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Author Topic: Patriarch Bartholomew: Convening the Great Council  (Read 18761 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #225 on: June 09, 2010, 05:32:40 PM »

Dear S.C.,

I would say the 'failure' of the American Orthodox Church has to do more with retention of the 'ethnic identities,' something which America has specialized at breaking down from the beginning.  After all, who thinks about the 'Dutch community of New York City?'   Wink

I recall Fr. Thomas Hopko lamenting about how all the seminarians were converts (me being one of them).  Parishes with growth have more converts than those that don't as a general rule. 

Parishes with a heavy 'ethnic flair' do more often than not produce a generation that knows nothing of Christ but lots about the ethnicity, and those who decide the ethnicity isn't all that great end up outside the Church.  This is what we have seen happen to lots of Orthodox ethnic communities.  More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.

The problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?

The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.  Strictness works with converts and very few ethnic communities (the strictest are the Copts by far!), but on the whole if you try holding the line with the average immigrant he will tell you to pound sand and will find a more 'accommodating' parish.

If you think I am joking, go into these communities and find out what their attitudes are on abortion, premarital sex, cohabitation, etc. are.

Again, I don't see many laudable efforts in this regard.  There are a few bright beacons: the Church of Alexandria is doing marvelous work in converting Africa, and the Romanian Orthodox Church is making progress in tackling social issues like alcoholism. 

However, these are exceptions rather than the usual.  I'm afraid the Great Council, if convened, will probably not address the major social issues that are devastating our populations.  I don't say this with any happiness, but rather great sorrow, because I do believe that all of us are part of the one Body of Christ.

I just wish the hierarchs would spend less time worrying about dyptiches and more time trying to convert people to Jesus Christ.


Dear Father Giryus--I am afraid that you are right. The sad thing is that the old country churches may be mired in the past, under the influence foreign governments, or myopic in not thinking that a truly united, non-ethnic American Church would help them much more than their exarchates ever could. In any case, the proof of the pudding is the fact that, at least in North America, we have a failed Orthodox Church--failed in the sense that its percentage of the total believers has remained the same for decades and thus she has not successful in pursuing the Great Commission.

Father Giryus--You drew such a gloomy picture that I hope Vespers tonight will give me hope for our future. I wonder if things are different in the South and West of the Mississippi. In my experiences in the Antiochian parishes in those areas, I met many converts (sometimes the Priest and well over half of the congregation). Today, I am noticing that some of the recent immigrants are little by little catechised by the example of the converts, who had been properly catechised, often for around one year. It seems hard for a convert priest to tell a cradle Orthodox that he needs catechism and proper Orthodox praxis, without creating waves. And, I do not know that cradle priests would have an easier time of doing that anyway. The solution is what you pointed: if we focus on the mission, we will evangelize ourselves and those around us.
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« Reply #226 on: June 09, 2010, 05:42:36 PM »

Thank you, Orthodoc.  However, I wish I could be congratulating me for saying something more inspiring.

I want to emphasize that Americans, converts in particular, are full of all kinds of kookiness.  We do not have all the answers.

I think we need each other more than ever, but in the positive sense.  I need some old Greek monks warning me to stay in prayer and slow down.  I need to learn fortitude from those old folks who think of nothing but standing for hours in church even without 'participating' as defined by our hyper-vocative converts with a death grip on a bulletin in one hand and a hymnal in the other (oh, yeah, we don't have those...).

What saddens me and, on bad days, sickens me, is that everyone is busy trying to establish 'superiority,' all the while demonstrating how inferior we all are.  We are all sick.  We need to be fighting over the last place at the table, not the first.

I am not looking for American hegemony in the Church, but I would like a bishop in each city who is interested in all the people in the city, not just 'his.'



Bravo Father!  Couldn't have said it better myself!

Talk to any apostate from the Orthodox Church and you will find most were brought up in ethnic orientated parishes and know nothing about Orthodoxy but everything about etnic customs etc.  Nine out of ten will refer to their former parish by its ethnic identity rather than its Orthodox identity.  Exampes:  The Russian Church, the Greek Church, the Romanian Church, etc.  Most will also end with something like - "After all,, it's all the same and we all pray to the same God.  We all have them even within our own families.  My sister is the perfect example.

Most will be suppored by their Orthodox family members becauses after all they can bake the traditional Pascha bread, do Pysanky, make the Pascha foods, etc.  So they are still orthodox in a sense.  Jesus Christ is somewhere in the attic!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #227 on: June 10, 2010, 01:03:39 PM »

Dear S.C.,

I would say the 'failure' of the American Orthodox Church has to do more with retention of the 'ethnic identities,' something which America has specialized at breaking down from the beginning.  After all, who thinks about the 'Dutch community of New York City?'   Wink

LOL. Martin Van Buren, the first president born a U.S. citizen and the only one not a native English speaker:coming from NY, he spoke Dutch.  Btw, so did Sojourner Truth.

Quote
I recall Fr. Thomas Hopko lamenting about how all the seminarians were converts (me being one of them).  Parishes with growth have more converts than those that don't as a general rule.  

Parishes with a heavy 'ethnic flair' do more often than not produce a generation that knows nothing of Christ but lots about the ethnicity, and those who decide the ethnicity isn't all that great end up outside the Church.  This is what we have seen happen to lots of Orthodox ethnic communities.  More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.

The problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?

The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.  Strictness works with converts and very few ethnic communities (the strictest are the Copts by far!), but on the whole if you try holding the line with the average immigrant he will tell you to pound sand and will find a more 'accommodating' parish.

