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Author Topic: Is the Orthodox Church really true?  (Read 10439 times) Average Rating: 0
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Robb
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« on: May 20, 2010, 04:29:46 PM »

Is the Orthodox Church really the one, true, faith founded by Jesus Christ?  I've struggled with this one for a long time and am sort of at a cross roads in my life.  

Could someone give me some type of evidence that can emphatically prove that the OC is the way God wants things to be?

Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?  Doesn't the very concept of the Pope as top man and controlling (Or, at least trying to control) the whole operation of the Church make more sense from a logical and truly Catholic perspective?  When they came up with the 5 Patriarch idea, wasn't that just based on the jurisdictional situation of the Roman empire which has long since (Sadly) been defunct.

I'm not trying to goad anybody or proselytize for anything.  I'm just asking these questions since, coming from an RC backround they are what I've struggled with.  I tried talking about them to an Orthodox priest, but his answers were not very satisfactory for me (He claimed that he didn't know much about the RCC in the first place and seemed to believe that the RC's worship the Popes every word as infallible).  I don't know how anyone could not know anything about Catholicism but this guy didn't do a very good job talking about it to me.  I also brought up the universality of the Church (Which seemed somewhat lacking in the OC to me).  He gave me some talk about how the true church exists when only a handful of people believe (This didn't answer why there is no outward, actual, real unity in the OC as opposed to the, at least superficial appearance you get with the RCC). These questions mean something to my worldview since I was raised to believe in quantity over quality.  The bigger and better something was presented to me then the truer it must be.  I freely admit to being  not from a Protestant "Bible Baptist" type backround.  I like the extravagance of life.  I come from  deeply expressionist, deeply Catholic type of people (Ones who it is frequently said that "God made us Catholic before making us Christian").  I only get the big picture.  If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?


« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 04:35:05 PM by Robb » Logged

Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2010, 04:54:45 PM »

Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?  Doesn't the very concept of the Pope as top man and controlling (Or, at least trying to control) the whole operation of the Church make more sense from a logical and truly Catholic perspective?  When they came up with the 5 Patriarch idea, wasn't that just based on the jurisdictional situation of the Roman empire which has long since (Sadly) been defunct.
One of the reasons that you may be having problems is that some of your concerns are based on faulty assumptions, or so it seems to me.
For example, in the above, why is a unified central authority any better? What is the evidence that God prefers one method of church governance over another. Orthodox would say that the fact that the Church operated conciliarly through Councils is evidence that God prefers it that way.

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I don't know how anyone could not know anything about Catholicism
Come to my part of the South - when my husband moved here as a child, they were the first RCs their neighbors had met. 

Quote
I also brought up the universality of the Church (Which seemed somewhat lacking in the OC to me).
Another faulty assumption, or so it seems to me. Why do you think universality is lacking in the OC? And how are you defining "outward, actual, real unity" in the RCC - although I'm certainly no expert on the RCC, like your priest, I'm afraid, but from the outside, it doesn't look like much real unity either, with different versions of the Mass, with the Maronites and the Melkites and the Eastern Catholics doing their own thing, with the so-called American version of "cafeteria Catholicism" and with some priests being married while most are not allowed.

Quote
If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?
Oh, dear. Another one, I'm afraid. First of all, was the Church true in the first century AD? When it was small and persecuted? So what does big and important have to do with being true? Also what about Russia, where the Orthodox Church suffered the most horrible persecutions, thousands of priests, nuns, monks and bishops killed or imprisoned, churches destroyed and yet in a short few years after the Communist yoke was lifted, the Church has blossomed.



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Robb
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2010, 05:04:03 PM »

I'm just using common sense in my observations. For instance, what would make more sense, for the USA to be governed by 50 individual states all doing there own thing yet supposedly trying to follow the Constitution, or by the centralized Federal government out of DC?  

Doesn't it make more sense for the Church to have a central authority then to just be a collection of supposedly federated churches all doing their own thing while trying to follow the Gospels? Also, look at the incredibly antiquated canon laws that the OC is forced to follow (Although most do not not do so strictly or claim to)? Wouldn't it make more sense for the Church to change and adapt the laws on such things as fasting to the more practical, everyday concerns of modern life instead of just pretending that the world is still dwelling in the 6Th century AD? Doesn't these things just make more sense outright?

In order to be OC, must I check my God given use of reason at the front door?  

Also, look at the cultural divide. I was raised an Italian Catholic. Although Italians can join the OC, there is no specific Italian ethnic form of Orthodoxy or even Orthodox parishes of Italian backround that I could attend in order to help preserve my cultural legacy.  Most of the American people who join up with Orthodoxy tend to be, from my observations WASPish types or non descriptive, "White bread" people from Protestant backrounds.  Most of these people seem either disinterested or outright hostile to any type of ethnicity, even from those native Orthodox souls whose ancestors have been in that Church for many centuries.  Where would my place in the OC actually be as n Italian Catholic?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 05:08:58 PM by Robb » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 05:07:09 PM »

Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?

Maybe because the Church is a reflection of the Trinity?

If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?

