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Author Topic: Pope John Paul flagellated himself, new book says  (Read 9785 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 26, 2010, 11:02:58 PM »





Is this allowed in orthodox Christianity......curious











http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100126/wl_nm/us_vatican_johnpaul_1

By Philip Pullella Philip Pullella – Tue Jan 26, 10:39 am ET
ROME (Reuters) – The late Pope John Paul flagellated himself regularly to emulate Christ's suffering and signed a secret document saying that would resign instead of ruling for life if he became incurably ill, a new book shows.

The book, called "Why a Saint? was written by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Vatican official in charge of the process that could lead to Roman Catholic sainthood for John Paul. It includes some previously unpublished documents.

John Paul, who died in 2005, was sick and suffering in several periods of his papacy. He was shot and nearly killed in 1981, he underwent several operations, including one for cancer, and suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than decade.

The book, which was published Tuesday, reveals that even when he was not ill, he inflicted pain on himself, known in Christianity as mortification, so as to feel closer to God.

"In Krakow as in the Vatican, Karol Wojtyla flagellated himself," Oder writes in the book, citing testimony from people in the late pope's close entourage while he was bishop in his native Poland and after he was elected pope in 1978.

"In his closet, among his vestments, there was hung on a clothes hanger a particular kind of belt for pants, which he used as a whip," Oder writes.

When he was bishop in Poland, he often slept on the bare floor so he could practice self-denial and asceticism, Oder writes.

Many saints of the Church, including St. Francis of Assisi, St Catherine of Siena and St. Ignatius of Loyola, practiced flagellation and asceticism as part of their spiritual life.

The book also confirmed that as his health failed, John Paul prepared a document for aides stating that he would step down instead of ruling for life if he became incurably ill or permanently impaired from carrying out his duties as pope.

He signed the document on February 15, 1989, eight years after the failed assassination attempt. The existence of the document had been the subject of many rumors and reports over the years but it has been published for the first time in full in the book.

John Paul wrote that he would resign "in the case of infirmity which is presumed incurable, long-lasting and which impedes me from sufficiently carrying out the functions of my apostolic ministry."

In the end, the pope decided to stay on until his death, saying it was for the good of the Church. Had he stepped down, he would have been the first Roman Catholic pontiff to do so willingly since 1294.

John Paul moved closer to sainthood last month when Pope Benedict approved a decree recognizing that his predecessor had lived the Christian faith heroically.

It was one of the key steps in the procedure by which the Church recognizes its saints.

The next step will be the recognition of a miracle attributed to John Paul. It involves a French nun who was inexplicably cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to him.

After the Vatican recognizes the event as a miracle, the late pope can be beatified, the last step before sainthood.

Crowds at his funeral shouted "Santo Subito!" (Make him a saint immediately!)
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 11:19:25 PM »

how perverse.
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 11:22:07 PM »

I know people who do that kind of stuff for fun. What's the big deal? Wink
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 11:30:45 PM »

Classic Devil's Advocate stuff.  This material is always put out when someone is considered for canonization as a part of the process.  It's a tradition in Roman Catholicism.  In fact, whoever wrote this juicy little expose is probably a faithful Roman Catholic.

Besides, plenty of Orthodox saints have been extreme ascetics, so I don't see what the big outrage is over.
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 11:32:43 PM »

Classic Devil's Advocate stuff.  This material is always put out when someone is considered for canonization as a part of the process.  It's a tradition in Roman Catholicism.  In fact, whoever wrote this juicy little expose is probably a faithful Roman Catholic.

Besides, plenty of Orthodox saints have been extreme ascetics, so I don't see what the big outrage is over.

Is there big outrage by anyone Orthodox?
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 11:38:14 PM »

Nope.  I just imagined it.
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 11:42:24 PM »

It would seem to not be consistent with the spirit of Canon 1 of the First Council of Nicaea.
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2010, 11:43:29 PM »



"In his closet, among his vestments, there was hung on a clothes hanger a particular kind of belt for pants, which he used as a whip," Oder writes.

When he was bishop in Poland, he often slept on the bare floor so he could practice self-denial and asceticism, Oder writes.


With regard to the whip, it was probably used in a symbolic way.  When I read this just now, I recalled something I saw in an Audrey Hepburn movie.  I can't believe I found it on youtube, but here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGMGBduXKZg&feature=related

Regarding sleeping on the bare floor, anyone who thinks this is extreme should read the sayings and lives of the Desert Fathers.  
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 11:45:16 PM »

Nope.  I just imagined it.