If you think I am joking, go into these communities and find out what their attitudes are on abortion, premarital sex, cohabitation, etc. are.

Again, I don't see many laudable efforts in this regard.  There are a few bright beacons: the Church of Alexandria is doing marvelous work in converting Africa, and the Romanian Orthodox Church is making progress in tackling social issues like alcoholism.  

However, these are exceptions rather than the usual.  I'm afraid the Great Council, if convened, will probably not address the major social issues that are devastating our populations.  I don't say this with any happiness, but rather great sorrow, because I do believe that all of us are part of the one Body of Christ.

I just wish the hierarchs would spend less time worrying about dyptiches and more time trying to convert people to Jesus Christ.[/font][/size]

Dear Father Giryus--I am afraid that you are right. The sad thing is that the old country churches may be mired in the past, under the influence foreign governments, or myopic in not thinking that a truly united, non-ethnic American Church would help them much more than their exarchates ever could. In any case, the proof of the pudding is the fact that, at least in North America, we have a failed Orthodox Church--failed in the sense that its percentage of the total believers has remained the same for decades and thus she has not successful in pursuing the Great Commission.

I"m afraid I agree on all of the above.  The Mother Churches, like the rest of it, have some timber to cut..
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 01:04:12 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #228 on: June 10, 2010, 01:34:49 PM »

Quote
More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.
Ever thought that the said immigrants might have families o feed and money don't come for them as easily as for the natives?

T
Quote
he problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?
Do you read Russian or Greek, or Serbian or Romanian or Arabic etc?
Have you been for a significant period of time in any of those countries?
If no, then what you wrote are just uninformed opinions. When it comes to Orthodox stuff, more things are written in languages other than English.
Quote
The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.
They/We never had "theological formation", except for priests , of course. Yet, these folks are certainly churched in so far as Orthodoxy isn't something exotic, but something familiar to them. Things could be better, but I do not think the answer is 'make them armchair theologians".

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« Reply #229 on: June 10, 2010, 01:48:41 PM »

Do you read Russian or Greek, or Serbian or Romanian or Arabic etc?
Have you been for a significant period of time in any of those countries?
If no, then what you wrote are just uninformed opinions. When it comes to Orthodox stuff, more things are written in languages other than English.

Are the opinions accurate, though?  Also -- is all this "Orthodox stuff" being read?  Discussed?  Applied in the lives of the faithful?  If not, then so what?

They/We never had "theological formation", except for priests , of course. Yet, these folks are certainly churched in so far as Orthodoxy isn't something exotic, but something familiar to them. Things could be better, but I do not think the answer is 'make them armchair theologians".

That is not the be all/end all, sure.  But a modicum of basic theology and (more than that) Christian morality/asceticism is not too much to ask, and it is the very thing that is often unaddressed.  Not always--my Lebanese godfather is a fine example of self-restraint, charity, and warmth, and though he's definitely not a theologian in the academic sense, he knows enough to know what he is and why--but even he laments the near-total apathy towards the teachings and services of the Church that almost all members of his family display.
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #230 on: June 10, 2010, 01:54:48 PM »

Quote
More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.
Ever thought that the said immigrants might have families o feed and money don't come for them as easily as for the natives?

T
Quote
he problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?
Do you read Russian or Greek, or Serbian or Romanian or Arabic etc?
Have you been for a significant period of time in any of those countries?
If no, then what you wrote are just uninformed opinions. When it comes to Orthodox stuff, more things are written in languages other than English.
Quote
The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.
They/We never had "theological formation", except for priests , of course. Yet, these folks are certainly churched in so far as Orthodoxy isn't something exotic, but something familiar to them. Things could be better, but I do not think the answer is 'make them armchair theologians".



Granted that we do not need millions or even thousands of armchair theologians (unlike us on this forum Wink), I would think that there is a special challenge to catechize cradle Orthodox, especially those who were/are nominal Orthodox. How about these minimal requirements:

A. Try to participate fully in at least two services a week--A vespers and a Divine Liturgy? By "fully" I mean being there at the beginning and at the end.

B. Try to take communion every time that it is offered. This means fasting, praying and confession (at intervals specified by your priest).

C. Try to give to the church a portion of your time, talents and income. Regularly.
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« Reply #231 on: June 10, 2010, 02:06:59 PM »

Quote
More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.
Ever thought that the said immigrants might have families o feed and money don't come for them as easily as for the natives?

Because the native, especially the native Alaskans, don't have families to feed and they just have to put out their hands and the gold falls down into their hands.
It has been my experience that money issues are far, far more emphasized in ethnic parishes. Sometimes I wonder if the services besides Pascha were in English, if they would even know.

Quote
The problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?
Do you read Russian or Greek, or Serbian or Romanian or Arabic etc?
Have you been for a significant period of time in any of those countries?
If no, then what you wrote are just uninformed opinions. When it comes to Orthodox stuff, more things are written in languages other than English.
I do.
I have.
I have seen in Russian, Romanian and Arabic things originally written in English for sale abroad.  Fr. Alexander Schmeman said that the greatest honor he ever received was hearing that his "For the Life of the World" was published samizdat in the Soviet Union.

