, but a century from now when there are only 10 or 20 people who share the same "tradition" as you, will that make anything better?

At least the agnostics are all more or less united in the fact that they don't profess to know anything important, and so they don't bother with preserving old divisions and hatreds in the name of being "faithful" and "traditional". They've got a leg up on religious people in that respect. And so the third millennium will probably end up belonging to agnosticism, I'm afraid. That's not what I want to see, but it seems inevitable.

I know how you feel, but this is really an impossible utopian ideal for any group.

Agnostics are divided along plenty of acrimonious lines: Transhumanists vs. non-transhumanists, those sympathetic to spirituality vs. those who insist on absolute materialism (especially so-called "ignostics" who believe that the concept of God is incoherent and thus not even worth discussing), those who embrace alternate medicine in a non-supernatural way vs. those who think it's hokum, feminists vs. those who believe that patriarchy is a fact of evolution, Randroids vs. liberals (and everything in between), those who want to make common cause with the New Atheists vs. those who want to live and let live, eliminative materialists vs. those who favor a less strict mind-brain identity, Darwinists vs. the followers of Stephen Jay Gould, genetic determinists vs. environmental determinists vs. libertarians vs. compatibilists...
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 10:11:34 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2015, 04:03:44 PM »
Christianity's division will be its doom, I'm afraid. If all who professed the Christian faith, both past and present, were part of the same communion, that would be the most powerful witnessing tool imaginable, and converts would come in from all over the globe. The fact that this is not true and that these divisions remain, and that self-professed traditionalists revel in this fact, is probably the biggest contributor to the global decline of Christianity and the rise of agnosticism and the so-called "nones". (Islam is also declining since the ISIS-supporting Sunnis, non-ISIS-supporting Sunnis, and Shiites all keep killing each other. Christians don't kill each other over that kind of stuff anymore, thankfully). Anti-ecumenism might sound like being faithful to Tradition, but a century from now when there are only 10 or 20 people who share the same "tradition" as you, will that make anything better?

At least the agnostics are all more or less united in the fact that they don't profess to know anything important, and so they don't bother with preserving old divisions and hatreds in the name of being "faithful" and "traditional". They've got a leg up on religious people in that respect. And so the third millennium will probably end up belonging to agnosticism, I'm afraid. That's not what I want to see, but it seems inevitable.

Traditionalist churches, both Roman and Orthodox, that I know of are full with faithful churchgoers and their retention rates seem to be above the average, at least for a non-scientific informal assessment as mine.

The pentecostal and neo-pentecostal churches in Latin-America grow because of their firm preaching that "evangelicals" are the true church and Rome is a corruption of it.

Contrary to liberal and ecumenist mores and common-sense, it is a firm advocacy of your best understanding of non-compromising truth that attracts people, not the opposite.

People defect to ISIS and other radical groups because of the *lack* of healthy commitment to truth in their own cultures. It is relativism, liberalism and ambigous statements about eclesiology, dogma and faith that make them disbelief the seriousness of their churches and, like a starving person who ingests dirt and earth out of desperation, they cling to anything that look, even if in a corrupt way, to an honest sincere commitment to truth.

The more leftists, liberals and ecumenists succeed, the more ISIS, Putin, Golden Dawn, Anti-Jews and globalist meta-capitalists and their likes will also succeed. They are not opposing groups, but the whip and the carrot. Revolutionary left and revolutionary right are different symptoms of the same disease.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 04:05:09 PM by Fabio Leite »
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2015, 04:10:17 PM »
That was all very resonant points until you got to the end and couldn't help yourself.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Martyrdom and dogmatics
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2015, 04:16:38 PM »
Christianity's division will be its doom, I'm afraid. If all who professed the Christian faith, both past and present, were part of the same communion, that would be the most powerful witnessing tool imaginable, and converts would come in from all over the globe. The fact that this is not true and that these divisions remain, and that self-professed traditionalists revel in this fact, is probably the biggest contributor to the global decline of Christianity and the rise of agnosticism and the so-called "nones". (Islam is also declining since the ISIS-supporting Sunnis, non-ISIS-supporting Sunnis, and Shiites all keep killing each other. Christians don't kill each other over that kind of stuff anymore, thankfully). Anti-ecumenism might sound like being faithful to Tradition, but a century from now when there are only 10 or 20 people who share the same "tradition" as you, will that make anything better?

At least the agnostics are all more or less united in the fact that they don't profess to know anything important, and so they don't bother with preserving old divisions and hatreds in the name of being "faithful" and "traditional". They've got a leg up on religious people in that respect. And so the third millennium will probably end up belonging to agnosticism, I'm afraid. That's not what I want to see, but it seems inevitable.

You have a point, but I'm not sure why you pin all the blame on traditionalists. Isn't it sort of the fault of innovators first of all, since they're the ones who had to go and change things?

One man's traditionalist is another man's innovator. Nestorius saw St. Cyril as the innovator, but St. Cyril saw things the opposite way. Many people see themselves as traditional in that they claim to be preserving what they see as the best or truest aspects of the past. Yet they still end up divided from one another. Latitudinarians on the other hand take a more live and let live attitude. And while there are a lot of good reasons to be critical of such a mindset, at least it doesn't end up causing the kind of acrimony and bitterness that the more uncompromising approaches to doctrine and practice do.

Again, I think you have a point, but also maybe misunderstand some of the dynamics. We can take a contemporary doctrinal dispute within Orthodoxy, namely the debate over the value of the ideas of Fr John Romanides and his followers. At one extreme you have those, even in the GOC of which Fr John was not a member, who think he is the greatest theologian of the 20th century and perfectly articulates the difference between Orthodox and heterodox soteriology. At the other extreme, you have people who consider him a most dangerous heretic, possibly even more dangerous than ecumenism.

I can't say there is no right position to take on this, but because of the serious implications of taking one side or the other I'm reluctant to commit myself. I myself know too little theology as yet to make an adequate evaluation. I do think that partisans of one side or the other need to be very careful not to misrepresent the other side and create an unnecessary division. It's possible that earlier divisions, such as over Nestorianism or Monophysitism, could have been handled better even by those on the "right" (i.e. Orthodox) side. At the same time, if there really is a "right" side, i.e. if Orthodoxy really exists and is not just the party of history's arbitrary victors, then I believe any honest introspection should tell one if one is defending truth or falsehood, and consequently whether one should stand fast or yield one's ground.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 04:18:00 PM by Jonathan Gress »