I thought so.
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 11:50:58 PM »



"In his closet, among his vestments, there was hung on a clothes hanger a particular kind of belt for pants, which he used as a whip," Oder writes.

When he was bishop in Poland, he often slept on the bare floor so he could practice self-denial and asceticism, Oder writes.


With regard to the whip, it was probably used in a symbolic way.  When I read this just now, I recalled something I saw in an Audrey Hepburn movie.  I can't believe I found it on youtube, but here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGMGBduXKZg&feature=related

Regarding sleeping on the bare floor, anyone who thinks this is extreme should read the sayings and lives of the Desert Fathers.  

I remember the line: "Don't forget, too much is as bad as too little." Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2010, 11:54:19 PM »

Regarding sleeping on the bare floor, anyone who thinks this is extreme should read the sayings and lives of the Desert Fathers.  

True, many desert fathers, and even saints living in the world (e.g. St. Gregory the Theologian), took up hardships. However, in this day and age, especially if someone was used to or was offered worldly comforts, I would think that something like sleeping on the ground might indeed by extreme. If you have a copy of The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, edited by Benedicta Ward, consider the 36th saying of St. Arsenius. It seems to me that whether we consider something to be extreme should be based on a comparison to what a person is used to having, or able to have, as opposed to being based on a comparison with what some of the most ascetically rigorous men in history experienced.
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 12:43:53 AM »

If this is bad, then please condemn the Syrian saints who only ate grass and chained themselves to rocks, condemn John the baptist for living in the wild and only eating locusts and wild honey, and condemn Elijah for only eating what crows fed him. Self-denial and asceticism is a welcome change from our society where indulgence is everything.
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 03:57:57 PM »

Classic Devil's Advocate stuff.  This material is always put out when someone is considered for canonization as a part of the process.  It's a tradition in Roman Catholicism.  In fact, whoever wrote this juicy little expose is probably a faithful Roman Catholic.

Besides, plenty of Orthodox saints have been extreme ascetics, so I don't see what the big outrage is over.

I can think of many reasons that would prevent me from considering Pope John Paul a Saint.  Flagellation is not one of them.  If anything, I just gained a bit more respect.
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 04:07:34 PM »

Well, I think there would surely be more beneficial ways of practising self-denial than this self-flagellation business. How about giving away some of one's money to help the poor, for starters? How about throwing oneself into visiting the sick in the hospitals, etc.? Maybe he did all this, I don't know.
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2010, 04:37:46 PM »

My priest said he knows monks who do this, though he does not condone this practice.
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2010, 04:43:58 PM »

It was never known til after the dead of Pope Paul VI, that he had suffered a knife wound while visiting the Philippines, and that he also wore a horsehair shirt under his papal robes.  Its also interesting to see the paraman that St. Herman of Alaska wore.  It was made of iron and weighed nearly 15+ pounds.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/olympiada/1090015930/
St. John Chrysostom when a monk practiced a very hard way of life and damaged his kidneys. Many saints of both the East and West practiced these ascetic forms.  Maybe then it was acceptable, but now I think a person would have a serious mental problem to do such things, but that's my opinion.
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2010, 05:29:28 PM »

Well, I think there would surely be more beneficial ways of practising self-denial than this self-flagellation business. How about giving away some of one's money to help the poor, for starters? How about throwing oneself into visiting the sick in the hospitals, etc.? Maybe he did all this, I don't know.

Indeed, you and I both don't know what he did, but, and I do not mean this to be directed at you personally so please don't take it that way, the "What about the poor?!" mantra that starts up when people are discovered to do things such as self-flagellation is as old as Judas Iscariot.

And what is beneficial for the soul of one person may not be so for another.
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2010, 05:40:36 PM »

All said and done, it does warm the heart to see someone who is in the highest office of the Church, not let the trapings of that office burden him.  It would be all too easy to start living the "life of riley"...a prince of the church.  I wonder how many other popes and patriarchs have done similar things?
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2010, 05:47:28 PM »

Well, I think there would surely be more beneficial ways of practising self-denial than this self-flagellation business. How about giving away some of one's money to help the poor, for starters? How about throwing oneself into visiting the sick in the hospitals, etc.? Maybe he did all this, I don't know.

Actually, he made millions of dollars off of his books, but to my knowledge, gave it all away.