Quote
The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.
They/We never had "theological formation", except for priests , of course. Yet, these folks are certainly churched in so far as Orthodoxy isn't something exotic, but something familiar to them. Things could be better, but I do not think the answer is 'make them armchair theologians".
I didn't see that being advocated.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 02:07:56 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #232 on: June 10, 2010, 02:10:04 PM »

Do you read Russian or Greek, or Serbian or Romanian or Arabic etc?
Have you been for a significant period of time in any of those countries?
If no, then what you wrote are just uninformed opinions. When it comes to Orthodox stuff, more things are written in languages other than English.

Are the opinions accurate, though?  Also -- is all this "Orthodox stuff" being read?  Discussed?  Applied in the lives of the faithful?  If not, then so what?

They/We never had "theological formation", except for priests , of course. Yet, these folks are certainly churched in so far as Orthodoxy isn't something exotic, but something familiar to them. Things could be better, but I do not think the answer is 'make them armchair theologians".

That is not the be all/end all, sure.  But a modicum of basic theology and (more than that) Christian morality/asceticism is not too much to ask, and it is the very thing that is often unaddressed.  Not always--my Lebanese godfather is a fine example of self-restraint, charity, and warmth, and though he's definitely not a theologian in the academic sense, he knows enough to know what he is and why--but even he laments the near-total apathy towards the teachings and services of the Church that almost all members of his family display.
A priest we used to have used to say such were not Christians, just "non-Muslim."
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 02:10:48 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #233 on: June 10, 2010, 02:13:48 PM »

Quote
Are the opinions accurate, though?  Also -- is all this "Orthodox stuff" being read?  Discussed?  Applied in the lives of the faithful?  If not, then so what?
The point is that one cannot have a good understanding of what is going on in the orthodox homelands, if he doesn't read their respective languages. At a minimum.
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« Reply #234 on: June 10, 2010, 02:16:51 PM »

Quote
I have seen in Russian, Romanian and Arabic things originally written in English for sale abroad.
So?
I have a couple of Schmemann's books in Romanian. Early nineties.
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« Reply #235 on: June 10, 2010, 02:18:14 PM »

Dear Augustin,

I don't pretend to know all of what goes on in other countries.  My point is being of the receiving end of those countries immigrants.

There are many pious people who immigrate, but there are an equal number who apparently have no formation whatsoever, and these people make up a sizable portion of who we have to deal with here.

The point is that, despite all the books and monasteries and institutions in the Mother Churches, they have just as many problems reaching their own people as we have trying to manage the people we have.

The logical extension is that if these churches are having mixed results in their own comfort zone, how much more difficult will they find a culturally mixed venue like America.  So, the default position has been to purposefully ignore those we are not comfortable with and focus on 'our own kind.'  This means, however, that we must also ignore the Great Commandment of Christ.

I also went to pains to point out the obvious successes of some of these churches.  I do not believe that all the folks overseas are impious, but I do not believe that the spirituality of the church in, let's say, Russia, is any more superior than anywhere else in the Church, including here, because we all share in the One Holy Spirit.  Plus, I don't see where the fruits of any one part of the Church appears to be much better than anywhere else.

I know the struggles of immigrants, but I also know a good number of them, in my experiences, will literally choose to work on Sundays or simply stay home because, as they tell me in the 'Old Country,' "Nobody every said we had to go to church every Sunday, and most people don't."  No matter what I say or do, they simply won't budge from how they lived in ___________, even when I explain to them that if they don't make regular attendance a priority, their children will not remain Orthodox here.  I usually get laughed at, but I have been around long enough to see the results.

Most immigrants are not prepared by the Mother Churches to face the temptations of American life.  I will say that I think it is easier to be nominally Orthodox in traditionally Orthodox countries, but it is virtually impossible for this condition to last more than a generation.  That's my point.

But, when people come here, puffed up with pride in their 'superior origins' of coming from __________ where the Orthodoxy is 'better,' it is impossible to warn or advise them of the dangers they face.  When they see that they can make more money working weekends and will sacrifice their relationship with the Church for the sake of more cash, they will do so and won't even make the effort (except for a few commendable cases that I have heard) to send their children to church.

The problem I see is that some hierarchs will beat down Americans and America in front of the immigrant community, and this hardens their hearts to learning from the experience of faithful Americans who can help them adjust and deal with the challenges.  Instead, they go on about how the Church is 'better back home,' and won't particiate here in making things better, and thus the Gospel is not preached.  The price that is paid, however, is a loss of the next generation.

Again, I want to emphasize for you, Augustin, that this is not true of all immigrants.  I have seen the pious faithful from many lands.  I have seen for myself the marvelous works of the Church of Romania with my own eyes, and even now I do what I can to support them, but that does not mean that there are no problems.  Even now, Moldova is being held captive and two Mother Churches had done 'battle' for years over the Ukraine.

I would like to hear how the Mother Churches are dealing with abortion and helping people out of dialectic materialism.  The people I deal with have no idea.

I cannot judge what I do not know, and all I know is what is sent my way.  It is like, I suppose, judging America by watching episodes of 'Beverly Hills 90210.'  It sounds stupid, but lots of Europeans do just that.  However, I think that they can learn something about a country that would produce such a show, and so I can learn something by observing the people who come here.

However, if you say that I can not judge anything about the Mother Churches because I cannot read their languages and explore their depths, then I ask how bishops who cannot speak our language and do not know us can make decisions about people they don't know.




Quote
More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.
Ever thought that the said immigrants might have families o feed and money don't come for them as easily as for the natives?

