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nrse
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« on: June 19, 2010, 03:42:39 AM »

i am an inquirer and i am new here....baptized Catholic as infant...just left behind me 30+ years of independent evangelical churches or Assembly of God (pentecostal and for which i have high regard)....i am now in meetings with my priest to discuss/learn the basic faith along with doing some independent reading....The Orthodox Way was excellent, reading The Theology of the Eastern Church, Fr Gilchrist"s book....my problem is "Mary".....i understand Theotokos- which says more about Jesus than it does about her...the magnificent part she played in the Incarnation- the most spectacular event this world witnessed up to that point....also Mary being an icon or 'type' for the Mother Church....i have heard several explanations of how "Theotokos save us" at the end of the liturgy does not imply a co-redemtrix role for Mary but i am still "not getting it"....i guess i am just struggling with the whole issue-wanting not to fall into the "cult of Mary" and yet wanting to firmly grasp a sound theological doctrine re her.....thanks in advance for any help....if i have mis spoken or awkwardly worded things in ignorance, please forgive me.....
love and prayers, lynn
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rakovsky
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 04:03:43 AM »

How about this?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=23495.5

And Ancient Faith Radio:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/eastwest/most_holy_theotokos_save_us
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 04:04:49 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2010, 05:06:55 AM »

Maybe this will be helpful.  The priest Fr Peter Gillquist was once a leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, an evangelical movement.

"Facing up to Mary"

http://silouanthompson.net/2008/06/facing-up-tomary/
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2010, 02:27:47 PM »

I would also heartily recommend St. John Maximovitch's book, The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God.  It is very short, reads very fast and is an excellent exposition on the Orthodox veneration of the Mother of God, going through her titles and why that is important in the understanding of our own salvation.  You can read more about it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Veneration-Mary-Birthgiver-God/dp/0938635689/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276971907&sr=8-1

As for "not getting it" remember that the prayer life is about developing relationships with our Lord and His saints.  You're not going to feel completely at home with someone you've just met.  Give it time and the rest will work itself out.
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2010, 05:35:42 PM »

Yes, give it time. I am not sure everyone completely gets alot of stuff.
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Chrissy
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2010, 07:53:29 PM »

As for "not getting it" remember that the prayer life is about developing relationships with our Lord and His saints.  You're not going to feel completely at home with someone you've just met.  Give it time and the rest will work itself out.

That is a great way of looking at it. Thank you. I've been attending an Orthodox church since April and am still growing accustomed to venerating icons and praying to saints. It doesn't feel quite natural yet, although it is becoming easier. I'd like to think the saints recognize when our tentative steps are sincere.
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2010, 05:36:31 PM »

Yes. I've found that just doing it helps.
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2010, 06:10:56 PM »

As for "not getting it" remember that the prayer life is about developing relationships with our Lord and His saints.  You're not going to feel completely at home with someone you've just met.  Give it time and the rest will work itself out.

That is a great way of looking at it. Thank you. I've been attending an Orthodox church since April and am still growing accustomed to venerating icons and praying to saints. It doesn't feel quite natural yet, although it is becoming easier. I'd like to think the saints recognize when our tentative steps are sincere.

I found that simply praying the Liturgical prayers honoring the Mother of God in the Hours as part of my prayer rule was a comfort zone for me during my early years in the Church. 

Later, as I developed a stronger Orthodox mindset, it was easy to ask her to pray for me and for people on my prayer list.
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nrse
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 08:50:21 PM »

i've read Fr Gillquist's book, am focusing on saying the prayers to Mary in liturgy/private prayer and bought the book 'Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God'....have not gotten around to the Ancient Radio broadcast- have listened to many on my iPod but have not found that one on iTunes- will look it up after the holiday.....oh, also followed the recommended thread...all very helpful Wink   it s all just a process! thank you all so much!
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2010, 10:35:02 AM »