Now someone will chime in, "yeah but it's not like he ever was in need of food or housing." True; but an avaricious person would hoard money even if they already had plenty of it.
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2010, 05:52:16 PM »

Well, I think there would surely be more beneficial ways of practising self-denial than this self-flagellation business. How about giving away some of one's money to help the poor, for starters? How about throwing oneself into visiting the sick in the hospitals, etc.? Maybe he did all this, I don't know.

Actually, he made millions of dollars off of his books, but to my knowledge, gave it all away.

Now someone will chime in, "yeah but it's not like he ever was in need of food or housing." True; but an avaricious person would hoard money even if they already had plenty of it.

That's great! Actually, I always liked John Paul II, from the little I knew of him. I guess the self-flagellation is odd for me from a cultural perspective-not something I've ever been exposed to, etc.
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2010, 06:04:01 PM »

Well, I think there would surely be more beneficial ways of practising self-denial than this self-flagellation business. How about giving away some of one's money to help the poor, for starters? How about throwing oneself into visiting the sick in the hospitals, etc.? Maybe he did all this, I don't know.
Or maybe like risking one's life by smuggling Jews out of harms way during Nazi occupation of that particular country?
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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2010, 06:14:50 PM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2010, 06:17:00 PM »

Let me ask you this, Stashko.

Orthodoxy has a tradition of stylites who lived atop stone pillars in all kinds of weather, never leaving their perch.

What a whip will do to one's body is nothing compared to what the elements can do to it in a hailstorm.  I would even imagine just standing up there in prayer for a long hot day in the sun followed by a freezing cold night (as happens in desert environments) would be considered abuse of the body.

Just food for your thoughts.
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2010, 06:19:56 PM »


If this is bad, then please condemn the Syrian saints who only ate grass and chained themselves to rocks, condemn John the baptist for living in the wild and only eating locusts and wild honey, and condemn Elijah for only eating what crows fed him. Self-denial and asceticism is a welcome change from our society where indulgence is everything.

None of these examples include intentionally causing one's self physical harm.
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2010, 06:22:14 PM »


If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

I agree that flagellation is an abuse of one's body. I think it was implicitly condemned in Canon 1 of Nicaea where self-castration was condemned.
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2010, 06:50:28 PM »

Or maybe like risking one's life by smuggling Jews out of harms way during Nazi occupation of that particular country?
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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2010, 07:06:13 PM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

There are a ton of Saints who practiced some kind of mortification of the flesh. St. Symeon the Stylite for one. Before going up on his pillar, he took a rope made out of palm leaves (which was extremly rough) and put it around his waist under his clothes on his skin and "bound it tightly as to wound the whole part that it encircled. When he had spent more than ten days in this way and the wound had become more painful and was dripping blood." (This is from St. Simeon's life written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus) St. Symeon was ordered to remove it but he refused to put medicine on it and this was one of the first things he did. A lot of Saints also wore heavy chains around their body, some Russian Saints would go out in the woods at night a strip to the waist and let mosquitoes eat at them (St. Alexander of Svir for example and there is another I read about though I can't remember who it was), and I've also heard about Saints and Elders who beat themselves to (I was told once that St. Shenouda would encourage his monks to do this but I'm not sure how true that is). Whenever I've read about an Orthodox monk beating themselves, they usually did it to control themselves from sin rather than as punishment. I read that Elder Joseph the Hesychast was praying one and his mind started to think of a sin and he took his cane and hit himself on the leg to get his mind back to prayer. I think the difference is that in the Roman Catholic tradition, it was done in excess and as a punishment where Elder Joseph would say to his monks that if a sin enters the mind, then giving themselves a thump with a cane to get their mind away from bad thoughts and continue with prayer.
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« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2010, 07:54:50 PM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh
They are not trying to please God by suffering, they are training themselves to build endurance so that they can handle temptations when they come along. They are teaching themselves to be detached from the comforts of this world. But of course you hate Catholics so you will refuse to see this.
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« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2010, 08:31:57 PM »

Let me ask you this, Stashko.

Orthodoxy has a tradition of stylites who lived atop stone pillars in all kinds of weather, never leaving their perch.

What a whip will do to one's body is nothing compared to what the elements can do to it in a hailstorm.  I would even imagine just standing up there in prayer for a long hot day in the sun followed by a freezing cold night (as happens in desert environments) would be considered abuse of the body.

Just food for your thoughts.