T
Quote
he problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?
Do you read Russian or Greek, or Serbian or Romanian or Arabic etc?
Have you been for a significant period of time in any of those countries?
If no, then what you wrote are just uninformed opinions. When it comes to Orthodox stuff, more things are written in languages other than English.
Quote
The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.
They/We never had "theological formation", except for priests , of course. Yet, these folks are certainly churched in so far as Orthodoxy isn't something exotic, but something familiar to them. Things could be better, but I do not think the answer is 'make them armchair theologians".


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« Reply #236 on: June 10, 2010, 02:30:45 PM »



Exactly!

Now I think you are getting the point: there is a social disconnect between the American community and the other churches who are seeking to have control over local affairs which they cannot effectively govern due to the linguistical and cultural gaps.

let me give you an example: a convert priest went to meet with his bishop.  The two came away thinking that the other hates him.  After some intervention from some of the old-timers, it was discovered that the priest and the bishop in fact agreed on just about everything, but how they expressed themselves.  If something so subtle as voice intonation can throw a pastoral relationship onto the rocks, imagine the challenges that lie ahead if the Mother Curches continue to try to micro-manage the affairs of the Church here in America.



Quote
Are the opinions accurate, though?  Also -- is all this "Orthodox stuff" being read?  Discussed?  Applied in the lives of the faithful?  If not, then so what?
The point is that one cannot have a good understanding of what is going on in the orthodox homelands, if he doesn't read their respective languages. At a minimum.
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« Reply #237 on: June 10, 2010, 02:33:35 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.
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« Reply #238 on: June 10, 2010, 02:39:57 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.

Vow! and Double Vow!!!! So this is what happens to us after centuries of "thousands of nominal Orthodox." My goodness! The Gospel has turned into "(let) holiness blossom every now and then"!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, Augustin, that you are doing your country and your race a disservice by trying to excuse her shortcomings by every excuse imaginable.
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« Reply #239 on: June 10, 2010, 02:46:46 PM »

Yeah... aren't each and every one of us called to be saints? Holiness should be abounding and gushing forth from our parishes. Since it isn't, that tells us we have a LOT of work to do.

"Every now and then" indeed.

(My own priest would cry tears of joy if people were simply present at 10 AM and stayed until the final "Amen". These are serious issues, even if the problem is global and multi-generational.)
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« Reply #240 on: June 10, 2010, 02:47:25 PM »

I want to emphasize a few other points that may be lost on less-than-careful readers:

1) My own bishop is an immigrant, and a recent one at that, and I have watched his struggles to 'get' American culture.  It is difficult, and he has not given up on trying.  As a result, when there are misunderstandings, we are able to clear them up because he makes sure not to live in an ethnic coccoon.  He lives here and is constantly immersed in our culture.  It takes his full-time effort.

I don't think, without such sacrifice, that a foreigner could intuitively understand our cultures here in America and be able to guide church policy in an effective way.  This is my problem with anyone from overseas working hard to make sure we remain under their miniscule supervision.

2) I am grateful to our immigrant ancestors who sacrificed and struggled to build the Church here in America.  I would like to do them justice by helping their countrymen stay faithful to the Church.  This is not going to be done effectively so long as the church here is given second-class status.

Augustin, let me tell you something: nominalism might work elsewhere, but it does not work here.  It is also condemned in the Scriptures of the Church and our Holy Tradition as a whole.

Let us not be spat out for being lukewarm!
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« Reply #241 on: June 10, 2010, 02:49:29 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.

Vow! and Double Vow!!!! So this is what happens to us after centuries of "thousands of nominal Orthodox." My goodness! The Gospel has turned into "(let) holiness blossom every now and then"!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, Augustin, that you are doing your country and your race a disservice by trying to excuse her shortcomings by every excuse imaginable.
It seems to me you display a form of utopian Protestant idealism.
Do you really think everyone will or can be a saint?
In trying to make this utopia come true, the outcome will be not more holiness, but the destruction of cultures that, for all of their shortcomings, are more propitious to holiness than some top implemented ideology.
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« Reply #242 on: June 10, 2010, 02:52:29 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.

Vow! and Double Vow!!!! So this is what happens to us after centuries of "thousands of nominal Orthodox." My goodness! The Gospel has turned into "(let) holiness blossom every now and then"!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, Augustin, that you are doing your country and your race a disservice by trying to excuse her shortcomings by every excuse imaginable.
It seems to me you display a form of utopian Protestant idealism.
Do you really think everyone will or can be a saint?

Everyone is called to be one. Everybody should try to become one. And, yes many will fail. My problem is not with your apparent pessimism but your lack of faith.
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« Reply #243 on: June 10, 2010, 02:54:02 PM »

Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.

You say this like it's a bad thing. Yes, as a Protestant, for example, I was taught that you show up to church *every* week, you get there *early*, and you stay for the *whole service*.

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« Reply #244 on: June 10, 2010, 02:55:40 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.

Vow! and Double Vow!!!! So this is what happens to us after centuries of "thousands of nominal Orthodox." My goodness! The Gospel has turned into "(let) holiness blossom every now and then"!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, Augustin, that you are doing your country and your race a disservice by trying to excuse her shortcomings by every excuse imaginable.
It seems to me you display a form of utopian Protestant idealism.
Do you really think everyone will or can be a saint?