Because you don't need to be "big and important" to be right. You just need to be right. Christ was humble, never pretending to be "big and important," and yet He was right. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 05:12:38 PM »

Insert Quote
Quote from: Robb on Today at 04:29:46 PM
Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?


Maybe because the Church is a reflection of the Trinity?


So the Trinity is not Three in One, but divided into three separate entities?

What you said doesn't make any sense.  It just sounds like some nonsensical comeback line
.


Quote from: Robb on Today at 04:29:46 PM
If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?


Because you don't need to be "big and important" to be right. You just need to be right. Christ was humble, never pretending to be "big and important," and yet He was right.

Well, according to the Shroud of Turin, Jesus was 6'2, which was kind of tall and imposing for those days.  I guess God saw fit to make his son stand out in the crowd for a reason.

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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2010, 05:13:01 PM »

Doesn't it make more sense for the Church to have a central authority then to just be a collection of supposedly federated churches all doing their own thing while trying to follow the Gospels? 

What do you mean??? Look, I am a Ukrainian. There are no Ukrainian Orthodox parishes anywhere near from the place where I live. So I go to a Greek Orthodox parish. Have I noticed that this Greek parish is "doing its own thing?" No. It's the SAME thing Ukrainian and Bulgarian and Antiochian and Finnish and any other Orthodox parishes are doing. It's the same Divine Liturgy of St. John the Golden Mouth. It's the same Eucharist. It's the same Christ whom "the angelic hosts are carrying invisibly" when we are preparing for this Eucharist. It's the same Christ in the Chalice. What else does one need?


Also, look at the incredibly antiquated canon laws that the OC is forced to follow (Although most do not not do so strictly or claim to)?  Wouldn't it make more sense for the Church to change and adapt the laws on such things as fasting to the more practical, everyday concerns of modern life instead of just pretending that the world is still dwelling in the 6Th century AD?  Doesn't these things just make more sense outright?

You know, I have a rather vague idea about the Canon Law. I live my daily life not really worrying about it. Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 05:15:26 PM »

I'm just using common sense in my observations. For instance, what would make more sense, for the USA to be governed by 50 individual states all doing there own thing yet supposedly trying to follow the Constitution, or by the centralized Federal government out of DC?

An honest answer will land this in politics.

Quote
Doesn't it make more sense for the Church to have a central authority then to just be a collection of supposedly federated churches all doing their own thing while trying to follow the Gospels?

If you follow the Gospels, you aren't "doing your own thing?"

Which would be better, images of God with free will, or puppets on a string?

Quote
Also, look at the incredibly antiquated canon laws that the OC is forced to follow (Although most do not not do so strictly or claim to)? Wouldn't it make more sense for the Church to change and adapt the laws on such things as fasting to the more practical, everyday concerns of modern life instead of just pretending that the world is still dwelling in the 6Th century AD? Doesn't these things just make more sense outright?

Modernism has worked so well in its less than century long existence. Roll Eyes

Quote
In order to be OC, must I check my God given use of reason at the front door?

No, just purify it.

Quote
Also, look at the cultural divide. I was raised an Italian Catholic. Although Italians can join the OC, there is no specific Italian ethnic form of Orthodoxy or even Orthodox parishes of Italian backround that I could attend in order to help preserve my cultural legacy.  Most of the American people who join up with Orthodoxy tend to be, from my observations WASPish types or non descriptive, "White bread" people from Protestant backrounds.  Most of these people seem either disinterested or outright hostile to any type of ethnicity, even from those native Orthodox souls whose ancestors have been in that Church for many centuries.  Where would my place in the OC actually be as n Italian Catholic?
Like SS Peter and Paul, a pioneer.
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 05:15:41 PM »

Insert Quote
Quote from: Robb on Today at 04:29:46 PM
Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?


Maybe because the Church is a reflection of the Trinity?


So the Trinity is not Three in One, but divided into three separate entities?

What you said doesn't make any sense.  It just sounds like some nonsensical comeback line
.

What I meant is simply that there is no "central authority" within the Trinity.

Quote from: Robb on Today at 04:29:46 PM
If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?


Because you don't need to be "big and important" to be right. You just need to be right. Christ was humble, never pretending to be "big and important," and yet He was right.

Well, according to the Shroud of Turin, Jesus was 6'2, which was kind of tall and imposing for those days.  I guess God saw fit to make his son stand out in the crowd for a reason.


First of all, I have no idea why people pay so much attention to the shroud of Turin. And also, even more importantly, it was not about physical dimensions.
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 05:16:38 PM »

I'm just using common sense in my observations.  For instance, what would make more sense, for the USA to be governed by 50 individual states all doing there own thing yet supposedly trying to follow the Constitution, or by the centralized Federal government out of DC? 

Doesn't it make more sense for the Church to have a central authority then to just be a collection of supposedly federated churches all doing their own thing while trying to follow the Gospels? 
Certainly you or I may think it makes more sense. But again, what is your evidence that God prefers it that way?
Quote
Also, look at the incredibly antiquated canon laws that the OC is forced to follow (Although most do not not do so strictly or claim to)? 
Here again, I am at a disadvantage since I know pretty much next to nothing about RC canon law. Can you tell me if all the RC canon laws followed? Or are they ignored? And if so, why? How are they changed?