Iv read awhile back Some of the saints were so advanced in theosis that they were indifferent to cold or heat or hunger ,they reached such a state of detachment that's how Holy they were...I don't recall reading that they beat them self's silly as a discipline though.....
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« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2010, 09:47:30 PM »


If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

I agree that flagellation is an abuse of one's body. I think it was implicitly condemned in Canon 1 of Nicaea where self-castration was condemned.

Can't see how.  Flagellation, as a common practice, came later than Nicaea.  Wounds from a whip will heal.  Tattooing and removing your junk causes some rather permanent issues.  As has been stated earlier in this thread, Orthodox Saints have done far worse to their bodies than flagellation.  As an ex-Lutheran, I can sympathize with those who believe that God is not impressed with self torture.  However, unlike us, He can see into the heart, and perhaps He IS pleased with what he sees there.
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« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2010, 09:56:08 PM »

Let me ask you this, Stashko.

Orthodoxy has a tradition of stylites who lived atop stone pillars in all kinds of weather, never leaving their perch.

What a whip will do to one's body is nothing compared to what the elements can do to it in a hailstorm.  I would even imagine just standing up there in prayer for a long hot day in the sun followed by a freezing cold night (as happens in desert environments) would be considered abuse of the body.

Just food for your thoughts.

Iv read awhile back Some of the saints were so advanced in theosis that they were indifferent to cold or heat or hunger ,they reached such a state of detachment that's how Holy they were...I don't recall reading that they beat them self's silly as a discipline though.....

Please read Andrew21091's post for Orthodox saints who "beat them self's silly" and then admit to yourself and the board that the only reason you are knocking John Paul's choice of bodily mortification is because he was Catholic.  You most certainly don't have to think he was saintly for doing so, but to act like what he did was objectively different from what any number of Orthodox saints did.  You don't know what his motivations were, either, so don't try to paint some picture that he was trying to propitiate some angry God for his sin; he very well could have been doing what Elder Joseph the Hesychast recommended of his charges. 
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« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2010, 10:00:17 PM »

Let me ask you this, Stashko.

Orthodoxy has a tradition of stylites who lived atop stone pillars in all kinds of weather, never leaving their perch.

What a whip will do to one's body is nothing compared to what the elements can do to it in a hailstorm.  I would even imagine just standing up there in prayer for a long hot day in the sun followed by a freezing cold night (as happens in desert environments) would be considered abuse of the body.

Just food for your thoughts.

Iv read awhile back Some of the saints were so advanced in theosis that they were indifferent to cold or heat or hunger ,they reached such a state of detachment that's how Holy they were...I don't recall reading that they beat them self's silly as a discipline though.....

Please read Andrew21091's post for Orthodox saints who "beat them self's silly" and then admit to yourself and the board that the only reason you are knocking John Paul's choice of bodily mortification is because he was Catholic.  You most certainly don't have to think he was saintly for doing so, but to act like what he did was objectively different from what any number of Orthodox saints did.  You don't know what his motivations were, either, so don't try to paint some picture that he was trying to propitiate some angry God for his sin; he very well could have been doing what Elder Joseph the Hesychast recommended of his charges. 

Well said.
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« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2010, 10:04:15 PM »

  OH !!!!  ...   FLAGELLATION ....  I thought he farted in public or something...  Been there  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2010, 10:05:03 PM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

There are a ton of Saints who practiced some kind of mortification of the flesh. St. Symeon the Stylite for one. Before going up on his pillar, he took a rope made out of palm leaves (which was extremly rough) and put it around his waist under his clothes on his skin and "bound it tightly as to wound the whole part that it encircled. When he had spent more than ten days in this way and the wound had become more painful and was dripping blood." (This is from St. Simeon's life written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus) St. Symeon was ordered to remove it but he refused to put medicine on it and this was one of the first things he did. A lot of Saints also wore heavy chains around their body, some Russian Saints would go out in the woods at night a strip to the waist and let mosquitoes eat at them (St. Alexander of Svir for example and there is another I read about though I can't remember who it was), and I've also heard about Saints and Elders who beat themselves to (I was told once that St. Shenouda would encourage his monks to do this but I'm not sure how true that is). Whenever I've read about an Orthodox monk beating themselves, they usually did it to control themselves from sin rather than as punishment. I read that Elder Joseph the Hesychast was praying one and his mind started to think of a sin and he took his cane and hit himself on the leg to get his mind back to prayer. I think the difference is that in the Roman Catholic tradition, it was done in excess and as a punishment where Elder Joseph would say to his monks that if a sin enters the mind, then giving themselves a thump with a cane to get their mind away from bad thoughts and continue with prayer.