First let me give you a big welcome to the Forum! Smiley

Second, I believe your feeling that it is all part of a process is a correct and quite healthy attitude to have.  No need to rush things, or to try and force your mind to accept something you're not ready for. The way I was taught this subject is that this is really part of the inner teaching of the Church, and not part of the public teaching/preaching/ministry of the Gospel. Orthodoxy sometimes makes distinctions between beliefs that are sort of a "test" of Orthodoxy, and other beliefs that while 100% Orthodox, and most Orthodox Christians accepting them, they are not part of any criteria for becoming Orthodox. (the Assumption of Mary would be an example of this) Most Orthodox believe in the Assumption (in some form or another) but it's nothing that is required. It's not like the Creed, or the Councils. The issue of praying to Mary I see the same way. It's more a part of Ortho-Praxis that it is about beliefs and doctrines. At least that's what I was taught. And I think it's a healthy attitude to take because it emphasis Ortho-Praxy, right practice and right living and just "being" Orthodox over dogmas, doctrines and mental ascension to various ideas. Not that those are not important too, but I believe Orthodoxy has kept an idea from the ancient world of just "being" Orthodox as important as having right opinions about how many angels can tap dance on the head of a pin type of thing. Smiley

Anyways that's just a long winded way of saying welcome to the forum, and don't rush and force anything...keep an open mind, and you should do just fine. Smiley

NP
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2010, 11:04:12 AM »

NorthernPines,  I appreciate the gentle spirit of your reply but......... while it is true that the Dormition/Assumption is not an essential doctrine for salvation since it does not fall within the essential Christological scheme of our salvation it is not an optional belief.

I just cannot imagine a scenario where a priest would stand in front of his congregation and say:  "Look, the belief in the Dormition is an optional belief and I am opting out.   I don't really believe it.  I believe that Mary's body has rotted away in some unknown grave in Palestine.  So I won't be observing the two week fast and the special services during the two weeks before the feast and I don't think I'll bother with a Liturgy on the day either.   Please feel free not to participate yourselves if you also choose not to accept the Dormition."

I can imagine that that priest will be called onto the carpet on Monday morning in front of his bishop and faced with a demand to conform to the belief of the Church or be deposed from the priesthood.

If a new convert has a problem with this Orthodox belief, they can quietly deal with it, praying about it, reading about it, talking to other believers and perhaps one wonderful thing would be to enter into the spirit of the two weeks of fasting and special services which precede the Feastday of the Dormition.  The Mother of God will touch the heart and the joy of belief will eventually find a way in.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2010, 11:04:52 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
Thomas
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2010, 03:45:44 PM »

I think that most if not all Orthodox Christians accept the Dormition as a feast of the church.The Feast possesses two aspects linked inseparably in the mind of the Orthodox Christian. One aspect is the death and burial of the Most Holy Theotokos. The other aspect is that of the Resurrection and assumption of the Mother-of-God. It is within the inner tradition (i.e. nonscriptural tradition) that the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary belongs. It is revealed to the faithful of the Church but is seen by those outside of the Church as unimportant.(Resources www.goarch, www.oca.org. and Life of the Theotokos from Dormition Convent)

What Orthodox Christians do not accept or agree with is the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception which teaches that  Mary was born free of the sin of Adam, leading some Catholic scholars to teach that being Free of sin did not require the Virgin Mary to die due to Adams Fall, this leads to confusion as to the Roman Catholic teaching that some Roman Catholics advocate that the Theotokos did not taste death but was assumed into heaven body and soul without having died.

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly declared:

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory[Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, no 44 ]
Roman Catholic theologians consider this declaration by Pius XII to be an ex cathedra use of Papal Infallibility.[http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/alpha/data/aud19930324en.html  and Creative Fidelity: Weighing and Interpreting Documents of the Magisterium, by Francis A. Sullivan, chapter 6 . Although Pope Pius XII deliberately left open the question of whether Mary died before her Assumption. As the Virgin Mary, in the view of the Catholic Church, remained an ever-virgin and sinless, it is viewed that the Virgin Mary could not thus suffer the consequences of Original Sin, which is chiefly Death. (www.newadvent.org/fathers/3819.htm Nicea II Session 6 Decree )

"...Orthodox tradition is clear and unwavering in regard to the central point [of the Dormition]: the Holy Virgin underwent, as did her Son, a physical death, but her body – like His – was afterwards raised from the dead and she was taken up into heaven, in her body as well as in her soul. She has passed beyond death and judgement, and lives wholly in the Age to Come. The Resurrection of the Body ... has in her case been anticipated and is already an accomplished fact. That does not mean, however, that she is dissociated from the rest of humanity and placed in a wholly different category: for we all hope to share one day in that same glory of the Resurrection of the Body which she enjoys even now." (Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, in: Festal Menaion [London: Faber and Faber, 1969], p. 64.)