Everyone can and should WILL to be one, but no, not everyone WILL, as they follow their WILL and not HIS WILL.
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« Reply #245 on: June 10, 2010, 02:58:58 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.
The status quo may work in the old world but in America it is leading to churches that  may soon become mausoleums. There is nothing being sustained from these old world cultures; they die off. The statistics of adherents given by the diaspora churches are perhaps 75% incorrect. A well meaning individual in our church thought I became Orthodox to connect with my "heritage'. This kind of culture cannot sustain in America & even among nominals, some of the best saints who stood up for the faith like Sts.. Maximos the confessor,   John Chrysostom, & Gregpry Palamas were almost martyred or trampled by the status quo. Sorry I am rather skeptical of the staus quo as one may be towards "nominalism."
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« Reply #246 on: June 10, 2010, 03:08:40 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.
The status quo may work in the old world but in America it is leading to churches that  may soon become mausoleums. There is nothing being sustained from these old world cultures; they die off. The statistics of adherents given by the diaspora churches are perhaps 75% incorrect. A well meaning individual in our church thought I became Orthodox to connect with my "heritage'. This kind of culture cannot sustain in America & even among nominals, some of the best saints who stood up for the faith like Sts.. Maximos the confessor,   John Chrysostom, & Gregpry Palamas were almost martyred or trampled by the status quo. Sorry I am rather skeptical of the staus quo as one may be towards "nominalism."

Amen.
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« Reply #247 on: June 10, 2010, 03:16:16 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.

Vow! and Double Vow!!!! So this is what happens to us after centuries of "thousands of nominal Orthodox." My goodness! The Gospel has turned into "(let) holiness blossom every now and then"!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, Augustin, that you are doing your country and your race a disservice by trying to excuse her shortcomings by every excuse imaginable.
It seems to me you display a form of utopian Protestant idealism.
Do you really think everyone will or can be a saint?
In trying to make this utopia come true, the outcome will be not more holiness, but the destruction of cultures that, for all of their shortcomings, are more propitious to holiness than some top implemented ideology.

You seem to have added the last paragraph: "In trying to make this utopia come true, the outcome will be not more holiness, but the destruction of cultures that, for all of their shortcomings, are more propitious to holiness than some top implemented ideology."

Top-implemented ideologies are distasteful also for me. My "prescriptions" in the context of the United States of America are nothing but suggestions, recommendations and pleas. We have not, and we will never have, a state religion.

I understand the logical quandary that is faced by all nations whose religious ardor and practices have deteriorated over the years; after all, if your Church is part of the True Church and the Holy Spirit has been guiding and watching Her over all of these centuries, how can we possible find fault with Her? Friend, my answer is that there is a difference between Christ promising that the gates of Hell shall not prevail and a church not being perfect. Our Church, as imperfect that she may be, is still the One, Holy and Apostolic (true) Church. What makes her so are (a) the Lord who is Her Head and (b) the Body that is striving to follow the Lord, not some cultural or ethnic tradition.

Your previous question was whether all can be saints. If by this we mean "to be perfect," then no one can except for two people (the Lord and the Theotokos). Just as we approach the chalice ("Holy Things for the Holy"), even though none of us is holy and worthy to partake, we must strive to become holy, even if it is not a sure thing. We cannot afford to play games and pretend that everything is fine with ourselves or our Church. It takes constant work and struggle (at least for me) to try to follow my Lord.
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« Reply #248 on: June 10, 2010, 03:47:15 PM »

When I hear people deploring "nominalism" in the church, I automatically mistrust them. Various degrees of involvement and piety or indifference have always existed in our church. Some people do not understand that in order to have a few saints you need thousands of rather "nominal" Orthodox. They sustain an environment and a culture, where holiness can blossom every now and then.
Trying to restrict the Church to "dedicated believers" or whatever believers are deemd to be above the "nominal" is a Protestant impulse. It is -even if not conscious-an impulse coming from the radical cultural Protestantism of America, a cultural milieu obsessed with authenticity, introspection,  sincerity etc.
The healthiest solution is don't try to fix too much, but rather let things be.

Vow! and Double Vow!!!! So this is what happens to us after centuries of "thousands of nominal Orthodox." My goodness! The Gospel has turned into "(let) holiness blossom every now and then"!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, Augustin, that you are doing your country and your race a disservice by trying to excuse her shortcomings by every excuse imaginable.
It seems to me you display a form of utopian Protestant idealism.

Augustine, you almost make the criticism of Romanian society by its pogaiti valid. Rather then making this into some convert/American/Protestant thing, why do you quote some Father, any Father, who set mediocrity in the spiritual life as a goal.

Quote
Do you really think everyone will or can be a saint?
The Bible is in Romanian. Read it.  The services are in Romanian. Listen to them.

Quote
In trying to make this utopia come true, the outcome will be not more holiness, but the destruction of cultures that, for all of their shortcomings, are more propitious to holiness than some top implemented ideology.
Like Phanariotism.
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« Reply #249 on: June 10, 2010, 04:33:04 PM »

Also -- is all this "Orthodox stuff" being read?  Discussed? 

Yes, absolutely, amongst the 10 to 20 percent of the population that is engaged in the Church. When I was last in Greece, I was astounded at how much catechetical and devotional material there is. There's also a lot of substantial monographs being published. For example, something like 20 monographs published in a three-year period just on the theology of marriage. Compare that to our corpus in English, which probably has 10 or so solid books total from the last 100 years.

Applied in the lives of the faithful?  If not, then so what? 

Of course. Here's an example: By Western academic standards, the libraries are extremely poor, the digital integration even worse, and the lending/access policies are dismal. It's easy to be a pious Orthodox -- tons of monasteries, churches, daily services in parishes, relics, compatriots, clergy, societies, etc. -- but very hard to be a scholar or theologian. Less in the head, more in the living.