I still think it's sin even if some of the Saints can be seen to have done it.
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« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2010, 10:06:02 PM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh
They are not trying to please God by suffering, they are training themselves to build endurance so that they can handle temptations when they come along. They are teaching themselves to be detached from the comforts of this world. But of course you hate Catholics so you will refuse to see this.

And they're doing it in a way that unnecessarily harms God's creation, and thus it is unacceptable.
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« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2010, 10:07:28 PM »

Let me ask you this, Stashko.

Orthodoxy has a tradition of stylites who lived atop stone pillars in all kinds of weather, never leaving their perch.

What a whip will do to one's body is nothing compared to what the elements can do to it in a hailstorm.  I would even imagine just standing up there in prayer for a long hot day in the sun followed by a freezing cold night (as happens in desert environments) would be considered abuse of the body.

Just food for your thoughts.

Withstanding severe weather as a consequence of one's discipline to sit atop the pillar is a whole 'nother matter from intentionally causing harm and damage to one's body.
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« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2010, 10:10:35 PM »


If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

I agree that flagellation is an abuse of one's body. I think it was implicitly condemned in Canon 1 of Nicaea where self-castration was condemned.

Can't see how.  Flagellation, as a common practice, came later than Nicaea.  Wounds from a whip will heal.  Tattooing and removing your junk causes some rather permanent issues.  As has been stated earlier in this thread, Orthodox Saints have done far worse to their bodies than flagellation.  As an ex-Lutheran, I can sympathize with those who believe that God is not impressed with self torture.  However, unlike us, He can see into the heart, and perhaps He IS pleased with what he sees there.

I see Canon 1 as an implicit condemnation of any form of intentionally causing significant damage to one's body simply for the sake of "spirituality" as a form or degree of suicide, as the canon described it, "self murder".
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« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2010, 10:13:30 PM »


Please read Andrew21091's post for Orthodox saints who "beat them self's silly" and then admit to yourself and the board that the only reason you are knocking John Paul's choice of bodily mortification is because he was Catholic. ... but to act like what he did was objectively different from what any number of Orthodox saints did.

I don't know about stashko, but it's clear my issues have nothing to do with Romanism, as I'll just as easily knock the practice in instances where an EO or even OO Saint did it.
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« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2010, 10:26:34 PM »

When I was growing up getting a few licks with a belt was painful but far from doing permanent damage. I don't understand why anyone would do such a thing to themselves, but I am a long way from commenting on the "right" or "wrong" of it. I am not his judge, and never will be.
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« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2010, 11:50:37 PM »


Please read Andrew21091's post for Orthodox saints who "beat them self's silly" and then admit to yourself and the board that the only reason you are knocking John Paul's choice of bodily mortification is because he was Catholic. ... but to act like what he did was objectively different from what any number of Orthodox saints did.

I don't know about stashko, but it's clear my issues have nothing to do with Romanism, as I'll just as easily knock the practice in instances where an EO or even OO Saint did it.

And that's why I directed my comment directly to stashko.  Again, I'm not saying one has to think that such a practice is laudable, but one cannot berate Catholics for engaging in a such a thing while acting like it's not present in Orthodoxy Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2010, 11:58:53 PM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

There are a ton of Saints who practiced some kind of mortification of the flesh. St. Symeon the Stylite for one. Before going up on his pillar, he took a rope made out of palm leaves (which was extremly rough) and put it around his waist under his clothes on his skin and "bound it tightly as to wound the whole part that it encircled. When he had spent more than ten days in this way and the wound had become more painful and was dripping blood." (This is from St. Simeon's life written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus) St. Symeon was ordered to remove it but he refused to put medicine on it and this was one of the first things he did. A lot of Saints also wore heavy chains around their body, some Russian Saints would go out in the woods at night a strip to the waist and let mosquitoes eat at them (St. Alexander of Svir for example and there is another I read about though I can't remember who it was), and I've also heard about Saints and Elders who beat themselves to (I was told once that St. Shenouda would encourage his monks to do this but I'm not sure how true that is). Whenever I've read about an Orthodox monk beating themselves, they usually did it to control themselves from sin rather than as punishment. I read that Elder Joseph the Hesychast was praying one and his mind started to think of a sin and he took his cane and hit himself on the leg to get his mind back to prayer. I think the difference is that in the Roman Catholic tradition, it was done in excess and as a punishment where Elder Joseph would say to his monks that if a sin enters the mind, then giving themselves a thump with a cane to get their mind away from bad thoughts and continue with prayer.