Thomas

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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2010, 05:37:00 PM »

NorthernPines,  I appreciate the gentle spirit of your reply but......... while it is true that the Dormition/Assumption is not an essential doctrine for salvation since it does not fall within the essential Christological scheme of our salvation it is not an optional belief.

You completely missed the point I was making. Or maybe I just didn't make my point all that well.

My intention wasn't to debate the Dormition/Assumption, as this wasn't the topic at hand. I was just using it as another example (compared to with the original point of concern brought up) of a belief people shouldn't get too worked up over if they don't accept it from the get go. That's all. I didn't mean to imply priests were telling people the Dormition is "optional", (did I imply that? I don't think so? I specifically said Assumption, not Dormition to distinguish between the two events. Your points that A.) it is not a matter of Salvation, and B.) that if a new convert has trouble dealing with it at some point, they need to work and pray through it, and LIVE the fast and feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the only point I was trying to make. You whole "scenario" about priests standing up denying the Dormition in sermons you pulled right out of thin air, and just don't see how you got from what I said to that. Regardless, if I was misleading people, I apologize. I just feel it's better to not "tradition thump" people, especially with doctrines that as you said, have not part in the process in Salvation. People always come around eventually, with time, love, and the understanding it's not that big a deal....especially when one LIVES Orthodoxy as opposed to just sitting around and thinking about it like it was a a college exam.

I actually don't think there is much disagreement between us on the point, but I could be wrong.




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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2010, 08:00:18 PM »


You completely missed the point I was making. Or maybe I just didn't make my point all that well.


My apologies, dear NorthernPines.  It was simply that when I read this I took it at face value and thought you were saying that the belief is not required of the Orthodox...

Quote
Most Orthodox believe in the Assumption (in some form or another) but it's nothing that is required.


To offer a beautiful quote from Bp Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church


Orthodox are not willing to take part in a ‘minimal’ reunion scheme, which secures agreement on
a few points and leaves everything else to private opinion. There can be only one basis for union
— the fullness of the faith; for Orthodoxy looks on the faith as a united and organic whole.

Speaking of the Anglo-Russian Theological Conference at Moscow in 1956, the present Archbishop
of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, expressed the Orthodox viewpoint exactly:

‘The Orthodox said in effect: ‘…The Tradition is a concrete fact. Here it is, in its totality. Do you Anglicans
accept it, or do you reject it?’ The Tradition is for the Orthodox one indivisible whole:
the entire, life of the Church in its fullness of belief and custom down the ages, including Mariology
and the veneration of icons.

Faced with this challenge, the typically Anglican reply is: ‘We would not regard veneration of icons
or Mariology as inadmissible, provided that in determining what is necessary to salvation, we confine
ourselves to Holy Scripture.’ But this reply only throws into relief the contrast between the Anglican
appeal to what is deemed necessary to salvation and the Orthodox appeal to the one indivisible
organism of Tradition, to tamper with any part of which is to spoil the whole, in the sort of way
that a single splodge on a picture can mar its beauty.

(‘The Moscow Conference in Retrospect,’ in Sobornost, series 3, no. 23, 1958, pp. 562-563).

In the words of another Anglican writer: ‘It has been said that the Faith is like a network
rather than an assemblage of discrete dogmas; cut one strand and the whole pattern loses its
meaning’ (T. M. Parker, ‘Devotion to the Mother of God,’ in The Mother of God, edited by E. L. Mascall, p. 74).

Orthodox, then, ask of other Christians that they accept Tradition as a whole....

Fr Ambrose
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2010, 09:43:27 AM »


You completely missed the point I was making. Or maybe I just didn't make my point all that well.


My apologies, dear NorthernPines.  It was simply that when I read this I took it at face value and thought you were saying that the belief is not required of the Orthodox...

No no...I'm just bad at making certain points clear. Cheesy




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