Quote
Wouldn't it make more sense for the Church to change and adapt the laws on such things as fasting to the more practical, everyday concerns of modern life instead of just pretending that the world is still dwelling in the 6Th century AD? Doesn't these things just make more sense outright?
What are the practical everyday concerns that you refer to? No one, I think I'm safe in saying, pretends that it is the 6th century. What we do say is that this "method" has worked for centuries.
It may make sense to you, but other people have other opinions.
What is obvious to you is not necessarily the way things are.

Quote
In order to be OC, must I check my God given use of reason at the front door? 
What would make you even think such a thing? Speaking personally, I have learned more from becoming Orthodox than I ever dreamed of. There are depths to Orthodoxy that would take several lifetimes to even scratch the surface. However what I have learned is a little humility. The Church has been in the business of transforming lives and hearts for centuries. It may just be theoretically possible that I don't know everything there is to know, and that it is possible for me to be mistaken.
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 05:22:41 PM »

The Pentarchy was an imperial ecclesiology, but there were Christians even outside the Pentarchy, outside the Empire, that were independent of both yet shared the same faith and was considered part of one Church.  For the Catholics, they believe that the Petrine Pope of Rome is necessary for a Catholic Church (which logically would exclude those outside the Roman Empire).  For someone like St. Ignatius, where the bishop is, there's the Catholic Church, thus, you have a different focus in ecclesiology and a more inclusive Christianity based on Orthodoxy, not on a person.

The Orthodox churches today more accurately represents the ancient ecclesiology of the Church universal, not just the Roman empire.
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 05:23:55 PM »

Is the Orthodox Church really the one, true, faith founded by Jesus Christ?  I've struggled with this one for a long time and am sort of at a cross roads in my life.  

Could someone give me some type of evidence that can emphatically prove that the OC is the way God wants things to be?

If it wasn't, it would have disappeared long ago.

Quote
Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?  Doesn't the very concept of the Pope as top man and controlling (Or, at least trying to control) the whole operation of the Church make more sense from a logical and truly Catholic perspective?  When they came up with the 5 Patriarch idea, wasn't that just based on the jurisdictional situation of the Roman empire which has long since (Sadly) been defunct.

Doesn't stop Rome's pontifex maximus (the office of the pagan Roman kings, talk about defunct) from claiming top billing.

Quote
I'm not trying to goad anybody or proselytize for anything.  I'm just asking these questions since, coming from an RC backround they are what I've struggled with.  I tried talking about them to an Orthodox priest, but his answers were not very satisfactory for me (He claimed that he didn't know much about the RCC in the first place and seemed to believe that the RC's worship the Popes every word as infallible).

Lumen Gentium et alia makes assent to the pope's fallible words mandatory.  Just another aspect of the uselessness of Pastor Aeternus.


Quote
I don't know how anyone could not know anything about Catholicism but this guy didn't do a very good job talking about it to me.


He's an Orthodox priest, not a Vatican one.  Despite what the Vatican claims, we all don't spent our lives worrying about what the Vatican does.

Quote
I also brought up the universality of the Church (Which seemed somewhat lacking in the OC to me).  He gave me some talk about how the true church exists when only a handful of people believe (This didn't answer why there is no outward, actual, real unity in the OC as opposed to the, at least superficial appearance you get with the RCC).

Key words.

Quote
These questions mean something to my worldview since I was raised to believe in quantity over quality.  The bigger and better something was presented to me then the truer it must be.  


Then the new and improved version of Vatican II must satisfy you.

Quote
I freely admit to being  not from a Protestant "Bible Baptist" type backround.  I like the extravagance of life.  I come from  deeply expressionist, deeply Catholic type of people (Ones who it is frequently said that "God made us Catholic before making us Christian").  I only get the big picture.  If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?

Given Christ's talk about the "fear not, enormous flock," and his admonition to go the broad road through the wide gate ( Roll Eyes), I don't know what to tell you.
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 05:25:02 PM »

Also, look at the cultural divide. I was raised an Italian Catholic. Although Italians can join the OC, there is no specific Italian ethnic form of Orthodoxy or even Orthodox parishes of Italian backround that I could attend in order to help preserve my cultural legacy.  Most of the American people who join up with Orthodoxy tend to be, from my observations WASPish types or non descriptive, "White bread" people from Protestant backrounds.  Most of these people seem either disinterested or outright hostile to any type of ethnicity, even from those native Orthodox souls whose ancestors have been in that Church for many centuries. 
Odd. Because I know a Greek Orthodox priest serving in Puerto Rico whose ancestors were Italian Orthodox for centuries.
Quote
Where would my place in the OC actually be as an Italian Catholic?
Right next to my husband, if you want ed to - he was raised in an Irish Catholic family, 2nd generation off the boat, in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, went to an Irish Catholic parish, with an Irish Catholic priest, was educated in Irish Catholic schools (he says every other girl was named Mary something).
He's just as proud of his ethnic background as I am of my German Lutheran ancestors.
But I don't really understand your point about your ethnicity, I have to admit.
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 05:27:23 PM »

Insert Quote
Quote from: Robb on Today at 04:29:46 PM
Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?