In general, when it comes to numbers, things are rather similar, just on a larger scale. In America, a large city may have something like 100,000 "Orthodox" people living in it. Probably no more than 10 to 20 percent attend church. Of those who attend, even fewer are deeply engaged. Here in America, that means there might be 10,000 people in church, scattered amongst a population of 5,000,000 -- thereby diluting any sense of critical mass. In a good Orthodox city, it's 100,000 people in a population of 1,000,000 -- allowing for the minority to have a relatively larger footprint in many ways.

Many are called, but few are chosen. That's just reality, in Orthodox lands and most certainly here in America (we have no superior record with which to bash the old countries). That goes for "convert" parishes as well, if you take a truly long-term look, instead of just a 1 or 5 or 10 year snapshot. Going back to the two parishes I grew up in as a kid -- both with a strong convert base -- almost every single one of the original converts have experienced extended periods of absence and a significant percentage are simply gone. Some became Old Calendarists; some have drifted away off and on; some have totally left; others have kids who experienced various levels of disconnection or apostasy as they matured into teens and then young adults, etc. 

Again, many are called, but few are chosen. It's just the nature of reality in this time before the parousia.
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« Reply #250 on: June 11, 2010, 01:15:26 AM »

Quote
Augustine, you almost make the criticism of Romanian society by its pogaiti valid. Rather then making this into some convert/American/Protestant thing, why do you quote some Father, any Father, who set mediocrity in the spiritual life as a goal.
They [pocaitii] are just frustrated/dissatisfied Orthodox. And stupid beyond measure having traded the faith of their parents for a joke "made in America/England/Germany". Many are coming back, though. I hope they are also tired of being "holier" than average.
Quote
Like Phanariotism.
That's true. That was a society more conductive to holiness than a consumerist society.
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« Reply #251 on: June 11, 2010, 01:39:35 AM »

Quote
Augustine, you almost make the criticism of Romanian society by its pogaiti valid. Rather then making this into some convert/American/Protestant thing, why do you quote some Father, any Father, who set mediocrity in the spiritual life as a goal.
They [pocaitii] are just frustrated/dissatisfied Orthodox. And stupid beyond measure having traded the faith of their parents for a joke "made in America/England/Germany". Many are coming back, though. I hope they are also tired of being "holier" than average.
Quote
Like Phanariotism.
That's true. That was a society more conductive to holiness than a consumerist society.
Was? You talk as if it is in the past.  Phanariotism is very much alive.

Do you have that quote from a Father?
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« Reply #252 on: June 11, 2010, 01:42:03 AM »

Quote
Do you have that quote from a Father?
I don't play that Protestant  game.
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« Reply #253 on: June 11, 2010, 12:04:22 PM »

Quote
Do you have that quote from a Father?
I don't play that Protestant  game.
In other words, no, you have no authority but bias to back up your assertion of what "Orthdoxy is."  The words of the Fathers, in other words, are only garnish to be put on top of what you want to serve, rather than the meat of the dish.
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« Reply #254 on: June 11, 2010, 12:13:11 PM »

Quote
Do you have that quote from a Father?
I don't play that Protestant  game.
In other words, no, you have no authority but bias to back up your assertion of what "Orthdoxy is."  The words of the Fathers, in other words, are only garnish to be put on top of what you want to serve, rather than the meat of the dish.
You should quote me a father that says that importing cultural Puritanism/Calvinism/protestantism into the Church (that is what this obsession with weeding out "the nominals" amounts to) is more conductive to holiness than letting things be how they have always been.
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« Reply #255 on: June 11, 2010, 12:47:37 PM »

Quote
Do you have that quote from a Father?
I don't play that Protestant  game.
In other words, no, you have no authority but bias to back up your assertion of what "Orthdoxy is."  The words of the Fathers, in other words, are only garnish to be put on top of what you want to serve, rather than the meat of the dish.
You should quote me a father that says that importing cultural Puritanism/Calvinism/protestantism into the Church (that is what this obsession with weeding out "the nominals" amounts to)
Odd, you don't think they are saveable.

Luke 13:6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?  8“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’
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« Reply #256 on: June 11, 2010, 12:56:39 PM »

Oh, to clear up all misunderstanding, I don't think the use of the word "nominal" is right, helpful or Orthodox.
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« Reply #257 on: June 11, 2010, 11:54:22 PM »

The tangent renewing discussion of the Great Calendar Controversy split off and merged into this thread:  Old vs. New Calendar?
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« Reply #258 on: June 12, 2010, 05:28:24 AM »

As someone looking at the US situation from the outside I would find it useful to understand what it is that is being referred to as US culture.
We have a number of immigrants here in the UK who maintain their cultural identity and don't seem to be required to "convert" to another culture. I suppose a "church" that represents real English culture would be the Church of England, but as someone who served as a minister for thirteen years in that denomination I feel I can honestly say there was very little of value that I took from the cultural spects of that demonination's life. Now that i am Greek orthodox (for seven years) I have had to adjust to a different cultural heritage, and it has been right to do so because it is one formed in Orthodoxy. English church culture has lost its Orthodox roots and has become a strange mixture of catholicism and protestantism - generally people pick and choose the bits that suit them and find a parish that matches their tastes.  This is, of course, my experience and opinion.
I would be very interested to hear how orthodoxy has influenced and formed US culture because expecting immigrants to learn about it must presuppose that it has such a value.
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« Reply #259 on: June 12, 2010, 10:52:02 AM »