I still think it's sin even if some of the Saints can be seen to have done it.

And yet you admit that the willful taking of another life, no matter what the motivation, is not something you would take to Confession, even though there are canons that spell out, quite plainly, that such an act must be confessed.

Sounds quite....Protestant to me.
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« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2010, 12:20:27 AM »

If The Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, How can some one willfully abuse it by torturing it ....If Marking the body tattooing and piercing it is forbidden, and considered abuse ,wouldn't intentionally beating it be more of a abuse.....I can understand Fasting even strict fasting to discipline oneself ,but not to please God like God would enjoys seeing someone suffer by torturing his or her self....For sins committed confession would be the cure ,even for the pope also a stict fast.... Huh

There are a ton of Saints who practiced some kind of mortification of the flesh. St. Symeon the Stylite for one. Before going up on his pillar, he took a rope made out of palm leaves (which was extremly rough) and put it around his waist under his clothes on his skin and "bound it tightly as to wound the whole part that it encircled. When he had spent more than ten days in this way and the wound had become more painful and was dripping blood." (This is from St. Simeon's life written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus) St. Symeon was ordered to remove it but he refused to put medicine on it and this was one of the first things he did. A lot of Saints also wore heavy chains around their body, some Russian Saints would go out in the woods at night a strip to the waist and let mosquitoes eat at them (St. Alexander of Svir for example and there is another I read about though I can't remember who it was), and I've also heard about Saints and Elders who beat themselves to (I was told once that St. Shenouda would encourage his monks to do this but I'm not sure how true that is). Whenever I've read about an Orthodox monk beating themselves, they usually did it to control themselves from sin rather than as punishment. I read that Elder Joseph the Hesychast was praying one and his mind started to think of a sin and he took his cane and hit himself on the leg to get his mind back to prayer. I think the difference is that in the Roman Catholic tradition, it was done in excess and as a punishment where Elder Joseph would say to his monks that if a sin enters the mind, then giving themselves a thump with a cane to get their mind away from bad thoughts and continue with prayer.

I still think it's sin even if some of the Saints can be seen to have done it.

And yet you admit that the willful taking of another life, no matter what the motivation, is not something you would take to Confession, even though there are canons that spell out, quite plainly, that such an act must be confessed.

Sounds quite....Protestant to me.

Not really. I think it comes down to a matter of truth that is consistent with Orthodoxy. Whatever canons you are referring to (if they even exist) would be made under the premise that it is inherently sinful to kill. I don't agree with that, and thus I will not submit to the untruthfulness of such canons. That doesn't mean that I will not submit to the canon, meaning that I will not seek to take Communion if my spiritual father wishes to apply such a canon and deny me Communion, nor would I leave the Church as a result of that. There are numerous instances where Orthodox Christians refuse to repent of the premise of a canon because they think the premise is wrong, but they still submit to the canonical order whereby as a result they cannot take Communion.

As to the lives of certain Saints, everything that they have done is not necessarily an authoritative reflection of what is right in the eyes of God. I can very well judge certain actions of certain Saints as sinful without it being appropriate for people to judge me as Protestant as a result.
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« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2010, 12:49:47 AM »

I can very well judge certain actions of certain Saints as sinful without it being appropriate for people to judge me as Protestant as a result.

Hmm, I'd say leave that up to God.
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« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2010, 01:04:48 AM »


Iv read awhile back Some of the saints were so advanced in theosis that they were indifferent to cold or heat or hunger ,they reached such a state of detachment that's how Holy they were...I don't recall reading that they beat them self's silly as a discipline though.....
I read something different concerning Orthodox saints and this practice. For example:
"David says this about self-flagellation: "I was taught to flagellate myself with electrical cord when I had sinful thoughts and that this was normal behavior that Saints indulged in...I was told that to drive away sinful thoughts I should get an electrical cord, make a whip out of it, and lash myself on the legs with it...This teaching can also be found in “Elder” Ephraim’s book “Counsels from the Holy Mountain."