Maybe because the Church is a reflection of the Trinity?


So the Trinity is not Three in One, but divided into three separate entities?

What you said doesn't make any sense.  It just sounds like some nonsensical comeback line
.


Quote from: Robb on Today at 04:29:46 PM
If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?


Because you don't need to be "big and important" to be right. You just need to be right. Christ was humble, never pretending to be "big and important," and yet He was right.

Well, according to the Shroud of Turin, Jesus was 6'2, which was kind of tall and imposing for those days.  I guess God saw fit to make his son stand out in the crowd for a reason.


I'll go with Isaiah (53:2) "He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him"
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 05:42:41 PM »

I'm just using common sense in my observations.
Common sense is common sense only because it's common.  What you seem to be defining as common sense appears to be nothing more than your personal opinion of the way things should be.  That's not common sense.
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 10:02:32 PM »

Thank you all for these answers.  As I approach the allotted time for my re entrance into the OC, certain doubts and fears, no doubt due to my own fallible human weakness have crept in.  What better place to get them off my chest then on an Orthodox message board.

The comments I've given shouldn't be all that shocking.  Surely some of you who read this have thought the very same things at least once in your life (Our time within the OC).  It still bothers me that Orthodoxy has only recently begun to make an impact here in North America and that the only places on Earth where the Church is well known are those countries which she is the majority religion (As opposed to the RCC which is everywhere in the world to a certain extent).  I am just trying to make myself believe that the OC is the true faith and so many things are just seeming to get in my way.

Also I don't know who these Italo Orthodox Christians are, but they must have been living under rocks back on the boot because I've never heard of them nor do they seem to be out their anywhere in the open in Italy.  Maybe this priest was descended from Albanese Greek Catholics and just considers himself Orthodox and his ancestors to be Orthodox (Although perhaps Iin a  deluded sense).  The Albanians fled to Italy after the Muslims took over and established colonies throughout the south in which they were given permission to use the Byzantine rite by the Pope.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 10:03:11 PM by Robb » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2010, 09:42:31 AM »

This topic was moved from the Convert Issues Forum to the Orthodox-Catholic Discussion Forum . It appears although an issue from a potential convert's perspective to be  about the Orthodox Church in comparison to the Roman Catholic Church and who is the "True Church", as this is probably best discussed in the Orthodox Catholic Discussion Forum I moved it there to have more open discussion on this issue.

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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2010, 09:50:57 AM »

Also I don't know who these Italo Orthodox Christians are, but they must have been living under rocks back on the boot because I've never heard of them nor do they seem to be out their anywhere in the open in Italy.  Maybe this priest was descended from Albanese Greek Catholics and just considers himself Orthodox and his ancestors to be Orthodox (Although perhaps Iin a  deluded sense).  The Albanians fled to Italy after the Muslims took over and established colonies throughout the south in which they were given permission to use the Byzantine rite by the Pope.

According to him, and according to a GOA Metropolitan that I know who recently visited Bari, these are Orthodox Christians of Greek descent who have been living in Italy for centuries, even before the Muslims took over. They consider themselves both Orthodox and Italian, but not Catholics and would not need permission from the Pope.
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2010, 10:13:48 AM »

This topic was moved from the Convert Issues Forum to the Orthodox-Catholic Discussion Forum . It appears although an issue from a potential convert's perspective to be  about the Orthodox Church in comparison to the Roman Catholic Church and who is the "True Church", as this is probably best discussed in the Orthodox Catholic Discussion Forum I moved it there to have more open discussion on this issue.

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LOL....You think any Catholic would touch this topic with a six foot Lithuanian?

 Roll Eyes

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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2010, 10:19:39 AM »

Thank you all for these answers.  As I approach the allotted time for my re entrance into the OC, certain doubts and fears, no doubt due to my own fallible human weakness have crept in.  What better place to get them off my chest then on an Orthodox message board.

True.

 It still bothers me that Orthodoxy has only recently begun to make an impact here in North America and that the only places on Earth where the Church is well known are those countries which she is the majority religion (As opposed to the RCC which is everywhere in the world to a certain extent).

That's largely the result of cultural/political history. If you look at any significant missionary effort after Justinian, it came from an (imperial) cultural/political position of strength (for the Orthodox, Cyril & Methodios; for the Roman Catholics, the Germans amongst the West Slavic tribes, the Portuguese throughout their Empire, the Spanish throughout their theirs, even the French, etc.). It just so happened that most of the Western European Empires flourished at a time of greater navigation-related technology, so they built truly massive colonies in Africa, Central America, South America, North America, Southeast Asia, etc -- literally all of the areas that were converted to Roman Catholicism in the 15th through 19th centuries. Before those Empires, Rome's influence was quite small in geography and numbers. At times, it was even confined to the upper part of the Italian & Iberian peninsulas, with only parts of modern-day Germany and France.