As someone looking at the US situation from the outside I would find it useful to understand what it is that is being referred to as US culture.
We have a number of immigrants here in the UK who maintain their cultural identity and don't seem to be required to "convert" to another culture. I suppose a "church" that represents real English culture would be the Church of England, but as someone who served as a minister for thirteen years in that denomination I feel I can honestly say there was very little of value that I took from the cultural spects of that demonination's life. Now that i am Greek orthodox (for seven years) I have had to adjust to a different cultural heritage, and it has been right to do so because it is one formed in Orthodoxy. English church culture has lost its Orthodox roots and has become a strange mixture of catholicism and protestantism - generally people pick and choose the bits that suit them and find a parish that matches their tastes.  This is, of course, my experience and opinion.
I would be very interested to hear how orthodoxy has influenced and formed US culture because expecting immigrants to learn about it must presuppose that it has such a value.
No one requires immigrants in the US to convert to another culture. However, by the time their progeny have been here for three or four generations, the old culture is mostly memories. Unfortunately, most of their descendants are no longer Orthodox or they attend church infrequently. So obviously, culture is not enough to hold people in the faith. If Christian Orthodoxy is what has been passed down to their children then you are more likely to see them remain Orthodox. I am a second generation Orthodox Christian who is thoroughly American and my children are third generation. We attend an Antiochian Orthodox parish started by evangelicals because while the ethnic Antiochian Orthodox Church is our heritage, it is no longer the culture that we identify with.

Orthodoxy is still too small to influence the culture in North America. But Christianity started out tiny among the pagan Graeco/Roman Civilization so there is no doubt that its influence will be felt because the seeds are being planted. I am sure many felt the pagan civilization was also viewed as a culture that would have nothing of value that could be transformed by the Church but history tells us otherwise. Rule of Law, charity, and an evangelical spirit (from those who were evangelical) are three traits of the United States that would mesh nicely into Orthodoxy. But then again, evangelism and charity were two characteristics of the early church.
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« Reply #260 on: June 12, 2010, 01:52:12 PM »

Dear Sub Deacon,

There is much to value in all cultures especially those that have been transformed by Orthodoxy. While I will doubt that our entire culture can be transformed here in the US the same way that it was traditional Orthodox countries any time soon. It is possible. It is more important however that we allow Orthodoxy to transform our lives and the lives of our communities and then transmit the Grace that we receive to our non Orthodox Neighbors through Evangelization.  If I could just share some observations I have had with you and respond to one of your statements.

"I suppose a "church" that represents real English culture would be the Church of England, but as someone who served as a minister for thirteen years in that denomination I feel I can honestly say there was very little of value that I took from the cultural spects of that demonination's life"

Personally I would find it very difficult to equate the the Anglican Church, a child of the protestant reformation, with the historical Church in England which was just as Orthodox in its past. SO i think you can look to many English and Irish Orthodox Saints and draw continuity from them as they held the same faith, and as we know We no longer are Greek nor Jew in Jesus Christ so it is the faith that makes us one not our ethnicity.

Now for my observations or experiences. I have been a member of Greek parishes, OCA, Antiochian, etc. I will deal just with the Greek experience first. The first Greek parish that I was a member of was very large with over 200 families and there was a large portion of elderly and their were still many immigrants from Greece in the Community. The Liturgy was 50% 50% in Greek and English and while it made the elderly happy to hear it in Greek it created a total disconnect for the youth that couldn't identify with that language or culture. I do feel that the priest made a wise decision by being pastorally sensitive to his diverse flock. Fast forward to my second Greek Parish which was much smaller and made up of much younger working Professionals and were all Americans born here. It was still 50% 50%. I can't figure that out because they don't know whats going on half the time.

My priest, who was GOA, told me that when he went to France he was con-celebrating at a Greek Parish, and he asked if he could serve the Liturgy in French and the Priest was told that it wasn't done but that he could get away with it because he was a guest from america.  His point to me was that after the Divine Liturgy when he went to trapeza everyone spoke in French no one spoke in Greek.

I think we have to be pastorally sensitive to both immigrants and indigenous Orthodox and inquirers . And we also have to effectively evangelize. which requires transmitting our Faith to the countries we find ourselves in and in the languages that they speak.

I would like to know more about your experience in England as I find it very fascinating.
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« Reply #261 on: June 12, 2010, 04:26:22 PM »

^Name me one culture in the "old countries" that today remains "transformed" in terms of godly standards.   Maybe Cyprus, but even that is changing.  In some of them, particularly the northern slav countries, outright perversity is tolerated even among practicing Orthodox.   It is considered normal in some of them to commit adultary or worse perversions regularly, even among clergy.

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« Reply #262 on: June 12, 2010, 04:38:30 PM »

^ You make a good point. Were they ever is a better question. I have heard that concepts such as this is just a form of romanticism. I cannot speak for anyone's culture but my own. I have unfortunately never been to Europe. I was not attempting to make that argument if it came across that way I apologize for not being clear.
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« Reply #263 on: June 12, 2010, 08:09:04 PM »

^Name me one culture in the "old countries" that today remains "transformed" in terms of godly standards.   Maybe Cyprus, but even that is changing.  In some of them, particularly the northern slav countries, outright perversity is tolerated even among practicing Orthodox.   It is considered normal in some of them to commit adultary or worse perversions regularly, even among clergy.