It seems necessary here to point out that the use of self-flagellation is certainly not just found in Elder Ephraim's book. Countless saints have used various forms of self mortification. I have included a few examples below:

St. Nephon did this very thing, and specifically used it to war against carnal temptations. "...he dreamed that he had fallen into a shameful act. He flew out of bed then...and shouted to himself: "Woe to you, Nephon, who sleep too much! What happens now?...Now you will taste bitter affliction, instead of pleasure!" And immediately grabbing a long stick, he hit his feet so terribly, that they were black and blue for a long time." (St. Nephon, an Ascetic Bishop, p. 9) As for David Smith saying "I kept this practice for a while, but it never worked..." St. Nephon struggled with carnal temptations and would strike himself in this manner for 14 years. Certainly then it is not something that happens overnight.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast did this as well and battled carnal temptations for 8 years. The Orthodox Church is on the cusp of ordaining him a saint.

St. Basil the Great says "Now, continency and all corporal suffering (self-flagellation) are of some value, but if a man following his private caprice do what is pleasing to himself and heed not the advice of his superior, his fault will be greater than the good it does; 'for he that resisteth authority, resisteth the ordinance of God."

St. Theophano the Empress, who lived during the 8th century and is commemorated on December 16th wore a hairshirt beneath her clothing.

The Emperor Theodosius the Great wore a thick hairshirt underneath his clothing and underneath the hairshirt he wore chains wrapped tightly around his body.

St. Kyril Phileotes (who was married) would strike himself with a rope or a stick when he was troubled by passionate thoughts, desire, or anger.

St. Symeon the Stylite tied ropes so tightly around his flesh, underneath his clothing, that it cut into his flesh and the wounds festered with maggouts. He did this to fight against his flesh.

St. Martinianos, who is commemorated on February 13th lived as a desert dweller and a woman came to him with the purpose of tempting him into intercourse. She had the thought that if she came there attempting to seduce him she could get him to sin with her. So she dressed herself as a poor woman and came to the desert and when she approached him she asked him for shelter. He placed her within the hut where he lived while he went into a cave to pray. While he was praying, she took off her poor woman's clothing and put on makeup and beautiful bejeweled clothing and waited for him to return. When he returned, she attempted to seduce him. He gave himself over to thoughts and then ran outside of the hut, built a fire and walked through it. Then he did it again and it took more than 7 months for him to be healed from the wounds that were caused by the fire.

St. Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem, commemorated on May 14th "this saint made a belt with many nails through it because tears wouldn't come easily to him. Therefore, he would strike himself and it would cut into his flesh, deeply, so that he could have tears. At the end of his life and 4 days after his death, a fragrance came from his body. His body had been placed within two caskets, but fresh blood poured out from his body after 4 days and went through the caskets. From this we can conclude that even though he while he was alive, he was honored along with the martyrs because of his self-imposed martyrdom." (Taken from the Great Synaxarion)

An Anonymous Saint from the Gerontikon - a monk or a monastic from the Gerontikon, because he could not get himself to weep for his sins, would make a whip out of a rope and would beat himself so hard that he would weep from the pain. The brother who lived near him marveled at what this brother was doing and besought God to reveal to him whether the latter was doing right in tormenting himself. One night, he saw his brother wearing a crown and standing among the martyrs and someone came to him as he was dreaming: "Behold the good struggler who is tormenting himself for the sake of Christ, how he is crowned together with the martyrs." (Taken from Volume 3 of Evergetinos, p. 81)

There are numerous other saints who attempted to tame the flesh by means of flagellation, hair shirts, sleeping on bare floors, using bricks for pillows, allowing wounds to fester with maggots while standing on the foot infested, wearing chains beneath their clothing that both cut into their flesh and weighed down their bodies, etc. Countless numbers of saints did these things in order to gain the kingdom of heaven for "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force." Therefore it is perfectly clear that this is not something invented by Elder Ephraim or Fr. Paisios, either."

http://orthodoxpatristicwisdom.blogspot.com/#flagellation
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« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2010, 01:12:52 AM »

There are numerous other saints who attempted to tame the flesh by means of flagellation, hair shirts, sleeping on bare floors, using bricks for pillows, allowing wounds to fester with maggots while standing on the foot infested, wearing chains beneath their clothing that both cut into their flesh and weighed down their bodies, etc. Countless numbers of saints did these things in order to gain the kingdom of heaven for "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force." Therefore it is perfectly clear that this is not something invented by Elder Ephraim or Fr. Paisios, either."

St. Herman of Alaska also wore chains around his body. So there is quite a lengthy list of Saints practicing such acts of mortification of the flesh.
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