Anyway, it just so happened that those essential centuries -- the 15th through the 19th -- wherein Roman Catholic Empires exploded worldwide, were precisely the same centuries where the ancient Orthodox lands fell under total Muslim oppression. Christians in Eastern Europe and the Middle East did the dying, while those in the West did the conquering. The only exception, of course, was the Russian Empire, which expanded tremendously -- quite to the concern of the Roman Catholic Empires. If you read German, French, or British newspapers in the 19th century, for example, they were quite worried about the lumbering, gigantic menace from the East (much like we are now concerned that China and/or India will overtake us in technological, military, and scientific areas). But even that one Orthodox Empire (compared to four very powerful Roman Catholic and one Protestant one) soon fell and experienced equal persecution and destruction.

If you lived before the Muslim invasions, you'd be wondering the exact same things about that Roman Bishop, the majority of whose canonical territory was filled with uncooth, Arian barbarians.
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2010, 10:39:55 AM »


If you lived before the Muslim invasions, you'd be wondering the exact same things about that Roman Bishop, the majority of whose canonical territory was filled with uncooth, Arian barbarians.

This is historical mythology that has grown up to excuse an imperial invasion of mainland Europe on the part of Constantinople.  Seems dear Justinian would rather destroy than re-convert other Christians to the true faith.

The Arian barbarians were hardly uncouth.

Mary
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2010, 10:53:13 AM »

If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?

Ha! Ha! Membership in the Roman Catholic Church is so large because it was primarily Roman Catholic Europeans who explored and settled the New World of North America and South America...namely the French, Portuguese, and Spanish, bringing RC missionaries with them who eventually converted entire populations of indigenous peoples to the RCC.

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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2010, 11:00:51 AM »

Seems dear Justinian would rather destroy than re-convert other Christians to the true faith.

The Ostrogoths tolerated Catholics for a while, since Rome allowed them to control Papal appointment and daily affairs; but that didn't last too long. By the time Justinian invaded, the Ostrogoths were imprisoning the Pope and slitting Catholic throats.
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2010, 11:08:12 AM »

Is the Orthodox Church really the one, true, faith founded by Jesus Christ?  

Yes.  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2010, 11:12:32 AM »

I was raised an Italian Catholic. Although Italians can join the OC, there is no specific Italian ethnic form of Orthodoxy or even Orthodox parishes of Italian backround that I could attend in order to help preserve my cultural legacy. 

You are looking for Church to help preserve your cultural legacy?
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« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2010, 11:15:06 AM »

Seems dear Justinian would rather destroy than re-convert other Christians to the true faith.

The Ostrogoths tolerated Catholics for a while, since Rome allowed them to control Papal appointment and daily affairs; but that didn't last too long. By the time Justinian invaded, the Ostrogoths were imprisoning the Pope and slitting Catholic throats.

Bad history. Try again.

M.
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« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2010, 11:18:42 AM »

I'm not sure why you're looking for the Church to satisfy your cultural needs. No one is saying you have to give up your culture to become Orthodox.

Since when should ancestral descent interfere with serving God?  Huh
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« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2010, 11:26:50 AM »



Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?  Doesn't the very concept of the Pope as top man and controlling (Or, at least trying to control) the whole operation of the Church make more sense from a logical and truly Catholic perspective?  When they came up with the 5 Patriarch idea, wasn't that just based on the jurisdictional situation of the Roman empire which has long since (Sadly) been defunct.




In orthodoxy the central focal point is on Christ as the top man. So the real question should be, Is anyone capable of filling his shoes?
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« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2010, 11:32:06 AM »

Bad history. Try again.

 Cheesy Someone has been reading too much Cassiodorus.
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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2010, 12:17:20 PM »

I'm not sure why you're looking for the Church to satisfy your cultural needs. No one is saying you have to give up your culture to become Orthodox. Since when should ancestral descent interfere with serving God?  Huh

Agreed. This is true.

Specific ethnicity of any kind is not a requirement for embracing the Orthodox Faith. One needn't be a Greek, a Russian, a Syrian, a Romania, or any other ethnicity to be a member of the Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church. 

Nor does any specific ethnicity disqualify one from membership in the Orthodox Church. In many places today, the majority of new converts, and in some cases the majority of membership in local church communities, is made up of individuals who don't represent the ethnic populations who were the founding families of the parish.

The whole issue of any person's ethnic background, therefore, is essentially a moot point.   

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« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2010, 12:25:16 PM »

Bad history. Try again.

 Cheesy Someone has been reading too much Cassiodorus.

Just enough!!  laugh
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« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2010, 12:29:17 PM »

Is the Orthodox Church really the one, true, faith founded by Jesus Christ?  I've struggled with this one for a long time and am sort of at a cross roads in my life.  

Could someone give me some type of evidence that can emphatically prove that the OC is the way God wants things to be?

Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?  Doesn't the very concept of the Pope as top man and controlling (Or, at least trying to control) the whole operation of the Church make more sense from a logical and truly Catholic perspective?  When they came up with the 5 Patriarch idea, wasn't that just based on the jurisdictional situation of the Roman empire which has long since (Sadly) been defunct.