Dear FatherHLL,

You make serious allegations of perversity against the northern Slav countries and the clergy which presumably means the Russian Orthodox Church and its clergy.

I understand that forum rules require you to substantiate allegations and I expect you will go on to do so. 

But while we wait for your substantiating evidence,  I would remind everybody of the fate of the perverse Bishop Nikon of Ekaterinburg in 1999, and the fate of the Nizhny Novgorod priest who in 2003 married two homosexuals (defrocked within a month) and the fate of the unfortunate church where the ceremony was held -bulldozed to the ground.

I see you are a member of the southern Slavs, a Ukrainian, and also a member of the Constantinople Church.  Since people here are usually too savvy to throw stones out of glasshouses, I congratulate you that your southern nation and your Mediterranean Church is presumably free from whatever you have in mind by "perversions" among the northern Slavs and their clergy.
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« Reply #264 on: June 12, 2010, 10:43:57 PM »

^Name me one culture in the "old countries" that today remains "transformed" in terms of godly standards.   Maybe Cyprus, but even that is changing.  In some of them, particularly the northern slav countries, outright perversity is tolerated even among practicing Orthodox.   It is considered normal in some of them to commit adultary or worse perversions regularly, even among clergy.



Dear FatherHLL,

You make serious allegations of perversity against the northern Slav countries and the clergy which presumably means the Russian Orthodox Church and its clergy.

I understand that forum rules require you to substantiate allegations and I expect you will go on to do so.
Have you reported to the moderators the allegations you deem scurrilous?
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« Reply #265 on: June 12, 2010, 11:03:54 PM »

^First of all you can't say "presumably" means the church of russia.  You assume to much.  The "worse" I was referring to included tolerated prostitution, for example.   I don't know where your hostility toward me comes from, but back off.  Perhaps your Irish hermitage has cut you off from the rest of the world but we have real problems out there.   I mentioned northern slav countries only because of the many friends including bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, and laity who either live or have lived over there for most of their lives (and live here now at least temporarily) that have all told me of this commonly known cultural phenomenon that the Church has to battle constantly.   Because I have more friends that have told me of this does not imply that it does not happen elsewhere.  You asking me to subtantiate this is like someone asking to substantiate the claim that Muslim nations persecute Christians or that there is a problem with pedophelia in the ranks of the clergy of the RCC.   It is common knowledge.   However, if you want me to bring out statistics of comparitive abortion rates, prostitution rates, etc., I will pull them out.  But if you wish me to give specific instances that have been related to me that would scandalize this forum I will not do it.   If you wish for me to communicate some via pm I will do so, but I will not give it here.  As one of my dearest friends has related to me who currently lives in one of the former soviet bloc countries and works in many of them, there is deep cultural perversity and the Church is the only oasis.  In his assessement, there is either grievous sinner worse than what is known in the US, or shining saint greater than that known in the US.   But the culture of perversity and corruption penetrates into the ranks of the Church, and the Church is still battling it.  If somehow you interpreted my words to mean that it isn't being battled, that is your problem.   The examples you gave only confirm what I said.  The Church doesn't need to go to battle when it is not in a war, and sticking your head in the sand will not help solve it.   I love the Church in Ukraine, Russia, Belorus, etc., which is all the more why I pray for the Church to overcome these things and not pretend they are not there.  You should be praying for it too and not pretending it is not there if you really love the Church.  
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« Reply #266 on: June 12, 2010, 11:08:43 PM »

^Name me one culture in the "old countries" that today remains "transformed" in terms of godly standards.   Maybe Cyprus, but even that is changing.  In some of them, particularly the northern slav countries, outright perversity is tolerated even among practicing Orthodox.   It is considered normal in some of them to commit adultary or worse perversions regularly, even among clergy.



Dear FatherHLL,

You make serious allegations of perversity against the northern Slav countries and the clergy which presumably means the Russian Orthodox Church and its clergy.

I understand that forum rules require you to substantiate allegations and I expect you will go on to do so.
Have you reported to the moderators the allegations you deem scurrilous?

Peter,  you are mistaken,  I have not deemed the allegations "scurrilous."  I have deemed the allegations "serious" and I have asked FatherHLL to provide substantiating evidence.   I am sure he will do that without the need to ask the Moderators to contact him about it.  Let us be patient and give him a little time.  I assume he is a priest and no doubt he has many things to occupy him over the weekend.
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« Reply #267 on: June 12, 2010, 11:10:26 PM »

^First of all you can't say "presumably" means the church of russia.  You assume to much.  

Dear FatherHLL,

Would you please tell us then who you mean by the "Northern Slavs"?
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« Reply #268 on: June 12, 2010, 11:15:54 PM »

^First of all you can't say "presumably" means the church of russia.  You assume to much.  
Dear FatherHLL,
Would you please tell us then who you mean by the "Northern Slavs"?

Is "former Soviet nations" more clear? 
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« Reply #269 on: June 12, 2010, 11:19:28 PM »

I don't know where your hostility toward me comes from, but back off.

There is no hostility toward you, FatherHLL but I am upset when my Church is said, and on a public forum,  to have some serious perversion among its clergy and instead of offering evidence you back away and offer only generalisations which could apply to any organisation or any Church in any country whether they are northern Slavs, or southern Ukrainians or Mediterranean Greeks.

Quote
Perhaps your Irish hermitage has cut you off from the rest of the world but we have real problems out there.

Would this be an ad populum?   laugh
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