I'm not trying to goad anybody or proselytize for anything.  I'm just asking these questions since, coming from an RC backround they are what I've struggled with.  I tried talking about them to an Orthodox priest, but his answers were not very satisfactory for me (He claimed that he didn't know much about the RCC in the first place and seemed to believe that the RC's worship the Popes every word as infallible).  I don't know how anyone could not know anything about Catholicism but this guy didn't do a very good job talking about it to me.  I also brought up the universality of the Church (Which seemed somewhat lacking in the OC to me).  He gave me some talk about how the true church exists when only a handful of people believe (This didn't answer why there is no outward, actual, real unity in the OC as opposed to the, at least superficial appearance you get with the RCC). These questions mean something to my worldview since I was raised to believe in quantity over quality.  The bigger and better something was presented to me then the truer it must be.  I freely admit to being  not from a Protestant "Bible Baptist" type backround.  I like the extravagance of life.  I come from  deeply expressionist, deeply Catholic type of people (Ones who it is frequently said that "God made us Catholic before making us Christian").  I only get the big picture.  If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?

Dear Robb,

Asking why there appears to be disunity among the Orthodox Churches is like asking why there are sexual predators among Catholic clergy and in the episcopate.

It be de debbil!!  police

What is REALLY bothering you about your journey?

Mary
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« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2010, 03:33:16 PM »

Thank you all for these answers.  As I approach the allotted time for my re entrance into the OC, certain doubts and fears, no doubt due to my own fallible human weakness have crept in.  What better place to get them off my chest then on an Orthodox message board.

True.

 It still bothers me that Orthodoxy has only recently begun to make an impact here in North America and that the only places on Earth where the Church is well known are those countries which she is the majority religion (As opposed to the RCC which is everywhere in the world to a certain extent).

That's largely the result of cultural/political history. If you look at any significant missionary effort after Justinian, it came from an (imperial) cultural/political position of strength (for the Orthodox, Cyril & Methodios; for the Roman Catholics, the Germans amongst the West Slavic tribes, the Portuguese throughout their Empire, the Spanish throughout their theirs, even the French, etc.). It just so happened that most of the Western European Empires flourished at a time of greater navigation-related technology, so they built truly massive colonies in Africa, Central America, South America, North America, Southeast Asia, etc -- literally all of the areas that were converted to Roman Catholicism in the 15th through 19th centuries. Before those Empires, Rome's influence was quite small in geography and numbers. At times, it was even confined to the upper part of the Italian & Iberian peninsulas, with only parts of modern-day Germany and France.

Anyway, it just so happened that those essential centuries -- the 15th through the 19th -- wherein Roman Catholic Empires exploded worldwide, were precisely the same centuries where the ancient Orthodox lands fell under total Muslim oppression. Christians in Eastern Europe and the Middle East did the dying, while those in the West did the conquering. The only exception, of course, was the Russian Empire, which expanded tremendously -- quite to the concern of the Roman Catholic Empires. If you read German, French, or British newspapers in the 19th century, for example, they were quite worried about the lumbering, gigantic menace from the East (much like we are now concerned that China and/or India will overtake us in technological, military, and scientific areas). But even that one Orthodox Empire (compared to four very powerful Roman Catholic and one Protestant one) soon fell and experienced equal persecution and destruction.

If you lived before the Muslim invasions, you'd be wondering the exact same things about that Roman Bishop, the majority of whose canonical territory was filled with uncooth, Arian barbarians.

Yes, its true that colonial expansion was the primary motivation for religious expansion as far as the RCC is concerned.  However, one must also ask, why did this happen?  Why did history play out the way it did and not int he exact opposite manner?  Was the hand of God present writing straight with crooked lines throughout these often times tragic historical events so that his will would be done?  Or was it all just a big coincidence?
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« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2010, 03:39:46 PM »

Is the Orthodox Church really the one, true, faith founded by Jesus Christ?  I've struggled with this one for a long time and am sort of at a cross roads in my life.  

Could someone give me some type of evidence that can emphatically prove that the OC is the way God wants things to be?

Why, for instance would God want his Church to be a string of self governing national ones instead of a unified central authority like the Papacy?  Doesn't the very concept of the Pope as top man and controlling (Or, at least trying to control) the whole operation of the Church make more sense from a logical and truly Catholic perspective?  When they came up with the 5 Patriarch idea, wasn't that just based on the jurisdictional situation of the Roman empire which has long since (Sadly) been defunct.

I'm not trying to goad anybody or proselytize for anything.  I'm just asking these questions since, coming from an RC backround they are what I've struggled with.  I tried talking about them to an Orthodox priest, but his answers were not very satisfactory for me (He claimed that he didn't know much about the RCC in the first place and seemed to believe that the RC's worship the Popes every word as infallible).  I don't know how anyone could not know anything about Catholicism but this guy didn't do a very good job talking about it to me.  I also brought up the universality of the Church (Which seemed somewhat lacking in the OC to me).  He gave me some talk about how the true church exists when only a handful of people believe (This didn't answer why there is no outward, actual, real unity in the OC as opposed to the, at least superficial appearance you get with the RCC). These questions mean something to my worldview since I was raised to believe in quantity over quality.  The bigger and better something was presented to me then the truer it must be.  I freely admit to being  not from a Protestant "Bible Baptist" type backround.  I like the extravagance of life.  I come from  deeply expressionist, deeply Catholic type of people (Ones who it is frequently said that "God made us Catholic before making us Christian").  I only get the big picture.  If Orthodoxy is true then why isn't it big and important everywhere like the RCC is?

Dear Robb,

Asking why there appears to be disunity among the Orthodox Churches is like asking why there are sexual predators among Catholic clergy and in the episcopate.

It be de debbil!!  police

What is REALLY bothering you about your journey?

Mary

The exact problems that I've listed above.  You can't seriously be telling me that these simple questions of mine are either seen as so ridiculous or so baffling that no one has ever thought of them before?

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« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2010, 04:38:34 PM »

You can't seriously be telling me that these simple questions of mine are either seen as so ridiculous or so baffling that no one has ever thought of them before?

Certainly not ridiculous or baffling since they are causing you such turmoil. But your questions do seem to proceed from, or at least be based upon, a particular set of personal opinions and assumptions. Which makes it a little more difficult to respond to, since those assumptions are not necessarily shared by others, and may indeed be faulty to begin with, in their opinions.
For example, bigger is better. And God wants it that way - if I may paraphrase. Both these assumptions that underlie your concerns and trouble you may indeed be false. In any case, the evidence is lacking, don't you think?
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« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2010, 04:50:46 PM »

Well, if you were God and you were going to get the whole operation of Christianity offground and visible to the world, wouldn't it make sense to have a Church that's visible and out there so that they can get the message out?  Also the idea of unity is important because everybody needs a head man, a front guy in order to call the shots when necessary.

It just seems to me that if Christianity is real and that if God was going to take the time out to go through with it in the first place them maybe the RCC system of structure as well as PR makes more sense to me.  After all, what is the Church but a living , breathing, organic entity that's out there for all to see, or is it a hidden thing, something that's kept secret in a cave and presided over by a set of mystical elders who are solely interested in attaining some height of spiritual perfection on their own part that they forget the truly universal nature of the Church and cease to care about outwardly spreading her message?

I'm just saying...
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« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2010, 05:01:01 PM »

Well, if you were God and you were going to get the whole operation of Christianity offground and visible to the world, wouldn't it make sense to have a Church that's visible and out there so that they can get the message out?  Also the idea of unity is important because everybody needs a head man, a front guy in order to call the shots when necessary.

It just seems to me that if Christianity is real and that if God was going to take the time out to go through with it in the first place them maybe the RCC system of structure as well as PR makes more sense to me.  After all, what is the Church but a living , breathing, organic entity that's out there for all to see, or is it a hidden thing, something that's kept secret in a cave and presided over by a set of mystical elders who are solely interested in attaining some height of spiritual perfection on their own part that they forget the truly universal nature of the Church and cease to care about outwardly spreading her message?

I'm just saying...

My Italian friends always tell me that we Greeks think backwards. I always tell them that while Italians are always looking to do greater things we Greeks are trying to preserve what we already have before we loss it. Wink.
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« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2010, 05:05:43 PM »

Well, if you were God and you were going to get the whole operation of Christianity offground and visible to the world, wouldn't it make sense to have a Church that's visible and out there so that they can get the message out?  Also the idea of unity is important because everybody needs a head man, a front guy in order to call the shots when necessary.
Then why isn't that what happened? Christians were a persecuted minority in the early days - considered cannibals and atheists! So in it's earliest years, when you'd think that God's marketing campaign would be to "brand" Christianity with the elite ruling class, He did something else.

And what you're calling "unity" isn't unity, it seems to me - it's a dictatorship. Conformity imposed from above. True unity is achieved from the ground up.

Quote
It just seems to me that if Christianity is real and that if God was going to take the time out to go through with it in the first place them maybe the RCC system of structure as well as PR makes more sense to me.  After all, what is the Church but a living , breathing, organic entity that's out there for all to see, or is it a hidden thing, something that's kept secret in a cave and presided over by a set of mystical elders who are solely interested in attaining some height of spiritual perfection on their own part that they forget the truly universal nature of the Church and cease to care about outwardly spreading her message?
More faulty assumptions. The Orthodox Church has always been out there for everyone to see, and the only reason it was hidden in a cave was to escape persecution.
I have to ask, how much do you know about Orthodoxy and/or Christian history? Because these things are simply either not true or not supported by evidence.


I'm just saying...
[/quote]
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« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2010, 05:36:35 PM »

Well, if you were God and you were going to get the whole operation of Christianity offground and visible to the world, wouldn't it make sense to have a Church that's visible and out there so that they can get the message out?  Also the idea of unity is important because everybody needs a head man, a front guy in order to call the shots when necessary.

It just seems to me that if Christianity is real and that if God was going to take the time out to go through with it in the first place them maybe the RCC system of structure as well as PR makes more sense to me.  After all, what is the Church but a living , breathing, organic entity that's out there for all to see, or is it a hidden thing, something that's kept secret in a cave and presided over by a set of mystical elders who are solely interested in attaining some height of spiritual perfection on their own part that they forget the truly universal nature of the Church and cease to care about outwardly spreading her message?

I'm just saying...

My Italian friends always tell me that we Greeks think backwards. I always tell them that while Italians are always looking to do greater things we Greeks are trying to preserve what we already have before we loss it. Wink.

I love your riposte! When I lived in Italy, the locals often said that Italians are often accused of the same thing (mostly by Germans) and their response was similar to yours.   Cheesy

OTH, I think that Robb's inquiry is a valid one. I too have wondered why we are no more than 2% of the population in the United States, for example. I do not immediately jump to easy conclusions like Robb seems to do: the reason must be that the Protestants and/or Roman Catholics are favored by God. There are valid historical reasons that, IMHO, have nothing to do with providence. In any case, in the scheme of things, the past 2000 years may be but a nano-second for God--that is, it may be meaningless to draw any conclusions in this matter.
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« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2010, 06:19:11 PM »

Well, if you were God and you were going to get the whole operation of Christianity offground and visible to the world, wouldn't it make sense to have a Church that's visible and out there so that they can get the message out?  Also the idea of unity is important because everybody needs a head man, a front guy in order to call the shots when necessary.
We have one:

Quote
It just seems to me that if Christianity is real and that if God was going to take the time out to go through with it in the first place them maybe the RCC system of structure as well as PR makes more sense to me.  After all, what is the Church but a living , breathing, organic entity that's out there for all to see, or is it a hidden thing, something that's kept secret in a cave and presided over by a set of mystical elders who are solely interested in attaining some height of spiritual perfection on their own part that they forget the truly universal nature of the Church and cease to care about outwardly spreading her message?

I'm just saying...
you're overfocused on the Vatican's interpretation of Matthew 16:18.  Focus instead on the Orthodox interpretation of Matthew 16:23
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« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2010, 08:21:51 PM »

Perhaps neither of them are the true Church.
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« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2010, 09:39:01 AM »

Perhaps neither of them are the true Church.

You, too, are neither then, right?  Huh

Cosmos  Undecided
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« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2010, 09:53:40 AM »

Perhaps neither of them are the true Church.

You, too, are neither then, right?  Huh

Cosmos  Undecided

So what do you think about all this with Rob, Father?

I never want to turn someone who is genuinely drawn to Orthodoxy away from what is pulling them. 

But sometimes I do meet people who do not let go of some of their beliefs...particularly and not so strangely the belief in the Immaculate Conception and petrine primacy.    But they willingly suppress those beliefs and keep them in pectore and that is that.  You tend not to find those people interacting on discussion boards on the Internet, and they don't say much publicly either, but they love Orthodoxy and they love her liturgies and people and spirituality.

I would come myself in a moment were it not for the schism principally for the spiritual praxis and liturgical prayer that is closer to my own interior prayer.

I have set myself up a bit differently and have a public voice and strong impulses to work in my own very limited way toward a resumption of communion, so I don't suffer quite as I once did from living in this liminal space.

But I certainly do understand the struggle.  Not so much as Rob has expressed but generally, and the "silent" ones who fear that their thoughts and hopes will be turned against them are really a heart breaker in my way of thinking.

M.
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« Reply #42 on: May 22, 2010, 11:35:55 AM »

Dear Robb,

This post makes sense if you are thinking of the establishment of the Church as a human institution.

The difficulty with a 'head man' approach is that you are still putting a 'fallen' man in charge.  He is subject to sin, error, negligence, temptation, etc.  He goes down, and the system is in trouble.  Human institutions notoriously creep towards totalitarianism, and then they collapse.  Look at the Roman Empire, and now America, then back to every dynasty in every nation.  Such systems fail.

What you need to look at is the Church's fruits.  Despite the humans who fail in the Church (bishops, priests, laypeople), it has successfully preserved the Apostolic Teaching where others have spun off into profound heresy.

Israel had judges, but they cried out for a king like other nations.  What they got was Saul, and eventually the whole thing (even with some very good kings) unravelled.

God save us from the 'head man!'



Well, if you were God and you were going to get the whole operation of Christianity offground and visible to the world, wouldn't it make sense to have a Church that's visible and out there so that they can get the message out?  Also the idea of unity is important because everybody needs a head man, a front guy in order to call the shots when necessary.

It just seems to me that if Christianity is real and that if God was going to take the time out to go through with it in the first place them maybe the RCC system of structure as well as PR makes more sense to me.  After all, what is the Church but a living , breathing, organic entity that's out there for all to see, or is it a hidden thing, something that's kept secret in a cave and presided over by a set of mystical elders who are solely interested in attaining some height of spiritual perfection on their own part that they forget the truly universal nature of the Church and cease to care about outwardly spreading her message?

I'm just saying...
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« Reply #43 on: May 22, 2010, 04:53:11 PM »

A lot of my struggles also have to do with culture as well and its intertwined impact with religion (Something that EO's should be very familiar with).  I come from a  culture that has been heavily influenced by the RCC, just as the Greeks and Russians have been by the OC.  To give this up is not so easy for me to contemplate.

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« Reply #44 on: May 22, 2010, 05:04:28 PM »

A lot of my struggles also have to do with culture as well and its intertwined impact with religion (Something that EO's should be very familiar with).  I come from a  culture that has been heavily influenced by the RCC, just as the Greeks and Russians have been by the OC.  To give this up is not so easy for me to contemplate.



Yes. But your Italian/Latin culture was Orthodox for a thousand years before being Roman Catholic for a thousand.
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